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Old 05-01-2012, 12:32 PM   #1
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Stepmom just got moved to a home

My stepmom who is 89 was just moved from Montana to Kansas into a residential home by her sister who hadn't seen her in 3 years. I was denied guardianship because I'm her stepdaughter and have been for 48 years but did not have her power of attorney.

I talked to her last Tuesday and she was with it, peppy and we chatted about her house, her cat, etc. She has moderate dementia but was able to do things on her own and had 24 hour care in her home. Today I called her and she was confused, didn't know who Sally her sister was and asked me to come and take her home. Is this confusion common when someone with dementia gets moved out of their familiar surroundings? Does it get better once they start getting in a routine in their new place? Needless to say I am devastated and feel like I've lost my Mom.

 
Old 05-01-2012, 12:46 PM   #2
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Re: Stepmom just got moved to a home

Moneymoo,

I am so sorry that the sister moved your stepmom like that.
First of all, she does not know the sister anymore, secondly, her home now is not the familiar home. She only knows you for now.

Yes, the person with dementia definitely got confused after she moved.
The issue is how to make her get used to the new home. She moved so it is kind of late to move her back and etc. The best bet is to make her get used to the routine. If she does not know the sister, she may not remember anymore so right now, she has no one familiar with her.

Just my guess, but if you could see her by flying there, you may help her to get used to it for now. It may take her a month or 3 to get used to it.

My FIL moved with my husband. So he is with a familiar person after he moved. Although we are not there all the time, he knows my husband will see him from time to time. So this is his comfort. My FIL also wanted to "work" so he thinks of this NH as his working place. Now he likes the staff and the staff like him. It took him about a week to 1 month to get used to it.
The first night, he was upset because it was not what he thought (to be in our home.) So he asked us to move him as we "promised." We never promised anything - we just said to be with his son in a way.
Now he is used to the NH and even asked us to work with him there!

You need to find someone familiar to be there for her. She may also get used to the routine gradually. Talk to her in positive tone and suggest that she mingles with the people in the new home. Don't bother to remind her that her sister is her sister if she forgets.

Regards,
Nina

Last edited by ninamarc; 05-01-2012 at 12:49 PM.

 
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Old 05-01-2012, 01:06 PM   #3
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Re: Stepmom just got moved to a home

Nina,

Thank you so much for the reply. I'm so glad that your FIL got used to to his new place in that time frame. I guess that's what I was looking for. Mary just arrived there on Sunday so it's really new. I just called and talked to the nurse who traveled with her and she said that she is really confused but it will simmer down. I will fly out to Kansas over Memorial Day as I had a ticket to go see her in Montana. There isn't anyone in Kansas that she would be familiar with. They just didn't bother to go see her as much as I did. Hopefully with only 8 people in the center, she will soon feel like it's home to her. She keeps asking for them to take her home and wants to know where her cat is. Does your FIL know who your husband is?

 
Old 05-01-2012, 01:42 PM   #4
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Re: Stepmom just got moved to a home

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Originally Posted by moneymoo View Post
Nina,

Thank you so much for the reply. I'm so glad that your FIL got used to to his new place in that time frame. I guess that's what I was looking for. Mary just arrived there on Sunday so it's really new. I just called and talked to the nurse who traveled with her and she said that she is really confused but it will simmer down. I will fly out to Kansas over Memorial Day as I had a ticket to go see her in Montana. There isn't anyone in Kansas that she would be familiar with. They just didn't bother to go see her as much as I did. Hopefully with only 8 people in the center, she will soon feel like it's home to her. She keeps asking for them to take her home and wants to know where her cat is. Does your FIL know who your husband is?
Well, in a way, My FIL thinks of us as "colleagues". All his life, he focused on his own career and family are just his audience.
He forgot about my husband's childhood. I am not sure he knows that his late wife gave birth to my husband. He did tell me he forgot about my husband as a child in the park 3 years ago. In a way, my husband/his son is familiar, but he does not see it as the son for real.
He forgot his elder son in 2008. The son never visited him (because of a divorce when he was 7.)

The more distance he has, the more he will forget. He forgot many friends. He is in severe stage and cannot walk/talk properly.

My FIL's former home care nurse just told he only got used to my husband calling instead of visiting. That is why My FIL would talk to my husband on the phone but no talking in person. Now he talks in broken sentences.
The bottom line for him is still to work.

