Transitioning mom into assisted living

I have been dealing with dementia in both of my parents for quite a while now, although we really didn't know that my father had it until the last few months. He was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia and succumbed to it last Wednesday. My mother has Alzheimer's and I need to move her closer to me. Her neurologist believes this is good timing for her to go into assisted living. She is currently between stages 4-5, and very able bodied, it is just her mind that has suffered. She has had a 24hr caregiver in her home that she has grown very attached to over the last 4 months, but she is a family member and won't be able to keep up the pace as mom's illness progresses. I have found a nice assisted living facility 3 miles from my home, and believe in my heart it is the best thing for her, but I am very concerned with the anger and displeasure she will have, at least initially, with the move. Does anyone have any advice as to how to handle her anger with the move, and my guilt for doing it to her?

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Dear onlychild1,

I think that you are making the correct decision. Since your neurologist suggested it, I would go forward. She will be in good hands and so close to you, that you can visit often. I would make sure that Mom has all the things in her room that she loved in her home, with in reason of course.

My Mom made the decision herself when she was ready to move to assisted living. Therefore, she chose the place, we looked at her room and decided what she wanted in the room. I even took her out to get special window treatments, new bathroom towels and rugs, we took her bed, dresser, chair and telephone stand and night stand. We even got her a small dorm size fridge to put in her room, for juice and water, soda or any fruit she wanted. We also took her sewing machine as she wanted to continue to sew. She did, in fact she made her own little curtain for her door that had a screen door on it. She made curtains for every ocassion, such as one for Christmas, Halloween, St. Patricks and fall summer and spring. She even made cloth hanging bags for residents to put on their walkers. She put two pockets in each and they tied on. She sold them for like $2.00 for material. She even would hem pants for people in the home.
She was very active in it all until she had to have open heart surgery and then she got full dementia and has declined.
Good luck and you and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

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Hi Onlychild1,
I feel your pain, I think my mom is should go into assisted living. One sister agrees, the other two do not. We are also concerned about mom's anger and our guilt if and when we do so. I wish I had the answers but I am in the same situation. I can say that I my cousin had to put my aunt in a place and she loved it. When they would go take her out for a weekend, she couldn't wait to go back.... Best of luck to you.

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I believe now is the best time to get your mother into assisted living for two reasons. First, you know that the facility you chose has an opening now. There may not be an available place for your mother if you wait and the need becomes time-sensitive. In addition, assuming that your mother understands the significance of your father's absence, your mother is dealing with her transition from wife to widow. I will be easier on her if she changes her living place only once.

My mother died six months after my father, but by then she was in advanced stage of Alzheimer's. I placed her in a lovely small care home in the country, but she was totally unaware of her surroundings or of me, her only child.

I wish you many pleasant visits with your mother.

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Dear onlychild1,

We moved my mother (84.5) into assisted living a couple of years ago after a illness and failing health. Moved her in and out and back again. She felt she was better and wanted to come home. This was a woman who lived in the same house for 57 years. Last month we moved her to a different assisted living. We were able to get her on the ground floor so she could have a bird feeder outside her door. It is never easy leaving your home. I agree with the above advice about making is seem much like her home. We found she missed the opportunity to cook and the new place has a full stove and refrigerator and dishwasher - which she may not really use much but it is her choice. Even with all the benefits of the new place, it has taken her a good month to adjust. Keep positive and keep to your decision.

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Follow your heart.

On the Alzheimer's Reading Room we have hundreds of caregivers that have had to go through the transition from home to a nursing home.

Almost all of the time this works very well. The key is to make sure you pick a good place. Then, make sure you stay "invested" in your mother's care.

By invested I mean, visiting your mom and forming a relationship with those persons who are going to be seeing her daily. Make sure they know about any nuances of your mother.

For example, at one nursing home they were forgetting to put the dentures in in the morning. This caused the patient to become irritable.

If you come to the Alzheimer's Reading Room

and enter the names of these women, one at a time, in the search box on the right hand side of the page

Mary Gazetas

Pamela Kelly

you will learn about the transition of each of these women and get some really valuable advice, insight and tips.

These two women are "real caregivers" like you and they shared their experience with us.

Please let me know if you find the information helpful.

Bob DeMarco, Founder
Alzheimer's Reading Room

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Have you asked your mom about the possibility of moving closer to you and have you talked to the caregiver who lives with her? You might also suggest having the caregiver come along and help her get settled, if possible. Even if she can't come to help with the move, perhaps you could arrange for her to come to visit fairly regularly in the beginning. But do try to include your mother in the decision-making process if she is cognizant enough to help.

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Transition into assisted living, worried about how spouse will respond. Do I tell him he is going or should I not tell him? Please give advice

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