Mom hates assisted living. Should we save money and move her? -

Mom hates assisted living. Should we save money and move her?


Mom is 86 and has been in Assisted Living for 5 months. They manage her medications, bathe and dress her, and transport her to meals in her wheelchair. I selected a facility that has top of the line aesthetics, a great apartment layout, beautiful grounds, and a good ratio of male and female residents. The field trips are good, I have accompanied her on several. The Activities Director, AL Director, General Manager have all worked with her to encourage her to avail herself of the amenities and activities. Mom says she is not interested in anything they have there and just wants to lie on her couch and watch TV. As we blow through the money each month, I wonder if I should move her to a place that costs 2000 a month less but looks somewhat worn and dreary since she just wants to stay in her room all the time. I have researched several places and interviewed residents so I have a pretty good feel for the level and quality of care she would receive at other places and am sure they are adequate for her needs.

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I'm just going to put this idea out there...isn't it possible that she's going to hate every place you put her in because it's not home?

Alternatively, will she hate the new place even more because it's not as posh?

I'm thinking you won't be able to please her no matter what you focus on cost savings (and make sure to figure in moving costs) and also consider what will happen when she needs more care than assisted living can provide (is there a step up in care service...a connected nursing home and memory care that would not cost if she is in the same facility).

Helpful Answer (13)

If the other place is $2k less, that means it will be understaffed and give a much lower level of care. Plus, they may quote you $2K less, but then you get in there and they tell you transport to meals is extra, transport to MD is extra, etc. and tack on "level of care" for that. Don't be penny wise and pound foolish.
Helpful Answer (10)

It does sound like you are paying for lots for great amenities that are not being used or appreciated. I completely understand as my parents are in a nice independent living environment with lots of great amenities that are never used.. and I am sure we are paying for them. So frustrating!

When my parents first moved in I would try to get them to use the van provided for them, go to some events, appreciate the movie theater available to them, the nice grounds, exercise classes.. etc. Every month I would pour over the calendar of events to see if I could get them to anything.. but to no avail. My dad just wants to "go home".

I would consider moving her and saving money if you are absolutely sure she isn't going to have a change of attitude (didn't happen for me its been 2 years and my parents still have a bad attitude and do not appreciate the amenities).

Is the other place at least clean and safe with available assistance that she will require?
Helpful Answer (8)

Some great advice here. My dad wanted to move from IL to AL and then once he did hated it. Part of which is the confusion it brought on. He didn't want to associate with "those people" and wouldn't do anything outside his place. We got him back on Buspar since he suffers from anxiety and he was like a different person. Now he loves it, loves the staff, made friends and does the exercise class and games. So give it time. I agree that moving her again would be hard on her, not to mention you. You have to give up worrying about making her happy or want to take advantage of the things you would do if you lived there. You can't and it is just frustrating to you to worry about what you can't control. You sound like a good daughter who is concerned but you aren't the one responsible for her happiness or how she spends her time. The sooner you give up on that the less stress you will feel. You have done what you could to be sure she's well taken care of. But do see if she's depressed...the social worker on staff can assist there too.
Helpful Answer (8)

Good comments here. Sounds all too familiar to me to. My 87 yr old mom had to move from her home of 50 yrs due to unsafe fall risks (stairs) after a bad fall. Found a nice senior bldg with many activities. She'll do some but prefers her apt and TV. Being on a diuretic means being close to a bathroom a must or else a wet Depends. Bus trips not so good! She's happy, safer and thriving very well. Yes it's costly and I've thought about moving her but after 2 yrs here she's finally accepted she won't be going back to her house. No more crying about it and that's well worth it to me. It's tough seeing her $ go but at 87 she can now reap the fruits of all her hard work and just do what SHE feels like doing. Thanks for all the support in this group. Helps me feel I'm not alone in these decisions. Hang in there!
Helpful Answer (6)

