So it finally happened: my Mum had to go to a care home, although I have postponed this decision for such a long time, thinking I can cope with both a demanding job and caring for her. But this situation was in fact like having two jobs… Suffering from arthritis, she needed round-the-clock care really, which I couldn’t provide on my own. Dividing my time between my job and my Mother was not fair to my own family, they needed my time and attention as well, especially my two youngest children.
Initially, we have chosen a care home that was the closest match to my Mother’s flat, but we’ve learned that there are no free beds available. After two more similar disappointments, my Mother was placed in a care home that was not so near us, around one and a half hours drive from where I lived. Since we had no option, I thought she would be fine, she would call me every day and I would visit her as much as possible, probably on weekends. And so it happened, we have taken most necessary stuff and have moved her into the care home.
I got scared when we have arrived there. We saw the residents were very sad, having this “there’s no point” kind of look… Nevertheless, I hoped the old lady would be fine, she’d been so positive throughout all of her life and had this gift of turning bad events into positive thoughts. And yet I was worried – as it turned out – not without reason…
In the first week after being placed in this care home, my mother started to call me several times a day, complaining about the staff and the facility itself. At first, I couldn’t believe what she was telling me: she was describing a total lack of care, she was saying that there were no organised activities there, and not much staff on hand when needed. So practically, when she required something and was calling from her room, nobody even showed up.
At first, I thought they perhaps may have some temporary problems and kind of pushed back my Mother’s complaints. But when she informed me that sometimes there was not enough food for all of them during the meals… It just shocked me. It was a total shock! Was she so unhappy to make things up? I didn’t think so. But, how could that be true? I was in tears, I couldn’t sleep a couple of nights and was so worried… Every day my Mum was calling me and revealing additional horrifying details of her stay in this care home. She said if anybody was being “troublesome”, they were routinely tranquillised, So she decided to be very docile.
Regularly, the precious belongings of residents were going missing and my Mum lost her golden earrings. They were from my Dad, her beloved husband who had died last year… They said the jewellery was stolen by another pensioner, but nothing was proved.
Practically, all the care they were doing was changing beds, waking up and putting the residents into beds. And, of course, tranquillising…
I visited my parent, the following weekend and saw that she was not making things up at all. However, the staff were rude and unpleasant, when I asked where was my Mum’s favourite liquor we had given her on the day she moved into the care home, they were very rude and said it’s in a locker but the key was lost… When I asked why sometimes the residents don’t get enough food, the carer said this is not true. And during that visit, the pensioners did get their dinner, so I was kind of puzzled and asked why there was not enough food earlier in the week. They said that it was the end of the month and they were lacking money… I didn’t like this, But I thought we have no other option and Mum would have to stay here anyway. “I can always bring some extra food when I come to visit”, I thought.
During the next week, she was calling me over and over again, reporting some more details about all the negligence in the care home. According to her last testimonial, one of the residents fell off their chair and was lying on the floor for a period of time until a carer finally came and grabbed the pensioner roughly by the hand. My frightened Mum said there was blood all over the place and yet the carer was so cold-blooded and treated the injured person so abruptly. I’d instantly imagined myself being in the same position, or even worse, perhaps in a need of immediate help when nobody is actually willing to help…
That was enough – we’ve made a decision to take Mum back to her house and to hire a live-in-carer. We are very happy, at least somebody cares and she doesn’t feel alone when she needs help with her everyday struggles. Hiring a personal caregiver was the best thing that could happen to us.
We won’t disclose the name of the care home, but this is a real story that happened to one our Clients.