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My mom has been living by herself many states away and we're moving her home. Over the last few years we've noticed she's been progressively getting forgetful but things have really progressed. Her neighbors have been in contact with my brother and me and based on what we're learning I'm doubtful she'll be able to continue to live on her own. Her home is sold and her belongings will be loaded up soon, but we don't have a place for her to move to as of yet. I'm thinking we'll need to store her belongings until we figure out a long-term solution for her and that is where my questions begin. I figure we need to find her doctors and get her assessed first. Second we then need to find the appropriate type of home for her, whatever that might be. Third it would seem we also need to understand what kind of resources there might be for her, i.e. government, etc. She does not have a lot of money and lives pretty much off social security. This is all new to me and I'd like to find a single point of contact who is trustworthy that can guide me through this process. Does anyone have recommendations? I'm not sure if I should go through an elder care attorney or a government agency. I'm concerned the former will have his or her interests first while the latter I worry about competence. Thank you for any input anyone can provide.

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As for finding her a Dr.. when my folks moved in I asked MY dr if he would see them as first line.. he is a gerentologist and he has been great. It may be a good way to get her started, and then they can give referrals as needed.
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Thanklessjob: Yes, I got that that the daughter's going to do the finding, but the way it was worded sounded like her mother was out on the street after selling her house! And on the topic of your mom, that is exactly why I phoned my late mother every day-moreso for a wellness check. But talking to her on the telephone-phew! That was a nightmare in and of itself, because she would constantly talk over me. I said "mom, how about if you talk and then I talk because it doesn't work if we both talk at the same time?" Nope! Oh well, how I wish I could communicate now like that, although I have received "messages" from heaven. Pennies from heaven is just not a song! Amazing! Best wishes!
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There should have been better contact from the adult children with the mother. HOWEVER, that said, my mom lived 550 miles away from me. I talked to her every night. I just thought she had a lousy memory. When I went to visit at Christmas 2013, oh my Lord, I discovered my mother had dementia!! It was obvious face to face. They can fake it and do "chit-chat" real well because it doesn't require cognitive skill. I was fooled.
Maybe mdmess couldn't tell over the phone the degree of impairment her mom has.

mdmess, this journey has started out backwards. Usually, all this information has been collected, then research has been conducted and THEN the house sells and the move to assisted living or memory care is a smooth transition. Your road will be bumpier because you did not do your homework before you needed to act. I'm not shaking a stern finger....I did the same thing. I thought my mom had "more time" before the dementia progressed, therefore giving ME more time to check out where she would end up. She took a fast turn down dementia lane. It was "do something within the next 2 weeks " time.
You will need Power of Attorney for health care and finances. If she will sign you on her bank accounts, even better. Do it soon before her mind is so far gone the bank would refuse. You need to establish doctors in the area that she'll be living. You will be taking her to the appointments and you need to understand her ailments. Have her examined by a geriatric neurologist for dementia. Whether you pick a board and care home (cheapest alternative), a nursing home, an assisted living facility or memory care (most expensive), you should get a list (mine was available as a senior directory at the library), look over the possibilities, then go without her to check them out. If they pass your approval, then take her. Ask her old doctor what type of facility (s)he would recommend. Get her signed up in your county for whatever services she would be eligible for. Look for a senior listing under county social services (Google it).

