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Hello gang,

Thanks again for this forum, and for all of you who respond. My mom is thinking about trying to sell her condo and get into an AL facility. She does not really have the money, but that is a separate topic in itself. She is pretty well able to care for herself so far (at 84), but is getting more confused about things, so something like AL is attractive in that sense.

But her main issue is her self-described "loneliness". Of two of her sons that live in the area (my brothers, I live 1000 miles away), only one is engaged at all. Of course, this puts a bigger burden on him.

When she visited an AL facility, she thinks that she will be able to make friends and get companionship there, but the trouble is her. She has never really been able to make and keep friends... typically due to her being pretty judgmental (yes, it has to do with her fundamentalist Christianity).

Since she cannot really afford AL, while she is able, I want to take her to the local senior center and say "look mom, this is what they do here: play cards, go on trips, gossip, etc.". If you are not willing to join in and participate in these types of activities here, for free, what makes you think that you would want to do them in AL?

The response to this type of query is either silence, or the "hurt look", or "I guess it is all my fault"... Arrrrrgggghhhhh!

I know that this is not really a question, really more like a vent, as I understand that we cannot change mom or her personality at this point in her life.

My brother and I would be happy if she *could* find some type of companionship at the senior center which would get her out of the house and alleviate some of her loneliness, but given her history, it does not seem likely that will work.

Any thoughts or comments on how to deal with her unrealistic expectations are welcome!

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Your mother sounds like my mother! My Dad is in a dementia unit....and here in Arizona, his various facilities for the first year were all between $4500 and $5000 per month....and if you are looking and are pretty sure she has dementia, choose one that has the dementia or memory care unit attached, so she would not have to be moved a second time when AL cannot handle her with her confusion!! Here, there are also smaller family type facilities that are more like a home, with less numbers of residents too. Also, know that Medicaid will pay for in home caregivers, as well as facility care. My Mom is the same way, when it comes to no friends or few friends. She is not social and is not a 'giving' person who would be helping others or doing anyone a favor. She expects others to be doing for her. She is the victim of the world. She refused to continue with a caregiver coming a few hours per day to the house a year ago....and she is 88y, CHF, Pulm Hypertension, a 91% lumbar fracture, Chronic A-Fib, pacemaker, and insists she is 'just fine', but hates to be alone, hates to eat alone, won't eat at the facility with Dad because the food isn't 'fine restaurant' quality and says she will 'NEVER EVER be placed in a place like he is'. I just tell her that she best be praying about dying in her sleep...to which I hear that she plans to live to be 100 ...'just like her Daddy did'. Totally unrealistic! Will not discuss ANY possibilities of further health decline and need for help to remain at home. I try to nicely tell her that the time will come when it's either living elsewhere or having helpers come to the house....and I hear the same response others report.....'ONLY FAMILY' can help her! Family = ME....there are no others! I tell her I cannot move in with her. I would be there if she were imminently dying or if my Dad was.....but I have a husband (with Parkinsons now) and a home business, live 5 hrs away and run a home business too....which is going down the tubes since taking over as POA for both of them and having to make so many trips down there to check up or do things for them both. I would give your mom the 'either....or....' treatment.. Call it a trial....re: going to day care.... 'We are going to try it for a month...." That's how I got caregivers in for my Dad when he was still at home. Just said, 'Lets try it for a month. If you don't like, we can stop it." By the time a month went by, he looked forward to the helper coming....she was much more fun for him, than my mother was! And even my mother befriended her in the end. Or the other option is to get the doctor to 'order' it for her. Most will do what their doctor says.... To qualify for Medicaid requires money being down to about $2000 in actual cash per month, one car and a house allowed. It takes a long time to get qualified....They will look back for 5 years at what all her money has been spent on. If a 'spend down' is necessary to get to that $2000 left in cash, it can only be spent on medical needs and home repairs to count. It took almost a year to get my Dad approved and in the meantime, we spent $75,000 of his investments on him and another $20,000 on my mom's medical needs and fixing up the house. So all the existing resources have to be used up....and THEN, the Medicaid is basically a loan. In the end, they get paid back out of the proceeds of selling the home. That's how I understand it from here in AZ.
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My Mom and I lived together in our CA condo for 22 years. Since public transportation limited where we lived, Mom drove herself to appointments and activities until she was about 92 years old! She adamantly tried to keep her independence. Two years ago, I lost my job and she had a back injury from a fall at home. I kept her from driving her car for one year! I then took her car in for servicing and found it needed expensive work done. Mom decided that she did not want to spend the money so she sold the car. Last year, she suffered another injury at home with a broken pelvis and ended up in a nursing home. She was in rehab for a month and still not allowed back home. Family and I had placed her in assisted living, so Mom gradually got used to the dining service and made some new friends. Today, she is 94 and can still use her walker (with assistance to get to and from the dining room or activities!
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I wanted to jump back in, since I started this thread. Part of what I called "unrealistic expectations" was the idea that mom can go to AL, which costs around $3000 (or more)... the AL facility has told her that she can get a Medicaid waiver when her money runs out... I assume there *are* no AL facilities that cost (say) less than $2000, or am I wrong?
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Gettingold.
Sounds like you HAVE had enough. I looked up symptoms of Alzheimer's and Dementia and listed all the ones that matched her behavior so when I talked to doctor it didn't seem like I was just venting. He told me it was now up to me as to how aggressive we treat her. I know I have about had it and this is why I'm trying to get doctor involved. She will listen to him before me ( she just argues with me about everything, even if its what she wants. Think that's her hobby, arguing!)

