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Well, it seems the delays are finally (and suddenly) at an end. My mom is going to be admitted into the dementia ward at a nursing facility next week. As facilities go, it has a 4.5 out of 5 star rating and has gone through the pandemic almost unscathed. Strangely enough, to me anyway, they don't have a check list of what to bring to move her in.


She'll be sharing a room with one other patient (hoping that goes over well) and will be on palliative care. I'm not even sure how much room she has for clothing and such.


I know many of you have experiences the move-in, so I'd appreciate any help you can offer. Thanks in advance!

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you can take clothing but make sure you give them to whomever that will see that they get her name put on them, that way when they are cleaned they get back to her.  Now don't get discouraged if sometimes you find some things missing, just let the staff know.  You can take hair bursh, slippers.  Maybe some pictures, but again, sometimes things go missing, let the staff know so they can be on the lookout for the items.  My dad's watch went missing for a couple days, but they found it.  Remember the dementia patients don't know what is theirs or someone elses and can be taken, just let the staff know what is missing.  Also.....do NOT take anything of major value (not valuable jewelry,etc).  Some places will allow you to take a favorite chair (if the room is big enough to handle it).  Do not take any medications as the NH will supply the necessary medications.  We took my dad's vitamins, but by PA law they had to dispense "their" vitamins not my dads.  no problem for us.  Ask the main person at the NH what is NOT allowed and what IS allowed.  good luck.  Most places have a side dresser and a stand up dresser to hold the clothes.
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An Update - the facility had another case of Covid19 hit several days before my mom was supposed to move in. They have suspended all new patients until further notice. The good news is that my mom is not having much pain right now.
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When Covid started, I was unable to go see my dad at AL anymore and then he ended up in skilled nursing where he is now. When I went to move his things from AL, all of his good clothing that I had purchased him was gone. Every nice shirt and good quality pants. I was so mad. It put me in a bad way with the AL but they were all things I had purchased over the last years for birthday, Christmas, Father's Day, etc. I have no idea where they went because I could not be in the facility every week as I used to be. I have replaced with good used items from Goodwill. DON'T take any good stuff. When we were going to move him to memory care, they told me to label everything with his name and room number. No one told me to do that at the AL. Lesson learned here. As it is, we found him a nice memory care but he was never able to move due to continuing health issues.
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Be kind to the nurses and aids. Get to know them, become their supporters. They are doing a job that you are unable to do, and so it is wonderful if you can really support them. Send them lunches once in a while, send them small thoughtful gifts, and just send them thank you cards. They will feel so appreciated as they should and as a result your time with them over there will be that much easier. It also gives you something to do when you don't know how else you can help, and there is something powerful in that process. Good luck, and have faith it will go better than you expected. Also, if you can set a schedule of your visits so that it is easier on you and on them. Finally, find ways to make the time with your parent special. Bring in special foods if possible, bring her music to listen to that she loves, bring a photo album. God bless...
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wolflover451 Aug 16, 2020
I agree, we would take cookies at Christmas time, I would give them a card at Thanksgiving, the other holidays thanking them for their hard work because it is hard work.  My mother would always get a cake to celebrate my parents anniversary (it would have been 76 years this August) to share with the staff and the residents that could eat cake.
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Why not go ahead and ask to see a room...check around the facility....don't bring anything of value. Even if clothes are labeled, the nice ones disappear. They took my mom's favorite fleece jacket, rosary beads and her comforter, in the first month or so she was there....never got them back....
I hung pictures and calendar ... decorations for different holidays....she never spoke one word to the other woman... dementia is horrible...so sad to see our parents decline like that...never wanted to socialize...movie in the day, bingo, arts and crafts, entertainment, sing a long, ...she was mad at my brother and I for putting her there and never talked to us in the time she was there....
Wouldn't get her hair cut, so the aids would braid it for her....many times during our visit she would say go home, I don't want you here....don't take anything serious, it's the disease taking over...
Talk to a good elder lawyer ...they could help with the medicaid process....
Good luck on your journey...
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kirahfaye: I did see your update three hours ago that you're waiting to get the list of needed items, Good. One comment that I have is that you should mark every possession of your mom's with indelible marker.
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I took pictures she had on the walls from her home. Tried my best to make it resemble her home. Write names in clothes, Don't over load; I wouldn't bring more than two weeks worth of clothes. Yes to not taking anything valuable. Mom has her purse but it really has nothing in it. Picture yourself in that position and what you'd like to have around you. God be with you on your journey.
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I too find it odd no 'Check List.' I would inquire to them "I'm sorry. Do you have a Check List of necessities for newly admitted residents? That would be so helpful." Great that it has rave reviews (tho some are falsified intentionally) but they should offer helpful information to families and residents for easy transition. Maybe your inquiry will push them to offer such a list or maybe you just missed that document. Good luck~!
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kirahfaye Aug 2, 2020
Well, to be honest, I was probably venting about "no list" because we got the approval Thursday evening and when I called back Friday, my contact was out for the day and her counterpart didn't call me back. They have just started accepting patients again and with the additional Covid procedures in place, they are probably swamped. I'm calling tomorrow and won't give up until I have my questions answered. The facility isn't just a 4.5 with Google reviews, btw, this info is according to the Medicare website.
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Ignore those comments; better yet say "Oh, so would you be able to take care of mom like she did aunt Sadie?". That should end that.

