Follow
Share

My mother has been in a "Bridge" level on an Assisted Living facility . "Bridge" means between independent and memory care. She is in the middle stages of dementia, with a happy inviting personality , who love to have people come to her house.
She has been in the assisted living fascility for 4 weeks. She is not doing well, she tells me she is afraid and does not know where her family is anymore. Her hands shake when I she first sees me and she tells me again how frightened she is. She has a service dog for the deaf and he cannot stay with her because she forgets to feed him and pick up after him. Therefore he lives with us and we take him to visit. This is the most painful of separations for her.


Now to my real concern, I see a dramatic change in my Mother's spirit, in her eyes and the way she looks at me when I visit. I have taken every seminar offered by the Alzheimer's association and by Ms. Teepa Snow, a most remarkable woman. I have also read all the recommended books. However, I know there is still more I can learn. But, I truly believe that this stay in the fascility has worsened my Mother state. She is quickly becoming like the other residents. Zombie like. I am sorry for such a cruel statement, but that is what I see happening to my Mother. We, my husband and I, are now contemplating returning her to our home and seeking full time in home care. I know, don't move them twice. But I can't bear to see her disappear in that place.
She has lost 9.5 pounds since she moved in and developed pneumonia. She is well now. However these events only strengthen my belief that my Mother and we will do better at home with a new arrangement. Your thoughts and suggestions please.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
She is adapting to an entirely new world, and way of life. My Mom is on 3.5 months and we are still trying to find the happy medium. You need to have a family meeting with the doctor, dietician, any recreation, physio. They don't know your mother yet, and you need to inform them of all the changes you see. Keep in mind, the Zombies are in a different stage, may have extreme pain, have behavioral issues. Go with an open mind and try to think of how you would feel in a strange place.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I placed my mom in memory care a year ago instead of a nursing home - I tried my best to keep her at home but I work long hours and even private aides 12 hours wasn't enough and equally important they weren't always reliable and she was generally unaccepting of them running outside and falling

The past year has been difficult for us both and it is only recently that I have begun to see changes in her - she's 93 1/2 and much to my reluctance I had to agree to giving her an anti-psychotic drug - it is not easy to let go of the guilt

If you have energy and time and desire and you believe your mom is a sweet easy to handle soul then yes I believe she would be better off living with loved ones than with strangers

dementia is a long tiring journey and some progress faster than others - many who are younger than my mom at her facility have left this earth already and compared to a long suffering end they might be the luckier ones

Weight loss and pneumonia are serious issues and you have a right to be concerned

my mom has had a UTI nearly every month - it is really important to stay on top of their care - make friends with the hands on staff and med techs - these folks are your first line of defense not the administration - I often find her sitting in a soaked or soiled diaper and I have private aides with her 12 hours a day - the other 12 I'm holding my breath
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I think there are some great answers here. I would just add that, for a person with dementia, making an adjustment to change is very difficult. An increase in confusion, fear and feeling sad and wanting to go home are very common and predictable reactions. I would imagine that since a person with dementia experiences a world that is fragmented and confusing at the best of times, that they would be very disoriented and confused when put into a new and unfamiliar environment. When deafness is added to the dementia...how hard it must be for mom! I would ask the facility staff what they are doing to aid communication with mom and I would definitely look into ways to bring her service companion into the AL. Also, give mom some time. Adjustment is hard on all of us but especially hard for mom. As things become more familiar to her, she will begin to relax, I think, and she will gradually find companionship and a structured environment that will enhance her life.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

My mom is in a similar situation. She has dementia and has lived in a nursing home for a year. My mom's whole personality has changed as well as her physical appearance . Her eyes are blank. She is blind, but there is absolutely no spark in her eyes or personality anymore. Part of it is due to all the medication, strange noises, unfamiliar people, and not living at home anymore. Your mom may need a different environment, however having her live with you and your family may cause a strain on your marriage and home life. Talk to her physician, maybe home health care, but dont take on this task alone. I can tell you love your mom, and you will make the best decision, just make sure it is the best for the entire family. Hope this helps Hugs and prayers
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I'm in a similar situation, moved my mother into an ALF with memory care the day after Christmas, because she had reached the stage that she could not be alone and I have to work. And our caretaker left and the agency could not find a replacement that wanted to come out this far.

