mockingbird3 Asked July 2011

My mom wants to get out of Assisted Living and move to a small town 4 hours away. How do I convince her that staying close to me is best for her?

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Mom has been in ALF for the past 2 years and now she is wanting out. She wants to move about 4 hours away from me, a town where she use to live. She is pysically somewhat strong, a little weak on the legs but as I talk to her she tends to repeat the same stories and is very moody maybe some early signs of dementia? I never know what to expect when I go to visit. She has never lived by herself and would be very socially alone. She doesn't drive and would have to depend on strangers for everything even though she keeps repeating that "I can take care of myself". How do i handle this? What do I tell her? Everytime this subject comes up we get into a spat. I just listen to her and try to change the subject. Is this the right thing to do? I know if I were to let her go I bet on my life that a short time down the road she will be calling me to help her. If something happened and she would have to go the hospital it would take me 4 hrs. to get there. She is very stubborn and it is very hard to get through to her. Any suggestions?

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Eddie Jul 2011
23:

Sorry about the the typos. I meant "... read from the same page very little has been written on."

Also, forget about that phrase "Both of you, ..." after my signature.

I'm getting ready for work at 3:00 am, but couldn't leave without answering your question.
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Eddie Jul 2011
23:

It's hard when 2 adults don't read from the same page nothing that very little has been written on. So let's start with an exercise for the both of you:

On an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet, make two columns and list the Costs & Benefits of Leaving AL. Do it together. Discuss them, weigh those pros & cons. Whatever you say, allow her to make -- and respect -- her opinions and decisions. I'd let her do most of the talking. One thing is thinking about something, another thing is hearing yourself say it out loud. Have you ever said to yourself "Oh my God. ... What am I thinking?" or "I can't believe I did that."?

If your Mom, however, is a danger to herself then come straight out and tell her how you feel. Dispense with the politically-correct verbal pyrotechnics and million-dollar words that aren't worth a penny. You're not running for office. For the love of cheese and crackers, it's your Mother. ... Who knows? She might change her mind after noticing you'll do whatever it takes to keep her safe.

Still, unless there are tons of indoor/outdoor activities there isn't much living to be done in AL. You're just "existing" on an invisible leash at all times, yet are told you're independent. It comes as no surprise, then, that people want to leave and take their chances at complete self-reliance.

Let me know if everything works out.

-- Ed

Both of you, on an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet, make two columns.
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CaraMia Jul 2011
rrsam, If she is starting to be a little unsteady on her feet, she is probably right where she needs to be because the next thing might be falling. If she is alone and she falls, that would be very stressful for both of you. If you feel that way, honestly tell her that you would really miss her if she were that far away, and it would mean you would not see her often.

The other thing is that if she is starting to repeat herself, she may be experiencing symptoms of dementia. If that were to be the case, she would not be safe living on her own.

I wouldn't argue with her to avoid getting into regular spats. I would just keep reassuring her that you are grateful to live nearby so that you can visit her often and be there in no time if she needs anything. It's hard, though. She may very well keep insisting on moving away, but that is to be expected when it happens. It is a longing for something that has been lost, including independence. No matter how nice, AL is an institutional experience for many individuals. Whatever you decide, hope it all works for the best with your Mom and for you.
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txcatlover Jul 2011
I don't think you can logically convince her. You know that she's better off near you, but your Mom isn't being rational (very common in the elderly). We all want things to be the way we would like. She probably has such wonderful memories of this place that she believes it would solve all her problems.

Please don't give in to what you know is not best. You are the rational, logical adult in this situation.
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NancyH Jul 2011
You're right, I should've specified that my comment was directed to rrsam.
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kdtiller Jul 2011
My mom was in the same situation 4 years ago. She was in assisted living and wanted to go home. I moved her back to her home with caregivers that assisted with grocery shopping, cleaning the house, mowing, assisting her with her daily needs. She did really well until Oct 2010 when she fell and broke a hip. Been going down hill since. Now we are trying to find nursing home placement for her but she had the 4 years at home she would not of had otherwise......
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jeannegibbs Jul 2011
Hey, you don't have to be demented to want one of those time machines! :) I want to go back to the years when I had excess energy -- I don't want to relive those years, mind you, just to stop by, grab the energy, and bring it forward for use now!

naheaton, I think your insight is very likely to apply. rrsams23, do you see other signs of declining cognition, memory, and/or mood disturbances?

I wonder if a short stay in a motel in that town (rrsams & Mom together) would bring to light more of what really is behind this request.

Good luck!
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NancyH Jul 2011
I don't understand the timing of the wanting out of asst living. Why now after 2 years? If it is dementia, which is sounds like then that part is worrisome. If she's wanting to move away NOW and to a place where she used to live, then it's probably because that's the last place she was really HAPPY. And in her mind which is becoming compromised with dementia, she's not thinking logically anymore about the logistics, safety etc. Talk to her, find out the 'why's' to what she's thinking. Turned out my mother-in-law really didn't care so much about the house she'd lived in for 50 years with her husband and 3 boys, she wanted a time machine to go back there to where she remembered being happy. Who wouldn't want a time machine?
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tigerlily Jul 2011
I guess it depends on how independent she really is at this time. I would think AL would be hell if you were fairly high functioning. My mom has memory issues but would absolutely hate AL because she is still pretty independent.
Could you maybe tell your mom that instead of moving 4 hours away that she could maybe try an apartment somewhere near you for a short term lease? That way both of you can see how she does on her on? She might realize that she isn't nearly as capable as she thinks and be happy to go back to AL. Just the extra freedom of living alone might be enough to make her happy.
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jeannegibbs Jul 2011
You can also tell her how much you'd miss her if she moved that far away. You enjoy visiting her so often, etc.
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