Mom asking to leave SNF. I don't know how to navigate my feelings about this. - AgingCare.com

Mom asking to leave SNF. I don't know how to navigate my feelings about this.

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After this long year to get mom and dad into skilled nursing, (from the struggle to get on Medicaid, hiring an elder law firm, bouncing from assisted living to snf, dad in and out of the hospital, surgeries, etc....), my parents have been in the SNF together since the summer.

Now, Mom's talking about wanting to go back to her home country. Between yelling at me to give her hundreds of $$ each month she also tells the staff and everyone who will listen that she's going back to her home country. When I ask her who is planning this with her, she can't give me an answer. I ask her, "When?" "Who is buying the ticket?" "What about your medication?" "Who is taking you back to your home there?" "Who will watch you 24/hrs a day?" She has no answers.

She even demanded last month I give her $6k. When I asked why, she didn't say. "Just give it to me!" She would yell... I found out later it was for three plane tickets for herself and her brother and his wife. (The two are of retirement age, have health problems and have barely any money due to gambling.)

I talked to family in her home country and it's a very run-down small community. 2 hours from the best hospital. Local Doctors are private pay. My niece admitted that they're not very good. And family there don't own a car and rely on the community for transportation if its available.

Everyone has told her moving back to her country is probably not safe for her. When we lay it out, she understands but over time she gets frustrated and wants to go anyway. Phone conversations have been strained between us.

Recently, a doctor saw my Mom and it's gone on her medical record that she is beginning to show signs that she cannot make decisions clearly. She's forgetful and confused. She is an amputee and cannot walk. I can't imagine how a half-a-day plane trip would go.

On one hand I understand she's getting older and this is a sign of that but on the other, I feel sad that she's so frustrated and unhappy at the SNF. My Dad is there with her but its little comfort.

My grandparents are buried in her home country and I imagine she will eventually want to be interred near them. It's another thing gnaws at my emotions.

I feel like I'm the only one concerned about her health. It's a tricky balance. At the SNF, she has round-the-clock care but she's unhappy. If she moves back, (I assume) she would be happier in her home country but she'd be living in a third-world community.

My husband tries to bring reality into it for me. Saying that if she moved back, she would probably be unhappy about something else. Maybe even ask to come back to the U.S.!

I just don't know how to navigate my feelings about this.

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izzomd it is heartbreaking when we can't "fix" our parents (make them healthy) or make them happy. I just wanted to acknowledge your feelings about that. But once you let that impossible idea go (that somehow you're in control and can either make mom happy or healthy), you'll be much more at peace.
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pamzimmrrt - Sadly, I don't think she cares much if my Dad decides to follow her or stay. At best, I'd describe their marriage as a love-hate one. Irritating each other when they're together, but worried for each other when they're apart. Dad would rather stay together. Mom doesn't care what he decides.
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When she asks you money,, tell her there isn't enough at this time.., maybe later! HEr brother and wife may be trying to get her to give them some, sure sounds like they expect her to pay their way! What is she planning to do with her hubs if she goes?
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I had the same problem with my mom. She had moved 100 miles from her hometown to my town when she needed assisted living. It was her choice to move, although she did not remember that choice a few months later. Like Linda and others have said, what she really wanted was to go back to the town the way it was thirty years ago. After trying to reason with her for several months I realized that you cannot reason with a person with dementia. I changed my response to “I am working on finding a good place for you to live there, mom”. Then I changed the subject. She did not remember our conversations so I could use this line over and over. It worked much better than telling her why she could not move back and making her angry.
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Depending on her age, my dad loved the soundtrack from Sleepless in Seattle.
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Linda22, you're absolutely right. She always talks about happy memories of her hometown. The last time she lived there was in the 1960's. Yes, absolutely things have changed.

I found a simple music player on Amazon for Alzheimers/Dementia people. It holds 1000 songs and only requires you to press one button to operate it. I bit the bullet and bought this. (Almost $200! Talk about price gouging. It looks like its worth $95 at the MOST.)

I'm going to load it up with Christmas music, old folk songs and the entire Elvis catalog. ANYTHING I can do to help ease her frustrations, boredom and sadness.

I have to work on my own guilt and sadness and focus on my own health. I'm struggling emotionally everyday.
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Favorite music can be very soothing. Check her cable tv to see if it has a music station that would suit her.
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My mom wants to return to her hometown, which isn't possible. What I've come to realize is that for her, returning there would also be returning to things as they were 15-20 years ago. She feels being there, she would be ambulatory once again, life would be as it was with the family there. But her friends have passed and her remaining loved ones are elderly people with health problems, the big family gatherings are a memory and she has health problems herself. It always makes me think of Brigadoon, for some reason.
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Thank you everyone so far for commenting and sharing your thoughts. I have tears in my eyes reading them.

In response to blannie, yes I agree. Earlier this year I was very empathetic about her expressing of going home but I admit that over time it wore me thin. I try not to argue but it leads there sometimes when her only response is to yell back. Sometimes, when I'm on a call with my Dad (he's in the same room) she just start yelling over him to get my attention. It's really frustrating. On top of emotional stress, I'm still digging myself out of a financial rut due to their care. The holidays are hard this year.

I have ideas to try and keep her spirits up. Perhaps decorate their room more. Bring her more photos and art for the walls. Bring her some music she loves. Just some distractions to keep her from getting bored. If she were tech savvy, how nice radio or mp3 player could be but can barely figure out a cellphone. :/ I'll have to look around for something she can use.

I asked family members from her home country to send cards and photos if they can. They haven't. Just another "thoughts and prayers" situation. It makes me sad for my parents.
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Your husband is right.

I'm sorry your mother is giving you a hard time over this. To help with that, try not to engage in discussions about moving her back to her home country - don't question or challenge her, it's pointless and leads to confrontation. Reality is, this is not going to happen: it would be irresponsible for you to make the arrangements for her, and she's not capable of doing it without your active assistance, is she? So it isn't something you need to address as a real problem to solve.

Just make sympathetic noises to do with understanding that she's... well, homesick. She hankers after where she comes from. It's not unnatural.

Is there a language difference, by the way? I'm just wondering, if there is, if you could use books or films or audio in her first language as a way of providing at least some link to "home."

Mind you. You might well think just two tickets out of the country, for her brother and SIL, are a very good investment...
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