The staff tells me she seems to be adjusting and getting involved in some of the activities. When I go to visit on weekends, she tells me she doesn't like the other residents, that they are boring, that the activities (like Bingo) are "beneath" her, and asks if there is any chance that she can come back to the farm (where she complained about being lonely all the time). I give her the standard answer, that she is not safe alone, and that I have to work. And then I change the subject.

I'm not giving up on the facility. I have spoken to many of the other residents, who said they hated it at first, but are very happy there now. One woman told me it took her 18 months to be happy. Not all the residents have dementia, some have physical disabilities.

I think the other suggestions about hiring a dog walker to help with caring for her service dog is an excellent idea. Many of the residents where my mother lives have little dogs, and they tell me it makes all the difference. My mother's short term memory loss is too advanced for me to consider getting a dog for her and she does not even ask after my three dogs that she lived with for 3.5 years here.

Hang in there, 4 weeks is not long enough to make a proper assessment of how your mother is adjusting.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

A move will disorient anyone with dementia - she may not improve going home as that has to be relearned now - the dog may have help 'hide' some of her problems so she may be farther along than you realize in dementia however the fact she no longer can keep her helper/dog changes the equation quite a bit [can you get someone to help keep the dog with her?] - in long run this will be your call & most likely 50% of time you'll feel that you did wrong choice no matter which way you go so you are in lose/lose situation - my thoughts go out to you
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

It is a tough spot to be in. But, when all else fails, listen to your gut. 4 weeks isn't a long time because it is such an adjustment. The dog walker is a great idea to be able to bring her joy by having her buddy with her.
I hope not to experience that with my mom, her wishes were not to be institutionalized and that is my goal for her. Now, will I succeed to the end, I don't know but I do know I will do everything in my power to make that happen. But, I am not sacrificing my own health. My health is first and then mom's care. It's been working great so far. Easy, NO, but it's working.
But I was recently backed into a corner by the POA and was told I had two months to figure out what to do because she was not providing but X amount of money for mom's care, the X amount being far less than adequate. In New York they have Community Medicaid which pays for in home care. They also only look back 3 months, and not 5 years. It's been quite the process but the end result has been a win. They have approved 24/7 in home care. My mom is in the later stages of dementia. So now it's moving on to finding the right people to fill the time slots. Even though I know this part of the process is going to be difficult, I have faith it will work out. The goal is to keep mom home.
Listen to your gut, talk with your husband, do what you both feel is the right decision and the one you can both live with. There isn't a right or wrong answer, it's just what it needs to be. Take care of yourself.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

My late mother went from being on a cane to a walker in under 2 months' time! I told my brother (who was there while she was on the cane), "why didn't you tell me she was so bad?" He didn't notice anything because he was only there for a vacation! Say what?? Vacation? I had no vacation, but full-time care that I provided for her, moving in with her 400 miles away!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Good answers from all. I would give it more time. I know you are appalled at the change in your mom, but I assure you, moving her to your home (and paying thousands of dollars a month for aides) is not going to make her one bit 'better'. She will be even worse off than she is now! No matter where she is living, in a facility, in your home, in a Trump-level palace, the disease is progressive and she is never going to 'get better'. Your best bet is to read suggestions here and get her on some anti-anxiety pills. Sorry for your distress, it's tough, but you can't make it all better.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Excellent points above. It's not clear what level of care that your mom is getting, but, I'd explore to see if the staff are reminding and encouraging her to go to the dining room. As the short term memory is lost, the resident may need direct supervision to get to the dining room. They may forget on the way and get distracted, if not continually reminded of it. And is she able to actually feed herself. I would confirm this and even have her swallowing assessed.

I'd also explore her physical health to see if anything else is going on. Depression can cause weight loss. They may check her for a UTI as well. Does she have pain that she is not able to verbalize. There are some ways to check that on the Teep Snow videos.

