Mom was moved to memory care after trying out assisted living for about a month. She didn't want to be there, and it made it hard for her adapt. She spends all of her time trying to get out and asking to leave. She cries all day long, despite being medicated and having activities. Will this calm down? I've internalized all of this and am still recovering from severe burnout from caring for her when it was just me. I don't want her to feel like I abandoned her, but I also need to let her get used to things and reset my central nervous system from caretaking her all those years.

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I would say that it is as individual as the senior's own thumb print.
Do remember, if you are next of kin, closest person, that you are the one who will hear it ALL, as you are seen by your loved one as the means to the gates opening. You are seen as the answer to all questions and as their salvation. Hence they will speak to YOU nearly constantly.

I would be scrupulous in honesty and I would also say that this is a subject that you cannot dwell on as it is not good for either of you to constantly mourn what cannot be changed.

As to your internalizing this, that is something you will have to stop yourself doing. The choice to marinate in this is a choice that will form the same circular HARMFUL path in your brain that your loved one is practicing on you. It will become habit. It will lead to unhappiness.

Happiness is not your responsibility. Moreover, if is impossible in the aging process. It isn't a happy time. And there have been many other times in your loved one's life that were unhappy and you were nowhere on the scene to blame. You didn't cause this and you can't fix it.

My own brother told me "You know, hon, I look on this ALF kind of like the Army when I was young. I don't much like it but I make the best of it." and that is what he did. That is the choice for all of us, isn't it. I have, since the beginning of the year, had a new diagnosis of a new cancer. I have to deal with it. What good will it do to marinate in the down side, the "what- ifs", the "when wills". One makes the best of it. Or NOT. And that now is the choice for both you and your dear mom. The universe, overall, will march on in its oblivious orbits, not caring a fig which choice you make.
Helpful Answer (16)
Reply to AlvaDeer
NeedHelpWithMom May 8, 2024
Such a wonderful response! Sensible and truthful.

If we are prone to worrying about the ‘what ifs’ we will have to practice distracting ourselves from excessively worrying. It can be done.

Alva, your assessment that dwelling on issues doesn’t make anything better, is correct. In fact, it only makes things worse.
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Yes to meds. Dementia robs people of the ability to bring themselves to a mental state of peace or contentment through reason and logic -- those skills are going and gone. Also they lose their sense of time and space and memory, all which contribute to to their anxiety. Getting her on meds is merciful.
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Reply to Geaton777

Your mother needs to see a geriatric psychiatrist at her Memory Care ALF to find better meds to keep her from crying all day long. Misery goes hand in hand for many folks with dementia, including my mother, but meds like Wellbutrin and Ativan did calm her down. If those meds didn't work, I'd have had her seen by a geriatric psychiatrist until the right meds WERE found.

You need a break and to stop internalizing HER misery. Do what you can to get her properly evaluated and medicated, and then allow her to settle in. Most do eventually. You're not responsible for any of her dementia and you've done your level best to care for her at home for so long, so now it's time for Memory Care.

Wishing you the best of luck with a difficult situation.
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Reply to lealonnie1

Try to focus more on the facts. You say that you don’t want your mom to feel as if you abandoned her.

You haven’t abandoned her. You did what was needed for her. Be proud of yourself for handling things exactly as you should have.

Your mother no longer has the ability to be rational.

Think about when your mom was able to be rational. Wouldn’t she want you to lead a full life, free from excess stress?

She has Alzheimer’s disease. She doesn’t realize how much her behavior has changed, why she is in
memory care and how all of this affects you.

Extreme stress is so harmful for us. Do whatever is necessary to learn how to manage your anxiety.

Your mother is being cared for by her staff. If she needs additional help adjusting, find a way to help her, such as finding different meds, etc. and know that is all that you can possibly do for her.

