Alzheimers Patients and the Adjustment to Assisted Living

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 38
   Posted 5/13/2011 8:44 PM (GMT -7)   
My siblings and I just placed our mother, age 87, into the best assisted living facility we could find. She appears to be in Stage 5-6 and has deteriorated rapidly over the winter months.

While living at home, she seldom dressed without coaxing. She lost all interest in her appearance, her house, and the things she love. She was lost in the past, only finding pleasure in looking at old photo albums. She is in a good deal of pain from degenerative disk diseases, and found only moderate relief from cortisone shots and medication.

I would greatly appreciate any input on adjustment to assisted living. She is having a very hard time, and while it has only been four days, I am a bit concerned.

She calls me, demands to be taken home, says she will sue us, hangs up on me. The ALF told my sister and I (our brothers live elsewhere) that it's best if we give her time to adjust.

I'm sure much of this is not unusual. But I'd like to hear your experiences.

Thanks. It's been a tough 12 months for me, caring for my mother while my husband had prostate cancer and surgery for an aortic aneurysm. I'm not complaining, but I know I've got to manage my stress better.

Thank you.
Mother, 87, has Alzheimers. Share caretaker duties with younger sister.

Husband, 62. Gleason 6, PSA was 6.6 in 2/2010
RP Surgery 8/2010
PSA now 0.05 11/2010

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Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 22852
   Posted 5/14/2011 7:59 AM (GMT -7)   
It's rough when having to make that transition from home to an ALF. You just never know how they are going to react. My Gma did fairly well but in the beginning she did not want to be there - not that I blame her. I just made it a point to visit her every day, sometimes a couple of times a day. I would take her out to lunch or shopping. She was not as far gone as your mother tho so I'm sure that made it a little easier.

Taking care of someone with AZ can cause a lot of stress especially when the caretaker is dealing with things themselves. I had a lot of health issues while trying to care for my Gma not to mention a wayward teen demanding my attention as well. Talk about stress!

My suggestion is give her some time. It's a rough transition for everyone involved. Try to get out there to see her as much as possible and do things with her that she enjoys, even if it's looking at old photos.

Hang in there and please let us know how things go okay?
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New Member

Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 5/15/2011 1:17 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Mimi, sorry to hear about your mom, it is very hard to make the decision to do that. I had my aunt with us and after 1 1/2 yrs had to move her to a ALF with a Alz unit. She didn't like it but I went every couple days and took her to run errands with me and to lunch. We hung photos on her walls so it was more homey.

The one thing I recommend to anyone with Alz family members is to go to the local Alz meetings as often as you can. They will help you with coping skills, teach you things to do and not do to make dealing with them easier.

What I did stop doing was bringing my aunt back to my house cuz she wanted to stay 'home' and would get very mad when I wanted to take her back. So we stuck to neutral places and after a few weeks it was pretty much okay.

Learn to change the subject quick, when my aunt would get on something that was not good, I would say something like 'did you see that dog?' .... she loved animals and I knew it would get her attention even if there was no dog but she would forget what she was rambling about and I could take the conversation somewhere else.

Every day will bring a new challenge but hang in there you are not alone... I was always amazed at the people that would come by can speak to my aunt and commend me on taking care of her.

look for the special moments and cherish them... it will make the bumps not so bad..

have a beautiful day
Wife and friend of someone with chronic pain. Mates and caregivers need support and we can help each other to make life less stressful and look for the Rainbow in each storm that we have to endure. Dancing in the rain with our partner will help both to cope with the pain they face each waking moment. We may not feel their pain but we feel for those that we love....

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 38
   Posted 5/16/2011 8:28 AM (GMT -7)   
Thank you, Sherry and Tryin2cope2 for those really good tips.

We have learned in the past two days that my mother shows one face to us, her daughters, and another to the staff at the ALF. They believe she is doing fine, and seems to spend a fair amount of time talking to other residents. The father of one of my close high school friends and the mother of one of my former co-workers are there, and since she shares a fairly uncommon first name with the other, they have become meal partners.

