Our 90 year old mother must be moved to assisted living. How can we help her say goodbye to her home and possessions?

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Our mother has moderate dementia. Everything is done for her with the exception of her morning toiletries and dressing, evening undressing, using the restroom, and fixing cereal for breakfast/snacks for supper. She is dependent on a walker and cannot get in or out of her home because of the steps. There is not enough distance from the top step to the public sidewalk to install a ramp. The decision has been made that she will be moved to assisted living this month. She was in the facility for several months two years ago when she fell and broke her hip. The facility is one long block from her house which she has lived in for 40+ years. She has been there alone for the past 25 years. She cries constantly because she is being "forced" to leave what she sees as "herself" behind. How can we help her through this?

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If you have a routine with her such as Sunday dinner and her med condition allows keep up the routine.
Visit her, the saddest thing at ALFs is the abandoned folks, the ones who rarely get visit and even more seldom get taken out. In Florida many of these have out of state family because hey chose to retire to Florida, so I am not blaming anyone.
Now that mom is in ALF when you visit you do not have to dress feed or care for her, you may still worry about finances and medical condition, but it should be less exhausting for you....concentrate on playing a game with her, bring her some music, rent a movie.m take the opportunity to bring her some joy while she can accept it.
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CHANGE is tough for all of us... I think that if you can take some of her "treasures" with her and that will help her! My Mom did not do well alone after my Dad died, so we moved her to Independent Senior housing she has a real nice apartment and she gets one meal a day in the dining room, she is able to make toast or a bagel for breakfast and she eats some crackers and cheese or yogurt for supper, she also gets housekeeping once a week. She is happy and really likes it. There are activities she enjoys and what she doesn't want to do she doesn't do... You might be surprised how well she does do. Be kind and respectful that always helps! take care
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Agree. Take some pictures of the house, rooms, kitchen, her favorite window, garden, grocery, church, neighbors house, etc. and make an album or you can even make a book via shutterfly on the Internet.

Next, if she has a favorite chair with a rug, table, lamp and picture, candy dish, stc...take the whole vignette and recreate just like it is now in her home. That way when she sits in the chair at her new place and reaches for the end table or table it will be just like home for her and give her comfort.

Consider taking a video of the home, neighborhood, etc and then putting on a DVD for her to be able to watch and reminece when she is ready. For many, it's not painful but comforting to be able to watch especially with dementia.

Make sure you take her special plate, cup and saucer, cookie jar, etc. when you visit, bring some treats or share a cup of tea or coffee where she can drink out of her own cup.

Also, bring some coats or blankets, pillows that have familiar smells for her from her home. We tend to want to wash everything or buy new, when having your old pillow, sheets or blankets with "smells from home" are more familiar as you adjust to new surroundings.

Also, make sure you visit and make a special occasion, bring some favorite carry out, or make her favorite meal. Bring a tablecloth and make it a picnic outside on the grounds or eat in the dining or public area where allowed.

Attend a facility activity together and participate together. Let her "show off her family" to the other residents.

These transitions are hard but hopefully many of the suggestions will ease the move for both of you!
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I am sure it does feel like she is leaving a part of herself henind. Why not take pictures of her home as it is now, her things in their place, her favorite things, and put them in a picture scrapbook. Take pictures of everything that she loved about this house and put them in a scrapbook for her to have a keep. this might be helpful and comforting for her.
Portday
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The issue is REALLY DEMENTIA...
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I never had to deal with this with my own parents and my sister in law in another country took care of the in laws. I do have one suggestion though if appropriate and the money is available. Is you Mom safe to remain in her own home and the only problem being the outside steps? Have you considered rather than a ramp to the street an elevator. Our dentist has one by his front door for wheelchair patients. There are steps up to a double sized front porch and on the side the elevator that goes up to the same porch and thence into the front door. The elevator only rises about three feet but that is all it takes.
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Firstly, tell her you will bring her back often to "visit", at least until she cannot remember her house. Have her go through the house, bring special items she holds dear with her to the nursing home, and maybe even take a picture of her house, so it can be framed. Do not dwell on telling her she "has" to go, but rather, lovingly reassure her she will meet new friends, have wonderful meals, and the ability to go outside without harming herself. Keep positive, and when she whines about herself being left at the house, encourage her to think about the new place as a new adventure! At 90, I'm sure she has had many wonderful adventures in her life, and those photos need to be brought with her so she can see them. Then when the time comes when she does not recognize her own reflection in a mirror, you can discard or keep things in a safe place for generations. WOW! Ninety is to be celebrated! Keep it positive.
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As someone who has experienced this second-hand -- and is now beginning to see for myself -- One of the truly disturbing things is the realization that your "treasures" are considered undesirable clutter by your loved ones. Loved ones should give their elders at least the illusion that they would treasure something that was theirs. Perhaps it would be easier sometimes to ask the elder to "please leave this to me someday, I've always thought it beautiful -- reminds me of you -- or some such nice thing (try to avoid, I thought it might bring a good price on Ebay!). Or maybe the elder could asked the loved one to choose ONE item they would like to have....cuts down dramatically on the "clutter" aspect and yet allows the elder to feel that their things -- and by extension their self is valued.
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My MIL does not have dementia and she made the decision to split up her stuff and move to AL, after a stroke. She is 90.

Dividing things up was difficult and we had the best situation going on that I can imagine. My MIL cried one day, just out of the blue.

After seeing that, I am understanding more why my own mother is just letting her stuff sit in the house. (I am afraid it will deteriorate, but there is no good answer.)
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How sad for both you and your mom. I'm sure this is a very hard thing to do. I have a question and please don't take this the wrong way, I just need information for my mom's future move...you say "The decision has been made. that she will be moved to assisted living." Did your mom decide in the past that this was where she wanted to go when she could no longer stay at home? Does she have friends who live there?

We are going through the process now, very slowly, of helping my mom understand that the time is coming when she will no longer be able to live at home. She has chosen an independent living and a nursing home and we have put her name on the waiting lists. The problem is that she has AD and we don't know if either of these places will accept her due to the high level of care she will need. Right now, she is starting to choose which pieces of furniture she wants to take with her, give to family, or sell; but I still think when the time actually comes, she will feel the same as your mom.

Jinx and Jananimol have great advice....acknowledge the feelings of loss and know that she will grieve. Give her some choices in what she takes with her and what she wants done with the rest. I hope knowing that she will be able to get outside in good weather will be a positive for your mom.

Please let us know how it goes...best wishes!
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