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My mother has slid into dementia rather quickly, degrading from staying at home alone while I work to being unable to do so within a month and a half. I'd love to have her here but am not sure I can manage her at nights and on weekends alone. I'm pretty sure it would break me down and leave her at risk. The dr is recommending permanent care in a "memory unit."

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Today I went to a presentation by a specialist and it really helped me see another side of memory care. She said the advantages are they get more stimulation, more companionship, more supervision and some actually feel better bc they can function as well as their neighbors :-)
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There are many caregivers who can't afford to stay home and care for a parent with Alzheimer's and have to work to support their own family. It is not "tossing them away". It is loving them enough to want them to have the best care available if it can't be you. Caregivers should always consider the impact on their own health and family's sacrifice, we can't do it all!
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My mom is in a memory care. There are different levels of care given. It is a locked facility and there are 6 cottages with approx. 8 people in each. Some private rooms and the others are two to a room. She can have some of her own furniture and pictures, ect.
Where my mom is, she is still fairly high functioning, to other cottages that need to help feed a resident. There are different types of activities that she can participate in throughout the day. There are some activities she doesn't like to do, so I bought her an RV broom and long handled dustpan and some dust cloths. She has always loved to putz around and now she has her own things to do when not interested in the activities. When I visit her, 3 times a week, we work on her photo album, or I encourage her to participate in activities by joining in, myself. Then she'll do some of them and realize she's having fun. Most of all I know she is safe. I can take her out a couple times a week to go to the park, store, zoo and lunch.
My mom is not being tossed away! I have health issues and I am unable to do 24/7/365 care. I did it for a total of 10 years. Most recently six years. It is the toughest decision my sibs and I made. We ALL visit her every day of the week so she is seen by her kids and we advocate for her care. No matter which one of us sees a need or a want that our mom has, we get it for her. She is where she needs to be for being welled cared for and to improve her quality of life.

Capnhardass, love your sense of humor! Blessing, ALL!
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OMG, here we go again. Tossing a loved one out or throwing them away is NOT what anyone in this thread is talking about, except the person who used those terms. What insensitive rhetoric!
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My dad is 85 and was diagnosed with alzhiemers 6 yrs ago and has been in a nursing facility for 4 yrs, 2 and a half yrs in the regular part of the facility and a yr and a half in an alzheimers/dementia unit. Recently the social worker asked me to consider placing him in the regular part of the nursing home because he has been talking more and making eye contact and she feels he would be happier there. I dont want to upset the apple cart because he has done so well in the alzheimers unit, and I beleive he s done well because of the interaction he is given there. This is a different facility than the first one he was in when he was just in a regular residtential unit. They said he can go back if it doesnt work out but Im hesitant because these units are in high demand and what if there was not a bed for him if I wanted him to go back. I just want whats best for him but not sure what that is.
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I actually waited too long to place my mother. As with most of us, it is hard to face the truth sometimes until we have no choice. My mother was placed under "Crisis Placement" in a facility 85 km. away from where I live but once she was there for a few months, I took her off the list for placement closer to where I live. The facility she is in has a small Memory Care Unit (12 rooms) and Mom adjusted relatively quickly, the staff remains consistently cheerful and handle her well. Mom is allowed to "work". Don't know if this is true but I think she is allowed to clean up after meals (maybe?) sometimes and this gives her a purpose and makes her feel useful. She found another resident who needs more care than her so she is "helping" out as much as she can. Most important of all, she is happy despite the fact that she didn't really want to be there. They come to get her to go to activities and mingle with the assisted living residents during these activities. Mom is mobile so if there is adequate staff, they sometimes take her outside for a walk if the weather is nice. There is always guilt that I am not visiting or doing enough for her but the flip side of that is, I can visit and spend the quality time with her that was previously mentioned here. I go up for an afternoon and we shop and I take her out for lunch and maybe a walk. I go get her for 2 or 3 days over a weekend to spend time with her, cook her favorite meals and try and meet some of her siblings for a visit or lunch halfway between where I am and they are (total distance of 5 hours). I phone every other day. It is as good as I can make it for her and at this stage in her life, it is all we can do.
