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I've only been dealing with caretaking for about a year, prior to that my parents were fairly self sufficient and my stepdad handled my Mom's dementia. Six months ago I helped them move into AL, even though they aren't actually using any of the AL services, instead they had a separate caregiver company helping out. Stepdad's congestive heart failure won the battle and he passed away three days ago (peacefully, in his sleep while my Mom was sitting by his side). Her dementia has progressed with all the changes, and recently I posted a question about her new symptom, aggression and anger. I am going to pack up her things and bring her home with me (they never would move to my town and live over 1400 miles away). Hubby and I are going to try having her live at home with us at first because I believe she has the best chance to be content and regain some equalibrium surrounded by family. (she hates the AL community she is in right now) There are only a handful of people she remains calm around, sometimes a caretaker is OK, but mainly it's me and a few long-time friends....and I'm getting ready to move her away from her long-time friends. I am terrified that I won't have the patience needed. I want to get her set up on a schedule so she can do the things she enjoys, and I hope that she will accept care givers as part of our routine because I will need to have some time away. There are no siblings. Now I'm rambling...I guess I just need some words of encouragement. I'm NOT going to give up my life completely and I still have kids at home, work etc..., but I AM going to do what I can within reason to take good care of Mom.

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JJ, you deal with the guilt with the knowledge that you know what is best for YOUR family. Yes, it is hard, and you have your life. Good for you doing it so soon, most will let the guilt feelings overtake their common sense that the first responsibility is to their own families.

Then also ask yourself, would she want you to sacrifice your life to care for her. She may be one of those the would never want you to give up so much. My mom is one of those and heard many times when I was younger that she never wanted any of us to care for her. But, it happened anyway. For me, it was not guilt that took me there, nor did I experience any guilt when POA made the decision to move her to a memory care facility.

Do what you know is best for you, and the care she will receive is also the best for her.
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Update: the first two weeks mom was here in my home were pretty awful. She spent a lot of time being aggravated and angry, and I have lost about 10lbs and am on some anti anxiety Meds. I got her a primary care doctor who added two new Meds to her existing four. One was a small dose of another anti anxiety medicine, and I don't know if that's making the difference or not, but she hasn't been angry in three days. I am so relieved to not see anger, because that is really hard for me to handle.
On the flip side, it also makes my decision harder. I have found a very nice memory care facility five minutes away, and I am planning to place her there at the end of June after we go out of town to bury stepdad. When we get back to town directly from the airport, I was going to have someone else who she knows fairly well (my stepmom) take her to the memory care and I am going to make up some excuse as to why I need to go elsewhere. Like business trip. Most likely Mom will be very disoriented anyway, and she might not even recall living in my home for a month and a half.
I know this decision is best for my husband and children, but I am STRUGGLING with guilt. Especially since the last few days Mom has been thanking me for taking her in and being very appreciative and humble.

