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Over the past year, following the loss of her partner of ~20 years, my mother (nearly 76) has begun to decline, cognitively. We have a neuropsych eval set up for a few weeks from now (finally- it took FOREVER get her on board and then to get the appt.), so I hope we'll have more information about what's actually going on soon. (Her own mother had Alzheimer's and we suspect that might be what's happening, but it could be some other sort of dementia or even a brain tumor, I suppose.) The details are not terribly important right now, but one of the ways she's changed is that she's become quite gullible and believes nearly everything she reads if it comes in the mail; one impact this has had was her signing up for almost every sweepstakes (damn that PCH!), believing their inflated claims about her being 'the next winner'! She also seems to have gotten on the mailing list of every 'medical' journal and direct-mail company promoting 'medical' breakthroughs (these read like tabloid magazines to me). She, fortunately, no longer has much ability to actually order anything she reads about (no checking account and credit cards have been closed), but it doesn't stop her from being taken in by their claims and telling me all about the 'amazing work of Dr. Sears'. (I've put her on all sorts of 'do not mail' lists and submit removal requests with the 'companies' I find in her mail, but things don't seem to have abated much.)


That was all a long preamble to my question: since she seems to believe nearly everything that comes in the mail, I'm wondering if I can use that to my advantage in some way? I've been trying to convince her to move to a community where she will be with others her age (I believe she's lonely but won't admit it), with support and structure that will alleviate my anxieties about her, and while she's open to it, in theory, she won't take any action, herself (perhaps she is incapable). Maybe if I can have her sent some information in the mail that shows these communities in a really positive light and addresses the cons of staying at home, she might start to believe THAT.


Of course, everyone has a right to self-determination and maybe I don't actually know what's best for her; I just think she should open herself up to the idea of AL, as I think she would be happier and I would worry less. She has become very reliant on me not only to help with lots of little 'situations' she gets herself into but also for companionship. I live about 30-40 min away and see her once or twice a week (with calls in between visits), but I can't be there all the time. I just think she might have an opportunity to really thrive in a community where there are fun activities and people around for both support and companionship.


So, if anyone has a resource they can recommend, I would appreciate it! Something that I could request to be mailed to her. I know that many AL facilities would be happy to send their brochures, but I'm looking for something more 'objective' and general in nature, not necessarily a sales pitch for a specific facility.


Thank you! This is my first time posting, but I pop in every now and again and have appreciated the insights of the community here.

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I signed up for A Place for Mom online, and checked off a bunch of Assisted Living facilities in the area. After several exhausting site visits to some very lovely (and expensive) facilities, we decided to stay in our family home together. We are getting inundated with mailings and phone calls - these places SELL HARD! I was able to stop most of the phone calls by telling them our decision to stay put, but the advertisements continue to come along with all of the other junk mail. I still get a regular email from A Place for Mom, and I have not bothered to figure out how to unsubscribe yet (no link in the email).

So my message is good news/bad news. Yes, A Place for Mom will help you find facilities, but be prepared for the hard sell - kind of like buying a car.
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Reply to klizzy
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Maybe do your own research about places near your Mom that you think might be a good fit. Then give them your Mom's mailing address. Have them invite her to come for a "look and see and free lunch or party" Ask them to promise no pressure when she does come. If she brings it up or you see it lying around say something like "You know Fran (Susie's Mom) isn't planning to go to an Assisted Living but she agreed to look them over in case she ever DID need to go - then she would be prepared. Like if she was recovering from an unexpected fall or surgery." At any rate I used something like this approach and got my Mom to go looking. We looked at 3 or so. She resisted but was nice. I formed my own opinion - seeing her in these environments. Then, one year we wanted to go on vacation and she agreed to go into one for a respite for me. She hated it. But the next year (this is a process...) when it became clear she could not live alone - that one is the one she chose because if felt the most familiar. She was there 3 years, last year facility declined. AT some point I did looking again and meanwhile family of a male friend Moved him. We went to visit him a few times. So when it became clear we/she needed to move - guess where we went.
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Reply to BeverlyJane
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The web site "A place for Mom" probably has some resources. Also go to AARP they should have something.