Don't take anything valuable. My friend lives in a very nice appearing AL, and things go missing quite often; some she misplaces, others (mostly jewelry, nice clothing, and perfume) never show up again. The other residents say the same thing....
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kirahfaye Aug 2, 2020
Yes, she misplaces things far too often. Two days after her last ER visit (fun times in pandemic mode) she claimed several of her rings were missing and even went so far as to say one of us had to have taken them (she didn't remember the ER visit). Then one day last week she proudly showed me she'd found her deceased husband's wedding band, but couldn't remember where she found it to see if the others were with it......
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I will be calling again on Monday to request all the information needed to move her in properly. The facility is requiring a Covid test within 48 hours of admission, which limits us to one immediate care company that uses the rapid testing. That has me a bit panicky, but we have a little leeway regarding what day she can move in. Then she will still be in single room isolation for 14 days anyway and not moved into her roommate situation until afterwards. I need to find out what the phone situation is because she no longer has the ability to use a cell phone, but might be okay with a land line (that's iffy because I took her phone away when she tried calling all the phone numbers on the ads on TV because "they told her to").

Mom was sad but understanding about it yesterday and this morning. She's been having several good days without pain in a row so she has no memory of how bad her pain is and certainly doesn't remember when she gets verbally abusive or pulls her pants and Depends off with her door and drapes wide open.

She is oddly unhappy that there will be men there, both patients and staff. She was a beautiful woman who got both wanted and unwanted attention in her youth and still looks good considering her age and what she's going through. She's made some false claims about male family members so I should probably make the admissions or nursing coordinator aware of that.

Lastly, while most of her "jewelry" is costume, she does have some pieces that mean a lot to her and have some value (wedding rings in particular). What suggestions do you have regarding those. I've tried assuring her that this is the top rated facility in the state so they aren't going to put up with thievery (or harassment from men), but what should we do with her rings and bracelets?

I appreciate everyone's continued input and support. It's difficult for family and friends to understand why it's come to this. Those who live in our household understand, but I'm already getting the "so-and-so took care of aunt Sadie to the day she died" comments.
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Jane828 Aug 2, 2020
You are correct in coordinationg with the facility.

Skilled facilities has specific rules they follow as per state’s regulation when it comes to handling material possessions. Depending on your Mom’s preference, she could either entrust her jewelries in the facility’s care, keep it to her room’s closet or drawer in a safety deposit box with password or keep it somewhere else not within the facility. It’s up to her.

