Mom and assisted living

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New Member

Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 2/4/2012 7:09 AM (GMT -6)   
My mom has dementia, but has never actually been diagnosed with ALZ. She is on aricept and namenda which seems to help.  I am currently taking her the meds twice a day because she can't remember to take them properly, even though we have done all the normal things to remind her and even made alarms on her cell.  We are very close and I take care of all her finances, mail, and meds. She had no other physical issues until 2 months ago when she started having a lot of pain in her back/hip and was diagnosed with advanced arthritis in her spine.  She cannot walk to get lunch so I have to buy all her groceries and take her lunch each day.  I have a full time job and I am exhausted.  I have one brother who helps occasionally. 
I found a great assisted living 10 minutes from us with high recommendations from other families we know.  She will go, and love it, and talk about it positively, but when she gets home she is determined not to go back. I cannot continue and I have explained this to her. 
I know there are people who recommend telling them that it's temporary and just getting them in there and hopefully they will like it, or just making them stay once there.  I just don't know if that is a good idea to force them to go?  She has the money to do it.  It would be so much better for her as well, as she has no friends and some days tells me that she hasn't spoken to another human being.  That is just wrong.  This place has classes and 400 residents who are active, trips, water aerobics, etc.  I don't want to force it but some people say its the best thing to do?
Any advice?

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 23551
   Posted 2/4/2012 11:51 AM (GMT -6)   
If your mom is unable to care for herself or keep herself safe, other than hiring a caregiver, an assisted living center is the place she should be. It's never easy putting someone we love in these homes but the alternative is not feasible either. Have you thought about hiring a full time live in caretaker?
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MT Lady
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 969
   Posted 2/4/2012 4:52 PM (GMT -6)   
I agree with Sherry. My mom was diagnosed 8 years ago. She too is on the same meds as you mom and they have kept her quite stable; in fact, she is still able to live in an assisted living facility and they consider her to be "stable." We dreaded the day we had to put her in because she always told us she'd never go. We took her there to visit and her response was "when can I move in?" She has loved living there; she's been there now almost three years and feels very safe and secure and happy. If it is a good facility, as you say it is, with all kinds of activities, I feel it is the best place for them. My mom lived in my home with a caregiver, while I worked full time, and then in my sister's home with the same caregiver, and mom was never, ever happy. I believe she was bored to death, even though she refused to do anything we offered. You will have peace of mind, knowing that she is safe and well cared for. You can go visit, along with your brother, and the most important thing is you can take care of YOU. So many caregives burn out. The latest statistic I heard was 63% of caregivers die before the person they are caring about stress induced illness.
I wish you well
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New Member

Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 2/8/2012 10:12 PM (GMT -6)   
i am a nurse and i can tell you the biggest hurdle is getting her there. after a couple weeks i have seen people with dementia who are mad at first about being there but then they have formed companionships with other people who are also experiencing similar issues. so it really turns out o be the best thing to do for them.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 2386
   Posted 2/16/2012 11:48 PM (GMT -6)   
I was a CNA, and in a nursing facility. I will tell you straight up you NEED to inspect the facility first. Go there without an appointment, and be sure to talk to the residents. Keep your sniffer aware (nose) and if you smell something funny, report it, and visit with others near by. See how long it takes the elderly to be changed.
Many facilities just really don't care, and I worked long days to make sure my residents were at least given humany decency. The facility I worked at was notorius for leaving the elders in their soiled garments. The trick to being a caregiver is not burning out. I've also done home care. I took advice of this site and got my gma the help she needed. You can call DHS and ask for the Elderly intake... you can get respite, that will give you breaks. I used my respite either to run to the hospital and do my chemotherapy or run out to the indoor gargage (which we turned into a rest quaters) and would sleep on the hideaway bed we'd keep out there with bedding, heater, small fridge with osme snacks/drinks, and a computer. But I was usually sleeping if not running to the hospital and getting my iv bags. There are so many things you can do. There is adult day care you can have her do, which gives you half a day to 8 hours to do what you need. You need to take care of yourself too. Oh, and Meals On Wheels will deliver meals too. I had Meals on Wheels come once a day, and they even provided a second meal for me. It was nice to get a break from that one meal. I also would cook and bake once a week - baked enough muffins, breads, etc for a week and cooked that day enough for 2 days of food. Any left overs I stashed in the freezer and at the end of the month I'd make a quiche or a sheperd pie with it like: veggies, cheese, ham... hmm hey make a quiche. Always had those premade pie shells in the fridge :p Another thing I did is about once a week I'd pull out that slow cooker and make a soup or stew
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New Member

Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 3/8/2012 5:16 PM (GMT -6)   
I was a full time caregiver for my Mom in her house for more than a year and finally burned out. With moderate Alz/dementia my Mom had begun to become more withdrawn and lose interest in everything including social gatherings or visits with friends and began to rely on me for entertainment. We all (sibs and I)visited a nice assisted living facility and she loved it, and we did our homework and it was the best we found by far. We explained all about the move and why, which we had to repeat for a month before the move happened. Initially she thrived in her new environment even though for a few weeks her confusion was understandably much worse. She loved the stimulation, she got much more exercise as in this environment she actually will use her rollerator because she's not the only one. But lately, I think as the disease progresses, she has started repeating herself a lot, wondering when she will becoming home which is no longer a choice. We have been clear as to this, but it is promptly forgotten. She reasons that if only we gave her her car back she could live back in her home alone again... My heart is broken when she brings these things up because it seems sometimes that only because of my wanting my life back and needing to go back to my home on the other side of the country is the reason she is where she is. Guilt can seep in still, but I have to keep telling myself that she is in the best place for her, and that when she grieves she is not grieving her loss of home but the loss of her old self which Alz took from her. So it may be hard but the best thing is my advice. Do not look at the move as forcing her but that it is the best option that you as her caregiver can make for the both of you. Also, she can be more independent within the more safe environment of assisted living; after a while all I could do was point out her limitations (no driving, no cooking, etc) which were often met with a challenge. She does have many more friends now, and a regular schedule which is very important.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 6448
   Posted 3/10/2012 11:33 AM (GMT -6)   
Gundrun; your sentence, "Guilt can seep in still, but I have to keep telling myself that she is in the best place for her, and that when she grieves she is not grieving her loss of home but the loss of her old self which Alz took from her" is so right on. This is the way most of my family has been feeling and you definitely put the words to it. Thanks!
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