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My mom is actually moving from assisted living to memory care in a few days. I, too, have struggled with the guilt thinking what kind of daughter am I that she can't live with me? Answer is I'm doing the best for HER as I work full-time, have my daughter and 15 month old grndson living iwth us, my husband is gone 2 weeks out of every month for work and she is in need of way more care than I can give. We have a 2 story house and I don't feel safe with her and stairs. Locking her in a room and giving her a portable potty is abhorrent to me. This way she gets the stimulation during the day she needs, from TRAINED people who know how to get her involved with activities on her level. It's a tough decision and I appreciate all of the positive comments on this site. The other comment about throwing your loved ones away was way off base, there are always 2 sides to every story and every situation is different. Nobody should judge anybody else on their decisions.
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sunny2day, thank you for starting this discussion. I have been wondering what to look for in a memory facility when it comes time. I am concerned that my mother may soon be too much for me to handle. VivianLeslie and alizee's responses were so helpful. These things can seem so overwhelming and hopeless, but reading what they wrote I know that things are not so bad.
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I really don't think people are "tossing" away their loved ones, when they have to be placed in a facility. I've cared for my spouse for years with his severe dementia. I left my job to care for him, as working full time was just too much for me to do both. He did go to Daycare twice a week, which gave me a few hours to myself during the week. I was lucky with the fact that he didn't wander and he slept through the night. He unfortunately took a tumble and fractured his hip. He is not responding well the the therapy and refuses to stand up, even though the doctor has said his fracture is healing very well and is able to walk.
I am now looking at placement. I was hoping to keep him home but now it is just too much with him fighting everytime anyone tries to get him to stand up. And he is very strong!
So, is it better for people to burn themselves out dealing with everything that goes along with demenia (which is never going to get better and only going to get worst).
By placing your loved one in a facility where you can check out and decide if it is a good one or not. Or wait until an emergency situation comes up with either the caregiver or the person with dementia and they are placed in the first facility with an open bed?
I did notice that when he was at the Daycare he enjoyed the stimulation of others around him. It seems to be the same way at the rehab facility.
So, it's not "tossing" your loved one out, but trying to give them the best care possible for whatever amount of time they have left.
I visit daily and join him for lunch. Now that I am not exhausted from the caregiving, we can enjoy the time we do spend together. And I am there enough to be able to make sure he is being cared for properly and know most of the nurses and aids by their names.
I don't know what stage some of the other's loved ones are at, but mine needs care 24/7 with everything and much as I loved having him with me, I was afraid everytime I didn't feel well, that I wouldn't be able to do what he needed to have done. It is a hard decision and I struggled with it for many weeks. I am now dealing with the Eldercare lawyer to get my ducks in a row. I feel everyone needs to do what they feel is best for everyone concerned and not to feel guilty about what others may say. You will know in your heart what is best.
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All facilities are not the same. You may have to visit a number of places and narrow it down and revisit. I think it better for you to drive a little further for visits but have the better care both for your Loved one and Your peace of mind. Facilites have many professionals and caring people on staff. As mentioned, all are not the same. You should be able to tell right away how caring a place is.
Caregiver burnout is very common and to give up one's career/income is a very serious matter. Try not to allow guilt to make your decision. You need to look at the big picture.
With Alzheimer's or other degenerative diseases it never gets easier.
To think the solution would be to latch a bedroom door would be considered neglect or even abuse. What if a fire breaks out. The person knows they are being locked in. How do you think they feel about it. Put yourself in a locked room for awhile.
If you can not keep a Loved One at home without hardship and stress, find a good facility. Let the experts do care and visit OFTEN.
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From the description of your mother's health and your awareness of your own limitations which would be true of anyone with someone that far declined, the doctor's recommendation sounds very reasonable.

