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In the past 14 months we moved my MIL from her home into Independent Living. It became apparent quickly that she was suffering from some pretty profound dementia. Her health is otherwise quite good for an 86-year-old. We live 7 hours away. My husband got her moved into AL about 3 weeks ago. Her anxiety changes with each passing minute. Her good friend will call or visit her. She will be freaking out. Saying she's "scared" but can't explain what she is scared of. Friend will then call my husband. He'll call his mom and then have to call the nurse to get someone to check on her. An aide will go to her room and she'll be ok. She doesn't seem to be able to figure out what or where her "call button" is. We've offered to move her here and she's always refused. Other family members have taken on no responsibility for her care so we can't rely on them. I'm wondering what we can do. My husband calls her nearly every day. She doesn't remember ever talking or even seeing him. Should we tell her friend to limit how often she visits or calls her? Should the friend let the nursing staff know she's agitated instead of immediately calling my husband? We both work and there is no way we can drop everything and go see her every time she wants us to. I used to work in a SNF and I know how much we communicated with families of patients, but I'm very new to this AL set-up. We haven't been on a vacation in over 3 years because all our free time has been spent dealing with her issues. My husband has her POA and between the phone calls and trying to address all her legal/financial issues he's ready to snap. I'll welcome any/all suggestions. Thanks for allowing me to rant.

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MIL is nowhere near needing skilled nursing. She can bathe, dress and feed herself. Is still ambulatory and with the exception of the dementia, is pretty healthy. I just found her physical form that was necessary for her to move to AL. She's taking 2 dementia meds but I noticed that she's only on 20mg. of Celexa for anxiety. Heck, I've been taking 40 mg. for 7 years so I know this isn't either the right medication or at the very least, it certainly isn't the right dosage. I called DH at work and suggested he call the nursing supervisor to discuss it with her. I honestly think if the anxiety can be better managed she would be ok with living there. But thanks for all the suggestions. Hopefully, she can begin to acclimate.
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Erniesmom,
Your MIL sounds a lot like my cousin when I had to move her from regular Assisted Living to Secure Memory Care Unit. She would say she was scared, but didn't know why. Cymbalta really helped with that. I would have her evaluated for medication. The fear and anxiety can be horrible. Medication can bring about much peace to the dementia patient. I highly encourage you to explore that on her behalf.

When they are at the level you describe, she will eventually need assistance with all areas of her daily care. With dementia, she won't remember why she needs to ring a bell for help. She won't even know what a bell is at some point, so all the things that make sense for us, won't mean anything to her, due to the progression of the disease.

Memory Care provides all the care for those who are not able to do things for themselves, but if she needs skilled nursing care, you might look at nursing homes. States vary on how the facilities are categorized. In my state, those with severe dementia can reside in Memory Care facilities until their death, regardless of their age or mobility level. They do not need to go to a nursing home, unless their family chooses to provide them with skilled nursing care.

I would move your MIL to a place that is convenient for you and your husband. I would take care that it is somewhere she can stay for the rest of her life. From my experience, my loved one adjusted very well to Memory Care. She seemed to feel much more comfortable around others who also have dementia.
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Is your MIL on any meds for anxiety or depression? It's quite common, i believe, for dementia patients to say that they are "scared". Imagine having the mental capacity of a three year old (no ability to see consequences ofcactions, no ability to reason out what is going to happen next) and being taken to a new place, with new people, routines, etc. She needs time to settle in. I would ask the friend to alert staff, not your husband to problems. Also, to reassure MIL that she's in a good place with kind knowledgeable people who are in touch with her family.
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Not to be overly dramatic, but I think moving her to our city would kill her. She's a life-long southerner who loves her mountain views and the "southern hospitality" she's surrounded by. She is going on outings with other residents but comes back confused and "scared". She's always been a bit on the nervous side so I'm not surprised by her behavior. Husband has been in contact with her physician. We have copies of her Trust, Living Will, etc...and the AL has a very detailed patient assessment so I'm not as concerned about decisions needing to made if/when her health starts to deteriorate. We will probably arrange for her to start using one of the staff physicians as it will make it easier for her to get to her appointments. I also would prefer that she see a gerontologist as opposed to an internist or GP. Thanks for the advice. I'll suggest that my husband talk to her friend about "backing off" for the time She. would probably be relieved.
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You and your husband need to ask yourselves this: when mom becomes more frail, falls in AL or NH and uou need yo consult with the doctors about hard decisions, how long is it going to take you to get there? Where will you stay while she's in the hospital? My mom was in IL for a year near her old town (where her friends never visited). When she had a stroke, it took us an hour to get there. By that time, mom had nodded "yes" to having diabetes and other medicsl issues dhe didn't have.

