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Transition to Memory Care Unit
Internal Administrator
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 9:05 AM
Joined: 1/14/2015
Posts: 40463

Originally posted by: Lori B

We recently moved my mom into a Memory Care Unit. The professionals had told us not to tell her before we moved her because it would add to her confusion. Our family didn't feel right about that so we told her ahead of time. She was very hurt, confused and angry. We moved her, and at the same time my dad moved into the Independent Living Apartments at the same facility so he could be close to her.
We decorated moms' room with her favorite things from the house. My sister & I stayed with her the first couple of nights. We went back the third night and she had packed up everything in the room and said she was moving home & dad was coming to get her. Everytime dad comes to see her she verbally attacks him telling him he could change this if he wanted to. She says she hates it there and has threatened to stop eating. She keeps telling us that if her family loved her they wouldn't have done this to her. She says she is more "with it" than anyone there and all of us.
Some people tell us we need to not visit everyday right now and let her adjust to her new surroundings. She is so sad, confused, angry and lost that it is hard to stay away.
We have read others postings and it just lets us know that we did the right thing but right now we feel like we are the only ones in this kind of situation and it feels so awful. We love our mom more than anything. It is and has been so hard to watch her change with AD. According to the Alzheimers Playbook by Coach Broyles she is well into Stage 2. My dad has taken care of her prior to the move, until he couldn't do it anymore. He is dealing with guilt, relief and more guilt. We were told that we needed to do this at this time to save our dad, or we might lose him too. The last few years have really taken its toll on his health.
We have no idea what to do. Everyone says just do what you think is best. How are we suppose to do that if we don't know? Most of the postings we have read do not speak of loved ones having trouble adapting to going to a facility, but there has to be someone who has a similar experience. The workers at the facility tell us that for some reason it seems like people settle down & accept the move after approx 2 weeks. Is that true?
We are interested in hearing of others similar experiences.
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 9:05 AM
Originally posted by: Peppermint Patti

And although most here refer to the 7 stages
of AZ, some people use the three stage model-
mild, moderate and severe.
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 9:05 AM
Originally posted by: areola

Hey Lisa
Thanks for the advice about the AA line and all. I have done that route, but I am lucky to have a great circle of friends to vent to!

I just wanted to update everyone. Mom is doing well at the MCU - it is a Benchmark facility. SEE link:

So far the place is wonderful, pricey, but wonderful. The staff are great. Mom is adjusting well, but thinks she will be going home soon and of course, she won't be. There are many other women in her "neighborhood" that say the same thing. She is warming up to them. I went to tuck her into bed tonight, and the caregiver told me that my mom had been giving hugs to the other residents today!

That sounds like my mom!

When I go there and tuck her in, she is relaxed (on seroquel!), and tired. She is able to go to bed with ease. I do tell one little white lie though when she asks, "are you going to stay here tonight?" I say, "oh yeah, I have the room next door." That makes her relax just a little more and it makes me feel so good. (I used to sleep down the hall from her for the last 5 years.)

I read about 2 years ago in one of the Alzheimers books about "white lies" and it said they were ok. I found them to be so helpful with my mom, and it is part of the Benchmark way too. There is no real need for reality/redirection with AD. NOPE! Just tends to stress them, and once stressed they have a very difficult time recovering from it.

I am feeling so much better about moms transition to assisted living.

hope tonight brings everyone out there a well deserved good night sleep.

Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 9:05 AM
Originally posted by: Lisa 428

Hello and Welcome to the AD Message Boards. I think I said hello on another site.
I'm so sorry to hear about your Mom. I'm glad you are still able to tuck her in at night. I am, also, sorry you are having problems with your Dad. That must be very difficult for you.

Thank you for sharing your story about you and your Mom (Dad too). Perhaps you should call your local AD Assn for help and guidance?!
Also, if you need immediate assistance, please call the AD helpline @ 800-272-3900.

Yes, please keep us posted.

Hope you slept well.

