Mom has dementia. Everyday she calls and says she doesn't know what to do. - AgingCare.com

Mom has dementia. Everyday she calls and says she doesn't know what to do.

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Mom has been is a very nice assisted living Ctr last 4 months. She agreed to go, but really fought it after getting there. She calls all day long. First question each day is,"I don't know what to do." She was an avid reader-won't read anything, doesn't really socialize much, wants one of us sitting with her each day. How can we help her adjust to the center and be less dependent on us?

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Thank you, Sally. Such contrasting characters in two sisters! - and an important reminder that people do indeed have hugely varying needs.

Soconfused, I wish you every success with helping your mother to settle down in her new home. I think all of the advice is good, and will really help both your mother and you; but I must admit I hate to imagine the confusion your mother must be feeling meanwhile, with nothing making sense to her, poor lady. Evil, evil disease. I hope she starts to adjust very soon.
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Everyone is different.

My mother had dementia. She really didn't have any interest in socializing with the other residents during planned activities. All she wanted was me. It broke my heart to see how unhappy she was. Soooo, everyday I stopped by her nursing home on my way home from work, and also on the weekends. We never had much money when I was growing up so I didn't have a lot of "things". What she and my dad gave me was their time. I thought of this time in our lives when she was in the nursing home as me giving some of that time back to her.

Until she passed away at nearly 102, my aunt (Mom's sister) had a perfect memory and often reminded me to do things. When she was in a nursing home she took part in all the activities that they had to offer. She also had a huge circle of friends of all ages, and they visited her often.
Her circle of friends was a godsend not only to her, but also to me. :)
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Soconfused99, that place where my Dad is living have a 2pm social hour where some of the residents join in for muffins, bingo, music, or whatever is scheduled for the day. My Dad will only go there if I take him, otherwise he likes to sit in his room and watch the 24-hour local news. I figure at 94 he should do what he likes to do.

I know it is hard not wanting to be with your Mom as you feel she is lonely. I had to pull myself away from going daily by going every other day.... then every 3rd day... and now down to once a week. I found that my Dad didn't even realize I wasn't there those other days. Dad has his male buddies that he eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner so he's not going without interaction.... plus mornings where he gets physical therapy.

Now for my Dad, even though he is now in Memory Care, I kept on his outside Agency caregivers to be there in the mornings, they have been with him for almost a year now. I wanted that routine for him.
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I would first consult with director and get their expert advice. NancyH gives excellent suggestions to get mom engaged with facility and other people. See if there are any residents "at your mom's level -- mentally and physically" -- then facilitate a tea, or coffee with treats get together introduction with this "new friend". Take them out to lunch, etc. so they can facilitate a friendship and pal around together at the facility.

Next, for your well-being. Start a calendar for mom and mark the days and times you will visit and maybe the activity you plan to do together. Stick to the schedule. Block moms calls on your phone for a couple weeks. If she leaves a message, call her back. Maybe explain that you will call every evening at 5pm or on those evenings when you won't be visiting.

It can take months to adjust and start eating in dining room, go to activities, etc. Hang in there.
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I would start by spending some time with her at her facility, walking around together and joining in whatever is going on at the time. Pick a day when there's an activity happening then go with her to break the ice. Pick a day to have lunch with her at her table and meet the other people that eat with her. Make small talk with the residents, ask questions to find the commonalities between your mom and them. At least that's what I did when my mother-in-law first went to asst.-living. She also had dementia (beginnings) and was agitated and HATED living there at first. ugh.
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