bpatlinden

Staff ruined mom's tablecloth

My mother is in a memory care unit, going very well there. We brought some of her bedroom furniture for her suite (bedroom and sitting room) so she feels at home. I opted to have staff do her laundry (bed linens and clothing) as I have so much else on my plate. I was careful about which clothing she has, all is washable, no dry cleaning.


Well, the RN called me one evening, they thought she had headlice! Of course they checked other residents and staff and reported that only my mother seemed to have it (hmm) and they were treating with the shampoo. What I didn't know is that they washed everything in her suite, including the lined SILK tablecloth on a table in her sitting room. Good lord, why did they wash THAT? Of course now it's trash. the colors washed out, the edges are frayed, it's an absolute mess.


The good news is that mom doesn't notice. I guess in the scheme of things it doesn't really matter. It's just "stuff" and they do look after Mom well, she is actually doing better than when she arrived a year ago. I guess I won't make a stink abut it but . . . Criminy!


Just st wanted to vent about a small issue. Thanks :) You know how sometimes, there's big stuff going on but it's the little things that put you over the edge!

Comments (42)

  • sushipup1
    last year

    I do sympathize with the situation. But when your mother arrived at the facility, you were most probably told that the home and staff have no responsibility for residents' belongings. And they mean it. Sorry for your loss of the item, but this should be a lesson to everyone else. Take nothing to the home for the resident unless you are prepared to lose it. That can mean anything from clothing to knickknacks to family photos (take copies instead of an original).

    Best Answer
  • blfenton
    last year

    My mom is in memory care as well and the staff had to launder her blanket which shrunk. For me, with the unbelievable care that she is getting, it wasn't worth a vent.

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  • Fun2BHere
    last year

    I think one of the reasons that bothered you is because it was an avoidable mistake, plus now you have one more thing to deal with when you were paying for a service that was supposed to remove tasks from your to-do list. I empathize with you. I'm glad it's not bothering your mother. Mine would be up in arms about it for days.

  • misforminkGW
    last year

    Oh, I'm so sorry! Honestly I might at least mention it to someone there, nicely of course. Hopefully someone can learn from their mistake.


  • bpath reads banned books too
    Original Author
    last year

    Blfenton, it's more that I won't raise the issue with the nurse, it doesn't bother me hugely but it was just not what I needed. Her nurse is so wonderful, I'd never call her on this. Besides, she's seen what happened. We will just let it go. Well, maybe I will mention it, but won't make a big deal.

    fun, my mother would be up in arms, too, a few years ago. I do worry about her laundry, but since I already deal with a DH who washed his own cashmere sweater into a felted child-size sweater, I've learned to let some things go and just provide clothes that can take it.

  • cyn427 (z. 7, N. VA)
    last year

    It is the small things that can push us right over the edge when we are dealing with such large life issues, bpath. I am sorry, but wow, sounds like you have mastered the art of zen. Yay for you. Hope this week is less irritating!

  • always1stepbehind
    last year

    I agree, let them know. And you might add, things that can't be washed that you suspect might be contaminated with lice, can be put away in a plastic bag for a week. Lice do not live once the hair is detached from the head.

  • runninginplace
    last year
    last modified: last year

    I wouldn't say anything. Our MIL has dementia and is in assisted living and if the facility, staff and management are otherwise good IMO it's just not worth putting in a complaint about something that you agree is a minor irritant. In this situation it's unfortunate but entirely understandable; managing laundry in a care facility is a BEAST and given they were dealing with a possible head lice infestation the staff can't really be faulted for not handling individual laundry the same as a homeowner/loved one would. Our MIL has a truly unfortunate combination of occasional incontinence (both types, yuck) and a residual stubborn insistence on washing her own underwear (double yuck) so I salute the poor folks who have to fish that stuff out of her bathroom sink (triple yuck) and get it into the wash on a regular basis.

    If your mother's care is good otherwise and she is happy or at least not miserable there, take a deep cleansing breath and let it go. You can sing the chorus of Frozen if that helps too--joking, and I do understand that it's the little annoyances that can really trip our switches.


  • Oakley
    last year

    I agree, don't say anything. You don't want to run the risk of angering one of the caretakers and they take it out on your mom.

    I KWYM about the little things, been there. :)

  • maifleur01
    last year

    Although my husband was in a nursing home rather than memory care I would never mention this to the nurse as she has no control over the laundry. The administration are the ones that control the facility.

