Mom doesn't like living in the ALF and wants to leave; complains of everything. Any ideas?

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Visited mom in ALF today after two weeks post-transfer nursing/rehab. I listen and try to be empathic. I feel sad for her. She did not eat her dinner or lunch today. I am not certain what to do to make her feel better. I understand she is not happy; nobody wants to be in an ALF or nursing home. But after hip surgery and no progress; non ambulatory and wheelchair bound, I do not know what to do to make her happy. Any ideas??

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In addition to the medical care, I really agree with pamstegman and txcamper! My mom fell and broke her hip, too. She spent over a month in acute care and rehab. Her doctor and I agreed that she could not go back to the large home in the country where she and my dad had lived. He passed away almost ten years before mom's fall. She began having balance problems and falling before "the" fall that broke the hip. While she was in rehab, I visited every ALF that was within ten miles of where my husband and I live. I walked into a couple and turned around and left. Thankfully, I found two that I really liked. Mom was furious with the doctor and me when she was told she could no longer live alone and, worse than that, that she couldn't drive! I am glad my emotional makeup and personality were much like my dad's. When mom and I left the doctor's office and she proclaimed that the doctor was full of s--t, I just let her vent. I was like you; I felt so sorry for her. I could only imagine how difficult it had to be to give up her independence. We went to lunch; and, when things were calm, I told her I had chosen two very nice places for her to look at. I tried to seem excited for her...told her they were like a cruise ship on land. In many ways, they were. I told her we could visit both, then she could make the choice. We went to lunch and had a tour of the first one. As we drove away, she said we didn't need to visit the other one...that she liked that one. I was retired, but working part time at something I loved. I made time, though, to take mom shopping and pick out smaller furniture than she had at home. I picked out a frilly, feminine bedspread and valance for her room. We measured, shopped, and talked about how nice it was going to be to be around new people and not worry about cleaning a big house. When she vented or protested, I just listened. When she moved in, the room looked so pretty and inviting. I stayed and ate dinner with her. A lot of the residents introduced themselves and told mom how much she was going to like living there. They all said that it wasn't as good as home, but she would learn to like it. I made a point to call her in the mornings, and I visited her every day at first. I went with her to the activities. She, too, really rocked when the Elvis impersonator sang! We went to Bingo, crafts, shows...anything I thought she might enjoy. Actually I enjoyed some of them, too. :) Mom was a little shy, so I would introduce myself and her to other residents. One of her table mates became her best friend and my second mom. It wasn't long before I had to look for her when I visited, and she knew everyone who lived there. I still visited almost every day, and at first she was full of new things to tell me. Gradually, as her health began to decline and the newness of the ALF wore off, she began to complain about the food, the people, etc. When the stress of all I was doing there, at home and work became a problem for me, I had to set boundaries. I told her if she couldn't allow me to enjoy my time with her, I wasn't going to visit very often. She worshipped the ground I walked on, so she didn't want that! We made it a game after that. Every time she said something negative, I was going to kiss her, tell her I loved her, and go home. She started to say something negative and would catch herself, and we giggled and laughed together like we did before the fall that changed her life. I apologize for writing so much. It has been quite a while since I have posted anything, and your situation touched my heart and brought back memories. I hope something I have said helps you. Since your mom is going to live there, make it a part of your life, too....and enjoy your mom. My mom passed away on June 1 four years ago. I still go to the facility to visit now and then, and I try to give someone else's mom a treat, just by listening to them. The treat becomes mine, though, because I enjoy the visit...and feel close to my mom. May God bless you and your mom as you begin what is going to be a difficult journey together. Chersh every moment with her.
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We got mom some Xanax to relieve her anxiety, it did help for a while, then the MD added in Zoloft. Actually I am surprised the ALF took your mom, they want residents to be able to get to dinner. My only advice is to keep your visits pleasant. When she goes on a hunger strike in your presence, she is trying to punish you. So you avoid visiting during meals. You avoid visiting when there are activities she should participate in. Mom did all she could to make us sad, and two siblings took the bait. Then one day they showed up unannounced and caught her having fun with other residents. Busted.
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The more you visit and sympathize, the more she'll be in "pity party" mode. I've had my boot up my narcissistic mother's backside for 15 years when she could still drive and do for herself to get out, meet people, volunteer, drop by the senior centre, but nope ... she even avoided the neighbours.

She's been in a nursing home for two and a half years now and, to this day, she will have nothing to do with anyone (they're beneath her), just lays in bed.

