Is the appropriate placement for my mom in a memory unit or an assisted living facility?

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My 90-year-old mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's 2 years ago. I am the only child, so when I leave town I would arrange for respite stay for her at a nice nursing home. She is an intelligent, physical fit person. I have managed to keep her in her own home by spending a lot of time with her and hiring a retired nurse who comes in 3 hours once a week. But it has been exhausting and often times there have been arguments between us. For the last year she had been gradually going down hill.


This recent respite stay the nursing home reported that she began to wander. They placed her on 30 minute watch, and then an ankle monitor which she has removed twice. The NH said she needed to go to a memory unit because they can't manage her wandering safely. The unit which they are associated with doesn't have availability, so the solution was for me to hire 1 to 1 care 12 hours a day from an outside agency. I have done as they have asked.
This has occurred in the last week and I keep having such range of feelings about this. If feel relief because I am not doing this alone, but I have huge guilt because I am second guessing if this is the right decision. I scheduled a separate appointment with her GP, but he wouldn't advise as what to do. His view is that her problem is something which he can't medicate, so it's not his problem. My mom doesn't know that I am back in town because she will want to go home. I have called her and she asks me when I am going to be home. I was willing to have her stay at the NH because she has made friends and has a better social life than I alone can provide. But I am concerned that having her in a memory unit will sacrifice her safety over the socialization and comradity she has made at the NH. I am very conflicted about doing the right thing for me mom. Any insight would be very appreciated.

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I remember when I first heard the term "locked down facility" it had set a chill down my spine. Oh how I wished there was a more user friendly term for the Memory Care facilities.

I do know I slept much better knowing my Dad was in memory care, as I was always so worried he would walk out the front door at Independent Living to go to a meeting [he was reliving the 1940's] as he would call me saying he missed the bus to get home, so he is staying at the hotel for the night [his room at Memory Care].
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My mom was recently admitted to a memory care unit. It is my understanding that a memory care unit provides all services a NH would except that it is not a hospital so it doesn't provide the medical side of things. So, memory care units provide support and assistance for activities of daily living, incontinence care and safety monitoring and provide medication dispensing. A nursing home is a convalescent hospital. A memory care unit is not. My mom's doctor does not come to see her at the memory care unit. She must go to his office. Doctor's do visit NH's. Also, certified and licensed nurses are on the staff at NH's.

If your mom does not need nursing care, I think a memory care unit would be appropriate for your mom. In addition, I found memory care units to be more affordable than nursing homes. One consideration, though, is that memory care units do not accept Medicaid.
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I took my husband to a neurophyscologist where he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. That doctor was a big help to me in understanding what was happening to his mind. Wandering can be very dangerous for the patient, so the safety provided by a locked memory unit eliminates that physical danger. Also, it is better to be ahead of what is in her future by visiting more than one memory unit. In your area look for an Alzheimer's support group and find out what they think of local memory units. This can help you make the decision you need to make. Find out about state Medicaid benefits to help you financially, even see an elder law attorney. My husband died last year(he only lasted 6-7 years totally) and now I know he is not going to come to harm which means a lot to me. But sometimes I still second guess my self in the decisions I made. That will take some time to adjust.
Elizabeth
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Probably an NH would be a best bet for her.
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We recently put mom in a memory care unit and it was the best decision since she began to struggle with alzheimers. A memory care unit is more secure for the residents so there is less risk of them getting way and lost. She has blossomed in her memory care as they provide activities throughout the day, crafts, singing etc. She has actually regained memory skills, and is very happy as opposed to being previously frustrated and depressed. Visit memory care units in your area. Pick a place where you can visit anytime.
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My dad has Vascular Dementia. Two years ago, a few months after my mom died (mainly due to caring for my dad 24x7 and not caring for herself), we placed my dad in a community specializing in memory care. My wife and I looked at many options. Given the fact that dementia requires additional care and security we felt as though we wanted my dad to be protected, cared for and that he could age-in-place. One of my concerns was that I only wanted to move my dad once since had been living in the same house for 52 years. Now that my dad has been at his community for close to 2 years and his condition has deteriorated I recognize that this was the best choice for him and my family.
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Good kid,
We recently placed our mom in a Senor Care facility (3 months). We visited a number of different places until we found the one with better care. You need to do your research because each facility is different based on the patients needs.
Some things to look for are, how long has the staff been there, check the board to see what their inspection results scores have been or ask the administrator. Ask if they leave the patients in their rooms alone for a long period. There are facilities that have different sides based on the patients needs. At mom's place the memory care side houses those that wander at night and do not sleep, and wander into other patients room and sleep in their beds and those with other serious conditions. The side mom's on they're allowed to wander around with some redirection required and not allowed out the front door. We're visit mom almost everyday just to make sure the staff knows she means the world to us and she doesn't feel alone. You may have better luck if you're private pay. Irregardless of what facility you decide to place you mom keep in mind that the odor will always be there and the sad site of the elderly.
Please let us know how things go for you.
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I take my alz spouse to what is only memery care. They have doors patients can go out on large lawn area w secured high fence they can see out. They have pods according to abilities where they also eat. The activities are in largest rm. Adult day care is available too which hubby attends. He enjoys his Social time there w people like him so no pressure. Sometimes there are persons that know all places & can help you find best place for your situation.
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My mother was in a Brookdale assisted living facility. One wing of the building was for memory care residents. Because it was attached to the main building, those residents who were not too disabled could eat in the dining room with the rest of the AL residents. They could participate to some degree in activities too. That seemed ideal to us as we knew that Mom could eventually transition there. Some of the other AL facilities in our area have the same - IL, to AL, to either memory care or NH depending on needs.
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My mom has been in a small memory care home for three years. The make up changes. Sometimes there are more higher functioning people, but they progress and new people come in. Next door is assisted living and they will do some activities together
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