Mom with severe dementia is requesting to move...again. Help! - AgingCare.com

Mom with severe dementia is requesting to move...again. Help!

Follow
Share

My mom has been in AL for 4 months now. We moved her from living with us to a beautiful 4th floor apartment in a community 40 minutes away. She was limited in her ability to get around on her own on the 4th floor - she wouldn't go on the elevator and the closed staircases were confusing to her. She had difficulty settling in because she refused to ask for help - but she desperately wanted to be involved with others. So we moved her to the 2nd floor where she can come and go to activities without assistance (open staircase and events on 1st and 2nd floor). She did okay settling in with the 2nd move. However, we are now only 4 months in and she is now begging to move closer to her home - which is 2 hours away from me. She is constantly complaining about anything and everything. The food, the workers, the expense, the new neighbor, etc. I get that it's part of dementia but I'm still trying to make her as happy as possible, for as long as possible. If we were to move her to AL in her home town, she would be closer to friends and her siblings - so they COULD visit more (not a guarantee they would) - but she would still live alone and I think still be as unhappy. She has called her sister to come and get her so it's a matter of time before she either does or she applies pressure to my sister and I to make the move. I worry that I will see her less and another move will hurt her more than help her. Do I ignore her constant pleas to go home and hope that she moves onto something else, or do we honor her wish?

3

Answers

Show:
I agree with Midkid. Moving your mom will not alleviate the problem but stress her (and you) even further. The complaining issue is very wearing on the caregiver, but this seems to be a common behavior in the elderly, especially those with dementia. Sometimes I think their world has shrunk to such a degree that complaining is all they can find to talk about.

In my mom's case, I validate her complaints by listening, nodding, and sometimes sympathizing, but only briefly. I usually tell her she gets 15 minutes to complain; after that her time is up! Listening to nonstop complaints just wears me out and honestly, it's my belief that allowing Mom to go on and on just reinforces the negativity. I try to distract her. I try to point out the positives in her life, but believe me, it ain't easy!!! Mom is a lifetime whiner/complainer. Sorry, but after many decades I have sympathy fatigue.

Mom is situated in a lovely facility. To hear her talk, you'd think she was in solitary confinement with crumbs and a cot. She'd get more visits from friends and family if she wasn't so negative.

On this site I read about so many caretakers turning their lives inside-out to furnish their elderly parents with the best their circumstances can afford, manage their assets, entertain them, etc. Some elderly seem to appreciate the efforts of their children & grandchildren, but many don't. Often it's just the dementia; other times it's an attitude forged by years of negativity and victimhood. Sometimes it's a little of both. Just like Midkid said, they don't want solutions. They just want to complain.

Your closing thoughts are spot on. If you move her, her complaints will just "move on" to something else. She'll end up with a whole new list of things to complain about. Best wishes to you and your family. You are obviously a kind and thoughtful daughter!
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to CantDance
Report

Midkid is absolutely right. You need to stop dancing at the end of Mom’s strings. My mom,with dementia was not terribly demanding, of me, anyway (the aides never dumped on me), but she complained constantly. Her mantra was “I hate this place and I want to die.” She complained about everyone there from other residents to staff; the food, the accommodations, etc.,etc.,etc. I validated her complaints and when I left after a visit, I mentioned to the nurse or her aide what the obsession du jour was and forgot about it. I reminded myself that she was suffering from dementia, had delusions, hallucinations and had been a negative and dramatic person all my life. No place I could have moved her would have been satisfactory to her, including and especially with me.

If you did move Mom to a new place, you said she’d be closer to family but there is no guarantee they’d pitch in and visit enough to make the upheaval worthwhile, right? Then where do you move her? Time to placate her, listen to her, and then, as was said, move on.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Ahmijoy
Report

Listen to her, acknowledge her complaints and then do absolutely nothing to change the situation. She really probably just wants to vent. I learned with my mother a long time ago, she complains and complains, but doesn't want ANYTHING "solved".

A lot of elderly people just feel "unheard". Take the time to listen. Let her know you hear her. Don't brush her off. But you've already done as much as you can to make her living conditions as nice as you can. It will ALWAYS be something. Even if you move her, she'll find something wrong.

If her sibs and family aren't visiting, perhaps a quick text or email to them to "ask" that they call or go see her once a month may help. On the other hand, a lot of people simply choose to be MIA, no matter what.

Stay firm. She has only been there 4 months, it takes time to adapt.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Midkid58
Report

Related
Questions