Moving Day... tell me your stories, please... the good, the bad, and the ugly:)

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We have 5 days before Armegeddon, lol. Anyone who has moved a difficult Alzheimer’s/ Dementia parent into a memory care or other facility please share your story here. I am having a difficult time finding any “in the trenches” info on this other than the standard “make the room look like home”. My FIL is very likely to be VERY agitated. We are moving MIL first so he doesn’t pollute her experience... and as a carrot. We have about 4 plans we have been working through, understanding of course, that this will not truly go according to anyone’s plan. I think my brain just needs to hear what people who have been there and done that have had success with... or what they would do differently in retrospect. Extra points for humor;) Thanks.


I KNOW this topic has come up before but I can't find those threads either no matter how I change my search question. It seems to me that a lot of trickery has been advised, like taking them out for dinner or a doctors appointment or something like that and then just "dropping by" the facility for a visit and making a fast get away.
I thought that this has to have been discussed, but I can’t find them either, lol. We are working on a couple of stories. Unfortunately, I know that is going to be harder on some of the siblings. DH and I have had time to come to some peace with therapeutic fibs, not so with the siblings. I am looking forward to hearing the stories of others. They may help all of us through this:)
I came across this thread that is a bit old, but has the same issues, and a lot of comments.

And here is an article written by Aging Care about moving to Assisted Living with a lot of comments.
I recall many discussions on this subject, and did find a few.

I did have trouble getting back to the search results though. Try this: living move made easier.

Add the entire URL to your address bar; otherwise you'll get other hits.
Hope , here’s my story.....

Our move was due to a bad fall mom had. I’m long distance but my nurse/ cousin found her bleeding from a head wound in her bed. Dad, with dementia wiped up some blood, smeared it around actually , and was napping in his chair. I had just talked to mom...oh just a little bump on the head........

Cousin called 911, off to hospital. I make 12 hour drive, nobody to stay with Dad who is very confused and can’t remember what’s happened. Turns out he also had UTI going on.

Luckily I had visited some of the care facilities in the area and had one picked out. Called them, they had no openings but tore apart a display/sales apartment and signed me up over the phone. Amazing.....

Then, hospital had checked mom out and was going to release her to come home! Her room at the AL,is not ready, no bed no nothing. Again, AL staff to the rescue. They found some old furniture and a hospital bed, stuck it in the room, and called hospital and dared them to release mom until room was ready.

Later that day, housekeeping is running vac, making bed, I’m hooking up tv when mom’s feet appear through the door on the gurney with the ems boys. By this time I’m a wreck. I had to hire a caregiver to wrangle Dad while I’m running around getting mom installed.

My story to mom was that she was here for rehab. You get better you can go home.......That worked for a little while. She was a mess, face black and blue, big gashes on her head. Was a 2 person assist for any mobility.

Now for Dad......Dads dementia has been progressing slowly for 6 years but accelerated mightily with mom gone. I stayed at home with him at night for the first three nights mom was in AL. It was all I could do to keep him settled. He just could not remember the chain of events...WHERES your mom!?

I took him to the “rehab” center for lunch with mom the first day. Lunch and dinner the second day. Lunch time the third day, left him there to “help mom”. That worked for a little while.

This was this past December. Since then we’ve gone through all the difficult adjustments that are common. Mom has kept having falls, now has a broken collar bone and finger. Dad spent the first 2 weeks breaking out, trying to find his car.

I kept expecting staff to call me any minute and say we can’t deal with these guys. But they’re like, Oh..We’re used to all this. No prob...

So this is the CRISIS JUMP START METHOD. It took lots of fibbing and finesse. They’re still mad, and I’ll forever be the bad guy, but they’re finally starting to accept the new reality.

For me, I’m still haunted a bit by it all, but sleeping better now. However, the relief is just huge, knowing they are out of a dangerous house, getting care, food, all needs taken care of, and no longer isolated. Five years of madness is over.
Sorry for those who have read this before.

I moved mother from her apt. in S.F. to a semi-assisted senior apt. building near me when she tested positive for dementia. She had lived in SF (same apt) for 50 years. I did the whole move myself and she took it pretty well. Only one tear. Alzheimer's stage 3.

Over 1-1/2 years at the senior building, her Alzheimer's progressed fairly rapidly 4-5. She was doing unusual things and I had to take the medications away, then the checkbook and credit card. I was told she was going to the dining room for breakfast at 3:30 am.

She started getting more and more paranoid, saying, "You'll never put me in one of "those" places." But, I couldn't take her home with us at the time and she had to be watched.

She had a prescription for an anti-anxiety drug (Ativan) and I decided she needed 1 and a half the day we were "moving".

Mother loved going to the doctor and so that's where I told her we were doing. With this plan, I couldn't take anything from her apt. ahead of time because it would "blow my cover".

