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What should I do the days leading up to and day and days after she is there. Do I visit everyday? I am worried that I will have major anxiety over her wondering where I am and why I have done this to her. She has dementia.

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I just put my husband in LTC in August. I didn't realize I had been under so much stress. I got quite sick after he went in. I was advised to let him settle in for 2 weeks at the beginning and not to visit. In the spring and summer I live 40 min away and would visit him twice a week. In the winter I am now 2 hours away so I only visit once every 2 weeks. It is the guilt that gets you not visiting often enough. But once you are there you realize he doesn't relate to time. For 2 months he kept asking "when am I going home?". Now he asks "why are we not living together if we are married?". So many friends told me I did the right thing. My family said it was long past due. He says they treat him like a prince. The staff are wonderful and he has made a couple of friends. Don't feel guilty. When I am out shopping by myself I still think I have to rush back as I couldn't leave him alone very long. Don't visit every day. As BarbBrooklyn said " let the staff do their job". Good advice. They have seen all the problems before and are better at it than we are. I am just now starting to find things I am interested in and enjoying being on my own. Enjoy your time , have lunch out with a friend. Women friends are the best support network you can find. All the best.
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Lynn876, everyone's situation is different. But here's what I did after agonizing for about a year over whether, when and where to move my then 95-year-old dad in late-stage dementia to a memory care facility: I didn't tell my dad about the move, instead I just drove him there and he thought we had arrived at a nice hotel like we had done many times in the past. We ate a nice dinner together and I spent the night with him, showered him in the morning, and then we ate a hearty breakfast together. I watched as he ate lunch with his new friends and then I left while he was participating in an activity. Then I returned and observed him eating dinner. After the first day, I rode my bike the 10 miles round trip to visit him at least once every day (and my wife visited him a couple of times weekly as well) for the next 19 months until he died at age 97.  During that time, I remained his primary caregiver, but with the facility's small army of aides and my daily bike ride I was a better rested, more fit and much more patient caregiver.

During almost all of those visits, my dad would ask me to take him home, but "home" was his childhood home where he thought his mom was waiting for him (or waiting for us, since he often thought I was his dad). I always told him it was too late today since all I had was a bike, but that we could go "home" in the morning after a good night's sleep and a hot breakfast. That usually satisfied him, but when it didn't, then we would walk the halls together looking for an exit and a ride "home." Sometimes other residents overheard us and wanted us to take them to their homes and I'd tell them the same things I told my dad (which makes me wonder if your mom also would have asked us to take her home).

I know the staff at some facilities advise family members not to visit for a while (my dad's staff did not), but you know your mom better than the staff does, and you should do what you think will be best for her adjustment. Like I said, everyone is different. Best wishes in navigating these difficult decisions.
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Lynn876 Dec 15, 2019
Thank you for the good advice
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Is the LTC facility nearby? Will visiting everyday be a hardship?

Is your mother currently living with you?

You've written in the past about feeling selfish because you want your life back.

To that I counter that you are being MORE selfish in denying your mother the ability to be around others and have ongoing medical oversight. My mother lived far longer because she was in a NH where her physical and mental issues were able to be dealt with promptly.

Your mother has dementia? Do you think that she still has the ability to wonder why things are not the way they were last week? Or are you perhaps projecting your own anxiety on to the situation?

I visited my mom once a week for about 90 minutes once she was in the NH. Other family members who lived close were able to pop in for briefer visits several times a week.

Let her get used to the facilty. Become her advocate and loving daughter, not her caregiver. Let the staff do their jobs.
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Sorry to say, there is no instruction manual when it comes to moving someone into permanent care. What works for one, can be a disaster for another. You are close to jumping the first hurdle, the important thing is not to shy away from the task. It will only get harder as your mothers dementia progresses.
If your mother is happy to make the move at present, be prepared for her to baulk at the last minute. But stay strong and do not give in, it will only make it more difficult for both of you.
When we place an elder into care we cede our caregiving role and become just family again. The staff need time to establish a relationship with your mother so that she will accept them as the primary carer. They often recommend not visiting for a fortnight to achieve this. Yes, your mother will be confused by the new paradygm, but that is the nature of the illness. If you are going to be at the facility every waking moment, there is no point in you mother being in care.
This will be one of the most difficult things you do in your life. I wish you strength and courage to do the right thing oir your mother. The longer you wait the worse your anxiety will become.
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All my experience with placing someone in AL is not to visit everyday, in fact after the person is placed stay away for a week or two. The patient needs to adjust and the AL needs to be given some latitude, not being overburdened by a helicopter caretaker.

