Mom's going to a locked facility today in Iowa, I am in Denver. What is it like the first week? Should we call and visit or not?

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I am a Physical Therapist in Denver. My mother lives with her husband in Iowa, but, because she has started wandering he is afraid she will get out if he isn't right there. He is putting her in a locked facility. Should family members visit, call, send flowers the first week or do they need time to adjust to their new surroundings?

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Locked in does sound bad but it can be a good thing. My elderly dad had dementia but was in good health. He would slip away and walk all over town, day or night. Early of a morning he would carry his clothes out to the street and get dressed on the sidewalk. Finally had to put him in a nursing home. They let him sit in a wheelchair and he pushed himself all over with his feet. He figured out how to sit by the door and when someone came in he would slip out. Found him in the middle of a busy intersection. He was going home. Tied him in bed at night--he would get loose. Don't beat yourself up over the locked facility and don't worry about what others think. You just can't keep some folks safe at home unless you can sit with them 24-7.
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I appreciate and love all of the responses. We did send beautiful flowers and will call her this morning. I am a Physical Therapist and I work with the elderly. We have had to expand our facility for more Alzheimer patient's and their is a waiting list. I agree, locked ward, is a harsh way to state it. That was my way of expressing my sadness Monday, but I know it is the safest ,best situation. There are only 10 people at this facility, maximum of 15, so she will get undivided attention and my new attitude being a better interactive support system.( I know she is scared and anxious, because the owner said she would not sleep in her room, instead slept on the community couch) Our father died at 68 so her second husband, very caring, but his health is ailing and he will most likely be moving to Texas where his children are. I have two sisters in Iowa that are there for her so all is good. Just sad to see people living longer and quality of life at the end is not happy! That's what the elderly tell me.......don't get old!!! Thank you all for letting me express Me xxooo
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My Dad was admitted to a locked facility two weeks ago. Like you I wondered do I go, should I stay away so he can adjust...and I agonized. We decided to visit every day for brief visits and stayed longer if he appeared to need more reassurance. He talked about going home and we were able to divert his attention with ice cream. We wheeled him outside and he asked to go home which we realized meant his room. After a week, he was taking his meals at the dining room with other residents and we would join them for a meal as well. You just have to be prepared to enter "their" world. Some days are good some bad. Just take it one day at a time and know that it is for her safety and protection. I'm sure it was a decision not taken lightly. LOve her and enjoy her on a good day, reassure her and love her on a bad day. And give yourself plenty of reassurance that the right thing was done. You will cry and spend sleepless nights. But she will be safe and eventually adjust. Big hugs to you and treat yourself kindly. These are difficult days for the caregivers. God bless.
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Think "Protective Custody"
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Very helpful and balanced comments. Thank you.
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N1K2R3, A 'locked facility' is perhaps a misnomer for an AL that uses Wander Guards. Yes, the doors do lock when a person wearing a WG gets near an outside door. You are correct. They cannot leave. It sounds harsh and I'm sure to the individual, if they are cognizant enough, it is just that. It is also a safety measure.

My mom is in an AL and confined to a wheelchair, but she is mentally fine. Over the two years she been there, we witnessed friends of hers succumb to the gradual deterioration that is Alzheimer's. It is heartbreaking. Those that were formally able to go out in the garden are now not able to as they have lost the ability to recognize their surroundings and people they used to know and trust.

You perhaps didn't realize that the OP, slyonspt (and this is to you my dear) lives in Denver and her mother is in Iowa with her husband taking care of her.

Slyonspt, Your mom's husband has to be EXHAUSTED and I want you to know he and you did the right thing. I know you were not asking for back up in that, but I want to negate the naysayers. You did the right thing to protect those that will continue to love and care for mom in a more manageable situation. All I have to say is follow your instincts and the people in the facility as far as visits/phone calls. Another poster's analogy to Kindergarten was fitting, though we have to respect them as elders. It's gut-wrenching and hard all the way around.

Hope it all goes as well as it can....((Hugs))
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Thanks SelfishSiblings for making me understand what is a "lock facility". I was ready to ask "what's that?"....My husband is in a "lock facility", all he wears is a bracelet that makes the security alarm ring if he "cross the border", but in Florida it is called a Nursing Home.
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Having worked in locked wards at nursing homes, usually the first two weeks the patient is not allowed family members to visit just so they can get used to the routines. However, each facility is different and they will tell you what they expect of family members. Flowers are usually a no-no because of allergies in other patients, but plants stimulate the need to care for something. Again, check what the rules are. Good idea to put her there so she won't get lost.
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N1K2R3 - Please don't disrespect the choice this family is making for their loved one. It's not an easy one to make and never done lightly. We can't all keep the people we love at home and are all trying our best to do what's right.
Slyonspt - Bless you and your parents as you move down this road. Never let someone else determine what's right for your situation.
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How's about a GPS monitor if she stays at home?
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