Getting ready to move my mom
Hi, I'm new to the board, but sadly not new to the disease ... my mom's been declining for 2 years now, and I've finally got clarity about her situation.
My mom's always been super, super independent. She not only survived polio as a child, she forced herself to walk and then to run track. She is one of the toughest ladies you would ever meet -- body and soul. She's extremely active and (due to the polio) has a vastly decreased sense of pain.
All of which has helped her live a full and independent life for a very, very long time. She prides herself on her utter fearlessness and ability to take care of herself.
However, the past 24 months have been a totally different story. She had a steady cognitive decline and repeated falls; starting last summer she began misplacing/hiding/losing purses, wallets and cash. She lost the ability to comprehend dates and times, and rarely knew the month. Her repeated falls were only visible when someone else noticed her bruises or limps or even broken bones ... she sometimes remembered them, but refused to discuss them in detail, and since I was traveling most of the year I missed many of the critical events.
Over the past 6 months her condition worsened, and she was finally diagnosed with Alzheimers in November. (Her decline was accelerated by a necessary move from her former senior apartment to a new retirement community.) After 6 months in her new place, it's become obvious that she can't cope ... she has withdrawn, avoided meals (to the point of losing 20 pounds), and tells me she doesn't want them to see how "stupid" she's become.
Her cognitive functions have taken a real beating, and she is unable to process new information without constant repetition now; she's progressed to inappropriate dressing (multiple layers of undergarments, business suits and heels for any trip, even to the hospital) and can't remember her apartment number, though it's written on her keys. Even with all that, she insists she is fine, and there is no point in debating it, of course. In her mind, she is ... until she has a moment of clarity and cries about how confused she's become, which happens more and more.
So, we have taken the step of finding her an ALZ facility, and we're in the last couple of days of preparation. All her doctors agree this is the right step.
My remaining hurdle is how to discuss it with her, and the logistics of the move itself.
This is my plan:
- Explain to her that for my sake, because I am so afraid for her, that I need her to work with me to make this move ... otherwise I will have to stop writing (my day job) and do nothing but look after her. (She will NOT want that.)
- Add that her finances will not stretch to cover her current situation plus the help she needs, but this new facility has a benefit from the VA (all true)
- Explain that we will only take what she absolutely needs since she's been worried about all the clutter in her current apartment -- that it's like a vacation for a month while we clean out what she doesn't need.
That last is only a little true, but I think she will cooperate better if she thinks it's a temporary situation in the beginning. Once she's in and comfortable, and has only the visible touchstones that she loves so much, I hope she will be much better -- not so paralyzed by "too much to do." This is an extremely caring and interactive facility, so she will have constant attention and stimulation.
On the day of the move, we intend to only move her paintings, pictures, bedspread/pillows/sheets, favorite chair, and bedside clock, puzzle book, plus some basic outfits and toiletries. Everything else is superfluous now, and definitely less is more. However, I wonder if we shouldn't take her there to show her the room ahead of time ...? I'm a little torn. I'd almost rather her not visit and decide she hates it before she has a chance to acclimate.
What do you think, folks? Am I on the right track? Your guidance would be much appreciated.