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Old 02-05-2013, 09:13 PM   #1
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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 she has withdrawn, avoided meals (to the point of losing 20 pounds), and tells me she doesn't want them to see how "stupid" she's become.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.

 
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Old 02-07-2013, 07:40 AM   #2
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Re: Getting ready to move my mom

Quote:
Originally Posted by TXwriter View Post
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.

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.
Hi TXwriter,

Welcome to the board!

It seems your Mom may be in early/moderate stage of AD (Alzheimer's Disease.) I think you meant well but I need to tell you that some of your ideas (in bold font above) will not work. You still think she has the cognition level to understand whatever you say about the reality: the why you need to move her and the why she needs to save money and the explanations...
The fact is she will not understand your explanation and you will be saying it over and over again. Also, some stuff you don't want to tell her. Don't bug her with her finances. She is incompetent so just keep her finances to yourself. Yes, she will ask for cash but she has no clues about her bank accounts or any income of hers.
It is better to come up with some white lies or excuses to distract her. e.g., my late FIL never understood why he had to go to a nursing home in late moderate stage of AD. He thought he was to come to "work with" my husband while they were not in the same field at all.
You can use some excuses that she likes. Say, the new place has something interesting like hobby or friends and etc. Or say this is a temporary move but she may get to like it.
You cannot explain her finances to her because she will only be confused and upset worrying about being very poor and has no money at all (not realistic but she may think that way due to dementia.)
You can only say you will give her some cash. Sometimes later on you may need to give her fake cash, not real cash in case she would lose it. My late FIL never got any cash in the nursing home in those 2 years, but he got some cash when he was in his own house for 5/6 years.
If you show her the place first, it is OK but she may not remember. One chance is that she may figure out it is another facility and may want to leave and never come back. Just show her the place after she moves, see her everyday for 2 weeks to help her to know the new place and new people. Eat with her in the new place. You don't really tell her it is the nursing home or facility. You can tell her this is her home and her apartment.

I hope this gives you some idea. The thing is if you try to explain the reality, she will come back to ask about it again and again and she won't get it anyway. She is in her own reality.

Hugs,
Nina

Last edited by ninamarc; 02-07-2013 at 11:38 AM.

 
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Old 02-07-2013, 03:31 PM   #3
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Re: Getting ready to move my mom

Hello there and welcome to our little corner of the world. The move ahead for mom will be devastating to say the least. I would not go into much detail, it will only stress her out and worry her and her confused mind will not handle to much new information. instead tell mom that her place needs some work and that to make it easier for the workers you have arrange a wonderful all inclusive room to stay in while the work is preformed. If she questions about who is paying tell her the homes insurance and that it is all taken care of. To much detail will confuse and frighten her. Make light of the situation, if need be tell her that you and her are having a gals weekend. Make sure everything is prepared so when you arrive there is no hassle, just into the room and get settled. Then go for tea and a look around. Try to get some of mom's thing set up ahead of going there. Do you have help? If you do you can take mom for a ride while some else takes some of her belongs that she will need near her to feel secure. Maybe her comforter or a special towel set or her bathrobe hanging in the bathroom, anything to make it feel like it was not any big thing. You,may have to explain a few times about the workers. If you have some helP tell mom that so and so will be there to keep an eye on them. Now it can be as simple as telling mom that the water pipes are being replaced, anything that will make sense to her. Your job will be to aliviate all the stress of the move for mom. The less worried she will be the better it will be.

You have quit the job in front of you...make sure the nurse at the new home don't make to much of a fuss, that could really scare her with all the new faces, this should seem very everyday to mom so as not to upset her. When my mom asked about,going home, I would tell her that is was to windy, the car was in the shop, the workers were not finished or what ever I thought would work so my mom had a sense that every thing was as it should be.

Hugs Judy..I do hope everything goes well...
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Old 02-07-2013, 11:04 PM   #4
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Re: Getting ready to move my mom

I agree that less is better. If your Mom is normally cooperative and understands your explanations then you can try to explain as simply as possible. But in most cases you can explain until you are blue in the face and she will either not understand what you are trying to tell her, argue with you because it is new and different and fearful, or give hollow agreement, forget, and balk later.

I went through the explanation with Mom when she moved to AL. After days of talking there was some understanding and agreement but that soon vanished. We did it again and she lost it again. The final explanation stuck for less than 24 hours. 18 months later when she moved to the dementia unit, I explained nothing. She went for a day with the grand daughters while we packed up her belongings from AL and it was off to the dementia unit. A little more time with the grand daughters while we moved in about a third of her belongings and she entered the unit with her room all set up. We visited the room, which was set up very much like her AL room without all the extras, and it was off to lunch and entertainment. She actually did better with the second move. There was no anxiety before hand.

If possible set the furniture up as similar to AL as you can. Do take that favorite chair, her same bed spread, comforter, and sheets, and the pictures off the wall that she is familiar with. Eliminate anything that is not essential. Seven outfits is gracious plenty. Reduce the toiletries to the bare minimum. Less is absolutely better.

I only discussed finances when Mom brought it up. If she would ask, I had a copy of her financial statements in my pocket book. I would show them to her, she would get confused and walk off, and I could put them back in my pocket book until the next time. If she ask who was paying, I could remind her of the LTD insurance she had. No extended conversation, just short simple answers. It was about the time she went to the dementia unit that she stopped asking.

