To care at home or to use a care home
This isn't about dementia but the quandaries are the same so I thought it might help. Yesterday was my Mum's 91st birthday and she spent it in her care home where she's lived for the past year and four days. Moving there was never the intention and she'd spent the previous three years making me promise I would never 'put' her in one so it never occurred to me to investigate them, to look for one that would suit her or to make any sort of decision about long term care. Then she had a fall, not only that but it was the twelfth fall in ten months and this time she didn't bounce back onto her feet but instead had to lie at the side of the road for an hour and a half waiting for the ambulance and for the second time in five months I got a call asking me to meet her at A & E which is an hour from me. I got there to find a frail little old lady lying battered and bruised on a trolley not knowing what day it was or where she was and it was obvious she wasn't going home at least not that night. Altogether she spent four weeks in hospital before moving to a nursing home until we could organise support for her inher own house. The home however noted her confusion and felt she had dementia so suggested I move her to somewhere they could cope with her eventual decline and they suggested the home Mum's in now. I went to look, calling unannounced at tea time, and was made to feel so welcome and shown round so thoroughly that I fell in love with the place there and then. I arranged to take Mum back a week later to see for herself but knew deep down that this was the place. Mum was still dazed and confused when we visited but by that point she was also frightened of living on her own in case she had another fall and, to be honest, I think she was feeling so dreadful she didn't care where she was so she agreed to move in. The first three months were difficult with numerous phone calls asking me to take her back to 'that other place' (where she'd previously told me she'd been bored) but since then she's gone from strength to strength. She looks better and better each time we see her, She dresses smartly, she can hold a conversation, she joins in all of the activities, she chats to people and she did so well in her recent memory test that the community nurse doesn't want to see her any more. So yesterday, as I said at the beginning, was Mum's 91st birthday which she spent surrounded by people; they had prossecco and birthday cake for afternoon tea; we had a family video call in the afternoon to wish her a happy birthday and I can't remember the last time I saw her looking so well and so happy. As I said this isn't a tale of dementia but when you get to the point where you have to move your loved one into a nursing home it would be lovely if you remembered this post and realised that if you find the right nursing home it will make all the difference to everyone's quality of life including yours.