Hi All,
Last week I was assigned guardianship and conservatorship for my mom who has moderate to severe dementia. A room at a beautiful and lively AL facility is available on 10/5. She has visited there with me twice, and has said she likes the community. Unfortunately, as soon as 24 hours has passed since the visit, she is adamant that she will not move, threatening to disown me and behave like "an *sshole" to staff if I move her there. The move is happening no matter what, but I need a strategy to make it happen. To ensure the best and most comfortable transition, I would like to have her apartment set up with her furnishings, dishes etc. for her arrival. How on earth do I do this to cause the least amount of agony for her and for me? I am solo on this endeavor as we have no family in the area. Frankly, I am concerned about physically getting her out of the house when the day arrives. To complicate things my drug addicted brother is actively working against me on this because he knows it's the end of the gravy train. I realize I probably just have to suck up whatever abuse she wants to send my way, but I would appreciate any advice from those who have already walked this path. Thanks in advance.

Find Care & Housing
For one thing, set up medical transport to take mom to the AL.

Talk to her doctor about calming meds to be given or increased the day of transport.

Call the Sheriff's department and ask for Civil Standby for the day you move her.

Have your official copy of guardianship papers on hand.

Hire help (with mom's money) to move her stuff and do set up.

Do not talk with her (or your brother) about the move beforehand. You will just upset mom and alert your brother.

Talk with the administration and SW at the facility about whether it would be better for you to stay away while she adjusts.
Helpful Answer (25)
Reply to BarbBrooklyn
Daisy9 Sep 24, 2019
Perfect answer, Barb Brooklyn.
First, accept that no one is going to be happy during this process. Do not engage in any negotiation with your mother. Just act like this is happening no matter what and that her threats of bad behavior, etc are no issue at all. Do not even respond to them; act like you don't hear her complaints. Do not ever waver in your decision to follow through. Once she understands that all the threatening and crying in the world won't change things she will continue to do it but with less intensity. (Think toddler tantrum behavior). You have guardianship and can ethically and legally make this decision for her.

Make the move as quickly as possible after the decision has been made and space procured. Prolonging the move process and trying to convince her to go willingly will not help anything. The day of the move have everything you plan to take clearly marked and have the movers come. You need to have someone take your mother out to lunch, a manicure, shopping, something that lasts a few hours, to give you time to get the furniture and stuff moved and set up into the new apartment. She will leave her current home and be returned to her new apartment. It will not be easy and it will not be finished but have familiar things out and pictures on the wall. That makes it seem more homey and permanent.

She will cry and rant and rave. Ignore it. Do not engage with her behavior. The Assisted Living staff has seen it all. And just like a toddler - she'll eventually stop if no one engages.

If she owns her home sell it immediately! Do not allow anyone to think that she will ever move back to the house. If your brother lives there you may need some legal help to get him out but DO IT.

Do what you and the Assisted Living staff think is best when it comes to visits the first week or so. I found that very short visits to do a bit of work in the apartment each day were fine. My dad would complain and I would work. Eventually he stopped complaining every minute I was there.

I, too, was alone with this but didn't have a useless brother to contend with. Just accept she will be mad at you and sometimes you'll think you made the wrong decision. YOU DIDN'T. You are doing your very best for her and sometimes that is really hard.
Helpful Answer (20)
Reply to jkm999

