This was the situation from my original post.

I feel an overwhelming sense of relief and gratitude to be handing the torch of caregiving to the staff at the place we found for mom. It was the only MC that didn't "feel" like MC...lots if high functioning people like mom, and a large facility with a small residence (under 50) that she could freely roam in but was secure.

Mom has always considered being "put in a home" as her worst nightmare, and has little awareness of her dementia and her limitations. Very independent and has lived alone since her divorce over 30 years ago.

We successfully moved mom in a few hours while my sister kept her out of the house with an extended outing. Created a mini version of her living room with the rug, chairs, and tv. Brought her in under the guise that there was a water leak at home (which she has only partially understood was hers-thought it was a rental house) and we got out some of her stuff because she couldn't stay there while the power was off and the floors needed complete renovation. The staff was amazing and helpful and mom was tired, confused, but somewhat aware and had lots of questions which we managed to answer. She said she didn't want to be alone and was grateful. We got one phone call after leaving and talked her down a bit.

The first day, of course, dozens of calls to me, my husband, and sister. Heartbreaking. We talked to her a couple times, asking her to hold tight, but mostly just letting her vent her confusion, sadness, and anger. Let most of them go to voicemail. Meanwhile in conversation with Director about the calls, as she was putting on her polite face and being super nice. Mom figured out fairly quickly this was not a regular hotel, that some of the people there were very sick as she put it. That this was not where she belonged and we needed to come get her. Demands turned into pleading. It was tough to listen to but we know for sure this was the place she would successful if that was ever going to happen. Going back to her house was NOT an option. Mom is in a stage of dementia that is so tough...weirdly lucid at times and totally makes sense and can reason and be capable, but then next hour that can be gone. Meanwhile her emotions are a runaway train, and I feel for her. Her emotional strength has not been her strong point. She's lived in her head her whole life..and now that reliable friend is seriously failing her. Our deepest hope is she will eventually relax, let nice people be helpful, and do what she can. Have some laughs and live worry free for once in her life..letting her spirit shine. But that remains to be seen. I have to say, I'm hopeful with this facility. It's the best we've found.

The director sent me and my siblings an amazing recap email at the end of the day. She had taken a while just to talk and visit with mom, probing her fears and getting her to open up. Mom admitted she knew this was coming, but didn't think it was so close. Of course she will still plot ways to leave for a while but at least her emotional walls have begun to crack slightly. And she gave coping strategies for us as well as recommendations for mom. We were so very grateful after such a gut wrenching day. I'm sure today and tomorrow will be similar, but we are hanging in there. Not going to visit yet. hoping to maybe this weekend, we'll see how it goes. She is used to seeing me a couple times a week, though I realize her sense of time is not linear.

We plan to have short, frequent visits and would love to take her out on short outings if possible after the dust has settled. We will take the advice of the staff there into consideration. In the meantime, I'd love to hear from anyone here who has any successful suggestions for visits with a LO in a similar situation. I realize trial and error is a part of this life, and every situation is different! TIA.

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My MIL is in LTC bedridden and with a lot of short-term memory loss, which makes having conversational topics difficult. We often bring our dog, which brings her joy; we bring an iPad and show her family pics of family stuff; and also show her funny animal videos on YouTube; bring her favorite candies. Her facility is large and has a beautiful walking path next to a large lake so we take her out for a "roll" and try to identify things in nature, trees, flowers, birds, etc. Is there a window in your mom's place where a bird feeder can be placed? My MIL loves that. Wishing you peace in your heart as you help your mom on this journey.
Helpful Answer (1)

Has there been any discussion about trying medication for moms anxiety? It might be just enough to take the edge off and allow her to relax.
As far as visiting, make sure she is engaged with something before you go. Lunch, a snack, some other organized activity.
Don't make a big deal about leaving, get her settled with an activity and tell her you will see her later, you have an appointment or you have to go to work.
The leaving is always more difficult for the one leaving. For many with dementia something else will become a focus very soon and the leaving will fade.
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gemmab123 Feb 2020
Mom is already on meds for anxiety. Also an anti-psychotic.
Hopefully at some point mom will be settled enough to have visits that don't add to her stress. TY
First part of my strategy with my father who didn't want to be in MC (after I gained guardianship to force him into MC) was to try to end any conversations about getting out as quickly as possible. "Your doctors say you need the level of care available here. We cannot provide the care you really need at home anymore. There's always someone available to help you here and we all want you to have that level of care. I'm sorry you cannot live at home alone anymore. I really believe you can be happy here after you make a few friends and start joining in the activities."

Second, was to make visits pleasant. Dad loved food, so I always brought at least some treat: milkshake, smoothie, favorite desert, take out dinner, box of chocolates or pears, etc. as well as things he needed like soap, lotion, or socks. Dad's long term memory was good, so I often brought some old photos to look through, particularly the ones I had no idea who some of the people were. A facebook group publishes photographs of our hometown taken decades ago so I will print out a few and Dad can talk for hours about his experiences at a drug store or movie house. New photos of his great-grandchildren were enjoyed but usually didn't provide as much of a conversation starter as the older photos. Dad was a collector and still a reader so books on collectible items were well received and provided conversation topics. If your mother like movies or old TV shows, bringing a DVD to watch with her can work too.

My own experience was over time Dad adjusted to the MC and didn't protest being "stuck" there nearly as much, the visits got easier and there was a period where things went fairly well for over a year. I visited my father once a week for anything from 15 minutes to a couple of hours, depending on how "angry" Dad was on any given day. Like your mother, my father was a complaining and generally unhappy person. He was more content in MC than he had been aging in place and isolated in his home. He definitely like the attention from the MC staff. Then his deteriorating health issues made the visits a bit more challenging for me, but they seemed to be easier for my father or at least he was far less angry with me.
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gemmab123 Feb 2020
Thanks for your input, especially the verbiage. We've stuck to our talking points generally, but having a kind of script would really help for the next couple of weeks, I'm gonna put one together for me and family members she calls. Great your dad adjusted..we are hoping for that. She's been very, very unhappy home alone..just gotta get through this difficult stage.
My initial plans are to bring my dog..who is so good at therapy and she would love to see her, and just treat it like any quick visit at home.. recent news, etc. Then say I gotta take the dog for a pee and leave.
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