How do I start discussions with my mother about moving to assisted living when she thinks she's doing fine on her own?

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When I was given POA authority for a married couple who were long time friends with no children or close family members, I started visiting AL places in the northern Twin City area here in Minnesota. I had never been to any and wanted to learn what they were like and how much they really cost, since it is impossible to learn this on-line. I visited about 8 places, all were nice, but one or two stood out.
I finally settled on a place with memory care apartments in studio, one-bedroom, or two bedroom layouts--the only place with memory care units large enough for a married couple. They were in denial they needed to go and wouldn't consider even trying it out for a test run for 3 weeks to see what they thought. So, I waited for the crisis that would remove all doubt. That happened last spring when the wife, with diagnosed fronto-temporal dementia--became incontinent and started to wander. She needed 24 hour care. I had an agency already working with them for 3 hours a day twice a week to cover for me when I was away. 24 hour care from them would cost about $13,000 for two weeks--prohibitively expensive. I finally convinced the husband she needed more care at a lower cost than could be provided for in their condo and as long as it was for his wife, he would do this. His own memory issues and dementia made him unable to see what was happening. He was unaware his wife was pooping in their bed and that someone was staying with them 24 hours a day. We did the move like many recommend, having someone else take them out for breakfast and then to have their nails done while the basic furnishing could be moved. We were able to make their little TV room look just like their den--same furniture and their favorite photos, and made their bedroom look just like their regular one. The move went well and they adapted quickly. The husband now lives there alone after his wife passed in October and is very happy there. He has no desire to move back and live alone and has made friends with some of the people he eats his meals with. I am guessing he can afford this for several years and since he is in good physical health, I suspect that will be the case. The AL facility will take medicaid and reduce their cost after 18 months of regular payments, so when he runs out of money to pay the full monthly cost, he will still be able to stay there. Right now, that cost is around $7,000 a month--far higher than I ever realized such places would cost when I first began my search. The big job for me now is going through their condo and figuring out what to do with their personal belongings and getting rid of what I can easily do, then seeing to repairs to make it ready for sale. I am being mindful of old photos and family memotos to save and pass on to someone rather than to discard them. It's tricky when there are so few family left.
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Most of the time I think it's me who needs the Assisted Living.... (and there is a beautiful ALF brick home 8 miles from here-rural area-walking trails-large yard-sunrooms-everything but room phone included-peaceful-calm-22 rooms-excellent reputation-less than $1700 a month and they also accept Medicaid). Mom still gets around at home, drives sometimes (rural area), and seems to manage her home inside most of the time. She's been on a binge of rearranging lately - changes light shelves, chairs, and decorations around several times a week. (Dementia - boredom - restless -who knows??) I took her to the doctor (routine) last week and they did a short assessment of her mental ability, and she scored 29 out of 30 -- of course. She can 'brace up' to a challenge. However when we left the office and drove about 2 miles down the road (no turns), she couldn't remember how to get back to the doctor's office, couldn't remember the doctor's name and misinterpreted about half of the visit. I really don't know if it's dementia, multiple personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, 84, or being with me. However, I suspect she'll remain in her home with my help until something drastic happens And I promise, in the meantime, that if by some chance,I should find my hands wrapped tightly around her throat while my head and body twitch mercilessly, I'll do my very best to remember I probably really do love her somewhere beneath all this 'tired'.......
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First, you have to figure out the difference between what you call "doing fine" and what she calls "doing fine." If she enjoys the life she lives but you don't like it, Let her enjoy and try to adapt to it. If she enjoys her life because you are carrying all her responsibility for her, you might want to show her all that you do and what it costs you. Of course, denial is a powerful state, and you may not be able to reach her. You may need to gently rip her out of her current situation and gently throw her into another one. That will be ugly, but you may have no choice. Take a lengthy risk/rewards analysis. Contemplate the law of Unintended Consequences. Then "you pays your money and takes your chances." Good Luck. Try to let love guide your decision-making process. God Bless You
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After getting a diagnoises from my mother's doctor that she did have dementia I started looking for ALF in my neighborhood. My mother like yours would deny that she wasn't capable of taking care of herself even though she wasn't bathing, wasn't changing her clothes, burning pots, couldn't manage her finances anymore, etc, etc. Along with her doctor we tried talking to her about moving but she just wouldn't accept the fact that it was time for her to move. I work full time and couldn't be running back and forth making sure she took her meds, which she wasn't, and eating properly. She became very depressed and lonely.....It was braking my heart to see her this way. Eventually I didn't have a choice and found a facility that I thought would be good for her. It was a little smaller than some of the other assisted living facilities and the people living there all seemed happy and the staff seemed very caring. Yes it is expensive and they do charge extra for extra services, but if you can afford it I think it is very well worth it. My family against her wishes took her to the ALF and had to just leave her there which was one of the hardest things I ever had to do but in the long run it was worth it. I took her about three months before she stopped cursing at me for doing this terrible thing to her but now its wonderful. She calls the facility home and thinks all of these people living there have been her friends for years.......I hear people all the time say that they promised their parents that they would never put them in a home but if you find the right one it can turn out to be great for them and you. My mother was always very social so now she particpates in playing bingo and all the other activites and just loves it.........good luck, I hope I helped a little.
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My first question is what makes you think she needs an ALF right now? The reason I ask is that, in my investigations, ALFs offer very little assistance. They were originally designed for "well" elderly residents...those who can get around, shower and toilet on their own, and get to the dining hall unaided. Most ALFs charge for extra services. The one thing they do provide is someone staff 24hrs in case of emergency and that's about it. Here, they cost about $3,000./mo. for basically a very expensive apartment. They offer the amenities that any nice apt. complex would offer, but, unfortunately, Mom cannot take advantage of most of them.
Have you considered suggesting some in-home care to your Mom? We found two people here (one from and agency and the other is not) who work out really well for personal care and light house cleaning. Makes such a difference for us too.
Anyway, let us know more....I hope you find the right situation for your Mom.
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I have been caring for my wife soley by myself since we found out she had Alzheimer's disease. I get no help from my two daughters except when when I suggest putting her in assisted living. They both then say she is not ready to go, but still does not offer assistance. My wife is also bi-polar and has been for many years. We just didn't know the name for her swinging moods. She says she will kill herself if I even try to take her for 4 hours daycare by cutting her wrists. In the meantime I am going nuts being with her 24/7 & giving up any life I may have left. Her doctor has given her orders to spend some time at daycare, but she doesn't listen to the doctor & doesn't care what the doctor says. I feel I can't live like this much more & have any sanity. She will call me all sorts of ugly names and 30 minutes later she says she loves me. I feel I have lost all my love for her and resent her.
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Has she heard this from her doctor?
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