Mom was sundowning and trying to wander in the middle of the night, rarely would bathe or take care of herself or except help and having incontinent issues. Her husband was having health issues after taking care of her for 3 years so we
agreed it was time for memory care. I’m sad how the memory care told me to drop her off for tea and give it time and visit her in a couple weeks. I feel like I abandoned and deceived her. What is going through her mind ?

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Karenmcc: In response to your question "What is going through her mind?," unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) her mind cannot discern what may be going on. Please do not feel like you've abandoned her as you made the correct decision based on her health requirements because she is receiving the care that she requires from trained medical professionals. That is not to say that her husband didn't do a good job; he most certainly did the best as humanly possible. Hugs and love sent.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Llamalover47

Even though you are l00% right in placing a dementia patient, it is a tough thing to do and you feel guilty - but they can't be fixed and are not who they were and if you keep them, their behaviors and needs will soon destroy you. And that is wrong, wrong, wrong. They are where they should be - they don't recall or remember and will adjust but you must too. You did the right thing. Now look after you first.
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Reply to Riley2166
Riley2166 Jan 21, 2022
No one ever, with dementia, or old age, etc. is going to go willingly into a facility. So short of grabbing them and kicking and screaming when they "understand", what are you supposed to do. They have to be tricked so you get the move done peacefully. They have dementia - face it.
I doubt you would feel any better if you had walked her in, sat down and had tea with her, walked her to her room, helped her unpack and get settled in.
Placing someone in Memory Care is a very difficult decision.
A lot of thought goes into making the decision.
It is not something that you wake up one morning and say to yourself I think I will drop mom off at "Gentle Gardens memory Care" and drive off.
A decision like this is based on SAFETY. Safety for the ones giving care and the ones receiving care.
Making this decision is not a failure on your part or your dad's. It is recognizing and accepting that you can not maintain a level of safe care.
It is also realizing that you love her enough that you want her to get the best care possible. A place that is safe. A place that has people available 24 hours a day every day of the year.
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Reply to Grandma1954

Here's how I look at it: DEMENTIA is the Bad Guy here. Not you, not the Memory Care, not the advice to stay away for a bit to allow the woman to adjust. It's the DEMENTIA that causes all the problems, all the worries, all the stress and the danger that placement fixes. Placement takes away all the worries that your mother is going to kill herself by wandering out in the street at 2 am and getting run over. Or mixing together bleach & ammonia under the sink & asphyxiating herself. Or burning down the house by forgetting she left a pan on a red hot burner. Placement should allow you to STOP worrying so much. Should allow her husband to look after his OWN health issues that have been ignored in favor of running after his wife who was doing unhinged things due to her dementia.

What you're finding is this: DEMENTIA offers a no-win situation to all concerned. Keep her home and watch everyone suffer. Send her off to Memory Care and start down the I'm A Terrible Daughter road to guilt and recrimination, in spite of the fact that mother is now SAFE and well cared for in a nice environment, surrounded by people her own age, in the same boat she's in. With activities to partake of, 3 hot meals a day to eat, movies to watch, etc.

You can start beating yourself up for doing the right thing and using the words "abandonment" and "deception". Or, you can realize that DEMENTIA is the Bad Guy here and what's robbed YOU, your step dad and most of all, your MOTHER of your lives. There IS no good answer here b/c dementia stole it. So you took the best option available which was to keep mother safe & sound, and you went with it.

Your next step is to put away the negative self-talk and ugly words, and put together a plan of action about when you'll visit your mother, what little gifts you'll bring her, what photos/phone videos you'll take to keep her amused, what snacks you'll take her, etc. You'll be sure to keep in mind what the staff tells you about allowing her some time to adjust, and then you'll go visit. You'll brace yourself for hearing about "I want to go home" from her but you'll realize that ALL dementia sufferers 'want to go home' when they're not even sure where home IS. They're referring more to a place in time when they were healthy & life was good rather than a brick & mortar building, in reality. And you'll come up with a standard answer about that such as "When the doctor says you can go home, then we'll talk about it mom." And you establish your new normal moving forward, remembering to take care of YOURSELVES too because your lives are just as important as mom's.

You'll all get thru this. One day at a time.

