Bhenson Asked May 2011

My mom doesn't think she needs assisted living and I feel guilty for even suggesting it. What do I do?

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Mom is 86, has been living with me for 6 months and is showing signs of dementia. Not bad just forgetting things etc. I work full time and also have a husband who had 2 strokes so he can't work. Mom thinks she's ok. I suggested assisted living and she said she's not ready and that I said she could live with us. My daughter has been taking care of her during the day but can't anymore with a new baby coming. I feel enormous guilt even suggesting assisted living again. I almost wish mom wasn't so "with it" sometimes as she wouldn't really realize what was happening. Now it's as if I'm abandoning her! She really can't be on her own as she forgets things, can't get to things etc. My husband is handicapped but does fine on his own. My mom's cleanliness is also another issue. She thinks she cleans herself but doesn't. The bathroom is sometimes full of feces and her hands are not clean and she thinks she cleaned it all. I've talked to her about it but so far to no avail as she forgets. Please someone help me with this difficult conversation! She really feels like I am throwing her to the wolves and I just dropped it last time we talked. She doesn't have alot of money so that's also an issue.

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NancyH May 2011
Most asst living facilities will let you come and have lunch with the other residents to find out for yourself what's it's like. I'd take advantage of that. Maybe by telling your mom that you don't want to wait till she has NO input as to where she's moved to, so you want to do it now while she can choose for herself. But I would stick to my guns otherwise, meaning that she WILL have to move to asst living, it's just the WHERE that's the question. Make sure which ever one you choose takes Medicare. The one that my mother-in-law lives in doesn't. I would also double check with asst living to see if they will keep a person clean or not. It could be she's moved beyond ALF altogether.
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ladee1 May 2011
What a Catch 22 you are in. My heart goes out to you.It is very hard for our some of our elders to accept that they are no longer capable of taking care of themselves. And I think they consider AL or a NH the "end of the line". Here are some possible suggestions. Check out these places first. Get an idea of where she would be staying. We also need to remember our elders have heard the horror stories of what goes on in some of these facilities...so, yes, she is afraid. I really feel it is her fear talking more than her feeling you are abandoning her... Is she able to get around and go with you just to "visit" and see for herself that there are loving caregivers, activities, more one on one interaction in a AL facility? Many people do not do well with change especially our elders... my other suggestions is can she afford to have someone come in a few hours a day? Then maybe you can ease her into AL. It makes it hard when they are aware enough to say NO. Let us know how things turn out. I am sure others will contribute ideas for you and your situation... hugs to you.
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