Tuesday, 24 July 2012

One way in which people become institutionalised

Since we started attending events and sessions organised for people with dementia, we've got to know a fair few of the people that turn up regularly at the same places as us. One of them recently disappeared from view. It turned out that she had been living with the family of one of her children and has now, for reasons unknown, gone into a care home or possibly into sheltered accommodation.. Now this woman, and I've had the opportunity to observe her in various settings, does not come across as anything other than pretty old and a bit confused. She can hold perfectly sensible conversations and take part in all sorts of activities  -  singing, dancing, playing musical instruments, playing board games, etc.

I know there is an argument that it is best for people to move into care sooner rather than later as they are more likely to be able to adjust and be contented. But I can see no reason why it is necessary for them to immediately drop all their usual activities, and have no further contact with friends and acquaintances they may have known for years. I do know she still lives within easy reach of all the venues and I've even offered to give her a lift. But what surprises me is that the relatives don't seem to have considered what effect this sudden cessation of activities and friendships might have. We know the disease changes people, but why is it necessary to add in additional completely unnecessary changes?


  1. Hello, I happened to be browsing on mumsnet.com and came across your blog. I read a few of your recent posts. I was moved but at the same time cheered up by your positiveness. Glad you got a way to Italy, sounds like you had a good time. All the best. A busy mum of 13 month old twins :>)

    1. Thanks for your comments. 13 month old twins must be a handful!

  2. some people refuse to live with relatives and choose the institution. Good ones will still have lots of activities and take the patients to places and activities. I use to own a ceramica paint studio, and Bivins Nursing Home brought their patients in regularly to paint, so when I closed the shop I donated a lot of my bisque to them. Mom's nursing home has around 8 activities a day; there are so many choices if you were to do all of them you'd be exhausted. So just because they are "institutionized" (what a crazy word for living in a care facility with trained professionals who love their patients and their work) doesn't mean they sit in their apartments all day and twiddle their thumbs. They have movies, singing groups, pie parties, pet day, etc., etc. I read a blog where they called it "warehousing". I went ballistic. My grandma chose to leave our home and go live in a nursing home for the last 15 years of her life. That's where she wanted to be. We were too busy for her - she wanted a more relaxed atmosphere, and loved her various homes. She was even chose Miss Vivian's Nursing Home in their little beauty pageant one year and came in second in their spelling bee. A good home is a good home whether run by family caregivers or professionals.