Should I be concerned about the quality of my mother's Assisted Living Facility (ALF) Care?

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My mother was recently admitted to an ALF memory care unit for Alzheimer. Each and every time that I visit the facility, she is in bed and not socializing with others. According to the ALF staff, she got in an argument last evening with her roommate and scratched her hand. She has had no history of violence whatsoever. I went to visit her early that same evening and she was not feeling well (dizzy and weak). When I reported her symptoms to the nurse. The nurse told me that she felt there was nothing to worry about. However, if I felt she needed to go to the hospital, then I should take her. I reported what the nurse stated to me the next morning to the Admission's Director and told her that I was uncomfortable with the response. It was only then I was told about the argument with her roommate. I'm not sure what to believe. However, my mother did tell me that her roommate stole her sunglasses later in the day, which I found in her drawer. My mother was doing fine before she entered the ALF, but now she wants to go home. She thinks that she is going home after "rehab". I keep telling her she needs to be there a little longer. The ALF staff have told me to stay away for two days so that she can adjust to the new living arrangement. I have agreed to this. A different ALF nurse asked me if they can give her Ativan drug. I am a little concerned about her care at this ALF. Should I be?

Answers 1 to 8 of 8
I am facing this difficulty myself with my mother. I do know that every move of a person with dementia seems to impact them hard. This is so hard. How do you know when it is bad enough to try another place when each move seems to be so harmful!
PennyN: I don't know the answer. The facility that I have my mother in is a private pay so I expected so much more than what I am currently getting. The problem is the money will run out and I will need to get her in a Medicaid facility in the near future so a move to another facility next year is definite. You didn't state what was going on at the facility your mother was in. If her care was being affected, then I would change facilities. You may also look at the Department of Aging and Disability (DADS) on the website which list information on each nursing home facility in your area.
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Ativan works for some folks, but I do know that it can be bad for some kinds of dementia (Lewy Bodies, for example). Perhaps you can't know unless you try...I just dunno. We have lorazepam at home, but have never used it for Mom, because of my fears about it (and because I do think Mom has Lewy and because Grandma's agitation was increased by Ativan). I know that not all Alzheimer's units are created equal. My friend's mother was booted to a psych ward when she got in people's faces in her Alz. unit, and the overmedicating there pretty much doomed her, in my estimation. She then did get into a place that had excellent staffing levels; I just wish she had gone there first, as I think the stress of the psych ward and the overmedication there tapped her out (but who knows? Perhaps she was near the end of her journey anyway). Individual attention (keeping meds at a minimum) is key, I believe, and that takes money. As long as the agitation is not threatening Mom's life, we're going to try not to medicate for it, but I never say never.
Keep advocating for your mother, SharonB, and go with your gut the best you can. Know that whatever decision you make, you are doing the best you can, and that's all any of us can do, right? (i'm preaching to myself here). Take care.
You Mother wanting to go home is a common topic when they are displaced. So far as the sunglasses go, how much do they cost? in comparisson to the help your Mother is getting? Let it go and buy her another pair. I've worked in an assisted care facility for about 6 years, and I've found that after awhile, they adjust and they are better taken care of. After all, that is why we put them there is because we want the best for them that we sometimes can not provide.
Listen to what their providers and adhere to the rules, because they have been up and down that road many times.
God Bless your Mom and you also.
You do need to give it more time, I think, in order to see if this situation will work out for your mother. I remember right after we moved my father to AL he was agitated, somewhat unhappy, etc. and I thought he needed to be put on psychotropic medication. The doctor told us to to give it time and sure enough things did smooth out. I would keep an eye on things and give your mother loving attention when you are there visiting.

I've noticed that there can be a wide variance in the personalities/attitudes of nurses. There are angel nurses over there, I'm sure----just look for one of them and get to know her, and she can help and advocate for your mother.
Keep in mind that all facilities have top-notch and caring personnel as well as others who are just there to receive a paycheck. It has been my experience that vigilence is the key. I keep in mind that no one loves my mom as I do, therefore, as her advocate, I must be there for her to check on her and ensure her care is the best. I suggest you become very involved in your mother's care and make your own decisions in terms of the level of care she receives from each person. You will soon be in a position to know which are those caregivers are there for the right reasons. Be present. Be there as much as you can. It will serve both you and you mom well. Trust me.
I want to thank all of you for your comments. My mother is doing well at the ALF. She is even playing bingo and joining in with the others.
Sharon, so glad things have smoothed out!

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