Best of luck.
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Reply to lealonnie1
herdingcats Jan 27, 2022
What a lovely and compassionate answer.
It was very stressful when I moved my dad into memory care in 2017. He was living with mom, things were super sketchy in their household. He was paranoid and they were constantly fighting, she was verbally abusive and told me to "get him out of her house". She said she didn't care where he went. Sooooo, I had to move quickly for his own safety at that point, honestly. At that time we had one memory care facility within a close drive from my house & luckily it was one with a very caring staff. The worst day of my life was the day I had to trick him & drop him off there (with the help of my husband). We just turned and walked out when the staff came up to him. They instructed me to stay away for 2 weeks. I did that. I needed to start mending my mental health, plus I still had my (horrible) mother to try to deal with.

Dad lived there for almost 3 years. After that dramatic start, he settled in and had a reasonably smooth time living there. I visited at least once a week & handled everything that needed to be done (mom refused). In the end, the two weeks at the beginning didn't matter. I am glad I did as I was told because he did settle in, and I was able to start pulling myself together mentally & emotionally. I was in touch with staff via text, and was able to get a few photos texted to me during that first two weeks, to see that he was OK and beginning to participate in group activities.

There is no way to get out of this unscathed. I still cry sometimes about the whole thing. There are no good choices, no good answers. Your job now is just to pick the least-bad options...
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Reply to Upstream

Hello. Ive been thinking about this very situation for a long time before your post and it has given me an opportunity to make a radical suggestion.

i adamantly believe that family members should be able to visit everyday for extended periods of time after move-in just like they can after that so-called period of adjustment.

what is so wrong with letting both the patient and family slowly ease into mom or dad moving into a new “apartment” ?

do facilities not want to pay for extra meals ? Just whats the problem ?

im sure there must be reasons but when a patient goes in to a hospital even these days with frequent limitations of only one visitor per day they are not shut away unless contagious.

isnt allowing visitors to facilities right from the beginning more humane for everyone ?
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Reply to Betsysue2002

Have you been to visit yet? What is your mother's understanding of the situation and how is she adjusting?
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Reply to RedVanAnnie
Karenmcc Jan 22, 2022
i went to see her today with her husband and brought her a chocolate milkshake. Unfortunately it was a window visit because of covid so that made it harder. She didn’t understand why she was there but I fibbed and said her husband was in rehab/ hospital for stomach issues ( he had an emergency a year ago with his gallbladder ) so I picked him up so he could visit her. She was confused and about 15 minutes she said she was cold and wanted to go to her room. I don’t feel better or worse but I’m glad we went out to see her. Unfortunately I feel like this is worse then her dying. I’m sad but all of these posts are so comforting. Thank you
You don't know what is going on in her mind, no one does. Talk to her in her lucid moments, and when she sundowns, that's what the staff is for. Go and visit her as much as you want. You need to advocate for her and make sure she is getting the care she deserves.
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Reply to NYCmama

I know how you feel. My mom was living alone and unable to manage her home and finances any longer and was deteriorating physically and mentally. She fell and my brother and I placed her in memory care after a hospital and rehab stay. It broke my heart. We also had to take her cat home with us, 300 miles away. I visit once a month for several days and FaceTime daily through the use of an Echo Show. She still says she’s “going home tomorrow” whenever I talk to her. This is a very difficult stage of life and a big transition for all. I’ve struggled with the same feelings you have. It’s been almost a year, and it’s still hard. Just remember, you made the best decision you could out of love.
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Reply to Lov2teach

Most likely you’ll never know what’s in her mind, sadly it’s broken and no longer reliable. But you just took the brave step to look out for both mom and her husband's care and well being. The wandering can be so dangerous. The way her move was done was recommended by professionals who do this for a life’s work. Trust the plan and know it’s normal to feel sad that it couldn’t have been different. Your mom is blessed to have you in her corner
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Reply to Daughterof1930

I actually think 2 weeks is too long. I can see a couple of days but I too feel they must feel abandoned. My Mom was in the last stages of her Dementia when I placed her. I told her she was going to a new apartment and would meet new friends. She adapted well. In my split level we had to keep her to the bottom level. She had her own bath and a bedroom/sitting room. She spent most of her day there until dinner when she ate with us and spent the evening watching TV with us. At the AL it was one floor and square shaped. The hallway ran down the middle always ending up in the common area. She walked around the building sitting when there was a chair or a couch. They had a garden in the center where residents could sit. She had lots more freedom and was able to see other faces besides ours.

The first day we walked and allowed the staff to take over. Its like having a small child and first day if Daycare. You take them, give them a kiss on the cheek and say you will be back to get them later and leave. You don't linger. (I never had a problem with this, but my husband did even when it was my mother) You find out later that after a good cry they saw the toys and other kids and everything was OK.

