My mother is suffering from stage 4-5 dementia. She has been advised by her MD to move in with me. Any advice? - AgingCare.com

My mother is suffering from stage 4-5 dementia. She has been advised by her MD to move in with me. Any advice?

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She refused to sign over POA and will not listen to anyone. I am an only child and concerned for her safety. She is unable to take of herself and she is falling a lot. Any advise would be greatly appreciated

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Really, the doctor specifically advised her to move in with you? Or did the MD say she should no longer live alone?

What would your doctor say about moving a willful person with dementia in with you?

What might (or might not) be good for your mother might be very unhealthy for you. And that is a very important part of this picture. It cannot be ignored as you consider this life-changing decision.
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Reply to jeannegibbs
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Before you agree to take your mom into your home, think over the decision very, very carefully. These question and answer pages are filled with caregivers who heartily regret taking a loved one with dementia into their home. I’m kind of surprised her doctor would tell her to move in with you. Or, did she suggest it to her doctor?

Waiting for her to fall and become injured enough to have to be admitted to the hospital is kind of like living with a time bomb. Can you research having her admitted to a facility as Medicaid Pending? Call her local area Agency on Aging for help.
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Reply to Ahmijoy
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How do YOU FEEL about having your Mom move in with you? How old is she? How old are you? Do you work? Do you plan to work after your Mom moves in with you? Who will be staying with her in your house while you are at work? Apparently your Mom cannot be left alone as you state "She is unable to take of herself and she is falling a lot."

How well do you get along with your Mom? Do you disagree with her whenever you two have a conversation or rarely? If your Mom "refused to sign over POA and will not listen to anyone", how well do you think she will listen to you or cooperate with you regarding her health problems once she is LIVING in YOUR HOUSE?.

As an adult child who quit her job (I have volunteered as the unpaid Parish Nurse AKA Faith Community Nurse at our church for the past 8 years) and who moved in with her mother after her father died, I suggest that you think long and hard about whether it will be in the BEST INTEREST of your Mom and yourself for your Mom to live with you. Her dementia is only going to get worse and you cannot be awake 24 hours/7 days a week.

Does your Mom have any mobility problems other than falling? Does she use a cane or a walker. WILL she use a cane or walker or does she refuse to use them? Is your home currently handicap accessible? How much reconfiguring of your home's layout will you have to do to make it handicap accessible? (Most likely your Mom's physical abilities will start to decline and your Mom will need to be able to get around your house easily.)

You state that your Mom is unable to take care of herself. How much assistance does she need to complete her ADLs (Activities of Daily Living, such as getting dressed, bathing, feeding oneself, walking, etc.) and Ancillary or Independent Activities of Daily Living--IDLs (such as writing checks, paying bills, shopping, driving a car, making decisions about hiring someone to mow the lawn or fix the house)? If your Mom needs physical assistance, are you strong enough to be able to transfer your Mom from a chair to a bed or toilet by yourself?

Are you prepared to give 24hours/7 days a week/365 days a year concentrating on your Mom's needs and wants and rarely being able to spend any time on your own needs and wants (unless your Mom give you permission to do so and if her health is such that you can leave her alone for a few hours)? Are you prepared to sleep with one eye and one ear open are all times? Are you prepared to have your decisions questioned (even after you and your Mom have agreed on the same decision)? Are you prepared to not be able to go on vacation whenever you want to?

What is your Mom's financial status? Does she have money to pay for an Assisted Living/Memory Care facility or a nursing home Memory Care Unit? Or does she need to apply for Medicaid? Do you expect to be paid for taking care of your Mom? See AAPR website: aarp.org/caregiving/financial-legal/info-2017/you-can-get-paid-as-a-family-caregiver.html?INTCMP=RDRCT-IC-CAREGIVING

If you plan to keep working, do you currently have a job that you have to go to a "brick & mortar" building to do or can you perform your current job using your laptop? How will you stay up-to-date in your current field of employment if you are not employed?


The first 7 years that I lived with my Mom were "good" years as Mom could take care of herself and we got along fairly well and occasionally had disagreements. In July 2015, Mom changed and she started to question everything I did --even if she and I had spent 2-3 hours sitting together making decisions about how to pay bills, etc. She started to have "small" delusions, I had to change from sleeping in the basement to sleeping on the same level as she did and I had to get up every time she got up (Q 2-3 hours) as she was unsteady on her feet. I couldn't leave town for a vacation as she would not allow me to do so (even overnight visits were " forbidden"). In May 2017, my Mom was hospitalized and then she transferred to a long term care facility. She is now residing in their Memory Care Unit and requires a wheelchair and mechanical lift for all transfers. I could never have given her the quality of care at home that she is getting now. However, the years of living with Mom have taken their toll, and I am no longer able to do "direct patient care" and my own health problems have gotten worse since 2015.

You really need to think about the future before you follow the advise of your Mom's doctor that she move in with you. Before you make any final decision, you need to sit down and list all of the Pros and Cons of having your Mom living with you--financial, emotional, mental, physical and psychological. Read some of the posts on this website to see what others have had to deal with as their parents got older and needed more and more care.

