Last time she asked if I was going to leave her. I feel guilty about her being there all the time, so I feel the need to take her out to eat or go for ice cream and a drive. But I don't want to give her the impression she is going home each time I take her out.

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If mom enjoys an outing for ice cream or whatever, take her. Be very clear, when you leave the premises, exactly what you're going to do. "Mom, we're going over to Baskin-Robbins for a chocolate sundae!! We'll be back here in time for dinner."

There's nothing you can do to stop her from thinking that she may be going home. If she enjoys your outing in spite of that, then I'd say it's your problem more than it is hers.

Stop feeling guilty. I sometimes feel guilty for having mom at HOME with me. No social activity; no people watching; no Frank Sinatra impersonator; no magic shows; ha! Just same-old same-old day in and day out. She had more stimulation at the nursing home than she does here.

That's the life of a care giver. We're hardly ever guilt-free even when our brains tell us we've done the exact right thing.
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I was in love with the IDEA of taking my mom out for "field trips" to divert her. Wouldn’t it be lovely to get her out and show her interesting places around town? Short answer = NO.
At the same time, she would refuse to participate in ALF field trips & activities completely. It could only be possible if I was the one coming to get her. She passed up a thousand opportunities to get out & see the world, go places, and do things.

When I first got mom moved here and into her IL/ALF apartment, any typical outing would turn into a whole day, multi-meal event with inevitable conflict. Even a one hour doctor visit.
Even after prep phone calls in the morning, she usually wasn’t dressed, bathed, or ready to go anywhere, because she didn’t feel like doing it (her words). So I’d have to plan in time for that (at least an hour).
This usually coincided with us having to be somewhere on time for an appointment.

By the time we'd get to a store, got out of the car, spent 45 minutes in the nearest bathroom, tested all the scooters to find the right one, navigated through all the things she can't afford/doesn’t need anymore, another 45 minute bathroom visit, a snack, and a million questions, *I* was exhausted, frustrated, burned out, and ready to set myself on fire or chew off an arm to get out of the situation. These were not precious moments spent bonding.
When I laid down boundaries and time limits, she would buck and raise a big old stink about it. About holding her hostage and mistreating her by making her stay in a beautiful new apartment with 3 meals a day and onsite doctor, PT, & salon.

One trip started out going to a hardware store. On the way there, she wanted groceries too, so I decided to hit the super-Walmart (even though I despise Walmart) to get everything at one place.
This little change upset her so much she started ranting, raving, and tried to hit me in the head with her cane while we were going 75 mph down the highway. That was scary. I pulled over, took her cane away, and told her if she tries that again, I will have the police come and assault charges filed. She behaved better for a few hours. This was a sign that she could no longer deal with the change an outing entails.

We don’t do outings anymore. We tried. We tried hard. I couldn’t keep it up and my obligations were slipping. She’s declined to the point now where an outing isn’t possible, which is a blessing.

As an aside, the Depends and Tena companies have probably had lower earnings starting in second quarter 2014 because I am not taking mom out shopping anymore.

Every single trip had to include a stop at a store that carries incontinence products, despite the fact she had them delivered in bulk to her apartment.
When she moved into the NH, we had about a thousand dollars’ worth of incontinence supplies she had stockpiled/hoarded.
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It may be a wonderful experience for all of you. It may be a disaster.

Sigh. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to these kinds of questions. Try it, carefully, and see the results.

Our mom is wheel-chair bound and needs a PAL to transfer. The only place we've taken her in a van was to her older sister's birthday party. But we push her around the nh neighborhood when weather permits, for a little change of scenery. Last week a sister brought her chow mein (which she loves and which the nh doesn't serve) and they ate together.

Visit. Find ways to give mom something to enjoy. Take her on outings if that works out. Stick close to the facility if you need to. Just do your best.

