After receiving a lot of great advice here on this forum, I placed my 90-yr-old mother into a Memory Care facility on March 11, 2021, the day before her 91st birthday. I posted already about the problems we encountered on move-in so I won't waste words on that.

The facility lost most of Mom's clothes during her first week there. Yes, all items are clearly labeled with her name. She has since had some of them returned, but not all. They even lost a sheet and pillowcase! And, before you guys start yelling at me about how this is a common occurrence in congregate facilities, I am aware! My solution: I am now doing Mom's laundry. This means the clothes are NOT thrown into scalding hot water and put into a hot dryer resulting in shrinkage of length of her pants.

Speaking of laundry, each time I visited, I began to wonder why there were no used towels in the laundry basket. I asked the caregivers but none of them had an answer for me. Turns out, Mom had not had a shower since the day she arrived and did not get one until the last part of April! Yes, I inquired about this over and over and over again but still she did not get a shower. I guess I should have just given her one myself but, after all, what in the heck are we paying this exorbitant amount of money each month for?? I am already doing her laundry! When they did finally give her a shower at the end of April, the caregiver came to me during a visit and proudly proclaimed, "You Mom had a shower today!" One shower in six weeks? Really? Of course, none of this bothered Mom. She really liked not having to take a shower. Makes me wonder if they are making sure she washes her face and brushes her teeth. She does look a bit disheveled each time I visit. Her hair has not been brushed.

Apparently, they had been using wipes to "clean" her body. I did notice that they were going through packages of wipes pretty quickly.

In Mom's care plan, they agreed to take her to the toilet every four hours or so to see if she needed a dry undergarment. When I visit her, I always make sure I take her to the toilet and, several times, she has been wet.

In March, I requested a podiatrist visit, an ear clean-out and PT for Mom. So far, it has not happened. I am waiting for an appointment with the Executive Director to address my concerns about this.

The caregivers struggle with properly placing her hearing aids in her ears and have a hard time placing them properly into the charger at night. I made a laminated diagram in color with complete instructions and diagrams and placed it on the wall above Mom's nightstand where the hearing aid charger is plugged in. They still are having trouble with this and, believe me, it is not a difficult task.

Now for the good stuff! Mom does not spend much time in her room. She always seems to be out in the public areas every time I visit, usually watching TV with several others. I have seen her taking part in activities a few times. She has only said that she wanted to "go home" once and that was on the very first day I took her there. It amazes me that when I finish my visit with her, she walks me to the door, we hug, and she says "See you later." MIND BLOWN! I do worry about her inability to communicate with the other residents. On my last visit, as I was leaving and heading toward the door, she took me around and "introduced" me to some of the other residents, much to the horror of the caregivers since I am only allowed to be in Mom's room and not out around the other residents. I had on a mask and have been fully vaccinated so I was not worried about it. Of course, Mom did not know their names but it was a touching gesture anyway.

So far I am still stressed. I don't yet have the confidence that she is receiving the care we signed up for. I don't think the caregivers are trained that well. I am looking forward to the time when I can just drop in at any time and don't need an appointment. I am trying to better manage my expectations.

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It seems like the staff isn't paying much attention to your mom's maintenance (clothing and sheets) or to her hygiene. On the other hand she seems to have settled in. I laughed about her introducing you to other residents. Is a scheduled shower in her care plan? Mention your concerns to the director, you are still her advocate.

I wouldn't worry about her inability to communicate with others. Once when I visited my wife in MC, she was sitting on the couch having a pleasant “conversation” with another resident. I couldn't understand a single word, but they both seemed to be enjoying the talk. I don't know, maybe there's such a thing as Alzheimer's speak that's unintelligible to an outsider.

The motions required to brush one's teeth can be difficult for a person to perform, even when they're handed the brush with toothpaste on it. Maybe a cheap electric toothbrush would work. Just place it in her mouth and let the brush do the work.

I am no expert, but what stood out to me in what you posted is that you are on top of this. Good for you. You seem to be a good advocate for your mother. You have taken time to observe and made notes and are armed up with the goods and the bads. As for the laundry, I would probably just do that task as well. As for the other items, you have good examples to bring to the attention of the staff to kindly suggest more attention on. You are at the beginning of this, so I assume some of these items may be adjusting to the staff and perhaps setting expectations.
I am heartened by the way your mother seems to be adjusting though. The way she introduced you to others seems to be a good sign that she feels part of a community. I am sure this is not easy under the best circumstances. Thank you for sharing your experience and please keep us updated. My mother is 83 and my 86 year old father is the only way her currently life at home is feasible. I am making notes if/when there is a sudden change and I need to make some quick decisions. Trying to take the emotions out of it which is all but impossible. Blessings to you and your mom.

My mother lives in a MC ALF for the past two years and has 2 showers a week, no lost clothing, her teeth and hair brushed daily, etc. Then again, there are only 23 (at most) residents living there at any given time; I believe there are currently 20 residents there at the moment. While things are not perfect and I do have a few complaints, they are minimal. My mother's biggest complaint and chronic fixation is with the 'terrible food' and 'people stealing her snacks' the latter of which I know to be false. I can't speak to the quality of the food since I don't eat there, but the MC shares the same chef as the regular ALF and the food there is pretty good.

I'd definitely speak to the ED about your concerns with the showers and the rest of it if I were you b/c 1 shower in 6 weeks is ridiculous. Pick your battles, of course, but that's a good one to pick!

I'm glad your mom is settling in and having a decent time of it all, though, that's great news!!!

I’m sorry for the lack of proper care in several areas, also glad to hear your mom has adjusted to the setting well. When my mom was in a NH we had regular care conferences with the administration and a couple of staff members. It was a good time to express any concerns. This should be happening and I hope you can get some assistance soon

You know what they say, the squeaky wheel...

Pick ur battles but lost clothes that have tags in them should not happen. If she has a roommate/s check their closets. Thats were I found some of Moms things. Sheets? Moms NH sent them out. I did Moms wash too. I was only up the street from the AL.

Mom should be showered at least 2x a week. I would say there are some lazy aids.

About the teeth. I was told Mom was not brushing her teeth. I asked if they were putting the toothpaste on the brush and then handing it to her, No was the answer. And if they can no longer brush their teeth, the aides are to do it for them.

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