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First time respite - Carers UK Forum

First time respite

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Hello, I'm Jean and this is my first message. I am feeling a bit guily because have made arrangements with the social worker to get mum in a residential home for 2 weeks. She has dementia and cannot be left for 2 weeks in the house + meals-on-wheels and possibly a neighbour for giving meds. It doesn't work. Nobody knows what other situations I've to 'put up' with. I am at my wits end and will scream if I don't get a break soon. I hate coming home from shopping to the gloom. I also feel like a maid in her home.

I haven't mentioned any of this to her (it's pointless) but wonder if this will be a simple task once we get out of the taxi to the destination in Hertford. She might throw a tantrum and can she refuse? I'm wondering. Thought about getting a friend involved so it will look like an outing. We still have to go for an assessment one day this week - I'm dreading it. Why do I feel this way? and if anybody has experienced this 'putting mum in a home without her knowledge' please tell me your fors and against. Thanks
Hiya Jean and a warm welcome to the forum, I've moved your post over to new members as it's your first post. We have a few members who have had similar feelings to you own.

Hi Jean, it's not something I've had experience with so can't offer much advice but wanted to welcome you to the forum. Also, guilt kind of comes with caring. I don't know how things will work out with your mum but you needn't feel guilty if you need the respite.
It's a common thing for us carers that we put others needs above our own so much that we can often feel really guilty even if we're just doing something small for ourselves. You're not alone in that.
I hope it works out for you and that you can get some support.
Hi and welcome Image
Hi Jean.Anybody caring for a relative with dementia has to care for that person as they go through all the phases of dementia,the memory loss,the confusion,the anxiety,the rages.I care for my father who has vascular dementia and feel guilty regularly.I doubt myself when i contemplate respite,i question myself when i have to disguise his medication,i feel guilty when i have to lie to him.But in the end i know i am doing the right thing by him,and that the longer i can keep him at home,the happier he will be.I look up information on how to occupy someone with dementia,and have become quite innovative in what i am able to get him to do.My cat is a great therapist for him as well.But there are times when i have to make decisions that i feel guilty about,where i question my thoughts,i`m sure we all do.We have to make decisions based on what we know and our respective situations,the trick is being able to live with the consequences,and if you know that what you are doing is for the best,necessary,essential,or just plain common sense,then you can live with it.In your case,if you don`t take a break what will happen.You become ill,can`t cope,snap,give up?Respite is there for a purpose,use it and know that you are doing your best. Image Image Image Image
Hi Jean and welcome from me too Image
Hi Jean

I cared for my 88 year old Mum (Alzheimer's) for the last 5 years - from a distance for the first 3 years and in her own home full time for the last 2 (I shut mine up for the duration). But it got to the point where I desperately needed a break so enlisted my sister's help to prepare Mum (!). We told her that I had to go away a short break and that we had arranged for her to stay in a Residential Retirement Home for the period I would be away - we never used the word 'care' or 'nursing' - and that I would be back to collect her one week later. She couldn't quite understand why she couldn't stay 'home alone' but overall was quite amenable to the arrangement especially as we kept saying it would be like a short holiday for her too.

The staff at the home made her feel very welcome and made a big fuss of her and I was able to leave her there and take my break. That was in the early summer of this year - and she really did enjoy her stay. Since then Mum's Alzheimers has progressed to the next level and the decision was made that she would have to go into a care home fulltime, she has now been in the home since September and despite initial resisitance has settled in quite well - we have good days and we have bad days, but the good days are beginning to outweigh the bad days.

Whilst still living in her own home Mum frequently had days when she didn't recognise me or my sister, but since being in the care home she always knows who we are when we visit; so obviously she now sees us as her daughters who visit her rather than her 'carers' who tell her what to do - this improvement alone has helped to allay to some of the feelings of guilt that have plagued me since I admitted that I couldn't cope with caring for her when I felt I should have been able to.

By all means take a friend with you, it will help as a diversion if nothing else and treat the assessment as an 'inspection' visit. We did that with Mum and told her it was just to have a look around to see if she liked the place - but then we were fairly sure she would like it as we had already spent 9 months or so looking at prospective homes to find somewhere that she would feel comfortable when the time eventually came for her to move into one.