the "take me home" phone calls

My mom has AD and has been in a nursing home for two months. She had told me that if she couldn't be at home, this place would be the place she would want to be. Now I get phone calls almost daily asking what's up and when am I picking her up. It has now escalated to why did you put me here, you are supposed to take care of me, I took care of you for 50 years. Please note that she lived in an apartment in our business for 33 years. Yes she helped us out, but we bought her out of the business over 20 years ago. I have been married almost 40 years, and we have been 'taking care of her' since my father died 38 years ago.
Any thoughts on the daily come get me calls would be helpful. The guilt is difficult, but I know deep down that she is safe at the nursing home and being well taken care of. I visit once a week, as the nurses and my own doctor suggested.

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This is common with dementia and Alz patients.....it's so hard for the caregivers (family). My mom lives with us and i hear all the time YOU SOLD MY HOME .....I JUST WANT TO GO BACK. Even though there it's no way she can live by herself you have to learn to try and remove yourself from the emotional side (which believe me i can't always) and realize they aren't able to reason and know what's best for them. This disease robs them and YOU of a so called normal life. This is a great place for support and to vent WE understand WE go through it all. Prayers and hugs to you and yours.

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First I would like to say "Welcome" to this site. I myself have been very fortunate that my Mom has never made that call to me. I think it would be very hard to take. I would like to know if your Mom has her own phone in her room?? If not, then my suggestion is that you have a conversation with the nursing home in that they limit Mom's calling to you. Since you go and see Mom once a week that is sufficient, no calls are really necessary, especially from Mom. If the nursing home has any problems with Mom and need to report something then that is fine.

Do you have other sibling and do they go and visit Mom as well?? If so, then really Mom does not need to use the phone if she is visited by someone from that family several times a week. If you are the only one, then maybe the grandchildren can go visit Grandma as well.

I know this is hard on all of us, so please be take care of yourself and please come back to this site and vent or ask anything that is on your mind. This site has some of the most wonderful people to help support you. You and your family is in my thought and prayers.

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When Mom calls, have a polite conversation that is rewarding whenever she is NOT asking about going home. Be neutral, bland, non-committal when she is asking to go home. Respond to only one call per day. The next call, "Mom, I just talked with you an hour ago, I am at work, and cannot talk now."

If she asks (or if she does not) be upbeat and enthusiastic about a grandchild's school report, or some other achievement. Tell about a funny thing that happened at work. Ask her about something she might remember from long ago. Perhaps ask her about your school days when you are telling her about a grandchild's school events. Get her talking about things and be happy and responsive. Talk about pets, current events... anything except going home.
Any sort of sharing that is positive, as long as she stays away from the 'take me home' idea.

When she brings up the 'take me home' idea calm way down, non enthusiastic. Not negative, just sort of 'Hmm'.
Try to change the subject.

When you take her out, then it is time to return to the nursing home tell her she is going home. This is where she lives now.

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Thanks for all the good thoughts.
Yes, my mom has a telephone in her room, which was nicer when it didn't always work. She is still in a rehab room, since that was the only room available when she moved in. They will be moving her to the long term section when a room becomes available and I am thinking that maybe a phone is not needed, or at least it will take me a while to call the phone company for installation. Besides its just another bill.
My son and his family, including her 4 year old and 8 month old great grand children visit every other week when possible, working around the colds, trying not to take it to the nursing home. And my husband goes with me when he can. We went for Christmas dinner, but she was 'at the airport' that day, which seems to be one of her 'dreams'. She has been asking if I had got the luggage from the airport and where is her pocketbook, she needs her credit card. Anyways, I can deal with the airport, it just helps me to realize that she is not who I remember.
I think I will become more unresponsive to the conversations, because otherwise I get really angry. and sad..........and I don't wish to be there again. The last two years with her home were miserable.
Anyways, thanks so much, and I will touch base as often as I can.

