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Hey guys, My mother has developed early onset Alzheimer's and is in a memory care area of a nursing home. She previously had a wonderful roommate that relocated. Prior to the NH moving in someone new with my mom, I noticed a new resident that was very disruptive, constantly talking disturbing everyone at the tables and even aggravating the nurses and aides. Once I noticed this, I immediately called the social worker to ask her who would move in with my mom because I had a strong feeling it was going to be her. Well of course it was and I practically begged her to not move the woman in with my mom because I foresaw a serious problem.


Now that they went forward with moving the resident in with my mom, just as expected, she has become a great nuisance! Her new roommate is physically harassing her nightly, attempting to get in the bed with my mom, talks constantly, wakes my mother up nightly and my mother can not get any rest, demanding my mother listens and talks to her as she repeats the same three life stories, adding to her agitation! There are other residents there that would be more suitable and are in the same stage or similar as my mom they could consider. The social worker told me it's their "policy" since I'm the one complaining, that my mother has to be moved, that the other family is not the one with the "issue". With her saying this, I take it as her blaming the victim being harassed and not doing something about the harassing resident. This resident was transferred from other places with similar complaints it's rumored. I would have no problem with moving my mom to another room except, my mother has made TREMENDOUS improvement from the time she was first admitted. She knows where her room is, has adjusted very well to her room, knows where all of her things are, and flat out told me she likes her room. From what I've read, if there is progress in the behavior of a dementia patient receiving rehab/memory care, interrupting the routine can cause agitation and possibly cause my mother's progress to deplete. I expressed all of this to the social worker, but she was quite condescending and didn't seem to care. I want to be peaceable but I feel it's quite unfair my mother has to move when she is the one being harassed and I attempted to be proactive PRIOR to them moving in the other resident.


I understand they have limited space and can only do so much with the residents they have, the problem is, they have made no effort to even consider my concern! Everyone, including a couple of the nurses that see this behavior from my mothers roommate and see how it's affecting her, even my legal advisor is saying my mother has rights and it may be a good idea to file a complaint with the state since the nursing home seems ok with the harassment and ok with my mother's progression being hindered.


I'm not sure what to do. Has anyone ever had issues with roommates and it resolved in your favor? Did you contact the state, if so what were the results?


Thanks for your help in advance!

You put in writing the fact that your mother is being subjected to a hostile living environment and that your mother feels unsafe in her current room. Ask that the room mate be moved. Cite specific examples of her harassment.

If the room mate is not moved immediately, send a copy of your complaint to the Ombudsman, to the State Attorney General and to the State Insurance Commission (if your mom's NH stay is being covered in any part by insurance).

When my mom's NH room mate started banging a glass bottle on her bed table and making threats, I made just the complaint, in writing, that I've outlined above. I wrote the email at 6 AM. The room mate was moved by 10 AM.

Don't be NICE about this.
Helpful Answer (17)
Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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Your mom has rights! Under Federal Law you mom has a right to a compatible roommate! It is common for nursing homes to tell a family that the person making the complaint has to be willing to move. Here are my question, How long ago was this resident moved in with your mom?

I was a professional Ombudsman for over 17 years. Roommate issues was a common complaint I would receive and get involved with. Here's my recommendation:
Tell the home that you are aware of the regulations and that you know your mom has a right to a compatible roommate under Federal Law.

Remind them that you requested that this resident not be moved in with your mom prior to the move because you knew they would not be compatible.

Have a list prepared to give the home with all the issues your mom is having with this roommate.

If they tell you that a move can be made but your mom will be the one moving remind them that at this time your mom knows where her room is and is able to find her room, if a move is made you feel like your mom will never learn how to get to and from her new room.

I would also suggest you call your local Ombudsman Office a file a complaint. The Ombudsman can help you resolve this issue! (Ombudsman are Federally mandated advocates for nursing home residents and their families, there is no cost for their service.)

