Mom and sister have just moved into AL together. Hit our first snag—we opted for no landline. Mom was continually mixing numbers as she dialed, but worse, had become prey to the many scam callers. I bought an old-fashioned handset to plug into sister’s cell, and that has worked well for calls.
Well, sister went back to the house for a bit to pick up odds and ends. Mom got worried she was taking too long, and decided to go look for sister. Another resident helped her down the VERY long hallway and then home again.
This is the first instance of anything resembling wandering we have seen. I am trying not to panic. It is just day five of her new home and the stress level is high, so I am hoping as mom acclimates the anxiety will go away.
Has anyone used an Alexa in place of a phone? I am researching, and it looks like mom could simply say, “Alexa, call sister” and the connection is made to the cell. There is also a “drop-in” feature where sister could, I think, listen in on mom, making the connection from her end, kind of like a baby monitor—but she could have a conversation with mom too, like an intercom.
I am NOT tech savvy. This sounds like a potential good solution though. Plan B would be a landline with a phone with speed-dial buttons with family member names. But the predator/scam calls would become a problem again. Scary! Mom is feeling helpless with no way to call sister. Thanks!
Of course my mom can leave the room. No, of course staff cannot and should not be responsible for looking after my mother. We do not expect them to. But they have been clear they can manage “smaller” confusion issues to a degree—it was discussed going in. This AL is a step-up care kind of place, with many mild to moderate residents, and an “in-between” wing for residents not quite ready for MC. We chose it for this reason, but honestly most of the places I toured have a significant percentage of the residents dealing with some degree of dementia, and they were very open about it. It is a growing issue for our seniors.
Mom does have anxiety meds available to take when needed, and we will certainly be using them more now. Moving is a terrible stress in the best situations. She is only five days into the new AL, and there will be stress to be managed for many weeks, I am sure.
The situation with my sister and mother sharing the apartment is one we considered carefully, and we are fully aware it might not work long term—but my sister wanted very much to try. She has deformed feet and cannot walk well, and some other health issues, and is excited about being in this facility for herself. She used to be an aide in nursing homes as her profession, and has been my parents’ caretaker—by her choice—for several years. She is familiar with what will be required of her, and possible issues that will need to be worked through. My sister has very little money, and is in her 60s. She sees this as a wonderful opportunity for community for herself, and is loving the support of meals and housekeeping. All the IADLs are off her plate, with only the ADLs for mom left, which are her strength. After two years my sister can transition to Medicaid pay and stay the rest of her life here, something she is hoping for.
Going forward, Mom will be taken by an aide to participate in meals and activities each day, as well as therapy twice a week. For my mom, this is a very full schedule. My sister is not able to easily go places, and plans to make the AL her “world”. She will be participating in most of the same activities as mom, though likely with different new friends.
There are four or five other mothers and daughters who share an apartment at this facility. It is a solution others are trying as well.
And good lord...it is terrible when you are trying to TELL someone something about Alexa and you are NOT wanting "her" to do something. You can't just say "so I said 'Alexa do this blah blah' and she this is what she did" because the Dot or Show will start to do it all over again. So we have started with "A.L.E.X.A. blah blah so she doesn't start doing whatever it is."
We also have Battle of the Dots. Youngest DD will start playing music on the Dots from room to room. But I can turn it down or change it from my phone! Drives her crazy!
The even freakier thing is that oldest DD is away at college 2 1/2 hours away. She has an Alexa enabled Fire TV that she got for Christmas. I didn't even think anything of it until she texted me one night and asked me why I told her to take her garbage out. I said "Honey, I didn't tell you to take your garbage out." She said "Mom, yes you did. You said 'don't forget you need to take the garbage out'. I clearly heard your voice." and then I realized - she had her TV tied to our Amazon account, which is tied to our Alexa account - so any announcement I make - she is going to get it at school too. She also knows when someone rings our doorbell LOL. Luckily she doesn't get notifications when someone just walks on the porch, it's only when someone actually rings the bell.
But I agree - if someone is already confused- hearing Alexa talking would probably be confusing and potentially very scary for them.
Our local PACE also started using "grandpads" a couple of years ago.
And perhaps one day she will remember and the next day she won't, thus causing her more frustration.
I'm not sure what the best solution would be, but perhaps someone else might have some better ideas.
Good luck with getting things figured out.
I'm one of the silent readers here, so appreciate all who give their perspectives. This forum has helped me beyond words to deal with our new world since Mom's life was upended. Thank you!