As to sleeping on floor....I bought a door alarm at Walmart for $9 and that way if she comes out of her room I will know. Give that a try and maybe your wife could get back in bed.

So many siblings do nothing! I don't understand how they can ignore and in my case, have their hands out for $$ from her at the same time? I'd be embarrassed to treat her so poorly then have guts to ask her to bail us out, pay for kids college or whatever! ( she LIVES with us and we don't ask her for anything!)


I have actually said to my mom if she's going to continue to expect me to wait on her and she does nothing for herself, she will deteriorate and I'm at my limit so she can start to mentally prepare to move to AL or get up and do things while she still can. Her choice!

Its only been a week since doctor told her. I have looked in to centers but we haven't picked one just yet. (I mean she has found fault with all of them so far. She expects a private car to pick her up if she is to go. No group van service. Yeah, that's not happening!) My husband and I are going to check them out without her and pick one. Then I will tell her again she is going there or AL.

I would also do everything in could to keep her awake during the day. Even if she gets mad about it. Sounds like she has her nights and days mixed up just like a baby. Maybe ask her doctor for a little "help" getting her to sleep at night. Like I said if you present it to doctor right, they will see how hard it is on YOU and do their best to help her for your sake.

I am sorry for what everyone is going through. I hope any of the suggestions on here can help your in some way.
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I can relate to you with your fundamentalist Christian mother. My late father was a fundamentalist Christian and it caused me to go right through life without friends. My widowed mother is nearly 90. Because of her Christian beliefs, she wants help from no one but me - in spite of fact I am on disability support pension because I am medically unfit for any heavy or stressful work. Because of my mum's Christian views banning her from accepting help from anyone but me, I am now under more stress and pressure than fit and healthy people. This pressure will take DECADES off my life, but I am forced to accept it just because of my mum's Christian beliefs. And it really hurts that I have to have my life shortened by several decades and my health in tatters.
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My 90 yr old dad is that way too :-( he has burned a lot of bridges with family members he says a lot of mean and hateful things to and about his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, he has nieces and nephews that used to love spending time with him but now they dont even want to be around him and he cant understand why... It is he and I most all of the time we live together and he thinks when ge says jump I am suppose to say how high and when I dont he gets mad. He has a bad heart and demintia but he keeps going he walks around the neighborhood goes through the garbage cans and brings stuff home :-( everybody says just let him do what makes him happy, really even if it makes me miserable... He is a social butterfly but his anger has got him in trouble more than once so he has been banned from the legend and dance hall that he used to go to but he doesnt remember that... I am about at my wits end but I will just keep on keeping on until either he or I get called home
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I hope u can find her a senior center with like minded people. She certainly will not change. A better fit would be church activities
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I am considering AL for my mom too. She currently has in home caregiver support with home health agency but she also complains of loneliness and we have tried everything to get to senior center but nothing has worked and I just think the area she lives in - they really don't offer a lot of activities for seniors. We have found a really nice AL in our area ( we live in a metropolitan area) and the AL offers much more and you only have to go downstairs to participate plus I like the fact she will get 3 good meals a day and not have to eat alone. They also have multiple levels (independent, AL, memory care) and she has some memory issues as well as needing a walker. The price is not too bad and she gets pretty good monthly income and qualifies for VA benefits. I feel nervous talking her up to get her motivated for this move but I think it is time.
