Moving mum into a care home

Our first thought-provoking blog post is from Dianne Jeffrey, Chairman of the Malnutrition Task Force. Dianne’s mother, a real foodie, moved into a care home and is adjusting to life there, Dianne reflects on the experience.

When my 90 year-old mother decided she was becoming too immobile and lonely to continue to live by herself, and longed to move into a care home, my heart sank.

She had never been away from home, alone, in her entire life! She had never lived in a communal setting and had never lived with strangers in unfamiliar surroundings. I knew she would be dismayed, disoriented, and probably petrified. And so she was.

Initial relief quickly gave way to anxiety, fear, distress, and then finally to incredulity and blame as she realised what she had given up – for ever, as by now she could no longer walk or do anything much for herself.

No one warned me about this, and so I was unprepared for an utterly heart-rending experience as my mother sobbed and railed against her fate to my brother and I whenever we visited or phoned her.

However, for my Mum, one of the most important aspects of residential care is the quality and familiarity of food, mealtimes and the dining experience. One of her constant desires is to share her food with her visitors and family. Remembering her days as a talented cook (first cousin to Evelyn Rose!) she persists in pressing food on all who come through her door. Luckily all the staff at her home understand this and have been instrumental in helping my Mum come to terms with her new circumstances. But we still have occasional stormy outbreaks!