My sister has been caring for our mom for a year. My sister has lung cancer and can no longer care for our mom. We moved mom into an ALF a week ago. She is out of control with anger. She bangs her walker and screams profanity at us and her caregivers. She refuses to go to the dining room to eat. She told me to leave and never come back. All she wants is to go home.
We are heart broken and don't know what to do. Will she adjust over time? The Director has asked us to not visit for a while so maybe mom will adjust.
Can anyone offer advice or hope that my mom will adjust?
She cannot live at home alone. She cannot prepare food and will not bathe. She has lost short term memory and cannot remember her husband passed away over a year ago. She ask us at least 30 maybe 50 times a time where her husband is!
Help! We are so upset.

There's no real way to determine if/when someone will adjust to a new "normal." When you say AL, is this MC or just AL? If not MC, hopefully they have a wing for that - she may be headed in that direction.

General rule is to avoid visits for at least 2 weeks. I did all the "prep" work to facilitate having everything in order and found a nice place close to where I live, but left the actual move to my brothers. Rather than try to move everything (it was winter!), I bought new furniture, so they just had to pack some items with her and bring her. We had to use a fib to get the move to happen.

The facility ordered Lorazepam. I don't know if they had to use it or not. It was only "as needed" and was never refilled (I managed her medications, other than that one time.) I do know it worked well later when she had a UTI and developed SERIOUS sun-downing! I was there some evenings after she took it. Just enough to take the edge off, but not keep her doped up. Your mother might benefit from some kind of medication, just to calm her down.

If/when you attempt to visit again, watch for signs of anxiety or anger. If she gets upset and nasty, excuse yourself and leave. Try to time visits during her "best" times of the day. Staff can probably guide you with that.

As others have said, try to avoid repeating that her husband has passed. With dementia, they won't remember, so they will ask again and again and potentially get upset each time. Try to give her a plausible answer - putting him somewhere that would seem "normal" to her. Through various comments and chats, I determined that mom was living about 40 years ago. If possible, try to figure out where in time she is - that can guide your answers too. My mother never asked about dad, but she did start asking about her mother (one of the ways I determined where in time she was at!)

As more and more of the recent memories are lost, eventually they forget they were married or had children. There are others who join the forum, upset that a parent doesn't know who they are. So long as you can maintain a good relationship with her, it doesn't matter if she forgets that. Most have found they have a good rapport, but are upset that they are no longer one of the kids, in some cases, the favored kid!

Hoping that she will either calm down on her own, or that some medication can help. Hoping all the best for your sister too! She should definitely wait to visit, even longer due to her condition.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to disgustedtoo

Sounds like a very common and typical reaction. It took my MIL 2 solid months to settle in. She was as mad as a hornet and “couldn’t understand why she’d been committed to the looney bin” She was also as mad as a hornet at her home with live in help, so now she’s safe and has medical staff around.
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Reply to DILhagen2

Yes - she will adjust -do as requested by the Director and keep away until they decide she is more settled. She will probably have a hissy fit every time you do try and go so, its a case of keeping away again, then trying visiting again until she settles in. Its very hard, and obviously you do not want to see your mother "distressed" but please don't feel guilty about not going, its an act they (just about) all put on when first living in assisted care, and it can take time (or understanding of a pandemic) but she will settle and you have made the best choice for her and your sister in the long run. Keep strong - you'll get through this.
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Reply to TaylorUK

This is a very hard thing to deal with. I see in my own mom such a huge change in her behavior over the last year. You sure did not have to endure covid to feel a 'sickness'. Mother was safe at YB's home in her apartment, but YB wouldn't allow her to leave the house for anything but a drs visit twice and he would take her to the grocery store and leave her sitting in the car for 1/2 while he did her shopping. She has become VERY depressed.

Her demeanor now is one of total giving up. Her beloved Sr Center opens again next week and while we thought that was what was keeping her going--that hope she'd get to go to BINGO, she now doesn't even want to go.

Your mom is in a new 'normal' and she's mad. Some judicious use of sedatives may help her to calm down and accept what she cannot change. We had to put MIL on tranqulizers when she was in a rehab facility last year as she was SO anxious and angry.

It's kind of like a child going to school when they do not want to. They HAVE to, so adjustment is necessary.

Would she accept some talk therapy? Even if she is just complaining about her current state of affairs that may help.