Check with an attorney or two that deals with senior issues they probably have information
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Reply to lacyisland
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Elders can get wrapped into sweepstakes' scams very easily. These companies target the elder population on purpose. At the upcoming neurologist appointment, you should ask for an M.R.I., which is the gold standard for Alzheimer's, especially since she has a hereditary factor.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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Great support/responses here. I'd be a bit (underhanded) different in my approach. I would get - or have sent to your mom - brochures showing the top of the line care and activities at high end (or not) facilities . Any and all the activities that might interest her, even if obviously out of her financial reach or consideration. To get her to shift over to the plus side of thinking, "hey, this may not be so bad after all," and then being open to visit, may be the entry you need-to get her motivated. I am presuming that she may forget about some of the specific offerings in each facility and when there, consider based on talking to others and her visual experience.
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I get glowing brochures from Adult Communities in far away places and near by, but I didn't sign up for any of them and haven't contacted them in any way, because one of our relatives appears to have signed us up. I expect that because the brochures come addressed to me with my name spelt a little incorrectly, so I have an idea who that might be. So maybe you should sign Mother up and have them send mail to her. And you only need to do that once, because the data sharing system in the business will share her address and she should receive mailings from several concerns. It may work!
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disgustedtoo Sep 29, 2019
Funny about the name spelling. Ex did that once eons ago, long before the internet and the current data sharing (EVERYONE and his mother has your info now!). He wrote his name down, adding III to it. By doing so, when you later get mail with that odd spelling or added III from another place, you KNOW who sold your info, at least initially. From there it just mushrooms...
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Find Assisted Living in your area. Then go on a tour and they explain everything and show you the room, activities and you can meet some of the residents. They even will invite you to lunch. I went to 9 with my Mother and although she didn't like any of them it was great information. We also received an information packet to take home.
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Reply to Louielouie2
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Scout out the various local AL facilities in her area. Have them send her a brochure. They will have a lot of pictures and will put their best foot forward.

My mother is the same way, she also loves to get mail, gives her something to do.
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disgustedtoo Sep 29, 2019
"My mother is the same way, she also loves to get mail, gives her something to do." My mother was like that too. Not me - the only things that come in the mail are bills and junk! I could do without both!!!
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First go scout out some nice facilities that have activities and would be geared toward your mother's needs. Then ask if they have an brochures that could be mailed to your mom. You can also ask if they happen to be doing any presentations in the near future to elder groups, churches, etc.

My mom is a member of a church group and one of the meetings included an assisted living presentation that I thought was pretty interesting. The handouts had some really nice pictures of the rooms, floor plans, and gave prices for each floor plan. Activities and support they offer were discussed.

Your plan is a pretty good idea since she reads mail and gives thought to what comes in the mail. Can't hurt to try.
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Reply to my2cents
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Hopefully the trip to the doctor goes well. If she balks, have a reason/fib ready. Mom used to schedule her own, but then want to cancel it before going!

Getting AL info by mail can help, to get her thinking about it. Better it comes in the mail, so it isn't you pushing it. But, as others suggested, visit places, check them out first. Narrow the choices, have them mail brochures.

Ask lots of questions. Wander about, take in the sights, sounds, smells.  Narrow your choices based on observation and what she can afford (factor in potential increase in costs - AL will tack on if she needs add’l services, MC is inclusive for most services, but not always.) Consider places that allow transition - if she does have/gets dementia, moving is hard (another reason to move NOW not later.) Then schedule a visit with her - they bring on the VIP treatment, lunch, tour, etc. I wouldn’t do multiples on a weekend, might be overwhelming and/or a turn off.

NOTE: If/when mom might need MC, it IS tax-deductible.  AL only medically necessary costs are deductible.

Our mother used to do the tours herself, and planned for AL, but once dementia kicked in, NO WAY! When we chose the place, we brought her there. She liked it, only concern was who was paying. We told her the VA and Medicare. But, by the time she was home, she forgot why we were there. She thought it was a place for YB (he was with us.)  We had to resort to trickery to make the move. Although getting cellulitis is very bad, YB used it to facilitate the move (fake letter from hospital.)