    However it is a reminder for anyone that thinks they will need some type of care to select things that are washable even in hot water. For those that want to wash their loved ones clothing. Don't. Things may happen and more clothing than anticipated may be used. One of the reasons I opted to leave my husband's clothing at the nursing home when he died is because several times people have either came in with little or the family member just did not bring clean clothing and more was needed. Staff was reduced to raiding other resident's closets to cloth patients. When people say that someone's clothing was stolen this may be what happened. There was a resident that was a klepto but that is another story.

  • Sherry
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Take nothing to the home for the resident unless you are prepared to lose it. That can mean anything from clothing to knickknacks to family photos (take copies instead of an original).

    However it is a reminder for anyone that thinks they will need some type of care to select things that are washable even in hot water. For those that want to wash their loved ones clothing. Don't. Things may happen and more clothing than anticipated may be used.

    Yes to both of the above. My MIL was in a memory care unit for several years. She loved the people there and she got excellent care. They have to wash all the fabrics in hot water to be sure of removing all bacteria. She could go through several sets of clothes in a day for various reasons. She liked pants, so we gradually changed to pull up, elastic waist pants, with a pocket, and pull over t shirts and sweatshirts. Also cotton jackets that could go in the washers. As things faded too bad, we would replace.

    We also donated her clothes to the facility.



  • bpath reads banned books too
    Original Author
    last year

    In this facility, it is the CNAs who do the resident laundry, which surprised me. I thought it was housekeeping or a laundry staff. They take advantage of times when the residents are engaged in activity. This particular case, though, the RN took everything to the commercial machines on another floor. She was doing her own laundry, too, so maybe it was off-shift. She did bag the pillows and cashmere hat for me to take to be cleaned. She recognized cashmere but not silk?

    And anyway, I was surprised she decided to wash the tablecloth. Mom is rarely anywhere near it, it's covered by a glass top, I'd be surprised if any life form got on it. That facility is so clean!

    I have occasionally found Mom in something not hers, and the staff told me that sometimes when residents leave or pass away, some items are forgotten or intentionally left and are given to others. It's especially helpful when someone arrives directly from the hospital in nothing but a gown and socks!

    There is one woman who roams and enters rooms. When I took my pre-entry tour I observed how staff redirected her and I do the same. But when I come in and notice that a particular pillow is missing, I always glance in that woman's room before I ask staff about it.

    i had not thought of making copies of the photos we brought. Oh, my, there is an excellent good-sized studio photo of Mom with us kids when we were young. I don't think there's a copy, maybe I should take it home.

    I do need to shop for Mom, some of her clothes have faded too much. She always dressed so nicely: St John, Lafayette, etc. It would gall her to know she's living in Hanes lol! I had found some Alfred Dunner, but the store that carried it is gone, I'll have to see where else has it. Sadly, I don't have her flair or, worse, her enjoyment for clothes shopping, and her size has changed so much.

    My dad is in the same building, on the nursing floor. I walked in to a care team meeting once, looked at Dad and said "Hi, Dad, that's a nice shirt, but it's not yours." Turned out there had been a major mix-up in the laundry the day before, and it took days to get everyone's clothes back. Family members had to go through closets and drawers, it was both funny and irritating lol

  • bpath reads banned books too
    Original Author
    last year

    I really am not a good shopper. Does anyone have suggestions for where to find easy-fit clothes for elderly? Brick-and-mortar, not online? Or a good online source with a good return policy?

  • Sherry
    last year

    We just started buying the White Stag and Hanes cotton knit pants at Walmart. They fit her well, were comfortable, and no loss if they had to be tossed. She also had dressed in the really nice clothes, but most of those had to be dry cleaned. We tried to go for solid pants and multi print or striped tops, so things matched. The staff was great about trying to pick something that went together even if they were just changing her blouse.

    Yes, the great hunts would go on from time to time for various items. Sometimes she would even "clean out" a drawer and move it somewhere else, even to another patient's room.

    If you order online, it helps if there is a brick-and-mortar for returns. If you have any nice consignment stores, you might could find the Alfred Dunner there. Sears and Penneys used to be great, but they are mostly gone.

  • bpath reads banned books too
    Original Author
    last year

    Sherry, off-topic but are you from Texas? "Might could" is one of my favorite expressions I learned living in Texas.

    I got the Alfred Dunner from Carson's, also gone now (Carson Pirie Scott & Company and if anyone grew up in Chicago you added a couple of "Carsons" and drew out that "aaaand" in your head just now, didn't you!)

