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Help! I keep getting calls about the horrible lunches and she's demanding that I get her a new AL facility or to go home (can't do, needs 24/7care-dementia)! The AL facility is one that we are barely able to afford and I KNOW there aren't any other cheaper ones out there, believe me. I'm trying to repair the house to get it sold and am spending thousands of dollars, all the while I get the calls about the bad food and how I left her there, like a dog. I brought in her furniture, clothing, decorations, new bedding, etc. I'm at wits end and am so sad.
She also states that she asks the cafeteria staff for a salad instead and they said that she can only get a salad under doctor's orders. Also, mom has told me that the staff has favorites and she always gets the "smaller" piece of cake. I know my mom has called the food "dog food" to the staff and I'm guessing that doesn't help any. I did send mom a huge can of peanuts to snack on along w/ fruit snacks, upon her request. Any advice/suggestions are well appreciated because I don't know where else to turn...

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Ignore the calls. She just wants to come home & you take 24:7 care of her.
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anonymous828521 Aug 22, 2019
Spot on👍CaregiverL
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I'm not commenting on the food thing, I just got hung up on the statement that you guys are apparently paying for her facility care... if this is true, you actually can't afford this arrangement. You are robbing from your own futures. Not sure how old your mom is or what her health is but she can be in care for many years and the cost goes up as she needs LTC, then MC. You should consider Medicaid for her. The house you are repairing...is it your mom's house? Eventually when the money for care runs out she'll need Medicaid anyway. If she qualifies within the next 5 years the proceeds from her house sale will be "clawed back" by the govt to pay for her care. Please research this further before putting any more effort into trying to hold things together yourselves. Good luck!
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anonymous828521 Aug 20, 2019
So true.
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Food is one of the easiest issues for residents to complain about. I believe it frequently goes with the territory. It's either too salty or too bland,rarely hot enough,there aren't the specific choices that the resident feels will restore all ailments. Could you try to have a meal with your family member and determine yourself if the issues are really relevant. The facility might require a small charge for your meal but I think it would be worth it if this is what you constantly hear complaints about. If you have a regular job perhaps you could do this at one weekend meal. Sadly it can be hard for the placed person to understand that they really need help and how hard we have tried to help with that process.
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"Left her there like a dog..." that got me. You're caring for her in the best way you're able with funds available. Try to hold on in knowing she has dementia and in another home .. not really "hers," and will complain of many things, and though many things she says Are true, some are not. 

To ease your mind .. and make her happy (and you!), maybe take her treats (or have them delivered!) to keep in her fridge (if she has one) to indulge herself.  When you visit, take her a favorite food ~ whatever that is.  At this time in her life, Dr's orders should be adhered to, but not at the expense of her overall happiness in living as she is now .. which should include.. Fun food! ., a little company, much sleep, and visits from you ~ all her loved ones.

She's ok.  You're doing and have done all you can.  Take pride and be at peace knowing you're doing all you can do to provide for her.  But for you, she'd have had no one to help her.

When she constantly complains, and becomes more than you can bear (more often than not), find a reason to end the conversation.  Remember ~ She's ok and safe.

