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Hi all - I’ve seen this discussed, but couldn’t find past threads. Moved Mom into memory care on Friday (she thinks it’s temporary, of course) since she needs oral surgery... this allowed me to do what she pretty much needed at this point anyway.


Where/how can I read, listen, learn, practice - about accepting the bargain of what care she will receive, what won’t be as good as the way I ran things, etc.? Hope I’m asking this question clearly. I went a lot the first few days, checking the meds (at first they messed up!), can see she’s not drinking enough water, listening to her complaints about the food (it IS only passable)..


It’s a fine establishment, they’re only human, she’ll always be unhappy about something, things likely wouldn’t be better anywhere else. Just at that point where I need to let go in some ways, but also monitor and fix what should be fixed, but no more...


We’re not on a long curve here, she’s nearing end of life. Thanks for any pointers on handling my mental state during this change. :)

Watch out! - is the best advice I can offer. I'm probably the least qualified person to comment because at this point I took mother home. My mistake? Still not decided about that.

Lavish praise on the staff whenever possible. If problems come up, say what you DO want and expect rather than pulling them to pieces over what they've got wrong. Focus on what really matters. If there are particular routines that make a small but important difference - e.g., how your mother likes to be helped to eat - demonstrate. If you take treats or little comforts, don't take anything it'll break your heart to lose or have ruined (items go astray, accidents happen). If "extras" - e.g. visits from befriending volunteers, aromatherapy, visiting pet therapy - are offered, say yes: don't assume your mother won't like it if she's never tried it.

Have you set yourself an approximate schedule for visits?
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Zdarov Nov 24, 2019
Chock full of good stuff, thanks so much CM. My approximate is to visit once most days, at least for the foreseeable. I’ve reflected on your choice to bring your mom home - so touching, as to which is right. Good on you. Mom went to IL since Jan 2019 first, so I got some practice liaising with the staff just as you say! Great advice. But I need to get better at bringing treats.
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I don't think there are any tips that can help with this, it has to come from allowing yourself to accept good enough and adequate rather than constantly pushing for perfect. I know there were many, many things that irritated me about mom's care right up until she died and even beyond, perfect acceptance and oblivion is for the uninvolved and those who prefer denial over reality. I think that being there, being aware and advocating for change where possible just comes with the territory for those of us who have dedicated so much to the well-being of another person.
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TiredSue Nov 23, 2019
This is pretty much what I was going to say! I would just add two things:
1. No one is going to take care of your loved one as well as you do/did!! I waited on my Mom hand and foot and she was unhappy here too, and I KNEW how she was being treated!
2. Don't visit at the same time every time you go see her - change it up so you "surprise" the staff and get to know each shift.
Best wishes
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Great question! I'm in the same place. I wish we could be like the Amish and everyone pitch in to help the elders. My mom is 93, has dementia, but it is decently in good shape physically and happily, thanks to my great care and that of her helpers. Unfortunately, I cannot afford the helpers much longer so a nice enough assisted living home I have checked out multiple times is probably next.

I am concerned that I will be just changing one set of problems for another. Someone said in another thread that she was upset because people said "You will get your life back now." Not really. My mom could go on for years based on her state at the moment. Sorry, just venting and appreciating the good responses to the original poster's question.
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Zdarov Nov 24, 2019
So glad you replied! So true, you don’t get your life back. But I know she’ll eat if I don’t get over some night... pretty big. Let's say it’s trading some loss of control with gaining less need to be in control. I can so appreciate this step you’re about to take - good luck to you. 🙂
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Great advice.

One thing that I did for my dad in the passable food was to buy the condiments that he enjoyed and he was able to cover the not so great items with an item that he enjoyed. I bought them at the dollar store and that saved a ton of money, his favourite thing is Heinz 57 and I was happy with the small bottles that were about 1 week of use, also he had ketchup, mustard, peanut butter and a couple of steak sauces. It cut the complaints to a minimum.

Can I suggest that you prepare a lovely homemade treat and give each shift a thank you for taking care of my mom, a balloon and card with a homemade treat because not many people appreciate how hard they really do work to take care of all the patients they are in charge of caring for. It will make your mom stand out to them and they will be kinder and more attentive to her.

Mostly, take care of you during this time as well, get good nutrition and rest so that you are not feeling overwhelmed. It is easy to see shortcomings when we are exhausted, look for all they do right and acknowledge that everyone is doing the best they can (obviously, if there are real issues they need addressing). And smile, you will be surprised how many people don't, it's not a happy place, but a smile really can change the atmosphere.

I am sorry that you are facing this. I pray that you find peace and comfort during this time and that your mom gets care that pleases you.
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Zdarov Nov 24, 2019
Thank you! Love the ideas, advice and support. I try to make 6 of 7 of days start and end with peace, you are so right that that is fundamental to coping and being tolerable to deal with. Pretty sure I’m coming from teamwork vs. criticism, and they have been good so far while I figure out what’s big stuff vs. small stuff. Will figure out treats/acknowledgments to bring!
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Accept what you cannot change, she is where she needs to be. They all complain about the food, it is a hobby with them, it is food prepared for all the residents, not just one, thus it is institutional food.

Don't become a helicopter caretaker, let her settle in, give the staff time to figure her out, and identify her needs. You are only capable of making one person happy, that is you.

