Posted 9/12/2007 1:09 AM (GMT -6)
I am a nurse in a Assisted Living facility where most of the residents have some level of dementia.
I commend you for taking the steps you have to insure your Mother's safety. I know it's still a difficult decision. Everything you describe regarding your Mom sounds very typical in comparison to the residents and families I work with. I don't believe I've ever admitted a resident in 15years
that wanted to move into a long term care facility. Even those residents whose dementia is
end stage and can no longer verbalize any negative feelings do usually have an adjustment period.
On the average it takes 2 - 4 weeks at least for a person with dementia to adapt to new surroundings. So the bad news is things could get worse before they better....not always, but usually. The good news is that they do usally get better as the person makes the adjustment.
She may continue to lash out at you. Be strong and remember you are doing the right thing.
You may feel like you've been raked over the coals after a visit with her, but this probably will
improve over time. Each case of dementia is different, yet there are so many simularities. I don't know if there are any caregiver support groups in your area, but if there is I think it would be helpful.
Educate yourself as much as you can on the disease. It will help you deal with Mom's ups and downs. It will guide you in the stages of dementia. When you see or are alerted to a new behavior/ symptom you'll have the knowledge of where this fits within the stages. We often find it beneficial at our facility to ease residents into this transistion. I see you mentioned going to lunch at the facility with your Mom. Perhaps you may want to try that again. Take her around the facility. You might arrange to have her join in an activity at the facility as well as lunch. Of course the bottom line is although these things may help they most likely will not smooth the way entirely.
You have come to that difficult time in life when you begin "Parenting your parent". It's not always
easy, but you can do it. You'll have lots of help with the staff at the new facility. Dementia is a horrible disease. It eventually robs people of who they are. Yet, although their lives are changed
they can still have a good quality of life. They can still enjoy visiting with family, even though
they think you're their sister instead of their daughter. They can still enjoy a good meal, even
if they don't remember and/or refuse to use utensils and just use their fingers. They can still
enjoy a good laugh even if they don't remember it a few seconds later. They can still make
and enjoy new friendships even if they can't remember their friends names. They can still find comfort in long cherished belongings tucked away in their own room even if they can't find that room
without help. : )
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