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We need help transitioning mom from home care to memory care

Dad passed away 3 years ago, and Mom has been living with a 24/5 caregiver since that time in the home she shared with Dad, that's about 35 miles away from us. My brother and I have full-time jobs, so we haven't been able to help much during the week, but we have been providing weekend coverage to provide refresh-time for her caregiver. Mom's caregiver has kept her doing simple puzzles and simple activity workbooks, then Mom "watches" movies and tv shows the rest of each day. She is incontinent, often resists her twice-weekly showers, and has become more withdrawn over time. She becomes agitated and angry whenever anybody makes suggestions or asks her to do anything outside of her very rigid routine. Although she seems to enjoy her weekend excursions to stay for the day(s) on weekends with us and our families, she rarely speaks or makes eye-contact. This 3-year-old routine is taking its toll on our families.
I recently found a very nice memory care facility in a neighboring town. In addition to alleviating our schedules, it seems that it might be better to have Mom in this setting with other people and a variety of activities available, since she seems so very isolated staying in her home all week with no other human contact. It would also make it possible for me to visit her more often.
Are there any ways in which we could make Mom's transition to a memory care facility easier or better? How far in advance should we tell her about a such a possible move? (a week before, a day before, the day of?)
What should we expect in the face of making such a dramatic change?
Status: Open    Feb 10, 2015 - 08:26 AM

Dementia, Senior Living Communities

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Expert Answers

Feb 11, 2015 - 01:25 PM

Locate dementia facilities in your area. They will send a person to evaluate your mother and help you decide what care and where.

You may also hire a geriatric care consultant to help you make decisons with where and how to help your mother.

I also recommend you and your brother own long term care plans as there is a possibility that you will need care giving in the future.

Raymond Lavine
www.lavineltcins.com

Feb 12, 2015 - 07:38 AM

At The Fremont, we make recommendations for moving into memory care based on each individual's personality and unique situation. Sometimes communicating in advance is appropriate, sometimes not. Ultimately, you and the counselors at the memory care need to make the final, best decision for your mom's situation. Please ask for their recommendation (because they and you know your mom).

An effective technique that has made the transition easier for us here at The Fremont has been to move in a day. In the morning, say around 8AM, a family member or two takes mom out to breakfast and something else that mom enjoys, perhaps to the mall or shopping. While mom is out of the house, movers and family move the furniture and personal necessitites to the community and set up the room as though she has lived there for some time. Pictures get mounted to the wall, everything functions, etc. This may take family until 2-3pm. Once everything is ready at the memory care, it is time to take mom to get involved in the program. I usually recommend that one or two family members only drop mom off. She may be tired or she may still be up. The key at this point - and it is very difficult - is to act as though mom has been living at the memory care for some time. There shouldn't be any crying or goodbyes, etc., in front of mom. She is going to her home as if she has been living there. All the staff know her name, know her interests, know her likes and dislikes and welcome her similarly.

This doesn't work for everyone. However, when it comes to memory care, the thing to take away is that our natural reaction toward guilt and tears and saying goodbye are often the triggers that can make the transition harder.

Voted Best Answer

Feb 12, 2015 - 07:38 AM

At The Fremont, we make recommendations for moving into memory care based on each individual's personality and unique situation. Sometimes communicating in advance is appropriate, sometimes not. Ultimately, you and the counselors at the memory care need to make the final, best decision for your mom's situation. Please ask for their recommendation (because they and you know your mom).

An effective technique that has made the transition easier for us here at The Fremont has been to move in a day. In the morning, say around 8AM, a family member or two takes mom out to breakfast and something else that mom enjoys, perhaps to the mall or shopping. While mom is out of the house, movers and family move the furniture and personal necessitites to the community and set up the room as though she has lived there for some time. Pictures get mounted to the wall, everything functions, etc. This may take family until 2-3pm. Once everything is ready at the memory care, it is time to take mom to get involved in the program. I usually recommend that one or two family members only drop mom off. She may be tired or she may still be up. The key at this point - and it is very difficult - is to act as though mom has been living at the memory care for some time. There shouldn't be any crying or goodbyes, etc., in front of mom. She is going to her home as if she has been living there. All the staff know her name, know her interests, know her likes and dislikes and welcome her similarly.

This doesn't work for everyone. However, when it comes to memory care, the thing to take away is that our natural reaction toward guilt and tears and saying goodbye are often the triggers that can make the transition harder.
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