I'd check her for dental problems as well and make sure that she is able to eat the food they are serving. Are pieces too large or difficult to handle? Most Memory Care serve in small, easy to bite pieces.

You might consult with the staff about the activities. Are they engaging her and making her a part of the social events and activities?

I'd discuss this look that you describe as Zombie-like with her doctor and also revisit the material you read about the progression of dementia. Mental alertness will decline as their dementia progresses. I'd explore if that is something that you can stop. I used to be so glad that my LO retained her ability to converse, but, now that is going. Her normal conversations are now reduced and a conversation is not really possible. She now only gives a short answer or no answer. It's difficult to accept, but, I know that I can't stop the progression of the dementia.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I can relate. How old is your mom? The problem with dementia is it is a progressive disease and she will get worse. Also the weight loss may be another problem - a health issue. You never know. Has any blood work been done to see if there are other underlying health issues?

Moving a parent into AL is never easy. After I moved my mom, she changed, but she is going to change and get worse over time that is the nature of this illness. Also there is a transition period for them to adjust My mom has Alzheimer's and bladder cancer. The cancer is worsening and she is now under hospice care, she has lost about 10 pounds and she does eat. Due to these circumstances I know placing her was the right thing. I did not want hospice in my home, I also work fulltime and cannot be a fulltime caregiver.

Look at the big picture: How old is your mom, how is her health, how is your health and financial situation? Are you able to provide for her when she gets worse and she will. The guilt will always be there. At times, I also think mom would be better off with me and at times I am glad she is where she is. There is no perfect situation. Sadly most people in these facilities want to go home. My mom now speaks of her childhood home and tells me she is going to live with her parents. Think this through, talk to staff about your concerns, don't make any rash decisions.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

I think that there is an irresistible urge for family members to believe that they can control the progression of dementia. I would consider that often the discontent, loss of ability, fear, and confusion, etc. are things that would occur regardless of where your mom is living. Has she consulted with a geriatric psychiatrist? Has she been treated for depression?

I'll share with you two things that made a huge difference with my LO who has dementia. She initially was placed in a regular AL. Soon her needs were too much for their care. She was not happy and it was apparent. She would worry, wouldn't eat much, cry, resist care and call me a lot. Two things happened that really improved her life. She was placed on anti-anxiety/depression med AND I moved her to a Memory Care unit. Both things changed her life for the better. She became content, energetic, positive and regained a great appetite. She told me she loved her little apt and that the people there were great. There she got hands on care and she seemed so much more comfortable with her surroundings. She seemed to sense that she was understood there. The staff are trained to work with dementia patients and it showed.

I would work with the facility to see what level of care that she really needs. Sometimes, it's difficult to face that there is progression to a higher level.

I would also have her evaluated by a geriatric psychiatrist to see if medication can help her mood. The meds my cousin takes do not make her drowsy. She's very alert and scoots around the facility in her wheelchair throughout the day. She normally doesn't even sleep when they put her down for a nap in the afternoon.

I'd also read on this and other online boards of the stories about caring for family members with dementia in the home. Then, determine the cost it will entail to bring in help, since, it's really a 3 shifts a day thing. Is your mom incontinent yet, is she still mobile, does she pace, have sleep disorder, resist bathing, etc? I'd just figure out the details for her care, before you move her, since, if it doesn't work, you'll have to move her back to MC later.

I hope you are able to find the right thing for you and your mom.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

I agree that 4 weeks is not a very long time, but added that she is deaf does play another part into that situation. can she use sign language to understand, if so, does the place she is at have access to someone that also knows signs language? maybe if she was moved into a section that had more interaction with other residents it might help, but again, the deaf situation makes it hard as other residents wouldn't know how to interact with her (this would be difficult for any of us in loosing our hearing). I would try to visit as much as you can, find a way to have her dog with her even if that would mean having a person to come feed dog and take out for "duty" times. ask doctor about some anxiety meds for a short term until she gets more settled, otherwise if you take her home, be prepared for long days of being more anxious yourself, maybe not at first, but I would hate for you to start feeling overwhelmed and your health come to risk factor. her weight loss could be just because she is anxious and getting adjusted. my dad lost some weight when he first went into NH 2 years ago, but now he is 25 pounds heavier. wishing you good luck
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I am about 3 months further into this same scenario than you are, although my mother hasn't had the health and weight loss issues. She is in IL but if this place had the "Bridge" that you mentioned I think that's where she would be. She has gone through many emotional ups and downs over the past 4 months and my guess is that that will continue. I see her more familiar with her surroundings and seems happyish much of the time but there are weeks when she cries and just wants to go home. She'll make excuses not to engage in the activities around her and sit in her apartment and shuffle her papers around. This is heartbreaking and still makes me second guess my decision...until she's on the upswing again.

