Going home

Share your ideas about the practical side of caring.
My friend is frequently brought for a visit to me at my house, her husband brings her and drops her off, and has an afternoon for himself, and I get a chance to try to have a reasonable conversation with her and catch the odd glimpse of the fun person she used to be.
However, its becoming more and more difficult to get her to go home again afterwards when her husband returns to collect her.
Last week it took an hour and 45mins to get her out of her chair, into her coat and into the car. I was at my wits end because I had tea to cook for my husband and I hated being inhospitable as I was brought to always be polite to guests and make them feel welcome.
Her husband isn't very firm - using coaxing methods, which is all very well but she just sits there and says 'Mmmm' to everything he says - if he says 'come on, here's your coat its time we were off' she just looks at him and says 'Mmmm' but won't move.
Eventually I went into the kitchen and started making tea - and she went to sleep - when I woke her and said 'time you were off, its getting dark' she just said 'Mmmm'.
And so on .....................
Finally I asked her husband if they'd like to join us for the meal and although he said he'd love to as it would relieve him of cooking that evening, he declined because it would only postpone the going home process. It was 7.15 when they left and I had to abandon cooking my pie and make us beans on toast as my own husband (a farmer who gets v hungry) was hovering around like a spare part and muttering.
Can anyone suggest a routine for speeding up this going-home ritual?
I don't want top stop these visits as I think they are valuable in getting her out of the house and giving him, her sole carer, a small break once a week. I do visit her each week as well.
Tricky, but it sounds like the dementia is worsening and 'taking over' totally alas. It could be that she just doesn't understand what is being said to her, and that her 'Mmm' is her 'coping response' (those with dementia often come up with verbal replies that they 'hope' fits the bill, etc, as their frail attempt to mask the fact they don't know what is going on) (my MIL, when I took her with me to visit my SIL, never really joined in the conversation, just gave little laughs every now and then - my SIL asked why, and I said it's because she 'remembers' that when there was general conversation between several people, folk often give a 'little laugh' to 'join in' and show they are involved in the conversation, without actually saying anything....so sad.)

Anyway, I think you will either have to be 'firmer' and simply start drawing her upright, and 'feeding' her arms into her coat, etc, as if she were a 'giant toddler' BUT it could also be that whether or not she understands what being said to her (ie, time to go home now), she simply doesn't want to!

The REAL difficulty with those with dementia SO often present is their appalling 'stubbornness' NOT to do things they see no point in, and 'wilfulness' to do things they DO see a point in (like getting up in the night, or inappropriate behaviour etc etc).

If that is the case here with your friend, I'm afaid there is no solution - except not to have her over again.

That said, if you 'wait a while' in a few weeks her weird behaviour may change again, as the dementia 'moves on' and she mayt well become 'biddable' again - this has happened to my MIL. In a way, it's even sadder, as it shows how much they are 'regressing'. Such a vile disease....dreadful dreadful dreadful.
By the way, what made her 'agree' to leave in the end?

Also, I wonder if some kind of 'bribe' or 'lure' could get her up out of her chair?? Something she 'wants' and has to rise up to reach, or whatever??
Thanks for your reply(ies).
Good point. What DID make her agree?
I think it was her husband's dogged persistence - she got very nasty with him, telling him he was brutal and a bully, and raging against everyone making her do things she didn't want to do, then she demanded I gave her a cream cake (I don't have cream cakes, I'm coeliac - I wonder if she remembered that?-). She was still raging at him when they went out.
My husband says he's a saint, and I must say my heart bleeds for him. I think I'll suggest I visit them twice a week instead of the present arrangement (Tuesdays at her house, Thursdays at mine), I don't know what he does while she's here - just puts his feet up I imagine poor chap. and it'd be a shame to put a stop to that small respite and make him go out instead.
I think she's ready for professional care in a home.
Barbara , do talk to her husband about going to her house and see what he says. I used to have to leave my home for my respite, and there were times I felt I was being pushed out and there were jobs that needed doing which I couldn,t do when caree was around. But I do think it would work better for you.

