MIL’s dementia has progressed to the point we have to move her out of her IL studio into an AFH for dementia patients.

We did a swift move. In the last couple of months she was so out of it, that although we told her she’s moving to a new place and we’re packing up right in front of her, she’s totally unaware of the move.

We took her to the new place, and told her this is your new room, she was confused and then angry. We left. Then the phone calls started.

Maybe it’s the shock, or the anger, suddenly her brain kicked into high gear, like rewinding the time for at least 18 months. She’s speaking somewhat coherently, making demands that we come and get her. She seems so lucid, her mental alertness seems to have improved so much by her anger.

Has anyone seen something like this before? Now we feel terrible because she’s so lucid. It would’ve been better if she’s out of it. I wonder how long is this going to last? Anyone with similar experience?

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You don't mention her age or medical conditions other than dementia. When living alone, a person's dementia increases due to lack of stimulation, boredom, & depression. I doubt that your MIL's level of dementia has decreased, she is just "in the Moment" more often. She's been stimulated and her brain is firing more. I'm not a medical professional - this just seems to me like a reasonable explanation. Perhaps you can visit and bring some things that will make her room feel more like "hers". Take her out for an afternoon lunch and have her vent and tell you the pros and cons of her new place. Listen and hear her. I suspect she is feeling a little abandoned and out of control of her life.
My mother can have a perfectly fine conversation and not remember any of it 5 minutes later. She can be in the moment and yet display very bad judgement when it comes to safety or her limitations. My point is you cant just base her level of cognitive function just by her seemingly lucid demands to leave the facility.
Can you ask the staff to encourage her to participate in any activities there? Perhaps they can give her a "job" to do there which will make her feel valued and important. If she makes a friend, or gets interested in something going on there, it may be a big help in transitioning her to her new digs. Best of luck to you.
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Reply to NYCmama
Ludmila Jan 19, 2021
Thank you! It’s the new environment and new people around her that fired up her brain so she’s “in the moment” more now. But all her existing problems are still there. She’s 85 year old with dementia and needs memory care. We are surprised that suddenly she went from not knowing what day it is to counting and keeping track of the number of days that she’s been in the new place. I don’t know if this means the adjustment to new place will take a long time.
I’ve heard my mother make more “sense” when she is angry. That doesn’t mean that for her, the need for Memory Care has changed.
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Reply to cxmoody

As you mentioned, you mother has displayed wandering behavior. Assisted living for dementia is entirely appropriate. The only way she could live safely in her own studio apartment is to have full-time caregivers. Keeping good, reliable help isn't easy. Given that you can expect a decline in your mother's ability to care for herself, assisted living that specializes in dementia patients may be the best solution for all concerned, especially your mom!
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Reply to CantDance

Don't give up and take her home, please.... you must know with her diagnosis she will continue to slide downwards even tho this looks like improvement. You will then have to do the whole thing over again....
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Reply to CharlieSue

This could be the result of getting better care - her meals are balanced and on time and so are her medications.
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Reply to cwillie

Arrange for assessment by your Mother's doctors, and tell them what you have told us. Demanding to be picked up from ALF isn't honestly a step up in mental acuity. Are there other things she can now remember and do that prior to this she could not? Was she assessed for dementia and diagnosed with dementia?
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Reply to AlvaDeer
Ludmila Jan 17, 2021
Yes she has been diagnosed by her doctor with dementia. She has mild dementia, with hallucination, delusion, and wandering and exit seeking behavior. A nurse from the AFH also did assessment.

I think the only thing she got better at is speech. The rage seems to suddenly boost her verbal skill.
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