If you can be there for a while and help your stepmom to get used to the home, it will be nice. Do call her often - you are her security blanket now.

Regards,
Nina

 
Old 05-01-2012, 09:39 PM   #5
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Re: Stepmom just got moved to a home

Clarity one day and confusion the next is typical in the moderate stages. If moved out of their familiar surroundings, it is stressful and stress causes more confusion because they are not able to cope well. Also by moving them out of their familiar surroundings you see the extend of their confusion. In familiar surroundings they function off past memories. In the new surroundings they do not have these long term memories to help them. I doubt she will go back to clarity of doing things for herself but as she adjust it should get better than it is now.

Going home is classic. I have yet to meet an Alzheimer's patient that didn't say they wanted to go home. When their day is filled with confusion that is scary and frustrating they want a safe place of clarity. That is home to them. Mom wanted to go home. Several times she was taken to the house they lived in for 54 years. At first there was some recognition of the house. As the time went on that recognition vanished. Within a year she had no idea where the house was and once there no idea who's house it was. But she still wanted to go home. I remember the last time I took her there, standing in her own drive, asking to go home. Home is not a place as much as a sense of security and clarity that they wish for.... and we can no give them.

I am so sorry that her sister decided to move her away from you. I know it must be difficult for you. I do hope your visit over Memorial Day is a good one for you both.

Love, deb

 
Old 05-02-2012, 08:31 AM   #6
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Re: Stepmom just got moved to a home

Nina, I got an ugly email from my stepmom's sister this morning. She said that after I called yesterday, Mary went into a depression and just sat clutching a pillow. She said not to call Mary again. Like hell - it's not my phone call that upset her. It's that she will no longer be sitting in her chair with her cat on her lap, watching the deer walk through the yard. I was cheerful and upbeat with her and I am not the one that will break Mary's heart when someone lets her know she isn't going home. I would love to go and kidnap her and take her back to Montana. Should I continue to call her?

 
Old 05-02-2012, 08:36 AM   #7
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Re: Stepmom just got moved to a home

Quote:
Originally Posted by moneymoo View Post
Nina, I got an ugly email from my stepmom's sister this morning. She said that after I called yesterday, Mary went into a depression and just sat clutching a pillow. She said not to call Mary again. Like hell - it's not my phone call that upset her. It's that she will no longer be sitting in her chair with her cat on her lap, watching the deer walk through the yard. I was cheerful and upbeat with her and I am not the one that will break Mary's heart when someone lets her know she isn't going home. I would love to go and kidnap her and take her back to Montana. Should I continue to call her?
Gees! Sally is mean! She is trying to claim her authority over this since she is blood family.
Sometimes in the first few weeks, it may help if the people in the old state keep the distance and leave her alone to the NH.
I am not sure it is because of your phone call. Well, the call may make her think badly about being in a new place.
Sally does not understand that Mary needs a stable place with familiar people. For now, stop calling a littie bit, maybe later. You will see her in May later. Be patient. Sorry this happened.

Nina

Last edited by ninamarc; 05-02-2012 at 08:43 AM.

 
Old 05-02-2012, 09:28 AM   #8
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Re: Stepmom just got moved to a home

Sorry to hear about your situation and let's hope that they had good reasons/intentions to move her

The short answer is Yes, a move of any type will usually cause a person with any type of dementia a period of confusion for a while until they adjust to it. With my aunt even when they painted the halls she went into a kerfuffle for a few days.

Sometimes a move to an institutional setting can even cause a short episode of hospital psychosis as it did with my aunt. This too was temporary.

Most facilities are well aware of these phenomena and know how to handle them.

Additionally, some facilities wean new patients off any medications that could have a bearing on their mental state for a few weeks so they can make their own fresh "clean" assessment, and then reintroduce them or introduce a different slate of medications based on that assessment.

With regard to asking to come home. Oh yes. In fact, any time anything goes bump in her routine, my aunt wants to go home. She would tell everyone that they were starving her, hanging her from the cross at night as a punishment, leaving her in a pool all day even tho she can't swim, and leaving her outside in the rain in the cold and so we had to come get her right now.
My aunt is also social and chatty and can often "pass" for OK so when she told one neighbor that they were punishing her by refusing to let her watch TV, the neighbor believed her and called me in tears.