NOTE 2: I repeat whenever possible, as people don't fully understand POAs - MPOA/Hippa forms allow you access to information/contribution/decision making to treatments, DPOA allows you to manage financials/sign for the person, but it DOESN’T allow you to force anyone to move/do something they don't want to do. We found out the hard way! EC Atty told us this and said we'd have to go guardianship. Facility wouldn’t go for this. So, Plan C, have some tricks up your sleeve (mostly for those with dementia - if no cognitive impairment, they don't have to move and you can't make them!)

Oh the mail! Mom thought anything on the kitchen table JUST came in the mail. She would dig out old stuff and insist it was new (W2s, with Death Benefit for dad's pension was seen as notice someone died and left her money! I finally convinced her by showing tax forms, etc, but had no answer for why it just came in the mail - they were years old! I said they were stupid and dropped it, but took them with me. I had to "sweep" her condo of all paperwork soon after to stop this.) When I took over finances, I forwarded her mail and contacted each place to change the billing address. No need to use POA for most of them.

Problem with "junk" mail is that you only need to get one - they sell names/addresses to make money and then you get on the flood of mail. After forwarding mom's mail, they have started here. Sigh. You can't win!

UTIs - don't assume doc did the test. If you were with her, even if not in the room, you would have noticed. She would have to use a bathroom for a sample. As for odd behaviors, I was a skeptic until mom got one at the MC facility and later in the day/early evening she was out of control! We had to treat the UTI AND give her anti-anxiety to control her until it cleared. The second time was more recent, but manifested as bed-wetting at night - soaking the linens and herself! So, definitely test (you can try a home test first - not as good, but if positive, get an Rx to lab test! Culture is best.) Since treatment, the bed-wetting stopped. Who knows what else UTIs can manifest as!

Summary - Do the AL checking yourself first, repeat visit those you think mom would like/can afford, go w/out appointment, wander about, observe when no one is rolling out the red carpet, and at different times to get the whole picture. Once you narrow down choices, take mom for the VIP tours (stagger visits.) 

Get UTI testing done!
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melle76a Sep 29, 2019
thank you for this thorough response and for the support! all very good advice. i shouldn't pin my hopes on her having a UTI, but the very thought that that is a possibility is giving me some hope right now!
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Yes, she has a right to self determination but you can give some guidance to her as well. Perhaps start by determining what she is able to afford, what is close to you so that you can visit more easily and what services the different facilities offer. Then contact those places and have them send her literature to her present address so that she will see it first rather than something that you presented her with. Don't seem over eager to "push" one or the other but be open to discuss each ones merits. If she has a hand in the decision making process perhaps she will be more open to the change. Good luck!
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Reply to dazednconfused
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Good morning, I don’t have any pamphlets or other material to suggest, but I’ll be following your thread very closely because I need the very same information for my wife. My problem is similar but a little different from yours- I need information to persuade my wife that her mother, who is now over 100 years old, would be much better off in an assisted living facility. At this time- would you believe- her mother lives next door to us in a 3-bedroom house (that we own). My wife and I have to check her several times every day; my wife manages her medications, does her laundry, shopping, etc. I help her with these tasks and others and have been managing her finances for about 6 or 7 years. I’m retired and hoped to be traveling the world at this stage of my life but we’re pretty much stuck at home looking after my mother-in-law. It’s not my mother-in-law I need to persuade, it’s my wife; I’ve been on the verge of leaving her for several years to go live and enjoy what’s left of my retirement years but I just don’t have the heart to do it. I’m sorry- I didn’t mean to “hijack” your post with my own problem(s), just wanted to let you know you’re not alone in your predicament. By the way, many elderly people are gullible and tend to believe anything they receive in the mail. You’ve gotta be careful she doesn’t get scammed; hopefully you’re managing your mother’s financial affairs to prevent her from being victimized. Good luck with everything.
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RedVanAnnie Sep 29, 2019
Would your wife be horrified if you took a couple of short trips on your own, for a break now and then? Is your help essential day-to-day or can your wife manage your mother by herself or with some temporary hired help so that you can enjoy some travel time? She is the one who has chosen to keep her mother in the home, but you are the one feeling imprisoned by it.
I've always found great value in separate spousal vacations. You don't need to permanently leave her or get divorced. You just need some independent travel time. It's great for reconnecting to the world.
It would be nice if your wife supported the idea and was excited for you about trips you wanted to take, but maybe that's not the nature of your marriage.
Good Luck.
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Most AL facilities have information about their places and what types of services they provide.
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Melle, your mom sounds SO much like my mom at the point we realized "something is wrong".

