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Care & carers

how often do you visit the care home

(99 Posts)
ninathenana Mon 08-Apr-13 17:18:20

Mum has been in CH for 7mths now. Her short term memory is zero. She has two questions which she repeats every few minutes.
Am I really callous that I can only cope with this for 1hr at a time?
I do talk to her, tell her the family news etc. But if she's not repeating her self she's sleeping. I go every Friday and my brother visits Tuesdays.
Mum wouldn't know if I last visited 5 mins ago or 5 days ago.
Should I be feeling guilty as I sometimes do.

janeainsworth Mon 08-Apr-13 17:25:09

Nina surely it depends how far away you are and what your other commitments are?
I don't think you're callous at all, but perhaps your mum appreciates your visits more than you think? sad

Mishap Mon 08-Apr-13 17:27:43

No - definitely not! Been there, done that! I found that if you stay away a bit people with dementia develop an attachment to a carer in the home whom they see all the time.

The only reason to keep going in often would be if you are needing to check up on the quality of the care. If you are happy that the care is good, then stick with 1 x per week or whatever fits on with your life.

Ditch the guilt - it helps no-one. Think back to how she was when she was well - would she want you beating yourself up about this?

ninathenana Mon 08-Apr-13 17:37:34

Thanks mishap your last paragraph means a lot

HUNTERF Mon 08-Apr-13 18:06:54

Difficult to give a right answer.
I have a friend whose father has been in the nursing home for about 6 years.
His father was only expected to last about a year when he went in.
He is fortunate his father is NHS funded and he is using his fathers money to help with the transport costs.
The home is 20 miles away but fortunately it is near the motorway and my friends house is also near the same motorway.
My friend visits most days but he is fortunate enough to be able to use his fathers money for petrol etc and it only takes about 30 minutes each way.
My friend is also retired.


merlotgran Mon 08-Apr-13 18:09:58

Don't feel guilty, nina, I go in every day to visit my mother because her present care home is so bad she would starve if I didn't feed her. I am going to look at a nursing home tomorrow because she needs to be moved.... and quickly! The only one that can take her is much further away so I will only be able to visit a couple of times a week. I know I will feel guilty to start with but it will be a great relief to know her care needs are being met.

We do our best. That's all we can do.

grannyactivist Mon 08-Apr-13 18:11:28

nina there is no magic number of visits. When my husband's gran was in a nearby care home she was visited every single day by me or my mother in law - very often she had us both visit on the same day, and in her book that still wasn't often enough. She was compos mentis right up until the last few days of her life. I've seen enough of dementia to tell my husband and offspring that I shall neither know nor care how often they visit me if I have dementia and to just get on with life.
I agree with Mishap totally - guilt is uncalled for.
flowers though, because it's hard.

NfkDumpling Mon 08-Apr-13 18:46:35

Mishap has it spot on.
And as for only being able to cope with an hour at a time - that's probably quite enough for her too. My mum is completely with it but, although she never wants me to leave, she's starting to doze off after an hour. Visits are very tiring for both parties.

HUNTERF Mon 08-Apr-13 18:52:55


Are you sure she would starve?.
My friends father is in a nursing home with dementia.
One day I just happened to be passing and I called to see him.
He was just finishing lunch.
About 15 minutes later he told me he was not being fed so I went out and got him a big Cornish pasty.
I left after about an hour and called my friend on his mobile phone and left a message and he called me back when I was on my way home.
He said he got my message about the lunch and Cornish Pasty.
His father was telling him he had nothing to eat for 2 days and my friend had bought him a slice of Bakewell tart.
After he left he told the nurse nobody had fed him for 3 days.


merlotgran Mon 08-Apr-13 19:51:59

YES Frank. I found Mum on Saturday with a small bowl of cold, cut up omelette balanced on her chest. She cannot feed herself.

I don't have to rely on what my mother tells me. I can see for myself!

Mishap Mon 08-Apr-13 22:30:31

merlotgran I am so sorry that you are facing all this with your mum. It is disgraceful that you cannot just relax secure in the knowledge that she is well cared-for.