How do I deal with the guilt?
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Thank you Gloriacoco. I tend to like schedules myself, so I think your recommendation is a good one. You are lucky to have a sibling to help! I definitely plan on going to support groups and classes for dementia caregivers.
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Hello JJGood, everyone's situation is different. My mom was diagnosed dementia a couples of years ago. Our stepdad passed several years (12yrs ago) from cancer and we helped mom get through those tough times. She was able to live alone for a while after her diagnose with dementia. We (me, my sister and brother) made sure we stayed in close contact with her every single day. Until one day my sister found her unconscious and was rushed to ER, she was dehydrated and had a UTI. Mom was always cold and kept the heater on, no matter the season, which we feel contributed to the dehydration. Since the episode (a year ago) she was not able to stays alone. She refused and refuses to leave her home so my sister and I rotate on a weekly basis. I have made it very clear to mom that we won't do this for very long (which she swears I've never said anything to her...😊). Don't get me wrong it's not all bad stuff, we have lots of fun with her and even laugh about the things this decease does to us. Once mom gets to the point where she does not recognize us or gets hallucinations that are uncontrollable we will place her in a memory care facility. There was a time I said "I would never place her in a care unit", but attending my support group meetings and listening to the challenges loved ones go through I don't want to put my family through those stressful times. If I have to keep mom in my home it will only be for a short period while we make arrangements to place her in Memory Care. JJ, I will say if you do take her home you'll have to have a schedule set in place. One for you, one for your family and one for her. It'll all work out for you. Stay strong and don't let dementia "defeat" you! Go to the support group meetings they're a life savior. Also check with the Aging and Diability Agency there in your city for caregiver assistance. God Bless.
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Pamzimmrt, my teens, although firmly in the 2016's, do not have friends of the opposite sex sleepover. Neither one has a boyfriend/girlfriend and we are pretty conservative in that arena. All that said, I hear your warning, and yes, it's possible Mom will be "mothering" me and criticizing my parenting skills, but over the years she hasn't done much of that, in those regards, she's usually easy going. I'm sure there will be some other issues, but I would expect that even with no dementia in place.
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Thanks, gladimhere, I am speaking with an agency tomorrow who is going to help me with my local resources and my contingency plan, they have already recommended one facility that I will definitely be checking out.
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JJ, since there is no memory care where your moom is, I would move her closer to me as well. Do check them out and decide on two that are recommended and you like. Just in case... The move is going to be very hard on her and the fewer moves the better.
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opps.. good on paper, but the reality can be different.
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Based on my own situation and that of a slighty older friend.. remember when you were a teenager..how that was with your folks.. then think of how things were when your mom was a teenager.. now you are moving your Mom into your house with 2016 teenagers... How is Mom going to react the first time she realizes "friends' of either sex sleep over, or stay "too late"? We took my MIL on a trip to the family river house last year, and my 27 year old daughter had friends over. MIL was quite miffed they didn;t come into the house at 8 and get in their jammies.. I mean MIFFED!! It was quite the scene. Luckily they all knew the score.. but are your teens ready for this? My 27 year old was sort of embarrassed! Just something to think about in your family..It all sounds g
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Gladimhere, I can't leave her where she is, it's 1400 miles away from where I live and it has no memory care.
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JJ, I really hope all of this goes well for you. Though I agree with the majority here that have tried to tell you moving mom to your home is a very bad idea. I do not see how this can possibly work. But, my hat is off to you for wanting to give it a try.

What is your primary reason for wanting to do this? If it were me I would leave her where she is and move her to their memory care. Your first consideration has to be what is best for your family. Your husband, your kids and YOU! Unless we care for ourselves we will not be able to care for our loved ones. Forty percent of caregivers die before the one they care for.
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JJ, your love for your mother shines through. And by your own admission, she's a "low-dose person," with or without the dementia.

You are blessed with a solid, harmonious home life with your husband and teens. Yet you seem determined to run headlong into a situation where the family you nurtured all these years is downgraded to 2nd class citizens. In their own home.


Your compartmentalization will get a workout when mom disrespects your husband and teens. And she will. If you speak up and defend them, you'll launch a stressful spiral of Alz-talk. If you go mute or concilatory (and expect hubby and teens to do the same), they will feel devalued.

Mom's reaction to aging and illness will add baseline stress, too. The aging thing is b.s. Everybody ages. Including her!

And mom's problem with illness is a huge red flag. The last thing you need is a grown woman acting like a brat every time one of you has a cold, a stomach bug or a back spasm. How about when a teen is on crutches from a sports injury? And if you & hubby are positive you can live the next XX years without a sprain, fall, work injury, laid up from a car accident or diagnosed of a condition that requires surgery or treatment, let us in on your secret!

When your father died, mom lost her lightning rod. She's angling for you to be the new lightning rod. This is unhealthy. And the part of you that can't take more than 3 days of her knows it.

