Talking Point members’ advice for when a family member with dementia moves into a care home.
‘I found a home that was happy to take my mother, and on the day they came out to assess her they offered her a ‘‘taster day’’, where she would have a bath, do her hair and feed her.
‘To my surprise, Mum accepted this and on the day in question the home arranged transport for her.
‘At the end of that day, I went to visit and much to my relief Mum said, “I like it here, can I stay?” to which I answered, “Of course you can!”’
‘On the night before, I explained to him what was happening the next day. He expressed surprise but not objection. I found it, and still do, deeply traumatic.
‘That night I laid next to him in bed for the last time, being careful to remember the feel of his body next to mine.
‘On the day, I waited for him inside the room whilst his family brought him in to me, so I was there ready to greet him.’
‘Dad had a couple of day visits before going into the care home for respite, where he settled very well. I disappeared discreetly and there was not a peep from anyone until the home phoned to ask whether he could eat fish and chips.
‘His respite lasted two weeks and he went in permanently two weeks later. I felt a mixture of grief and relief at the same time and I kept telling myself that I could do no more for him.’
‘How do you think I can prepare my husband if he forgets anything within a minute? Despite his poor memory and non-existent reasoning, it is not easy “to take him in”.
‘I thought I could stay in the care home with him on the first days... as if we were on holiday in a hotel.’
‘We were told from the start, this was Mam’s home now and to treat it as such. We did and were welcomed at any time. Mam and Dad had pizza night on a Saturday. Told staff and they said no reason to stop.
‘We’d order a pizza to be delivered there, take Dad down, staff had a small table set in conservatory. They enjoyed pizza and a glass of wine, just as they normally did.’
‘You try to keep your mind and life occupied. My routine is going to my grandma’s place and taking care of the flowers.
‘Try to find something that they loved and do it. And don’t keep the pain inside. Talk to people.’
What advice do you have to help someone dealing with how much a person with dementia has changed in the past few months?
Let us know by 4 May 2021 so we can share it in our next magazine.