Flowerofthewest Mon 08-Apr-13 22:36:40


merlotgran Mon 08-Apr-13 22:45:34

Thanks, Mishap. I'll have to see what tomorrow brings.

Galen Mon 08-Apr-13 23:02:48

Both you and mishap seem to be having similar but different problems. My thoughts are with you both. If you think I can help then please contact me!

merlotgran Mon 08-Apr-13 23:04:16

Thank you, Galen.

Ana Mon 08-Apr-13 23:04:50

merlot flowers

kittylester Tue 09-Apr-13 10:41:08

merlot flowers from me too.

HildaW Tue 09-Apr-13 12:30:30

ninathenana, sounds so familiar to me. Its so difficult when the person inside has ebbed away. Do not feel guilty - we all feel that we would rather be somewhere else!
Do limit the visits to a manageable time. Try to get others to drop in - just half an hour is enough. Take photos or momentos to prompt other subjects - its amazing how someone locked into the same few questions can suddenly go deep into memories when promted.
All the best - and do not beat yourself up!

kittylester Tue 09-Apr-13 14:16:08

Nina an hour sounds good going to me. I spent ages showing Mum photos either on my phone or real ones. The problem with the real ones was that she put them into her bag and kept them, then they disappeared. I was printing them off so often that DH was starting to huff about the cost!

My brothers and I organise it so that Mum has a visitor every other day and we each stay for 40 minutes to an hour depending on our capability on any given day. I used to dread turning into the car park and wondering what I would find.

I'm sure you have done, and will continue to do your best for your Mum so please be kind to yourself. flowers

kittylester Tue 09-Apr-13 14:18:09

Merlot good luck with you search for a new home. Been there, done that - it's a huge step to take, isn't it? flowers

granjura Tue 09-Apr-13 20:26:38

Merlot, my heart goes to you and I hope you find a good OAP home for your mum.

Looking back, I remember feeling my mum was not getting enough help with feeding, and I did get cross and upset at times with staff.

And now, I just don't know how to say this. But from times immemorial, old people have chosen to eat less and less, as a way of 'shortening' their demise. Consciously or not. My mum just didn't want to eat- but due to my insistance at first, she was fed, not quite force-fed, but close - hyper vitamin/mineral salts, etc, chocolate puddings - the only thing she still enjoyed. Looking back, I now realise that this is not what she wanted - and that, in the nicest possible way, I didn't support her in the outcome she wanted. Not sure at all if this is the case in any way with your mum. If it is, I can tell you this is the hardest thing to accept, as we all want our nearest and dearest to fight for life. I hope you will understand that what I am trying to say if with my heart. Take care, of you too.

merlotgran Tue 09-Apr-13 20:53:33

The visit to the nursing home was very successful. There was a busy but welcoming atmosphere and the nurse who showed us round was very helpful. The residents we saw in the lounge all looked cheerful. Mum will have an assessment in her current care home tomorrow. So long as her care needs can be met it can only be a good thing for her to move.

We still have a way to go but I have my eyes wide open and my fingers crossed.

NfkDumpling Tue 09-Apr-13 22:14:38

Fingers crossed for you Merlot and your mum flowers

ninathenana Wed 10-Apr-13 09:20:29

merlot hope the move goes well.

Nonny Wed 10-Apr-13 10:04:42

My mother has been in a care home for 22 months. She has vascular dementia. I try to visit her as often as I can but as she is 400 miles away this is about every 2 months. My brother who lives near usually visits her once a week. I wish tat I could pop in daily.
While it is a relief to know that she has 24 hour care it isn't what she wanted. Before she went into care I phoned her every evening. She was so confused and couldn't change the tv channel for herself. She had day care 4 times a week and carers 4 times a day- she wanted to stay in her own house.
At first I phoned her in the home but now she doesn't know who we are if we ring and drops the phone. When I visit she knows my face but doesn't remember my name. It is so heart breaking.