Our admin/licensee will usually lists material possession that we will be in our facility’s care; the admin will then keep it into safety. The same thing when the client prefers to keep it in their room. Things of expensive, sentimental or important values, if possible, should not be placed in her room, especially if she’s worried that it will might get stolen. It is a sure situation that different personnel might enter her shared room.

About the male staff concern, you can asked the facility if its possible that a female CNA/caregiver will assist her with daily personal care, if that don’t work, there are third parties who offers in home service, these people are called home-aides. You can also hire a personal caregiver that will be there on a day to day basis. Depending on your mom’s finances, health insurance and/or circumstances you might be able to get her a female aide or caregiver. As for the entire male staffs, you might wanna explain to her that it cannot be helped since some clients needs lifting plus that’s part of the facility’s equal oppurtunity employment regulation.

I also remember that we have a client who refuse male caregivers. Eventually she was able to adjust but it took her some time. Perhaps, you might be able to advised her to give them a chance, and give it some time so she could adjust. If in the future that things didn’t work out for her, you might wanna try again and find her a different place...

I believe that you are on the right path on this. It’s “safer” and practical for her and for you.
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I don’t know if what I’m going to tell will be helpful but I’ll try; please excuse my poor grammar...

I am a caregiver and based of my experiences, some clients preferred bigger space so that they could bring “lots” of personal belongings, however most of the clients themselves realized later on that was actually the least they needed. We once had this client who complained how tiny his room was, so his family decided to move him to another assisted living with has a much bigger space which was able to hold most of his material possessions, however, before he moved out, he started to realized a lot of things...

His room may not be big enough but everything was within his reach, he loves the food, he enjoys our company, he was spoiled and was well cared for. He was hesitant and sad to leave—when he used to be in our care, there were a lot of times he doesn’t even pay much attention to his clothing (as long as it doesn’t have holes and clean) and barely watched tv because his just content sleeping or seating on his recliner after his daily exercises. He was a great guy.

I know I explained like I’m running in circles but the bottom line is bring only what is necessary and update her wardrobe whenever its needed (We have a patient who is on hospice and for me I think that she has a decent amount of clothing such as, pants, t-shirts, sweaters, socks—her diapers are for free—her family would call to asked if she needed a wardrobe update) do not bring something that she’ll no longer be able to enjoy and appreciate, in places like skilled nursing, the top priority is nutrition and “personal” care. If you feel like you are missing something don’t hesitate to asked the facility what else do they think will be necessary for you to bring.

I don’t know if that makes sense...
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kirahfaye Aug 2, 2020
Your reply actually made me smile, so thanks. My mom keeps asking if she can bring her dresser, but even if the facility allows outside furniture, this dresser is the size of a small boat! Okay, exaggerating, but it's huge. The matching nightstands are oversized, too. She sits in my husband's old desk chair and it's falling apart. I think that as long as she can have her photos and books, my stepdad's flag and his small urn and some of her knick-knacks she'll get used to the new surroundings quicker.
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Don't forget hangers, especially the kind that hold multiple pairs of pants or multiple other hangers. Every place we looked at had standard wardrobes that were about 2 1 /2' wide. You can always hold on to some of her clothes and rotate them in or out with the seasons or when she needs something "new."
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There are good suggestions here that I won’t repeat. What meant the most to my mother was having a wall of pictures of family in front of her. Pictures of her parents, grandmothers kids, grandkids. And of her! It was lovely to hear her proudly telling people about “this was me when I was 16” or 30 or 60. The pictures jogged stories she could tell others and reminded her of her full life. She became bed bound so I put a bird feeder on her window so the birds brought life to her. (I had to put the food in and clean it about twice a week) And I put apple tv and Netflix on her tv so she could see the old sitcoms she watched in her younger years. Nature programs, especially of the oceans, were nice for her when concentrating became hard. If she has a roommate headphones could be useful.