    Good idea to check the consignment stores!

  • maifleur01
    last year

    Easy fit clothing for the elderly means stuff that stretches. Depending on if the person can raise or have their arms raised will depend on if front closure tops are needed. With stretchy material the person can raise their arms/have raised which allows for the top to be slid on. That allows the body of the shirt to then be slid over the head and tugged into place. Almost any Walmart/Target has clothing that will work. Some sporting goods stores will also have things. Think ease of getting on and off rather than style. Also think Unisex. Many of the items found in mens sections will work for women also. Depending on the brand many women's sweat pants do not have pockets if a pocket is needed but men's pants always have pockets. Walmart sweats which are about to be removed as a seasonal item were $6.99 while the women's were $12.


    Another thing to remember while one size of pants are comfortable when standing when you add sitting all day plus adult incontinence padding a larger size is needed for comfort.

  • Sherry
    last year

    I am from Mobile, Alabama. Yes, we brought stretchy. We did have to go up a size with the Walmart/Target clothes. I also found her a very nice button-up red cotton knit jacket (she loved red) at an Estate sale. She never buttoned it. It looked brand new. The polo type shirts with two or three buttons worked, because they did not have to be buttoned or the pull over Tshirts.

    If you have an Academy sports, they carry some nice shirts.

  • pennydesign
    last year

    "I agree, don't say anything. You don't want to run the risk of angering one of the caretakers and they take it out on your mom."

    Oakley, due respect and all, but it's a bit offensive to say this. Those of us who worked with the elderly aren't there because we have to be, but because we want to be. We would never take out our anger on the residents...

  • eandhl2
    last year

    I am sorry about your tablecloth but a bigger concern is how she got got. Lice. If it was a staff member more patients would have them. Most likely a visitor. Anyone that has been in her room should be checked.

  • tinam61
    last year

    We had to place my grandmother in an assisted living center (memory care unit) when my mom became ill with cancer (terminal). My grandmother received wonderful care there. The staff were wonderful to her and I am quite sure they are not paid what they are worth! They did her laundry, but of course, I am sure with the number of patients, etc. there is a ton of laundry to be done. I am guessing they washed everything in her room because they suspected lice. That is the correct practice. I'm also guessing someone didn't realize it was a silk tablecloth and that it could be ruined by washing it. As many have said, if you mom is getting good care, why take the chance of hurting someone's feelings, for something that really isn't that important. It was an accident and we all make mistakes.

  • tinam61
    last year

    Oh I meant to add, I used to find Alfred Dunner for my grandmother online @ JC Penneys.

  • happy2b…gw
    last year

    It sounds like we all have had similar experiences with assisted living care for our family members. For clothes Walmart is perfect. Inexpensive, reasonable quality for the money, soft fabric, good sizing. I wish they stocked more. The clothes do take a beating in the washers and dryers, but last for about a year or so. I also wonder what my MIL would think if she realized that she was wearing pull-on elastic slacks from Walmart. I do not think she ever set foot in one. She dressed to perfection but on a budget. She wore heels right up until she entered the assisted living. Now she wears Crocs. She wears socks, not the nylons she always wore. I think I bought her her first pair of socks.


    Residents "borrowing" must be a common problem, but no harm done really, right? The residence where MIL lives also maintains a community closet and accepts donations. Sometimes MIL wears clothes that I do not recognize, and some of her things seem to be missing.


    The staff at the residence where my MIL has lived for the past 18. months are angels. They patiently and kindly deal with all kinds of circumstances - yucky and amusing. They provide wonderful care and MIL must like it there because she does not complain and believe me this outspoken woman would not be silent. When we seized an opportunity to move her from her place, she was not doing well.- not eating, no longer able to go out, losing sense of time. At 102, she is thriving in assisted living.


    It is a blessing that we can share experiences and we are fortunate that there are good people in this world who give themselves to working with the elderly.


  • blfenton
    last year

    Yes, to the "sharing" of clothes. My mom is sometimes in clothes that aren't hers but I just think of it as girlfriends sharing their clothes - unknowingly perhaps but she no longer knows what is hers and what isn't.

    We have cleared out her room of things that we her children would like to be preserved and beyond that we just go with the flow.

  • maddielee
    last year

    I am sorry it happened. I also thank you for caring about your mom’s things. You have already been given excellent advise, I agree - let it go. I know how hard this stage of your life is. Hang in there.


