Should I move mom out of her hometown?

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I am struggling with how to help my 85-year-old mom. She currently lives in the home she and dad shared since 1965. Dad passed in 1997.

About 10 years ago, my brother went through some difficulties and lost his job, his home, and then had a heart attack. Mom took him back into her home (about three hours from where he used to live). He had jobs for a while, and paid rent for a while, then had to have bypass surgery and never went back to work after that.

Two years ago mom started having some cognitive problems, and then had a bad fall which landed her in rehab for six weeks. I went down to help during that time, 600 miles from home for those weeks. When mom got out of rehab, my brother took over the wound care and did some of the caregiving for mom. It wasn't always the best situation as they argued a lot, but he was there and willing so that's just the way it was for almost a year.

I was getting a lot of phone calls when things were going badly, mom would be upset and they would want me to calm things down. As mom's cognitive issues got a little worse, we realized we needed a little more help in the house.

Last fall, almost a year ago now, my brother had another catastrophic illness that landed HIM in the hospital and rehab for almost 5 months. The illness left him disabled and in a wheelchair. He can no longer live with mom because the house is two-story and there are no workable bathroom facilities nor sleeping space on the main floor.

Since he was in the hospital, I've had to go down there every 6 weeks and spend a couple of weeks cleaning up financial messes, collecting mail, other stuff. It's gotten really hard on me to do all this traveling. I have kids and grandkids in my own town that need me and I'm so torn up!

I've been checking out assisted living facilities in my town and found nice ones. Mom doesn't want to live with me, not because of bad relationship, just because she thinks it's bad to live with your kids.

She has to have 24-hour care now because she can't do her own laundry, can't always dress herself without cuing, can't select her clothing, doesn't manage her incontinence well, and has awful memory problems. She doesn't have Alzheimer's, but short-term memory is really bad. She has also developed terrible anxiety and insomnia, as well as some paranoia. It is some kind of dementia, the neurologist cant put a name on it.

Most of the people she was close to from her high school have either passed on, or developed their own dementia. She just lost one of her two best friends last summer, and the other she won't visit anymore because that friend is too much in the past. She has two sisters in law in the area, that's about it. And she only sees them every couple of months.

She doesn't reach out to people from her church anymore, and doesn't always go to her regular bible study. It's getting harder and harder for her caregivers to get her out to appointments and events she used to enjoy...she simply refuses to go!

I'm constantly (almost every day, sometimes) inundated with phone calls telling me how much trouble she is giving her caregivers...yelling at them, calling them stupid, refusing to shower, telling them she wants them out of her house.

Yet, she complains about how lonely she is, how trapped in her house she is. The trap is of her own making!

I have her power of attorney and manage her finances, I'm thankful she took care of that before things got too bad.

Assisted living in my town? She would have a lot more visitors if she were up here with us, and we would bring her to our home often as well.

Sorry this is long, I just don't know what to do! I'm spending hours a day working on her life, and I don't have much energy left for my own. I can't make my own doctor's appointments, I often have to cancel my own to go down and take care of her. I'm so tired of doing this long distance. The only thing SHE wants is for US to move THERE. That is not fair or possible.

THanks for listening.

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I think meds are in order. Her anxiety is evidently sky high. The brain chemicals are not there and the synapses don't connect. My MIL is the same way. Just suggested my husband ask for some anti anxiety meds for her. She freaks out about going to have a blood test. Never mind moving. I wonder how we will ever get her to move, Both her dr and lawyer who know her well feel it will never happen. I can only imagine the level of fear and anxiety these elders feel, but thanks to modern science they don't have to and they don't have to drugged into zombies either. But finding the right dr can be a challenge. And the right combination of medications can be tricky. And to get them to take them we have to come up with all those fiblets. Let us know how this works out. Sending only good thoughts your way.
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BB - going on Jeanne's thread. Is there a medication you can use? I did alot with my mom the few days before the move so she - in theory - would be more tired and I made sure she had taken her Remeron every night and early the first night at IL. Think of what you would do if you had to deal with a 4 yr old, like make them super busy so they are tired and give them something to be distracted. Is there someone who can do the drive with you both to help with mom? Maybe an adored grandchild who she won't be ugly with? My gut feeling is that your mom thinks you are going to give in to her and will push it and your buttons but will back down or off once she figures out it's not gonna happen.