There were certain products that she liked and gave her a feeling of familiarity (noxema, vasaline body lotion) that I brought and asked the caregivers to use with her. We also put a small bookcase in her room with her favorite books in it. She was a real reader and in the beginning still read. Later, she took pleasure in seeing the books.

The suggestion of new day dresses is a good one. Especially if you can get them before she moves and she gets used to them. Eventually my mother no longer wore pants but only soft day dresses.

I also had a little snack box with the rice crackers she liked and peanut m-n-ms. (Treats that were not available there.)

I got a lanyard so that she could wear her phone around her neck. It made a difference to her to have her mobile phone easily accessible. I made sure that the important numbers were on it.

Having her purse was very important to her. I made sure there was a little money in it ($20) because it made her feel like she was still in control of her life. It was also important when she needed to go to the doctor or hospital to have her insurance card there. It was surprising how much having her purse was to her.

Initially I found that I took too much. We both had to adjust to her having less of her personal things. I tried to find things that gave her Memories of her life, some engagement with the world, and a feeling of being nurtured.
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Would she be receptive to a few new house dresses? Maybe something that is really pretty and a good conversation starter.

I don't think that you can depend on anyone to safety pin her clothes on, to much liability for the facility.

It sounds like she is scared. Do your best to reassure her that it is for the best and be excited about the roommate. She will look to you for how to accept this. It can be a wonderful thing for her if the facility is mindful in matching roommates. Have you asked them how they do this?

I have seen that the new resident gets stuck with the problem child and the family has to insist that they move their loved one. Remember that you do not have to accept that the roommate is a nightmare, your mom is entitled to a safe environment and has every right to be moved if they do try to stick her with the problem child.

I would point out all the benefits that she will have by living in a facility. Make sure you understand what is expected in the here and now. You have the power to set the atmosphere, don't ever cry in front of her or agree with how bad anything is. Tell her you will check it out and let her know what the outcome is. Encourage her to tell staff when she needs help or if something is wrong. Encourage her to utilize the services that she is paying for.

Trust your instincts when she complains or if you see something amiss. It is always okay to ask questions and expect answers, if you are ever made to feel like you can't then you will want to pursue that attitude up the chain of command.

This is going to be one of the hardest things that you have ever dealt with. Do not beat yourself up, do not second guess your decisions, do not buy into any guilt and most of all - be kind to yourself to get through the new normal of life.
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Plain or older clothes are probably fine, but, not those with safety pins. I suspect they could be dangerous to the residents and housekeeping, if they are handling her laundry.

As far as her being resistant. From my experience, a doctor recommends MC. At this point, the LO is not really able to make their own decisions. Normally, the family member operates as DPOA and HCPOA, so, they are authorized to make the decisions. Do you have those documents? I think people try different things as they enter MC to comfort the LO. I know it must be stressful. For us, it worked out smoothly, but, I can see how it might be more challenging if there is resistance.
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kirahfaye Jul 31, 2020
I am both legal and medical POA for my mom. She has not yet been deemed incompetent by the court, but she's also not flat out refusing (and won't be, hopefully). This just reminded me that I need to let her elder law lawyer know.....
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Thank you all. This is happening so quickly after stagnating since December - and my mom, who agreed with the move every time we talked about it during the wait, is suddenly and tearfully resistant.

I think clothing will be a big issue. I've allowed her to get away with wearing her (cleaned) stained and oversized old clothing for the past year or so because she's comfortable in it. I doubt they will want (or allow) the safety pins she uses to keep her clothes from falling off (or falling apart.....).

Any other suggestions, friends?
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BarbBrooklyn Jul 31, 2020
Whatever clothing you take, find out if the facility will do the labeling. My mom's nursing home had a very efficient laundry and labeling system and I shouldn't have bothered doing any of it myself.

