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How can I get my 82 year old mom to move into assisted living?

My dad passed away 3 years ago. Mom has lived in the family home - alone - for the past 3 years. She is slowing down considerably - shuffeling, memory loss, confused, stubborn, depressed. She does not drive and because of her poor walking - is isolated in the home. She only takes a blood pressure med. No one comes to visit - only phone calls. My husband and I have moved in with her for this winter - we have chatted with her over the past year about selling the home and taking her up to Wyoming with us to a beautiful assisted living place. ONe day - happy to go - next day - stubborn and negative - "why put me in that fancy place when I am going to end up in a nursing home in 6 months?" type of talk. She is still able to cook for herself, vacuum - reads, does puzzles, talks on phone - slow of course, but does it. I knew this would be coming - the reality of having to begin to go room by room and decide what to take to decorate her new apartment - make new friends, leave her home town and home - it is alot - I know this. But the reality is that she lives 11 hours from us - in Colorado - us in Wyo. With winter roads and her isolation and lonliness - this is the next best step. I visited an elder law attorney and she said to tell her we are going for lunch and just drive her up to Wyo and put her in the living place. In no way could I ever do that. She still has many good years left - she just is showing a give up attitude - I just need support and advice from someone that has gone through this before. I am an only child. My husband is so supportive and caring. We just want the best for for mom. Thank you so much.
Status: Open    Jan 12, 2015 - 10:19 AM

Relationships, Caregiving

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Jan 13, 2015 - 05:11 AM

Your question caught my eye as I was browsing the website. Unfortunately, I don't have the answers you are looking for, but I did want to reach out and comment. I am in Boston, and our MIL is in Wyoming and is 82 (thats why your post caught my attention) and we are working through very similiar situation. I just wanted to leave the recommendation of the book "The 36 Hour Day". It has been helpful for me to understand a little more the emotions and swings our parents our going through. Best wishes, K


Jan 15, 2015 - 07:51 AM

We are going through a similar situation with my Mother of 84 years. This week she had an appointment with her neuroogist and I got to be the chauffer. Mom still drives but only briefly in daylight hours and near her home. I asked the doctor about this and he suggested I find a way to let her do all that she safely can do.. and there have been no driving concerns so far. He wants her excercising as that is one of the best therapys to help minimize Parkinson's effects. He wants her to get and use a walker (she borrowed one then gave it back stating she had no need for it); get and use a low level bicycle machine. He asked her about her early voice and physical therapy she received and the doctor and I both learned she has done nothing to keep / improve these capabilities despite her being a frequent TIA victim. Her decision will be whether to increase her physical effort or to be more pacified and let Parkinson's toll increase at a rate faster than it might with more activity. From a broader perspective she has a few neighbors who often check on her through the week. Currently I am at her place 3 nights a week at at our home a hundred miles away 4 nights a week. This routine has continued for the past 9 months but we are not planning to continue it into a 2nd year. Our solution will be to either get a 1 level condo for Mom or find a nice senior living facility; both choices being much nearer to our home where we can keep a close eye on her. We are now into the logistics of how we can move her to an acceptable location while she still has enough health to enjoy it. This will let us start removing some items from the house while we can still give her decision making capability on where various items are to go after she passes one day. My grandmother was not engaged in the decision for her to leave her home and the entire family suffered as a result. We are hoping to get Mom on board with major decision making rather than deal with the silence and depression we have seen manifest with my grandparents situation. I have learned one thing: The ideas I come up with and are rejected quickly often turn out to be reintroduced later as her ideas and are then much more acceptable to her. There is clearly a strategy here for slowly gaining momentum in the give and take discussions. We also have another guideline we have adopted, unless Mom repeats or affirms a progressive decision 3 times, she retains the right to totally abandon her earlier level of agreement. This keeps those of us pushing for progress from moving too quickly on an idea for which she has only marginal support. Jim W.

Source: Jim W. -Oklahoma-

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By hijumpcoach on Jul 19, 2016 - 07:40 PM | Like (0)  |  Report

I am in Tacoma, WA and am going through the same situation as you are. One exception...I think my Mom is a little further along in the memory deficiency department. She has dementia and it is progressing quite rapidly. Her memory retention is about 3 min. She is agreeable...well...hardly ever, and mostly obstinent and oppositional to most any remedy or solution we suggest. Can't get her to go to a Doc, it's like pulling teeth. Just trying to figure out how in the world we are going to manage to get her in to any kind of care facility. Uhhhh. Martha

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Jan 15, 2015 - 12:39 PM

was your mom diagnosed with Parkinsons?

