Finally moved Mom into an ALF, but now she's constantly complaining. What else can I do? - AgingCare.com

Finally moved Mom into an ALF, but now she's constantly complaining. What else can I do?

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I had a break down about 3 weeks ago and had my brother come pick up Mom. In the mean time I found a place an AL for her close to me. When my brother brought her back, she went right into the home with all her stuff. She's been there for 4 days now and all she says is she doesn't like it and wants to go home. Nobody will take her. My excuse is I started working while she was gone. She is very shy and now she has turned from sweet to rude. She won't go out and met people. She has a lot of hip and back pain and can't walk that well and won't use her walker. She is so stubborn. I stayed the first night with her and woke up many time and with a back ache. Stayed all day but came home the second night. I go 2 times a day and she still complains about the place. I will cut down to one day, then every other day. I'm having just as hard time with her there as when she was with me. My brother's live 2 hrs away. Not much help from them. What else can I do? Wait and see?

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My Mom is also kind of shy and didn't want to go to a home. She ended up living with me, so that's no solution to your issue. But what I want to say is that I actually have been able to get her to do some activities with other people that she previously didn't want to do. Because she's an introvert, it's hard to meet people.

Strangely, everywhere we go, people act like it's a natural thing to want to be with a bunch of strangers and becoming good friends and such. That's natural for the extroverts, possibly, but not for the entire populace.

So, here's what I said to my Mom about some of this, because she really felt to self-conscious about trying some of these things:
Mom, pick things you like. Don't worry about meeting people. You'll end up talking about whatever you're meeting about and that will be fun to share thoughts on your interests. But it's not about making friends. If you make a friend out of it, great, but don't listen to all these people who make it sound like you have to go create some kind of posse. Just enjoy yourself, talk about your interests, and don't worry about the rest.

Now, as I said, it's a little easier because she feels safe and supported living with me, and her memory isn't great so I have to give her this little pep talk with some regularity, but it's worked with her. Maybe it would work with your Mom. Is there any program around, knitting, painting, anything she likes or always wanted to try?