I gave her the morning meds-she didn't notice anything different-and off we went. She didn't even realize we crossed into Mexico! (I live in Tijuana, the facility was in Rosarito.)

(She had been disqualified from Medi-Cal/Medicaid to pay for her care and it's much cheaper in Mexico.) 

She was nice and calm by the time we got there. She even said she'd been there before and it was a good restaurant!

I prearranged to spend the night and, when the medication wore off, we were awake all night!

I ate breakfast with her then slipped away. The staff encouraged me to stay away for a couple of weeks so she could acclimate.

We came back 2 weeks later and she physically attacked me when I went in her room. The nurse had to pull her off me.

She remembered that I left her there but, as time (1-1/2 years) wore on, it became her home.

Unfortunately, the cost went up $500. over that time and she couldn't afford it. We took her home with us. Long story short, we all lasted 3 months together. She became much more confused and would scream at the top of her lungs at 2am. On to a new facility that I liked even better, good care and half the cost.

The main thing is that she seems happy. She's at the end of Alzheimer's stage 6, but, at 95, is still walking with help and a walker.

I, like Windyridge, can finally sleep and not lay awake all night worrying. A huge burden is immediately lifted when you know they'll be taken care of.

Oh gosh, so feel for ya'.
Good luck. In our case, drugs were the way to go.
Windy and Sue, thanks for your stories. This is exactly what I need. It helps so much to see details, even though that probably seems weird.

I had never thought to increase the anti-anxiety for a day. That is a good idea.

Right now, I am just hoping we make it until Thursday, lol. We were up half the night with them again and this is WITH the nurse. Dad is getting more aggressive every few days. We were about 15 minutes away from calling the EMTs to take him to the hospital.

I have been working with the care facility and keeping them informed. They don’t seem daunted, which is good because the last thing we need right now is to hear, “we can’t take him” like the last place. He has escalated, now Alz around stage 5-6. She has vascular dementia. Every medical professional we talk to lately is shocked that we still have them at home. I guess we didn’t know what we didn’t know, lol.

I cannot express how much I just want to get to Thursday. I know it will be awful and like some of you, DH and I have prepared ourselves that, after 8 years of loving care, we will probably be hated forever and a day. But, it must be.

I also cannot express how good it feels to see that light at the end of the tunnel. For years, we have been feeling like we just cannot take Head down, move forward was all we could do with the Groundhog Day existence that we have been living. The very idea of having no one else in our house... no elders, no wound up family members, no nurses... I almost can’t let myself hope. Stupid little things like leaving when we feel like it, being able to talk freely, having parties again, traveling, sleeping without interruption, talking to my DH about something OTHER than oldness and dementia and THEM. I can’t wait to go for a blessed walk without keeping my ear out for a phone call en route.

I have furniture coming and will be setting up over the next few days. I am ordering some clothing duplicates so there is as little change as possible. Paperwork is almost done. We have a basic plan down and it has been communicated to the involved family members. The facility did their assessment on Friday, we are going to start them out in the same room (it’s really a double, one bed on each side of a wall) and then the facility is willing to be the bad guys that separate them if need be, which is terrific.

Keep the stories coming if you don’t mind sharing:) I am certainly “listening”.
Thanks for the links as well. I will be reading through these this afternoon... because I am so spent from last night I don’t want to get off the couch anyway:)
Two thoughts Hope....

Calming meds FOR BOTH PARENTS starting now.

Get you fibs/stories coordinated and stick to the script. Make sure staff is on the same page. These folks have seen it all.

They started my dad on Ativan immediately and he still took a swing at a staffer on day 5. Some of this was UTI.

It is absolutely nerve racking wondering how’s it’s going to go, imagining the worst. The director at our facility got me down off the ceiling several times. She kept assuring me this was all typical, calm down.....Actually gave me a glass of wine! And she was right. We all survived and so will you.

I'll make my comment short and sweet cause it would take me all day to type up the whole story leading up to my Mom's transition.

I do recall myself and my Hubs spending the whole day before the move doing everything we could to make Mom's room cheery and feeling like home. I picked out specific pieces from Mom's old many as I could fit. Hung pictures of the family and her grandchildren all over. Bought her a nice little t.v. Hooked up her phone with her same number from home. Put her bible on her bedside table.

The funny part? My one nice sister and I were so tired and stressed out about the whole thing that we both had a laughing fit just before it was time to pick Mom up and take her there and both of us ended up peeing our pants. I had to spend the whole day with pissy pants.

The great thing? Mom was so pleased and relieved when she saw her room and how I'd set it up. Couldn't wipe the smile off her face. I had a small cry when I left her there. I was so tired but relieved.

The thing that makes me the angriest? How my unhelpful siblings waited until all the hard work was done before they visited Mom and I believe even took some credit for it even though they had done nothing.

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