Just because you started out backwards doesn't mean you can't finish facing forward.
Good luck. You're taking on a project much bigger than you can imagine.
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Llama lover,
I think she meant that the daughter will need to find (or search, locate, etc.) doctors where she WILL be living.
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mdmess: Also, even though my late mother lived in Massachusetts and I live in Maryland, for the last 5 years of her life, I spoke to her every day=365X5 equals 1,825 telephone calls AT MINIMUM because sometimes I spoke to her more than once a day.
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mdmess: How or why did your mother sell her own house without having something else lined up as to where she thought she was going to live? If her neighbors hadn't contacted you, then what would have happened? She'd just be out on the street with her belongings? That's the picture you write. Also, I'm not understanding at all why you say "you have to FIND her doctors?" As her daughter, you should already know who her PC doctor is. You should have been WELL UP TO SPEED ON THAT ALL ALONG. GOOD GRIEF! My mother demanded to live alone many states away from me, but I was in constant communication with her PC doctor, her retinologist, her dermatologist, her podiatrist, her cardiologist, etc. all along. And then you go on to say that you're completing the sale. Something seems amiss.
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I also recommend contacting your council on aging and finding a well regarded senior services organization that contracts with your state for social work and services. Make sure that it is a nonprofit organization. They'll know the ins and outs of what services are provided in your state. We at first used a private pay case manager recommended by my mother's doctor. That was a fiasco at $50/hour. $1000 later I still didn't know what my mother was eligible for. We were lucky to connect with a very good senior services organization that serves my mother's area after that. One thing that I think that doctors that specialize in geriatric medicine don't consider is the patient's financial well being, or that of the supporting family, when they make a referral to a caseworker (at my mother's doctor didn't). That was an expensive and stressful mistake. I also concur with others that it may be best to have your mother live with you temporarily so that you can witness her behavior and state of mind. It will be helpful in determining what is best for her. I wish you well starting this journey.
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mdmess: Wow, are you sure your screen name is not Llamalover47? Because your situation is identical to what I just went through with my mother late 2013 into 2014! She was living alone and proud of it (much to our worries and planned attempts to change this situation) many states away. It may come down to either living with one of you or living in an SNH. With us, it came down to God's timing, because her 2 adult children (me, who had moved in 6 months prior and my brother who had only arrived for a short stint-she suffered a stroke). She deceased. I wish you so much luck and more with your dear mom! ((( Hugs )))!!!!
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I agree very much with Finleycats answer about contacting your local Agency on Aging, if one exists in your area. They can be really helpful directing you to what resources are available in your community.They should be able to let you know the range of senior citizen housing to assisted living to nursing home facilities that exist nearby, and what the care capabilities of each are. If not available, contact your local human services agency and get to know the person in charge of senior citizen assistance.
In my experience (I cared for my mother from mild dementia onset to moderate to severe dementia and eventually her death several years ago), it is best to have a talk with your mom and ask her what she thinks. My mother, though her memory was impaired, was quite aware that she needed help. She was able to tour several facilities with me and pick a senior housing place where she thought she'd be most comfortable, and was able to live there for a good number of years till her dementia worsened and we eventually moved her to an assisted living facility. We made mistakes along the way, but I was always glad we respected Mom enough to ask her opinion and try to honor her choices as much as we could. It was nice for her, having the more independent life of the senior housing before she needed more care such as given in the assisted living homes. There, she met many people more disabled than her, but in the senior housing facility she was able to have more friends who could get out and do more things and it kept her feeling more "normal" and part of her community.
Not everyone is aware of their own needs and capabilities though, so you do need to observe her to find this out. If you want to move her in with you, that's one way. But in my area, we have wonderful senior citizen facilities where individuals can live independently, in their own apartments, while having support of an onsite person (not a nurse but someone who can assist when needed) and other government agency support services (meals-on-wheels, home health care etc.). When she is close to you geographically, you will be able to stop in on her frequently while also giving her the independence she may desire (that was a big thing with my mom, that she wouldn't "burden" her children by living with them). Sadly, there probably will be no one point of contact to guide you,but you'll learn along the way and the Aging agency is a good place to start. What I learned is that I was that point of contact for my mother, her advocate and caregiver and friend/daughter/confidante and consoler. Enjoy this time with your mother, and be kind to yourself if you don't do everything right. I learned to appreciate the new way her mind worked and just get into it with her, even if it involved repetition and meanderings that didn't always make a lot of sense to me. I loved to laugh with her so I tried to find lots of ways to keep her joyful. The one regret that I have is that I didn't spend more time with my mother, even when she was severely incapacitated with her dementia, because I miss her smile, and those hugs, which never disappeared throughout!
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Have the doctor order a CAT scan of your mothers brain. My father had dementia that started out slowly and then progressed rapidly. It ended up that he had had a mini stroke which kept slowly bleeding in his brain which caused his short term memory loss. He had no symptoms of a stroke. Get the CAT scan done to rule out stroke. Then get in touch with your local Office Of The Aging. They have a ton of information and resources and they will help you fill out paperwork if needed.
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I would be quite curious as to what is going on with your mom, even if a doctor wasn't able to confirm a diagnosis at one visit. If her neighbors are reporting problems, it must be substantial.

IMO, it's important to provide the doctor with a list of things you have observed about the patient. If the doctor takes everything the patient says at face value, then they fail to see the real problem. My cousin reported to her doctor that she was able to prepare meals, bathe, take medications, run her household, etc. when in fact, she could NOT do any of those things. If I had not been there to let the doctor know of the lapsed insurance, 911 calls, spoiled food in fridge, weight loss, repeating, no short term memory, etc. he would not have known, based on their short office visit. So, it's important to know what her deficits are. I'm not sure how you can do that without watching her closely for at least a couple of weeks. It is important that while she is competent that she appoint someone to be her Durable Power of Attorney, Healthcare POA, etc. I'd see an attorney pronto about that.
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I suggest you connect your local Area Agency on Aging. They have a lot of great resources and might possibly have free counseling for you (the county i live in doesn't but the county my folks live in do, so i consult with them). I agree that you should find out more about her actual memory/health situation before deciding anything. There are so many options available today that weren't available even 10 years ago as elder care is a growing field. My father in law has moderate dementia and is still able to live at home with the various resources. The trend today is to keep elders living at home as long as possible not only due to the cost of facilities, but its better for their health (mental and physical). Every person's situatuon is different.