*I also agree with Geaton777 ~ so true .. these expenses will quickly become an unaffordable arrangement. You must remember to care for your future.
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As you age your taste buds die, the last flavor to go is sweet - that is why so many older people love sweets and most places always serve a dessert - because it is the one thing a older senior can still actually taste. The majority of AL/MC always have an alternate meal available (by law most states require this), it doesn't have to be fancy (maybe a ham and cheese sandwich and/or chicken soup for example). I have never heard of having to have a doctor's order for a salad unless she is on a restricted diet and cannot have them for a medical reason. So the food that is being served is most likely fine, maybe not perfection, not like cooking at home, but ok. It is her taste that is different. You cannot change that. My grandmother said the food was bad at her place, and we would go eat off the same plate she was saying had terrible and it would taste fine to us. There is not much you can do about this except ignore it. Go taste the food - unannounced visit, and then you will know. But this, you just have to let go, she wants to come home with you and this is what she knows hits your buttons.
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anonymous828521 Aug 20, 2019
Interesting info about the taste buds/aging. So true about the sugar cravings, my mother loved gourmet cookies & good chocolate, until the month before she died... (It was odd, & I couldn't believe she told me not to bring it anymore). Few weeks later she had the stroke & went to be with the Lord.
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Could it be another resident causing your mom's distress? I got constant calls from my mom when she first went to assisted living. All that stopped when a lady, who had moved in the same day, had to go to memory care because they just couldn't handle her at assisted living - wandering and complaining and including my mom in it all. It just now started up again when another lady moved in who complains about the food and has befriended my mom in the same way the first one did. The food is actually pretty good and they will supply alternate meals if the residents don't like what is served first. My mom seems to automatically bond with complainers, but when they aren't there, she is very happy. I think it is her mothering instincts trying to help whoever is in distress. I suggest you keep up the nuts and fruit, but also ask the staff for help with giving your mom what she will eat. I've never heard of doctor orders for salad. Did your mom make that up?
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NeedHelpWithMom Aug 17, 2019
Yes, power of suggestion is strong for some people. My mom will be influenced by things or people at times and it’s frustrating. Then they obsess over it.
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My parents complain of the same thing. I have eaten there and they are right. To make things worse, my dad has kidney failure and diabetes and can't eat salt or sugar, so he is limited as to what he can eat, especially since almost everything is loaded with those poisons.
But, my parents can afford to move elsewhere and there are places with better food, but they dont like the apartment size or layout and don't want the hassle of moving (even though we pay for movers and I do all the unpacking and organizing. )
I make them soup and other things from time to time as well, and you know what? Half the time they never eat it.
So, I finally decided they just like to complain. When they do, I change the subject or tell them I've got to get going.
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The food probably IS terrible!

What do you want to do about it? Keep sending her peanuts? Maybe some other healthy snacks? Like canned fruit? Granola bars, etc.?

You need to have a pat answer for when she calls to complain and then a fixed topic that you change the subject to. "I'm sorry that your lunch was so bad. Do you still have some of those peanuts I sent you? Good, why don't you have some of those to snack on?"

Regarding where she lives, if that's IT, then that's it. So perhaps you can find a way to help her come to terms with that. That's where you live now, mom. There are no other places for you to live now. Please try to make the best of it.
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When I read posts like yours I get a sinking feeling that another woman is impoverishing herself and gutting her own financial future out of irrational guilt.

"...The AL facility is one that we are barely able to afford and I KNOW there aren't any other cheaper ones out there, believe me. I'm trying to repair the house to get it sold and am spending thousands of dollars..."

Are you spending your money or your mother's??? If it's your money, you need to enlist a real estate broker to sell the house "AS-IS", consult with an attorney about recouping whatever money you've spent, and consult with a top-notch seasoned social worker about financial assistance for your mother.

And stop answering her calls about the food. Let it go to voicemail. There's nothing you can do about that right now because you are not taking her home; you have more important things to do.
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sunset38 Aug 22, 2019
It's her money. I just say "we" because I feel as if I'm in this with her. I'm her financial POA. Thanks for your concern & I should have been more clear!
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I had a friend that had to move to AL and was lucky to get into a place because she had very little money. It wasn't the best place but it wasn't bad. She complained about everything! She had a room to herself with fridge and microwave. Food was a major complaint. I visited her 3 times a week and sat with her during lunch or dinner. I thought the meals were decent enough but not fancy. In general rather bland but these were old sick people. There were some choices. She would select something and have a bite or two then ask for something else. She wouldn't eat that either. I took her out sometimes for pizza which she loved. 1 time she ate 2 slices but on another trip she didn't finish one. She did like ice cream and cookies so I would bring her those things and she would eat them within a few days. I was concerned because she was very thin. I didn't see that her complaints were real. The staff were very nice to her. I had to conclude it was her condition that caused all the complaining. I had witnessed other people eating their meals without complaint. So I can only suggest bringing snacks and ice cream and if needed get a little fridge for her room. Ignore the complaints.
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anonymous828521 Aug 20, 2019
So true Goody2😳, that sounds just like my mother. I too would bring her pizza occasionally, or a soft food combo from a buffet. I agree: some folks ate the facility meals just fine, but not my mother. (She always was a very critical person).
You're doing a great job, it's just impossible to please some folks! Best wishes to u.
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