My mom has memory issues, sun-downers, hearing issues and I think she is well into dementia. She has been in her new place, an assisted living facility and it is a great place. She was ok with it in the beginning but now is finding every way possible to hate it after about 1 1/2 months. I know it is early on but my health is suffering trying to get her settled and pleased. Her memory and confusion is worsening every day. We are planing to go South for the winter soon and I am really worried. Btw, I am an only child. My kids are great help. I worry about them while my hubby and I are gone. We are not young either and are retired. We just need a break. Am I being selfish?

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You said LTC and then ALF but from what I gather she’s really in an ALF. Anyway, please don’t get yourself stressed thinking you can please her or are in charge of her happiness because that’s impossible. Of course we want them to be at peace and happy. After a move to AL and now LTC, my dad has had adjustment periods that took about 6-9 months. Dementia is a bitch and sadly their coping skills are not good. The best thing you can do is empathetic listening and not try reasoning. They don’t understand that. Do know that she will adjust. are not being selfish. She has lived her life and is in a good place to be fed and safe. You are same age as me and if I didn’t take some time away to have a life I would have either been deeply depressed or possibly even dead by now. I’ve been ill before from the stress. It’s taken me a while to finally be ok with doing what I need to do. You must take solace knowing you’ve done your best. You will be a better daughter for getting away. Your marriage and health are a priority.
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Katsue Nov 2018
What a great response. You helped me in my situation. God bless
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Good for you to take a nice trip.  You deserve it.  When you get back, keep your ear to the ground as to how often the family/friends of other residents come to visit their LO at the AL facility...  

You asked how long does the adjustment to assisted living take.  For most you will likely find that the visits are few.  Perhaps weekly, some longer in between, and a few nearly every day.

While you and hubs are gone,  I suggest you  ask the kids to not call you daily and rehash the latest meltdown they witness in visits.  Thing is, she is gonna be unhappy no matter what happens at the facility.  THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT THAT EXCEPT PRAY. 

I speak from experience...For more than ten years, my wife was in a nursing home....Stroke.  Paralyzed...Could not speak.  Yet cheerful.  I visited for breakfast and lunch and hired ladies to assist her with  her dinner and socialize every single day.  I noted that most of the 90 or so residents got very few visits from their loved ones.  I asked God for a servant's heart...He gave it to me.  My wife had a happy attitude that she would not give up.  I fed that attitude with (sometimes forced) cheerfulness.  

Your mom's condition is much different.  You need to accept life as it is.  
I am 82.  My wife died in 2017.   Since then she has been at peace and I as well.    I figure she is dancing with Jesus, or at least Abraham.

Grace + Peace,
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Gerip1092 Nov 2018
Very well written Bob!

My mom has been in a NH for 9 months now and she never lets me forget that she hates it. Even though, I know she does go to activities, would not be safe for her to be at home. We can only do what we can do and we can't beat ourselves up. We need to come to peace with the fact they are fed, cared for and we visit when we can. We cannot lose ourselves on the journey.
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News Flash! Most elderly people are not happy! If they are at home, they complain that they cannot get around and that family does not help them enough. If they live with you, they complain they are not at home and that family does not help them enough. You simply CANNOT do enough for them to appease them. I don't know any elderly person who has gone into AL and in the first week said, "Oh, I love it here." I'm sure there are those who have, I just have never met any of them.

So, stop worrying. If she is clean, fed, warm and safe, that is what matters. It usually takes at least 2-3 months for them to settle in. My elderly aunt was CRANKY when she went into AL. She refused to participate in activities, complained about the food, etc. Now she has a group she dines with, she LIVES to bowl with the wii and has a group of ladies she plays UNO with a couple of times a week. And she talks about how good the food is, especially the breakfast.
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Your mom may never be happy. Please stop tying yourself in knots trying. You made sure she is safe and taken care of which is all you can do. Go south and enjoy your time with your husband guilt free.
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Hi Lexibrite.

I'm not going to be so rude as to guess your age, but if your mother is 94 and you and your husband are in need of a break, you are not being selfish if you take it.

I also don't mean this to be rude, but there you are trying everything you can think of to get your mother settled and content - and it's worse than it was. Ironically, your taking a break may be the most helpful thing you can do.