OMG just so much drama. My mom was a pretty good drama queen but your mom sounds like a drama empress. Wears you out and works your nerves. True story - when the movers came to my mom's house, she was walking in circles in her room, wringing her hands, crying you can't do this, yada yada while the guys are in there shrink-wrapping her furniture, then as they are moving a chest of drawers out the door she tells them to stop as she needs to get this scarf out of the top drawer. The moving van driver told me that there is always something and really my mom wasn't over the top but to keep an eye on her so that she wouldn't get on the lift and lay down to keep them from using it.
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Oh, I am so sorry that what appears to be the ideal solution is not going smoothly.

Does her doctor know about these anger episodes? Is she on any kind of anxiety med?
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So sorry to hear the stress you are under. Hang in there - step away and take a few deep breaths! Agree with igloo -- call the AL and ask for their advice. Is your mom resistent to the move all together? I hate to recommend anything, but you might also talk to her doctor about something mild to help calm your mom so you can make the trip safely. Also, ask her if there are some sentimental/cherished items she wants to bring now; with the promise that you'll get some of the others in the near future. You can always tell her if it doesn't work out, you and she can discuss other options and you won't sell the house in the meantime...don't make promises though.

I'm afraid the same is going to happen to my mom when the time comes. We want to do the same as you and my mom has all the same things your mom has -- only she refuses to let anyone in to help. I too live long distance. She becomes angry and distrustful when I suggest she move. Now she won't even come for a visit as she's afraid I won't take her back home.
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Thank you, Igloo!

Not sure that will work, I was supposed to drive mom up in my car and when she has gotten like this in the last few months she has threatened to open the door and throw herself out. I have to travel alone with her, and I'm scared to death of being alone in the car with her now.
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BB - I'd call the director of the AL asap, believe me he's had this issue and worse to deal with. Tell him how much you love his place but that mom is perhaps not a candidate for their level of care BUT you're not sure AND what would he suggest. What he might be willing to do is to have your mom go to his AL for respite care of perhaps 2 weeks. That will give them time to evaluate her and give her time to wear herself out at being such a pill. I just did a posting earlier on what it was like to move my mom from her home of 50+ yrs to IL...it was ugly and lots of hand wringing and you can't do this, yada yada and then 3 days later when I called her to see how she was doing she cut me off as she needed to get downstairs to catch the van to Steinmart. lmao. You know if the AL will take her for either respite or on a trial run basis, it could be ideal because if she isn't suitable for their level of care, the AL will be able to get her placed via their established contacts in your area somewhere lots easier than you could just visiting NH at random. Good luck & keep a sense of humor.
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Looks like moving mom to ALF is not going to happen. I am in her home now to make the preparations, and last night she had a HORRIBLE episode of anger and she threatened to hit the overnight caregiver with her cane. The girl couldn't walk past mom without her brandishing the canes. She spent 4 hours going through anger, trying to escape the house, banging the canes, sitting by a light switch turning the light on and off, it was awful.

She's had episodes before, this one is by far the worst.

I know she is not a candidate for the ALF. Threatening is over the top.

Now I'm so stuck! I'm already down here to move her, and realize I need a different kind of help.

Ugh.
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What awesome news... the place sounds perfect.... what a load off your mind... now you will be close enough to advocate for her.... and know she is safe and being well taken care of.... makes my heart happy to hear you sounding so good..... let us know how things go... want to hear how she likes it... she'll have adjustments,,, but sounds like this is not their first rodeo, so she'll be fine, and sorry, even if she changes her mind,,, she'd go anyway.... sending you hugs and angels...
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Thank you very much, ladee. Thank you for taking the time to read, and thank you for your affirming reply.

We have found a lovely assisted living in my town and are waiting for their application process to finish. I will go down to mom's as soon as the ALF gives the go-ahead. The place is lovely, and I've been there several times now. The director LOVES his residents, knows them all by name, and cares about the environment he puts them in. When he showed us the room that just came open, he told us he is putting new carpet and new linoleum. I could not see it was necessary, but he said it is important to him to make the environment as fresh and homey as he can. They have a "special" in which they will pay to help move her here!

She can bring her cat, and they will feed for her because she can't remember when she feeds and when she doesn't. She can even bring her piano! They have a very active social calendar and I know that will be better for mom than vegetating alone in front of her TV because she kicks her caregivers out of the room!

They told us mom doesn't sound like she has anything going on that they can't handle and help her with, that was a relief!

My brother has sort of "primed the pump" and told mom we found a nice place, hopefully she won't try to back out. We've given her the choice a little longer than we probably should have.
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You have stated your situation in very clear terms... it's time to move mom to your home town....it is too hard for you the way things are... and yes she will have adjustments to make and so will you... but do what is best for everyone.... good luck and come back and let us know how you with everything.... it's just time for changes...
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