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Mom & Dad are moving into Assisted Living, I have been there every weekend. I have been making the trip to my parents apartment (in a life care community) every weekend since my Dad fell last March 4. It was Christmas week that I had last seen them.

Admittedly, I had gotten a little out of touch with them. I had not realized how bad Mom's memory loss had become. On the night that Dad fell she tried to drive home from the Hospital and got lost. I had to out her in respite care while Dad was in a Nursing home.

I am the only child who lives nearby (I live and work about 70 miles a day). My two brothers and two sisters have all been down at least one time this year. Though, I have spent nearly every weekend visiting and helping out until there is a space available in Assisted Living. My Dad is my Mom's primary caregiver. His health and eyesight is failing. I mostly help with groceries, trash, recycling, pill boxes, etc. on the weekends.

In a couple of weeks, they can move. My two sisters are coming to help pack, and my younger brother will be there on the move day and for a few days after.

Once they are settled in Assisted Living, it is my hope that I can cut back on the frequency of my visits. I certainly so not want to slip back into losing touch, and I don't want them to think I am abandoning them, but a lot of what they need me for should be taken care of. What would be an appropriate frequency?

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Get them settled in then make a phone call about every 3rd day. Stay away and give them time to meet their neighbors and make friends. It will take a while to learn the routine. If you show up, they will want to sit in their apartment and not socialize. Alert the activity director to engage them and draw them out. You won't need to hold their hand. Every weekend is way too much.
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I live 33 miles from my mother's nursing home. I make the round trip at least once a week -- at the beginning it was 3X a week. My three sisters do the same. Mom seldom goes more than two days without a visit from her children. This is way more than we visited her when she lived in an apartment. But then she could talk on the phone, which really isn't something she can do now.

She knows us. She enjoys us while we are there. Her memory is such that she doesn't know if anyone visited her yesterday and if so who, but she does have a contented awareness that her daughters visit.

My mother is 94. She is in a nursing home. Our situation is not the same as yours, FavoriteSon. Each situation is really unique and you have to make judgments based on all the factors in your case. Your Mom and Dad have each other. They can still converse on the phone. See them in person a couple times a month might be just fine.

I think the jury is out on whether leaving them alone to settle in to their new environment is the best policy or visiting them more often to ensure they don't feel abandoned is better. If you do decide to visit more often in the beginning, try to incorporate community life. Go at a mealtime and join them in the dining room. Go with them to the live entertainment the ALF offers. Yes, visit in their rooms, too, but also get out into the community activities with them.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer. It sounds like your goal of cutting back but not losing touch is a good one. Trial-and-error will teach you how to achieve that.
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RocknRobin has it exactly right! Only you know how often they'll need to actually see you in order to feel remembered and cared for, but you do need to let them settle in to their new community and get used to letting new people take care of them (not to mention, have the motivation to make friends). A phone call every few days will make sure they know you're thinking of them, letters and photos through the mail would be wonderful, and a visit every few weeks should be sufficient to let them know you haven't abandoned them. Driving 70 miles each way every single weekend is too much to ask of yourself and you'll wear yourself out before long! So let the AL do what it does best and just stay in touch with them and with the AL management to make sure everything is going smoothly. Good luck!
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Well, it is too late for this input, but I hope the AL they move to is quite near to one of the children. The need for visits and oversight only increases as time passes. And with a dementia diagnosis things can easily fall through the cracks. I've guided 3 separate people thru 2 different ALs. I visited my Mom EVERY day unless someone else was going to visit. Some visits were 30 minutes, others were 3+ hours. That staff knew I would be there and the aides kept me up to date on things that were needed or important. I visit my MIL at least every week. I don't deal with the aides or staff as I am the in-law! (LOL) There are 5 kids to handle that stuff. Her room is DISGUSTING. The garbage isn't emptied (how many pull ups need to be smelling up the room?) The bathroom is dirty and the laundry isn't done regularly. No one makes sure she changes her clothes and certainly, no one reviews for mending or special stain treatment. The hairbursh is only cleaned when I do it and the tooth brushes are only changed when I do that. MIL calls me the cleaning service when I sweep thru the room. This is a long way of saying ---- someone HAS to be in charge. Seniors age. Their eye sight diminishes. Their filters for hygiene disappear. AND the staff at the AL figure they can make their own decisions. Who will check on doctor visits? Weight gain/loss? Need for Physical therapy? I feel someone has to take this role or the residents flounder. And this can't be a semi annual visit, though my daily visits are surely impossible for most folks.
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Perhaps you should have a "Heart to Heart" talk with your parents and simply ask them how often they think you should visit, then discuss whether that is possible or not. Most parents don't want to be "a burden." They may realize the situation and distance is problematic and it may be weighing heavily on their minds too. Openness and honesty will make it a win-win situation for everyone.
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When my mother-in-law moved to our community and into a supportive independent living retirement community we, too, were concerned she would feel abandoned if we didn't see her frequently. (She had been pressured by 2 of her 3 children to make the move to OUR community.) My husband and I were both working full time, so we brought her to our home on Saturdays and Sundays. Her two daughters each lived 2 hours away. One visited monthly, the other about every 4 months. Her other son, a pilot, was supposed to be able to fly in frequently and easily, but it didn't work out that way, so he, too visited about every 4 months. My husband and I made a mistake to devote each and every weekend totally to his mother. One day a week would have been more in line with the other children's standards, and would have provided my mother-in-law with more opportunity to participate in activities at her living facility. Eventually, when her health declined, I quit my job and she moved into our home. The lack of "shared sacrifice" bred resentment over time. So yes, spend time with your parents, but establish boundary lines. Communicate expectations clearly with your siblings to try to maintain some equitability. I wrote a book about caregiving, What to Do about Mama? It shares the caregiving stories of 35 different caregivers. Family relationships is a major topic in the book.
Barbara M., Author
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I just came back from a visit to my dad. He is always so glad to see us. We weren't sure at first how often to visit but we went with his needs or our gut.
Now we visit weekly often twice.