The sad reality of it, as I've seen with my mother and now and seeing with my dad, is that it gets worse and worse. Once she is in a memory care unit, you will be able to know that she is safe and being cared for 24/7. Some people say they have guilt over this. Well, I guess that depends on various factors. In my own case, my mother was not safe at home, my step-dad was not realistic and still is not realistic about how bad off she is as well as his own inability as someone in a wheel chair to take care of her and himself. My mother went to an assisted living after resisting her neurologist's recommendations and paid for that choice dearly by visiting the ER a lot. Sad to say, she fell at the assisted living a broke her hip. Like her mother, she gave up at that point, plus I don't know how much the dementia kept her from being able even then to really grasp the importance of working with PT in order to walk again. Thus, she has not walked in four years, but she thinks she can and has been. It is sad to see her decline, but I can take comfort in the fact that she is safe, she never misses her meds-like she was at home even with a helper at home- and she has 24/7 care.

So, I don't feel any guilt or obligation to bring her home to live with me nor any fear of my step-dad being angry at me for not taking her out of there. He is blessed to have a live in helper, but he is really in need of a nursing home, but that decision is up to my step-siblings. My mother planned for this day by buying long term care insurance that covers her for the rest of her life and by saving up some money. My step-dad has not ever made any plans which is sad, but that is not my problem. He has two sons and a daughter who have wonderful incomes from their jobs which I don't have being on disability as is my wife.
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Yes its very difficult to send our parents .I m agasint sending our parents to old age home but in this case important is we want our parents to be in safe hand. We are sending their for their safety. As a human being we cant give our 24 hours to them . If we can offer then we have to search for maid with whom we can trust and who will take care of them,. which is not easy. So i think seeing her problem we have to take them . After certain age our parents become like our children. So like we send our children to hostel for their benefit , here also we are sending our parents for their safety. So we can make them happy by visiting.
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im guessing that there are elders who would do fine in a group environment and probably many who wouldnt. ive never played bingo and no amount of coercion could force me to. i see myself stomping tomato worms for entertainment when i get old.
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Using the words throwing away a loved one to a memory care unit is not only uncalled for but very insensitive and unknowledgeable about what goes on it one. I plan on placing my mother in a memory care unit because 1) they can stimulate her mind which will keep her mentally active 2) she will have companionship with peers and no matter that I am her daughter, I can only provide so much since I am only one person and not GOD.3)My mother is not going to provide for my old age, I have to do that for myself just as everyone else should do...I must work to pay my bills and I would rather my mother use her money that she put away just for this purpose she that she receive great care that I cannot provide her. I will advocate for her care, I will take her to dr. appts. out to lunch and shopping and will be spending quality time with her. I suggest that you not be so judgemental about other peoples choices because you assume too much that is soooooo wrong in their choices for doing so. I commend you for being a 24/7/365 caregiver, but it does not make you a hero. Educate yourself on other peoples situations before to say they are tossing their loved one out with the trash. What a horrible thing to say to someone who is hurting, overwhelmed and struggling to keep their own health.This site may not be for you.
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I think there are very few of us who make this type of decision in haste. If your parent refuses to go to adult day care and your spare bedroom is downstairs for example, and/or your family or financial situation cannot accommodate having her with you, you can only make the best decision in placing her somewhere safe. Locking my mother in a bedroom at night with a potty would be as appalling to me as placing her in a facility with 24/7 care would be to you. What would I do if there was a fire and I could not get to her in time and she could not get out?
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I heard this same suggestion when caring for my grandmother who had Alzheimer's. I would never throw away a loved of mine. I was cared for as a child when they had to be sure I didn't wander off and I offered my Grandma the same in return. You can use adult day care when you are out and at night, it is quite simple to put a latch on the outside of her bedroom door and put a baby monitor in there and a potty for her. You would hear if she needed you but she would be safe. Hey, this is your mom. Did she worry she couldn't tend to you on nights and weekends when you were little and needed her? Too many of us are hasty about tossing mom and dad into someone else's care.
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If he has no assets, and all he has is SS, and no spouse, ( what about Property) then Medicaid will take his SS, and pay his Nursing home. Upon passing if he has property they will do estate recovery, if the property had not been properly transferred at least 5 years ago.