Again, welcome to OUR family.
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 9:05 AM
Originally posted by: Ttom

Hello Lori B, my name is Tom and I want to WELCOME you to this board that is designed for people like you and I! I’m sorry to hear about your problems. You should be very proud of yourslf for attempting to make your mom and dad as comfortable as possible. I sorry to tell you that I don't have any personal experience in the elder care area to share. I will attach some sites and phone numbers that should be helpful. In the meantime I hope to let you know that you are not alone and this board is here to support you!

In June of 2008 I was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s related dementia. I began visiting this message board in August 2008 and the people have become important to me. I’m sure that you will find a number of supporters here for you.

I will attach a link to a site that will lead you to your local Alzheimer’s Association
Chapter. Those people will be able to assist you with local resources and thoughts to improve your life:

Please call the 24/7 Helpline at
1-800-272-3900 if you have any pressing issues!

For Elder Care:

You might be better served by addressing the "Caregivers" forum.

Please come on back to visit us soon!

Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 9:05 AM
Originally posted by: Kristn

Hi Lori B,

I just put both my parents into ALF about 3 weeks ago. Dad had AD (middle stages). Mom has been in poor health all my life. We tried letting them take care of each other at home, but mom just couldn't do it. She has 15 perscriptions and dad has 10. She couldn't keep them all straight. Their house was falling in around them and was filthy. It was such a hard descision to make. Mom understood and was on board with the descision. Dad didn't understand why they needed to go.

Now that they have been there for a few weeks, mom hates it. Dad hates it. They are miserable. I was also told it took about 2 weeks for them to settle in. They are no where near settling in. You are right, the quilt is overwhelming. I know this is the best thing for them - they are safe, the environment is safe and healthy, they get their meds exactly as perscribed and on time. I know the food isn't that great, but they didn't eat great before they went in. They are so angry and mean and hateful - both of them. It is so hard.

I wish I had answers for both of us. I have decided for now not to go see my parents unless there is an emergency or a doctor's appointment that I need to be at with them. I just can't take the screming and hate right now. I don't know if this is the right thing to do, but it is what I have to do to keep my sanity. Keep us posted on how you all are doing. I hope your mom and my parents settle in soon.
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 9:05 AM
Originally posted by: eoneill

Hi Lori,
My father's facility does allow residents to lock the doors. All staff members carry a key that unlocks all doors. We HAVE to lock dad's door as other residents have been found sleeping in his bed, his chairs, and using his bathroom...not to mention the missing clothes. The staff encourages everyone to lock the doors. We also use the same key to lock one of his closets where we have cleaning supplies, non prescription medications. I hope everything works out for you. I have a sister in Portland area and we initially checked out facilities there as well as a residential home located in her own subdivision in West Linn. It was too cold there for my father!
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 9:05 AM
Originally posted by: areola

My mom is now in a MCU. She has been there for about a month. I posted earlier today about seroquel (new perscription) and her failing eyesight (or trouble with the muscle tone of her eyelids - we haven't pin pointed the cause/remedy yet - if we ever will!)

I had been a live-in caregiver for about 5 years. The last two were the most intensive due to her cognitive decline (she is physically very healthy). She did not recognize her husband, and that scared her - made him mad - that scared her more -- and it would continue. So my sisters and I reached the conclusion that he was not going to change, and the best thing was to move her into professional hands 24/7. We are fortunate that dad can shoulder this financial burden.

I can't stop crying! I miss her so much. I know she is lonely at the MCU. I would have loved to continue the care, with more support but due to the nature of my relationship with my dad it was impossible for me to negotiate anything. He showed an appalling lack of respect for me throughout the experience. I don't what exactly I am crying about - the whole thing. I know she is in a great care facility. We are so lucky. But the transition was hellish, some day I will share that experience.

I miss her dreadfully. I miss tucking her in at night, and having her get up! The little patter of her feet coming down the hall to my bedroom about 15 times before I finally crawled into her bed with her! The nights were alot of work, she did have trouble sleeping but melatonin helped alot, and a midnight snack! But the last few nights nothing worked - she had declined after a bout with the flu.

I would not trade those years for anything. I am so glad I was able to be her caregiver.

I know that she is sleeping well because of the seroquel. I go to the MCU and tuck her in sometimes. She asks me if I am staying there, and I tell her "yes, I will be right next door" and that makes her happy. The "white lies" have always been helpful. I have stayed until she drifts peacefully to sleep.

