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Hi all, my mother does not recognize that she has dementia. She's still taking care of herself in her own home but she's isolated herself and I see it taking a toll on her memory. I see her most days but I live 20 minutes away and it's wearing on my like crazy. She's gotten to be very short tempered and uncooperative when I try to help her. I'd like her to move into independent living in a senior community that also has assisted living and memory care and that's closer to me so she can have some interaction with other people but she's resistant. The community director understands her situation and is onboard with Mom going into independent living rather than assisted. But I also worry that Mom will still sit in her apartment by herself and than neither of us will be better off. I've taken Mom on a tour but it didn't help much. She says that she wants to be active but her actions and words don't match. I've thought about day care (which I know I'd also have her take her to kicking and screaming) but it would be an hour round trip twice a day for me. Does anyone who has been in this boat have any advice for me? I'm afraid to do nothing and I'm afraid to make the wrong decision.

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Wow Holly, your story is so much like mine, except that my brother is the one who visits Mom.
My brother placed Mom in an assisted living facility about 3 months ago. When he went to visit her after a month, she had repacked everything thinking she was going home. My brother spent 3 hours unpacking everything.
She has been there 3 months now and is still adjusting. My brother received an email that Mom was hysterical and wanted to die. When my brother went to visit, she seemed fine. He found out that the facility had prescribed a medication that wasn't the best for her. My brother took her to the nurse practitioner who determined that Mom was doing very well. Bottom line - check with the director every day! Give it time, it will get better.
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P.S. Mom was asking when she could go home. That was hard and I'm sure that I haven't heard the end of it. I searched on this when I needed some help on trying to answer her so I know now that this is very common. I also saw, then, that other caregivers have been advised to stay away during the transition process. I didn't receive advise from the staff at my mother's new home but fellow caregivers who told me that she would need me a lot during the first week. I've spent more time than normal with her in the last 11 days. I honestly think that was a positive because everything was strange to her with the exception of having her "stuff" in her new apartment. If I'd gone missing I really don't think that would have been an aid in her getting settled and I've been able to see the particulars that have been wearing on her and have been able to help reconcile those with/for her.
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Good news, Holly
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One more update. Mom was REALLY angry with me until other residents started coming out to meet her. She softened and seemed to actually enjoy the new place for a few days. Then she took a huge turn downward and didn't know where she was and called my brother and told him she'd been kidnapped. She called me one evening and told me that someone had gone into her apartment and stolen her purse and she was about to call the police. I headed over there and found her purse on the floor of her pantry and this seemed to give her much comfort and she's been mostly on the upswing since then. Sure, some down moments, but today I went to visit and she wasn't in her apartment so I went hunting. Found her playing Bingo with a group of 15 ladies. Mission (at least temporarily) accomplished. Mom is getting interaction with lots of other people and is slowly getting settled in. I've also realized that I feel much better being able to interact with my mother's new neighbors and the wonderful staff of her community. I didn't foresee that latter at all.
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I know it's hard, but just remember that she will be well cared for and that's the important thing. Stay strong!
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Thats great news! I'm sure the staff has seen this before and will help you handle Saturday morning.
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I promised that I would come back with an update and here I am. I put down a deposit on an apartment in the senior community that I mentioned in my original question. This was without Mom's knowledge. I'm moving her in on Saturday. She has expressed in the past that she does not want to be moved into a "nursing home" so...yesterday I told her that her name had been drawn in a raffle at the community and that she has 3 free months to try the place out and we're going to move some of her furniture in. She was onboard with the idea yesterday. Today the memory is gone so I'll work on it again tomorrow when I go to get some things packed up. Honestly, this has been the hardest thing I've ever had to do. Prayers for the move on Saturday morning would be so very appreciated.
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Yes, jeannegibbs, I promise to let everyone know!
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Holly, would do us a favor? Would you come back and tell us what you decide to do and how it worked out? We learn from each other!
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Thanks for all of the very helpful responses! I truly needed a voice of experience and reason (since my current state doesn't provide that :) and I received all of those. Much appreciated!!
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See her once a week, not every day. Once she is "staring at the four walls" then suggest she try the independent living apartments.
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Your mother may feel a sense of security because you are making the trip to see her most days. Can you come up with a "therapeutic fib" - a white lie told for her benefit - as to why you can't make it out to her as frequently? This may work on two fronts - if she thinks you won't be there most days she may feel unsafe so isolated and be more agreeable to moving and if she's not too far gone dementia wise - she might still care enough about the hardship your frequent visits are causing you. This last one may be a long shot as it seems the greater the dementia the less they can reason beyond what it takes to lives their lives as they think they want and can - in spite of it being completely unrealistic.
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What I did with my Dad, I first started out having caregivers come to his home around the clock as he was a fall risk plus he didn't know how to cook. He loved the attention.

I was lucky, my Dad was the one to decide he needed out of his house because of the stairs and all the maintenance involved. I found him a fantastic Independent Living facility and he was able to bring along two of his caregivers [one worked M-F and the other on Sat] and we shorten their hours to 6 hours just mornings. This helped Dad make the transition so much easier.

Dad wasn't much on socializing, but he went without any coaching to the 5pm dinner in the main dining room. He looked forward to seeing his tablemates. I figure at 95 he could do what he wanted.... if he wanted to join in the activities that was fine... or if he wanted to stay in his recliner reading or watching TV, that was ok, too.

Dad liked the idea that he really wasn't alone, that if he needed help he could use his medical pendent, or at times he would keep his apartment door open so people passing by with call in to him a "hello".
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Wow, we have two things in common, my name is Holly and my Mom went through the exact same thing. My Dad passed away two years ago and Mom has slowly started showing signs of dementia. My brother was with her (I live cross country), but it got to the point where he was getting angry and frustrated with her almost every day and he realized that wasn't good. He placed her in a beautiful facility but it wasn't easy. She went kicking and screaming and after two months still continues to cry when he visits. We have both agreed however that this is the safest and best place for her to be. We get regular reports and the interesting thing is that when my brother doesn't visit she seems to be better. They check on all the residents and if they feel they are isolating themselves too much, they get them involved in something. It can be anything from sewing, artwork, or even games - which my Mom really enjoys. The move may be difficult but you cannot be there for her 24 hours and that could be dangerous. I would definitely place her in assisted living that has a memory care unit for her down the road. It will be such a peace of mind for you and she may actually enjoy it.
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Two things. I would get your mom to a geriateic psychiatrist asap for an assessment of the paranoia and her general mental health. Thre are meds that can work wonders for the symptomatic aspects of dementia, like depression, agitation and paranoia.

Second, we got mom to try out independent living at this time of year as the harsh North East winter was about to arrive. She had become quite fearful of storms and we all agreed that she would " temporarily" relocate for the winter. By the time spring roled around, she wanted no part of going back to her isolated suburban home.
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Thanks for your reply. I should add that she has been diagnosed with dementia but has not been cooperative with memory testing so that's as far as the diagnosis has gone. She also has paranoia and thinks that people are stealing things from her such as the dirt from her yard. I truly believe that she has spent too much time over the years by herself. My father passed away 40 years ago and most of her friends were married so she stopped having a social life. By isolating herself I think she will only continue to decline. And having me be the center of her world is not enough.
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Your mom might be an introvert who enjoys her own company, there's nothing wrong with that. I think your plan to move her to a place with continuing care is excellent, even if she only makes use of the resources occasionally, and it will take the pressure off of you to be her sole support.
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