It's so painful to watch our parents decline. In almost all cases, they need help from professionals. What they need from us amateurs is love and caring and oversight. If it's from a separate household, so be it.
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Babalou, she will be seeing a geriatric psychiatrist, it is on the list of things to do.....and she is currently on four meds: anti-anxiety, thyroid, anti-seizure (for aggression) and Donepezil for memory loss.
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gladimhere, Mom is currently living in AL, although my parents did not use the AL services, but were actually in the Independent Living wing. It is a nice facility with lots of residents who are very social, and Mom has been resistant about joining in any of the activities...once she gets something in her mind, it's next to impossible to change it. I REALLY REALLY hope that being in a new town will actually reset some of that thinking, but who knows, I'm probably in fantasy land. I will find out soon enough. Thank you for your encouragement.
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If your mom is angry and agitated in her current AL, have you considered having her seen by a geriatric psychiatrist? My mom was agitated AT HOME with caregivers coming in and no amount of reassurance, extra time NOTHING helped until she was on a regimen of antidepressant and anti-anxiety meds.
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cwillie, thanks for sharing more. Mom isn't a sit-down kind of gal, which I think presents it's own set of difficulties. A Gym membership and personal trainer are definitely in her future, and who knows, maybe I'll get back in shape too! She used to love flower arranging and sewing, so I'm going to look for opportunities for her to rediscover those hobbies.

I believe the biggest issue will ultimately be that she will not be happy having caregivers be a part of her daily routine, that will probably be the make it or break it factor. If she can't accept that I will not be by her side every minute of the day, then she will be going in a facility. My plan is once we move, to gradually shift....so at first I will be spending a lot of time with her, then it will be me, the caregiver and mom, and incrementally I will attempt to phase out more and more. FINGERS CROSSED THAT THIS WORKS, and hopefully this agency that I hire will have lots of experience coming up with contingency plans.
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JJ, yes there will be people at day care that use canes and walkers. Yes, at assisted living there will be canes and walkers. But, the people caring for her will not be using canes and walkers and are much younger. In assisted there will be frequent visits by children and all ages. If assisted living, will she be living with people with canes and walkers, yes, but people working there and visiting will provide her a spectrum of ages for socialization. Since she is a socializer I do not see her isolating herself in her room or with only other clients at the day care.

Best wishes to you through this transition and also finding the support you and your family will need.
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RainMom....I have NEVER been able to stay around my Mom as an adult longer than 3 days before she started to drive me batty, so it's actually EASIER for me to cope knowing that a lot of her behavior now is due to the dementia. I have a compartment to put it in, more compassion to for her, and knowing it's the disease helps me be more patient. Although I still have a long way to go...
I've discussed with her that if this doesn't work out for everyone, we will find a place of her own, not that she can remember the discussion, but maybe if I say it enough some part of it will sink in, and I have the support of pretty much EVERYONE else in my family (and friends) as far as placing her on her own in a facility. So I believe if it comes to that, I can reach out to other family members for support and maybe even "physical" help of placing Mom in a facility. Believe it or not, having others who know her well, agreeing with me that she might ultimately be best off in a facility has brought me great comfort and hopefully strength when that time comes.
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LovesBooks, thank you for sharing, I really appreciate it. I think I have decent skills, but I recognize that patience is a "skill" that is not natural to my personality, I imagine I will develop it to a fine level now, I have A LOT of inner dialogue going on right now about patience and compassion, and I DEFINITELY do not want to take it out on my kids or hubby, so maybe everyone will benefit. Plus I'm going to get massages and join a support group or two or five, and possibly even get my own therapist.