I may suggest you use anything he has: to purchase a Funeral Trust BEFORE applying for Medicaid. ( or you will have to pay for burial/finals.) If he is a veteran He can be buried in a national Cemetary, but you'll only see about $300 in expenses. Not the "free Funeral" folks think a vet gets. In Georgia up to $10,000 can be set aside for the applicant which is MEDICAID exempt, also for Spouse and their Children, as opposed to paying all to Nursing Home. In the case of healthly people especially; the Funeral trust (when NOTpurchased at the funeral home), {which then does not become the beneficiary}, becomes PORTABLE
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My 89 yr. old MIL is in a wonderful continuing care community near us. She has been there nearly 2 yrs. Prior to placement, I visited other communities with her, and she selected this one. She has a room in an assisted living building, but within that building there are about a dozen residents who are in a special memory support group called the "Connections Club". This group appears to be physically healthy and ambulatory, but there are special events just for them, and she pays $300 extra per month for these services. Every morning there are "meetings" as my mil calls them, where they talk about current events and play memory games (some on the computer) and have one-on-one scheduled chats with the memory support staff. The staff will come and get her if she doesn't appear, and there are reminders from staff if she doesn't show up for lunch, etc. They visit children at a local day care, have icecream socials, crafts, chair exercise, play bingo, have pizza parties with residents in the other buildings, go to Walmart, etc. These activities are closely supervised and in addition to other activities--within reason--that she can participate in as an assisted living resident This building is not a "lock down" unit. Should she need more care, she can move into such a unit. You did not say what services your mother needs, but in my mil's case, she has very poor short-term memory, can't drive, handle finances or meds, refuses to wear hearing aids, must be constantly reminded to use her walker, refuses to wear Depends on trips (they will not take her unless she does--they check) is very suspicious, makes up wild stories, and is becoming increasingly argumentative with staff and us when she doesn't get her own way. VivianLeslie's suggestions are very good, and in my mil's case we can share meals with her (the food is good!), and have brought her favorite throws, pictures, as well as her desk and chair to her room. These are our experiences, and I hope you find it helpful. My mil is in a safe, stimulating environment with good staff who call us if there are concerns. I must add that such excellent care is pricey, and mil had the forsight to buy long-term health insurance many years ago. I hope all goes well for you in this difficult situation.
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If dad has to go into a NH because he needs constant care and may have Lewy body dementia, will they take his SS to pay for it? It is all he gets to live on and has no assets. He gets 1,600.per month for him and mom to live on. Was told he made to much money to be on medcaid/Medicare...
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I placed my mom in a memory unit 6 months ago. I work full time, my husband hasn't dealt well with the changes in mom and mom wasn't safe alone. We placed her in a facility with a memory unit that was 85 km. away with the intention of moving her closer if a room came available. It broke my heart to have to do this but it was to the point where I was sleeping with mom and blocking the bedroom door in case I didn't hear her. If it is a good place, they will get you to fill in a questionnaire about your mom. Her background, her extended family, what her day to day habits are, what she likes to eat and do. Then they should meet with you to discuss all of it and to have a look at the rooms and common areas. Talk to the staff and look at the residents. Do they seem happy, are they clean. Is it a cheerful environment? Is the food prepared there? You can test drive a meal to check it out. When you decide on a place consider placing mom's furniture so she gets out of bed on the same side to go to the bathroom if possible and bringing and placing all her things before you bring her there. Pictures, ornaments, things on the walls, clothes, her favorite candies. These will comfort her. A good facility should be able to tell you that mom will be participating in bingo, peanut auctions, sing song, etc. They will come get her. Good luck! It was the most difficult thing I've had to do but mom is safe 24/7 and she has friends again.
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Memory units are wonderful. I have had a chance to works shifts in one in a local Nursing home. I was impressed with the level of care, the compassion and the patience exhibited. I would check a few of them out and see what they offer to their residents. Good luck.
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From what I have learned; memory care units are separate from the rest of the residents and live in a safe environment with a locked door to that area to keep them from wondering. There is usually special attention paid to the memory problems in the form of exercise, cognitive therapy, etc.

I'm sorry your mother has rapidly declined - you are looking out for her safety and well being by looking into memory care units. You will be able to visit her whenever you want and take her outside the facility. It might take some time to investigate and visit facilities; but well worth it. Hugs and hope things go well.
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