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My mother in law moved into our home directly from the Rehab center after her back surgery because the social workers at the rehab said she needed 24X7 care. Her dementia comes and gos so we can't tell if it's anesthesia induced or not. She woke up this morning and didn't know what day it was, where she was, or what time of day it was. She asked when she could go home. She says she just wants to go see her things. I told her that it would most likely just make her sad because she would regret not having the same life as she once had. Anyway, we went over the whole.... yes you can afford 24X7 care until your money runs out (she's 90 and her mother lived to be 100), or you can stay with us, or you can go to an extended care facility. BUT my real question is this....has anyone allowed the elder parent to visit the former home for day visits? If so was it successful or did it just make them very sad and depressed?

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One more thought, as much for other posters/readers as for jmotherofjohn: If your relative is in another state, has a medical event, and cannot return home to live, and if the cognitive decline is fairly mild (which it probably was or you'd have moved them earlier - i.e., they were still -- more or less -- paying their own bills, going to the grocery, etc.), then I WOULD take them to their home to pick what they want to bring with them to the new city/state, because once you close the home, have the garage sale, etc., it'll be too late to retrieve anything. In 2010, Mom had a small stroke, but the docs at the rehab place said she could no longer live alone. She had known for years that Sis and I wanted her close to one of us, but she couldn't decide between us and didn't want to leave the California weather for the Midwest. The stroke forced a decision; we decided on Sis's town because of lower cost-of-living and Sis was self-employed and could take more time to help. Mom understood all this even though she had some dementia (and paranoia big-time). Allowing her to come back to her home for a couple of nights, go through the home and pick out the must-have's and decide what could go into a garage sale was, I think, helpful for her -- gave her some closure, as well as the ability to say goodbye to neighbors, etc.It wouldn't work for everyone but it did for us and I'm glad we were able to help her close that chapter.
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When our mom initially had to be placed in NH we brought her home for Thanksgiving dinner...and that was a disaster. She became very confused, then angry, then combative. Very distressing for everyone. Yes, I hate that we can't do it, but that's the reality. Like everyone here says, make up a story. With dementia & Alzheimer's one's reasoning and logic is gone and that's a painful truth.

You, the caregiver, must stay strong to weather this. It is difficult and one never knows how long the journey will be. Keep your inner strength! Love the elderly person in your life with all your heart, but love yourself too, and remember this person desperately NEEDS YOU. God bless!
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Bless you daughter-in-law for your dedication to your MIL; you are doing the Lord's work with her, taking her out and adjusting your home for her comfort, also bringing her things there for her. Your husband's comment to "stay out of it", in my thoughts, was unkind since you seem to be on duty most of the time. Is he in denial about her memory? You never had a key to her condo? Is this a 2nd marriage for you both? Some things don't compute and I hope you are in a position to take care of yourself and take time for yourself, even a vacation away if necessary. Yes, she is HIS mother, but you seem to be the major caregiver spending the daytime hours with her. You deserve more respect than a remark like that. Sorry if I sound judgmental, but caregivers are gems and should be appreciated at all times, especially ones who are sharing their home and time with a MIL. Hugs to you and find some other outlets for her so you can have time for yourself too.
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Thank you all so much for your thoughtful replies! I read these comments to my husband (son of the patient). We don't have much experience with the elderly (we are mid 50s) so any suggestions are welcome and greatly appreciated! I did modify parts of our ranch home to be wheelchair and walker accessible before we brought MIL here. We also brought most of her bedroom furniture to our house (and some of the artwork on her walls) so it would feel more familiar. She sleeps in her own bed (linens, etc), has her bedside tables, lamps, dressers, and some chairs from her home to decorate the room. I had 'bars' installed in the toilet and shower area before she arrived so she would be able to use the facilities. Her 'daytime' sitter asked her if 'that was her bed from home' and she said, "I don't know". So I am not sure exactly how alert she is to her surroundings. My husband has told me to 'stay out of it'...and I am going to do my best to try to comply with his wishes since this is after all HIS mother. When she asks to go home, I am now going to tell MIL that I don't have a key to her condo (which is true, I never have had one), and if she wants to visit the condo, she needs to go there with my husband. I am the one who mostly takes her out of the house. We go to movies (I am trying to keep her current with affairs), church, shopping, and to dine out. I try to schedule 'play dates' with her friends. The lady is very social! My husband takes her to doctors and hair dresser appointments. Again, thanks for your replies!
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We moved mom, at the time 88, mild cog decline, increasing anxiety about every burned out lightbulb, rainstorm, etc to a nice IL facility. On the weekends, I would sometimes take her to her house to pick of various things that she wanted in the new place. After several months of doing this maybe every other week, she said in a conversation "I view the house as an asset, not a home". wow; that was huge. I think that the "dropping by to get stuff" in a business like manner was key; we would comment, gee, there's no one out on the street, such a boring neighborhood, or, man, that hill that we have to drive up to get here, so steep, such a pain for Brother to get here if there is an emergency in the snow. This is a hard situation to parse, just wanted to let you know what our experience was. Your gut will tell you what to do!