Ask the facility what YOU can do to help. I found that visiting mom in rehab everyday just enraged her, I don't know why. When my visits ended, she calmed down and I just didn't see her for 12 weeks. The other sibs picked up the 'slack'.

It's sad, but it's not your fault. Don't bleed for mom. It doesn't help.
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Reply to Midkid58

Not visiting is the right idea and I am relieved the Director suggested it. She may or she may not adjust but at some point she may need to go to memory care, and she may require medication. I am so sorry, and can imagine that you are beside yourself with both the illness of Sister, and with Mom's reactions to having to go into LTC. This isn't a "fix it" moment. Now you are all in survival mode, as is Mom whether or not she has the ability to realize it. Take this week to speak with your Sister about HERSELF. You cannot know where this is going with Mom. Nor can we. We can only wish you the very best, and I hope you will update us as you go along.
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Reply to AlvaDeer

She'll have to, won't she?

Good luck to your sister.

You did the right thing :)

They all want to go home, so that means nothing in all honesty... keep up the good work and....

Stay Strong!!!!
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to ZippyZee

It takes time. You did the right thing.
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Reply to LoopyLoo

My LO left her care to two of us as POAs. One of us assumed she’d be dead in 6 months, so was willing to proclaim faithful unfailing care for her entire life, and after her demise, that person would depart to a distant southern state to live happily ever after.

The other of us, was me. Knowing I’D BE AROUND to actually TAKE CARE of LO, the other POA took what was of value from her house and left town.

We had mutually decided that we would place LO in a very good AL residence near ME, and that was fine. I knew when she went that transition would be difficult, and she quickly became an “elopement risk”, and as moved to the Memory Care Unit in the AL.

Soon after her rocky placement, I became acquainted with the “behavioral management services” in her residence, provided by a wonderful calm gentle psychiatrist. That person provided medication management, and it was the beginning of a good year and a half of contentment and honestly, peaceful comfort.

HER SENSE OF HUMOR and basic personality remained intact, but she relaxed and ate and slept well. Covid has now ravaged and ruined EVERYTHING, but her care has remained constant, and she has done as well as I ever could have expected.

You have made your decision to place your mother based on SAFETY and LOVE. You have reconciled yourselves to the fact that NO OTHER SOLUTION had emerged that would have cared for her and also allowed you and your sister to continue to take care of your own needs.


I strongly recommend that you contact social services in her residence and ask that you mother be seen and formally assessed. Address your concerns about her actions and behavior with a specialist. Request that there be a trial of the lowest mood stabilizer available. If there is no psychiatric/behavioral specialist on site, ask if you may find one and bring someone to your mother.

Meantime, please keep in mind that her present behavior is not a personal attack, but a temporary tragic reaction in the only way she thinks she has.

Yes, she will adjust, but it may take time and attention. Follow staff recommendations and ask staff to guide you in the best ways to increase her confidence in her surroundings.

You have already done a lot of the hardest stuff. May her life become more peaceful, and may you become more peaceful too.
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Reply to AnnReid

Easy to say she will adjust. The question is how long will it take?
Mom is getting the care she needs.
I am sure that there are medications that will calm moms' anxiety it may take a while to find the correct dose and medication. Give her a chance to settle in. I am surprised that they let you visit if she is under quarantine.
I hope your sister is getting the care she needs as well. Your sister is going to need more support than your mom will.
By the way when mom asks where dad is tell her he went to the store, he is out in the yard, he is at the doctor's anything other than ...he died. When a person with dementia hears that each time they go through grief just as if it is the first time they are learning of the death.
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Reply to Grandma1954

People with dementia don't adjust very easily to change. If often produces the very reaction you are seeing in your mom. The admin is correct that you should not visit or even call her for about 2 weeks, as contact with her family is something that (for now) triggers her. She will adjust. With short-term memory impairment her life is like 50 First Dates or Groundhog Day. Also, it is advised that whenever she asks where her husband is, you are not morally or ethically bound to tell her the truth, because it will cause her to grieve all over again. Tell her what works in the moment to keep her calm. My MIL has the same issue and she will sometimes forget that her husband passed away 3 years ago. Teepa Snow has some very good videos about dementia on YouTube and it will be helpful to understand your mom's behaviors and how to best engage with her. You have done the right thing for your mom so I hope you can have peace in your heart over it.
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Reply to Geaton777

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