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My mother with dementia has been living with me for 3 1/2 years. Nine months ago I hired an agency to send a home companion for 5 1/2 hours per day during the week while I work. This leaves mom alone for maybe an hour and a half in the afternoon. Mom has been getting progressively worse with her short term memory and reasoning, especially in the past seven days since my daughter's dog came to live with us (we have two other dogs). Today I spent all day researching facilities in my area. Came home and had a major blowup with her because she is no longer reading the notes with instructions that I leave, and is overfeeding the dogs. I suppose I could just move the dog food to someplace where she cannot find it. But that is just one example. I can't leave her alone long enough to even go grocery shopping, or out to dinner with my daughter. I offer to bring mom with us, but she never wants to go. Then when we get home I get the tirade of how panicked she was because she didn't know where we were (big note on the refrigerator every time I leave the house). I'm at my wits end and the end of my rope. I tried rationally discussing a possible move, mainly because she is so miserable here, and sad and angry all the time. She of course wants to go back "home" to a state 1500 miles away. Without going into the gory details, I'll just say that I didn't handle this well, and perhaps she really would be better off not living with me any more. Any thoughts or suggestions? Cost is not a problem, she has LTC insurance and other sources of income. I really feel like a failure as a daughter, even though I mentally know this is just a by-product of the dementia. And that I should have handled it much better than I did tonight.

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It's time to get the LTC insurance in place and help her move. Drop the guilt. You've done so much and are not a failure. This is in her best interest as well as yours. She may find a whole new social life in assisted living (after an adjustment period). Expect complaints, resistance and all that goes with it, but it's time.
Best wishes for you,
Carol
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Found an ALF that is practically 4 star level, signed her up for a full one bedroom apartment, and have been living the nightmare of dealing with her endless loop questions. All that she can retain is that I don't want her to live here any more.

It totally stinks, even though I know I am doing what is best for her. She needs a better quality of life and better supervision that she gets here.

The movers come Monday, because the sooner the better, trying to minimize the amount of time she needs to be anxious about this. I did get a mild sedative from her doctor to get past the hump. She was a basket case for almost 3 days. This at least takes the edge off.

This facility has a high level of care, and a sister facility with a secure memory unit when the time comes. This has been the longest week of my life.
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DownSouth -- all good! Even if it doesn't always feel thay way. What you just described is the perfect course of action. Do not give any credence to mom's protests; it's her broken brain talking. And yes, it's sad as h*ll. Your mind always goes back to the time when your conversations with mom were real.....when you weren't her keeper.....when your life wasn't subsumed by this stranger who inhabits your mother's body. Move forward with your current plan. It's the best thing for mom. And for you.
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Is Mom still alone 1 & 1/2 hours a day? It really does sound like her dementia is beyond that, and she cannot be safely left alone at all. (Dementia does usually reach that point.)

I suggest you increase the in-home care while you are looking for a suitable care center for her.
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Update. It was a heartbreaking week of doctors visits for mild sedatives, forms, leases signed, packing and movers, all while having my mother accusing me of shipping her out, abandoning her, and because her short term memory is gone, a litany of repetitive questions and accusations. I know it is the dementia talking, but I feel badly that this is causing such emotional pain for her.

So we moved her in yesterday, and introduced her to one friendly new neighbor, and sent her down to the dining hall to eat, where I was told by staff that she did okay. There were a few snafu's.

I did have to go back today because her LTC insurance had a nurse come do another assessment (third one in a week, all by different doctors and nurses). It was lunchtime when I got there, and she seemed to be doing okay with the other two women at her table. So I watched until they were done and went in. Mom was not happy to see me because she is still angry with me.

Then the nurse came and did the assessment, She did not do very well at all. Then I brought in more of her stuff from home, and left.

I will contact the staff tomorrow to get any suggestions as to how often I should visit. Because even though she was mad, she asked if I was staying for dinner and I told her I had to get to the dump before it closed to get the broken furniture out of my truck.

I am praying that she will start to feel better about this soon.
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DownSouth, oh dear, I believe your Mom's dementia is to a point where she just cannot understand notes anymore.... it's not her fault, her brain is broken.

As for Mom wanting to "go home", the home usually is the childhood home where life was simpler and happy. Rarely is it the previous house she lived in.

Just remember, not all of us are cut out to be hands-on caregivers, I wasn't, so don't feel like you were a failure. Think of it this way, not everyone can be a brain surgeon, a pilot, a construction worker, or a U.S. Senator.

I also worked, and my Dad lived on his own in his own house, so I hired around the clock caregivers for him. He was delighted to have all that attention, and the gals/guys were very protective of him, making sure he wasn't getting into any mischief.

Eventually my Dad needed to move into Memory Care. He really enjoyed the place, no more scary stairs to deal with, great meals, housekeeping, linen service, and he was able to bring two of his favorite caregivers so when he woke up in the morning, they were there to help him start his day. Plus he liked being around people closer to his age.... he liked seeing all the rolling walkers :)
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Yes, it is time. Dig out the financial documents and pick a facility.
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downsouth - well done This is the right thing for your mum and for you. She will likely do better there and so will you with her in a facility. Give her some time to settle in before you visit. Check with the staff to see what they recommend. (((((hugs))))) to you.
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DownSouth, I went through the same thing with my mom 31/2 years ago. She lived in her own, in a Senior Apartment complex, but I kept a close eye. It's not easy for someone who is not trained in elder care to recognize the signs of dementia. Symptoms creep up very slowly. None of us wants to believe that the person who brought us into this world and raised us has now reversed roles with us and WE are now the parent and they are the child. In addition to dealing with the emotional baggage, we are also charged with relocating our parent to a facility and dealing with finances, future planning, and our own lives. I was extraordinarily lucky that my mom kept meticulous financial records and she went to a facility that couldn't have been more helpful to me.. But it was still difficult to take that final step. Mom was a drama queen who was not happy unless she was unhappy. One of the last coherent things she told me was that she hoped my kids never did to me what I did to her (putting her in a facility). It took a long time for me to convince myself that I had made the right decision. As I stumbled through the days after, I realized there were MANY signs she was ready for skilled care. I'm still realizing them now. It began with a little voice in the back of my mind that kept repeating, "She's ready. You've done the right thing." I now realize that for a few years, as dementia began to take its hold on Mom, I tried to rationalize it. She was my MOM after all. SHE was in charge and I had to keep her happy and do as SHE wished. It almost came at the expense of my own sanity. When she told me a few months ago that she was leaving "this hellhole" to go live with her mother and father back in the 1930's, I had my epiphany. Dementia doesn't get better. It only gets worse. There is no battle against it. The people who suffer from it until our only option is to keep them safe. Some people with dementia, like my father-in-law, stay calm and childlike. And some, like my mom, fight tooth and nail and strike out at whoever is closest at the time, sometimes physically. I confess that in 2017, I am going to find a therapist and this might not be a bad idea for you as well. Or at least a support group. At some point in the (hopefully near) future, you will make peace with yourself that you've done the right thing.
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DownSouth - (((hugs)))) You have done very well. Sounds like your mum is doing OK too, considering that she is just moving in. I expect they will tell you to take a break of a week or two. These transitions, though necessary, are hard on everyone. I wish there was an easier way, but many seniors resist moving onto the next phase of their lives, When they have dementia it is understandable. That doesn't make it any easier on them or their care giver. Take some time now to look after you. I know downsizing is a considerable task, but do some good things for you - a massage, a mani and pedi, a good movie... Do whatever will give you a lift. You have earned it.
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