Dad in care, Mum in denial

Hi, thanks for your last response. It was most helpful. Dad is now in residential aged care in the facility in which they have their unit. This is not a question regarding procedure, rather one asking whether anyone has ever experienced a parent going into a sort of denial that they are losing their partner, albeit, 5 mins away. As we took dad down the road today to set him up in his room, mum didn’t want to come and see him settled. She put off getting his clothes ready, his toiletries and her own prep. I can see what is happening, and I too would be upset, but she had gone from being a supportive partner to someone who is almost cutting him off in the space of 48 hours. Guidance, please. Dad is mentally alert, still the brains of the operation and wants her to come and spend time with him. She is resisting. What have you experienced?

Hi Annette,
I really sympathise with you all. I have worked in aged care for many years and this is not an uncommon response from a loved one when a partner goes into care. I am not a psychologist but it sounds as though your mother is in denial about your father and their changed circumstances. She is grieving the man and the life she knew. She is also probably fearful about what her future holds with her husband no longer at home. From my experience aged care homes can be initially off putting for some people and it takes time for them to feel comfortable there. Fear of the unknown can be debilitating so the more often you can convince her to accompany you the better. It may take time. Spend as much time with your mother as possible in these early stages and talk about your father and what he is doing at the home so he is still very much a part of the family even if he is not physically present. You may find that after time she will agree to accompany you for a visit. Aged Care homes host activities for residents so try to encourage your mother to come along to those so that she can see that your father is being well looked after and happy. Perhaps you can encourage her to help you decorate his room with family mementos that have meaning for them both. The more engaged your mother becomes with the home the more it will fell like an extension of her daily life. I have seen partners of residents form friendships over their shared situation. It may also help your mother to feel more comfortable if she gets to know your fathers carers. Many aged Care homes hold regular meetings with the caregivers and family members to discuss any issues that arise. I would talk to the facility Manager and explain your situation. He/She may have some suggestions to help your mother and father adapt to their new circumstances. I hope that helps.
AgedCare 101