If there is a serious issue the facility will contact you. Overall visiting everyday is a bad idea, as you will become her complaint department, they all whine and complain and want to go home. And don't overdue the phone calls either.

Set your boundaries and stick to them...keep in mind that you are doing what is best for her...not to mention you too.

Sending support your way, keep posting, it will help.
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Lynn, I know that this is one of the hardest things you will have to do in your life, but it will work out for the best. Will you feel guilty about this? Yes. My mom has dementia also, and has lived independently all of her life. I had to realize that nurses specialize in care of dementia and know just how to deal with their changing behaviors. Do you visit everyday? No, you don't have to. Thankfully, the facility my mom is in is only 15 min. away from me, so visits are not a strain, but I know that she is well cared for and I do visit at least 3 - 4 times a week. When she lived alone, I was at her home everyday taking care of bills, shopping, etc. Now that I know she is being bathed, fed, and even entertained, I feel relief. I still love to read to her, bring her music, sit and have lunch with her on those days, but it is nice to have time for myself. I still feel guilty, I don't know if that will ever go away, but let her adjust to staff and other residents. She will feel like the new kid on the block, but if she allows herself to participate in activities and outings, she will not feel abandoned. I hope this helps.
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Lynn876 Dec 14, 2019
Thank you that makes me feel better. Wising you all the best!!
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Thank you all so very much. I wish that we could all be together around a kitchen table talking...😊😊😊
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bicycler Dec 15, 2019
Yes, that would be good, with coffee, of course, and/or maybe a little wine? And if you haven't yet participated in a dementia support group, I encourage you to do that, but do know that not all such groups function equally well. My wife and I have participated in four different Alzheimer's support groups, two of which were great and helped us learn and cope quite a bit, while two were struggling. If you join a struggling one, you might be able to help make it work better, but at the same time it wouldn't hurt to look for one that's already working better. You can find local support groups at www.alz.org (Also know that these support groups are not limited to family members of people with just Alzheimer's dementia since other causes of dementia result in similar personal and family struggles.)
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I had to place my dad in memory care in March 2017 when it smacked me in the face that dad could no longer live at home. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do but I had no choice. Two of the worst days in my life: 1) The Saturday I drove around town buying the furnishings for his room, and 2) The Tuesday before the actual move in day. Both days the pain and tears came in waves. The day of the move I had to put on my game-face and be strong for him. After that came a feeling that I had climbed a mountain and there was some relief. Staff told me it was best to stay away for 30 days, so that's what I did, and I needed the relief. I did pop in a few times (without him seeing me) to take a look, and I was in touch with staff via phone and text every couple of days. He had a lot of paranoia and confusion over things but did settle in (to my surprise) and, even through his dementia, made it clear that he knew he was being well-cared for.

He died a month ago today. I have mixed emotions because he was in bad shape and under Hospice care for the past 3 months. For the first week after he died, I wished I had visited more often. I did go almost every Sunday for 2017, 2018 and 2019, in addition to weekday stop-ins for lunch or to take him out for a car ride, etc. So visit often and try not to beat yourself up too much. Remember that you have a life and a future, and we are expected to outlive our parents. Dementia is just an ugly thing that we didn't expect to deal with, but here it is.

We should write a Kid's "Handbook" to inform you of all of the sh*t that will be heaped upon you when your parents age. For me, as an only child, it's been awful. Today, I sign the papers to send mom to a care home, and so, it begins again for me....
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Val622 Dec 18, 2019
Same with me. Only child now as brother passed away. If other sibling took part in the decision I wouldn’t feel so much guilt. It’s horrible that we had s great relationship and now her end will be sadness anger and guilt. At least I have learned and tell my kids everyday please if this happens to me don’t ever feel guilty. It didn’t help that my dads last words to me were keep mom in her home as long as possible. But didn’t explain how to do that with out any money.
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I told my mom that it was kind of like moving into her dorm when she went to college -- new faces, new food, and new experiences.

I also left her that first day with the same advice she said her dad gave her when taking her to college in 1947 -- "Just stick to the books, and forget about the boys."

That made us both laugh, then I left and cried in my car.

I visited every day for the first week, then stretched it to every other day, then 2x a week. At that time I was 90 minutes (minimum) of L.A traffic away. Now I've moved her closer to me and can see her every other day for an hour or so. Recently I've started giving myself the weekends off for my own mental health.

She'll be fine,and you'll be fine. Easing into it is the way to go, and the staff can help you as well. Make use of their expertise.
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I literally couldn’t eat for a week. I did visit her everyday. At first she wouldn’t eat with the other residents. Eventually she did and she loved it. She is in the memory care unit now. I hope she gets used to this too. Good luck. Hugs.
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