WendyT Asked October 2011

How do I tell my mom that I am making plans to move her into a nursing home or assisted living facility?

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She has Alzheimer's and dementia and find that it's best not to give her too much information in advance as she either becomes very anxious or forgets (or both!). I want her to understand that I want what is best for her and that I am not abandoning her.

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Lassie Jul 2016
I guess I was fortunate in that my mother no longer recognized her own house, couldn't tell day from night, was being 'visited' by scores of dead people, and when I put her in a nursing home she never said a single word about 'where am I' or 'when can I go home'. That's how far gone she was. (and she is doing great there, btw.) I feel bad for all of you who still have to discuss this kind of thing before pulling the trigger. But I say, when they need signs in the house noting what rooms are behind the doors, when they swear that their 50 years dead parents are sleeping in the guest room, when they fall down and defecate on the floor several times a week, and the caregiver is seriously considering suicide, you pack 'em up and take them in for a 'doctors evaluation'. Which goes on forever. God bless those still sentient enough to question the move, God bless the caregivers. It's difficult.
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GrammyM Jun 2016
God bless you Wendy. I pondered your question quite a lot before answering. First, every situation is different. People can suggest, however, no one knows your mother or situation better than you. If I were to suggest, I would be as pleasant, assuring and matter-of-fact as possible to mom. Visit assisted living homes, talk with the administrators and staff members. Most have brochures outlining activities, meal plans, room types, etc. But, please do not let fancy brochures determine your decision. Get a feel for the place, the atmosphere, notice if guests are happy and well cared for. Do your homework and then decide. Perhaps keeping mom at home a little longer may work out. If not, at least you will know what is available and a good fit for your mother. Be patient, be strong and focused. And, don't give up. Sometimes there is a waiting list at assisted living homes. Get on the wait list---search other places. Get your 'ducks in a row' so when the final decision times comes, you will be able to make the transition much easier. Please do what is best for both your mother and you and do not wait too long. Good luck.
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Nojoy3 Jun 2016
When it came time for me to place my Mom in a Memory Care Center I felt it was important to include her and prepare her for the move. Several weeks before the move I began to have positive brief talks with her about the upcoming move. I also brought brochures of the facility that had colorful pictures and left them at her chairside table and we talked about them. I knew Mom probably wouldn't remember our conversations but I felt it was important to prepare her as much as possible. I didn't want to just "dump her" and lose her trust in me. I do not think our conversations caused her any anxiety or additional stress.
Despite everything I did in an attempt to make the move easier the day of the actual move was horrible. But, we made it. Its now been six months since Mom moved to the Memory Care Center and after an initial rough start she has adjusted to her new home. I visit her 3-4 times per week and usually spend about an hour or so per visit. I see how she has declined as this disease has progressed in just 6 months and I'm so glad for her move to the center. The care she gets there is better than what I alone could have given her.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that there is no easy way to prep our folks for the move. All we can do is the best we can.
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Chaswife, i teared up reading your post. I always felt that we should put ourselves in our loved ones shoes. Therefore, i kept my mom home with me 8 years . Her ss helped out for helping me but i spoiled her and dont regret it. I would be furious if my kids did that to me, i wouldn't even want to move now at age 60 with hubby, never mind older and alone.so saf what you witnessed, i would cry with them. Maybe i should volunteer to visit with those who are lonely.
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Chaswife Jun 2016
I worked in a LTC facility and often witnessed families bring their loved one in without having discussed it beforehand. The families thought they were being creative and sparing their parent from undo worry. In most cases it caused the parent to lose trust in their family. The poor elders would cry and ask to go home for days. Of course the family never witnessed this. They showed tremendous disrespect towards their parents. It's difficult being old and helpless and seeing your grown children make decisions that effect your life, without discussing it with you. Quite often these elders are more aware than their family realizes. Put your self in their shoes. How would you like it if your family tricked you into going for a ride, only to find you could never go home? It's mean and hurtful. You don't discuss it with them because you don't want to deal with their emotional response, not "because she would just get upset" . I'm not saying that AL is wrong. I am saying, talk to them about it even if you don't think they'll understand. Give them a chance to express their feelings and enough time for them to adjust to the pending change.
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BoniChak Jan 2014
Thanks Bob. I needed a good belly laugh. You are as funny as you are wise.
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captain Jan 2014
tell her in a little homemade ditty. ie;
your startin to be a pain, its messin with my brain.
crappin in the chairs , and fallin down the stairs.

im just kidding wendy. its prob'ly not possible for everyone to fulltime caregive because of career and other complications. i know i lost a fortune in wages over the last 6 years. maybe you could get a facility to let your mom come in for daycare for a few weeks to see if she takes a shine to the place. set up her room and everything on the pretense that she just spends her days there. the transition would be easy to just let her stay there one night cause the weathers bad outside or something. just trying to be helpful, must be a heart wrenching situation for all involved.
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JessieBelle Jan 2014
wc, as much as we might like to keep our parent at home until they die, there comes a time when we can't provide the care they need. A trained team of people will be able to keep her more comfortable. A good care facility will make sure she is clean and fed as well as possible. Family can still visit, but don't have to worry about all of the things that are such heavy concerns. My biggest concern about AL and NH are the costs. If they can be worked out I think the help is a godsend. The easiest way to enter a NH is from the hospital if they have to go in from a fall, a UTI, or other thing. I think it is far less traumatic than moving directly from the house to the facility.

I wish there was something better
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wcgirl Jan 2014
Wendy, I hope you have found someone. My mom is 90 and I moved in a year ago when my father died. She doen't take a bath, doesn't trust anyone, and always thinking others are here, when it is just us but she can't never give me a name. She repeats herself over and over. I feel that I'm going to go crazy by contining to live here, but I can't live either. She is also going through my things and today I realized she is wearing my underwear. I question what I should do she is total with it one minute and gone the next. I know she will not want to move. What do I do?
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yankeejo Oct 2012
just went through this situation as I was the full time care giver for my dad for over a year. My dad's best friend went with me & my dad for a ride to the facility we had chosen & then walked in and had a conversation about it. I made a deal with him to try it out for 3 months and then we would discuss it again if it wasn't working. He agreed. But then told with dementia his story changed a few days later when he told 1 of my nieces that I tricked him. Anyway, its the best choice for us and we'll see in 3 months how everyone feels about the decision. Good luck to you.
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