Part of it is normal to prefer to be home and part of it is a reaction to the change.

You mention that your request for gaurdianship was turned down so I am assuming there might be some difficulties in the family relationships.... I hope it is a situation where you can at least be apprised of her health and what they are doing with her medications, etc....

I hope it all works out OK!


Quote:
Originally Posted by moneymoo View Post
My stepmom who is 89 was just moved from Montana to Kansas into a residential home by her sister who hadn't seen her in 3 years. I was denied guardianship because I'm her stepdaughter and have been for 48 years but did not have her power of attorney.

I talked to her last Tuesday and she was with it, peppy and we chatted about her house, her cat, etc. She has moderate dementia but was able to do things on her own and had 24 hour care in her home. Today I called her and she was confused, didn't know who Sally her sister was and asked me to come and take her home. Is this confusion common when someone with dementia gets moved out of their familiar surroundings? Does it get better once they start getting in a routine in their new place? Needless to say I am devastated and feel like I've lost my Mom.

 
Old 05-02-2012, 09:29 AM   #9
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Re: Stepmom just got moved to a home

Thanks Nina, I will listen to you. You know better than I do what it takes and I certainly do not want to upset her. Should I not send her a Mother's Day package? I just don't want her to forget me but I don't want to be part of the problem either.

 
Old 05-02-2012, 09:35 AM   #10
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Re: Stepmom just got moved to a home

Suzy,

Thanks so much for the clarity of living in a different place for my stepmom. It is a beautiful place in a large home with 8 rooms. There is a beautiful outdoor patio and everyone eats their meals together. It is not like a nursing home that I picture. I think since this is so new for her that I will back off like Nina suggested and give her some space so that she doesn't become more confused. Her family hasn't bothered with her nor had they seen her in 4 years and now want all the control and to cut me away from Mary. Her sister had the power of attorney. I think it's just such a shocker because last Wednesday she was so clear minded and yesterday, she didn't know where she was, why or anything else. Just breaks my heart. Thank you again for letting me see a little part of you and that we have been through the same things.

 
Old 05-02-2012, 09:56 AM   #11
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Re: Stepmom just got moved to a home

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Originally Posted by moneymoo View Post
Thanks Nina, I will listen to you. You know better than I do what it takes and I certainly do not want to upset her. Should I not send her a Mother's Day package? I just don't want her to forget me but I don't want to be part of the problem either.
I think it is a good idea to send her anything. My FIL's elder son continues to send his Dad cards for holidays or birthdays. Now he forgot him and does not read the cards well but he seems to know someone cares.
Sally is wrong: she should not cut off your tie with Mary. She is thinking you are the cause right now. The fact is Mary just needs adjustment. Cutting you off is not going to help. Once Mary gets used to the new home, things will settle down and she would be happy to hear from you or see things from you.

I never really cut off my FIL's friends after we moved him to another state. One friend still calls. One friend cannot stand calling him so no calls. Some friend tried to call once in a while as she does not want to invade the family relationship (he would think she is more important.)
Now thinking back, we should all allow the friends to write or call or visit.
It is part of her memory. It is not nice to cut it off. Let her forget it naturally.

Hugs,
Nina

 
Old 05-02-2012, 10:02 AM   #12
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Re: Stepmom just got moved to a home

Sorry to hear that there is family dissention. That just makes it harder for everyone.

I hate to have to mention this, because I think it is not what you want to hear, but, when my aunt first moved, they suggested that we give her an "adjustment" period where we kept calls and visits to a minimukm.

At first I was really resentful of this, but, it did the trick and it gave her time to forge a new identity and a new life there. She has moderate dementia and it took her about a month to adjust.

I later found out through my research that is not an uncommon request, many facilities make that request.

I think the problem here is - can you trust that this report of the effect of your call is legitimate? Not being there it is hard to tell if she is depressed because she moved or because you called.

Again, I hate to say it, but it is entirely possible that your call did depress her, not because of anything you said, but simply because it was a call from the former place where she cannot be any longer. Even if you said nothing "wrong" sometimes just a call from the former life can be depressing.

It is also possible that she is adjusting and she will be depressed for a while no matter who calls or doesn't call or what they say - in other words, for while nothing may be right!

