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How long to settle in a care home

(36 Posts)
Nanawind Fri 20-May-22 09:17:15

DM has dementia and went into a residential home last week.
Every person that visits she has said that she likes it but is not staying.
She cannot live at home as wanders, sees dead people and is scarred of
phone, cooker, TV and even the shower.
Is it possible that in a few weeks she'll settle. The day she went in was the best
nights sleep I have had for over 12 months.

BigBertha1 Fri 20-May-22 09:43:47

nanwind I am so sorry that you are obviously worried about and care very much for your Dear Mum. In my experience of managing care and nursing homes it differs for every one. Some people settle immediately but sadly if someone has dementia it takes longer and no-one can really say how long. I'm glad to hear you had a good sleep. I hope you can put your mind at rest about her soon and that she is safe and comfortable where she is.

tanith Fri 20-May-22 10:21:58

When I worked with Dementia patients some in nursing homes always talked about ‘when I go home’ and I found that just going along with whatever they said was best. In some cases it wasn’t they they weren’t settled it’s just they did have some memory of life before. Maybe holding on to that thought is comforting for your Mum.

Jaxjacky Fri 20-May-22 10:33:50

Same as tanith I just used to say something like ‘yes, not long now’ my Mum was similar.

Sussexborn Fri 20-May-22 10:46:10

My MIL was convinced that the staff put her up on the roof when they cleaned her room. A throwback to a time in hospital when she had TB and was put outside on a balcony every day.

My BIL kept trying to reason with her but I eventually suggested that we tell her that we will tell the staff that they were not to do it any more. This would calm her down until the next time.

Granny23 Fri 20-May-22 10:51:11

In the same situation my DH thought he was on holiday and sometimes talked about the need to go home. BUT - the home he wanted to return to was his childhood home where he lived with his Mother while his Father was away for 5 years during the war. DH was worried that she would be missing him and all on her own. I would promise to visit and check she was OK to put his mind at rest. It was a blessing that he had forgotten that both his Mum and Dad were dead and I could only visit them in the Cemetery sad

crazyH Fri 20-May-22 10:52:03

My poor mother was lucky enough to stay with my kind, loving brother until he passed away. We then had no choice, but to settle her into a beautiful nursing home, before we all returned to our homes (abroad). She was 93, had dementia and had no idea what was going on. We just told her she was going back to her home. And, I really wonder if she did believe us. She has passed away. A selfless mother ❤️

Shelflife Fri 20-May-22 11:05:29

My mother came to live with us for three years , very reluctantly I had tok find a care home , dementia set in and our youngest child was 11. She did not settle and we moved her numerous times - always against the advice of ' experts ' ! We were told she would eventually settle down and moving here would make her dementia worse! At last I found a home I hoped was suitable and it was!
Within three days her head was up , she was taking notice of her surroundings and smiling. What a relief, this care home did not have all the bells and whistles, the modern furniture or the beautiful carpets and frankly needed a good dust! What it did have was a wonderful person in charge and her àttitude filtered down to all nurses, carers , cooks and the ladies who dealt with laundry. My mother's dementia did not improve but her quality of life did . I have no regrets about moving her so many times before I found the home that was right for her. I suggest you follow your instincts, I recognize that wonderful feeling of at last having a good night's sleep. My Mum was awake every night calling out for her sisters who had both died many years ago! Good luck , follow your instincts.

Shelflife Fri 20-May-22 11:10:02

Just a little advice , when your mum is confused please don't try and put her straight - she is in her world and can not return to yours . Step into her world and comfort your mum. Go along with what she says , it is so much easier than trying to pull her back to reality - it can't be done. I wish you both well.

25Avalon Fri 20-May-22 11:21:18

This is quite common and good nursing home staff will deflect it. Mil demanded a taxi to take her home so staff just said “OK but let’s just have a cup of tea first”, so she forgot all about it.” A friend who worked as an assistant in a care home said when she was young she insisted on telling the patient the truth that it was no use waiting for mum to fetch her as she was dead. Patient burst into tears. Then next day was waiting for mum again. Friend realised it prevented heart breaking stress if patient was told mum had been delayed and would be there soon.

With mil I worked on the principle every happy moment produced endorphins even if she didn’t remember those moments.

Nanawind Fri 20-May-22 11:33:52

This home is not the best in the area. But since she has been in every member of staff give the residents a hug in the morning and last thing at night.
The first day the office staff gave her a kiss on the cheek to welcome her to their home. The cook came and had a chat about cakes.
Her sister went yesterday and she was so happy that mum is being cared for lovingly.

I did go and visit a few homes that in my mind were posh this one is homely. She has a very large room private toilet.
It has a cinema room, pub and large gardens.

I'm happy with my choice but it's very difficult that I have to make this decision.

Nanna58 Fri 20-May-22 12:00:54

Nanawind , the home sounds lovely, very much like the one my Mum went into in February. We had nearly a month of her threatening to kill herself if we ( the worst daughters in the world apparently) didn’t take her back home. She wandered , had delusions and couldn’t look after herself physically, so, although very hard, we stood our ground. Now she says , in lucid moments, that she would never want to leave. She has made friends, looks better in health ( sadly not mind) than ever and my sister and I are no longer on the brink of collapse. So, it can take a time , but stick with it.

PinkCosmos Fri 20-May-22 12:19:16

Shelflife - this care home did not have all the bells and whistles, the modern furniture or the beautiful carpets and frankly needed a good dust! What it did have was a wonderful person in charge and her àttitude filtered down to all nurses, carers , cooks and the ladies who dealt with laundry. My mother's dementia did not improve but her quality of life did

I also had a similar experience with my mother. I found her a care home that looked absolutely lovely, nice decor, lovely room. She was asked to leave within a week. Because of her dementia my mother tended to wander. She wanted to go out into the garden at the home but the carers wouldn't let her. She went to the front door and was trying to get out. She was quite distressed by now. One of the carers pushed her away and into a corner using her elbows as you aren't supposed to touch the residents. This upset my mother even more and she lashed out at the carer. My mum was the least violent person you could ever meet. The doctor was called and the home said she could not stay as she was too unpredictable.

