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We tried just a regular ALF because her doctors could not specifically say that her problems were not depression related but it is now apparent that it is more dementia than depression. My question is, how do I make the move easier for her. She wants to return to her private home which is not an option. Suggestions are welcome.

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VJFriensen6939 and Salisbury - you are both right - each patient is a person with a specific set of circumstances, and this is the perfect illustration of that. Thank you both so much for sharing.
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I am sorry but I have to point out that telling whole truths does not work at all with my mom. If there is a situation, or bad news, she get so upset and into a panic--this is not new. she works herself into a terrible state quickly and for what? She has forgotten the whole thing in a short time anyway. It is much better, IN THIS PARTICULAR CASE, to tell her that everything is wonderful. That is what she wants to hear and then she is calm and happy.
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Telling half truths will NOT help. There is enough stress without having to remember what was said last time, especially if she is depressed. My wife loves it in the ALF. She has vascular dementia and knows it and we talk about it openly since some years ago. Our daughters came to help set up the room (her part) (she has a roommate with dementia as well) so she could enjoy it and see the pictures of the kids and grand-kids and we provide her with Word Search books and she has her TV as well as her favorite chair so all in all she enjoys it. I am the care-giving advocate now instead of 24/7 caregiver and not able to handle all that involves easily. One of the men who came after we did to the retirement home just passed away today. Part of the reason - he moved in with her into ALF and remained her caregiver and she was a very demanding dementia person. Sad, but she is still living and in the SCC. God knows what is best and HE has shown us the move to ALF was the best for my wife in numerous ways. Look to HIM and ask the correct questions of those who deal with these needs daily. They told me I would go crazy if I moved in with my wife into the ALF. PTL, I did not make the move. I did not say it was or is easy. If the kids are aware of the needs - they can encourage and help. Our's haven't been so helpful except for the one who works in the hospital. I am a RN though retired and am also healthy. My wife has lots of medical issues though.
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Can you please direct me to that wonderful article called,Top 8 truths of dementia care giving?
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It is of prime importance that you make sure she understands your concerns for her well being and safety. Also reassure her that you will check in on her, and that you will make sure she is comfortable & well care for at all times.
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I have written about this so many times. We "tricked" my mom into moving-- with professional help.

A short time later, she had no memory of it. So, just push through, grin and bear it, it is horrible but you survive, and then, all is forgotten.
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I absolutely agree with the comment above. Make an appointment with a geriatric psychologist. At this point an accurate diagnosis is important so her new home is appropriate. Medication changes can also make a big difference. You might be able to use a behavioral health center as a resource. Many hospitals have them and some are short term in patient programs.
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Certainly a mental hospital would be a better choice than a personal care home. A PCH or Foster Home would be less able to deal with her mental situation and it could endanger her or the other residents. You want to do what is best and keep her engaged, and that is likely where she is safest as well.

I think you find a great geriatric psychology center and start with a full work up. I have heard that Emory in Atlanta has the best program in the SE US. You might want to go look at their website and see what they offer, and see if you can track down the best in your area of the world.
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I feel for you but strongly feel, again as a therapist working in these envrionments that a dementia unit would not be appropriate. She will not be with her peers and most likely become more depressed. Visit the unit. Determine if these other residents would be able to interact with your mother. Have you been to a gerontologist? I know this must be a nightmare to navigate the medical system for answers. Does she has her own home? What supports would she need to stay there? Is she really so depressed that she does not care for herself, self care, meals, etc? Do you have adult day care in your area? Adult foster care? Any of these could be options. I would continue to pursue a good assessment by someone familiar with geriatric depression. To be honest, she is still a young senior at 72. Good luck to you!
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forgot to add that she is also taking Effexor and now they have added abilify.
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So after all of this time, it appears Mom is not suffering so much from dementia but her problems are more psychiatric in nature. She is 73 and initially was suffering from depression after my dad passed 4 years ago. She has been on Paxil since then. Mom is currently at an ALF and they are just not equipped to deal with her outbursts. She thinks she is "supposed" to help residents down to activities - this is strictly a no-no; she wants to "help" by moving chairs and furniture after an activity - also a big no-no. She is constantly crying because she can't do what she wants - see helping above. When I thought the behavior was dementia related, (relapsing to when she was working in a nursing home), I felt more at ease at moving her to a dementia specific facility. Now that the Dr. says it is not, my options may be reduced to a mental hospital. Without having any one of the 7 doctors giving me a straight answer on her diagnosis, I am caught between a rock and a hard place and have no idea what to do.
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You are a great daughter asking these questions. One of the problems that occur with these moves is that they are not done soon enough. When your mother has the capacity to form a new routine in a new place, bathroom, meals etc...all those little things we take for granted, she will be making this move. On the other hand, if you had waited, she would have been really scared and less able to make a transition. Having familiar things that was suggested is very important.

We had to do this with my Dad and it was not easy. He had been dialing 911 in his AL apartment, which is great problem solving but not appropriate for the setting. He was very angry with us and took a decline in his cognition, sadly, before he actually adjusted.

My only advice here, and this comes as a therapist, is to make sure she is engaged at a level appropriate for her during the day but the staff. Ask about an OT assessment to determine her level of cognition and make recommendations that would be at the right level of challenge for her. All people are happy when the challenge is not to hard and not to easy!

good luck!
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Agree with geewiz. I have a rule that I tell mom once what is going to happen. Sometimes she asks questions, sometimes she tells me she doesn't like what I'm telling her. We have had to move my mom twice (independent to assisted living then assisted into an outside memory care facility). Both times were stressful on me, but my mom was happier in the new environment designed to suit her needs best.

I hired someone to help me pack and organize and made sure her new room felt vary much like hers. I took her to lunch and we just drove to the new facility after lunch and got her settled.

I recognized that my mom had just as many issues recognizing her old room as she did this new room, but could start sharing stories about all of her things that surrounded her in the new community.
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I so agree with geewhiz. Be her pillar and help her settle in as gently as possible. I think sticking around for a meal, introduce and keep in mind it's all about her safety. The "wanting to go home" will be the continuing theme, so don't overthink it. Bless you both.
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How old is she, what behaviors is she exhibiting, etc would be helpful to us. In the meantime, read up on alzheimers and dementia. Those afflicted with this often, 'want to go home'. Depending upon the progression of the disease, they may be referring to their most recent home, the childhood home or anything in between.

Pick out the best memory care ALF you can find that is near to you. Decorate it just like her room (in current ALF or in her previous home) and take her out to lunch one day. (Perhaps a friend or family member can move the final items during your lunch). Tell her the doctor wants her to try some new treatments and you are bringing her to get them. Settle her in, stay a while, introduce her around and have the evening meal with her. Show her that her room has all of her favorite items. (What treatment the doctor ordered depends upon a logical story given her situation). The bad news about memory issues IS the memory issues. The good news for you is Mom won't really remember much soyou needn't go into great detail. Keep it simple. Don't ask permission, you are keeping her safe and that is a priority. The opinions on this site vary, I visited my Mom in memory care every day from day one. I wanted her to know she was safe and I did my best to assure that. The staff told me to stay away to give her time to settle in, but I didn't think that was right for my Mom. I didn't stay all day, I brought her to the activities at the ALF that I though she would enjoy. Ultimately, I chose times to visit when I thought the activities didn't match her interests or skill set. By the end, I knew every caregiver/and employee at this facility and most of the residents and visitors. My Mom got GREAT care and other visitors watched out for her during their visits as well. Family all reported back to each other and I (like most everyone here) did my best to help my Mom during her final journey. Keep us posted.
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