I'm admitting my Mom to a nursing home tomorrow. Any tips from folks who have been there?

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My mother has dementia, likely Alzheimer's. I have been telling her for a couple of months now that I'm looking for "another place for her to live where she won't have to be alone at night." A bed at a nh has finally come available and off we go tomorrow. Of course, when I talk about it with her, I say it's a "retirement community." Other than that, I have describe it accurately and she has welcomed the idea. I have packed her bag, but I am concerned about things like, how do I get her to go? what paperwork will I be asked to sign, and how do I avoid making myself financially responsible if there's a glitch with medicaid? Are there any other pitfalls anyone can warn me about now?

Any info or advise will be appreciated.

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There are probably a lot of others on this board who can give you more detailed information about this, but I will say that I would have an Elder Law attorney review the finances before I applied for Medicaid. There are legal ways to protect assets and if you apply before take care of things, you may lose those options. Each state applies Medicaid differently.

Assuming the financial aspects are covered, does your mom have a Power of Attorney and Health Care Power of Attorney? Those are important documents that will enable you to assist your mom. Is she still competent to sign it to you?
Unless she's been found incompetent, she may still be able to sign them. I'd check with an attorney. It will be very difficult to act on her behalf if you don't have those documents.
Your mom's doctor can also assist in determining what her condition is and what her level of care needs are and will be in the near future.
It varies by state, but in NC, a long term care facility requires a doctor to complete a form that describes the reasons the person is in the facility and what their needs are. If she does qualify for Medicaid, they will only pay for the level of care she actually needs. Nursing homes cost more than an assisted living facility.

It's a good idea to have not only a medical report, but an assessment of what your mom will need help with. Can you bath herself, but just needs assistance with dressing or can she get herself in and out of the bathroom? Different places provide different support.

In my state, Nursing homes are for people who can't get in and out of bed with the assistance of one other person or who need daily skilled nursing care. Does your mom need that?

My cousin, who had significant dementia, went into an Assisted Living facility, that assisted her with all aspects of her life, but they were not equipped to handle wandering. When she started to wander, even though she was in a wheelchair, I had to place her in a Secure Memory Unit, which is a form of Assisted Living. They specialize in people with Alzheimers and other memory issues and the related behavior. It was the best thing I could do and it has made a huge improvement in her quality of life. I highly encourage you to explore what memory care facilities you have before selecting a place. Keep in mind that the disease progresses and some places are not as equipped to handle dementia patients as others. This can lead to a lot of stress on you and your mom.

I would suggest you spend at least 50 hours researching facilities, visiting them without your mom and checking references before making a decision. There are many issues with these places, I've discovered. You have to found the right fit.

Good luck.
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