I'm in the process of placing Mom into an assisted living facility. We are afraid to tell her but we have already paid for the first month. How do we tell her?

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I'm in the process of placing Mom into an ALF. Already paid for the first month. She has lived with us for 2 yrs. Moms in good health, never fallen and is 96 years old. She can be argumentative, stubborn. We're afraid to tell her about the ALF because she'll refuse to go. My husband is tired of losing our privacy and her negativity. So we thought about telling her she'll need physical therapy and it's at a facility that she has to stay over night. Her new Doctor will go along with this ploy. I just wish we could be honest. She does have mild dementia and lacks words for objects. She just stays in her room and watches TV and stairs at the walls. Only comes out for meals. Seldom will she go out grocery shopping with me. She's just existing. Please, need some help and suggetions.

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I worked in several different types of facilities over a span of 18 years and to be honest with you, if she were MY Mom this would NEVER happen. I kept my beloved mother at home with me, until she passed away in my arms. There was no way I was going to subject mother to any place but mine. I know what its like and I see where you are coming from, but if she stays her room, and only comes out to eat, I don't see a problem, unless your husband thinks she is a burden and HE wants her out. Just remember, she would take care of you if you needed her. And if you have a Dr. that is willing to sign a paper like that, he should be disbarred. A suggestion might be to take a break from her, get someone to stay with her, and you and your husband go somewhere for a week or so. That is what my friends do.
Top Answer
Pricetag, do what is best for everyone. We caregivers are getting older too and need to mind our health and financial reserves too....or we will be of help to no one.

I am not a fan of "springing" a change on an elder. If you can get any kind of "buy in" from your Mom the transition will be much easier on her and she will settle in much better. Start out by choosing the best facility in your area. Visit and take notes. Ask questions about your Mom's special needs. When your Mom is receptive, tell her that she has more health issues that you can take care of at home and you need the extra help. Assure her that you will continue to be her devoted daughter and be there when she needs your help. If she becomes upset, let the discussion drop and bring it up at another time. Have brochures for her to look at and take her for a tour. It has to be done incrementally...do not wait until things become critical in your family. Also, including her in this decision as much as you can is respectful.

The biggest advantage to an ALF is the social aspect. Your Mom has no one to interact with besides you two, and the television. This is not quality of life. Keeping her home and isolated is actually detrimental to her mental health...especially if she is developing dementia. Most ALFs have a variety of activities and entertainment. Most have special memory care units. Your Mom may actually thrive in this environment.

It takes a village to care for an elder and everyone's situation and support systems are different.

Annie233: "but if she stays her room, and only comes out to eat, I don't see a problem" You are kidding, right? Letting an elder vegetate in front of a TV is not humane nor is it in their best interests...as Price said, "she is existing." Social deprevation is one of the pitfalls of keeping a senior, who cannot get out on his or her own, at home. It is wonderful that you were able to do what you did for your Mom, but let's give others a break who need extra help for their family members. Not everyone has supportive friends or family members...in fact, most of us do not. Many of our forum members live in remote areas and cannot "hire" people to sit with their parents.
To each, his or her own.

You are sure smug in your narrow thoughts and judgment. My mom is in AL and I'm glad you are not the one caring for her. My mom is with it mentally and she has nothing but praise for the people caring for her.

I tried to have mom live with us, but it did not work out. Did your mom not have to use the bathroom every hour, get up several times a night, have constipation issues, mental battles everyday, etc. etc.?

She was a ragdoll you planted in front of the TV???

Sorry. I find your comments offensive. Jeanne said it much more eloquently than I did. Loving someone does not mean you have to kill yourself in the process. I'm done with being a martyr.
pricetag, my mother-in-law lives in asst living, and even though she REALLY didn't want to go, she didn't have much choice. However, we didn't 'spring' it on her like you're going to do with your mom. I worry at her age what the ramifications might be mentally speaking. I'm not saying you shouldn't put her there, but it's the surprise part that worries me. Even if she screams and hollers, it may be better to give her some warning.
naheaton, I do agree with you about springing it on my mom, but I'm so worried that she'll refuse to go. She wares her red wig and looks younger. She doesn't admit that she's old and feels she could live alone. Didn't like the idea that we moved her in with us -- she was living alone in her apartment, but fell many times. So my siblings who live far away wanted us to take her into our home. I love my mom, but she is a very stubborn woman and when I mention she needs to be in place where she is taken care of better than I, she threatens to call the police. I would love to sit down and tell her that we got an studio apartment and it's in a ALF. She'll feel that it's a Nursing Home. Do I bit the bullet and tell her hoping that there won't be a fight? Do I ask her Doctor to tell her that she needs to go to a ALF. She can walk on her own, never broken a bone, eats well. She does forget the name of objects which at 96 would be normal in my mind.My husbands CLL(leukemia) came back and is now in the process of deciding which treatment to give him. This is just killing me and I just can't deal with Moms day to day complaints of aches and pains and I never do anything right. Orders her meals, not ask in a nice manner. If she misplaces something, I took it, but will tell you she knows how much is in her bank account and what she spends. She gives us money each month to help out with rent, utilities & food. I have to cook her meals different of ours because she doesn't like a lot of foods only plain ones and then complains of that as well. So it appears I'm wrong about "springing" this on her and we've already paid for the 1st month with nonrefundable deposit. Oh how hard this is, I cry every night, but I have to think of my husband as well who is very tired of losing our privacy.

I understand your fear very much. I faced the same thing with my very stubborn mom. We had the 'mother' of all fights when I told her she was going to an ALF. Screaming at the top of our lungs, her saying she didn't love me anymore, it was not pretty. In fact when I stepped out for an hour to calm down, I came home to find she had vomited all over and wet her chair. Fun times! It was THE hardest thing I ever had to do in my life and that was after watching my dad die of a brain tumor a few months beforehand. The stress level was toxic and damaging to my relationship with my husband and teenage son.

You CAN do this and come out better on the other side. My mom continued to hate me for the first couple of months, but now six months in, she understands why I placed her. Her rage and fear is gone and we have a loving mother/daughter relationship again.

One last thought - my mom had to visit a doctor and have him examine her and sign papers before the ALF would accept her - i.e. there had to be a medical reason for her placement. Getting her to the doctor was a huge battle in itself, but he agreed, in her presence, that she would get better care from a team of professionals rather than just me 24/7. If I were you, I would have a chat with her doctor. Explain to him/her just what you have told us, especially about your husband's leukemia. Your situation can't go on the way it is now.

Your husband comes first and your mom will be just fine in an ALF once she adjusts.
That's very good advice Windytown. Guess my fear is that she is so stubborn and at times doesn't agree with the Doctor. She never went further than the 8th grade and she just feels there is nothing wrong with her. She does have AFib and high blood pressure. Did you take your mom to ALF right after Doctor's advice. Maybe iinstead of taking mom home after seeing Doctor, I should just take her right down. She has lost 5lbs and we'll see blood test result when we see the Doctor on the 9th. I've never ever had such pain and confusion. This is just so horrible and of course my brother and sister are of no help living out of town.
I hear you about not having siblings around to help. I only have a brother and he lives in another country. He was supportive over the phone however.

My mom went to the ALF two days after the doctor visit. Those last 48 hours of her in our home were excruciating. I made it through though and you can too.

We're off now to take her out for a New Year's Eve lunch. Remind her that you will not be abandoning her and that you will always be there to make sure she is taken care of well. I hope to hear that you are taking her out to a nice lunch in the future. It will get better. ((Hugs))
Pricetag, maybe you should and your mother should go have lunch at the asst living place first. If she's thinking it's a nursing home, then she's in for an eye opener when she sees how different they are. When we all got married, the spouse and children became our fist priority, with the parents behind them. So do what you have to do, keep a united front with your husband. If he's well enough to be the one putting the hammer down on mom in the end, then so be it. You're doing the right thing, it's just a pain getting there. Good luck.
Windytown and Naheaton. Thank you so much for your support and suggestions. Happy New Year also, especially to the caregivers throughout the world. Love Pricetag

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