My 94-year-old mother has end stage congestive heart failure that put her in the hospital. How do I get her to accept assisted living? -

My 94-year-old mother has end stage congestive heart failure that put her in the hospital. How do I get her to accept assisted living?


She was transferred to a rehab facility and will not be able to come home from that. I want to put her in assisted living in the same facility. I am an only child and thought I was ok with this but I am overwhelmed with sadness and grief because she thinks she will go home. Hasn't showered in four months, called the fire departmentt three times in 2 days for help. Any suggestions on how I can get her to accept the assisted living situation. I am numb and then crying and then ok. Please help

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If your mom has a CHF crisis the AL may not have appropriate nursing staff 24/7 who would recognise symptoms. Acute CHF requires immediate treatment, and staff to write orders, usually with IV meds and ALs do not provide that kind of care. If she got discharged, would she have another crisis within 30 days, bringing her back to the hospital? Would an AL provide a heart healthy diet?
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You don't have to get her to accept the ALF. She doesn't have to accept it, is why. When she asks when she's going home, "let's wait and see" is a good answer. She's staying there until the doctors are satisfied with her condition, and should take it one day at a time. In due course, once she's had a chance to feel more at home and get to know a few key workers, then you encourage her to focus on the good bits - like there always being people on call, many hands to help her, a variety of company.

But with a bit of careful phrasing, there shouldn't need to be a time when you have to say right out "you're not going home and that's final." There is a world of difference between being truthful and rubbing the poor lady's nose in it.

And, besides, how long has she been in rehab? Give yourself time to adjust, too. You must have been under a lot of strain for a long time, given your mother's previous situation. Now that she's received treatment and is in safe hands, you can afford to go with the flow for a bit and just see how things develop. It could even be that your mother changes her mind about what she'd like to happen - there's a lot to be said for having hot meals brought to you and friendly faces around all day when you're tired and ill.
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Numb, crying, ok. Repeat as necessary, stretching out the OK phase a little longer each time.

My mom was 93 and had dementia when it was necessary to place her in a nursing home. She had a hard time adjusting for the first few months, and then she blossomed! My sisters and I could scarcely believe that this was our mother doing crafts and going to sing-alongs and live entertainment, flirting a little, and chatting with other residents.

Sometimes my mother would say, "Let's go look in the fridge. I've got to figure out what to make for dinner." And I'd remind her, "Oh, Mother. You are retired now! Someone else figures out what is for dinner, shops for the ingredients, cooks, serves, and washes all the dishes! Isn't that great? We could go look at the dining room bulletin board to see what the choices are for dinner tonight. Would you like that?" Playing up the "your are retired" aspect seemed to please my mother.

Don't make assumptions about how your mother will react. Go with the flow.
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You're allowed to cry and to feel like it's the end of the world. Your mom is at the end of her life and you are having to "do" for her, instead of you being able to rely on her for support.

It sucks and it's NOT fair. It's life-bending.

Vent here all you want!
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I don't think you could get her to adjust to her new situation even if it was your job to do so. At this time of life, adjustments to anything are next to impossible. All you can do is be there for her, try to distract about things totally unrelated to her new situation. That's what I tried with my Mom. I can't say that it always worked but sometimes it did.

Don't beat yourself up about this. I think it's very rare for an elderly person to stay in their home until they die. You are not the bad guy here. This experience is something most adult children go through. You are not alone. Keep posting here and we will all try to support you.
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My dear, it is so NOT your job to tell her.

The doctors, nursing director and or social worker are the folks who decide that she is not capable of living alone. You should enlist their help in delivering the message that she deserves "retirement" from housekeeping and seeing to meals.

I see that you list her primary ailment as depression. Is that being treated by a competent geriatric psychiatrist?
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