I found another home, a bit less pristine but with lovely caring staff. She took a while to settle but the carers knew how to deal with residents with dementia. She was happy there for about four years until she died.

Based on this experience, it is all down to the carers and how they deal with dementia patients. Regular care homes don't always have staff who are trained in dementia care.

Witzend Fri 20-May-22 21:50:56

It took my mother ages to settle in her (excellent) dementia-only care home.

I was asked endlessly whether I’d come to take her home (where she hadn’t been safe to be left alone at all and could no longer even make herself a cup of tea,)

I would tell her whatever would keep her happy (or at least not fretful) for the moment, so there were lots of fibs (or ‘love lies’ as they’re known on the Alz. Soc. carers’ forum.)

My ‘best’ was that I was looking for a nice little flat for her, just down the road from me, and once I found a really nice one, we’d go and have a look together.

Rinse and repeat - she never remembered that I’d said the same before.

Teacheranne Fri 20-May-22 21:54:04

My mum never really settled in the two years she lived in her care home. She did not ask to go home but would often say she didn’t know where she was or what she was doing there. Luckily it was easy to distract her with a cup of tea and a piece of cake and the carers were very good at distracting her when it was time for me to leave.

Witzend Fri 20-May-22 21:59:11

PinkCosmos, after looking at so many care homes (for both my mother and my FiL) I soon learned to disregard ‘smart’ decor. Especially when dementia is involved, IMO it means nothing, and is largely there to impress relatives who are choosing.
A cosy, homely atmosphere is IMO much more important, not to mention friendly, cheerful, staff.

The very worst CH I ever encountered was a very outwardly flash, expensive one, where an aunt of dh (no dementia) put herself for a month while her helper was away.

I visited her there twice. The staff were surly and miserable, and the atmosphere very unwelcoming. The aunt absolutely hated it and couldn’t wait to,leave,

Witzend Fri 20-May-22 22:04:21

Sorry, rather OT, but one more lively resident at my mother’s CH had evidently run a boarding house at some point, and thought she was the landlady! She told me more than once that such and such a resident owed her nine quid for the week’s rent!

silverlining48 Fri 20-May-22 22:05:49

Its early days nanawind, it takes time. You have had good advice from others so I will just wish you and your mum all the best. Its hard, I know, but she will settle.

GrannySomerset Fri 20-May-22 22:31:29

It is such a hard decision even when you know someone is no longer safe at home and you, the carer, are exhausted.

As others have said, the senior management set the tone and smart decor is unimportant compared with kindness. When my DH had to go into a nursing home he sulked for England for a week but soon found favourites amongst the young staff and, if not happy, was resigned and settled. Give it time nanawind and accept that you can no longer provide care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Happygirl79 Sat 21-May-22 08:57:50


Just a little advice , when your mum is confused please don't try and put her straight - she is in her world and can not return to yours . Step into her world and comfort your mum. Go along with what she says , it is so much easier than trying to pull her back to reality - it can't be done. I wish you both well.

Very well explained

Redhead56 Sat 21-May-22 09:49:09

My mum wasn’t a mixer with neighbours she never liked tittle tattle as she used to say. She had dementia and had different moods she hated the home she was in. It was pleasant but she never settled and never mixed with the other residents at all.
It was heart breaking I helped look after her along with carers at home. It wasn’t safe for her there anymore and there was no alternative.
I hope your mum does settle in her home eventually.

Witzend Sat 21-May-22 10:39:23

My mother was much the same, Redhead56, never a sociable type at all.

She only really settled at all once her dementia had worsened to the extent that she couldn’t remember anywhere else except her childhood home - she went through a long phase of wanting to go and visit her parents (dead some 30 and 50 years by then) because, ‘They must be getting old and could do with some help.’

I would use the good old ‘love lies’ - ‘Well, we can’t go today, because my car’s in for a service/there’s been a bad accident on the motorway and the road’s closed/any other plausible sounding excuse - ‘But maybe we could go tomorrow?’

That always kept her happy enough - I used it many times.

Davida1968 Sat 21-May-22 12:09:05

Like Witzend, I used to say "tomorrow" when my DM asked when she was going home. This satisfied her, then she was happy....
I recommend the book "Contented Dementia" by Oliver James. IMO it's full of helpful (and valid) advice. Well worth reading.

Shinamae Sat 21-May-22 12:23:01

I have worked in this mainly high dementia care home for nearly 4 years and it is not all bells and whistles it is quite tatty in a way,but the carers do actually CARE,to think about it you wouldn’t do this job if you didn’t care we are on minimum wage and I know there are several places I could go and get at least a pound more an hour BUT I do love this job I really do. What has been said previously about stepping into their world is so right, they could not comprehend the fact that even though they might be 98 that their parents would be dead so it’s just best to say they’re at work or when they asked to go home we say well the roads up to you know what it’s like around here for roadworks, will have to wait till tomorrow and things like that really really do calm them and then of course 10 minutes later they forgotten all about it but will ask you again. I’ve had a lot of jobs all of them are quite menial but this is quite a thankless job but when I step out the door at night I know I have done a good thing and helped very vulnerable people. I am 69 myself and it can be quite scary seeing dementia but how we treat our people brings a warm glow to me … and I will keep on working here as long as I am able

ixion Sat 21-May-22 13:02:22

Please keep caring, Shinamae.
It means so much to so many people💐
Thank you.