For my mom, we suspected she had dementia. She knew she had memory problems. I talked to her one day and brought up the memory issues and suggested she get tested for it. She was thoughtful and did she had never thought about dementia, she thought it was just the normal aging memory decline. I wasn't able to get her to a neurologist, but her PCP did a test and diagnosed her with mild cognitive impairment. She is pretty good (normal aging memory decline) unless she's stressed or tired. How bad her memory is tells me how stressed/tired she is. We suspect my stepdad has a form of alzheimer's/dementia, but we're at the early stages of dealing with that. However, again there are many resources available today to help elders live independently for so much longer than before. Yes, things can cost but it's still less expensive than a facilty. We use lifeline alerts, we have cameras in my father in laws house since he is alone most of the time (there is a monitoring service available but we don't want to pay for it. Instead we have many family members with access to them so we peek in on him frequently. Yes, he knows about them and jokes about mooning us), we pay a family member to stay there 5 nights a week and assist as needed (who does a lot more than she gets paid for as its dad afterall). We use notes all over the place with reminders. He was also in the habit of calling my husband for everything before dementia, so this habit continues thankfully. He'll call about the strange car in the driveway (a family members car), he'll call about the TV not working (sometimes he pushed a wrong button), etc. Thankfully he normally doesn't call frequently about the same thing as I've heard some dementia people do. Both our parents live about an hour away from us and each other (think of a triangle) so we can't easily run over frequently. And we haven't convinced them to move closer, so you're lucky.

Another resource to contact is the Alzheimer's Association. They also have some counseling and other resources, tips, support groups, etc.
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Nasmir, well, those are other words. They are not mine.
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No Nasmir, not everyone is headed to a nursing home. My mom is going on 97 and has significant memory loss, but can still live on her own in independent living with a lot of help from me. Dementia takes many different forms and is particular to each individual. Treating each person as a unique person with their own abilities and needs is important.
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I think Rainmom's suggestion of moving Mom in with one of you makes the most sense, since you really need to know what her needs are. That way lies danger, though. Making it clear that she is a TEMPORARY guest will be critical.

Almost half of the folks with dementia have some form other than ALZ. One thing they all have in common is that they progress. That is, they get worse in time. Keep that in mind as figure out Mom's housing needs. What is fine now may be inadequate over time, so a place where you can add on more services is desirable.

Good luck to you! Keep us posted.
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You really have to start at the beggining. Since you are moving mom to a different state, I think the first thing would be how to transfer her medical care whether it be Medicaid or Medicare. Can you go and meet with your mothers current doctor to see where she is at medically at least and possibly get a referral? However - and this is a big however - you need to know that often the elderly are quite apt at fooling their.doctors as to their true mental condition. So before you make any big decisions I think it would be wise to put your mothers things in storage and have her live with you or your brother for about a month - make sure your mother clearly understands that this is a temporary situation while you all consider options - remind her everyday if need be. I think it's pointless to visit a lot of different living setting until you have a clear picture of your mothers needs. You need to see it yourself and not depend solely on an assessment as like I said - a lot of elderly can "showtime" for the length of an accessment. Trust me on these two points - the move will shake her up and very possibly worsen her mental state so - second, you only want to make one more move - if possible - into the setting that would best met her needs. Each time she is move it is likely to take a toll.
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My brother and I live in the north and our mom lives down south. We see her a couple of times per year when she visits or we visit her. We've both noticed that her short term memory has been getting worse and had discussed with her about speaking with her doctor and going to a memory specialist. Her doctor told her it was anxiety related and gave her some medication. My mom held onto that for some time and was reluctant to seek any other care. She finally went to a memory clinic in her area and the testing came back as negative for Alzheimer's but with questions about other aspects of the results.

It's been difficult with her there and us here and her reluctance to get help, but getting her to move home should help us get more involved in her care. I appreciate the recommendation related to the geriatric care manager and will look into that. Her will is done and the POA is something we're working on currently.

We appreciate your input. Thank you!
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How old is your mom? What are her health conditions (beyond the bad memory)? My mom is 96 and has no short-term memory to speak of, but lives in independent living with a lot of help from me. Have you or your brother spent any time with your mom lately? It sounds like you've been relying on information from neighbors.

If it was me, I'd want to research most of the questions myself, so that when I consulted an attorney or government resource, I'd have enough information to know if I was being bamboozled. You could also consider a geriatric care manager, who is a private pay person who can act as a quarterback for all of the things you need to do. They often have a nursing background.

Your mom needs to get her will in order, along with her Powers of Attorney (for health and property) if she doesn't have those done and is still capable of making those kinds of decisions. That would require an attorney's help. You could also contact your area agency on aging to find out about local resources in your area.

I'm sure others will have more good suggestions.
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It's obviously a longer story. My mom sold her house, not us. During this process and in speaking with her neighbors, we realize my mom's condition is deteriorating faster than we knew. I am in process of obtaining a POA to assist in the completion of the sale. How we got here aside, now where here and we need to develop an action plan, which is for what I'm seeking advice.
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You sold your mothers house? How did you do that if you think she isn't competent yet you haven't sought medical or legal council?
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