Wishing you peace as you continue to advocate for your mom.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom

They say it takes 3-6 months for someone to calm down...and adapt. But it didn't happen with my cousin. The assisted living facility moved her to mem care exactly one month after she arrived. Cousin hated it, way worse than the regular AL area. After many chaotic events, we moved her the a full Mem-Care-only facility, they know how to handle this situation much more competently than the AL facility. It's more expensive, it's a more focused facility, and cousin is adapting nicely. They took her off all meds, and her short-term memory has improved. So far, after about 6 weeks, we are happy with this move.
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Reply to Woolnutzi

What has been tried here medically?
Any thought of low dose anti-depressant?
Any discussion with MD about medical MaryJane in the form of gummies?
Working very well, that latter, for a friend's mom in nursing home in TX.
I sure wish you good luck. I would speak with the doc.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to AlvaDeer
MomHelper1234 May 8, 2024
She is on antidepressants, Rexulti, and Ativan.
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Very normal to be hyper focused on leaving. It's hard but you have to toughen up a bit about it, being comfortable with the FACT that this is the right decision for your mom. Talk to her doc about meds. Obviously what she's on right now isn't quite doing the trick. She is safe but she will probably never really be happy again. I have come to terms with that with my mom. She's in rehab now and hopefully going back to her AL apt next week. Lots of confusion and complaining but that's the nature of this beast called dementia.
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Reply to againx100

My moms been exit seeking for 8 months..she got out of AL 5 times into a parking lot! She never did it the 2.5 years prior while living in AL. It is a new stage of her dementia. We moved her into their MC unit 6 weeks ago for safety and added care needs and she tries there also with no success due to locked coded doors. Lewy Body Dementia definitely has this issue. My guess is she would do it if living in my home. Her brain is damaged..she does not remember even getting outside ..p.s. Lewy can not be medicated like other dementias. It can make Lewy much worse.
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Reply to Sadinroanokeva

There is a lot of 'what to do's' on the internet.
1. I would suggest: getting her a mechanical cat or dog to pet / care for to distract her.
2. As you feel appropriate, visit and tell her you are 'working on it.' Give her hope. I know some facilities suggest you do not visit. This is up to you.
3. Perhaps music (a CD player) could ease her stress and re-focus her attention.
4. I believe it is refocusing her attention is key - as best you can. It is a transition, it is not easy, she is scared and disorientated.
5. See if you can hire a volunteer to visit - someone other than family - to be with her as a support. The staff may be nice and caring and they are busy. A visitor a few hours a day might help her.

See website:

Partially it states:

In this transition process, it’s easy to get caught up in the planning and packing. However, this will also be a transition for you as you adapt to your new support role. Consider:

Remember that it will get easier –

In time, your loved one will grow used to their new environment and it’s important to be patient through this time.

Make regular visits following the move but give space for them to adapt – As your loved one transitions to the care facility, it’s important to visit often and support them through this transition. However, remember that this is a delicate balance, so be sure to connect with facility staff to determine the best days/times to visit and allow space and time for them to settle in on their own.

Be prepared for bad days –

It’s common for people transitioning into memory care to express negative emotions and comments, but it’s important to keep these remarks in perspective and allow time for adjustment. And remember, there are bound to be setbacks, but this is all part of the journey forward.

Stand firm in your decisions – 

Staying consistent is one of the most important aspects of transitioning a loved one into memory care, but it’s also one of the hardest. Try your best to not bend or waiver once a decision has been made, but rather give your loved one the time and space to adapt.

Reassure your loved one –

The tone you set for the transition has an immense impact on how your loved one reacts and adapts to it. By using positive language and reassuring your loved one that this is a good move, it will ease their transition and mitigate anxieties.

Listen to your loved one and validate their feelings –

An important aspect of transition for you and your loved one is active listening. Often simply hearing your loved one’s emotions and validating their feelings and concerns can help mitigate anxiety and improve emotions.

Don’t feel ashamed –

Decisions like this can often come with outside criticism from family and friends, but it’s important to remember that as their caregiver, you know what’s best for them.

Process feel guilty – When you decide to transition your loved one into a memory care facility, it’s important to view this as a necessary step in your loved one’s health journey. Remember you are seeking better care and support for your loved one.

Be patient – Remember to take care of yourself and be patient throughout this process and transition. Patience with yourself, your loved one, the memory care facility and its staff will go a long way and help ease the transition.

Gena / Touch Matters
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to TouchMatters

She is trying to return to whatever place she remembers as "home". It may or may not be your home. It is most likely a home she remembers from much earlier years. Psychoactive medications take time to reach therapeutic levels. Most often, different medications, combination of medications and adjustments in dosages are needed to find the right "fit" for an individual. You need to give her meds enough time to work - about a month. If she is still unsettled, then talk with her doctor about adjusting medication dosage or adding/trying another medication.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Taarna
cover9339 May 12, 2024
Having mom take all these medications?
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