Please think realistically about what your Mom's future needs might be and what your ability to care for her might be before having her move in with you. There are so many other options that might be just as good --or even better-- then having your Mom move in with you.

The book “Being Mortal” by Atul Gawande is excellent!
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Reply to DeeAnna
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To the upper left corner of the screen, you will see 3 horizontal white lines. Click them and the search bar will drop down. Type in keywords like "regret" "move" "moving" and any other keywords that pop into your head and read through the many, many posts of people who agreed to live with an aging parent or loved one. Add Alzheimer's to the mix, and it's an even greater challenge. The needs of people with dementia only increase.

Many people on this forum struggle with depression and poor health as a result of being caregivers. The stress alone can kill. Ask yourself if you are willing to go on antidepressants so that you can fulfill your caregiver role.

A book I found exceptionally helpful while I was helping care for my in-laws before they moved into independent living was Roz Chast's "Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?" I still read parts of it.
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Reply to NYDaughterInLaw
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Do NOT under any circumstances live w her. That would be the BIGGEST mistake of your life. Take it from someone who took her mother home & discharged from nursing home to save $$$ She has become extremely violent & is a threat to me & herself
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Reply to CaregiverL
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I’m sorry you and your mother are going through this. I know it’s a scary time for you. 
It’s often recommended that you wait for “the event”.
When she falls and has to go to the ER and then rehab get it set up for her to go into long term care through Medicaid if necessary or private pay if she can afford it.
If she has dementia that the doctor will sign off on then you could consider guardianship.
If that isn’t in the cards you can turn her in to adult protective services as a vulnerable elder living alone. This may or may not get her some attention.
Consider a fall alert system. Ask her doctor to order home health. A little help can be better than none.
Read the book “Being Mortal” by Atul Gawande.
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Reply to 97yroldmom
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Perhaps I misread your post Beachlovet.
I read it that your mom was refusing to move in with you. No POA etc. That you were considering it but she wasn’t.
If she refuses,  you legally can’t make her move anywhere unless you are her guardian and that takes a lawyer and is expensive. If she is not willing, even with the guardianship it can be very difficult to keep her in your home.
If you are asking whether or not you should take her in, that’s a different situation and may or may not work depending on your circumstances. Who else lives in your home and your own health and ability to care for someone for many years.
“Something” will happen sooner or later to push the envelope, with or without her consent.
I sure hope it’s not a timebomb ...
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Reply to 97yroldmom
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I lived with a family for a year that had the grandmother living with Mom, Dad and five
kids. She was sweet, easy going, mild dementia and so couldn't be left alone. Even with
all the possible care and the easy going nature of this woman, the family was still stressed as she could not be left alone due to fall risks. And because of her frailty, it wasn't realistic to take her everywhere either.

So even in one of the most optimistic circumstances, with easy going senior who needed
fairly minimal care except for the fall risk issue, it was still quite stressful worrying about her falling, her frailty and giving up being able to come and go as they pleased as a family. And they had at least 4 family members old enough and responsible enough to step in to help.

It seems that having a family "team" of very fit, very healthy, very positive folks and a relatively easy going senior have best outcomes. For those of us without that backup,
with demanding narcissistic seniors to help care for, the outcome is not ideal. And that
is even without having them come to live with us at home! Back injuries, burn out, prolonged illness, job loss, isolation, etc frequently accompany caregivers who take on
the responsibility of care for aging family members.

I know I started helping more and more as each health crisis led to the next. Somehow
unrealistically I thought that at some point I'd have everything "sorted out". But canes, lead to walkers, lead to power chairs, lead to Hoyer lifts, etc. On the heels of every decline, came a new support(s) that needed to be put into place. Sometimes, a number of supports that needed to be enacted simultaneously. Nothing can prepare you until you're in the thick of it, trying to get it all done at once. It's incredibly draining, as well
as can be demoralizing as some folks can and will take advantage of your generosity.
Doctors don't have to deal with day to day concerns, and can be rather cavalier about
sending home an elder who is frankly way too much for one untrained, not so young
person to handle.

Whatever you decide, weigh your options carefully. Make sure your decision takes into account, both of your needs, not just your mother's. For her sake as well as yours, you
need to stay sane and healthy!
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Reply to bettina
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How nice of her Dr to tell her to move in with you.. perhaps he would like to have her for a few weeks...?? Did he really say this? What a goober!
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Reply to pamzimmrrt
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I would not advise moving her in with you. Read the horror stories on this site of children with elderly parents living with them. One of these times, a fall will push her over the edge into a situation that cannot be ignored. It'll be surgery, nursing home rehab, scans for brain bleeds, or something of the sort. There are no easy, one size fits all answers for these issues. Every family is unique, yet some principles apply in general terms to all.

Your mother will ultimately have an event that forces something to be done. Start researching nursing homes, assisted living, etc., so you can have some options when the moment of action comes.
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Reply to rwbpiano
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