As long as you are confident that the ALF really is a good place, and seeing as your children are helpful and can act as liaison while you're away, then go.

Have you talked to the children about what you'd like them to do in your absence? Are they sharing the workload fairly, are they happy to step in?
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You keep referring to the auditory hallucinations, even if you were there 24/7 you could do nothing about them.

STOP worrying about the things you can do nothing about. This is terrible for your health and if you are going to FL so you can worry about things you cannot change you will just be miserable in a different zip code.

As harsh as it may sound, she has had her life and time. It is your turn to enjoy the fruits of your labors. She is well cared for and it may just be that your constant presence is a hindrance to her adjusting.

Go enjoy your holiday and husband.
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Texasgal Nov 2018
Agreed - my mom is 92 and I feel like she's had her life and made her choices - none which she seemed pleased with. I live in a mobile home and it's paid for and I'm very content there. I'm single and have pretty much resigned to the fact that I'll be solo but I have quite a few friends, many interests, a good job and hobbies. I would love to live alone and come and go as I please but she's back with me again. She's 92 - still drives a little! Not sure what is down the road but I miss privacy, time to myself, having friends over for dinner/games. I know one day she will be gone and I'm sure I will miss her but we have lived together for 20 years of my adult life. I'm almost 60 and want FREEDOM! Good luck to everyone!
You have to look at it this way. She is safe, clean and fed. Everything is done for you and her. All her necessities are met. Toiletries, laundry, etc. My Mom was on Medicaid so I took advantage of their doctor, dentist and eye doctor. No more appts to get to. All I did was visit. I actually planned time away. Mom died before we went but did eventually go.

You and husband deserve time to yourselves. Let your girls handle visitation for now. I knew sisters that used to visit their Mom every day together. Eventually they took turns. Ask the staff to call one of the girls with any emergencies or just to tell them Mom fell but she is OK. Let ur girls decide whether its something you need to know. Enjoy your time away. One of my fears when we took care of Mom, was that something would happen to my husband and we hadn't had time to do what we wanted. We were 65 and 68 at the time caring for Mom 24/7.
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lexibrite Nov 2018
Thanks for your advice. I am 64 and my husband is 66 so if we are going to be snowbirds, now is the time. We both suffer with health conditions too. I understand the fear you had of perhaps never getting to do things you planned for your retirement. I do worry about the times she has auditory hallucinations. They can be very horrifying for her. My daughter says just go and they will handle it. My son lived with his grandma for months before we moved her. That was rough on him. Anyway, thanks again, Just knowing others understand the situation is helpful.
I saw a post on Facebook the other day, it said "Take care of yourself, you cannot pour from an empty cup". You need this time, so take it. Oh, my, all sorts of "sayings" are popping into my head. Like, "That is why a man will leave his mother and father and cleave to his wife and they will become one flesh". and “Worry never climbed a hill
Worry never paid a bill
Worry never dried a tear
Worry never calmed a fear
Worry never darned a heel
Worry never cooked a meal
Worry never led a horse to water
Worry never done a thing you'd think it oughta.”

Let your kids help out and enjoy the vacation with your hubby, we never know how long we have with our mates. OH, my, I feel another saying coming up. I think I will quit while I am ahead.
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Of course you're not being selfish!

Are you visiting frequently? If so, I'd advise that you cut down on the number of visits. Let several days pass between them or even a week. Let your mom get really adapted to the routines of the AL and develop some relationships. Also, ask a few of the staff how they think your mom is adjusting.

I was once having dinner with someone who was looking at our community for her mom. She kept looking over at a resident at another table who was laughing it up with five friends. I finally asked if she knew her. She said the woman was the mom of a friend and does nothing but complain to her daughter that she hates the place, has no friends, and mostly eats alone in her room.

ps – JOB ONE is protecting your own health and sanity! You need more than a break. You need a change in the steady state of things and if it means leaving your mom in good hands and limiting the amount of complaining you listen to, then do it.
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Not selfish at all. We've been told there is a magical thing at the 6 month mark for adjustment. We've also been told that family being there too much can prevent the resident from connecting and relying on the staff. Obviously, each person is different, and if dementia is involved, the rational thinking and temperament is unpredictable.
You have done the right thing having her in a safe place. You have great children, so think about whether you would want their lives to be put on hold if the tables were turned.
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