Hello all,

I posted a question about having to move my mother against her wishes (but with her Doctor’s wishes). And I truly appreciate all of the help, support and guidance I received.

She has now moved into the residence and my oh my it has been difficult. The moment she was told that she is now living at the Assisted living residence that she chose she started to walk to the car to leave. “i’m Going home!”. The employees and my brother stopped her from leaving. My brother and I managed to get her involved in a few activities that she seemed to enjoy. The moment an activity is over she is looking for her purse and the door out.

We had set up her suite using a lot of her furniture and it looks quite nice. We have tried to calm her by saying to just try it out for a little while. Like a great full service resort. Give it a chance. If it doesn’t work then we will see what we can all do. This seems to calm her a little bit but of course every noise is horrible, the bed is uncomfortable (even though the bed and sheets are hers from her home)etc.

I am currently typing this up in a recliner in her suite where she is trying to fall asleep. I am hoping that. By staying with her tonight, she will see a familiar face in the morning and feel less dead set against this move. I feel bad because we tricked her into coming here. And I feel bad because she truly is hating everything about living here. If I had never moved her we would be home right now. Albeit with me stressed and worried with all the what if’s... want if tonight is the night she wanders, what if she gets sick, etc.

She is in mid stage Alzheimer’s and is such a sweet woman but feels trapped and tricked.

Did I make a huge error? Will she adjust to Assisted living? Or am I stuck sleeping in her recliner every night.

Oh this whole thing is so horrible.


thank you all in advance for your help, advise and personal stories.

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Reading your post...I am relating to everything you are saying and I feel your pain!

We also "tricked" our mother who has Alz to get her in or she wouldn't have gone at all because FOREVER she demanded she would get help "if " she needed it.

Because she has some back issues, the doctor ordered PT, which we had set -up at the day of her first therapy, after the therapy, I took her to her room, ( two siblings from out of state were there to welcome here with me) Ok .. that didn't go well! She had what we call in the south, a hissy fit, for about an hour and half. We were mortified that we didn't have plan B. We did not have her room looking like home but a beautiful hotel because we wanted her to think she was there for a short period of time for PT. She wasn't buying it.
The staff and ex Director at this AL are AMAZING and after a while, sent us on our way.. of course we are all in tears and feeling like the most horrible children. They gave her something to calm her down and after a few hours, they sent us pictures of her in the dining room smiling with the staff and other residents.

We were told, we needed to give her time to acclimate and our presence would trigger her ability ( her ride) to go home. She did the same thing, threatened to call police, a cab, etc.. We continued to stay away. Had to take her phone out of the room because she has tried to call me and neighbors ( since I am local) and she even borrows other resident's phones or IF they leave an office door open, she would call me....often times leaving very hateful and pitiful messages. I know it sounds cruel, but I wouldn't answer... because they didn't want her to have a meltdown. .. and of course, I was the one having meltdowns! The psych nurse at AL told me it was like leaving a kindergarten child because family is the trigger... but my mother is now participating in activities she hasn't done in years and actually from the pictures they send me, has met new friends, participated with group exercise, bingo, etc. vs sitting at home alone in a dark room doing who knows what. That brings me joy and reminds me that doing the right thing is most often the hardest thing!

We have hired a sitting service for the sundowning times so she won't walk out door for a few hours in afternoons and evening until she totally adjust.

I went for the first time yesterday in the morning to see her ( mornings are better because of sundowning starting in early afternoon) and I was a nervous wreck..but she had calmed down and we had a nice visit. I told her I had a work appointment and she insisted she wanted to go home ...of course, but I told her I would get with doctor and see her on Monday... just kept deflecting and kissed and hugged her.
I thought I would cry my eyes out, but she has gained some weight because of eating GOOD food 3 times a day, taking a shower everyday and all of the personal attention she is getting there.
ALL Of this to say... this is NOT a fun journey ... I would give your mom some space to adjust because every time she sees you, she knows you have the ability to take her back home. I am reminding myself of this.. Mother has been there almost 6 weeks and it is still raw... but I see progress and we have to remind ourselves.. we have to keep our parents safe even though they can't understand and you have to do whatever you can to make sure they are taken care of.... hang in there !
Helpful Answer (11)

You have not said how long Mum has been in her new home. If it is less than a month, perhaps you need to step back and let her find her way. She will complain, but eventually she will settle in.

You cannot sleep in a recliner for days on end. It will not encourage Mum to settle in, nor will it give you the rest you need.
Helpful Answer (8)
MTL1974 Jun 2019
Hello Tothill,
thank you for your reply. She has only just gotten to the residence today. Or I guess now that it is about 1am here, she got to the residence yesterday.

Just need to to know that my mother is safe and will eventually feel more at home at the residence. hopefully not wishful thinking.
You did not make a huge error.

And your mother - I hope this doesn't make your heart sink - is doing well.

What you're seeing in her is what you'd expect when a very elderly person with impaired thinking skills is all shook up. You have done the right thing in bringing familiar items for her, but all the same - the place, the routine, the noises, even the smell, everything is new to her, it's a huge change, and it's going to take time for her to settle down.

To make it even more fun, she can't process all the reasons *why* she's feeling so unsettled. She can't, as you and I would, wake and know where she is and what she's doing there; so she does what you do when you're anxious and uncertain - you take exception to what's around you and you head home.