By the way, this is the same pep-talk I give the main introvert in my life, which is me. :-)
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Hi, My Mother broke her hip and had to go to AL in June of 2013 for one month. After hospital and re-hab. All she did was complain, and complain. The place was great, the food was New York style, activities were the best, care was terrific, she had physical threaphy. Staff said that she was happy when we were not their but got mean when we came. Seems like our parents or some of them just become mal-contents. When she lived with my husband and me for 6 monthes after re-hab from having spetis she complained every day that she was with us. We waited on her hand and foot. She complained every minute of every day. Not happy with anything. My father no better so just feel like throwing in the towel. Sorry for your pain.
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Dear SuziQ, first of all I know how tiring and wearing on you it is to be the brunt of her constant complaints. I heard that too when my father first moved into Independent living from his home. I think parents feel like they can get by with more complaining to us and it's also a manipulation tactic. I know it's normal and natural to be sure your parent is happy but until we take that burden off ourself and realize it is up to them, we will never feel we can do enough. It is her job to make her life happy not yours. You have done your best for her and she is in the right place. You might ask the facility to have their social worker meet with her and determine if part of this is anxiety. She may need meds. The adjustment can be difficult at this age. I finally had to tell my dad that I can no longer listen to constant complaining so unless he could call me with positive things, not to call. You just don't need that constant barrage of negativity. Tell her to call your brother when she feels like complaining!! That might get him to do something. Here's the other thing, although you do live near her try to pretend you don't, just pretend you live 2 hrs away like your brother. Make yourself stay away for a while. You are going to have to set boundaries. As far as her pain, perhaps she needs a scooter chair so she can be more mobile and get out more I hope you and she find peace soon. I really feel for you and know what it's like.
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Most alf's recommend not visiting for 2 weeks or so to allow the elder to adjust. Talk to the staff about her adjustment issues and then step back.
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Charles not all of us have the luxury of having our parent live with us. My Mom is narcissitic and would HATE living with us. I too promised never to put her in a "home." The one thing you have to think about is in their minds, from their generation, they didnt have all of these beautiful resort like Alf's, they had nursing homes. Cold white walls with people in uniforms treating them like "patients." It's not like that anymore. The ALF my mom is in is literally like a resort. I would move there in a heartbeat. Restaurant style dining (with menus), inground swimming pool, happy hours, beauty salon, a bus to take her anywhere and everywhere. The comfort for us children is that our parents are not alone rotting in a house all by themselves waiting for their next visitor. I too struggled with the thought of placing Mom in an ALF but once we made the decision it turned out to be the very best thing we could do for our Mom. She is no longer alone, rotting, waiting for a crumble of a visitor. She gets to eat beautiful HEALTHY meals as opposed to eating microwave crap and if she forgets to go down to eat they remind her. My Mom's health has been fabulous since making the move, she was literally dying at home, never eating right, sleeping almost always, and being alone so much with her "thoughts" was doing far more damage then her living here and actually having people to interact with. I agree it is like going back to high school, there are cliques of people and some of them are like mean girls but my Mom was very lucky to make a really nice friend on day one and that has helped so much with the transition. She still is not thrilled about being here but I think in her mind, even she is a tiny bit releived that she is not home alone and she has every thing she has at home, if she wants to sleep she has a bed, she has a tv, she has a fridge to keep some of her not so healthy foods. The major difference now is SHE HAS CHOICES. If she gets bored or lonely there are things for her to do, places to go, people to talk with. I'm glad you didnt have to make that choice for your parent but don't be so quick to judge the rest of us. We are doing our very best by our parents and unless you've walked in our shoes you really have no business judging.
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That's what I'm afraid of. Putting my complaining, morose Mother anywhere else. I've looked several places and one has a policy that you leave them there for 90 days to give it a real chance. They said they will most always complain about it for the first weeks. I would agree that visiting too much isn't good. I have a friend who visits his mother every day and she still complains after two years. She'd have to get used to it if you weren't there all the time, or often. Some people like to have that little bit of independence. My MIL lives get AL and she lives over a thousand miles away from us, so she never sees us, except one a year. She's happy and says it's the best thing that could ever have happened to her. She also complained and put the guilt trip on my husband at first, but since we weren't even in the vicinity, she stopped very quickly and was forced into getting acclamated. I do also know that AL' s well not put up with too much in the bad behavior department. Ugh. What to do?
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Is there a doctor on site that your mom can see for her various medical ailments? My mother actually enjoyed the fact that her doctor was so close by and could be reached easily; she no longer had to rely on one of us taking her to the doctor. AL/IL facilities (most of them, anyway) have staff to help clients "settle in". Find out who is in charge of this, talk to them and follow their advice.
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The complaints of wanting to go home is natural, as imagine yourself going to a very unfamiliar place and not being able to leave. Home is all that they know, it is their safety and comfort zone. Maybe distance yourself for a week or so and maybe she will find it easier to settle in. This would also give you a chance to regroup, you can call the nurses regularly and check on her if you like. They will give you an up to date report on her. I have seen this a lot when family would visit it would take an hour or more to settle them back in. Have yourself a break and she will be fine as she gets to know a few people. Take care of you for now and good luck.
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I've heard rumors that ALF's suggest you don't visit for 2 weeks and if they're true it's a bunch of crap. I think that would be cruel to just drop someone off and not come back for 2 weeks and I would never support something like that. I don't know where this little nugget of advice came from but I don't believe in it one little bit.
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Agree with Eyerishlass. My mom's been in two ALFs and neither one suggested not visiting for two weeks. My mom is a big-time complainer, but sometimes you just have to suck it up and deal with it. You are the "safe" one to complain to in unfamiliar surroundings. It's just going to take time to adjust. Mom's current ALF said give it six weeks. And she did adjust but she still complains about almost everything. It's just her natural state as she has always been on the negative side of things.

I've changed the way of how I deal with the complaining. If it is something serious, say her pager's not working, I will work to solve the situation. If it's about the food, I just tell her I'm sorry about that and move on. If there's nothing that can be done in a practical sense I let it go in one ear and out the other. It's taken me years to learn this, but I suspect you too will learn in time. It's not exactly easy, but it's easier, if that makes sense.

Hang in there. It will get better with time.
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