I need to tuck myself into bed now. I am glad to have posted to this topic. I have been posting and reading this forum for years, but I have taken on a different name. I want to be able to be honest and free to write whatever comes from my heart without my family knowing who I am. I have alot pent up stuff - thus I cry.

I will keep you posted on my moms experience in the MCU.

thanks and blessings to all of you,
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 9:05 AM
Originally posted by: ittakes2

I had to place my mom (between stage 5/6) into a nursing home a week ago Thursday. I have been helping her for over two years and living in her home for 5 months. She was losing the ability to walk and help me care for herself. She started to fall and that worried me too much and when the doctor asked me if I could get her out of the house at night if it caught on fire - I knew it was time. I didn't place her in the memory unit becasue she "seems" to be with it more than not to those who don't really know her or take the time to talk to her. She smiles and small talks with most. I was afraid she would just hate it there. So to the NH it was. She has been confused. I too was told to stay away for two weeks - drop in visits only to help her transition - it is hard and now she hates me and wants to go home. She crys and yells at me - the staff says she is doing fine but I know better. She doesn't even know which room she is in nor where she really is - I cry every time I get in the car to leave the place - but I know she is in the right place and is safe. I just wish she could settle in and not hate me so much. If she stays mad and turns on the staff she will have to be moved to the memory unit for her own saftey - she trys to stand up and get out of bed and do the things she is asked not to do - over and over. To top it all off - her lifelong best friend who had AD and was in the same NH with her - died last night from kidney failure. I will avoid this topic and the staff agreed to help by not telling her if she asked to go see her (which she hasn't done in a week). The doctor is going to add a new med this week for agitation - I hope it helps!!
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 9:05 AM
Originally posted by: eoneill

Hi Lori,
I placed my father in a memory care facility 2 years ago as my mother could no longer contend with the 24 hour care. The transition was very difficult and it does take much longer than 2 weeks. The staff left it up to us how much to visit in the beginning and I spent long hours there with my father out of quilt. Looking back, I should have visited for brief periods a few times a day instead of staying all day. I became exhausted. Keep in mind that you have to also look after your own health.
We hired a companion to visit my father 3 hours a day/5 days a week and this helped tremendously. I do all my father's personal care every morning 7 days a week and it's comforting to know that someone is looking after him in the afternoons. The companion takes my dad for outings everyday and my father looks forward to it.
Another option to consider is a residential home where the atmosphere is home like and the resident to caretaker ratio is much smaller. We did not have this option in our area. A great website to google is a Place for Mom's. They have a complete list of residential homes by area and state.
The guilt will never go away completely. I'm still dealing with it everyday. I do find comfort in knowing that my father is in a safe facility that he can't wander off. I volunteer lots of hours at the facility and take the men on fishing trips and organize poker night etc. I also attend family night at his facility and have bonded with other family members. It is essential to have a support group. This helps with the guilt and in a way you are giving back to others.

Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 9:05 AM
Originally posted by: Lori B

Thank you Erin. Actually I did start this whole process with a call to A Place for Mom. They were so helpful in directing us on how to get started, the questions we needed to ask etc.
The Memory Care Facility that mom is in is a residential home. There are 20 single rooms - with no locks on the doors. I understand the need for this - but mom sure doesn't! She feels her privacy is being invaded, and I would feel the same way.
When I am dealing with the guilt, like you, it always comes down to the fact that she is safe, she is receiving her meds regularly, and she is receiving regular meals.
Thank you so much for letting us in on your story. I had also posted on the Caregivers Forum and from most of the responses, as with yours, it sounds like at first it might be best not to visit daily.
Thank you again for sharing & taking the time to respond. We appreciate you! Smiler
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 9:05 AM
Originally posted by: Sarah12

Stage 2 and already in a care facility? Oh my! Eeker IMO, a care unit/facility should be a last resort but not at that stage.
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 9:05 AM
Originally posted by: LittleRed

Sarah 12, for all we know that is a last resort for their circumstances. People already have such guilt over placement, we should try not to add to it.
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