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My folks both have Alzheimer’s and have moved into a memory care facility. They have been there over a month and frankly it’s still hell to deal with but now costs a fortune to have them there. My parents are beyond miserable there, begging to just get out. The staff tells me they need time to adjust and my parents tell me that there’s nothing to do and no place to go and that some of the staff yells at the patients. I’ve visited at various times on various days and don’t see what my parents are saying. However, in order to get in to the secure memory care area, I have to ring a doorbell and be let in. (this would warn staff to behave because someone is entering, but I doubt it would hide much) Anyway, since my folks are not acclimating nor adjusting, I was wondering how long it usually takes for this to happen. I get phone calls often, in between my visits. My mom is always crying and upset during the calls. When I go in person, both parents light up and re-energize. I see them immediately come to life and they can’t wait to get beyond their locked doors. Is this all normal?

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Thanks as usual for the feedback folks. I have cut back on my visits and have resorted to phone calls. It’s the same mantra that there’s nothing to do,nobody to talk to and the caregivers are yelling at the old ladies who can’t respond. I want to believe the folks are safe and being cared for but I kind of wanted some happiness in their demented lives. Sadly, this facility will not allow the parents into the AL area unless they go as a group. So my folks can look out at the beautiful courtyards and such from their room, but they can’t go in them. My parents don’t realize how bad they are. They need help with everything except eating and toileting. They have no idea how difficult it is to keep track of them by one caregiver. All they see is what their brains allow them to know. Yes, there are other places out here but they cost even more and they oust the patients when the money runs out whereas this facility will accept Medicaid should the folks outlive their money. Having two needing 24/7 care is exhausting in every way imaginable. As someone mentioned, it’s heart breaking when your parent begs you to take them out of the place. They don’t ask to go home, just want to not be like caged animals. I suppose the more tactful way of putting it is that the memory care unit is like a human habitat for the mentally fragile unable to care for themselves. I get that there are liability issues and such, but there is only a small cement patio for them to wander outside onto. We live in the desert so maybe that’s to keep them from staying out too long in the heat. It’s just so stressful for all of us and the first week we were told to not visit to allow the folks time to adjust. We are going on week six and they aren’t any more adjusted.
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Give your folks at least 2-3 months. My mother was livid for a long time and even attacked me at our first visit.
Think of uprooting from the place you've lived in for 50 years, being old and infirm and having a broken brain to boot. Hard transition.

Can you bring any activities they enjoyed; puzzles, sewing, painting, etc.?

The facility asked for us not to visit for the first 2 weeks to let her "fit in". Maybe you could limit your visits to twice a week.
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hi, I agree its SO hard. I put my mom and dad in AL in 2011. cause my dad had alzheimers and my mom broke her hip.(his main care taker). They had everything in order for me to take over at DPOA and TTEE. Even with things in order and me able to take care of everything. It was so hard. every visit was meet with questions regarding: going home.My dad would say someone was probably breaking into his house etc. (even tho his memory was gone. he still knew he wasn't HOME) and my mom constantly (on purpose)brought up going home in front of my dad. in order for him to start complaining. Only cause she thought in her mind it might make a difference if my DAD ~TOLD ME~ id have to respect his request. There was NO WAY they could return home. I feel your pain. cause it nearly TORE MY HEART every day. So many things over the years I feel I could write a book. Now my dad is deceased and my mom has alzheimers. her memory was short in 2011, but now 7 years later.(zero short term memory) she cant hardly follow my sentences. cant talk about anything too complicated.
The only thing I kept telling my mom and dad when they brought up going home. was I said they were sick and needed nursing care. I would say IM SORRY, but you need care. (repeat x10! :( over and over ...)

I learned distraction/redirection. its hard and frustrating. lots of things I said may not have been totally true, but sometime you have to tell them white lies.

my mom recently fell and ended up in the ER. so I rushed to ER at 4am

so funny to hear her say. when do I get to leave? I want to go back to my room!!

But its a long journey. and causes ginormous anxiety (YES plus the costs...self pay)
to me the dementia ...reminds me of someone going crazy. and my mom HAS NO CLUE how bad she is. She even makes up stories that never happen. but learning to just go along with her and agree and not arguing with her.

Im sorry that this happens to you and so many. I just tell myself to be strong and have faith that things will work out.
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Can they spend time outside of the lock down area? Of course for that kind of money they should be taken care of, have you talked to someone with authority that could help you get them involved with activities. Help them find ways to get some enjoyment out of each day?

I feel for you, this was by far the hardest thing I've ever had to do, place my dad. Be kind to yourself right now and consider not taking every call. When you do visit try to do some of the activities with them. It does take time, they've lost everything and are going to buck, pray they adjust sooner then later.

May God grant you the strength to endure this journey.
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Alzh, I believe a lot depends on when a love one moves to Memory Care. If they are able to learn the floor plan with little effort, learn the Staff and the Staff's names, and are still able to make friends within the community, then I believe it takes less time for the love one to adjust.

My own Dad first moved to the community to Independent Living and he really liked the place. He was just so glad to get away from his house which was too big for him to handle. My Dad rarely went to any activities, except when there was music, as he preferred to relax in his recliner, read or watch TV. Now he felt like he really had "independence" to do what he wanted :)

One day the Staff called me in for a meeting, it was time for my Dad to move over to their Assisted Living/Memory Care.... this really surprised me as I didn't think Dad was ready.... until the Staff said that in the evenings Dad was wandering, thus he had "sundowners". I asked Dad if he would like to move to the next building as it would be a lot cheaper [therapeutic fib but it worked]. We joked about his new "dorm room".

Dad had access to the whole Assisted Living building which include residents who needed help being mobile, and those who had memory issues. There was a Staff person at the front desk who made sure none of the Memory Care residents wandered outside unattended. The exterior doors weren't locked until sundown. But all the residents still had total access to the whole building.

Now I had a tour of another Assisted Living complex where the Memory Care was on a separate floor and I had to ring a bell to get in. That I didn't like. Plus the place felt too much like a hospital. Where my Dad lived, it was set up to look and feel like a hotel.
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They both have been determined to be beyond assisted living by the doctors and facility even though they are high functioning “ in the moment”. There is a calendar of activities but I don’t see many of those activities in person. The costs are off the charts and it’s private pay. I can’t be with them 24/7 anymore and we can’t afford 24/7 care in their home. Their home has to be sold to pay for their care which runs currently $7000/ month. You’d think that by paying that much money things would be taken care of. They are clean, fed, supervised, and receive their medications for the fees we are paying.
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Who decided that they required memory care? I had Drs and social worker at hospital tell me that my dad needed memory care and I did not agree. I put him in AL care home and he is always plotting his escape. He does not need memory care, doesn't wander, takes care of his own hygiene with little reminders of course.

He has been there 7.5 months and still wants to go get his own place. He needs daily assistance but not locked doors.

I say this because I think if it is not what they need, it could cause damage, I think my dad would have given up and died. If it is the level of care required, just keep reassuring them that everything is okay, point out the good aspects, find out if they can go out to activities in other wings of facility.

Let us know.
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Are there activities for the residents of this facility? Do your folks participate. One AL we used for MIL had ZERO activities - truly NONE. The one for my Mom had activities from 9 am to 6 pm. Not all the most exciting things, but they had residents in a big room, so there was the sound of human voices. Are there other facilities n your area, should this one not work out?
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