You use the word "adequate" in describing the other places. I guess I would ask, what type of gal is your mom? My mom has always been a "princess and the pea" type of woman. While mom has always been tight with a buck - she is finally, at 89 - more concerned with comfort and privacy - nice surroundings etc. so "adequate" just wouldn't do anymore - the princess side is fully in residence, the frugal gal has been kicked to the curb. Since my moms money will last and since it is her money - she stays put in her private room with the sliding glass door that opens out to a private landscaped courtyard - fountain and all. It's only accessible by six rooms so it makes my mom happy even though she has yet to go outside - maybe now that summer is almost here?! Mom is also finally participating in some of the activities- it only took six months, lol! So I'd say - you know your mom, is a posh setting something that matters to her - even if she doesn't seem to be noticing it? And can she continue to afford to stay there regardless of her participation? She may, after a while - become more involved. It certainly surprised me when my mom did.
Helpful Answer (5)

kwyattearp, the place your Mom is staying sounds so nice I want to move in :) Yes, these places are expensive but if Mom can afford it, keep her there. Moving her might cause some confusion even in an elder who is still pretty sharp.

My Dad picked out a very nice IL/AL facility, and I was able to take him there almost every day for social hour [snacks and music] for two weeks prior to him moving in and he seemed to enjoy it, and was even talking to the ladies :)

Once Dad moved in, forget about the social hours, he rather sit in his recliner and watch the local news. Now he does get physical therapy every weekday morning and that tires him out being he is 94, so I can't blame him. He does have his favorite caregiver with him in the morning to get him up, showered, breakfast and lunch, do his laundry... take him to doctor appts, etc. Then his afternoons and evenings are his.

Dad does complain about the cost but I keep reminding him it is less expensive then him living in that big house with around the clock caregivers [he's a fall risk], and the expense of maintaining that house [which is on the market For Sale].
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It is really tough for an elder to give in a studio apartment or even a 2-bedroom apartment after living in a large house. They miss that space even if they had spent their days sitting in the living room watching TV.

I was taken aback yesterday afternoon when my Dad said he would like to move. Say what? Where? He didn't know. Asked why he wanted to move, and he said the cost and he only has 4 rooms. Told him the cost is similar to other places in the area, and if he could find something cheaper he might need to pay extra for linen service, dinner, the alert pendent, etc.

When I mentioned he might not get the great menu dinners that he now has, that helped him change his mind as the meals are excellent at this place.

One thing I need to do is ask the facility not to send Dad a copy of his rental bill [the original comes to me to be paid from Dad's funds] as he will mull over it and start to complain. It's not easy for someone who was so frugal all their life to see a bill for the facility. They panic that they wouldn't have enough.
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The responses you received are all excellent. From what I can tell, it ultimately is a very personal choice. My folks moved from their home into a stepped independent living facility 3 years ago. It looked lovely and was very expensive. Long story shortened, mom lost nearly 45 lbs while there and dad didn't get involved and hated the "old farts."

After much research I found another lovely, happy and bright place and then brought in a team of amazing aids, who work with mom and dad 24/7. After 1 year at this place, the rent went up (food quality and service went down) and management changed. Sad as it was a good place to start - large corporate owned with many facilities across the US.

I just moved them into a new house, which I rented. I worked very closely with our aids and found a fabulous house in a gated community. We have 6 aids who share a 24/7 load and they all love mom and dad. My parents couldn't be happier.

Yes, there was some confusion to start, but 2 1/5 weeks later, dad says they're living in the best home in their entire life! This was the best decision. It's tough but the quality of care is better than any large facility. They have lots of ways to interact with neighbors too. And as dad says " no more old farts!"

Good luck with your decision. It's a tough job but I consider it a true privilege to be able to help mom and dad enjoy this stage of their life, surrounded by people who love and care for them too.
Helpful Answer (4)

Ree111 you're right. It is hard to see that much expense paid every month but well worth it. My dad has it, worked and saved all his life and he deserves to spend it to be taken care of. I don't regret it and am happy that it's there for him. It's not my money.
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