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IsntEasy, what state or city did you find AL for $750.? My mom pays twice that and I have to do a lot for her, especially her meds. She has dementia so she may need more care before too long. She also cannot be pleased, nothing I do seems to be enough. She wants everything to be "about her". (not new behavior). Stays in her apartment way too much. Refuses to go places we can't take her dog, except for 1 hr at church. I'm SOO glad I found this place because I couldn't have her living with me, we would fight all the time! My health isn't very good either. Hope you find answers.
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Sounds like she has dementia and the more confused she gets, the more she will want to retreat. Assisted living is very expensive, unless you can sell her house for more money than it will cost to keep her in AL based on her dementia status and other health concerns. Try the day care centers first, going three times a week, then increase it if she does okay. There are no easy answers to this and it will depend on how much stimulation she can handle. Good luck!
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Agree with 'grandmalynn', call your local office of services for the aging. Arrange for transport to and from a senior day care program and insist that your mom try it for a defined period, because you are right - if she alienates people there, she will alienate them in an AL, too.
Also, if she insists upon selling and moving, look into the senior communities near her that are subsidized. If her only income is SS and her assets are just the proceeds from her condo, she would probably qualify. If she's taking care of her 'activities of daily living' pretty well, she'd be able to move into independent living. In our area, the subsidized senior community is actually pretty nice. It doesn't have all the programming and services of the private pay communities, but the residents make their own entertainment (which also happens at the expensive communities). And, should the residents need it, it has a private pay AL which is more reasonably priced than others in the area. I believe the income requirement there is $22,000 or less/year and the monthly rent is only $750.
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Contact the local Area Agency on Aging. They can give you a lot of information about the services in her area. There are different levels of care that some facilities offer: independent living, independent living with assistance, assisted living, a step in between that I can't think of the term for, and full up nursing care (which may or may not include specialized care for dementia issues). The independent living is the least expensive and usually includes meals and housekeeping.

When I was looking for a facility for my folks, my mother gave me three requirements: two bedrooms and two bathrooms (my parents sleep separately), in-apartment laundry facilities (I couldn't find that), and would take their cat. I got two out of three. It also needed to be on the first floor because neither of them can do stairs. I'm in Michigan, so these costs are my local area costs. The apartment with the two bedrooms is $3,900 a month for the two of them. They now get assistance which adds another $1,500 a month to their costs. Other costs are the incidental things they need: toothpaste, soap, Kleenex, etc., and their medications.

The staff make it a point to match up residents with similar interests and passions. So there may be others that would be a good fit with your mother.

Most facilities I have visited have the option of an overnight visit for prospective residents. That way they can experience the meals and activities offered and see if it is a good fit for them.

The facility they are in has an "age in place" philosophy. While they do not provide round-the-clock nursing care, outside help can be hired to supplement the services, especially at night. Hospice has come in for a number of the residents.

I have continued to visit places in our area to see if there is a better alternative but I have't come up with anything that gives more for the same amount of money.