She may balk about going to the neuropsych appointment at the last moment. My mom did; I told her that the doctor had ordered it so he could have a baseline from which to measure any changes that might happen when she was older (that was a bald-faced lie; both her geriatrics doc and the geripsych she was seeing suspected significant cognitive issues).

Tell her whatever you need to. Good luck and please let us know how you're doing.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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Gosh 76 seems so young...

I lost my brother to early onset ALZ before he turned 60.. and another friend with brain issues.. and someone else with cancer.

If she is a danger to herself and others get her somewhere, where you can pop in and see her anytime you want.

Best thing to do, is make a nice weekend of touring Assisted Living areas near your home, so she can be close to you, in case of emergencies. They will give you a nice tour, talk about all things that are availblee there, and give you a free lunch and sit in some activities like bingo, and all that good stuff. they will show you the car in which they drive their patrons around to different local stores and shops, and how fun it it. And she needs to be a happy participant in this as well, it is a two way street... There will be the basic move in fees. And if she needs medications dispensed to her, there may be additional fees for that. If she needs more care, they will include it when the time shows it is appropriate. If she can feed and walk her self clean herself and manage her meds, the monthly fee may be just the usual "rent". It all depends on the facility... And do check out the 6 packs in your area. Board n Cares.. Most of these places are one story with a permanent wheel chair ramp to the front door...
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Reply to MAYDAY
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Choupette Sep 29, 2019
What are 6 packs?
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Great comments above... . My sister and I had to move three 80+ years old aging family members into assisted living and independent living all in one months time - My childless Aunt and Uncle from out of state and my father from in state. It was extremely hard but we got through it. I hope you have support of siblings or friends. We don't want to hurt our parents feelings, we want their buy in, and we want them to be the one making the decision. In my experiences, beating around the bush does not work. I think its rare that a parent wants to leave their home and if so they would have done something about it earlier. As much as we don't want to admit it, unfortunately those with dementia have a mental capacity really similar to the mental capacity of a child. Its awful to have to go through this process, but you now have to be a parent of your parent. You just have to do it. A friend once told me that at some point after months of assisted living discussion and you see an opening, you tell them its time for them to move. You worry too much about their safety and its affecting you (you cant sleep at night or your health is declining... ). You just have to tell them some small white lie. Set up the move in advance and take them somewhere while its happening. It will be one of the hardest things you do in life, but often they are much happier and you are much less stressed. I've seen a family wait and wait for years and now their father is in full blown dementia. The situation has become extremely dangerous for him. He missed a chance at assisted living and will now have to go to memory care. I would not wait too long. It will only get harder to convince her. She will most likely never agree. BTW- My Uncle thanked me for moving him every time I saw him. He told me we did the right thing. My Dad and Aunt are happy too. My Uncle is now in memory care getting amazing care and attention!
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Melle; PLEASE get your mother to an eldercare attorney asap BEFORE the doctor appointment.

Being diagnosed with dementia does NOT mean that she can no longer assign POA, but it might make it more difficult.

To put it kindly, you are putting the cart before the horse. You need to find out about mom's finances NOW, before she has a diagnosis.

