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?
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.
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!
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.)
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!
I helped my mom on a similar move--from a house to a single room and bathroom. Three things helped, I think:
(1) she kept such of the MOST precious things--even if that meant a bench and a big corner shelf went into her bedroom!
(2) she offered things it was hard to part with to family and friends, and it felt so good to her to GIVE instead of just LOSE.
(3) We put photos of family on the wall of the entryway to her room, so that she sees them every time she goes in or out, and feels less lonely.
After a little time adjusting and making friends, she came to love this new home--it is just a room, but it is HER room, and she feels less strange there than she thought she would, because all the furnishings and decorations are her own. And now she loves assisted living, senior community living, where her friends are of her own generation, share her memories, and also walk with walkers etc. She 'fits in' and is happy. I hope it can be so positive for your mother!
When someone has a loss, we try to make them "feel all right" about the loss. We don't want them to be suffering, because we suffer when they do. In my opinion, it is kinder to allow them to suffer, to sit with them while they grieve. "Yes, mother, it is terribly sad that you have to leave your home. We will try to make your new home feel like home to you, but it won't be this place. We will still be there and you will still be our mother, but it is a hard thing to leave the place you have lived for 40 years."
Let her choose what she wants to bring, maybe a favorite cup or plate that looks shabby to you, but once belonged to her mother or friend.
You are doing what is best for her, but it is hard on all of you.