  • l pinkmountain
    last year

    If she was in a bad place it could have been stolen. It could always be worse. Maybe look at it that way could give you some peace of mind. It sounds like her care is pretty good overall so try to focus on that as part of the letting go process. I just heard a TED talk this past weekend on the power of practicing gratitude. Not saying you aren't grateful, in fact you said you were, so maybe meditating on that will help with the letting go. Just a thought, trying to help, not a criticism. There are so many things taken away from some folks as they age, this is just one more, so it's part of a larger hurt so I do understand. So difficult to focus on what can be done with what is left. Also possible that at some point you could find a lovely inexpensive and washable replacement that your mom would enjoy just as much.

  • Delilah66
    last year

    Sorry, bpath. Elder care is hard enough without the mishap. In case of future expensive losses caused by staff, keep in mind the facility has insurance which they can use to pay for reimbursement. For example, Medicare and other insurance do not reimburse for hearing aids. A friend paid for 2 sets of replacement hearing aids for his mother that the care facility had put through the wash with her sheets. When he told me about the loss of the third pair washed with the linens, I got him to ask the care facility to use their insurance for reimbursement. They did.

  • Sherry
    last year

    How is your Dad doing? Do they get to "visit" each other.

  • Bonnie
    last year
    last modified: last year

    There were lots of laundry mix-ups at the assisted living facility that my late father lived in. I did his laundry to prevent fading and misplaced clothing. He was always fastidious in his appearance when he was on his own, so I wanted to carry that through to the end. He was all to aware of his appearance, having no memory issues, but plenty of phyical ones!

    Given that lice was suspected I would assume the staff did the best they could in that situation. I would let it go. As long as your parents are well cared for that's all that matters.

    I bought my dad's clothes at Kohl's, which also was a good place for my late mother's clothing too. Now I buy my MIL's clothes either at Kohl's or Macy's. She is 91 and still living in her own home with daily care. She has fairly significant memory loss, yet still knows (and cares) about her clothing.

    I hope my own children are taking notes!

    ETA: I agree with eandhl2 and would wonder where the lice came from and how the infestation is being handled.


  • nini804
    last year

    So sorry that happened!! :( My mother in law is having dressing issues (not in a facility but that could happen fairly soon) and my neighbor shared a catalogue with nice, comfortable, easy to dress clothing for the elderly. They had options for self-dressing and assisted dressing.) Everything looked nice and well-made. It was called Buck and Buck, I believe.

    Also...my teen aged dd’s cheerleading team had an unfortunate bout of lice (barf emoji!) From the research I have done on the topic...the pesticide shampoos no longer work (and probably aren’t super safe for kids and elderly anyway.) There are professional clinics in our area that use an oil solution to basically smother the live bugs, and a hot vacuum device to completely remove the dessicated eggs. It is very effective. Hopefully your mom’s treatment was successful! I hate that a dear older person would have to go through that mess! :(

  • nhbaskets
    last year

    My aunt was in the Alzheimer's unit of a county nursing home for several months. Wonderful, caring staff. In fact, better than the staff of the Catholic Charities nursing home my DM was in for 8 years. One day when I went to visit her, I found they had washed a Pendleton jacket she had. It had been in pristine condition. What I found would have fit an American Girl doll quite nicely. Luckily, my aunt didn't see it, or didn't remember seeing it, so I took it home with me. Never did say anything to the staff.

  • arcy_gw
    last year

    Honestly, LET IT GO. The issues people deal with where staff at these homes is concerned is beyond comprehension some times. This is something you should have anticipated. Institutional laundry gets all put in one large soup. No one has the time, or the give a $hit about one fancy table cloth and frankly they shouldn't. They have REAL people with very real needs to spend their time focusing on.

  • bbstx
    last year

    I know you said you wanted a brick-and-mortar store, but if you decide to go online, look at Lands’ End. Their Starfish knits are great. They have periodic sales. Every time the Starfish pants go on sale, I buy another pair. https://www.landsend.com/search?initialSearch=true&q=Starfish%20pants You can return Lands End items to Sears.

  • Louise McCarthy
    last year

    Soft Surroundings (online) has very nice, very comfortable clothing.

  • maifleur01
    last year

    Soft Surroundings has stores scattered across the country. We have one here in KCMO. However having been in it several times many items while having a nice drape have textures that to me were irritating.

