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My 92 year old mother is healthy physically but she has a severe short term memory deficit. She still lives in her own apartment and we have made arrangements for someone to see her everyday. “We” includes my brother and his wife, their daughter and me. I wonder if for psychosocial benefits it would be best for her to be in an assisted living facility. She seems happy but her latest saying is, “Come often and stay long!” I believe she turns on a tv at 5:00 pm until around 9:00 but otherwise sits in her chair listening to talk radio. She no longer reads. Is that sufficient and reasonable to maintain what is best for her? Or are we kidding ourselves that it's ok. She is, in my opinion, incapable of knowing how someplace different might help. Or does it?

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My 92 year old mom also has memory problems. She was living on her own but was very lonely. She refused any outside help and was not taking her meds consistently. She doesn't like to cook, didn't want meals brought in and was living on junk food. She is now in a retirement home where she gets 3 meals a day, her meds are given to her and monitored, she has a call button to get help if she needs it and there are activities and people to socialize with. She is content there and we have peace of mind knowing she has company and is being well looked after.
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disgustedtoo Jan 25, 2021
Put simply, yup, this was our mother and her situation. Age, refusing outside "help", unable to monitor meds, couldn't cook, refused to consider MOW, living on microwave foods and junk.

The last sentence fits as well. Initially she was miffed, but she eventually was content. The place was great, mom was well cared for and SAFE. She had 3 good meals per day, with snacks and coffee between. There were plenty of others around for socializing and varied activities for the residents.
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Nope, it's not safe for a 92 y/o woman with severe memory loss to live alone. Who knows what she can do by mistake one day without realizing it's dangerous? She can try to clean something & mix chemicals together creating a toxic cocktail. She can try to cook & forget to turn off the stove. There are just 1 million things that could go wrong, including that she can fall and wind up laying there on the floor until someone comes by and finds her.

Assisted Living/Memory Care can help her by providing 3 hot meals a day and snacks, socialization, activities.........help with showers, and about 1000 other things that she'll need as her memory continues to evaporate. Don't wait until it's an emergency before you place her out of harm's way. Most people don't even understand dementia and all the facets of it......so read all about it and then make your decision accordingly. "Psychosocial" benefits are only 1 of many, many benefits to living with caregivers who work around the clock.

My mother turned 94 yesterday & I cannot believe how far downhill she's gone in the past 6 months ALONE. It's staggering what she can no longer do on her own, including using the TV and the phone lots of times! If she didn't have caregivers to help her, I shudder to think how she'd be able to function at all with moderate dementia at play.

Good luck.
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RacklaMSW Jan 23, 2021
Your solution sounds good, back in the day. I would not go near an assisted living or nursing home.
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She'll be fine until some "untoward event" occurs - such as leaving the stove on or the water overflowing a sink. Her memory situation will only get worse with the passage of time.

It's time to start investigating other options.
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I think you should be asking if it’s safe for her to live alone at this point. When she is alone, is she capable of handling an emergency? Can she get out of there is a fire? Will she think to call 911? If someone tries to break in, will she call 911? How likely is it that she will wander outside and forget her way home?

As far as it being healthy, I think that’s a matter of opinion. Some will say if family comes by every day then she’s fine. But to me it sounds like she’s pretty isolated and is merely existing at this point instead of living. I’m leaning toward this being an unsafe and unhealthy environment but I don’t know it’s correct to say that AL would be healthier, because of COVID. It would be better because she would be amongst other adults & have daily activities to participate in
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Reply to worriedinCali
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Let her be in her apartment. It's what she knows and is comfortable with. If you are making it work for now this way, let it be. Believe me, she would not be doing anything differently at an assisted living center except wishing she were home, regardless of the literature and pamphlets about "activities" and "community". Home is best if you can manage it.
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disgustedtoo Jan 25, 2021
"Home is best if you can manage it."

Learned LONG ago when watching The Electric Company with my kids:

IF.... is a very big word....
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I agree with Worried. Safety is the issue here.
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Not safe, no. Just think of leaving on the stove burner and that will answer your question. When this started happening with my aunt (and the building had to be evacuated -- fortunately no fire just smoke), she moved into Assisted Living.
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My dad was in his house until 93 with daily caregivers until he was hospitalized for dehydration. The hospital said it was not safe for him to return home, as this would happen again (he forgets to drink beverages), so he was discharged to assisted living over a year ago. He has now progressed to skilled nursing. It will probably be a medical incident that will require her to move.
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Here is my two cents. Trust your gut instinct. Please install wifi cameras around the house so you can monitor her from your cell phone and really make an informed judgement call. Amazon's Wyze cameras are great. My mom "talked the talk" for a long time but the cameras took away the guesswork. She wasn't eating healthy, sleeping more often than not, often left the water running, forgot or double took her meds, and one time put a bottle of nail polish in the microwave because she thought it would loosen the top more easily.
Please make a consultation appointment with a good elder care attorney to learn your options about protecting and/or utilizing her assets to best serve her. You should have a durable POA and health care proxy in place before you make any major changes. Any changes in memory should be documented with her primary care physician. Lastly, if she has sizable assets hire a local caretaker (besides family) to keep her company and take care of her household needs for a few hours a day. I think that would be a help to all of you and give you some time to make a good assessment before you decide on moving her to an AL facility. Best of luck to you!
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Reply to NYCmama
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If she's happy in her apartment, let her be. Looks like you all have it covered, having someone visit every day.
I would suggest a life alert button for her. Does she need help cooking and cleaning?
If possible, could the visitor join her for a meal? Lunch or dinner.
I cook a well balanced dinner, with plenty of extra to bring for Mom and share a meal.
Also, perhaps a schedule for a daily call. I call my Mom each evening around 7.
Hoping your Mom can stay in her apartment, especially during the pandemic.
Best wishes.
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disgustedtoo Jan 25, 2021
Life alert buttons are fine, but when dementia and memory issues are involved, they don't always remember they have it or how/when to use it.

We added some "safety" features for mom, including a flashing light for the doorbell, a timed/locked dispenser for meds, and cameras. Her hearing wasn't great and she would often forget to replace the battery in it, leaving her mostly deaf. She misplaced the portable phone (there was a wall phone too) multiple times. She dismantled the flashing light. She would miss the alarms, etc on the dispenser. She switched the thermostat from Cool to Heat, mid-summer! The place was SO hot (the heat wasn't running, but with all windows closed, heat and humidity built up!) One brother put in a Nest thermo - he could monitor and control it through WiFi, she didn't know how to mess with it. He also put in a cipher lock on the door, also able to control it and set it to lock at night.

We tried bringing in aides, 1hr/day, to check on her and see that she took the meds. That didn't last 2 months (she refused to let them in.) If she had an alert button, that would have been misplaced as well. Too often she would put away "supplies" and then forget she had them, use other things (wrapping items in torn up plastic bags for freezing, despite having baggies, plastic wrap, tin foil, etc) and ask for me to pick up more.

I also made extra for some meals (lasagna, mac 'n cheese, chili) that I could freeze and bring to her. I did not live close enough to provide daily meals. No clue how far away OP is, but that isn't always an option. She flat out refused to even consider MOW. She forgot how to cook things, so she relied on frozen dinners and junk.

Sometimes it just isn't easy trying to keep them in their own place, esp when memory issues are the big concern. Without being there all the time, we have NO way to know what deficits there are, what danger they pose for themselves or what they are doing daily. Cameras can only show so much.
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