How could disrupting the routine of an elder with dementia impact them?


My mother was recently moved to assisted living after sustaining a fall out of her wheel chair, and achieving a level of incapacity that exceeded the skills of the family member who was caring for her. Since going into the assisted living environment and following a hygiene and activity routine, my mother is thriving and is once again engaged and conversational. She is a type A extrovert and the new environment has been good for her.

Unfortunately, the family member in question feels inclined to disrupt the routine and take my mother out of the facility and back to her home for a two week visit.

How disruptive will this be to an elder with advance dementia, and will it just increase her level of uncertainty and confusion?


This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.


Not good. Can you stop this? Folks with dementia need familiar surroundings and routine. It's always a big adjustment to move. This is a case of leaving well enough alone.
Helpful Answer (13)

It's your mother do you have POA? What is the relationship of the family caregiver.
Try and use all the influence you have to prevent this. Mom is happy and adjusted in the current situation don't run the risk of making her dementia worse with a visit such as this.
Helpful Answer (12)

I agree with all of the three answers so far. This two-week break from the regular routine will have profoundly negative affects.
Helpful Answer (9)

That's a terrible idea. My dad has dementia and lives in an assisted living facility. When he had to go to the hospital for 10 days,he was so confused. Being out of his familiar surroundings totally messed with him.
You've got to put your foot down. Leave her be. If she is happy and settled,then that's a wonderful thing. To pull her away from that is just mean
Helpful Answer (9)

My Sister In Law brought my FIL home just once and just for an afternoon when all the family was home. He was scared and confused. Kept asking "is this where I lived with my wife?" From then on if the whole group wanted to see him for a special event we all went there and they let us use a meeting room. Much better day for everyone.
Helpful Answer (8)

How disruptive? Very, very disruptive. It's difficult for someone with dementia to focus and to become accustomed to routine, and to understand and acclimate to that routine.

If she's taken out for 2 weeks, she has to readjust to a new environment, only to have a second adjustment when she returns to the facility.

Beyond this, I'm wondering why this family member wants to do this, and for 2 weeks specifically. Is this member thinking of using this as a trial to take her out of the facility completely? W/o insulting anyone, are there control and financial issues involved?

What could result is wandering; she might try to leave the house and find the facility, getting lost, possibly getting hurt, and definitely being in jeopardy physically, emotionally and mentally.

Perhaps you could talk to the staff on the physician level and ask them to explain how inappropriate and dangerous for her health this 2 week episode would be.
Helpful Answer (7)

I agree with the others that this is a terrible idea. Routine is very important in most dementia situations. Not only will there be a struggle during the 2-week visit to the family member, but it will be a struggle to readjust to her apartment at her assisted living community upon return.

Good luck - I hope you are able to quash this rather bad idea of your family member.
Helpful Answer (7)

To all of the responders to my question, the good news is that the two week visit was decreased to one week. I shared these responses with my sister, who tries to 'fake' the declining position of my mother. Over the past year, mother became completely wheel chair bound, walks at best 100 steps, and has forgotten or gets confused about major events, such as the death of my father four years ago. Your experience has helped me understand the illness even more and to rely on my instincts which are spot on, at least for now.
Helpful Answer (7)

As everyone has pointed out, moving a person with dementia for two weeks is extremely disruptive and so should be avoided unless there are truly compelling reasons to do it.

@Hebnerde, I would just encourage you to be as diplomatic and constructive as possible, especially in talking with the family member who presumably is hoping to provide "a treat," as someone else put it.

This family member may indeed be trying to relieve guilt over the move to a facility, or just may not realize how disruptive a two-week visit is.

Emphasize to that person and to everyone else that your highest priority is to maintain the well-being and stability of your mother with dementia, and that the best way to do that is to maintain her living routine and not move her. You can say that you researched this, and everyone with experience was unanimous in advising against a short-term move.

If possible, express appreciation to the family member for wanting to spend time with this person with dementia (or otherwise wanting to do something nice for her), and try to find other ways this might be possible.

In short, do the right thing by your mom while being as constructive as you can. Good luck!
Helpful Answer (5)

While this person might think they are offering a treat, it is not advisable. My mother, who has very mild dementia, lives happily in Assisted Living. When she recently was hospitalized, she became so weak she had to then go into rehab before returning "home". She became so very confused with these disruptions, she thought I was not visiting her even though I was there nearly every day. She thought she was abandoned. If for some reason you cannot stop this, make sure your mother has something familiar with her. But try hard to help prevent it.
Helpful Answer (4)

See All Answers
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.