We all suspend reality when we “plan” how to get someone functioning with irreparable cognitive failure to do what we want them to do.
We have realized over the passage of time that something negative has happened, and is continuing to happen, to the thinking and reacting and interpreting and managing ability of someone we love, cherish, admire.
We know that for all intents and purposes, SOMETHING must be done to keep them safe, comfortable, and relieved of decision making.
We know that they themselves are past the point of making a life change based on their own choices.
Yet, when faced with the moment, out of the love and concern we feel for them, we falter. We question ourselves and we question them and we question whether there might not be some better way. But there isn’t.
Our situation had been made simpler by the fact that the home in which she’d been born, and loved, was a veritable snake pit of fall risks, with absolutely NO WAY to make it safe. I had no choice except to make the choice I made.
I tricked her into thinking she was going for “a week trial”. I grieved that I was telling her a lie, but forced myself.
Her adjustment was rocky, but thanks to a very good therapist, she now receives appropriate mood regulation medication, enjoys our visits, and knows that we love her.
Not by a long shot what I would have wanted for her, but the best of all the lousy choices I had access to.
Hang tough. Do what you know is the very best you can do. Let anyone who would criticize your efforts walk in her shoes (OR YOURS) for a day, then ignore what they say.
Helpful Answer (18)
Reply to AnnReid
mymomisold Sep 26, 2019
Well said.
Personally, I think BarbBrooklyn is spot on with her recommendations about how to handle this move. You may also check with the AL and see if they have any tips about how to make this transition a bit smoother for your mom. Remember; they've seen situations like this many times before and may be a wealth of knowledge on the matter.

My 92 y/o mother moved from the AL portion to the Memory Care portion of the community in May, after living in AL for 5 years. She hates it in MC and wants to go back to AL, which is not possible for obvious reasons. She wasn't able to handle life in AL for about 9 months BEFORE she got sick and went to the hospital and rehab, etc, but of course, she doesn't 'remember' that at all. In her mind, she was fine and 'they' were making up lies about her.

MC had a picnic this past Saturday. My mother sat there talking all about the new resident, POOR SOUL, who just moved in who's family 'tricked' her into MC by telling her they were taking her out to lunch and BAM, moved her into the community. Tsk tsk, isn't that HORRIBLE? She's doing fine, by the way, just complaining to everyone who will listen. I mentioned to my mother that it's not so easy for ANYONE in a situation with a parent with ADVANCED OLD AGE. Who wins? Nobody wins, that's who. We lose, because we're the Bad Guys for putting mom in a FACILITY to keep them SAFE, OH MY GOD. They lose, because their lives are Taken Away, never mind that they had no life to begin with that was safe or not ruining their children's life. Sigh. The whole damn thing is a mess for ALL of us, and I feel your pain. I hope and pray this move goes off with as little anguish as possible, for all concerned.

Rest assured she WILL adjust. Rest assured she WILL complain but she WILL be fine. Rest assured the food will SUCK in the community and she will mention it every chance she gets.

Don't visit too much at first. Allow her to adjust and to get settled in, which she WILL do. Best of luck!
Helpful Answer (13)
Reply to lealonnie1

There is no easy way to do this.

You have guardianship, she can’t refuse but divert and fib if you have to to get her there.

Maybe figure out some some way to occupy brother. Don’t let him know when you’re moving her and put out an APB on him with nursing home staff. Do not allow him access.

When I finally got my mom and dad into assisted living I told them it was temporary “Until mom gets better”. That worked for a few days.

And I would wait till they were having meals in the dining room then go like crazy moving stuff into their room and fixing up the place.

It was still the toughest few days of my life but the relief of getting those two into care was indescribable. Immediate stress relief.
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to Windyridge
Daisy9 Sep 24, 2019
Windyridge, that is exactly what we did with my MIL. She was ornery and cranky most of the time, and certainly didn't want to cooperate with anyone. We first moved her into an independent living with her minimal cooperation and the urging of her favorite grandchild so she could be closer to us. Because of our work there was no way we could move closer to her location. Shortly after we moved her we realized we had made a mistake - she should have gone to AL. We had to sneak into her IL apartment while she was at lunch to deliver clean clothes/pick up dirty, clean out the trash she hoarded, confiscate normal items which had become dangerous for her over time, and empty her fridge of the rock hard doughnuts, etc. she tried to hide. However, she went to AL after a major fall and we moved her while she was in the hospital and rehab. She was not happy about the nice PRIVATE room, but after four (4) days did not even realize she was in a new place. She was amazed that the employees thought she was "new".
Please do not try to negotiate with her, be firm.

I would suggest that you have her go visit someone for a week or so, move her things that she will absolutely need to the AL facility.

