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I'm a long-distance caregiver for an elderly cousin with middle-stage dementia. A few weeks ago, I moved her from independent living to assisted living in the same continuing-care community. The move was an emergency, so we just moved the essentials at that time. But next week I'm going back to pack up her apartment and vacate it, and I'm debating how much to let her "help" with this move. I'm afraid she is going to want to supervise, and if I let her back into her apartment, one of two things is going to happen: 1) She is going to decide she wants to live there again (and her doctor says she can't) and/or 2) She is going to get embroiled in the minutiae of the move, and slow things to a virtual halt. I have only three days off from work to get things sorted and packed; would it be unkind to keep her out of this process? I will obviously ask her what she wants with her, though I'm a bit afraid that even that is going to trigger a chain of events that will make it impossible to get her moved. If anyone has been through this before, I'd be interested in hearing about your experience!

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My suggestion would be to take a few things to her AL room and ask her to choose between them. If you will be seeing her every evening, take a few each time. Take away what she didn’t choose. Then talk about the other things she might be interested in and get an idea of what she values. Perhaps take some pictures on your phone. The advantage of this is that it does give her some dignity by involving her in choosing, but on a limited scale. It gives you something to talk about in the evenings, but doesn’t take up your ‘sorting’ time. And with luck, she will forget the things that you don’t bring across to AL. Best wishes – it will be hard work.
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Reply to MargaretMcKen
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Does the AL facility have a locked curio cabinet (about 3 feet by 3 feet with 3 or 4  shelves) in the hall next to her room in which some of her cherished photos or figurines can be displayed in?

I would not involve her in packing her belongs for the move to AL.  As suggested, pack some items that she has mentioned as having special meaning or sentimental value to her. 

Put her name on EVERYTHING that is being taken to the AL.  Does the AL have iron-on labels that they or you can put on your cousin's clothing?
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Reply to DeeAnna
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I wouldn't allow her to help. First you don't have the time. As I responded in ur last post, she has less room at the AL and not to take anything worth anything there. Background checks are done but employees are not bonded. They found that the maintenance man was stealing some very nice jewelry.

I noticed when Mom was in the AL her room had not been dusted for a while. When I asked why, I was told an expensive figurine had been broken by the maid while dusting so they told housekeeping not to pick up anything while dusting. I told them I understood that but the window ledge was dusty as was Mom's headboard. Most of what Mom had was scarves on her dressers and what figures there were were on top of the scarves. Could dust around them.

Really, you should be able to separate the good from the bad.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Thanks. I think what makes this hard is balancing the need for efficiency with a desire to allow her some dignity and autonomy -- though by now I should know that giving her too much autonomy usually backfires. It often feels like my needs (I have only a few days off from work) vs her needs ("why can't you come more often? Why are you pushing me to do things?"). And I continually have to remind myself that I'm doing the best I can for her. It's just really, really stressful, and not helped by the fact that she'll sometimes accuse me of not taking care of her (I believe her exact words were: "You've been anything but loving!") which I know is the dementia talking in response to the move to assisted living (and later she apologized). But still ... it stings!
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Reply to LauraJMT
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Don't involve her directly. Ask about what things she treasures most, in an offhanded conversation, not in the context of moving. Move her treasures so that she is surrounded by familiar photos and the like.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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I think your concerns are real and quite possible. I would not involve her. It is not being unkind, it is being efficient. Hang in there.
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Reply to Segoline
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