Mom is in Memory Care, what should I do regarding a visit? - AgingCare.com

Mom is in Memory Care, what should I do regarding a visit?

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Mom has adjusted amazingly to MC -- she loves them and they love her. I have not visited. She is 94, mobile and engaged there, friends, activities, etc. Dilemma - should I go? or leave things alone since she is happy, content and not really longing or asking about family or her things (house, car, money). Afraid my visit will trigger memories about all her home, car, money. Director says a visit is fine. But I don't want to upset the apple cart. I'm happy to let her live her best days but don't want to be the bad daughter that never visits. I don't want to set her off and then have a bunch of phone calls where she is now "depressed, wont come out of her room, fretful, mean to staff, etc." which are all possible given mom's history.

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Each situation is different, but, I'd follow your own instincts Sunflo. I wouldn't be distracted by concerns of mom getting upset over old memories or wanting to go home. Those are really normal and managed in Memory Care all the time. Mom will adjust and be comforted by staff. Likely, she'll forget about her questions in short time. I might try to live in the moment, hug, touch, provide support to her and allow the staff to address issues accordingly. I'd just have prepared comments to her, so you don't feel put on the spot. In my experience short visits worked best, as my LO grew tired and couldn't focus very long.
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I've seen her within the last year while she was still in her home. I think she will recognize me -- but i also think she will want me to take her "back home". I'm glad to know the staff will handle, they have reassured me they can and will. I'm hopeful she will just "reset" each day and not dwell on "her losses". I go tomorrow and plan on spending 2 days (short visits for each day, attend a couple activities if mom will be cooperative). I'll keep all posted. I know when I leave, I will feel that she is safe and in healthy environment -- and a relief for me.
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I am also still in the PTSD stage after 10yr care for both my parents, my mom has been in for over a year and dad passed.
When my mom would get upset I was leaving and want to follow me, I would say I am going to the bathroom be right back.... or going to the store, or I would have a staff person distract her. She forgot and it was less stressful . Unfortunately she once she wandered around looking for me but I cannot help that.( staff deals with it all the time) Personally I find that "she's so CUTE" about mom to be highly upsetting for me. Especially when they repeat it over and over. i guess it is a good way for them to think of her though. I feel guilty when i visit because I dont stay very long and other visitors stare at me as i leave. Sorry, I cannot handle it! No, I cannot bring her to the music thing - I freak out! Anyways, Do what You feel is right for You. Visit to make sure she is well cared for = you do not have to visit with her to do that, visit and talk to the staff if seeing her is a bad idea... (has it been 3yr she might not even recognize you?)
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Thank you all! I'm going to meet with Director this week in person prior to seeing mom and we will go from there. She called me yesterday and said that mom has expressed interest in seeing me. Of course, mom's first reaction was "Is my daughter coming to take me home?" and Director said, no. She said mom hasn't brought up going home again -- but said this is common and "they will deal with aftermath". They keep saying how cute mom is -- but they don't know how she can be (though I've warned them) They have confidence they can handle. I expressed all my fears about "depression, withdrawel, etc" -- but Director said they are used to it and will deal with it and she is encouraging visit (she stated it has to happen some time).

97 - Thank you. I'm fine without seeing mom, truly. I love her, trying to dwell on good memories but right now I'm in a "recovery PTSD mode" from 10 yrs of drama with mom and dementia and trying to keep her safe and healthy (emotionally, physically and financially). I finally am free from "distress or anger calls" from mom -- not knowing if one week will be good or bad; do I go visit and be disgusted with the state of things at the house, her fighting me at every turn to help her or get assistance; make friends with neighbors. IF they had told me you can't visit your mom for 3 yrs -- I wouldv'e been fine with that. They send me pictures or call me and I can honestly say -- mom looks the best and happiest she has in 10 yrs.

The only guilt I have is with my kids, neices -- they ask all the time if I have visited. I feel like they think "i'm a lousy daughter" -- because they know "nani" can be ornery -- but haven't seen her or spent much time with her in the last 3 yrs. I've shielded them.

I have been sole "caregiver" for mom for 10 yrs -- but just to clarify, mom has been living independently long distance. I would visit for short periods and try to help and monitor her -- but she was resistant to any help or outside assistance. She has deteriorated over the last year (hygiene, eating, ability to manage household stuff) so Adult Protective Services got involved (I'm DPOA with absent brother) but unable to get the incompetency piece; APS and I worked together over the last year and it came down to "you'll have to wait until a catastrophic event" which finally happened when mom stopped up all toilets and flooded house and called 911. We were able to get her removed when house was uninhabitable. It was awful -- and even under those circumstances and 10 yrs of documented dementia diagnosis, APS, neighbors and banks saying mom was in danger -- couldn't get a dr to make an incompetency declaration. APS finally was able to get primary care dr to sign one after a year and then he hadn't even seen mom in 9 months. The legal end is no help -- unless you want to spend a lot of money and time and even then no guarantee you'll get expected outcome. I have no faith in healthcare and senior care system to help elders who are obvious dangers. The legal system has made this a nightmare for family and friends who want to help a loved one.

Thanks all. And thank you to this forum -- it has been my lifeline and I can tell you -- I've gained so much over the last 10 yrs in elder information, care, references and practical advice from everyone on this forum. I've learned alot through my own experiences such that I've put a good plan in place and had open conversations with friends and family about my wishes as I age. And it has made me think about how I should prepare and set expectations of where and how I live as I age to make it "my best life" and "best life for my kids and their families" -- no burden or expecting them to care for me or their dad.
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Sunflo
It sounds like you have been caring for your mom for awhile. How are you without seeing her? Perhaps you have a friend who could visit that mom doesn't know or wouldn't remember. A minister or neighbor? Then they could report back to you how she seems to them.
I like the idea of meetings with the staff without mom. I can appreciate you don't want to upset her but I think I would need to know from personal observance or friend that she was truly fine.
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Sunflo, that is so wonderful that your Mom has adjusted so well to Assisted Living/Memory Care :)

After reading your last paragraph, I think I would keep my distance not to, as you say "upset the apple cart". Set up appointments with the Staff [the nurse, her Aids, etc] for regular meetings, without Mom present, to get their opinion on how Mom is doing. And also ask their opinion about visiting, since this isn't their first rodeo.

If Mom does complain about how her daughter isn't visiting, many people know that with Alzheimer's/Demetria that isn't always the case, so they will take what Mom says with a grain of salt.
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Maybe you could do a secret visit... Do not "visit" her but go in an observe her. I have heard it is important to be visible to staff. My mom is home so I am just sharing what I have heard ;-)
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