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how do I tell her?

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Old 11-16-2006, 03:00 AM   #1
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how do I tell her?

my mum is cared for by my brother....we have dementia day care but they are going on holidays from 18th december for 3 weeks..he CANNOT cope without the extra help so we have booked her in for respite care at a NH from 21 december to 4 Jan for 2 weeks..yes... over christmas do what you have to do
I have already taken loads of time off work and am having a well overdue holiday from 26 december to 2 January.
my dilemna is how do i tell her...I think that she will believe we are "shipping her off" to a nursing home , when in reality its only for 2 I tell her we cant cope with caring for her without support (my family likes to pretend every thing is OK) or do I lie and say its for a day or 2 and hope the AD supports the lie?
This is hard enough, what do you tell them when its a permanent placement? mum (in july) expressed a desire to not go in a NH
she is still "in there" and only 70 years old. I have her on a waiting list for 2 lock down units.
Do I lie or tell the truth...I tend towards the lie...the truth may be too traumatic?
I never told my mum when dad was diagnosed as terminal...trying to spare and protect her ...right or wrong? no right answers I guess.

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Old 11-16-2006, 03:19 AM   #2
Martha H
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Re: how do I tell her?

Try to stress the words 'visit' and 'temporary'. Explain that you are going on vacation. She will 'visit' this facility until you get back. Repeat as often as necessary, but expect tears and maybe a tantrum on the day she is taken there. It might help to have a neutral acquaintance do the actual driving.

A few years ago my brother and his wife planned a 'surprise' for Mom while she was staying with them at their summer cabin. She was gloomy and upset the whole day - and when they finally got to their destination, a beer brewery they thought she would enjoy - she cried in relief. "I thought you were taking me to a nursing home."

This fear hangs over the heads of AD victims, often irrationally because they find the NH not a bad place once they do get there. It may be that your Mom finds the facility a pleasant place to stay ... and maybe she will agree to moving there 'next time' it becomes necessary, or even permanently.

Good luck!


Old 11-23-2006, 02:54 AM   #3
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new question

thanks for the advice re: how do i tell her
I have now got mum on the waiting list for 2 very nice(?) lock down units so we are considering the respite care as a "dress rehersaral'
new question-
upon our asking primary caregiver (my brother) "can she go into her own kitchen and get herself a glass of water?"...i got a prolonged silence...then a sigh...then an emphatic"no" (it is going to be a hot summer)
he is balking at the placement
so I summarised ...she CAN
go to the toilet (struggles)
dress and undress (stuggles)
walk (deteriorating)
talk (deteriorating)
feed herself with a spoon
I asked my brother "what else can she do?" him ..."nothing":
what function is she likely to lose next? I need to be aware of this to facilitate the NH placement.

Old 11-23-2006, 10:57 AM   #4
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Re: how do I tell her?

Jo, I did this with my SIL at exactly the same time (over Christmas) last year. While I don't have a magic recipe, perhaps there are lessons in what I did wrong lol.

I ended up getting into a protracted debate with SIL about whether or not she could look after herself. First, she had agreed to go, then she did a 180 degree turn. An impossible conversation, since I didn't want to say anything to hurt her feelings and, of course she could argue till blue in the face that she didn't need help. At the back of her mind I am sure she was afraid it was the beginning of institutionalisation.

As Martha suggested, just a simple "I am going on holiday and we need to know you are going to be safe", and no debate if you can manage it.

By the time we actually got there I was so upset I'm sure they almost admitted me!!!

I ended up leaving all the packing until after I had taken her in as that would have just drawn things out even more, and packing is very confusing for her in the first place (perhaps you could do that prior?). I included photos of pets and family for her stay. Neighbours and family were all geared up to send postcards and/or visit so she wouldn't feel abandoned.

Where I (think) I went really wrong was in choosing a location that she was very familiar with as a young child and woman. I thought that would be a good thing, but in reality I think it gave her the confidence to escape, which she did on the first day!!!!!

So if your respite care is not lock down, make sure she has an ID bracelet. The staff at the respite place had been glued to SIL's side all day trying to engage her in activities, but she managed to give them the slip.

On the evening of that long, long day, she had completely forgotten that it was me who had taken her there - just angry that 'someone' thought she needed to be in a home.

I didn't have time (I had to arrange this in a hurry because I was caring fulltime for someone else who had suddenly become ill), but it may be a good idea to write down some of her history (where she grew up, hobbies, things she enjoys, and family names) so staff have something they can talk with her about.

best of luck Jo

Last edited by georgie04; 11-23-2006 at 11:01 AM.

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