She is is a nice memory care facility but cries every time we take her back. Calls late at night or early morning confused about where she is and why her clothes are in the closet of “this store”. This tends to happen more when we have taken her somewhere for part of the day (church, family dinners, parties etc.). Should we not take her out and just visit her instead?

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When my mother was in a facility, we tried to keep everything as low key as possible. Whenever she left the facility, it took her days to recoupedate. Once or twice, she had to be 911-ed to the ER after she complained of chest pains. When my children, grandchildren, husband and I visited once for Christmas, she was so off the wall she tried to attack my husband. We didn’t dare take her out.

If you want to take her out, keep an eye on her. Someone needs to monitor her mood and reactions and be prepared to return her home if necessary.
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When my LO entered AL in Spring 2018, I had planned to take her out once in a while to shop and to get lunch in a local restaurant.
At the end of the summer, she needed to be taken to a very near by orthopedic office for a check up on a previously broken bone, and much to my surprise she was VERY relieved to get back to her room at the AL.
She too would cry, become very angry, and I think, become more disoriented earlier in her stay, even when we went to the first floor from her third floor.ocked memory unit, and to this day will occasionally insist that we take her “home”.
She was seen early in her placement by an excellent geriatric psychiatric professional, who placed her on a very low dose of a second antidepressant with anti anxiety effects, in addition to an SSRI she’d taken since the death of her sibling in 2014.
I have not taken her off site since. I’d love her to be able for her to get out, and may try to visit the beautiful garden at the AL this coming spring.
I’m wary of triggering her discomfort by taking her out in a car though. We don’t think at this point that she has very clear memories of “home”, but she definitely DOES have associations with some other place that was important to her. Since she could not return there, we feel it’s kinder to avoid triggers for those memories whenever we can.
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Yes, taking her out tires them mentally. They have no idea what is going on around them. Its overwhelming. My Mom couldn't take more than an hour. How long r u keeping her at these functions? Is she enjoying them?
If she seems to be enjoying the time out OK, but if she just sits there looking lost, I wouldn't take her anymore. They do better in one place with a routine.
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Wornout53 Dec 2018
Thanks JoAnn, but most things we take her to are close family gatherings, cousins and nieces she knows very well. She enjoys them greatly but it is when we make the last turn to her facility that she starts getting anxious and mad. Then for two or three days she is angry, says she wishes she were dead, cries, etc. She is more aware of things than most of her neighbors (there are only 10 others or so). We understand her frustrations but are looking for solutions. If the Dementia were more advanced, she would be less upset and maybe easier for us to handle too, but none of it is good.
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My Church streams their services. Later you can watch them because they have been video taped. I used to get Mom up dressed and breakfasted. Then I would set up the laptop for her to watch the service. She thought she was in Church. She sang, and was involved with the service. Taking her to Church was too overwhelming.

Moms AL had holiday dinners with family included. They had little concerts that I could go to.
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I think LO thrives on routine and familiarity with their surroundings. I suggest that you arrange to have small family gathering at moms facility, bring in pot luck , music, colorful paper plates, napkins to make festive and spend a couple hours with mom. Often there is a special room or garden staff will be happy to let you use for this gathering. Maybe even show old videos or pictures with projector on wall or facility monitor. My mom enjoyed a and when everyone leaves she’s happy to retire to her room. This has worked for me and I do on days other than the holiday—mom doesn’t keep track of the holiday. This way you can enjoy your holiday with family and friends and not worry or be distracted by caregiving duties. I haven’t taken my mom out since she was placed because I know she will want to go home. She does go out on outings the residential care arranges and is fine.
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My advice is to really limit the places she goes out of the building to those of the most need. Social events may not be the same for you and your family anymore, which is a really hard thing to deal with, especially around the holidays. It was only 2 years ago when we could still have Mom at family gatherings, then it got a little more precarious, with confusion on her part, and having to deal with mobility issues, quickly tiring, and potential “accidents”. It’s absolutely not a good idea anymore, and I only take her out for very infrequent but necessary doctor appointments, after weighing it against knowing she’ll be not good for a day or so. Now at holidays we spend the morning and early afternoon with her at her facility, then go on to other events without her. Not the Hallmark moments we remember from our childhood. Painful and sad but best for her.
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I had this happen with my mom too. Two years ago she was still able to go out (lunch or a drive) but her attitude got worse and worse and her tolerance less and less, so we finally realized that "it would be in HER best interest" to stay inside the facility. She has not left for a couple of years. She is end stage 6 Alzheimer's. She isn't aware that there is a world outside. She is also having mobility problems. We go to her for all festivities/holidays.

I know it's different since your mom doesn't sound as advanced as mine but when they are agitated after going out, you have to ask yourself is it worth it TO HER. Would HER enjoyment of an excursion outside outweigh the pending confusion and agitation that she will suffer once back "home"?

I came to the conclusion that the 2 hours out wasn't worth her agitation later. She seemed to SUFFER after the outing. And to me, it's all about alleviating all suffering.
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If she remembers all of the family at the gatherings and interacts and has a good time I would consider having a few family gatherings at her facility, be sure to include her new housemates, help her see them as part of the family. Rotating family events this way could minimize the after effects of going out.

If it doesn't help you may have to do all family gatherings at her facility or just be prepared for the confusion for a couple days.

I personally believe that the longer we can engage them in life the better off they are.

You know what level of interaction happens at these events and if she is being mentally stimulated then I would keep doing it. It's bound to tire her out but that is okay. It's like exercising occasionally, we make ourselves sore and tired for a couple days, but we enjoyed it while it was going on.

Wishing you guidance for this, this holiday season.
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Do family visits the other way around.
Family members can come visit her. And a few at a time not the whole clan all at once. This will do two things
1. Spread visits out over a longer period of time so he has company more often.
2. Less likely to confuse her with a lesser number of people visiting at one time.

If the family wants to get together after a visit arrange to meet for lunch or coffee. The family that just left can relay any wants that Mom may have and someone can bring whatever she needs next visit.
this also is easier on staff and other residents less noise and confusion.
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We found it best not to take my FIL out of his facility. My husband and his sister brought him home for a family gathering after being in his SNF for 3 months. He was confused and you could see he was scared. I sat next to him on the sofa as I was the only one he remembered on his own. He asked if the photo on the wall was of the farm that he and his wife had lived and raised their children. He wished he could go back and visit and see his family again. Mind you we were at the farm and he was with 4 of his 6 children. When they took him back he was happy to be there, but he would continue to ask to go home any time we visited.

Going forward we would gather the siblings and the grandsons and all make the trip to visit him there. The facility would give us a meeting room so we could celebrate with him. We knew he was safe there and he enjoyed having us without the stress of taking him somewhere unfamiliar.
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