Posted by Tim Barber at 18/09/2012 15:52:34
My last post ‘starting to put themselves in danger’, explained how Mum had started to put herself in danger living at home, but in this post I will explain some of the issues we had to wrestle with when making the difficult decision to move Mum to a care home.
My family had different views as to when we should act. One of Mum’s sisters had been campaigning to put Mum in a home for several years, even writing to Social Services trying to get Mum sectioned as mentally ill. Fortunately my other aunts agreed with myself and my brother, after we explained our reasons for delaying the decision as long as possible.
There is no definite wrong or right answer to this, you just have to follow your instincts and do what you feel is right, when you feel it’s right.
We’d tried to mention to Mum about how she might find it better in a home or a managed retirement flat, but she always responded with “I want to stay in my home”. She’d also never admitted to having Alzheimer’s, even though she’s been told by numerous Doctors. She always got aggressive and agitated and if you tried to mention it, she refused to talk about it. This made the decision even more difficult.
We knew she felt safe in her own home and whilst she sometimes became confused there, she knew where everything was and it was a safe haven for her.
One of the most difficult emotions to deal with was the guilt of taking away Mum’s independence. You question your motives…am I doing this for her care or out of my own selfishness?
The danger factor was key in enabling us to make a combined family decision. We did use this to justify our decision, as well as previous conversations with Mum, years earlier, about never wanting to be a burden.
Fortunately my Mum had created an Enduring Power of Attorney document. I would advise anybody who hasn’t done this, to act now. You can find more information on the direct gov website.
We activated the Enduring Power of Attorney, letting all Mum’s immediate family know that myself and my brother would be taking complete control of Mum’s needs. Now we had the difficult issue of how to do it. You can’t just pack a suitcase and drop her off at the door of a care home.
We needed to look at some serious financial issues such as what we would have to fund ourselves and what the state would pick up. We also needed to consider selling Mum’s house and find a care home that suited Mum’s needs. This all took a huge amount of time.
The transition from home to care facility was made slightly easier for Mum because she was in hospital before she moved. Mum was having increasing physical problems with cellulitis and weeping eczema on her legs and was taking her dressings off, so the Doctors suggested having a week in hospital to try to manage the issue.
We felt this was the most appropriate time to move Mum into a care home. We’d already chosen our preferred home, so with Mum in hospital it was the most appropriate time to book a place for her. It was a weird feeling, knowing whilst she had no idea, we knew she would never be returning home.
I’ll cover the actual move and stresses associated with the first few months in my next post, stage 6 – “moving a loved one into a care home”.