Has anyone's loved one in assisted living befriended the most nasty, gossipy residents? - AgingCare.com

Has anyone's loved one in assisted living befriended the most nasty, gossipy residents?

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Mom has been at her upscale ALF for two years. She is very timid and does not try to do anything for herself. They do not have assigned seating at the dining room, so the first table group that "allowed" her to sit with them has become her permanent group of cronies, despite my urging for her to mix it up. These women are the most gossipy, complaining group of people I have ever encountered. Sadly, my mom believes everything that they tell her about the facility as fact (lengthy response times, thefts by caregivers, on and on) and as a result, she will not participate in any activities or field trips. The facility has two large buildings with multiple dining rooms and the residents are free to choose where they wish the caregivers to bring them for meals and activities. Mom will not go to a piano recital, movie, or meal outside of her building because "Peggy said the caregivers will forget me and I will be stuck for hours". I know the staff and this is simply not true. The activities director and staff have made great efforts to get her to sit with other people and to go to activities, but she refuses. I know they cannot make the elderly stop complaining about stuff, but it makes me angry that she is paying $5,000.00. dollars a month to sit in her room because she is trapped, in her mind. She has turned into such a complainer herself now that her family does not want to visit her. I don't think this can be fixed. I have instructed the staff to have her sit with other people, but she gets belligerent and says they are defying her wishes. Has anyone else had to put up with this? BTW I have investigated these claims and they are false. The response times are good and if there were thefts, they were never reported to the administrators.

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My mom just moved into a memory care unit and so far it's been good. I've been there to visit each day and have met some very nice residents, and am trying to get Mom to interact with them more. I know that it's tough on her, since she's only been there a few days and wants to go home, but I think she will do much better once she gets to know people.

At any rate, the people that I have met know the complainers and have told me to steer Mom clear of them. One gentleman in particular has been keeping an eye on my mother, has been really helpful and the staff love him too because he has a way of bringing people out of their "shells". Maybe you can talk to the nurses and ask them to find a mentor for your mom. You might also want to ask the nursing care manager.
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It doesn't matter if it is a work place, school or AL, they all are incredibly full of cliques and it sucks. Maybe try the mention of it's a requirement that she now has to sit with other people on Tuesdays for meals. Or on Wednesdays she is now required to participate in a different activity without her so called friends. She can either go willing or it will be done without her input.
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Maybe you could attend an event like the piano recital with your mom. Be sure the caregivers come to pick her up at a given time. This might show her that she won't be forgotten. Then she might be more willing to go to other things.
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I'm sorry you're dealing with that! Years ago, when Dad was recovering from an illness, we had him at a very nice AL facility with lots of activities, and fairly active residents. He flat out refused to participate in anything, because he thought the residents were (in his words), "Just a bunch of cranky old people who complain all the time!!" (Hey Pot, meet Kettle...LOL! ) Anyway, that wasn't true at all, we knew many of the residents, and there were lots of sociable, nice people there. Dad had just made up his mind about them, because he was angry about being in the facility in the first place. The only thing that fixed it was when he was well enough to move back home.

Fast forward a few years, and we went to tour a completely different AL facility, and Dad LOVED it! Got along great with the people there, had a good time at lunch, etc. Now, he never actually got the chance to move in to that facility, but it was just a different perspective on his part.

So, that long-winded story has a point - you might consider simply moving your mother to a different facility altogether, as cdnreader suggested. Sometimes, you just can't reason with them. Or, maybe move her to a different section, if it's big enough? It might make her feel like it's a fresh start? I know that moving facilities is a HUGE deal, though, so I don't suggest that lightly. I just know what we went through with Dad, and there was no convincing him.

What if you go to meals with her, at least once a day? Maybe you can befriend a couple of the residents on your own, and then arrive for lunch or dinner, and say something like, "Hey mom, I just met Sally and Jane this week, and they're so sweet! Would you like to join me while I talk to them?" I dunno, just brainstorming...

Lastly, does the administrator know what's going on? Surely they know about the group of crankies. Maybe the admin could help, or has ideas? Hope you find a solution!
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My mother was the same way at her facility. However, she'd been this way all her life. I believe this is common in facilities for the elderly. It's like a repeat of High School. All my mom did was sit in her room and marinate in her misery. As long as mom isn't causing problems, I would just leave her to do what she wants. My mom was far from a social butterfly, but she was content just to sit in her room.
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I know you are doing the best you can for your mom. It is hard to change someone's mind. Your mom probably sees these women as her friends and she doesn't want to lose them. I know you only want the best for your mom but in this case you might have to let her be.

My grandmother lives in a nursing home. She said she didn't want to live in one, exactly for the reason you said! All the gossipy old women. Granted all these women might be suffering from dementia so they might not even know what they are saying.

I don't know if you want to move her to another facility just to get a fresh start. But otherwise it sounds like you are doing everything you can for her.
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They reach a certain age, they believe stupid sh*t. It's hard. I don't know what to tell you. (Others here will!) Just wanted to let you know you're not alone in this frustration. Cheers.
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