Out of state move for an elder. Any advice?

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My husband may have an out of state opportunity; the move would afford us a better quality of life. My 89 yr old Mom has dementia and I would want to move her with us because no one in the family visits her but me- my brother is out of state and everyone else (cousins) have their own stuff going on. I'm afraid if I leave her behind she will fall into a really bad funk. She is in assisted living but no longer participates in activities because her dementia makes it difficult for her to carry on conversations and that no doubt makes her self conscious. She also has severe osteoarthritis and cannot stand/move around on her own. She is incontinent too- so she is also physically limited. So here is my question, has anyone had experience moving an elder out of state in this type of condition? I would have to hire a caregiver to help move her out cause I'm unable to help her...am I crazy thinking I can move her out of state???

Answers 1 to 10 of 15
This is a tough one. My instinct is to leave her alone. The move would be horrible for her. You would have to hire a medical moving service.

My folks are 3 states away from me. It’s complicated but I will move them to a facility in their hometown when the time comes which will be pretty soon. That will be traumatic enough for them.

Depending on the state of dementia, life span and so on, I may move one or both to my area. But right now I can’t imagine pulling that off.

You also have to consider the hassles of adress changes for insurance, soc sec , finances etc.

Maybe you’ll hear more from folks who’ve pulled this off.
My mother lived by herself 350 miles away from us. When we made her stop driving, she did not want to leave her home and move into assisted living near us. I hired a geriatric care manager and she had someone some in for 6 hours a day. She had lost interest in her outside activities that she had enjoyed for years by then. Six months later, after some hearth issues, she agreed to move. If you are the only one your mom has to look after who is taking care of her, she needs to be near you. The move may be hard, and confusing, but it sounds like she is already having trouble. She probably will need to be placed in a memory care unit. After about three years in assisted living, my mother moved into the memory care unit. She got more and attention and care than she was getting before.
I too would leave her be. Change of any kind is the worst for any elderly but even more so with a loved one who has Dementia. We are 4 children in my family. My father is in NJ and only has early stage dementia and can do all his ADL's. My sister lives in SC and my two brothers in GA while I am out of the country! My father said after only 6 months of living in a Memory Care facility that he did not want to move nearer to his children. He dreaded the move, a new room, all new personnel, all new insurance and all new doctors and of course a new daily routine. He was not sad as he said he realizes we all have our own lives. He has his daily activities and we always mark in his calendar when the next time one of us is coming. He gets visits from one of his kids every 2 months. He is ok with that. And he knows the option of moving is always open but he is still not interested in all that change. Best of luck to you and your Mom. :-)
I agree that although it will be an expense and take some effort, moving her close to you will...in the long run...be best for everyone. Yes it will be more difficult for her, but once she is in a quality memory care community, you will have greater peace of mind, less stress, will thrive more easily in your new location and will still be able to manage your mom's care and nurture time with her. I moved my mom from nw of Chicago to mid Missouri. She was royally pissed for a few months, but has settled down and looks forward to our daily coffee and chat time with her neighbors...as do I. She is 91 with vascular dementia, generally good health and still walking around unassisted. I'm retired and 70.
Top Answer
Lots of us have received that notification from our loved one's facility that they can no longer provide the needed care for Dementia/Alzheimer's, etc. At some point you will probably get one too from the assisted living facility. In my opinion it comes down to moving her now or later. Moving her now will allow you more control, as you can go ahead and find her a good memory care facility. Moving her later could be more difficult as you may not have time to find a good place that will take her. Either way you need to be prepared for it to take a toll on her mind. Keep in mind that if she starts saying she wants to go home, she is probably not referring to the last place she lived. Also, try not to feel guilty with the decision you make. Good luck.
You might want to check in with a senior type moving company...I think one might be called Caring Transitions or similar. Not sure how it works but they manage moves and set things up so things are exactly as they were in the prior place. You may need someone on both ends to pull this off, and of course will need to find a place in the new state...but it does seem feasible that a change is going to be inevitable, and you must take some time to consider your own well-being and future. As far as the paper work, sounds like you have plenty of lead time, so just take a breath and start a to do list. Hopefully you've got legal stuff taken care of and have POA so you can get going on it...but of course there will be no address until you find a place for her. I wonder if a PO Box address (or a mailboxes + location?) might help...holding good thoughts for you.
We moved Mother once and FIL once. It's totally doable. Best advice, don't tell dementia patient that they are going to move in advance. Also, if it's more than a couple of hours distance, fly, don't drive.
Had she been competent I would've said talk to her and see how she feels about it. Since she has dementia and not doing well, I would say put her in a trusted memory care facility but first do your homework since there are many bad ones out there. Moving her out of state is only going to make an already bad situation even worse. That's because she's already confused enough and such a move will only confuse her more and even cause not only emotional upset but she'll go kicking and screaming. This will draw unwanted attention to you, so I strongly agree with the person who mentioned leave her alone
Great points ahove, I would just add that I'd try to look forward to when she progresses and may need Memory Care or a nursing home. With dementia, it can be rapid or slow. I had to move my LO from a regular AL to a Memory Care unit pretty quickly, due to an increase in her level of care. It went very smoothly (though I was stressed out about it) and worked out great, but, everyone is different. Some seniors don't adjust that well.

To me, when they begin to decline, have illnesses, injuries, etc. you may need to be close enough to see her. Since that's difficult to do long distance, I'd move her closer or have a good professional case manager retained to do that for you.

I hope you find a solution that works well for you both.
Hi all- thanks so much for your thoughts and suggestions! Lots to think about and I'm sure I'll be asking if the move comes to pass!

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