Should tell my mother that we are in the process of renting or selling her condo?

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My mother is in a Rehab/Conv. hospital because she fell three times within a month's period at the AL where she she had been living for a little less than a year. We were hoping to move her back to her condo after her stroke a year ago, but her health has been steadily declining. She needs a walker; she has aphasia and dysphasia, and an MRI showed she is permanently impaired cognitively. She seems somewhat alert in the a.m.; but sundowning takes place in the p.m. She has hearing difficulties, and has not been involved in activities outside of her immediate family for a few years. She always eats her dessert first and refuses to eat her vegies which has resulted in constipation problems; we used to take her to the ER on a regular basis. She has not had problems since being at the Rehab because they do not give her coffee and have had her cut way back on the medications she was prescribed while at the AL. She has a new doctor that makes calls to the Rehab/Conv on a regular basis. So the Rehab/Conv is a good match at this time and probably for the long-term.

Everytime we come to see my mother she asks us when she will be discharged and be able to go home..We try to disengage and redirect the conversation; not always an easy task. The Rehab/Conv. costs $1500 more than her AL and we think it best to rent or sell her current home, and use the assets for further care.. But should we talk to her about it? Will it make her more depressed? agitated? When she was at the AL she became agitated and left twice without checking out and wandered about asking strangers to take her home. We do not want to be the cause of further agitation. I do want to be honest with her though in all of our dealings with her. Is there a right answer to this? I feel strange renting or selling her property without her involvement and going behind her back. Thanks for your input.

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Top Answer
With my Mom, it's all in the timing. If you catch your Mom on a day when she is more receptive, gently broach the subject. Point out that she has one too many homes, and that one has to be given up to help pay for her care. If she becomes upset, table the conversation for awhile. But, at least you have introduced the topic. Each time she is feeling well, share more information and try to make her part of the process, if you can.
I think we all want to be in control of our lives. As we age, these moments become fewer. I would hate to be "blindsided" if I were in your Mom's shoes, even if you are doing it for the best reasons.
If you can get any "buy-in" from your mother, that would be great. If not, at least she won't be left in the dark.
Good luck...these decisions are always so hard. Bless you for protecting her assets and using them for her care.
Hopeful, I agree with Lilliput, gotta hit her up in the morning for sure. Does she know she can never go home again? If she does, then I'd ask her what she thinks she ought to do with the condo. Depending on how much she actually knows about her condition will determine how much you tell her. No sense having her pine away for home when she can't go. With my mother-in-law I finally had to look her in the face and tell her that she could never go home again. Oh boy that was bad, but no one was spelling it out to her so I had to. After the crying (which I totally understood) and the denial, she finally admitted the doctors were probably right. Once the acceptance was over then my m-i-l was able to pitch in, (even though she has dementia/alz), with what she thought ought to be done with her house and belongings. And why can't you concoct a smoothie for her that tastes sweet but has fruit/vegetables in it? Win win.
Ha!! Concocting a sweet smoothie with fruit/vegies is a great idea--I plan to suggest that to her Rehab/Conv. as well:) They are not known for their food, but to me that is secondary. At this point, as it would be a good thing for my mother to lose some weight. I am working on that as well, so am just about to make one for myself. Thanks again!
I assume you do have durable POA to take such action and that she is no longer competent to handle her own business in a business like manner which has been assessed and stated so by a doctor? Such news is probably going to be depressive and understandably so, but if her mind is sound enough to understand it then she might well like to know.
Yes, I do have durable POA. We have never had a doctor state the above in those words; however we have had a couple of Gerontologists state that my mother is cognitively impaired and recently we have been told she needs 24-hour care and assistance with her daily functions--the 3 falls this past month at her AL seem to have taken their toll.. Since her stroke she is not able to do simple math, nor is she able to write more than a few words at a time. She has a very difficult time finding the right words when speaking, and is easily confused. We do not believe she can make sound decisions. Of course she cannot drive. She is very unsteady on her feet. Thank you for your response. I have always been direct with my mother and have not lied to her ( except a few times in my teen years--but I have asked forgiveness for those times). She is a different person with all of the above symptoms, but she is still my mother and I want to honor her and do what is right. As advised above, I will plan to talk to her in the morning, and you're right, I think she would like to know. Perhaps she will learn to make the best of the days she has left--That is our hope We kept thinking we could eventually bring her home, but the doctor told us that if these symptoms continue for several months, chances are they will stay the same. This is what we have observed.
Thanks again.
I have seen where family would sell the home without telling the parent/s and they would be so hurt for not having some knowlege of what was going on. And yes some were mad, but that did fade. And with the knowlege that there was not a home outside of AL to go to they are less likely to try to leave.Think of how you would feel if you had no control at all no more. Just letting her have some input will let her see that you are considering her feeling and thoughts.Let her know that it has come down to the fact that you have done all you can and now her safety is the most important thing. You spoke of how she had changed , remember it is the disease and not her that is showing during those hard times. Your mother is still in there. I will pass this on hoping it will help you in some way :

Alzheimer's Hero


by Valerie Stephenson

You entered my world extending your hand,
Reaching for the “me” that I had lost.
You helped me remember who I am
With kind and gentle reminders
Of the memories composing my life.

