Settling angry Mum into care home when I can’t visit (COVID)

We had started to talk to Mum about a care home as her supported living flat wasn’t working any more. She never left the flat by herself, is very wobbly on her legs, only saw carers for three 15 min care calls a day and was really lonely and isolated. I’d been trying to do a third of her care on top of a 4 day a week job AND driving four hours each way to see her. It was starting to affect my health (I have stress triggered Relapsing Remitting MS) and I couldn’t cope any longer. We’d found her a truly lovely care home, with loads of activities going on, good staff to resident ratio, even therapy dogs twice a week. It’s fantastic. Then COVID struck and we had to move Mum in a huge hurry. We had to sweep in grab her and some belongings and drive 4 hours to the care home (near where I live). Only one more visit and now we’re in lock down and I can’t see her at all. None of the usual activities are happening because they’re rightly minimising the number of comings and goings. It was either move her then or literally abandon her alone in a flat with nothing I could do if the carers fell sick or the food deliveries stopped.

Mum now hates me and is saying really cruel and awful things to me. I know she’s angry and she’s lashing out, I’ve taken her away from all that’s familiar, she’s lost most of her possessions, her regular carers. My brother lives in that town 4 hrs away so she blames me for that too. It was a joint decision with my brother but she doesn’t hate him. She says she doesn’t love me, she doesn’t trust me, my Father (dead 5 years) wouldn’t love me either for what I’ve done, she’s accusing my lovely husband who has done so much for her of stealing her money to buy a new car (there is no new car). Even COVID is my fault as its part of my evil plan to dump her in a care home and then abandon her. I can see how she would think this but it is so so hard to hear after all the years of caring for her. So my question is - how on earth can I help her settle in. It’s only been a week but she’s refusing all the things I think would help like putting her familiar pictures on the walls, getting her books out of the boxes onto the shelves. There’s no point because she’s not staying she says. I think the care home should just put the pictures on the walls and the books on the shelves but they won’t if she’s saying no. Any tips? Any similar experiences that have reassuringly worked out in the end? I’m at my wits end.

How is she saying this? By phone?

She is clearly hitting out, but whatever she thinks, she NEEDED residential care, no one ever WANTS it!!

You need to take control now. Whenever she is rude, either personally or on the phone. Say “I don’t have to put up with this”. Put your coat on, and leave, or put the phone down.
You are NOT responsible for her getting old, neither is your husband.
Normally I’d suggest you get some counselling and go away on holiday, to get away from it all. Sadly, that’s not an option at the moment. Don’t worry about pictures on the wall or anything else right now. Maybe the home should ask the doctor to give her some medication.

How old is she, and what is the cause of her problems??


I really sympathise with your situation and I feel I have to point out how composed and together you sound, in spite of everything, well done.
My advice is the same for any relationship where one person is angry with the other one - it seems you’d be better off going with it, while it’s still hot. Try to focus on the essentials and wait for her to cool down. She doesn’t want to see you, but you know it isn’t personal. Do your best with the practicalities, use the staff to do the things you would like to do and allow a bit of time before approaching the relationship bit. I’m sorry she’s being this way to you and oh the double standard with the male child! I ask you. Could it be more predictable? Hang in there, and let her get on with it. She’s moved house which is stressful, and the circumstances traumatic so major impact to be expected. Can you check in with the staff and ensure they understand, and keep you posted on how she’s doing? These circumstances are beyond anyone’s control, you’ve achieved something heroic really. I know it’s hard but you’ll be resuming normal service before you know it.
Best wishes, J