When I was there yesterday she wanted me to wheel her outside and take her for a "walk" ... nope it was windy and cold.

I was headed home to do some outside work around my property. "Can I come with you?" Nope ... we've been through this a million times - she can't sit up or stand, I can't lift her and the NH staff aren't allowed to lift her into a vehicle for insurance reasons.

Her response? "Well, I'll just lay here and wait to die". Sorry toots, I don't buy into your pity party. Her birthday was this month. A few days ago when I visited there was a tea party going on with treats and music to celebrate the month's birthdays. Where was Her Ladyship? In bed waiting, according to her, to die.

You can't help someone who refuses to be helped and just leans on you as the sole source of their entertainment and happiness.
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A friend advised me to allow time for an elderly person to adjust to new circumstances. Two weeks is not enough time. Just be as cheerful and supportive as you can. I don't think any of us can really make another person happy.
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There are regularly scheduled activities; nice meals; and great care, but mom still says she doesn't like it there. I think she feels "safe" to complain to me. The staff give me different feedback. Mom is upset that she is unable to walk, go to the bathroom, needs a Hoyer lift and requires staff to change her briefs when she soils herself. She is a very private person and always took care of herself until last July. She has endured so many indignities and setbacks since then. I think that if it were me, I would feel the same as she does. The loss of independence is very hard for the human spirit. She is depressed; we have a psychiatric nurse practitioner meeting with her; I would be depressed, too. We cannot change the circumstances; and her dementia makes it more difficult to process the situation in a healthy way. I wish it were different. I go in and visit her; listen; and try to make her feel better. My prayer, though, is that God would take her soon and peacefully. I feel guilty for this...
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taheger Our feelings of guilt and empathy can be so overwhelming. Sounds like you are taking very good care of her.
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When you visit, check the activities calendar and wheel her down to whatever is going on. Participate to the extent that you can and then return to the day room or wherever you can sit and visit other than her room. Some places have happy hours or ice cream socials and things like that. Help her to learn to participate, just like we teach our children how to play with other kids. Unless she yells and disrupts the activity, she can see that there are things to do outside of her room. That's what we did when mom was in rehab. Gosh there was an Elvis impersonator one night that was so good and so funny. I told her she doesn't have to participate, but she should watch. Maybe if she has a special interest, the social director could hook her up with someone else who shares this interest. Like Bridge games, or knitting circle or something like that. Hopefully she'll find her niche.
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Thanks, all, Yes, the ALF took her even though she is non-ambulatory. They use a Hoyer Lift (which she hates); it is a smaller facility than most so smaller staff/pt ratio. However, if she does not adjust, we will place her in nursing home.
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Taheger, don't despair. Has your mother been checked for depression? Maybe that is why she isn't eating. Its surprising the AL will take her considering she isn't mobile. There are a lot of activities in AL. If it is a nice place and you are comfortable she is getting good care and attention, you might want to give her a little time to adjust. Chances are she will eventually start to participate and make friends. Ask the nurses and aides how she is doing because she will not tell you, if she is anything like my mother. We moved Mom to AL two months ago. All my sister and I hear from her is complaints, whining and even verbal aggression. Yet, when I check with the nurses, they tell me she IS going to dinner, she IS participating and she IS making friends. She saves all the negativity for the family and is a different person to everyone else.
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#1 suggestion: MUSIC. Make sure she has a kids boom box that she can operate. And CD's of happy music. #2: FOOD. Sometimes they just want something that made them feel good before -- ice cream, chocolate bar, pie, chips. You could ask her what she'd like to have on hand to snack on, for times when she doesn't want to eat their meals. Get her little juice boxes and fruit cups, so she'd have something nutritious too. #3: ROUTINE & ANTICIPATION. It helps her to have some things to count on. If you have a calendar that marks when your visits will be, for example. Or mark on the calendar that this is the day your are bringing her a frozen Pepperidge Farm Cake. Something to look forward to! #4: PERSONAL POWER. Giving her some power would be helpful, since that's what has been stripped away. If she's mentally competent. Have her give you suggestions for gifts she'd like you to buy family members, or for which jewelry pieces she'd like to give to the granddaughters, etc. #5: HAPPY DISTRACTION. How about getting her a personal DVD player with headphones. (They focus better that way.) The DVD players for kids are the easiest to use. Then get her a whole series -- of Downton Abbey,,,Laverne and Shirley...sometimes those have five hours on one disk before it needs to be changed. Old TV series are fun. Little house on the prairie. etc. Think of what perked up her spirits before.
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