You don't have to visit everyday and if u do, it doesn't have to be for long. I never spent much more than a half hour unless something was going on. Let the staff to do their jobs. She needs to rely on them not you. There was a poster I remember who spent sometime every day with her parent to the point she did everything for her like toileting. Me, that was one thing I was so glad I did not have to do anymore.

Mom will be OK. As time goes on the place will be home.
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Reply to JoAnn29

I felt the same way by taking mom's wedding rings under the pretence of getting them cleaned. My later answers to her if she asked was that they were in a safe place. I too felt guilty about it but in the back of my mind, I knew her brain was broken and she would lose them.
Remember that you are keeping her safe, just like her risk of losing expensive things, but guess what? My visits to her were always our joy.
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Reply to MACinCT

The couple of weeks before visiting part can be especially hard to take (and isn't *always* the right thing for every person, it depends); but probably much harder on you than on your mother. Are you able to get daily or at least regular updates on how she's settling in? How's her husband feeling about it?

Your mother will have continuous support from people who should be skilled in reassuring and redirecting her to ensure she is never left in distress. Of course the change will confuse her - she's not wrong to be confused, she isn't in a familiar place and she doesn't have the mental abilities to make overall sense of what the heck is going on - but the structured daily routine will help to compensate for that very quickly. I hope you're getting good reports; and as for the decision to place her, sometimes there just aren't any better options. It does suck, I'm sorry.
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Reply to Countrymouse
Karenmcc Jan 19, 2022
I do get daily reports when I call but she sleeps a lot. Usually up at noon. She doesn’t eat much. When she was at home she loved her waffles so I dropped off eggs waffles at the facility. They can’t get her in the shower yet. She used to take baths and they have a shower with a chair so I’m sure she thinks that is odd. I just worry but I will see her Saturday ( 10 days after dropping her off ) through a window so she’ll wonder why she is there AND talking through a window and why she’s not at home with her husband and dog. Makes me so sad !
With both my late MIL and my mother we had to remove them from their homes abruptly. We tried to get care in the home for my MIL but she was very resistant and we lived 7 hours away. My husband was her only child. The kind neighbors were starting to find her in dangerous situations within her house. She didn't realize the gravity or truth to any of these situations.

My mother's removal was after a serious fall. Once a person gets to the point they can no longer live alone it is rare for them to accept that fact. My mother's finances were a mess,her bathing was too and the apartment was not clean.

You question what was going through her mind after being left at MC. What do you feel was going through her mind before? Yes she was in familiar surroundings but how was she managing day to day there? Most likely not well which causes whole sets of problems.

We can always wish it to have been different but trying to reason with someone who has no sense of reality as to how they are not managing their life is pointless. It only spirals downhill as is evident with so many posts here.

You are placing her in a safe environment. Hopefully she will adapt even if it takes time. As difficult as that can be for you the alternative is worse because the circumstances have reached a point where safe choices cannot be made on their own. I hope you find peace and in time can have productive visits.
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Reply to Riverdale

I think Beatty is right. There are so many variables on how, when, why we place our parents in A/L, M/C etc. They all have their good and bad points. I went with my mom, settled her in and was there the next day. I think they may have suggested not to visit for a while but I knew my mom better than they did, so I did what I thought was best. But whose to say if I did the right thing. No point second guessing your decision. It's done. Just be good with your decision and see how your mom is when you visit.
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Reply to Gershun

It's ok to be sad. (((Hugs)))

Folks that have done same as you said how hard it was.

Folks that dropped off but then visited everyday to be pleaded with "take me home" said how hard that was.

Neighbour who "refused to put his Mother away". She wandered at night & was hit by a car on the main road. Lingered for weeks too frail for hip surgery before passing. Said how hard it was.

All the folks who write in with elders refusing to move from their unsafe, unclean or hoarded up homes say how hard it is.

Mom is somewhere safe. The staff has seen sundowning many times. They know how to soothe, to redirect. They will be gaining her trust. Everyday, with the routine, Mom will start to feel safe there.

When I visited my Mother (The Great Refuser) at a respite home... was it the same person?? Joined in activities! Smiled at staff! Ate her meals! Seemed to accept & be calmed by the routine of the place.

The break can be two-sided, for Mom but also for you. Time for your emotions to soothe down somewhat too.
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to Beatty

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