Would taking her out from her home for a drive be an option?
Or maybe making your 2 half days into one longer session?
I'm sure there's an answer somewhere

Kr MrsA
The other option would be a kind lie. "I've got to go out now as I've got an appointment." Get your coat, bag etc, TV off, lights off, etc. Maybe introduce the idea of an appointent throughout the visit? Then if there is still some reluctance, say "Come on X, I can't keep the doctor/dentist/bus waiting".

However, the time is fast approaching when this won't work either. Is the husband prepared for the fact residential care may be the only option left?
If you swap to visiting, rather than having her over, then surely the husband could retreat to his bedroom (or a 'man cave'!) to get some peace and quiet while you 'baby-sit' so to speak. Or he could get on with 'other things', knowing he won't be plagued by his wife wanting his attention (or rather, if she wants it, she must do without! (You might have to lock yourself in the living room with her maybe so she can't wander off to find poor hubby!)

Overall, though, it does sound as if the time is approaching where she just has to have residential care.

Does he have no other help with her but you?? eg, professional care workers?

Do you think he knows yet about all the financial implications of either getting in care workers, or, eventually, moving her into residential care? He has (grim!) decisions to make etc etc. Do they have adult children? They need to be involved because this materially affects their potential inheritance, and the must understand what will happen when and as their mum needs 24x7 care, as it would seem she soon will.

Poor man - and poor her, too, that it should end up like this...
I agree about maybe taking her out for a drive. I used to do this (endlessly!) with my MIL (I just drove fairly randomly around the countryside - once she even said to me 'This is a long way!'.....oh dear, how could I say I was just 'using up time' to keep her 'occupied' until taking her back to her care home.....)

However, be warned - I found it MUCH easier to get her INTO the car, (because she was more than happy to be 'out' of the care home!), EVERY time I took her back, I was scared she wouldn't get OUT of the car again (because she didn't want to 'go back in' to the care home) It was always a bit nervewracking. Usually she did, and it was OK. But if she'd just refused to get out it would have been a bit of a challenge. It's that 'wilfulness' I mentioned that is so exasperating to cope with and of course they just CANNOT see why they should do what they don't, at the time feel like doing, or NOT do what they DO feel like doing. Hence the accusations your friend made about being bullied - they cannot see anything except through the narrow prison of their eternal and highly personal 'now'. No one and nothing else exists. Both infuriating - and tragic.
Hi Barbara,
If possible I think if a way can be found to solve this issue it would be worth her continuing to leave her house as an afternoon at home without her must be invaluable for the hubby.

I think BB's suggestion
The other option would be a kind lie. "I've got to go out now as I've got an appointment." Get your coat, bag etc, TV off, lights off, etc. Maybe introduce the idea of an appointent throughout the visit? Then if there is still some reluctance, say "Come on X, I can't keep the doctor/dentist/bus waiting".
is worth a try. I work with children with special needs ( as well as caring for S,) and this works when they refuse to leave the sensory room or the classroom at the end of the day, we turn the light off, all head for the door and announce its home time/ dinner etc It's preferable to a battle which probably undoes the benefits of the break for the poor hubby.

Perhaps get him to collect her a bit earlier, for a few weeks, so you have time to cook your hubby's tea. Could you suggest a walk in the garden, so she has her coat on and is already outside when he pulls up in the car? Or an incentive (bribe) like Jenny suggested might work - a treat to take home or a favourite CD to listen to in the car. She might be too confused for a forced choice e.g. but it might work too - do you want to wear your coat or put it around your shoulders? Or do you want to walk out to the car with hubby or me? etc

Good luck. Your friends are very lucky to have you.

If hubby phones you about 15 minutes just before he sets off, then that would be the time to get her coat on to look at the plants in the garden. Or just say, "your husband's waiting in the car for you outside, better not keep him waiting".