When a friend went to rehab, I went to Land's End and bough on sale inexpensive pull on pants for her. Tools that button are probably better than pullovers. Sweaters and other layers are great because elders always seem to be cold.
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Bring items in with her in case there is another lockdown. I moved my mom 700 miles with me and as memory loss progressed, I found she focused on less. A good chair and blanket are helpful. I left with my mom all photo albums including my family ones. She also has her old high school and year books, She enjoys those past memories the most. Include some family photos for her wall.
For clothing, she will have a small closet. Maybe 2 weeks worth. You can always rotate clothes from home. You might just keep groups of clothes placed in large trash bags ready to switch. Either that or an unused suitcase
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I hope things go well for you. My LO's MC has not had any covid cases either, though, that could change. They do not have any visiting though, except in cases of active dying who are on hospice.

I'd check with the rep about what to send with her. They'll tell you what she needs. The staff moved my LO in for me. I left the hospital with my LO and arrived at dinner time at the MC. They greeted us in grand Downtown Abby style, gathered her in a wheelchair, got her things out of the car and unpacked her while she had dinner in the dining room and I signed paperwork in the office.

When, I went to her room, they had unpacked her things, hung up her pictures and placed her things on the nightstand. They provided all the furniture. All we needed were her clothes and personal items.

My LO adored her first roommate at MC. She was not as progressed with dementia as my LO and she told me she would take good care of my LO. And, she did. She was under a delusion that my LO was her little sister. She was so protective over her that it later caused a few problems, but, they worked it out. Other times, the roommate was not good fit and they simply switch rooms. They know how to work out the personalities.

What my LO needed and still needs, are comfortable stretch pants. They need to be large and sturdy enough to endure hot dryers and lots of washes. Comfortable pullover shirts, Lots of socks. Comfortable shoes that are easy to get on and off, preferably two pair; Depends, see if facility will provide; Mild lotion or body cream, Vasoline, tooth brush, tooth paste, oral rinse, comb, pictures of family and herself to hang on wall. Something bright and cheery for the walls, like a wreath. a nice comforter, that can withstand washing and heat, comfy favorite pillows. And, any other things she likes, like dolls or fidget toys. I'd see if they already have a tv in her room. My LO wasn't that into tv anymore, but, I got one for her anyway, just in case. OH, LABEL all items with her name or initials. I did that with a sharpie. I also took photos of everything that I took in. Things can get mixed up. No one's fault.

As my LO became more progressed and in bed, I took her multiple pillows of varying size and texture to help position her in ways to keep her more comfortable. I regularly supplement those. She always liked her specialty pillows.
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Are you going to be doing laundry or are they? (will they allow you to do her laundry..never know what restrictions are in place at this time)
If you are doing laundry bring enough clothes for however many days it will be between and 1 or 2 extra pair of pants.
If they are doing laundry Bring enough clothes for the week if they do laundry once a week. And an extra pair of pants or two.
Expect and do not be surprised if her clothing goes missing and or you see it on other residents. Clearly mark her clothes on the inner waistband. You can get name labels to sew in but for a lot of things when my Husband was in Respite I used a Sharpie Marker. It does not come out!
Bring anything that she currently holds dear to her. A blanket, a toy, a book....if she has a recliner that she is comfortable in I wold bring that for her, and it will be something she sees as hers.
Ask if she needs a dresser. Ask if she needs a bed. If you need a bed I would get an order from her doctor for an alternating pressure mattress. They will help prevent pressure sores as she declines. Or you can wait, it is a bed that Hospice will order when/if she goes on Hospice.
If you are providing incontinent supplies don't buy the expensive ones, hopefully they will check and change her often but your/her supplies may be "borrowed" for another resident. I would also provide creams, ointments that you have been using.
Ask if they are doing showers. Many places have stopped showers and are doing bed baths due to water droplet transmission of the virus. This would occur in a shower and in a warm moist environment. I would get a tear-less shampoo/body soap that they can use unless they provide those supplies.
And anything that is truly necessary that you don't bring can be provided later. I am guessing she will be close by so dropping off items will not be a problem if something is needed.
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