Follow
Share

My mother (age 96) lives in assisted living in another state. I call her daily and she frequently complains about being moved at night to other rooms in the facility. This is very disconcerting to her, and it has been impossible for me (or anyone else) to convince her that this is not really happening.


I do not try to convince her otherwise any more, since it doesn't work. My concerns center around her emotional well-being, and her relationship with the staff, which is deteriorating. I would not be surprised to get a call soon informing me that they are transferring her to the memory care unit. That may solve their problem, but I don't expect it to solve hers.


Has anyone else been through this with a parent and have any suggestions?

My dad does this, but his thought is that he has different beds through his LTC and he has his pick of rooms and beds. I just tell him how lucky he is, and glad we found him in the right room when we visit. This is a small problem to have, considering other things, so we just laugh about it, and he laughs too.
That really is all you can do. Best wishes.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to ML4444
Report

My 88 year old mom has "thoughts" as well of things happening that aren't. Over half the time it's a UTI. After some antibiotics she doesn't talk of them much. I would really encourage a UTI test. Also is she taking a B12 vitamin? Or any B vitamins? As someone mentioned, check her meds and perhaps give some vitamins. Hope she settles in...
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to rocko21
Report

The best suggestion I can make is to try and make it less frightening for her. When she complains about being taken to another room lighten the conversation a bit, “is it nicer than the last one”? “Did they get all of your stuff in the right place?” “I think it might be nice to have a clean fresh new room, especially when someone else is doing all the work of moving everything!” Laugh when it won’t anger her, get her laughing. “Wow you must be special, they keep upgrading you...or maybe someone in worse shape than you needed to be closer to the nurses station and they felt you were ok further away because you are doing so well.”

When my mom tells me about an obvious hallucination “there was a young woman she didn’t know sitting in her room” I ask if she was afraid of her and when she says “no” (so far the only answer, thank goodness) I ask if she talked to her and suggest next time she try or I say “oh how nice you had company!” We laugh and most of the time eventually she figures out it probably didn’t really happen. If she gets concerned about knowing she is hallucinating I will often reassure her that she was probably napping and woke up in the middle of a dream. As long as long as these hallucinations aren’t scaring her I’m happy and even find hearing about them interesting. This happens more often when she isn’t hydrated enough, hasn’t had enough water. The other possibility I suppose is that in this time of COVID she has been moved once or twice so another patterned could be quarantined or some other need that helps them manage their patient load. Normally they would hopefully discuss this with you and even have you participate in the move but these aren’t normal times so perhaps there is a combination of fact and fantasy going on here.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Lymie61
Report

Your mother has dementia which is going to get worse. They get delusions and nothing can make them see reality. Don't even try. Rather ignore what she tells you or say you are looking into it and distract her. Make peace with the staff as you may need their help. If she moves into memory care, so be it - sounds like she belongs there. I would not worry - no one is moving her - it is all in her mind. And I doubt any medication will help so just ignore it.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Riley2166
Report

Nanny cam.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Terrisue
Report

My first thought would be that she MAY be experiencing Sundowner's, where confusion is present as nightfall approaches. Praying for you.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Llamalover47
Report

Call the ALF immediately to make sure they are not 'giving her medications' that you are unaware of. This is against all laws everywhere, by the way, and the only medications that can be given out have to be by doctor's written orders and handed out by LPNs or RNs in an Assisted Living Facility. "Staff" can't just be doling out sedatives to keep residents quiet and sleeping.......nope.

Your mother seems like she's Sundowning, like Taarna said. Can you speak to her doctor about this and about what's happening to her at night with the confusion? He may be able to prescribe something to help her once he's made aware of the situation. Don't bother trying to convince your mom that she's not being moved..........trying to argue with someone who has dementia is impossible. It only frustrates them and makes them argue harder. Just change the subject and divert her attention elsewhere. If need be, acknowledge what she's saying and tell her you'll 'speak to the staff' about her concerns.

Like you said, if they move her to Memory Care, that won't solve her issue. Confusion tends to come and go with the elders, so what's happening now might resolve itself. Then again, it might not. Speak to the doctor, if you're able, and see what s/he has to say about possible medications.

My mother lives in Memory Care Assisted Living and has been in a terrible, foul mood now for the past 2 months. She's very confused in addition to being in a bad frame of mind, so the whole situation is a mess. Not being able to have visitors has really done a number on their psyche's, I think.

Wishing you the best of luck moving forward.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to lealonnie1
Report

Do you have something very distinctive on or outside her door? A wreath or a plant that she might recognize? Even to me all the doors look alike! This might help when struggling with cognitive issues...
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Libbby
Report
LearningAsIGo May 6, 2020
Libby - We've tried that, and she sees them on all the doors, so we stopped it.