I think you could probably call the NH and say you are a concerned family member who wants to provide company by phone and ask for guidelines about how to guide the conversations given her current mental state. You will not be intruding on her privacy but instead seeking general guidelines and they would probably be helpful.

I am not saying the following is you, but this is what happened to us. When my aunt moved, there were 3 people who were genuinely fond and concerned about my aunt, but were not on board with the decision and who felt that she was fine and should still be at home. It is true that their calls or visits greatly upset her because they would talk to her about going home, question why she had to be there, criticize the facility and those who made the decision, etc. (Again, not saying this is you). I eventually spoke to them and informed them that the situation was not going to change, that she was not going home whether they agreed with the decision or not, and that they were causing her more harm than good by taking that approach in their calls and visits. I sent them the NH guidelines about interacting with people with her stage of dementia.

They hated me to death but they all adjusted. Whether they are right or I am right, time will tell, but since she is there for the duration, if they genuinely care about her then they know what is expected of them.

If your stepmother is going to stay there - and it sounds like the decision is completey out of your hands no matter how much it pains you, since you lost a guardianship suit and do not have POA - then the best thing you can do for her is find a way to support the move and have phone calls or visits that do not upset her or hopefully that leave her happy.

If it were me, then I would cool it for a while and give her a chance to adjust, then contact the NH for their guidelines, ask for their materials on her stage of dementia, and start a new routine of calling. If the family balks, you can say, I called the NH, got their guidelines and am following them, so I do not see any problem.

Then you can reasses the situation once she has adjusted.






Quote:
Originally Posted by moneymoo View Post
Nina, I got an ugly email from my stepmom's sister this morning. She said that after I called yesterday, Mary went into a depression and just sat clutching a pillow. She said not to call Mary again. Like hell - it's not my phone call that upset her. It's that she will no longer be sitting in her chair with her cat on her lap, watching the deer walk through the yard. I was cheerful and upbeat with her and I am not the one that will break Mary's heart when someone lets her know she isn't going home. I would love to go and kidnap her and take her back to Montana. Should I continue to call her?

Last edited by Suzy0513; 05-02-2012 at 10:11 AM.

 
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Old 05-02-2012, 12:33 PM   #13
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Re: Stepmom just got moved to a home

Suzy, you make all good points and I will ask the nurse in charge of Mary what she thinks. She does recognize me and it would be what you are saying - I'm a connection to where she was and I don't want that to upset her in any way. Great points that I didn't even take into consideration. I can be a bull in a china shop sometimes Thank you so much. There is such a firestorm in the town my stepmom came from of her being yanked from her home and taken to Kansas that her sister I'm sure is overwhelmed with emails from people so upset and she is lashing out at me that I am the problem. I've just always tried to be the solution and her family hasn't seen it that way. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for soothing my heart through all of this

 
Old 05-02-2012, 05:53 PM   #14
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Re: Stepmom just got moved to a home

Money, I agree with Suzy. Talk to the facility for guidance. After a short time you can call. Then they can tell you the aftermath of your call. I do smell the bad family blood. I do wonder why Sister wanted to jump in and take your step Mom? It seems that she was perfectly content with you and then bam. Hang in there. Know that this disease has it's ups and down. There is depression and adjustment with every move. Your step Mom will adjust to her new home in time and hopefully be very well cared for. That is what is most important... that your step Mom is well cared for

Love, deb

 
Old 05-03-2012, 01:50 PM   #15
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Re: Stepmom just got moved to a home

Deb,

Thank you very much. I will call today after I know her sister leaves and ask for their guidance. I'm trying to do the right thing because my heart is broken for her. Bad family blood? Yes, my stepmom has not been taken care of by her family and I have been extremely vocally critical of them. About $40K got exploited from her before I called the state in when I told the family and they did nothing. I found qualified people to stay 24/7 in her house and they didn't want my help. Then the psycho I did a background check on that they hired quit and so they were up the creek but they weren't going to turn to me either.

About $4K a month coming in and $2.2 million in her bank account and they said the help was too expensive. It's all about the money. And who suffers? My stepmom. All I can do is move forward and take your suggestions to heart which I have. Hopefully the nurses don't say there's a restraining order against me from visiting. Then I'm doomed. Thanks again - I wil let you know what the nurses say today.

 
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