Feeling guilt? Unless you caused the infirmity that makes a nursing home the best option for her, I'd say save your energy for things that matter.
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Is mom capable of reasoning? If not do not take her out. Also, is it safe for you to take her out? She is inNH not ALF, so her condition requires skilled nursing.
When dad was at rehab, I packed picnics and wheeled him around the grounds.
Played dominos, brought treats for him....just tried to make my visits fun.
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By all means, take her out to do the things you mentioned. Tell her, if she is mentally alert and understands, that the only condition is that she returns without a fuss. Promise her that you will be back soon to take her to...? My mom was in ALF for over five years, and we went out almost every week. She loved Mariachi music or any live music. I had the families of some of her friends called and give permission to the owner of the faclity for me to take them out, and we somehow got five people and various types of walkers in my Altima. It gave me such joy to see mom and her friends enjoy some time out of the facility. I used to take mom and her best friend to breakfast, too. It was a real treat for them to eat grits, biscuits, and gravy. I did that until it was almost too.much for me to handle her wheelchair and oxygen that she eventually needed. Our last night out was the night before Mother's Day three years ago. I could tell she was going down and that it would probably be our last time out. Just the two of us went to hear the Mariachi band. I didn't object when she wanted a Margarita. :) We had a wonderful time. That was in May, and she passed away on June 1. I still frequent that restaurant, and now I can envision her and her Margarita...and it makes me smile. So, by all means, take your mother out and enjoy her as much as you can. Have fun!
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Beware the Bait and Switch. SIL took mom to lunch, then mom wanted to "just drive by the house" and SIL took the bait. Mom asked her to park in front of the house, and get something from the basement. SIL said "OK wait here" and got out. Next thing she knows mom is out of the car, toddling up the driveway and demanding to get in the house. It got very ugly. NEVER take them back to the house, it's a real can of worms.
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Sandwich, you sure were determined to spend 'quality' time with your mom! After the first incident, I would have stopped. As for us, we stopped taking mom on trips when she grabbed the steering wheel while my brother was driving. While he was struggling to drive straight, I (sitting in the back seat) had to leap forward and try to pull her tightly clenched hand off the steering wheel. Bro was able to pull over so that he can pry her hand off the steering wheel. We u-turned to go back home while I leaned forward holding mom's left hand so that she wouldn't grab for it again.
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My mother lives in a nursing home in another state so when I visit I try to take her out as much as possible. My mother say's 'take me somewhere' and then when I do she complains the entire time that she needs to go back home.. I take her out into the court yard where she is familiar and that seems to satisfy her. She wants her friends at the nursing home to see her family, that is more important to her than going anywhere. . I took mom out for Thanksgiving a couple of years ago, that particular Thanksgiving we had mild weather. It was a wonderful time but again she was in a hurry to get home. My mom does best when we just do all the celebrating in her nursing home with her, that way she can show off her family. My mom always tells me that her friends do not have family that visits them but when I am there I see their family members. Since my mother is receiving breathing treatments her memory is so much better and she seems so much more content. My mother at age 90 is finally being nice! Amen.
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By all means take her out if she seems to enjoy it and you can do it safely (minding your back, as well as her old bones, that is). But if it gets to be too much for you to handle, or she doesn't seem to notice, don't feel guilty for not doing it either.
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It was hard to let go of the scenarios I had hoped for with mom. She had lived as a shut-in for so long, I really thought it would help her state of mind to get out & about, fresh air, sun, have new experiences. I wanted to show her the holiday lights in the snow, the lakes we have, restaurants, shows, the north shore. All the things she had missed being a shut-in. No bueno.

I was about 5-7 years too late. Mom's dementia was much farther along than anybody knew (because family had stopped visiting her).

In July, we brought a birthday party to her. Cake, balloons, pretty presents, grandchildren. It was not fun for her or us. We all wondered if that was a good idea at all, and if we should do it again. *sigh* It feels so wrong to stop celebrating the small things in life with or for her. It's not supposed to be this way at all. I suppose the next celebration even will be the holidays. I think we'll do a card and one small present with a short visit. I have to make peace that this is not about me or my feelings of discomfort about not doing xyz anymore.

Enjoy outings if they are possible, on your loved one's terms. Remember it won't last forever. Be ready to change when it's necessary instead of forcing mom/dad to keep up with everybody else or the sentimental idea of what it's supposed to be like. It might happen slowly, it might happen with sudden personality changes. Each person's decline is different.
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