thanks for your story about your mom - I know we are both in similar boats - living so far away and needing to make decisions for our moms well being. My challenge is the up and down of emotions and decisions. It is exhausting. And to be honest - it is disruptive to the many legal choices that have to be made. I am her power of attorney - but she won't allow me to help in any way at this point with decisions about her checking account and investments. I am needing to set up a trust so that I have the secure finances to keep her in assisted living. She has the income to provide for the basic fee - but not the extras. A trust would allow us to secure the funds while investing in a higher yeild account - to use the interest for her added needs. This of course is WAY TOO MUCH information for mom. I, like you, want her to make all of her decisions as long as she can - but time is of the essence to make decisions NOW that will secure finances for the FUTURE. She went to a specialist - MRI - thought she had Parkinsons - or a slight stroke - neither. Her "old person shuffle" comes from extreme stess and worry. Good days and bad days - that is our calling now I guess. Be as strong as you can - I encourage you with your journey - find ways to de stress if you can, I know yoga is my healing place.

Jan 18, 2015 - 04:15 PM

Sometimes it is the fear of the unknown. My mother did an excellent job of saving and getting a wonderful long term care policy. She always told us that she did not want us to go thru what she went thru with my grandma.

We took her to an assisted living home under the guise that there was a long term care expert who could give us advice on her policy. I talked to them ahead of time and told them to just gloss over the details, mainly I wanted her to see the facilities and rooms.

When she got back home, she called me and said that it was a really nice place and not anything like what my grandmother was in...not a nursing home...but she said she wasn't ready.

We had the perfect storm where she ended up in the hospital and then rehab. My sisters and her sisters finally got on the same page and gave a consistent can not go back home, it is not safe, the dr. wants you in 24 hour care (we talked to the dr ahead of time and she was in agreement that mom needed to have 24 hour care.) When mom went to see her dr. she said that she was not happy being away from her home...the dr (right on queue) said, "Marlene now you are safe." My mom shook her head in agreement.

She is now in to her 3rd month and starting to accept the decision...there are lots of activities and the food is good.

Most good facilities will let you a meal....attend the activities before making a decision.

Jan 19, 2015 - 03:01 PM

thank you for your uplifting words today - I am happy your mom is liking her new living arrangements. And I agree with you - the unknown is terrifying. When my kids were in 8th grade freshman and senior in HS - we moved from small rural Wyoming to large town Fort Collins - the kids were so scared to go to a new school. I think it is a lot like that. I am trying to keep that in mind. Today was a good day, we are going through pictures/albums/memories. All of her stress and worrying about the move has caused her to have this terrible shuffle - thought she had Parkinson's - but she doesn't. The mind is a powerful thing - when it is stressed - physical actions occur. I have had an in hope OT help her for 8 weeks - it helped - but then she digressed when I was gone over the holidays. A lot to work on in the next few months.

Mar 29, 2015 - 05:11 PM

I went almost exactly the same thing. My father passed, slow deterioration and not eating. Tried homecare but she fell and broke her hip. Hospital then rehab. The last thing to do is take to lunch and don't bring home. Be honest, reassurance your not 'putting her away'.Tell her how much more you can visit. My mother had me on such a guilt trip not intentionally but grasping. Every time we talked I heard why I did this or couldn't she stay with me. Normal reaction. The place I chose was very good with helping me too. I saw change a few months before, but around the year mark she told me how good of care they give her. She loves all staff. I was lucky i found a great place.

Jul 05, 2015 - 05:16 AM

Tell her you want her to be safe. Tell her she is important to you and you don't know what you'd do if something happened to her. Tell her you want her closer so you can be with her in her golden years. If you have children or grandchildren tell her you want them to have fond memories of their grandmother. Tell her you want to preserve the mother/daughter relationship; you don't want to have to impose your will on her and have to make a major life decision against her will. Tell her you love her over and over. It worked for me.

Jan 16, 2016 - 07:19 AM

I went through this with my mother. Two strategies that helped get her out of her house were: Enlist her Doctor! She would listen to him when my brother and I could not get through to her. He also had her see a neurologist and psychiatriat who specialized in elder care, so we had three separate medical experts telling her she had to move somewhere safer than her house.

The other strategy that worked was first taking her around to tour various places (but, do tours on your own first and only show her the ones that you think will work) Then, have her do a respite stay to try out the facility. We called it 'Camp Grandma'. Because we 'sold' it to her as a mini vacation, it was not as frightening and permanent a move. We had three places that were possibilities, had her stay a month at the one we thought was best first, and she decided that she liked it and never left. We did not move any of her furniture until she decided to stay permanently.

It helps tremendously if the parent feels that they are involved in the decision, even if you are directing the process.
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