Staying overnight... try it and see, it might help, but this is not something you want to make a habit of; and make sure that anything you do dovetails with the facility's own routine. That routine is what will help her adjust more than anything.

Lavish love and reassurance on her, and then hold steady. All shall be well, all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.
Helpful Answer (8)

When I first started reading your first post/question I was wondering why she was in Assisted Living not Memory Care, and I had not gotten half way through.
She is where she should be now for her safety.
She will adjust
You will adjust
It will take time for both of you.
She will say she hates you
She may say she hates it where she is
She will say she wants to "go home"
Home is in her mind when and where she felt whole, secure and well.
Reassure her that she is safe, that you love her and that she is home.
Helpful Answer (6)

You did the right thing by moving her to a place that can provide her with all the care she needs. Her needs are only going to increase. Whereas this is your one and only mother, the staff have dealt with mothers such as yours many, many times. Step back and let the AL staff do their jobs.

Before you go, ask the director how long it usually takes for someone to settle down and agree to stay away during that time and ask to check in with the director - or whoever your point person will be - by phone or email once a week or so. Trust that the staff will call you if something out of the ordinary happens and they need your assistance.

Use the time off to get away, take a mental health holiday, enjoy some peace and quiet, and learn to refocus your life. Worrying and coming up with what-if scenarios isn't going to do you or your mother any good.
Helpful Answer (4)

No you did not make an error. There comes a time it becomes what they need, not what they want. It will take her a while to adjust. Maybe come and take her to the common area to meet other residents. Maybe have lunch with her in the dining room. But, also allow her to get used to routine. Mornings are usually hectic. My Moms AL had entertainment every so often. Be there and make sure she participates.
Helpful Answer (3)

Oh yeah , My mom , 76 , was with me when we visited , made the payment , a couple of family members helped move things . I spent the first night with her. It’s a very comfortable room , very nice place . Good food . The first month was pretty much her enjoying meeting people and cutting up , she enjoyed the activities . She’d been there a month and thought it had only been a day or two and at being there 3 mo now she still thinks that but now I have gone thru episodes of how much she hates that place ect ect . The only thing I can agree with her on is that she misses her home and that’s more than valid . To add to injury her husband passed away about a mo ago , he was in a nursing home. When I see how lost she gets at the AL or when I take her out it makes me know she is in the right place and I have a little peace if mind when I leave her . I’ve started backing off on visiting so much . This week she has still mentioned about going home but she’s started saying nicer things about the AL. Unfortunately there’s not another choice for her rt now and we will just have to deal with it . It’s such a guilt producing thing to hear them and it is like having a child at daycare or sending them off to summer camp. I think it’s a guilt ridden trip no matter how nice the place is . She’s safe , I m in the medical field and I feel like I have a good intuition about the facility , love the other residents . If she were home she’d be sitting on her couch in the dark stuck in rumination mode . Now she s in a nice , caring environment, she can socialize if she chooses and she can ruminate with others if she wants . She will always find something wrong with whatever is going on at the moment .
Helpful Answer (3)

Listen, this is a terribly sad situation you are finding yourself in, and the guilt you're feeling goes with the territory. It's not warranted, mind you, but it goes with the territory. You have NO OTHER choice but to place your mother in a safe environment for her own good...........THAT is why she's in an ALF, not because you're a mean & hateful daughter! She needs round-the-clock care and that is what she is paying for at the ALF. There are 3 shifts of caregivers to provide that care, and locked doors to prevent her from wandering around and hurting herself or getting lost. Of course she's going to kick & scream........and that's going to make you feel like the most horrendous daughter on earth, but it's just not true. Your dear mom is ill and you are taking care of her to the very best of your ability. She will adjust to life in the ALF. Stop sleeping over there or she won't. Let the team of caregivers help her adjust, and you just be the loving daughter by calling/visiting and bringing little gifts over to her. A new blouse, a box of candy, a book or magazine (if she's still able to read), that kind of thing. Reassure her that you love her very much and that you'll be back again soon for another visit. Then leave and do some self-care for YOU so that you don't wind up having a nervous breakdown over all of this. Set up a schedule of when you will visit and how long you will stay; ie: Mon Weds Fri from 12-2 pm and you'll stay for lunch. That way, you'll establish a routine that will help BOTH of you adjust to the new situation. Structure prevents chaos. Once you set up the rules, both you and your mom will have an easier time of things because you'll know what to expect.

All the best as you navigate this difficult journey, my friend. My heart hurts for you, I know how tough this all IS.
Helpful Answer (3)

Hi 1974. I’m sorry your Mom had a difficult day at the AL. Hopefully after she has some rest she’ll feel a little better and then each day even more settled. I’m sorry I don’t have any real advice to offer, however I do know the feeling of stress and worry all the time. Sending you and your Mom best wishes and hugs. It’s all so difficult.
Helpful Answer (2)

I feel the same way. If someone told me 6 or 7 years ago I would place my mother in assisted living I would say no way. But honestly she has a nice apartment and she does so much with them. If she was with me with a aid all day she wouldn’t get all the activities she gets now. After my dad passed she was sitting home watching games shows all day long. She wouldn’t leave the house. Now she’s getting out and about. We have to try to remember Alzheimer’s isn’t like taking care of a parent with a physical illness. They need constant supervision day and night. At least that what I tell myself.
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