The staff will deal with her, when she is first there, do not visit her for a week or so. If you do she will not acclimate herself.

Be prepared for a lot of drama, manipulation and tears, most try this to get their way.

My best, I know that it is not easy!
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to DollyMe

Thank you all for the wonderful advice. This is absolutely one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I'm definitely in one day at a time mode. It seems the minute you clear one hurdle, you are staring down the next.

I am hoping to persuade my mom's two sisters to come for a visit and get my mom out of her house for a day so we can get her stuff moved and ultimately deliver her to her new apartment at the assisted living community. It's a lot to pull off in one day, but I think it can be done.

I am looking forward to finding our "new normal." Even though I know it's the dementia talking, it is so hard to hear over and over how her dogs and house are more important than me and her grandchildren. How she will disown me. I hate that I always let her calls go to voicemail so that I can decide how to respond based on the message she leaves. Most of all, I am so sad that I am losing precious time with her. She is still clear enough that we could be enjoying each other's company and having lovely outings making more memories. Instead, it's constant conflict, and I dread speaking with her.
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to roxynicole1
AnnReid Sep 26, 2019
I hear and understand and daily live with every word you’ve written.

Comfort yourself often, have something in your life that sustains you and gives you joy (when I’m playing the tuba every thought in my head is totally focused on keeping the monstrous thing on my lap), and know that what you are doing is ultimately from your love for her.

See 1 more reply
Just so you all know, I would never in a million years have not made sure my mom was settled into her new facility. But this is very much a situational issue.

If you have a parent who is cooperative, accepting of the idea that you are doing your best to do the right thing for her, and who "rolls with the punches" ( my mom was generally all of those things) then you have more latitude in settling her in.

If your parent is in the later stages of dementia, inflexible, has mental health issues in addition to dementia, and you have other family issues in play like a thieving sibling, you may need to adjust your game plan and be guided by folks who have been down this road before, such as the SW at the facility.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to BarbBrooklyn

You've visited twice, and she liked the place, which helps a lot: on moving day, you are "visiting" again. Book lunch at the ALF and then after lunch she goes home - to her new room. Don't hang around for too long after that, not on the first day; leave your contact number with the person in charge in case of emergencies or practical questions, make sure your mother has everything she needs, then make yourself scarce and trust the team to settle her in.

If you have a good removals firm in the area, I should write a detailed list of what furnishings and belongings are going to the new home and get the removals firm to come and pack them and take them away a few days in advance. They can then deliver them and unpack them at the new home for you, preferably in time for you to go and check that all is according to plan. If you don't know of one, perhaps the ALF staff will - after all, they see this happening week in week out and should know who the most helpful movers are.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to Countrymouse

You do need to let her know that "behaving like an *sshole " will end her in a very bad facility where they don't care how she behaves because they will drug her into a long sleep. Tell her that it is in her best interests now that she cooperate, and that you love her, will do whatever you are able for her, but you now have to act in her protection, and you intend to do so. They may ask you not to visit frequently at first and that is likely for the best. You will hear only complaints (start with the food), and you will b distraught.
There are some things that cannot be made "happy" at this stage in life. And think back over your Mom's long life. When was it perfect happiness. There are tough times in our lives and end of life is one of the toughest. Just reassure here that you are there to do the best you can for her. But that it is decidely in her best interests, because if YOU cannot do it, then a Court Appointee Guardian will do it, and she will have nothing whatsoever to say about it, nor will you.
So it is good cop/bad cop
and you are BOTH.
Good luck. Let us know if anything helps because others face the same sort of thing. Remember. Not everything is happy; not everything can be helped; this is no ones "fault".
I haven't yet walked the path, but I can see the signs ahead. So far my bro has entered assisted living on his own and he knows, while he isn't happy about it, it is best and safest. But some of his faculties are slipping, and paranoia occ. rears it's ugly head. And there will be some times that will not be happy, for sure.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to AlvaDeer

See All Answers

Ask a Question

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter