Struggling with Mum at home: is residential care the option

HI,struggling with the idea of Mum going into a care home! My 86 year old Mum has lived with my family in our house for the last 7 years and during that time her health has got steadily worse. She has COPD and cognitive impairment and in January we found out she has had a few TIA’s which has worsened her short term memory significantly. In the last week and a bit she has had a couple of nasty "toilet " accidents: something she has never done before. Worst of all she doesn’t realise she’s had them which makes the mess even worse. Trying to decide if its now the time for residential care: does anybody have any ideas of what we need to consdier before taking this step. She wont like it at all!!!

Hi Michelle.

AGE UK … everything you need to know about care homes … one of the true bibles out there :

Care homes | Information and Advice | Age UK

Numerous links off the home page covering all aspects.

Long shot ?

CHC / NHS Continuing Healthcare / NHS Funded Care.

Worth considering ?

If I was to mention that the first two are free , would that spark your interest ?

Michele, it’s really sad seeing a parent in decline. Try to focus on what she NEEDS not what you or she WANT. If she doesn’t now realise that she’s had an “accident” then she is getting very poorly. This is way beyond normal, and sadly, it will only become worse and worse still.
The decision is yours.
Does she have over £23,000 in savings, or any property? Claiming Attendance Allowance?

Hello and welcome,
It depends a lot on how you and the family are feeling. Have you ‘had enough’, got to the ‘end of the road’, (as we all do, sooner or later)? Is it just the continence problem or has Mum gone beyond your ability to cope without drastic detriment to your own health and well being?
Does Mum have a care package from SS? Are you coping with her without help? The first step might be to contact the continence nurse and ask for a visit. Mum will get continence pads at the very least. On prescription.
If you tell us what is already in place as far as aids, carers and involvement from such people as the CN and OT goes then we can suggest next steps to make your life easier.
In the meantime start researching. Find out about local Homes and what they offer, Go and visit a few to get the ‘feel’ of them. From my own experience although I met all of my Mum’s requirements when it came to kind of room, view from the window, food and whether there was a garden, I eventually realised that the staff were the most important aspect. My Mum’s Home was a large house near a park and set in gardens. Her room was a good size and looked out on trees. The food was nice –but repetitive. However I found that the staff were mostly ‘foreign’ ladies. No objection to that, but Mum couldn’t understand what they were saying to her, and I found that I had to be very careful what I said as offence was easily given by misunderstandings of common English phrases and language.
Also, by the time Mum went into the Home, because her needs were beyond me and the care team, she needed a Nursing Home, which is different from a Residential Home and most of the residents were beyond communicating or interacting. One of my hardest memories is of me wheeling Mum through the residents lounge as she smiled and waved at everyone, saying ‘Hello’ and ‘Good morning’ to them to receive blank stares in return. She had no-one to talk to. One of the many reasons I spent 4 months of my life before she died, morning to evening, sitting with Mum in her room and trying to cheer her up, or wheeling her out into the garden she had wanted to have available.
It’s all very hard Michele, but when the physical needs become too great to cope with and your own (and the family’s) needs are not being met, then you have to choose between a rock and a hard place.
You have to choose the greatest all round good. How does Mum’s needs (not wants) weigh against those of your own and your family’s?

Some people manage to find a way of doing a lot of the difficult care at home with the help of agency staff . You need to consider funding as others have said. I presume as mum lives with you, then you own the house and not mum? This can be very important if mum owns it. While you are pondering whether to go down the care home route or not, make some appointments and go and view several in your area . Ask for a guided tour and turn up unannounced to get a feel for the atmosphere and level of service. I was advised to do this 2 or 3 years before I needed one and it was very helpful having viewed a few because sometimes you are in a position that needs a quick decision.

The one piece of advice I was given when considering a nursing home was to look at the residents to see if they are well cared for.

I have recently had to make a decision on this same problem. My mum has been in a Care home for the last 4 weeks and it is difficult for both of us. Her increasing lack of mobility and my reaching the limit of ability/mental capacity to cope was the deciding factor. I can’t agree more with bowling bun in focusing on your mother’s needs and not wants. This is what makes it difficult as you have probably been used to trying to provide for both equally.

Quality of staff is key and also try to find out what the staff turnover is. If you know anyone who has relatives in local homes (highly likely unfortunately) they should be able to give you good information on these things. Brochures are full of happy laughing residents but the reality is different and you have to come to terms with that.

My mother is in what is generally regarded as one of the best homes in the area but it is still not ideal - the food is what I and my mother would describe as basic but I take in treats for her to make a change. However the staff are good with many having been there for over 10 years and the place is clean with no lingering smells.

There is a tremendous reservoir of help and understanding on this forum for you and all of us.

My husband has been in his nursing home for 3years. ( can’t always believe it!) Took a while for my family and myself to adjust, and its still not easy. We’ve had times of unrest, unease to say the least. However, we oversee his care now, and get any niggles sorted. Nowhere will ever be perfect, had to learn that my standards can’t possibly be met. He is well cared for, the place is very clean and food is OK. Hubby now eats food that wouldn’t even be considered pre dementia. Definitely NEEDS,not WANTS sadly.
We don’t really care if staff think we are a pain, although I don’t feel that they do, because we are never demanding or rude, and they know we have Hubby’s best interests at heart. They do too which means a great deal.
Go uninvited to homes, at different times if possible, to get the feel of the places. They shouldn’t have anything to hide!