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My mother was diagnosed a couple of years ago with dementia by her primary healthcare provider. She's always had mild cognitive delay, but now dementia is taking hold and her memory has gotten much worse. She currently lives alone and I see her every day, as well as a home health provider twice a week and a woman I pay privately to check on her 3 days a week. She no longer drives and I purchase most of her food as she began to only buy junk and sweets. I have been paying her bills for over a year as she could no longer write checks properly. I have a very difficult time getting her to drink liquids, but adding Mio to her water helps some, as long as I stay on her to drink it. She gets dehydrated when I don't stay on top of it. My husband and I have been preparing her to move in with us for some time, but that time is now arriving since she can no longer remember her phone number or her address. She hides her cash and keys, along with other assorted items around her apartment and then can't find them. Today I learned she has lost her apartment keys. I thought she had lost them today since that's what she told me, but I found out from the private caregiver that she lost them last week and she (caregiver) expected my mother to tell me. Well, needless to say, she didn't. The time has come to move her as I no longer feel that she is safe to remain alone. I have had full POA since 2009. She is adamant about not wanting to move out of her apartment. I have tried to rationalize with her, but she has dug in her heels and doesn't want to move. She says she just wants to die in her apartment and would rather die than move, obviously not an option. I have told her she can live with us or a care center, but she equates the care center as a hospital and absolutely doesn't want to go there. It's all I can do to get her to the doctor. Her health good for the most part, with the exception of her cognitive decline. Her private caregiver thinks she is fine, but her contact is very limited and she really doesn't know much about how much she has declined recently. My mother doesn't (never has) communicate much and so the caregiver doesn't understand how different it is now than it was, and doesn't seem to have a very good understanding of all of the safety issues I am concerned about. I guess my question is should I force my mother to live with me or get her into a care facility? My only brother has left this choice to me as he lives across the country. Since my mother has always had cognitive issues, she has never had friends or personal relationships outside of her late husband and my family. She has bonding problems doesn't connect with others well. I think the care center would be a mistake and I feel like I would be abandoning her since it is a long distance and I would not be able to see her regularly. Doing nothing isn't an option as it feels neglectful. I'm just so confused as to what to do.

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Why are you only considering a care center that is too far from you? Is there nothing suitable closer?

Could your mother afford additional help in her apartment? Meals on wheels? Housekeeping help? Daily health care services? A medical alert device? Does she take medications? We gave our mother an extra few years on her own with all these kinds of support. (Pill taking was the hardest, and what finally brought things to a head.) Could you drop in and see Mother twice a day? That would still be less time consuming than having her in your home. Have a beverage with her at each visit.

People with dementia do reach a point where it is not safe for them to live alone. Your mother may have already reached that point. What does her doctor think?

Whether she stays where she is, lives with you, or lives in a care center, her dementia behaviors will continue. She will still hide objects and forget that she did that. She will still need encouragement to stay hydrated. She won't remember her address. She will still prefer junk food. It may be easier to handle these behaviors if she doesn't live on her own, but moving won't change them.

You are in a very difficult decision-making position. I certainly wish you well!
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