If the home continues on insisting that your mom be moved tell them that you are going to contact the State and file a formal complaint. If the Ombudsman are involved and they are not able to get the home to honor your mom's rights then often times they (the Ombudsman) will call the State and file the complaint on her behalf.
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Reply to cjwilson
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When a person enters a nursing facility they are not a patient but a resident. The facility is now considered their home and as such is entitled to a safe environment. I am really surprised that this woman hasn't been sent to a Psych ward to have her meds agjusted or new ones introduced.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Holy heaven!

Complain to absolutely anyone who will listen. And if your state or county's website directs you to a central office for this purpose, go right ahead.

Also, either your mother or Medicaid is paying good money for this facility, with whom there is a contract for the provision of safe accommodation to whatever specifications were agreed. The constant presence of a harassing threat is a significant loss of amenity, which you can equate to whatever %age of the money being paid, and a risk to her wellbeing, which you can quantify any way you like. Directors and managers often start paying attention all of a sudden when you say "money."

Speaking of which. I wonder how much they ALF is being paid to handle this problem lady, and by whom? Not that anyone's going to tell you, but it'd be interesting to know.

Yes, the ALF needs to solve this issue without causing further distress and needless disruption to a dementia sufferer's routine. Stuff their policy!* Last in first out, I'd say! Go as nuclear as you need to but don't take your eyes off the prize.

*"We move the complainer," what's more, is a policy clearly designed to deter complaints. And if there isn't a law or at least a regulation to stop ALFs doing that I will be very, very surprised.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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You have a legal advisor,, use them. Mention that you have contacted your lawyer, and that they are :concerned... as are you. Mention that she feels unsafe.. Put it in writing, its a big deal in the long run. Do not let them bully you. But you may have to accept that a move for your mother may be the only solution. Unfair as that is, it may be best for mom if nothing else works.. But I would complain loud and often to others about this, maybe you are seen as the easiest to push around. Sometimes the squeaky wheel gets the grease. If she is MC you are most likely paying the bill.. that gives you some say here
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Reply to pamzimmrrt
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Start with the ombudsman. If you don’t know who your ombudsman is, their name and number is posted with the book that has the state inspection results. Mine is posted in the common meeting room. Mine also attends the monthly family council meetings so I see her often. She will have had other complaints about the new resident. Trust me.
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Reply to rocketjcat
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Talk to the Administrator with your concerns. This woman should be on some meds. Her disrupting everyone is unacceptable. Whole reason for Memory care is to deal with each patients problem.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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I have seen this many time in community care. First step is to reach out to your state ombudsman. They can assist with patient rights.
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Reply to dixielaflair
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My mom was " the new kid on the block" in a nursing home. She had other medical issues, no dementia. So naturally she was put in a room with a problem resident. Mom was afraid of her, she was prone to saying nasty things, stealing and just being intimidating. You can file a complaint with the state, eventually they will get around to schmoozing you about the situation , but by that time, if you complain loud and long the facility will probably rectify it as long as there's another " space" available. You can't give up, best to deal yourself with personnel there. When they figure out you aren't going away, they will do something. The sad part is the state, Medicare, Medicaid, and the facilities are all " in bed together", one hand feeds the other. You are the best advocate. I feel badly for the folks that have no one to stand up for them, they just get warehoused and their care can be questionable in some places if they know there's no one around to fight for them. Good luck, keep being a pain in their ass.
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Reply to Friendtotheend
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My father was placed with a very difficult individual. We tried every way to make it work. On a regular basis, I would request that when a bed opened up in a male room, please move dad. My requests were ignored. I guess I was too nice. When I witnessed a serious and unacceptable outburst by dad's roommate, I reached out to his social worker again, this time with the message that dad had spoken to his attorney about the matter (he had) and that I was giving them a heads up that they would be hearing from his attorney soon. Dad was moved to another room. He was angry that he had to move, as others have mentioned, why should the person with good behavior have to accommodate? However, his new roommate was an absolute doll. They were respectful to one another; couldn't ask for anyone better. Dad only lived four more months, but at least he wasn't living with an out-of-control tyrant any more.
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Reply to lynina2
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