Thanks, though!
(0)
Report
She is probably experiencing Sundowner's Syndrome. As the evening comes on, things look different. Your mother is probably also tired and more easily confused or frustrated. Talk with staff about getting her to her room earlier, putting on more lights (shadows are confusing), and developing a routine. If she is becoming difficult to manage in the evenings, the facility should let you know. He doctor could prescribe a mild anti-anxiety agent to help her relax in the evenings.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Taarna
Report
LearningAsIGo May 6, 2020
The doc has already tried a mild anti-anxiety med and it didn't make any difference. He is reluctant to give her anything else b/c she is on so many meds as it is.
(0)
Report
Hi This has happened with each of my parents. My mom in ALF would have hallucinations and at times her speech was slow. I found out they were giving her sedatives even though we had asked them not to do it. Once she was off the meds she returned to normal. They did try to tell me that it was dementia ,it was not.

My father was in a hospital for TIA and they sedated him. He had stories to tell me about being used in an experiment. He said they would take him each night down to the basement where someone was playing a violin. Again, found out he was being given medications and had him stop. My father quickly returned to his highly cognitive functioning self. Ive found when places are understaffed or exhausted it is easier on the staff to medicate the elderly so they stay in bed or asleep.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to robinsoul
Report
lealonnie1 May 5, 2020
"Staff in ALFs" cannot 'medicate' residents without express doctor's orders in writing. And even then, the medications must be administered by LPNs or RNs. Meds are not handed out willy nilly. Being in a hospital is a different story, and even then, the doctor MUST order such medications to be given to a patient.

To tell the OP that 'when places are understaffed or exhausted it is easier on the staff to medicate the elderly so they stay in bed or asleep' is a terrible thing to say to her, especially since it's WRONG and since she living OUT OF STATE!
(2)
Report
See 1 more reply
check her medications. side effects of many of those given to the elderly (in spades in nursing facilities) is acceleration of the dementia symptoms they are being taken for..including delusions. Once you are clear on this, talk to her case dr about minimizing these
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to sunshinelife
Report

My Mama had these same thoughts a few times a week. They were all baseless. We even took her to the nurse’s desk so they would confirm that she was in the same facility and in her same room - nope, no convincing her. It’s all part of the cognitive decline/dementia. There’s no correcting it or stopping it. Just watch for other signs that she shouldn’t live alone any longer.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to BeckyT
Report

Have her checked for urinary infection. You would think facilities would check this out immediately without being asked (since it is sooo common), but they don't. The infections create the very issue that you have described - being moved around, traveling, people having affairs with their spouse, etc.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to my2cents
Report
sunshinelife May 5, 2020
the toxicity of the body (greatly increased by the medications ) causes all of the problems including cystitis "the body and the mind are only seperated with words" Hippocrates
(1)
Report
See 1 more reply
You might want to check to make sure none of this is actually happening. For example, my mother was moved to another room when the nursing home decided to paint her usual room, and she also moved when we all decided a different roommate would be better for her. Is it possible your mother was moved once or twice, and now thinks it's an everyday occurrence?
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to jacobsonbob
Report
LearningAsIGo May 6, 2020
No - it's all in her head.
(0)
Report
False Beliefs are just a part of whatever dementia she has.
It might help to have somethings for her to see and have In her room to help her identify her room.
Like the hallways at facilities all look the same, the doors repeat, non-denominational artwork, harsh lighting. For my mom I put up a wreath on her door to help her ID her room. Made a huge HUGE difference. If the place allows door decor or signage, put something on her door or room number to hers so she can recognize it easier. For her room, it is decorated with stuff she can readily ID as hers? Like my mom had this 1960’s lamp that was at her bedside since forever that moved from her home to IL and to 2 NH with her. I brought in curtains and comforter & a chair from her home to the NHs too. For her 2nd NH brought in her old chest of drawers too. All was fine with her roommate. In her room & bathroom, see if you can put up a high shelf with battery operated candles that are set on timers to be on for dusk to dawn.... so if she wakes up, she can look around and see her stuff and hopefully relax as she knows she’s in her room. Plus helps her find the bathroom. Also perhaps put up the usual wall decor of family photos, artwork, clock, mirror, that are in their old frames. New & shiny stuff confused my mom as she would think it wasn’t hers.

Medications can help. My mom was on Remeron, old school drug & for her pretty good for quite a long while to help quell agitation.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to igloo572
Report
LearningAsIGo May 6, 2020
She says the other rooms are decorated just like her room, down to the pictures of her grandkids ("How did they make copies of my pictures?")

We also tried the wreath thing, and, low and behold, the other rooms had the same wreath on them!
(0)
Report
It may be that she is being moved to other rooms at night: my first guess would be that she is taken to the bathroom on a wheeled commode, and that the mistake being made is that the staff transferring her do not explain step by step what they are doing.

There is a regrettable tendency when more than one member of staff is working with a resident for the staff to talk to each other and not to the resident. The more disabled a person is, with sensory and/or cognitive impairments, the more it becomes *essential* to prompt them verbally through the entire process.

In your mother's case, the process should wind up back in her room with verbal reassurances and visual orientation about where she now is. E.g. "here we are in your room, here is your bed, here is your family photo, here is your quilt."