You took the time to know me
Beyond the intricacies of my disease—
You helped me find my way, each day,
Easing my fears,
Helping me feel that I still belong.

You overlooked my daily confusion,
Understanding the rage, giving me comfort.
You walked along with me, not for me,
Helping me face the day
With a sense of dignity and a semblance of pride.

My memory fades,
But I know when someone cares.
And I know when I look into your eyes
That you are my hero.
For you are faithful, you are strong,
And you respect the best of who I am.
And I know that your belief and steadfastness
Have allowed me to rediscover
The strength and courage
Of the hero that lies within me.

I know this is just hard... Like you I have always been honest with my Mother... My Dad(God rest his soul) passed away last July. It has been hard to watch her grieve and also take care of her. She is frail and does not remember well. We are trying to place her in a senior housing complex in our community. It is beautiful and will be wonderful for her. She really wants to go... she has been lonely. We are attempting to sell her home and hoping to move her yet this summer. I would encourage you to continue to be honest and kind to your Mom. Treat her with respect and dignity (I know that you do) because I do think it is SO important! take care and God Bless...
I never kept decisions from my mom, even when she had had a stroke and could no longer talk the last month of her life. I would not like someone doing that to me even if I did have cognitive impairment. You can never be for sure if she can or cannot understand. So is there a reason why she cannot go back home for a visit once in a while? If she has wandered out of the facility, then mobility is not the issue. Even if mobility was an issue, I would at least give her a chance to have at least one last visit.

As far as the sweets, I would let her eat what she wants. If she is to the point that you say, then let her find pleasure in what she can. My dad loved his chocolate milk and Little Debbie cakes. My husband's grandmother loved her Yohoos and chocolates. As long as she is not diabetic, I do not see any problems. And even though my mom was diabetic (due to steroids she was on for the brain tumor), I still took her to out for Chinese - which is loaded with sugar and carbs. I just adjusted her insulin accordingly before and after. There are other ways to treat the constipation. We used Senacot and lactulose among other things. There are also juices that have veggie juice in the fruit juice, which she might accept better.

Best to you and your mom.
Thank you for your wise and compassionate comments. I plan to have the talk with my mother tomorrow morning and will plan to pray with my husband before I go. Yes, I used to take her home twice a week for 4-5 hours so she could have some home time and get her belongings together and spend time deciding what item she would like to go to what person. It started to get very emotional for her, and there was no order to her getting her belongings together--they would pretty go from one pile to another, and she would just want to sit in her chair most of the time. She used to be very organized in her thoughts and her actions, but of course for the past couple of years, the skills have been declining. I greatly appreciate your input. I have attempted to have this conversation a few times over the weeks and have chickened out. Sometimes it seems that I function as an adult when away from my mother, and become a child of 12 in her presence. Thank you for the above poem as well. This caregiving for our parents is not for sissies is it? But--it is a part of life, and it is my desire to please God and do what is right in the midst of it all, the joy of the Lord being my strength. Have a good and memorable July 4th weekend--I gave you all stars! :)
My father also had a stroke but many many years ago. He was able to live on his own for 20 years. But like your loved one, began to fall multiple times until the last time, he was not able to recover like the others. Although in a nursing home for rehab a few times before after the falls, he would get very mad when it was suggested he stay there and be well-taken care of. This time, his funds were exhausted and I was able to get him approved for Medicaid. That meant I had to let his apartment (home) go and take care of distributing the contents. Since I am an only child, have POA and take care of everything, I chose to do it without telling him. I know him, and he would never have agreed, but I would have had to do it anyway. So I saved the argument and made sure I kept, pictures, memorabilia etc. and kept at my house. He has quit asking about going home but if he does ask, I'll tell him then and suffer the response. I took the easiest way out for me under the circumstances. Sometimes, there is no convincing as they see themselves different than reality and the dementia factors in. He saw himself as being able to take care of himself on his own. I wish I had forced the issue the last time he was there and he would be in better shape than he is now. But I figured it was his life and if he wanted to trade six months of living in his apartment for the quality of life he would have after he fell again, he was allowed to make that choice. I wish you the best, but want to point out that there is no one answer for all.

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