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Mom will be 96 and I vowed to keep her home - but she doesn't know she is home. She knows me (only daughter) and husband and granddaughter. Everything else is a blur but she can become oriented. She also gets very confused so being somewhere stable will be good and provide the 24 hour care she gets now in a better environment where they all understand dementia. So do I tell her she is moving? Do I just move her? Do I tell her the day before? There are so many opinions! Thanks!

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We followed my MIL wishes of her always wanting to be home. We started her in adult day care 2 days a week for respite care. This worked great for 6 months. We had found a facility we liked and she was on the waiting list. MIL dementia was getting worse with her not wanting to be clean or sanitary. We knew she wouldn’t want to live like this.

Memory care unit had an opening and here was our plan. She loved her bedroom. Me and my sis in law picked her up for a girls day. Her children packed her bedroom. When they finished moving her belongings and set up her room. They called us. We took Mom to lunch at the facility everyone was there. She had a huge smile. After lunch we asked if she wanted a nap. We took her to her room. She sat in her chair. We asked what she thought..... she said “I’m home”. Not a dry eye in the room.
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Lymie61 May 1, 2019
What a wonderful story and transition, thank you for sharing it! She is a lucky woman with to have such a loving family!
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How you go about moving people into care depends on their level of cognitive ability and short term memory. People who are candidates for memory care usually have very little if any short term memory. Trying to explain such a move is a waste of time and will just cause unneeded stress for all.

My mom went to assisted living JUST TILL YOU GET BETTER. Dad who had much worse dementia: MOMS IN THE HOSPITAL. LETS GO HAVE LUNCH WITH HER. Dad moved in after lunch. Then mom asked OMG HOW MUCH DOES THIS PLACE COST!? DONT WORRY MOM. INSURANCE COVERS IT. It was almost $10K per month. Insurance covered nothing.

the point is, when dementia reaches a certain point there is no other way to keep loved ones safe , calm and cared for without fibbing. Mom died last year. Dad was there with her. He cried and grieved. Ten minutes later, WHERES YOUR MOTHER? I don’t want him to repeat his grief so, OH, MOMS IN THE DINING ROOM. WE’LL GO SEE HER LATER.

You tell people what they need to hear.

If your mom can understand the concept of moving to memory care and remember it the next day she is probably not ready for memory care. But that doesn’t sound like the case here.
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I think you will be more upset about this than your mother. I would not tell her as she will get upset by the news (briefly) and there's no reason to distress her. Take her to lunch there after you've moved her familiar things in. Then take her to her room and let her take a nap or read tv, whatever she normally does.

If you've made it look familiar, she may not even notice. If she questions you, you tell her that she needs to stay here until she gets better. That she will be going home soon. Now you and I know that she won't get better, but if she does get better, of course you would bring her home. And she will go home soon, all relative terms of course.

You can do this. Remember the 6 year old you were dreading dropping off as school who gleefully started playing with the other children? She's there.
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surprise Apr 28, 2019
I forgot to suggest that you also ask her doc for anxiety medication and give her one with her morning vitamins the day you take her to lunch. I'm assuming you have POAs in place.
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I told my mom it was temporary [she thought she was in rehab for her hands] & because she had no concept of time she didn't realize how long she had been there - very occationally she would ask when she was going home I would ask about how her physio on hand was going & I had 'props' like squeeze balls that I would hand her so we could do her exercises [lasted 15 seconds]- adjust to your own situation

As to your promise .... that was made to the person who used to inhabit your mom's body & that person is long gone so don't beat yourself up with guilt - rather make sure her last months are where she is safe & sound - she probably doesn't remember your promise which you made without truly knowing what her circumstances would be when she is 96 - hold your head high knowing you are doing your best for her
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bumping this up

Only you know how she would react to the idea of moving, if she is apt to obsess and worry then I wouldn't tell her until the last minute, and then I would probably tell her she is going for a visit or a holiday. One bit of advice I've read that seems brilliant to me is to arrange that someone else moves her favorite things and sets them up in her new home (try to get as close as possible to the same arrangement as she had before) while you take her out for the day - go shopping, to the hair salon, restaurant or just for a drive - then take her to the memory care. Good luck.
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DrCarol56 May 2, 2019
I think that will be my plan. TY
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I am new to this Forum, but have read many posts about "memory care" and it worries me, because it seems, sometimes, that concept is misunderstood.

Nobody moves to Memory Care, per se. They move to some type of a facility, and that facility advertises itself as having memory care; meaning that the "in-house" primary care physician and all nurses and aides have experience with dementia and Alzheimer's patients. Also meaning that they don't kick your loved one out for screaming or acting out for being verbally abusive. And, sorry......but the concept of 24 hour care if it is Assisted Living is probably not true. A lot of AL facilities don't even have call buttons. And, don't have in-room phones. Including the ones that are "memory care." I'm going to let more experienced posters weigh in on this, but my experience is that Assisted Living is if you cannot perform 3 ADLs, and, if you cannot perform most of the ADLs, you have needs that cannot be met by Assisted Living.

That said: Please bear with me, I want to help you, so this may be a long post.

If you can hold off for several weeks, or even 3 weeks, then start "un-cluttering" your mother's home environment in ways she will not even notice. Meaning that she won't notice what's missing, because you will leave "out" what she really uses.

Bathrooms? The countertop vanities and drawers and the cabinets underneath? Just remove or put hidden in a closet anything she does not use every day.

Clothes closet and clothing in bureau? Somehow divert her attention and go through her clothing and segregate it all. Have a section in the closet that is the most reachable for her, and only leave in that closet section, and in the bureau, what fits her and what she likes to wear and makes sense to take to her "new home." Hide the rest of it; take it to your house, tell her you are washing it, or whatever subterfuge you can come up with.