When my mother sees us, she gets angry and weepy. This leads me to think there is some wisdom in the ALF director's advice to give her some time to adjust.

Since it appears my husband's prostate cancer was caught in time, and his Triple A surgery is now behind us, I am hoping I can start to relax a little and take care of me.

Mimi in Wisconsin
Mother, 87, has Alzheimers. Share caretaker duties with younger sister.

Husband, 62. Gleason 6, PSA was 6.6 in 2/2010
RP Surgery 8/2010
PSA now 0.05 11/2010

MT Lady
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 948
   Posted 5/16/2011 1:56 PM (GMT -7)   
Dear Mimi,
I cannot begin to stress enough how important it is that you take care of YOU first. You have had SO much on your plate and I realize you are not complaining but the fact is you have had a lot of stress in your life and we all know what stress can do. With that said... my mom has Alzheimer's, was diagnosed over 8 years ago and lived with me the first year. I became very ill and could no longer do it and so she moved in with my sister for 3-1/2 years and now is in ALF for two years. She is at about the same stage as your mom, maybe a little further along. I have two sisters, one is an RN that works at the facility.
What I can tell you about AD is that some of what you mention about your mother is the disease...most patients do withdraw. The disease makes them very insecure. All the confusion and memory loss is scary and can cause severe depression, also anger for all they have lost.
Looking at photos is a very common interest in AD patients. For them, memories of the past are usually still with them and so it is a piece of their lives that they still have. Try to find as many photo albums as you can and when you visit, sit and look at them with your mom. They will probably bring her comfort.
I am so very fortunate. The transition into ALF for my mom was unbelievably great, but my sister does work there and I think that made it so easy, mom knowing that one of her daughters was there. We also visit quite often, my other sister and I, one of us is there every single day and sometimes two of us are there together.
If you have other questions, please feel free to post.
I wish you well
Miriam (I too am "Mimi" :-)  )

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 38
   Posted 5/19/2011 7:41 PM (GMT -7)   
Oh, thank you Miriam, AKA Mimi, I do appreciate your kind and thoughtful post.

Taking care of me has been the hardest part. I have a very demanding job that keeps me occupied so I am rarely depressed, but it does mean less alone time.

Mimi in Wisconsin
Mother, 87, has Alzheimers. Share caretaker duties with younger sister.

Husband, 62. Gleason 6, PSA was 6.6 in 2/2010
RP Surgery 8/2010
PSA now 0.05 11/2010

New Member

Date Joined Sep 2015
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 9/4/2015 12:58 PM (GMT -7)   
Glad I've joined this forum as reading everyone's posts helps me.

My mom has vascular dementia -- a bit different than ALZheimer's since she doesn't go back into the past. What she has though is a LOT of anxiety and fear.

I had her in her condo for the last year with 24/7 companions because of her fear but it was breaking her bank account. It couldn't go on even thought she liked having someone with her 24/7.

I found a very nice, upscale luxury assisted living facility. She has a beautiful one bedroom apartment and can wander the halls walk up and down and go to the lobby and activities.

IT's been three days and she's miserable. I live 15 miles away and am working so have not been running up there and she wants me to stay overnight, which is exhausting. When I go there she doesn't want me to leave, so to Pop in is difficult because she cries when I go.

I am going on vacation next week for my birthday because the last year has been very difficult for me -- managing her finances and mine.

I am single and wonder if I should've just figured out a way to take her in, but I knew inevitably with her dementia I'd have to move her anyway.

This ALF told me that it's better to get them in while they can bond in the community before they move to another stage of their mental state.

I feel guilty all the time like I should be "rescuing her" or I should've taken her in. Or OR Or.

I always thought I would take care of my mother in the last days of her life, not have strangers takign care of her, but I realized I'd have to ENTIRELY give up my work and my life to do it.

I fear I am going to have regrets when she passes away.
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