Get your mom a little book called "5 at 55". It's about the 5 documents that EVERYONE should have prepared when they are 55. Including POA and Health Care proxy. Get it done right now!
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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cherokeegrrl54 Sep 26, 2019
Excellent advice as always!
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Hi melle762, ditto to what BarbBrooklyn suggested. FYI facilities do not publish their prices online or in brochures so you will need to visit each in person. Also be sure to ask if they take Medicaid (unless your mom is flush with funds, don't consider anyplace unless they accept Medicaid). And only consider a place with a continuum of care (AL to LTC to MC to hospice). This way mom will never need to be disrupted with another move.

Your mom is pretty young for cognitive decline...has she been recently tested of a UTI? Urinary Tract Infections sometimes have no other symptoms in the elderly except confusion and odd behavior and can be easily resolved with antibiotics.

Also, please understand that you appear to be dealing with your mom as if she is fully her "old self"...you take everything she tells you as accurate. My own MIL was telling us what she ate for breakfast and lunch but when if fact she was not remembering she didn't actually eat. She'd even tell what she ate, but it wasn't true. IMHO your mom will need AL sooner than you think, unless you want to become her full-time caregiver, which you can, but you must go into that with your eyes fully open (just read all the thousands of posts on caregiver burnout on this website by well-meaning and loving family members).

Also, in a care community your mom will have much richer social interactions. Right now she is isolated and dependent on you. She is not "independent"...you are starting to orbit around her inability to perform activities of daily life. It is no longer about what she thinks she wants, but what she actually needs, and reality. No matter how nice a facility is, few are anxious to give up their homes for the unknown, so her resistance is totally understandable and common.

Finally, I hope your mom has all her legal ducks in a row so that you can be her legal advocate medically and financially. Make sure to sign the HIPAA release form at any doc's appointment or they won't be able to release any of her info to you. Good luck!
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melle76a Sep 26, 2019
Thank you for the thoughtful responses! @Geaton777- I have heard about undiagnosed UTIs presenting as dementia. However, when we saw her PCP for a referral for neuropsych, I presume she would have tested for that? I'll bring it up at the neuropsych appointment and will also make sure to have her sign the HIPAA release.

And fair point about her potentially not relaying accurate information to me- it's important for me to remember that! She may not be a 'reliable reporter' anymore.

And @BarbBrooklyn- very good points! I should have stated that my brother and I do actually already have POA and Health-care Proxy, respectively. She took care of that years ago. So, we do have the POA if/when we need to deploy it. I'd prefer to get her buy-in on moving before we have to force her so that she can get comfortable with a place, get to know others in the community, and feel like has some agency in the process before/if she progresses. (Perhaps, if I can get her to read something convincing, she might even think it's her idea!)

And, fortunately, we do have an overall picture of her finances (annuities that should pay decently well once she starts drawing on them). It's more a question of how much can we expect her to have access to with those annuities if she needs X type of care for Y many years; i.e., what range of monthly fees would be considered appropriate for her. She's in a lucky position to be able to (I believe) afford a decent place, which is why I'm pushing for her to consider it. I've told her that she's been frugal and made smart financial decisions (until recently!) over her lifetime for the very reason that she can be comfortable in her later years.
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Thank you! I've been a bit reluctant to look at places until we know what we can afford, and I believe we'll have better luck having that conversation with her financial advisors if/when we have a more compelling medical reason to consider these places (i.e., if she knows we really should consider AL because something is definitely coming down the pipeline, health-wise, we can then have a more productive conversation re: finances; and, I think, that convo. is sometimes informed by the prognosis and life expectancy, as morbid as that is). But you might be right that actually seeing how nice these places are, in person, might do wonders for her attitude towards them.
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MAYDAY Sep 27, 2019
How nice these places are... Go home go home go home, may be one's mantra.... As nice as they are.. residents need to know this is it.. and they may never be able actually accept that this is home for now on... :(

Then again, my cousin finally moved his mom into one.. She never knew the difference. She was mentally unable to see that she was moved.. She was happy. No change..
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Melle, have you visited some nice Al's that mom would be able to budget for?

Ask the director of these places to send a glossy brochure with an invitation to lunch. Take her!

Se will be thrilled at the attention.
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