Hope all of this helps. Good luck.
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TKUP66
The judgmental part of what you wrote about is something my wide knows all about. She has been doing the caregiver for 17 plus years with no help from her siblings, she now sleeps in the doorway of her moms room so her mom won't get out of bed and roam the house with the possibility of then falling,. We have tried to get her mom to do different things like puzzle books, writing down things about growing up, the different things in the family history but that is a waste of time as she would rather sleep all day and not go to bed at night. When we do get her to go out she is fine for a few minutes and then starts complaining about not liking these people and wanting to go home. The sad thing about that is the people she is talking about are family members or people in our church where she went for 35 plus years. We have also heard what you said about the doctor never said that and she plays the sweet little old lady to the doctor like your mother does. When do we know that we have given all we can give and maybe the best place for our parent is AL?
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Yes it does sound similar. I made mistake of letting her move in, YIKES! BIG mistake!!! I'm in Pa. Its a shame she's not closer. We could arrange a play date. Misery loves company :) Save your sanity, don't move her in with you! If she IS like my mother, she will suck the life out of you trying to have you make her happy which I have found, no matter how much I do for her, is NEVER enough or good enough or right or appreciated.
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TKUP66... sounds like your situation is similar to mine. When I go up in two weeks I will be broaching the idea of the senior center... plus, I will emphasize the fact that where I live (in St. Petersburg), the older people we know do get together and do things, but they also play cards, do water aerobics, etc. It may not help, but you cannot help a person who will not help themselves.
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You're not alone! My mother is 91 and she is the same - judgemental, church going, friendless and lonely! She lives with me and my family and 3 sibs might see her once or twice a year ( they are all close) so she wants me to fill the gap my Dad left when he passed and make up for time lost with others. She likes NOTHING! She hates when there is others in my house. All TV is trash unless it was made before 1950 and Disney movies are for kids! I have a family of my own and really don't want to sit here any more than the 6 1/2 years I have already given. I have been suggesting a senior center for a long time now and I get " when the weather warms up" or " in the fall. After Christmas" so I finally talked to her doctor without her knowing and said she just sits all day and wants me to sit right next to her and I can't take it anymore! He told her she HAD to go to center at least 2-3 times a week for exercise ( bless him!) She started saying doctor never told her to go. I'm not accepting it! I told her if she doesn't go ( NP said it too) I WILL call and have them tell her again and I will record it ( the only people she's old lady sweet to is the doctor) so this would embarrass her enough to not want me to call.

Maybe you could have her doctor, minister or someone tell her she needs to try center for a while "help her" in some way?

I wish you the best no matter what! With us, in their own home or at AL, its so hard not to worry about them and if we are doing the right thing.
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jeannegibbs, thanks for replying.... you mention something that I had not wanted to go into detail on... if she sells her condo (it is on the market), she will probably net less than $70,000. At $3000 per month, that would buy her less than two years. She has been told that in Indiana, she can apply for a Medicaid waiver when she runs out of money, and the ALF says they accept a limited number of people that way. Still, this makes me very nervous, as after the money is gone, it is no longer the ALF's problem.... My mom's condo is on the 2nd floor, with no elevator, so she really needs to be on the ground floor. I am visiting at the end of this month, and I hope to be able to visit a local senior center and explain that if she would not be willing to "make friends" and participate in their activities, that she will be equally unlikely to at the ALF, but would lose all of her money besides.

It is very hard to know what to do... the good news is that I do believe my mom still has her wits about her enough to understand this dilemma. So we will see what happens.

Thanks again to you and all who responded!
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Behaviors have consequences. We would often like to repeal that law of nature on behalf of a loved one (or even for ourselves) but that is beyond our power.

Driving others away has the consequence of being alone.

I admire that you want to help your mom, and I suspect doing so would be a gift to your brother as well. I hope you find some small ways to make a difference, but I don't hold out much hope for a true solution.

Mother living in an ALF won't really solve her personality problems, but it might be a good move in any case -- if she could afford it. What would she be likely to get by selling her condo? What other resources does she have? Look at costs for ALFs in the area. Do the math. How many months could she afford? What would she do after all her money is gone? If it is not feasible at all, I hope you can use logic to convince her not to sell the condo. But if it might work out financially, explore the option with her.
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I went thru a similar situation with my mom and wish I could give you some sage advice to solve the problem. What I had to realize was that it came down to choices. I offered every viable option I could. She chose to veto every idea I came up with. It's still hard to see your mom lonely and down in the dumps, but all you can do is offer options....it's up to her to choose to engage with others or be lonely.
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littletonway... she has not been able to (lately) keep even a home church, due to both her "issues" and (to a much smaller degree) some health concerns. Otherwise, we would have already taken your great suggestion... Part of the problem is: her. If you drive away everyone who does come around, you will end up alone and lonely.. still I want to try and help her if I can.
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How about talking to her minister to check if her domination might have an AL facility in your area or a group home? If your local social services group could have the info or even an internet search..

Good luck!
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