It may be that she will still not recognise not only her room, but the facility itself as the place where she is at home; but I think she would express that differently when she talks to you. What do you think?
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Countrymouse
Report
LearningAsIGo May 6, 2020
She is not being moved to other rooms. As far as the staff is concerned, most do not have the empathic touch you are describing. They are too black and white about everything - don't understand nuances. Would be nice...
(0)
Report
My dad went through the same thing when living at AL. He would call me up and say that they moved his entire room to the basement or to a building next door, furniture and all. This went on for a few weeks. Back story- He had 5 compression fractures in his spine and was in excruciating pain. He was on pain meds, along with lack of sleep and constant pain, this combo threw him for a loop and caused these delusions. Once he had his procedure on his back and weaned from the pain meds, he was back to normal. In the meantime, don't argue with the delusions, get to the emotions behind them. My dad wasn't scared, just astonished that they would do such a thing, and mad that they touched his belongings. I would look around and say "everything's here", and he would be ok. If your mom is scared, reassure her that no matter where she is, you'll be there and that she is safe. Then distract, distract, distract!
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to SofiaAmirpoor
Report
LearningAsIGo May 6, 2020
Good ideas, but I am in another state and can't visit due to Corona.
(0)
Report
Is there perhaps a video that you can have her watch of herself not being "moved" from room to room? Do they have video cameras that can prove it? Perhaps this will change her mind.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Chemoangel1967
Report
LearningAsIGo May 6, 2020
They have done video surveillance, but it didn't convince her.
(0)
Report
Last year when my mom started with more profound mental/ emotional issues, I felt they were rooted in anxiety, and there are several meds to try. (Yes, do request a test for UTI.) If you want to start light/OTC first, there are some good ‘hemp seed oil’ supplements on Amazon (I get one from Colorado, veteran-owner business) or you can look into CBD supplements. The Dr would have to agree, but I can’t see him/her arguing. Also, a high-quality Vitamin B complex does a lot for nerves. I just think anxiety is so likely and common. If she’s able to get more exercise and time outside these would also help.
I don’t know what this would look like?? but you and the staff could try some way to go along with it.. ‘sometimes we change people’s room overnite so we can clean the rooms, and they can enjoy sleeping other places.’ If there is a social worker on staff at the facility, seek them out and put them to work. If there’s a visiting geriatric psych Dr for the facility (there usually is), request an evaluation. Best wishes, I know this is hard.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Zdarov
Report
LearningAsIGo May 6, 2020
I could look into the supplements, but I do know she won't take anything without the Dr's OK and he is very hard to communicate with. Whenever I write him, he never responds. When I call, his nurse always says she'll ask him and then I hear nothing.

There is no social worker on staff, and no visiting geriatric psych.
(0)
Report
Check her blood oxygen levels. It can fall, especially at night with shallow breathing or if she breathes through her mouth if she has sinus congestion. My Mother was in the hospital last Fall and I noticed when her blood oxygen levels decreased she told us of being moved to different rooms. Once she insisted they took her to the police station. Prior to the pandemic you could get a pulse oximeter at the drug store but they are scarce. Check your health apps on your smart phone, my husband's android has a pulse oximeter included but my iPhone doesn't.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to InTheMiddle77
Report
igloo572 May 5, 2020
You can still get Oximeters on line. I ordered ours earlier this year - Facelake brand with lanyard & travel case- for abt $25. They are now around $ 35 - $50; but are available. Also look at outdoor & extreme sports sites, like REI, mountain climbing ones, they have them as you use your Oximeter daily. If you have a BSA shop, they likely have them as scouts & venturing use them.
(0)
Report
See 1 more reply
My mother (95 when she recently passed) was already in a Memory Care unit when she started experiencing a very similar paranoid delusion (among others) - except in her case she swore they took several other residents and her to a different place for the night. They went on a bus and everything. When I asked her why she said the staff wanted to "get control of them." She was already diagnosed with moderate dementia at this point. But along with the other delusions, she was so frightened and agitated, it was heartbreaking.
Sure enough it was a really bad UTI. They got her on antibiotics to clear it up and although she continued to have delusions associated with the dementia, they weren't frightening or upsetting.
Have her checked for a UTI.
And good luck.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to ESP505
Report
LearningAsIGo May 6, 2020
Thanks!
(0)
Report
LearningAsIGo, have you contacted the facility medical team to discuss this? Has your mom ever been formally diagnosed by a doctor with cognitive decline? There will come a point where she won't be able to manage her ADLs by herself in AL anymore and it would be advisable for you to prepare for this eventuality. After the lockdown is over, you may want to consider transferring her to a facility near you. When my MIL was in AL she told us all sorts of stories that could not have possibly happened. This is part of cognitive decline and it only gets worse. Your mom's problem that you believe needs solving is just that she get the type of compassionate and appropriate care for her condition. If she is not able to tell reality from delusion, and there is no medication that helps her and she has been checked for a UTI, then she may need MC. I wish you peace in your heart as you figure out how best to help her from afar.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Geaton777
Report

Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter