I was planning on moving my mother to an Assisted Living Facility in 6 months. They have an opening now, should I move her now or wait 6 months?


I have been touring ALF with memory care units for my mom (63, Stage 5 Alz). I started now because I would like the move to be in ~6 months. So far I have her on wait lists at 2 places. One of them I LOVE, but the wait at both is ~12 months.

I have a tour at another place on Saturday and they tell me they have 2 openings right now. Now???? I wasn't ready for that. I was a little depressed at the thought of having to wait for 12 months, but wasn't quite ready for now.

What to do? Well, first I have to see if I like the place. If I do, I guess I could ask for the *next* opening, which hopefully won't be a year if I'm first on the list. But part of me wonders if I'll regret that. Mom has just gotten to the point where she cannot be left alone in the house at all. It's getting much harder to juggle everything.

Anyone have insight or experiences on when the right time is for a move like this?

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You've done your research and I am sure that if you are "listening to your gut" you are making the right decision for you and your mom. The 1st ALF that has 2 floors definitely sounds tricky for a person with some dementia---I know my mom couldn't manage an elevator and the button choicrs!
Is there a refund if you change your mind about the 2nd ALF? Does the $500 waiting list fee go towards her expenses if she goes when a space becomes available?
I am so greatful for this forum b/c mom is in an ALF (since 4/29/10) and is still having trouble adjusting! She is a lifetime worry-wort and gets upset easily and calls me when it happens.
I have to tell her, and remind myself, that she is getting good care---care that she couldn't get when she lived alone in her home. I also have to remind myself that when she has a bad evening, that by morning, she is usually in much better spirits.
But none of this is easy!!
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Well, I toured the ALF today - the memory care wing. I'm on the fence, but leaning toward not sending mom there. Everything looks good except the layout of the building.

As I mentioned, it is an old converted building and not specifically designed for dementia care. It is 2 stories. Mom's room would be on the first floor (shared room, but HUGE with lots of windows). But the dining room and activity room are on the second floor. To get there, she would have to go down the hall, push the button for the elevator, get on, know to press 2, and get off on the 2nd floor (there are also buttons for basement, hold door open, closed, etc).

The activity room is at the end of the hall and is a nice room, but not really big or open. I imagine my mom liking to sit to the side and watch more than participate. You really can't do that there. If you don't want to participate, there are a couple of hallways with chairs and TVs, but they are completely separate.

I left there and talked it through with a friend. I said that if everything was the same but the layout was different that I would definitely say yes. I then went and toured another facility run by the same company. This one was new. One level, two hallways of rooms leading to a large, open living room with dining room. The contrast was significant. Of course, the newer place has no openings and a waiting list (and a $500 fee just to go on the waiting list!!).

I try to picture my mom in each place and "see" what she would do. At the place that has openings, she would be safe and I think the staff is good, but I can't picture her being happy like I can at some other places I've visited.

Need to talk this over with my brother, but right now I think we'll try keeping her at my house right now. If we can get a handle on the pacing and agitation, I think that will make it easier.

As far as the job I interviewed for, if I decide to keep mom here I am definitely not going to accept an offer. For the next year or so, it will be intense and very long hours. I knew that going into the interview, but learned a lot more about it. Not 100% sure I want the job now, but definitely not if Mom is still here.

Thanks for listening.
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Julie it is good to be up-front about her behaivor and try noy to worry about her reaction at first she may and probably will be upset the extent will be how controling she has been about things but if it were possible for you to care for her at home you would now is the time that changes have to be made-let us know how things go-we all learn from each other and there are a lot of caregivers in the same boat as you are.
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You may be surprised. Like I mentioned in my earlier response, take her on a tour of the place, and most places will have you and her for a free lunch, so that will give you an idea about the food and how residents are treated. Many elderly think of "old folks homes" they way they used to be, and may not expect the beautiful, cherry ALFs that they have now. She may be pleasantly surprised when she see's the place and other residents who she will have a lot in common with and she may be eager to go, and you won't have to be worrying about that aspect. Good luck!
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I forgot to add this - I may be resisting doing this right now because Mom is NOT going to want to go. I absolutely dread having the conversation with her. Giving her a choice between a place with openings now and one with openings "sometime" in the future - I think she will pick the latter just to delay.
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Thank you all for responding! I don't know how I wuold have gotten through everything so far without this community.

This is all I have been able to think about since they told me on Wed that they have immediate openings. Which is pretty funny since this afternoon I'll be interviewing for a new job. :-)

So far between my brother, myself, and caregiver, we are able to always have someone in the house. It's hard, but do-able. Unfortunately, mom's anxiety and constant pacing (talked about in another thread) is only getting worse. I'm definitely gonig to be upfront about this with the ALF because I need to know how they will handle it and not have her kicked out after a couple of months (I've been told that can happen).

I have several criteria - including the distance from my home and work, atmosphere, food, staff, ratio of caregivers, activities, layout of facility to avoid confusion (this one is in an old converted convent, so I'm not sure how well it will be laid out), if they keep people through end-of-life, and how they manage changing behaviors. If their *first* response is medication, they are off my list.

Thanks again for the advice!
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I would visit the one that has openings and see how you feel about and if you like it have her go there now if the other ones become available then you can decide if you want to move her at that time-being close so you can visit is the most important thing and so you can go in often to really see how things are going and if you want to or have to move her at least you will have a good feeling about this place and since she can not be alone now is the time to consider the place that has openings.
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I'd go ahead with it ... NOW. She's at Stage 5 and needs care and services that you can no longer provide no matter how hard you try. Someone might say "trust your heart," but the heart is fickle. Whether you place her or not, you'll always feel guilty and wonder if you're doing the right thing.

This really isn't about you and your feelings, but about what's best for Mom. If you see to it she gets what she needs, you'll sleep better at night. Still feeling a little guilty, but more or less at peace.

Good luck my friend, and keep us posted.

-- ED
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My mom is in assisted living. We looked at two acceptable facilities. One was not real fancy (it was run by Quakers) but very clean and friendly. Unfortunately, my mom was put on thge waiting list---she had two people ahead of her--and that was last April. We are now in mid September and still no phone call. Basically, someone would have to die to open up a bed.
The second facility, where mom is now living, is also very nice but twice as expensive!! I think it is under-staffed but I think that is true of most assisted living facilities. We enrolled mom in a 30 day trial (we paid a per day fee)and told her that we wouldn't sell her house unless she decided that she wanted to live at the facility. In less than 2 weeks, mom was begging me to bring her possessions from home b/c she wanted to live there. We did as she asked. Unfortunately, she has now questioned her decision and would like to go back to her "home" which is now empty of all furniture, repainted, carpetted, repairs made, etc and it's on the market for sale so she can afford to live where she is! She has forgotten about the anxiety and panic attacks she suffered when she lived alone and I have to gently remind her of it.
So-o-o, in answer to your question, it would depend upon how many assisted living facilities are available to you at your level of expectations, My #1 criteria other than it being clean and good patient care, was a close proximity to my house so that I could visit her 2 or 3 times a week, which I do. None of us is a fortune teller, so you won't know if there will be a bed for your mom in one year.
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Whichever facility you ultimately choose, visit often and at different times of the day. You will learn a lot about bathing procedures, feeding arrangements and the quality of social programs provided to the residents. Join the family/residents' council at the facility.
Perhaps the facility that has openings now could serve your mother until she works her way up the list at another facility you prefer, although transitions from home to ALF and from one facility to another can be stressful for many people.
Your presence will be one of the most important things to insure quality of care.
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