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Periodic Contributor

Moving Mother to Memory Care Issues

My husband and I helped my mother move in with us after my father died eight years ago. Moving my mother to stay with us was under the presumption that it would be a temporary situation until we helped her find a place of her own. As time gone by, we noticed how she could not be by herself. Over time, she has slowly deteriorated with dementia, severe memory and cognitiion loss, and limited mobility.. She is 97 years old.

My husband has been at home with her and has essentially been her caretaker while I can keep my full time job. Well - eight years is starting to take its toll on both of us, especially my husband. Dementia has affected her behavior and she has been very difficult to deal with sometimes. 

As my husband and I planned to take the opportunity to go out of town for a week, I made respite arrangments for her as she cannot be by herself for long periods of time without risking her safety. The dramatic ordeal we went through to get her to the respite facility was something I would not want to experience again. She can be nasty and very hurtful.

I am considering making arrangements to move her into a memory care community, but do not know how to get her there. She becomes very agitated and upset if we even discuss as she is set in her mind that we are "throwing her out of the house". We are not really throwing her out, but I am concerned about our own sanity, our marriage, and I honestly believe it would be better for her as things get a little tense between her and my husband.

 

Open for an suggestions on how to approach this.

 

Many thanks.

 

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I am caring for my 96 year old mother who has dementia.  I am 68, never married so I don't have the problems of my mom relating to a son-in-law.  I also don't have the support of a spouse, which I am sure is so helpful and comforting for you.  However, Jane's response to just do it does not work for me at all.  It would seem that moving your mom to a facility in the manner she recommends would make it more traumatic, for her and you, not less.  You did not mention if you have any help coming in to your home to assist with your mom's care.  It took me a long time to finally decide I needed it but now I have some home health aides caring for mom for a few days a week. Most of the time I am still here in the house when they are here, but it allows me to do other things in the house I need to do, like pay bills, check my email, etc. etc.  Other days I have medical appointments of my own so they can care for mom while I am out.  I think it would also be good for your mom to get used to other people caring for her.  That way, if it ever is necessary to move her to a facility, she would be more likely to accept care from others.  Also, look into programs in your area that support keeping the elderly at home instead of facilities.  Massachusetts has one.  I imagine other states also have them.  They provide home health workers and other services in the home.  We are working on getting my mom signed up with one.  Best of luck and blessings to you all.

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AARP Expert

I'm sorry you haven't received a message about this yet. Summer: where did everybody go, including me??

 

I used to be a geriatric care manager, and making the transition from one place to another can be really hard. There are several sources of advice. Your 97 year old mother isn't going to be a happy camper no matter what, so minimizing her trauma (and the trauma to you and your husband!) is important, but keep expectations low. She won't be happy no matter what. The goal is, as you point out, a happier marriage and quieter home, and appropriate professional care for her. 

 

I'd go to her doctor and ask for something like xanax, one of the benzodiazapines, or something that will calm her for that day of the move. Move her stuff and then move her into the space that will look like her space, with familiar items in it, including pictures and art that she loves. Perhaps plan a day for her to be out with your husband, or someone else whom she trusts, and that's when you move her stuff to the new place and decorate her room. Then put the pill in with the usual pills, and take her there. Tell her you love her, and leave. It's kinda like leaving your child for the first day of preschool. You can cry in the car.

 

After she's ensconced in the facility, you can ask other folks to visit her, like a minister, or anyone she trusts, but you and your husband are not to visit for a while. The facility admission person will tell you this: keep away for something like 2 weeks so she can realize this is her new home.

 

Ask the doctor, ask the admissions person, if there is a social worker, as her, and then just do it.

 

And let us know how it goes.

 

that's my advice. That and $3.50 will buy you a latte. But it's worked for my clients.

 

best of luck!

Jane

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Periodic Contributor

Thank you for your advice, JaneCares. I have found a very possible Memory Care community that I believe would work out well for her. Before I plan ahead, I wamted tp sit down to have a conversation with my mother about finding a place for her to move into. Well, it did not go well. She became extremely upset and angry with me. After her slamming doors, threatening to hit me, saying very nasty things, I tried to appease her to no avail. Trying to reason with her was not going anywhere. After telling her that it would be better for her and all of us, what she was hearing is that I was being selfish and did not want her here and that I was throwing her out.  It was not my intent to upset her or hurt her feelings, but in her mind, this is what I am doing.

 

Yes, this is very difficult and just "do it" is easier said than done.  My tendency will be to let the dust settle and not pursue this further for now, unless she has a change in heart about this issue, which I do not anticipate.

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I would love to see a response to this because our situation is about the same.
Thanks in advance.
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AARP Expert

I just found an article in AARP that addresses this issue:

 

https://www.aarp.org/caregiving/home-care/info-2017/moving-loved-one.html

 

It doesn't really address the emotional aspects of the move, but at the end it has tips that might help the new place feel more familiar.

 

Good luck!

Jane

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