What did you tell your loved one with Dementia/Alzheimer's while getting them to transition to an overnight stay in assisted living facility?


My 82 year old MIL will have her first overnight stay in an assisted living facility as a trial run to see how she tolerates it. She is currently going to Adult Daycare 3 days a week for 4 hours in the evening and seems to tolerate it well for the most part. They keep her busy which is good.

Personality wise, she is very co-dependent, clingy, mostly miserable personality, and she's just grumpy all the time. Not to mention manipulative.

But when she's in the throws of a spell of dementia, she's mostly clingy, confused, or just asks questions as if they are normal questions, and we play along.

What sort of things did you tell your loved one in order for them to be somewhat receptive to sleeping over their first night?

Usually when we drop her off to daycare, we tell her "You're going to a party", or "visiting a friend", or "going to a wedding/baby shower" and she's none the wiser. It gets her to stay and she ends up having a good time!

I just don't know what to tell my husband to say to her when she ends up staying over. Do you say things like "We are going on an overnight trip? We are going to a hotel?" - our concern is that she will look for one of us and she will know right away she's in a strange place and won't want to stay there.

Any advice would be really appreciated.

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Well, I do disagree with a trial run too, as I think it would just be too hard for her emotionally and mentally. With that said, I placed Dad and visited every day for almost 8 months, only missing 5 days. I heard some suggestions that I should lessen my visits, but I felt the need to go -- Dad looked for me every day. He passed last week, and I wouldn't trade any of my time with him for anything. In those months I got to know all the other residents and the workers. I knew my Dad well; my visits weren't going to change whether he would acclimate better. The only issue we had was that he liked to complain to me, and frustrating as that was at times, I'd take that now too if I could have him back.
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CP, please don't do try this. It will only add to the confusion that your MIL is already going through. Instead, try to find a memory care unit that you're comfortable with and then move her in all at once. Once you have a move in date, you can gather up some of her belongs (furniture, clothes, pictures, etc.) and move them in before you actually move her in there. When I had to move my mom into memory care, I had to lie and tell her that her roof needed to be replaced & she couldn't live in her house while they did the work.

I'm not saying that this will be easy, because it won't be. It took my mom about a month to get used to things at the memory care unit. She was very dependent on me and every time I went to see her, she would cling to me and beg me to take her home. The case manager suggested that I stay away for a few days or even a week, so my mom could get acclimated. It worked very well.
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CP, a "trial run" will never work, as a new resident needs to be at the Assisted Living for a couple of weeks without any visits from the family. That gives the person time to learn their way around the facility... learn the Staff... and to meet new friends who also live there.

And that her bedroom is set up similar to what she had at home. I made sure I was able to get my Dad's highboy to the right of his bed, same with his night stand, as that is how he had it for the past 30 years at his house. That gave him comfort when he woke up during the night. Also, bring bedspread used at home, that's another comfort.

Majority of the time, an elder will say they hate the place, they want to come home. The will have 101 complaints. If every grown child brings back their parent to the house, then Assisted Living facilities would be empty.

Hopefully your Mom will like her stay at Assisted Living, especially being around people of her own age group.

My Dad first started out in Independent Living which made it so much easier to later move him to the Memory Care section of the complex. His only concern was if he was going to have the same chef prepare the meals. His Memory Care room was small compared to his IL apartment, so I joked that he is moving in a dorm room, and that became the standing joke between us :)
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I may be wrong her, but won't it be more confusing for her to be there for a night, then home, then back there several times?
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I would speak to someone at the facility to see what they recommend. They must deal with this scenario all the time and hopefully have a sense of what kind of things work. Good luck!
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