Most likely, her "new home" won't have much wall space to hang pictures or photos, but when you are there, meaning where she lives now, you can just subtly ask her, "Hey Mom, which pictures and framed photos are your favorites?" And....depending on space where she is moving to, that's what you bring.

Bed Linens and Towels: What sized bed will she have when she moves? As far as I know, most facilities have twin-sized beds -- long length. And, most people have at least a full sized bed at home. So.....you know your mother's decorative tastes, right? It took me going to 10 stores --- real stores ---online was impossible --- to find a twin-long-length comforter and sheets that my mother would like when she went in the nursing home, but I did it.....and it made a huge difference to her. I also brought several of her own bath towels, hand towels, etc. And, you can bring her own bed pillows, if she wants them. Even with a twin sized bed, you can have a king sized pillow. Crazy, right, but it's true! And, if she has a throw blanket/afghan, bring it.

Miscellaneous:

Get her 2-3 new pretty nightgowns, or pajamas, whatever she likes. And, a below the knee length (but not floor length) cotton or cotton/polyester bathrobe, zipper or snap type. You can get one at Walmart for about $16. Also, can get at Macy's for $50 to $100. Your choice. And....yes....this matters.....if your mother wants to wear a bra every day when she gets dressed, make sure her bras fit her. Many elderly women have bras from 10-30 years' ago.

If she is still wanting to put on make-up and face cream or wants to use special facial washing cream, and she will have her own private bathroom, get a 2-3 drawer plastic bin that has wheels on bottom, that can fit in the bathroom, and that's where you store all her personal beauty, cosmetic, shampoo, blow dryer, etc. supplies.

Okay. I will stop. If you want more "tips," let me know.
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TaylorUK Apr 29, 2019
Lots of good ideas here - but I think (personally) that you will find people use ALF to cover a wide variety of "homes" from warden 9-5 to Nursing Home and Dementia care home. We don't all necessarily mean someone on the end of a phone, it just covers all types of care rather than people necessarily being very specific. - just my opinion from reading questions and answers
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My mom has Alzheimers and still (after 4 years) tells me she hates the dump I put her in. It's a very nice retirement home.
When I'm not there she enjoys the activities and tells others how nice it is there. She complains to me about the food but usually has second helpings and ice cream, breakfast, lunch and supper.
It's very normal for the elderly to complain more to the people closest to them.
Lucky me!!
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rhonda368 May 1, 2019
Yes it’s very normal. My Mother complains about the food at her Assisted Living Facility. But she’s gained a few pounds. 😂
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DrCarol56, what worked well for my then 95-year-old dad with late-stage Alzheimer's was that my wife and I prepared his room in memory care while he was at his daycare facility. Then I picked him up and, without offering any explanation then or previously, took him directly to the memory care facility . I ate dinner with him, spent the night with him, ate breakfast with him, and then left him in the middle of an activity he was enjoying with other residents. He thought we had gone to a nice hotel, like we'd done so many times previously, and quickly adapted to his new home.

      I visited him daily for the next 19 months before he died last month in my arms and he often said he wanted to go home, but home to him was his childhood home where he thought his mother and father still lived. In his last few months he often thought I was his dad and that probably helped keep him content.

      What worked well for my dad may or may not work as well for your mom. I know some facilities recommend that families stay away for a few days or weeks, but my dad's facility did not and I'm pretty sure that would not have worked as well for him. You should listen to advice from your mom's prospective facility, but you know your mom better than the facility and you should ultimately do what you think is best. Best wishes in this difficult process.
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3 Tips: One of the best things I did: I put a beautiful, large, bright pink "flower" on the outside of her door. When she gets turned around, scared, lost - that big pink flower seems to ground her.
Another great thing I did right when she moved in: I had large vinyl "stickers" made and placed them on all her cabinets/drawers. Silverware, plates, bowls, pajamas, socks, panties, towels, etc... Those stickers have helped her so much, One final tip: I purchased a programmable telephone. It has large buttons with the person's name. All my mother has to do is push the button with my name. (I'm the only one she calls, but all family members have a button.) As I think back, I was so scared for my mother. These small little things have helped her for 3 years now.

Best wishes with your mother's move
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Lifestudent May 1, 2019
What did the stickers say? These sound like truly thoughtful touches. Thanks for sharing.
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My mother hated the first move to independent living. We let her be involved totally, visit different places , she was there when the movers came . She fought and hated the place the entire time she lived there( til she moved, then she fought moving lol) Early vascular dementia at the time. Broken hip necessitated move to AL , weren’t sure at the time if it would be memory care or AL. While she was at rehab we took her to see it , she complained. Sorry we took her. Moved all her stuff and set up the apartment, she was still complaining but once she saw it she loved it.
I think part of it is just the stress of the move with dementia, seeing the movers take stuff in and out , boxes etc, the general hubbub then a different routine. The same reason I tell my mother the morning of a dr appointment rather than write it on her calendar. She just stresses more because she’s sure she missed the appointment and calls us 10 times a day lol
My mother still complains but she always complains. The facility she’s at has an identical floor plan for memory care to ease the adjustment once she goes there.
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pargirl May 5, 2019
I totally agree with the stress part. They are so used to a routine and then everything is moving so fast for them. My dad had his calendar too. I would always have to make sure he had everything right or I would get calls 10 times asking if we had missed the appt. My dad is 96 1/2 and steadily declining daily. I don't get calls anymore. I will miss them (even though they were annoying at the time).
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