Mom has to move out of Independent Living.

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Mom just had annual physical needed to stay in IL. She should have been in AL least a year ago but refused to go. The doctor said he cannot clear her to remain in IL because of her dementia which is so bad now she couldn't even answer simple questions like the month of the year. The IL facility just called and informed me she cannot stay but are willing to give me time to make arrangements. We're not telling Mom until the day she is to be moved. If she knows ahead of time she will freak out and make herself sick and obsess and drive everyone crazy. This is really horrible. I hate doing it this way, getting a room set up for her and then just telling her and putting her in the car and taking her to a new place. If only she wasn't beyond the point where she can be reasoned with and explaining anything - she will forget what I said in 5 minutes and half the time I think she doesn't comprehend what is said to her anyway. I hope the doctor will prescribe tranquilizers for the transition. Any suggestions?

19 Comments

I can only suggest that your mantra over the coming weeks should be "I am going the right thing. I am doing the right thing..."

This has to be done. Please don't make it any harder than it has to be by second-guessing yourself or feeling guilty. You are doing the right thing. And it is Not Your Fault.
When my mother had to switch rehabs, she was very upset. I had been visiting her every day prior to the move. The day my mother was taken to the new rehab, she told me she was there against her will and it was like a horrible nightmare. I spoke to the social worker and she suggested I stay away for a few days so my mother could settle down in the new place. I wish someone had told me that prior to my mother getting so upset. As it turned out, she did settle down and ended up being very complimentary of the rehab. But that first day she was ranting about moving back to her old town 600 miles away. I could have saved myself the aggravation of listening to her rant and rave had I known it was okay to give her time to adjust.
You are doing the right thing! Is she already on antidepressant and anti anxiety meds ? Yes, the doctor should start her on something to ease her agitation and anxiety. Yes, you're doing for your mom what she did for you when you were young...kept you safe.
This example makes a very good case for finding a facility with continuum of care when even placing our loved ones in independent living. We are shopping facilities with AL (for L), memory care for Mom, and skilled nursing as one of them is likely to need it down the road. Don't know when it will all happen but we are ready if it becomes necessary.
If I knew "then" what I know now....I first started looking into all of the Elder care "stuff" when my mom was already ill. My synagogue sponsored a "lunch and learn" about caring for elderly parents. It was at that brief session that I found out that you can refuse to have a person discharged if you don't think there is adequate care set up. Sorry to go off topic.
It is an awful thing to go through, for all of us. Tomorrow I start my search, phone calls, negotiation, etc. I have a place picked out and application is already in, but might have to wait for a room. I am not happy with the doctor's office for faxing the form to the IL facility when doctor agreed they would hold it to give me a chance to make arrangements! No, Mom is not on antidepressants because she is in IL and she is not responsible for taking medications on her own. (she refuses to let an aide help her) Anyway, antidepressants or tranquilizers could make her a little dizzy and she is already unsteady (which is why she has needed AL for several years) We will just have to give her a tranquilizer before we tell her, move her and the AL facility can continue until she calms down. I feel sorry for them because she is going to be very difficult. She has never been a person you could reason with, or tell anything. If you say, don't do this, she has always gone ahead and did it anyway.
Amy, you're doing the right thing, you will ALL get through this. Give yourself time to get over this hurdle. If you have supportive family/friends, let them pick up some slack for a day or two, and allow yourself to decompress. Moments like this are necessary to handle, but they can take a lot out of us, so be kind to yourself as well.
Be good to yourself. Get a massage if you can. And get a geriatric psychiatrist to evaluate mom. I've never had antidepressants make me dizzy (I was on Zoloft for several years a while back) and my mom has not had dizziness or unsteadiness from the two that she's on. And remember that you can only do so much for a person of your mom's personality type.
As a thought, Remeron is a pretty good med for anxiety with miminal issues. It's an old school med & low cost too.

Also perhaps look for NH for mom as well as AL. If mom is the noncompliant type and not much on being a team player, she may not be a good fit for an AL. Often AL in addition to their bring able to do their ADLs with minimal assistance also expect them to participate in social functions or group activities. You don't want to find yourself 3 months from now getting a letter stating that mom needs a higher or different level of care than what they provide & having to do this all over again. I moved my mom from IL to NH and totally bypassed the AL phase. It can be done but you are going to need an MD to work with you on this. For my mom, it was every 4 - 6 weeks of visits to a gerontologist and the appointment that she had a 10 % weight loss & a bad H&H lab result & changed her Exelon to patch delivery, he wrote the orders for skilled nursing needed. So she was good for NH admission & bypassed AL.

Btw the old IL was a tiered facility - went from IL to AL to NH & a hospice wing. Medicaid only for NH part. The medical director of it would not sign off for mom to be ok for NH. Even though her gerontologist hadvwritten orders. It was his opinion that mom was AL which was only private pay. He was adamant that no NH needed. I do think there was a profit motive in all this. Lots of "the AL is just a bit more than IL" & you have $$ and don't want your mom to be around those medicaid poor jabs by staff.
News to date. The AL we picked has no openings but we are at the top of the list so Mom gets the next room. IL has agreed to give us some time and I'll talk to them again tomorrow. The other AL has an opening but is more than we can afford and is miles away from family. Its frustrating, the waiting, not knowing what or when. Mom is not ready for NH yet according to the doctor or to us. She is fiercely independent. Unassisted, she can get herself up, dressed, make her bed, make coffee, get around with a cane, get up the stairs to the beauty salon and to the restaurant on her own. If she were in a NH with people totally out of it or totally disabled she would throw a fit, hate it and they would have to sedate her heavily to keep her there. It would kill her will to live.

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