My Mom has said repeatedly that she has never lived alone, she's always been with a husband, roommate, or me growing up....when I ask her if she'd like to live with us or close by in her own place, she never choses the "on her own" option, saying that she likes being around people. The reality is that she likes being around people as long as they are not all using walkers, canes, or wheelchairs....she can't handle that and she's ALWAYS handled illness and aging poorly. So some of this is her personality and personal fears. AND these same fears will make it somewhat difficult when I try to get her engaged in the local adult activity (daycare) center, but it comes highly recommended. I think Mom would actually be more receptive to activities involving all ages, so I will have to get creative. What she doesn't do well is SIT, never has.
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JJ, my mom went from her home to my home and has never been in a facility. I really regret that we didn't push her harder to make a transition after my dad died and she lost her eyesight, I feel that the interaction with other people was not good for her. Now here in my home it is just the two of us, still very limited social interaction. I think even in a home surrounded by many family members their world shrinks a little, as the opportunities for social time with peers and the ability to make simple choices about their daily activities are lost.
Plus in the beginning her problems were all physical, the dementia crept in later. My mom couldn't get around on her own, so all those problems that people have with shadowing, wandering, and battles over continence and hygiene never applied to us.
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I think sometimes daughters and sons get a picture in their head that having mom come to live with their family will be like it was for The Waltons - grandma at the stove, grandpa tinkering in the garage - both handing out sage gems of wisdom. Or mom is going to age into a delightfully funny and wise woman like Mrs. Threadgood in Fried Green Tomatos. Just seems like it never works out that way - or if it does, we sure don't hear about it. JJGood - I'm glad my suggestions helped. The only other thing I can think to add is to take to heart what LovesBooks has said - that once they are there, getting them out will likely be harder than you are now thinking. Both my brother and I stopped even bringing mom to our homes for a short day visit for this very reason - seriously! We both feel that once in our homes she would refuse to get back into the car to return to her facility. The prospect of having to involve an ambulance and/or the police was just too real. Yes, dementia can do that - to her and to you. So study, study, study and know that this disease can go from zero to sixty in a heartbeat.
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JJ. I'm sorry if it seemed that I was emphatically telling you not to have your mother live with you. I was trying to communicate the need to really think things over carefully in response to your comment that you were scared that you weren't up to the task. I was simply trying to relate what has happened to me when I ignored my internal warning system.

Although this is more information than I typically share, my mother is still with us because I am so worn down that I do not have the inner strength to ask her to leave. She has arthritis and does not drive so she cannot live independently but she does not have dementia and refuses to believe that she needs assisted living (even though that what she has in our home). She is established here now and undoing that takes more energy than I have at the moment.

When my dad died we talked a lot about her not being able to stay by herself with us being 1000 miles away. It was a very complicated discussion that took place over several months. We discussed options that included a retirement community or living with one of her children. She chose to come live with my husband and me.

I wanted her to be happy and cared for but there were a few vague warning bells in the back of my mind. I pushed them aside because I had been living with her in her home and hadn't seen my husband (who was working and had to stay at home) for 3 months and wanted to get home so badly. I thought that it would be easier once I was home. I was wrong. I realize now that there were a lot of interpersonal dynamics from my childhood that have come back into play. With 20/20 hind site, I also realize that living in my home should never been an option. Getting out of the current situation is much more complicated than it may seem. If I had it to do all over again I would have made different decisions. At the time, I thought I was doing the right thing. What seems to be good for my mother has not been as good for my husband and me.

I apologize that I didn't give you the encouragement you were seeking. I suggested that you probably had better skills than I and so would do better than I have. I think I was responding most to your statement that you were scared you weren't up to the task. I sincerely wish you the very best.
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JJ, you scared me for a minute. Glad you have a plan B in place.
Dementia moms aren't easy and then they get worse.
They go down fast, then level off for a while. It really is draining
and exhausting.
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LovesBooks, if you don't mind me asking, if you are regretting having your Mom in your home, why aren't you doing what you are telling me to do, which is have your Mom NOT in your home?
Is it hard to recognize when those boundaries and limits have been reached? What am I missing here?
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cwillie, thank you for your honesty, I appreciate it. If you would recommend that I not have my Mom move in with me, tell me what in your experience makes you say that, and why aren't you changing your situation if that is the case???

ArmyRetired, I spoke to each family member, hubby does not think it will work, but he is willing to give it a try. I did not push him, he offered it up. I will keep in the front of my mind my kids....they are teens in the higher grades of high school, and I only have a few years left with them at home, I want those few years to be GOOD ones, so I will make it a priority. I don't want to be miserable or my family to be.

RainMom, you made some great suggestions. Currently my mother is very active and works out at a gym with a personal trainer, she lifts weights and is not at the "Grab bar" stage, but I definitely need to consider slippery floors and other safety issues.
I don't have a detailed plan, but I am lining up resources and giving a lot of thought to the transition and "my vision."
I have a friend who's Mom has recently moved to town in a similar situation, and she is going to send me a list of her Mom's doctors, the senior daycare, the dementia support group she belongs to etc.
I also have an agency that (for a fee) helps coordinate the care of elderly parents, additionally they have caregivers, also offer classes for caring for dementia relatives etc.
Over the past four years I have been checking out facilities, and I will continue to do so, and I will get on a waiting list...great suggestion!