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This weekend was better. Mom called on Saturday to ask if I had all her luggage from the airline. I hesitated (remember she calls and says she is at the airport) and told her I had her purse. She said ok and then wanted us to come over and talk about 'this'. She can't believe we did this to her. I quietly told her that we did nothing, she did nothing, the disease did this to her. I also told her that we are all doing the best we can dealing with it, and she needs to too. She decided we shouldn't get into this now, and we said goodnight. She seemed calmer. Yesterday she called and left a message that she was at her new home and watching the football games. And good night. I thought that was a big step, as she is now saying it is home. Hopefully she will remain calm and settle in to her new home. I think if she is saying that, she may be.
a good week to all.

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Sandon,

Yes,I would agree that the phone does not get moved when Mom is moved into a room in the long term room. I hope it all works out for the both of you. Please take care and keep us informed.

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My deceased mother in law would always tell us she was going to Hot Springs, AK. Apparently it was a place that she and her husband loved to visit when they were younger and healthy. So she would call and tell us she needed her little "traveling case" as she called it, she needed to pack before the bus got there that would take her to Hot Springs. RJ and I would visit her often in the nursing home, sometimes together and sometimes separately. So, anyway, one time RJ decided to humor her and brought her the traveling case. A few days later during my lunch hour I decided to swing by for a visit. I went to her room, and yes, the case was gone, she was nowhere to be found. I went into high alert, told everybody that would stand still long enough to listen that I was sure Lil had escaped and was probably halfway to Hot Springs. All the common rooms were searched, her clothes were gone, what little jewelry she had was gone, all presumably packed up for her vacation in Hot Springs.

It turned out she was just in the back garden area, just sitting there as though waiting for a bus, which of course wouldn't be there. She saw me and in a very irritated voice informed me that she just wanted to go home, meaning the nursing home, that the bus company was not reliable. To this day I always smile when I remember that day. It seems the more independent they were before the illness took them, the more independent they insist on being once this awful illness has them in its grip.

You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

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Chachee,

Thank you for such a wonderful story about your MIL. I am sure it was not funny at the time but I am sure you get a grin on your face every time you think of that story. I am sure a lot of us can relate to many things that happened to us over the years.

One thing I am great full for is that I journal a lot and will always have those books to read and reread all of my past trial & tribulation with Mom.

You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

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Some good advise. I will be going thru this very shortly & would appreciate any/all comments on how to handle this transition. My mom will be going into a family type home which I hope she can acclimate to. She has thought she'd be moving in with me & my family, but I work full time & my husband has 2 jobs. We tried it a year & a half ago (in the fall), but it didn't. Now, last fall she still thought she was moving in.
I will be taking her this weekend to meet the family & I'm nervous. She said she wants to move (last night when I dropped her off at her house) & I believe she's lonely & realizes it. Hopefully she realizes that I can't take her in - she'd be just as lonely. We aren't real sure what to tell her when we go to visit. She can be very negative. I will tell her she'll be happier with people her age to talk to, but I'm still unsure how she'll re-act. And it's very hard to tell if the conversation we had was while she was lucid. She claims the caregivers that have come into her house tell her she does nothing right & they don't do anything but watch TV (I know this isn't true). She said she wanted to die & she wanted to run away or drive away if she had a car, she'd shoot herself if she had a gun. It's when the behavior gets like this I wonder how she'll fair in this type of home.
Thanks for listening.

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redb544,

I understand where you are coming from. Making any type of move with a parent is hard on everyone. Not only your Mom, you and also your family. Do you have any siblings or are you the only child? The reason I ask, is to make sure all other siblings are on board with what you plan on doing? This family type house, is it a nursing home? Does it have trained caregivers? What will happen when your Mom's disease advances, will they be able to deal with her? Do they have a doctor on staff? All of this is very important to know.

As when Mom moves, will she have a room to herself or sharing one with some one else? The reason I ask is I would make sure that your Mom has some of her personal items, such as a rocker or chair that she likes to sit in, her dresser, any type of nick nacks to decorate her room and some family pictures that you can hang up or put around her room.

One last thing, this site advised me when I first joined to get the book "The 36 Hour Day", I suggest you get this as well, as it has many great question and answer of different situations that come about.

