My mom has been with me for 11 months. Her level of physical care and dementia has increased. I am exhausted in body and spirit.

She no longer understands that I am her daughter; she sees me as one of the "girls" that cares for her. I think this will work to her advantage since she won't feel like she's being abandoned by her only child.

We all have been telling her about all the nice things at the new place--activities, salon, chapel, courtyard, spa room, etc. And I honestly think she will be happy there eventually. She's always been very social and at my house, she only is around me and the 2 ladies that help me since it's very hard to get her out now.

I am looking for ideas that may better help her make the transition. I get very anxious when I think of her first few days there.


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The adjustment is different for everyone. One thing you must do, as you say you will, is to back off and let the carers at the facility provide her care. That is the only way that she will be able to get to the point of trusting them. You need to let them do their jobs that is how they will learn how to best care for mom.

Don't be surprised if you notice a further, rapid decline in mom. This happens frequently following moves by those with dementia.

And no guilt. You were honest with yourself to realize that the necessary care was becoming too difficult for you to manage. That is often the most difficult for so many when a move becomes necessary.
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Thank you all for your answers. She has been in for 2 days now. It's been up and down, and I really do think she is displaying a fear of abandonment as you said, Countrymouse. I did set up he room with familiar items and displayed lots of family photos. And you are right about "looking forward," she is not ready for that now. I find myself being a helicopter daughter--I think I should probably back off some and let the ladies there help transition her. I plan to work on letting go a bit this and next week. Again, thanks to all who took time out of your busy days to lend advice.
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Hugs, and well done! It will get easier, God willing.
When are you hoping your mother will be admitted to the new facility, Jackie?

I get a feeling from your post that you are more worried about the move than your mother herself is - would that be fair to say?

Two things strike me especially.

1. If your mother sometimes doesn't understand that you are her daughter, how would she make the connection between her being in a different home and your having made this happen? She may feel confused, she may express this as having "been abandoned," but these are aspects of her dementia, they're not a rational protest against this factual decision to place her in memory care. Still sad and hard to witness, of course, I understand; but not an argument for keeping her at home with you - in a place she doesn't recognise as her own, with a person whose status as her daughter she doesn't recognise.

2. This surprised me when I first read about it, but it does make sense. When a person's dementia is as advanced as your mother's sounds, the advice from the dementia care providers I most respect - MHA, to name names - is that you do not involve them in forward planning. It is burdensome, it increases confusion, and it creates feelings of insecurity. The person may take in that there is change afoot, but they cannot retain the information they would need to feel comfortable and in control about the change.

What you do do is continue to consult them on any points they are still able to manage. For example: "this is a lovely blanket! Was it a gift from someone special, perhaps? Do you like blue best?" - so then the blue blanket, or the pink cushions, or the patchwork eiderdown make it onto the packing list according to what she says.

So, the point being: don't at this stage attempt to help your mother "look forward" to her new home. Instead, make the best preparations you can to have familiar objects around her; and when the big day comes give her clear, step by step instructions and masses of reassurance.

Also, talk to the admissions team at the facility and ask them to talk you through what to expect. The calmer and more confident you are, the easier it should be.
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As much as you can, set up the AL like her current bedroom; take her furniture, store the same things in the drawers, etc. Are there photos your mother displayed for years in her home that you can take to the AL? Although your mother may be beyond recognizing her stuff, she may not be at a subconscious level. My father's vascular dementia was never as bad as you described your mother's condition but seeing "his" furniture when waking in the MC seemed to help him orient himself. In the hospital, he needed a person he recognized.
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Jackie, every person going into Assisted Living will react differently. There will be a learning curve for your Mom to know where her apartment is located, recognizing the faces of the Staff, trying out new food, and hopefully making new friendships among the other residents.

Before Dad moved into a senior facility, the facility had a social hour each day. I decided that Dad may enjoy going to the social hour just to get a feel of the place. His apartment wasn't ready so the facility was more than happy for him to join the daily social hour. That help make him feel more like home once his apartment was ready for his furniture, etc.
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