I will take your words to heart and I appreciate everyone's feedback. By no means do I think I have it all worked out...
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JJGood - seems you are set in wanting to give this a shot - I get that. Maybe you're like me, this is what my mom always said to me "No one can tell you anything. You have to figure out things the hard way". Hmmm - guess where I got this little personality trait? Hence, I never for one second have considered having my mom live with me and my family. Sooo - you're going to do this. First, do yourself two huge favors. Read up on dementia. Commit X amount of hours to reading about the disease prior to this move. Learn about the progression. Next, make Plan B - and I don't mean a vague "oh, I'll find mom a place if this doesn't work out". I'm mean - look at some places in your area ranging from AL to Memory Care. Pick one or two that would be appropriate and find out costs. If they have waiting lists put your moms name on the list - you can always decline if things are going well at home. Find an agency that does in-home care and know their fee. Either plan A or B find a geriatric PCP and a geriatric Psychitrist. Now if you go with Plan A, you're going to need to equip a bathroom at home with grab bars and proper showering equipment - a shower stool and a handheld shower head at a minimum. Find a local medical equipment store - you will need it, I guarantee. Depending on the age of your children you will need to prepare them accordingly for potential angry/violent outbursts. And I also garentee that no matter how much you prepare for Plan A or Plan B, you will miss things so have a list of agencies, resources,etc at the ready. Personally, I think the majority of people who attempt what you are thinking of doing - while well intentioned, vastly underestimate what it takes and how bad it can get. It's hard work taking care of an elderly loved one with OR without dementia at home. Some times it works out - but usually not without a high cost paid, physically, emotionally and financially by the caregiver and their family. Please do not underestimate the effect this will have on your children and your husband. Dementia has a way of changing a loved one into a stranger - it is not for the faint of heart! Best of luck to you.
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JJGood19, what are your husband and children's feelings about the move? I hope you involved them in your decision to move your mom to your house. Did you actually all sit down together and discuss the issues and changes that will happen in your household? Moving your mom into your home and see how things work out and if not move her into a memory care facility will not be as easy as you may think. Her aggression and anger will only get worse as her dementia progresses. Your mother's stage of dementia is not suitable for a multigenerational living arrangement.
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My first reaction was the same as everyone else, but I didn't post because I felt it would be hypocritical, I have my mother living with me! I can see that you are willing to try this and my advice is to hope for the best but plan for the worst. Even the most detailed plans can't cover every circumstance though, so be willing to rethink your strategy often, and keep coming back here for wisdom and to vent if you need to. Good luck!
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Thank you all for your words of encouragement? I think that's what they are. They don't feel very encouraging, but I hear the warning loud and clear and I appreciate the concern coming from people who have walked my path. There is an excellent memory care facility 5 minutes from my house, and that will be where she goes if this turns into a disaster and eventually when the dementia progresses to a level I can't handle with in home care helpers. I imagine I will be sensible enough to recognize when that happens.
I am not dead set on having her in my house, I am simply going to give it a try. All the paperwork and POA already in place, my stepdad saw that.
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You are a wonderful daughter who obviously wants what is best for your mother. I know my post will be discouraging but please think through this decision very carefully.

My dad died a year ago and I brought my mother to live with my husband and myself. It is now a decision that I regret every day. I didn't intend to give up my interests either but it happened. I had plans to keep her active and engaged with others her age but she refused or was so difficult that it couldn't continue. My husband is completely supportive but it is hard on him too. We have lost our privacy, our ability to eat what we want or go where we like. She inserts herself into all our plans and decision making. Since my mother refused to get involved in any other social activities, we spend most of our time entertaining her and trying to keep her engaged.

You of course, may have better skills than I so you may manage far better than I have. If you have any doubts now, however, it's your inner voice warning you to proceed carefully. I also had those doubts but pushed them away because I wanted my mother to be in a loving supportive environment. I couldn't imagine that it could be this difficult.

I apologize for being so negative but you are about to make a life changing decision for you and your family. Please consider what is good for you while you are considering what is best for your mother. Best of luck to you.
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