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All good advice. I would encourage you to bring some of her favorite things, i.e. a chair, a table, lamp, her bedroom furniture if you can make room for it. Also pictures and some of her dishes etc. She will feel more like at home with you if she sees her things being used. Especially if she has some favorite things she always used. Also, her comforter or afghan pillows etc. You are doing such a wonderful thing for her, but taking her back to her own condo would not be a good thing - too confusing. Unless as someone suggested, you can have someone live with her 24/7. Hugs.
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We, too, have been trying to decide if Mother should visit her now emptying apartment. She still tells me some mornings she will get her things so I can take her by home, although for months now she has lived with us. We have a person who comes during the day while we work also. We have just about finished moving everything and did bring as many things as possible of hers to our house hoping to make her feel she is home. She still does not seem to realize they are hers. My husband thinks it will help her to know she no longer has the apartment. I am afraid it will bring more confusion and pain for her. She is always in the moment and knows the family she sees regularly just cannot remember anything for more than 30 sec. She has always prided herself that she could "live by myself and take care of myself" so we try to let her feel she does. She started being afraid to stay alone at night and the transition was gradual. She is a very gentle person and remains the same sweet person so far. She is 90. We are grateful. Your comments make me believe it is best for her not to revisit.
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my neighbor took her dad to assisted living right from rehab. he had dementia and it got way worse after a surgery...she worried about him not adjusting to AL from his house and wondered what he would want from the house, really stressful to wonder what's the best course. so she set up the AL with all the things from his house and so funny cause he had NO IDEA, he said funny things like oh I think the door must have moved it used to be over here, she said she had renovations done. soooo funny. He just thought he was confused...
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My mother is 82 and I took her to visit her home and it was a big mistake. She cried uncontrollably and it was difficult to get her to leave. As friendofnature said we made a spot for her near the window like she had at home with her belongings and it made a big difference! Going home was just a reminder of what she could no longer have.
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you always run the risk of her planting herself in her favorite chair and refusing to leave...all sorts of excuses will ensue. I have been there with my mom. It's best to keep her out of her home unless she will be able to stay there for good.
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Good points and experiences here. I would also suggest if she had a favorite chair she sat in by the window, that you try to re-create the same vignette in the new apt or your home. For example, place the chair, the rug and table and lamp, pictures, vase, just like it was in her old home, creating a homey familiar corner she can sit in when she arrives at the new place. You can continue to bring some treasured objects if she mentions them. Consider bringing her same quilt, bedspread, blanket, pillow case so they have her familiar scents and look while she adjusts.
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friendofnature made a good suggestion. When my mom was having difficulty adjusting to her hew living space, I took an award she had won for serving as a volunteer for years and years, to mom's new living space, and the manager of the home put the award right by the front door where everyone could see it. That made my mom feel like an important person there and it did help her adjustment. Mom was a volunteer in all the local volunteer organizations for 40 years and won "Volunteer of the Year" award last year. She has dementia, but she remembers that!
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Any retired person has had the experience of waking up and not really knowing what day/time it is!! She probably should not go back home, but you can make her room feel like her own by bringing over important possessions and pictures.
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Oh, no, do not take her back to her condo. That will make her adjustment to where she is now so much harder because it makes her miss her "real home" all the more and she can't have that little plum any more. Don't taunt her and make her miserable.
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Two years ago my then 88 yr. old mil had surgery and recovered for 2 wks in the skilled nursing section of a long term care facility. Since she placed a deposit for the AL portion of the facility months before, and there was a room available, she went directly there after recovery. She has dementia, and it was worse because of the anesthesia. We began the process of clearing out her home and getting it ready for rental. She also wanted to go back to "see her things" and collect certain items and called us many times, day and night, saying she was a "prisoner here" and wanted to go home. The nursing staff and social workers adamantly stated she should not go back, even for a short visit to collect personal items. Knowing my mil at this point, they feared she would refuse to leave her now partially furnished home, and my husband would actually have to carry her out of the house to get her back to AL! We never took her back. It took a good 6 mos. for her to accept her new living situation and now she sees her ALF as "home". Her room is furnished with items from her old home, and of course the anesthesia induced confusion abated, so things are pretty good now. This was just our experience. Hope it helps.
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With your mother having dementia I would not recommend taking her to visit her old home. Have you considered arranging 24hr care at her home allowing her to continue to live there. If not I would strongly suggest you create a story, depending how advance she is you could even say you were just there yesterday. Allowing her to go would only create more problems if she is no longer able to live there.
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No, make up a story if you have to that a relative that she cares about is taking care of it and enjoying or they want to rent from her etc. Unfortunately, it does not have to be true but she will think she is helping or contributing to the family. This idea was used for not driving anymore and it worked well for us.
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We took my BIL out of rehab for a day and back to his house, but this was strictly to motivate him to do the PT and get well enough to go there. It focused him on getting back home. If you are NOT planning to return her there, don't do it. Focus her attention on the place you are moving her to.
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