How can I make the transition to assisted living easier for my mother who is scared?

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My mother has aphasia and is down to one or two word sentences. She has fallen twice and is having a hard time, Doctors say she should not live alone anymore. She is scared and does not want to move. How can I make this easier for her

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Expert Answer
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Aphasia has got to be horrible - or any other issue that keeps people from expressing themselves. My Uncle had aphasia and my dad's surgery made him inarticulate. It about broke my heart.

Your mother will fight this move, but most people do. If you can stay close, stay calm and let her know that she will have people around her and things to do, once she adjusts, it may help some.

Expect some anger and even depression. But this seems like one occasion where there isn't much that can be done but go along with the doctor. At least you can use the doctor as a third party, and that helps take some of the "blame" off of you. Does she have a pastor, priest or Rabbi that she trusts, or a good friend? Maybe they can help smooth the way.

Keep us posted on how you do. This is hard and we are thinking of you.
Expert Answer
22 helpful answers
Perhaps the most difficult aspect of helping your aging parent transition to assisted living when she doesn't see the need to do so is overcoming your own guilt. It is natural for you to ask yourself if you are doing the right thing, but if you are convinced that you are, then the most important action is to ACT! The longer your Mom stays in her current living situation, the more likely it is that a crisis such as a fall will occur, making the move ever more urgent. It is always better to transition calmly than to do so in crisis mode. So, what can you do to help your Mom accept the decision that you have made?

One of the best ways to help your Mom to see the benefits of a move is to allow her to see what she is moving to. Many communities will allow short stays for prospective residents (and others). If your chosen community allows this, it can be a great way to introduce your Mom to the new environment, while still letting her "come home again" before making the move permanent. A week or so is a good length of time for a short stay. Perhaps you can do this if you will be away for a vacation of your own or have a business trip planned. I've actually heard of aging parents who decide not to return to their former residence once they've tried out their new community!

Another possibility is to engage your Mom in the process of choosing what furniture, household items, and personal treasures to take to her new home. One of the hardest things for your Mom is parting with all of those things he or she has accumulated over a lifetime, and moving to a retirement community usually means downsizing and parting with some of those things. Perhaps there is a favorite chair or dresser that will make the new space feel more like home and help your Mom get over having to get rid of the rest. Maybe some special window treatments or new bedding can be made for the new space that will make it feel fresh. Hanging favorite photos or art on the walls and making sure the place is all set up for your Mom will help to make the whole move less overwhelming. If you are good at imagining an empty room as a home and have the time and energy to set up the new space, then by all means you should take this project on yourself. If not, you might consider engaging a senior move manager who can coordinate the entire project.

Good luck with this! It's never easy.

You may be able totake your for just a visit to the assisting living one way. Call ahead they let both of you eat lunch and you can see for yourself how she acts. When your did choose the assisting living that I might have had to place her even for day care, They invited us over that was after I looked at over ten differrent places. It turned out it was like a loving family group of people, with good care and clean and the patients were clean, with no smell at all. Well it did turn out that I had to place mom in this one in Tampa Florida, she was much too ill for myself to take care of her. She had moved down from New York and no one told me the truth about how bad her dementia was. Before you make up your mind visit and take your mom for a day trip. Yes it breaks your heart to make up some decesions but sometimes it is for the better of yourself and your loved one.patrica61
*** I my self have a added coment. Thank you all again for all your kinds words this past year. It was a blessing to hear from all. My christmas this year was quiet and sad without mom for the first time in many years. She is with my dad togther again and at peace. My best wishes go out to all the caretakers and their families and loved ones for a HAPPY NEW YEAR 2010 where ever you are. patrica61
It may be helpful to present this as an opportunity for your mother to make the decision to move BEFORE someone else has to make that decision for her. She may take some pride in knowing that it's a difficult decision that she did not shy away from, because she wanted to avoid burdening her children with an even more difficult situation later.
I just want to take the time to thank all of you out there for all your info, I will be signing off the dept of agingcare as of Wed. Jan 6, 2009. Things are not still going good for me and I need some time for myself. My husband has been treated me like a piece of ------
does not understand how I feel about losing my mom after ten years of caring for her and making sure every thing went ok. I know she is at piece now, but I can not find any piece of mind. listing to everyone yelling at me. now he wants both his parents to live with us, he drinks, they don't speak english only spanish so good by. thank you all for your kind advice. He won't listen to how hard it is, they are both old and there is nothing in writing with any kind of legal paper work to support him.

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