Best of luck with this weekend and meeting this family. I hope Mom is comfortable with them. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

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Sadly (at least in this situation) I am an only. I have visited several of these family type homes & have a better understanding as to how they work as opposed to assist living. I appreciate the care & cocern. The caregivers are there 24/7 & have been caring for people for at least 15 yrs at all stages of dementia/AD. They are allowed up to six residents as per our state law. They are governed by a local Social Services Home Health Agency that regularly visit (many times unannounced). I felt that they can offer more individualized care than AL which is typically 1/15 in our area. They are homes with people that really want to take care of & give respect to our aging parents. They are also much less expensive than an AL or skilled nursing residence. Most of these homes will take a family member to the end stage, if they can. Most AL's can't do that & the homes say because the person has become a family member that it's much better for them to not be transported just to become even more confused & scared in their final moments.
I do own the 36 Hour Day & think I shall pick it up for a re-read - it's been awhile. I have been working with our local Alzheimer's Assoc. as well & just started seeing a counselor (as suggested by the AA person). This is an extremely difficult time for me, as well as my family & again, I appreciate the care, concern & advice.

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redb544,

It sounds like you have done much research on this family home living arrangement for your Mom and that is great. I hope your meeting this weekend goes good and Mom gets along with this family.

You take care and you and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

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Yesterday Mom went to the neurologist for her 6 month check. He says she is much stronger physically, quite alert, and more confused. After spending two hours with her, I found myself feeling better that she is there, as she was all over the place verbally, with all kinds of stories, and trying to turn her walker upside down to use it. Weird...she said the wide section needed to be up top and the balls on tops=.......another hallucination, I guess.

The doctor at the nursing home has discontinued the namenda because of heightening hallucinations, and she will be trying aricept again. Maybe it will help.....she called tonight and said she has a new room, so I am guessing they found a long term room for her. There will be less changing of people and movement than in the rehab area, so maybe it will help calm her. She is now calling it home, so I think that is a sign of hope. I will visit in a couple of days, as I need to bring her a tv. Hopefully they will find a new room mate so she can settle in more. The last one did not work out, as the room mate was deaf, with a loud tv and never talking. My mom likes to talk, so that didn't work out well. Time will tell. I feel better talking here and getting a good support group going. thanks.

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Sandon,

That is great that Mom has a new room and doing much better. I hope she does much better on Aricept then she did on the other medication.

Since she is calling this place her home that is a good sign. Changing roommates is not uncommon. I had to do the same for my Mom. The roommate that she had stayed in bed all day & did not allow the lights to be turned on. When I would go there to do her laundry the lady would yell and scream at me, even got up to my face and told me to shut the G-- D---- lights out. That was all I needed and asked for a new room for my Mom. Now she is happy & content.

Keep in touch and remember you and your family are in my prayers.

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thanks so much for your response. I look forward to hearing from you. My mom does not have a room mate yet and seems to be ok with that, at least that is what she tells the nurse. I will be going over next week to see her new room and bring her a tv....since we have to provide a tv in her long term room. She is borrowing one now and I am dragging my feet on the phone install. The nurses will accommodate her for a phone for now. Maybe I will take over her framed photos and then figure out what she needs from there.
I really feel better that I saw her on a bad day on tuesday, helps with the guilt.

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Please don't feel guilty about this. It is what had to be done so you and your family can go on with your lives. Try to keep dragging your feet on the phone. She may get to the point where she forgets all about it.

My Mom had a TV when she was in assisted living but when she went to Memory lane, she does not have one. They all watch TV in one big family room.

Take care & you and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

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Time to talk. I visited Mom in her new room yesterday. She seemed happier, and calmer. My son and his family visited on Saturday and brought over the new little tv. Its much clearer and nicer for her. It is a LCD which is clearer from any angle, which my son had recommended. Its just a tv to me.
Anyways, when I got there, she told me my brother brought her the tv (he is in Florida) since she mistakes my son for my brother, as they do look alike, just 20 years younger. Then she said she hadn't seen her great grand daughter in a long time, who accompanied my son and his wife and their other son. Oh well, she didn't know who that little girl was. My son had said that she didn't know them for a few minutes when he arrived.
I brought her purse, which she had been asking for minus the credit cards and license and checkbook. She looked through everything quietly and decided to keep it. I guess it will give her something that she knows is hers. And the memories with it.