I suggest you give your mother at least a few more months. With any luck she'll settle in a bit and spring back to life in this new normal. That being said, my heart does go out to you. This has been the hardest thing I've ever had to do.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

This exactly what I'm afraid of. Mom is in her own home but isolated from real world so I was thinking of moving her. It's just her and caregiver. He only entertainment is when I come and take them out. I don't mind but it's been 2.5 years 80 miles 3 times a week. Are you and your husband willing to take that on. I brought mom to my house which I have done in past no problem,but the last time she was so disoriented. We went out for routine walk and she was going though house looking for us. Also something to consider if you bring in full time care you have some else to be responsible for in YOUR home.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Wow, I can tell you this will not be the popular answer, but, if it were my mother and I saw the spirit go from her eyes, the weight loss and the lack of companionship with her best furry friend- I'd find a way to bring her home. One caveat, what is her normal personality like? Is she confrontational?, or does she have a calm personality? You have to think of your sanity as well. I know I have the tendency to sidebar mine. I wish you all the best and hope you are able to find the right answers for you and your mother.  Everyday is a challenge but a true gift as well. ♥
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Hi - this is an adjustment for you, too, maybe things have a certain darker appearance right now. I hope arrangements can be made for a dog helper to go to the facility, I'm surprised they didn't help with this or state that already!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Dear Knowledge - my heart aches for you. It truly does. My main concern in reading is the fact that she lost 9½ pounds in 4 weeks - also realizing she had pneumonia. A good AL place will accept service dogs. A dog walker is an excellent idea and will allow her to keep her companion. I am sure Mom is going through a variety of emotions - including depression. I know exactly that 'look' you are talking about - also about the 'zombie' comment. Full time care is so very expensive and will not improve your Mom's quality of life. Talk with the facility and the staff - what are their plans to increase your Mom's quality in life? To increase her potential of happiness? 4 weeks is NOT a long time. It is a big adjustment for your Mom. She has lost spirit... and happiness. Talk to her PCP and ask what you can give her for her uneasiness and what sounds like for sure depression or anxiety. My father reacts well to Lexapro but there are others out there. Ultimately, lay it on the facility. It is their responsibility and they need to focus more on your Mom. Good luck to you.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Knowledge, I know it can be emotionally difficult to move a parent from home or from Independent Living into Assisted Living/Memory Care.   I had to do that with my Dad.

I have heard that some elders will tell their grown children that they dislike the place, are afraid, want to go home, etc.   They try to guilt the grown child into having them live with the grown child.

Your Mom has only been in Assisted Care for 4 weeks, I have heard it can take months before the resident settles down.   With your Mom being deaf, that can make the adjustment more complex.   I think once she finds a resident who she can buddy around with, that will make a difference.   Would the facility allow the service dog if your Mom hired a dog walker to feed and walk him?   My Dad's Memory Care allowed dogs and dog walkers. 

I really was lucky, as my elderly Dad was the one who wanted to move from his house into senior living.   He was happy as a clam in his new "home", and I give credit to his private caregivers who helped him set a routine.   The caregivers were the same gals he had at home, so that made it easier for him.

Then there is the cost.   When my Dad had around the clock caregivers at his home it was costing him $20,000 per month, yes per month.   The caregivers were from a private licensed Agency.   Excellent caregivers.   Once Dad moved into senior living that cost cut in half, and he was able to bring his favorite caregivers who worked morning with him.   Same when he moved to Memory Care.
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

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