We recently moved my 94-year-old mother in law into assisted living. We have wanted to do so for several months but she was dead set against it. She is very confused, lonely, sad, cries all the time, and barely eats. We felt that if she was in assisted living she would have people caring for her more than we could, as well as the opportunity to meet people and participate in activities. But we could not get her to agree to it.

Three weeks ago she fell and broke her wrist, which gave us the window we needed to make the move. We found a lovely place and moved her in a week ago. She is surrounded by her own furniture and we tried to take as many of her treasured possessions as possible. But now all she does is cry and say she wants to go home. She doesn't understand why she is there and that it's no longer safe for her to live alone. She also does not seem to remember how sad and lonely she was at home. Not to mention the toll it's taking on my husband and I, both emotionally and physically, but that's another topic for discussion.

Is it possible that we made a mistake and this isn't the best thing for her? Is this just an adjustment period? Any input or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. We just don't know where to go from here.

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Also, I forgot to add.....

You are NOT personally responsible for mom being happy at AL. She is her own person who has her own feelings. You can't make somebody feel the way you want them to or think they should anymore than you can flap your arms & fly to the moon. Let this obligation GO.

There are a lot of articles on this site about caregiver guilt. My theory is that we call this feeling guilt, but it's more complicated than that. It's a bundle of regret the present isn't what we wanted it to be, fear of the unknown future, feeling unprepared for this, and probably a bunch of other feelings at the same time.

Guilt is appropriate if you've broken a law or done something immoral. Placing our seniors in a place purpose built for their care, keeping, & safety is neither illegal or immoral. It's the opposite. It's often the best choice possible.

Nobody "wants" to live away from home. Mom needs to establish her new place as home now. The old residence didn't meet needs anymore, so a change was totally appropriate.

Good on you for being responsive to the situation and not letting it decline to the point of neglect or crisis. Too many people come to this site when they get to that point, wanting to know if they should take action, when things are far worse than they needed to be.

Stop worrying. I know...easier said than done!
Helpful Answer (0)

You don't say, but has your mom been diagnosed with any dementias or problems other than being 94?

I will strongly agree with what Sharynmarie & Pam already said.

BE PATIENT with her. One of my friends who is a social worker said to give it not less than 3 months to start to see an inkling of adjustment when I put my mom into AL. If there is dementia involved, it will be 2-3 times longer than that with some people. It varies with every individual.

Keep in mind that mom's behavior while you are there may be 180 degrees different than when you aren't. It's really common for the family to hear a tale of heartache & woe, but when the family isn't around, it's just fine.

Space out your visits so you aren't "hovering". This is probably harder on you than mom. You both need time and space to adjust to the change. Give mom a couple weeks before you visit again. She needs to get in the groove of her new normal. You are associated with the old normal.

When you do visit, be positive and upbeat - no matter what.

Don't take everything literally that you hear. Especially if dementia is involved.

CHeck back & tell us how it's going. Ask questions, Vent, post the funny unmentionable stories you just can't share with family & friends because they won't understand. We're here for it all.
Helpful Answer (3)

Sharyn is right, they will assign a buddy to her. Don't visit too often, find out the activities and encourage her to attend them. Visit in the evening when there is less going on. She may need a mild antidepressant to get into the swing of things.
Helpful Answer (3)

This is a common reaction. I would give her a few months. Maybe the AL could get her a buddy to help aclimate her to the new surroundings. It is a hard transition for the elderly.
Helpful Answer (3)

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