You Mom sounds a lot like mine. A very independent spit fire of a lady that would depend on nobody but herself. Giving in to Alzheimer's... she didn't!! She was always FINE! We even declared we were going to have that engraved on her tombstone... "I'm Fine!"

You know your Mom and her responses better than anybody but remember that you said in your post that she does not process new information.... less is better! Don't overwhelm her with explanations. Just make it happen as seamlessly as possible setting it all up as similar as possible... I would do this when she was not present....and then have the facility keep her very very busy!

Love, deb

 
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Old 02-08-2013, 08:17 AM   #5
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Re: Getting ready to move my mom

I just want to add that it helps if you come up with some interesting ideas to move her. Since she is already in a facility. I think she is unhappy there because everyone tells her this is a facility. In a memory unit, the staff would say this is a retirement place. We brought my late FIL one time to look at a facility which has different levels of care. He thought it was nothing interesting in terms of outing. The salelady told him it is the apartment. He just wanted to leave. That is why I don't think it does anything if you bring her to see the facility before you move her.
The thing is she has lost the cognition level to understand certain reality and this is like one of them. The facility would confuse her and the caregivers and residents may scare her. She is not happy in the current AL probably because she is confused with your reality and her reality. In a memory unit, we no longer tell the person our reality. She is in her own reality now and she won't understand what you are saying.
Just say soothing stuff to help her. Create a nice place for her in this new facility. If it is a working place, so be it. Create a fiction if you must to make her happier.
I know there was a family who told the demented elderly that the facility was his big house and he was helping the other residents.

Hugs,
Nina

Last edited by ninamarc; 02-08-2013 at 08:19 AM.

 
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Old 02-09-2013, 04:09 PM   #6
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Re: Getting ready to move my mom

Thank you ALL for the encouragement and great advice. As it turns out, it was SO much easier than I had feared ... we came up with a very simple one-sentence explanation for why she had to move, and did it just one day prior to the actual move.

The next morning, of course, she didn't remember at all, but I quickly packed everything she needed, supervised the movers and set her room up for her while she was occupied with the nurses "touring the building." By the time she was back, her room looked completely finished, suitcases unpacked and clothes in the closet, pictures on the walls, bed made.

She was mainly thrilled with the new glider chair that they'd provided for her, and immediately sat down to do her word puzzles. I left her completely in the memory unit's hands, and it looks as if she will adapt perfectly.

It was a tense week, knowing we had to do this but not knowing how to go about the mechanics of it ... but we managed to make it about "helping me" which works perfectly with her. She will not remember she lived anywhere else by the time I see her again (in 2 weeks), and I am staying in contact with the nurses to monitor her progress.

I learned so much from reading the posts on this forum, and I am so impressed with the level of comfort and advice and wisdom you all have in this.

Thank you again!

- Roxanne

 
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Old 02-09-2013, 10:52 PM   #7
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Re: Getting ready to move my mom

Glad it all went well for you both Roxanna We do tend to worry ourselves into a tizzy because we don't know which way it will go. All we can do is the best we know how and go from there. Hopefully she will settle in and all will be well

Love, deb

 
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Old 02-11-2013, 07:41 AM   #8
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Re: Getting ready to move my mom

Roxanne, I am glad Mom moved in without any hardship.
It is surprising, isn't it?
When we moved my late FIL to the memory unit by flying in with him, we were surprised that he later considered it as his working place. We were thinking it may fail and he may have to go home. But it was only the first few nights that he was confused and sometimes expected us to take him home. The staff was so nice to him and he was thinking he was working as a big boss there. He always wanted to work so this place fits!

I am glad your Mom likes the home. I hope she will enjoy her new home now.

Hugs,
Nina

Last edited by ninamarc; 02-11-2013 at 07:42 AM.

 
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Old 02-11-2013, 08:01 AM   #9
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Re: Getting ready to move my mom

Isn't it weird how OUR concerns often are so far off target? My mom honestly seemed delighted at her new accommodations.

I just called to get an update ... she is sitting in the lobby chatting away. I think she felt so awkward and hyper-aware of her issues that she couldn't cope with holding conversations in her retirement community, for fear of others thinking there was something wrong ... and now, with people who are at the same level or below, she feels high-functioning and normal. So that is fantastic! It was almost impossible to get her to interact with people before, and she's doing it on her own now.

Again: you guys are rock stars!

-- Rox

 
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Old 02-11-2013, 08:53 AM   #10
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Re: Getting ready to move my mom

........"Isn't it weird how OUR concerns often are so far off target?"......

Exactly Rox!! And why we need to just go with the flow and deal with situations as they arise rather than worry ourselves into an emotional coma. It so rarily turns out how we expect it to in this disease

I think you are right about your Mom. She very well could be having trouble keeping up with conversation in the AL but very capable of dealing with the dementia unit. I have seen this phenomenon many times... including my Dad. He stayed in his room in AL and was constantly lost. But in the smaller unit he had less to deal with and help when needed... and he became the designated bingo caller which made him happy. Not every one does this but it's not uncommon either For whatever reason.. I am just happy your Mom is doing well which takes stress off of you for while!!

Gives new meaning to the old saying... "When Mom is happy, everybody is happy!"

Love, deb

 
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Old 02-17-2013, 05:48 PM   #11
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Re: Getting ready to move my mom

Congratulations , we all know the worry you have put yourself through, now breath a little bit, relax.....I am so happy that things went well..
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