  • Sherry
    last year

    Land's End is no longer associated with Sears, assuming you can find a Sears store open. If you have Land's End retail store, you can return there. I wish we did, I love their nightgowns.

    https://www.landsend.com/customerservice/returns/online/us/

  • bbstx
    last year

    It doesn’t show in their return policy but they answered my question in the affirmative. I didn’t realize that so many Sears stores had closed, so the answer may be more theoretical and practical.


  • Sherry
    last year

    The nearest to me is 120 miles away, so no use at all. That is probably why LE doesn't mention them in their policy.

  • bbstx
    last year

    After you posted above, I checked to see if the closest Sears to me (an hour and a half away) is still open. Nope. I don’t order much from LE except their Starfish pants, chino pants, and chino shorts. I know my size in them, so I’ve not had cause to return anything in a while.

  • Sherry
    last year

    I sure hope that Sears doesn't pull Land's End down into their death spiral. They are very good about keeping the sizes the same and they do listen to you. Several years ago, they changed their nightgowns and people complained loudly and often. The next year they brought the good ones back.

  • l pinkmountain
    last year
    last modified: last year

    I totally think this is a real problem and a real sorrow, part of the whole sorrow of losing a parent. I don't think the "letting go" process is all that easy for someone who has loved a lot and is losing a lot. That isn't to say that you don't recognize that is is a small thing, but our lives are a collection of small things over time that can add up. Nothing wrong with having sorrow, but focusing on what you can still do helps somewhat. I lost a beach towel once that belonged to my mother and cried for hours about it. It was not the towel nor a blame issue for my losing it, it was the very pleasant memories associated with it and the knowledge that there was no one left to share that memory with and now even the last shreds of the experience were gone. Of course all of life is impermanence, but the zen like approach to loss is much easier said than done sometimes. Particularly if it is not your loss.

  • Sandplum1-Bring Sophie back!!!
    last year

    Sorry your tablecloth was destroyed. We liked to have nice things and reminders of home in my dad's room when he was in a (very nice) VA hospital for Alzheimer's. No issues there, but the previous nursing home had such a high turnover that things invariably came up missing. Is there any chance you could find a pretty, inexpensive scarf to replace the ruined item?

    I did a quick search and saw that Macy's carries Alfred Dunner clothing (at least online-unsure about in-store.) I don't know if you have any Stage stores in your area, but they're prolific in Oklahoma and they also carry AD online.

    Carol

  • lascatx
    last year

    I read this thread earlier but didn't have time to type up a reply. I'm sorry the table cloth was laundered, but it is likely the staff that would handle laundry is familiar with wash and wear for everything and not likely to be able to distinguish between silk and a polyester faux silk. They are told to launder everything, and that's what they do. What surprised me was that families are not cautioned not to have anything that is not washable or things of sentimental or high value. Lost, wandering, shared and damaged items are fairly common and to some degree unavoidable in group living with memory care. In the event of accidents, illnesses or certain events -- like head lice or bedbugs, everything may be subject to laundry by staff even if the family typically does the laundry. We were cautioned not to bring anything that needed special care or had special value. .

    When we needed to get easy care and easy on and off clothing for her, Land's End was probably our go to with Walmart for White Stag being a second alternative (my mom wore talls when we could get them). Sport knit and Starfish pants. My dad had switched my mom to PJs, but when she fell and broker her hip, we had to get nightgowns. That proved to be more difficult than I expected, but finally got some Land's End's supima gowns and a couple I found at Burlington Coat Factory. I stitched her initials or room number into them (one facility wanted initials and the other wanted room number -- you can guess which one I preferred). My dad used a Sharpie, but that washed out after a couple of washings, so I just used the sewing machine and did freehand stitching in a visible thread color. Didn't mean she never had another person's clothing, but at least her tall pants could find her again.

    My mom's shoes then were SAS -- loafers and athletic shoes. She and my dad both swore by SAS before she went into a facility, so that didn't really change, but if I had needed to buy her shoes, I might have looked at Tom's or Keds for something easy to wear or Rothy's for the washability (not hot water or a dryer though -- LOL). Crocs have a loose fit and I'd be concerned about stability for someone in decline. I'm sure it depends on the person and the foot (my mom wore an 11Nn, so even wider for her).

    It is tough to have a loved one in any facility. Things may be lost, but as long as you are happy with the care they are given, that is what matters most. If you are not, get them out of there. Said with a little bitterness -- I wasn't in control of that choice.

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