Read up about your sub conscious mind, feed it one positive thought each night before drifting into sleep such as "I will not attempt to fix everything with my mother", eventually your conscious mind will believe this and you will be at peace with that issue, then move onto another. My Best!
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Zdarov Nov 24, 2019
I’ve been visiting the thread for a few days but not able to post things until now. What a great reply, thanks so much! The worst part of all do this has been my head for sure and I can’t meditate or anything so your thing about one phrase was great.
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I’m not where you are, yet, but I did go through a time of needing to change the pattern I’d set up with my dad. I’d honestly in my attempts to help, made him too dependent on me. Finally I saw he was expecting more and more and often what I was doing wasn’t really helping anyway. I still help plenty, but have backed off from trying nearly as much. It’s been better for us both. Be kind to the staff, never hurts. Unless you see things really wrong, let the little things go. Smile and nod to mom’s complaints. Hold her hand
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Zdarov Nov 24, 2019
daughter, you’re really onto something with letting go of ‘total mastery’ for providing what they need. Very happy to hear it, and thanks for your great reply.
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We also fretted a lot about our mother's treatment in MC, we were real helicopter daughters I can tell you, but we finally worked out the staff are well-trained and wonderful in their care of aged residents. Our mother is the cause of most of the issues that arise - the paranoia, the imprisonment, her refusal to take meds, to shower, clean her teeth, eat and drink et al. That is part and parcel of dementia. She has been in MC for 8 months now but still does not accept her change in circumstances. We have learned we cannot help that. We have done our best to make sure she is well cared for and, for our own mental health, now only visit 5 of 7 days a week between the 3 of us. We try not to stay for more than an hour at a time, we visit at different times of day, and at times coincide our visits for when the doctor does his routine calls, or to feed her if she is in 'they are trying to poison me'' mode. Zdarov, you are the one who will gradually truly accept that the paradygm has now changed - the aged care facility is now your mother's carer, they are responsible for her total care. You are back to being ''just'' family and can walk away whenever you have had enough drama. It is not callous, it is self-preservation. Perhaps you might try invoking the Serenity Prayer - God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
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TrishTunes Nov 24, 2019
Thank you for sharing, my family is about to embark on this same drama with Mama... :?(
Mom has been extremely independent, domineering and capable even up until the last year or two which at 98 years old is amazing - she climbed up the attic access one day last month an got her suitcases down because she is leaving my house to go back to her home... we have a struggle with every step of this journey as Mom fights us at every turn. Your replies suggest you are a professional in this area...thank you!
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They will be different. Repeat after me, "They will be different."

As long as mom is safe, healthy and cared for - she will be fine.

Medications will be given on a different schedule than you did - large number of clients all needing medications. Food will be blander - large crowd with all kinds of nutrition needs. They will offer food and liquids different than you did. They will offer different types of entertainment.... It will be different for you and mom. As long as she is safe, healthy, and cared for - she will be fine.

Consider why you placed her into memory care - your needs and her needs. Get into a routine that meet your needs, because hers are being met. Make visits to mom more about bringing both of you pleasure.
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"...she’ll always be unhappy about something..."

If Mum is one of those people who chooses to be unhappy there is nothing at all you can do to change her situation. Once you accept that, you will find a degree of peace.

Don't think of the care she is receiving as "won't be as good as the way I ran things...", but a different way from how you ran things. You were one person looking after one person, now there is a team looking after many people.

As you now have some extra time for yourself and you know her death is near, look into nourishing your soul. Seek some counseling, if she is on Hospice ask if they have supports available for you. Our Hospice had counseling, relaxing massage and more available while Step Dad was in the hospital.
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Zdarov Nov 24, 2019
You have hit right on it! Thank you.
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I recently just went through your same scenario it sounds like. My dad and I put my grandmother is a MC unit at a NH in August. Thank goodness she was only there almost 3 months to the day. She experienced rapid weight loss and went down significantly health wise. I posted a question on here, which is how I found this wonderful site. The lovely people on here suggested I look into hospice care. I was hesitant to bring it up at first with my dad. We were both her POA, but I was a granddaughter and any final decisions I felt like my dad should have the say. I was scared he would think I thought she was about to die any minute, even though at times I was scared. We did check in to hospice after several trips to the hospital. The last time they came in and immediately set up a meeting with us. They brought in equipment she needed or might need. Administered orders for food and meds that we went back and forth with the NH about and could not get accomplished on our own. They came in to help see that she was bathed and check on her status. They alerted me of any changes once I expressed to them I wanted the truth and answers the NH drs could not give me. The in house drs let me know she could only take BP and do basics. She was not an Alzheimers specialists, which is what my grandmother was. She was severely advanced. Their drs and staff was able to give me the peace of mind I needed and when it came her time 2 weeks ago, they helped every way they could. I can see looking at pictures of her now that she was tired. Very tired and probably ready to go as hard as that is to say. I would suggest to you to check into hospice if you think her time is near. Maybe they can help check in on her and ease your mind knowing it is not only staff working with her. Bring her foods other than what they have. Hospice will also regulate her meds for you and see they are given correctly. I went almost everyday to make sure she was eating dinner and dad went a few times a week. This was just my preference to have every moment I could with her any way I could get it. I thank God for hospice and the people on this site that put me on the right track. I pray you find the answers you are looking for and find peace with your decisions. Prayers headed your way.
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