She is no longer calling to come home, but she had called yesterday before I left home to tell me she was done bowling and needed a ride. I told her she was living at the St Francis home and she turned around and told the office lady that she didn't need a ride she lived here! I said I was coming over to visit and she said ok. When I got there she was looking at her watch and told me my brother was going to be there at 2, he is later as usual. I told her he was in Florida and she said someone is coming. I said probably me, she said oh yeah, probably.
I guess she has slipped a little more, and I am feeling much better about her being there. Comforting, I guess is the word. But sad. I guess guilt turns into sadness, but that's ok. At least she is safe.

Thanks for listening.
And my thoughts and prayers go out to everyone....

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Sandon, it sure sounds like your Mom has made a good adjustment, and is doing fine at her new location.
You are visiting her, bringing her things she needs or wants, and your son is visiting, bringing grandchildren.
This is a wonderful thing. It is very good to hear happy things like this.
You have every right to feel guilty or sad at first, but you can see that she is getting the care that she needs, so it should be easy to set aside the guilt and sadness when the time is right.

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Sandon,

I am so happy to hear that Mom seems to be adjusting to her new room and is getting along in her new surroundings. That is great that your son took her the TV, so she has something to listen to and watch. I am glad you took the purse to her as well. I am not sure but they feel better when they have it. I finally took Mom's away this year as she never used it in 5 years. However I left her with a little coin purse that she used to walk around with.
The confusion of who has been there are coming to see her is not unusual. Just last month when I went to see Mom she called me Betty. She thought I was her 86 yr old sister. I told her that I maybe have gray hair but I was 22 yrs. younger. She just had a smile on her face, like "oh well". The call that she was done bowling was great. They are so cute at times. Just remember this is not her but the disease that is causing all of this.
Please hang in there and remember you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

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Greeting all, just before all the snow starts. I visited Mom yesterday and it was not a good visit. I had trouble finding her. She was in somebody else's room poking around in their bureau. No one was there, and she just said she thought it was her room. I am not sure. We got back to her room and she started on me about who made the decision for her to be here. And she missed her kids (my grand children, who she thinks are my kids), and how I had no right to put her there, and who made the decision, there is nothing wrong with her. She said the lady across the hall is crazy and she (my mom) should not have to see things like that. She hates wheelchairs.... I will have to step back and take a breath before I go back next week. She apparently hangs out at the nurses station waiting to use the phone, so I am rethinking the phone. Maybe I will hook up her phone and get caller id for mine.....hmmm. They keep giving her excuses and try to see that she gets one phone call a day, because they don't want me called all the time, which I appreciate. The phone calls tend to be come pick up the extra furniture (she doesn't have a room mate yet) which is not hers. She seems to think they are going to auction it off so I should take it. Or come get me, Mom. When I explain that I am her daughter she says she knows that. Yesterday I was told she has taken care of me all my life so she didn't understand why I couldn't take care of her now. The fact is that my husband and I moved in with her when my father died 38 years ago and have taken care of her. And then 21 years ago moved to a house of our own. I have been married for 40 years, so it has been awhile since any taking care of has gone on. and the story goes on. When I read it, it seems silly. My husband says I have the patience of a saint. I step back, take a breath, and just respond to her phone calls without emotion. She is just so confused and is going downhill quickly right now. Even the nurses agreed. My mom's friend showed up at the same time as my husband and I showed up last Sunday, which was funny, because we both went on the sper of the moment. My mom's friend hadn't been over in three weeks and she was shocked at how she had gone down hill. She just sat and picked at stuff, but we did manage to get her to laugh quite a lot..... Oh well, another day......thanks all... sorry, no paragraphs today, my computer won't let me.....

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