We moved her to a nh 10 minutes from my POA brother. More travel for us, but in the long run, better for mom when she lands in the hospital.
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She is suffering from dementia, you say, yet you are letting her make the decision as to where she lives. Why? If it is more convenient for you and your husband for her to be closer to you -- and you are the primary caregivers -- by all means move her closer. Your husband's more often visitations might be very comforting for her.
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Thanks for the opinions folks. I'll clarify some things. The facility where she is living is part of a campus that includes all levels of care from independent living to skilled nursing care. They have two AL buildings and she is in the one set up for patients with dementia. When we asked her to move to our area it was going to be in an AL facility here. Not in our home. I completely agree that we should let her settle in and not contact her so much. Ditto for her friend. She hasn't been able to make a phone call in a long time, so communication is totally up to us. I've made this suggestion to my husband, but I think he needs to hear it from the staff to convince him.
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I agree that the friend needs to "let it be." Perhaps your mom needs her meds adjusted or maybe she has a UTI. If the facility is able to take her to a geriatric doctor, that would help.

She wouldn't qualify for AL, in the one that my 92 yo MIL is at. It sounds like she needs more care.
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I agree that the friend needs to "let it be." Perhaps your mom needs her meds adjusted or maybe she has a UTI. If the facility is able to take her to a geriatric doctor, that would help.

She wouldn't qualify for AL, in the one that my 92 yo MIL is at. It sounds like she needs more care.
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I agree with moving mom near you and husband if possible. And the other suggestions have been good as well. Let her settle in.

The thing I learned with my mom (who has no short-term memory) is one minute there's a problem and two minutes later, she's forgotten all about it. If you were around your MIL more, you'd probably see those changes, and learn not to jump the minute there's a perceived problem that she is expressing, like being scared.

My mom lives less than 2 miles from me and I couldn't handle it when she and my dad lived 3 hours away - there was no one in that retirement place I trusted to really look in on my folks with a skilled eye. So I'm happy to have mom so close so I can monitor how she's doing and learn to distinguish between the real and perceived issues she's having. I can adjust my reactions accordingly.
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From what I have learned on the forums here, the first thing leave Mom alone so that she can settle into her new surroundings... and that means no telephone calls for awhile directly to her. Let her adjust. She needs to learn to depend on the Staff for her needs. Too bad the staff at the Assisted Living didn't make that suggestion to you and hubby about the adjustment period.

Let her friend know what is going on and to try to stop the visits/phone calls for awhile.

Since Mom-in-law has profound dementia, as you have found out she won't remember if she saw you and hubby or heard from you via phone, so limit the visits/phone calls to once a week after she had finally settled in to get a feel about how she will react and follow her lead, if in reason.

It is so much better for Mom-in-law who has serious memory issues to live where she has 3 full shifts of care from employees who are trained. If she moved in with you, both you and hubby would have needed to quit your jobs, plus hire paid Caregivers so you both could get some sleep. Mom-in-law was smart in saying *no* to your request.
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I'm not sure this will be of any help (or appreciated).But, when it is time for memory care, it doesn't much make a difference if it is near Mom's current home or near yours. In my opinion, it would have made your life easier to have moved her nearer to you. The friend may visit occasionally but you and your husband are the ones making decisons etc so to me, closer to you would have worked better. My friend's Mom has been in memory care for almost 9 years now! This can be a long haul. Mom's ability to communicate via phone will likely diminish, and your involvement will surely increase!

Adjusting to new places isn't easy for dementia residents. So the being afraid is par for the course. Is the memory care facility dedicated to memory care is is it a small part of a larger facility where they 'put memory care clients'? A true memory care facility won't even have call buttons, the residents have no clue what to do with them! I know I don't have a vote, but I'd move her closer to me and to a dedicated memory care place. This isn't easy for anyone and in all honesty, a memory care patient doesn't get a vote. You have to do what is best for all involved.
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