You do stay a long way off, but it is nice for them not to feel abandoned or for you to feel you're coping with however many times.
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My best friend is in assilsted living now. At first, I visited twice a week. Now that she has friends, she requested that I only visit weekends because she is very busy during the week, but lonely weekends when her friends have family visiting.
(She has no family - just my daughter and me.) She always wants us to take her out someplace for lunch and/or shopping. I try to call her midweek to make plans for the weekend. This is working very well for us.
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When my father was 88 he fell and broke his hip, 110 miles away, and was admitted to a nursing home where he stayed for 2 months. I moved down there, used my accumulated sick and vacation time, and visited every single day for the entire visiting hours. It was grueling, but I thought I was doing the right thing. I was the volunteer for outings to watch him, feed him, when the nursing home did outside excursions. I sat with him during all entertainments planned, church services, etc. What it did was caused him to remain dependent on me for his entertainment and company, he didn't bond with the staff or any other patients. If I was out of sight, he bellowed for me non-stop. The Staff couldn't do anything for him because he expected ME to be there to do it. I had been taking care of most of his needs prior to his inpatient stay. The staff knew his room would be cleaned, his clothes would be fresh and changed daily and laid out for the next morning. All they had to do was feed him in the dining room and administer meds. They never got to know him as patient or as a person. I even attended the physical therapy sessions and did the exercises beside him to get him to do them, so the PT didn't have to do much coaching or helping, either. It about killed me physically. But I thought I was doing the right thing. I then brought him home here in town and kept him at home for about 6 months. I left my job, my home, my family, my husband, and started 24/7 care. What I did was cause him to be in full control, making it downright impossible to enforce medical care for him. I ignored my own health and was in a downward spiral. I had him admitted to a nearby nursing home, 35 miles one way, from our home. I decided to not visit for several weeks after talking to the social director and after extensive reading online, allowing him to adjust. And allowing the staff to get to know him 24/7 without me hovering for 10 hours a day. Now, at age 90 and after 9 months in this nursing home, with his advanced Alzheimer's and Dementia, he doesn't know how often I visit or who I am most of the time or even where he is. I visit at least once week to check on him, make sure all is okay, but I find it is harder on him when I visit since he struggles to make conversation and try to find things to talk about since his memories are few. He seems to enjoy the company and visit but I've peeped thru the windows at him and he is also very happy just being left alone now or wheeling up and down the hallways by himself. Every patient is different, I'd say visit when you feel you should. There is no set rules or guidelines or patterns, it all depends on you, your current situation (family, children, job, health, etc), and the patient's ability to receive company. But Samara and the others are right, keep on top of his meds, his needs, his room, his clothing....staff don't always do everything, they can get overwhelmed (or complacent if a family member is doing most of their work) Buy do remember that just because your family member is now in assisted living, memory care, or ALZ patient, you are still under a lot of the same stress, just because they are no longer physically with you doesn't mean that we don't still suffer daily from the stress of all of this. We still maintain their homes, bills, financials, along with our own daily needs. Continue to take care of YOU. And never let another family member or well-meaning friend make you feel negligent because you aren't there every other day for 10 hours straight. Again, do what is right for you and your in-patient family member. That schedule will change as the patient changes.
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There really is no one right answer. I have three siblings and one of us is there about 5 days a week. When she first went into the facillity, we went more often to help her acclimate. the activities schedule is a great idea. We went with her to some of the activities, met the activities people and now they will stop to remind her and take her to the activity if we aren't there . It takes time to build trust in the staff, so yes, go in on different shifts and introduce yourself and talk with them. and make sure they know to call you any time. My mom nows knows most of their names and of course, has her favorites. We walk around the place, which is large, and have found some little nooks were we will sit and visit. it is a huge adjustment for you parent(s) and after a while you should get a feeling about how often you should be there. It also depends on how social they are. Some people jump right in and introduce themselves and get to know their neighbors. Others are shy and need a little time to settle in and make friends. You know your parent(s) so you will know what to do and how to help them. If there is a social worker there you can meet with them and ask them how to ease the transition.
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