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what am i missing?
I've been lurking on this site for about 6 months now, getting info and tips on caregiving. You folks are amazing and I have the utmost respect for each one of your stories. I've been caregiving for my mother with Alzheimers in her apt for a year now and i'm moving her to a AL facility in the neighborhood in the next couple of weeks. She doesn't want to go and is fighting me tooth and nail. I'm prepared to move her without her knowledge and i'm also prepared to have her 'hating' me as a result. I have durable POA and my name is on her bank accounts. I don't plan on staying in the same city as her when she does go in. So my question to the board is: What am I missing? I'm sure there's tons and I want to be prepared. Any and all advice is welcome. Thank you in advance, especially if i don't get to respond to a response to this query and the best of futures to you all. - Dan
Hi Manny! Your situation sounds about the same as ours, legally and financially, except there are three of us sharing all the duties but executor. Sis couldn't continue to manage two households, so she somehow persuaded Mom to visit the two AL's in their village. Mom did actually carefully choose the one she wanted. But it was a very hard year of adjustment for Mom, and thus us, mostly me and bro, who visited long distance. We were accused more than once of having forced Mom into this awful place (where she got EXCELLENT care despite the stinking rugs and general depressing dismalness), and what did we know? We told her the truth, that she couldn't go back to her apartment.
About two months in, her heel caught in the low looped pile of her rug as she took a step back, and she sat down so hard she cracked a vertebra. The ensuing corset sent her into a tailspin from which she never really recovered. More tormented discussions about prisons.
I had problems accepting the low quality of the food. I can't remember what else may have irritated me. Bro, who was there more frequently, knew all the staff by name. I never sorted Kathy from Audrey It's very good to be on friendly footing with as many of the staff as you can get. I find that true also of the MC in my city where Mom is now. Mom is slipping away, and we want as many sweet loving relationships for her as we can have!
If you are a town or two or a half hour to 45 min drive away, it is do-able - provided this facility has a well known good reputation, where a once a week visit is enough to keep an eye on things, at least at the beginning.
If you are further away than that, you need to have a local advocate - a sibling or another family member to be there to keep an eye on things. Who is going to respond when you get a call that she has fallen? Is there a RN and other medical staff at the facility who can immediately assess and take charge? Most AL do not have that.
If your answer is no to a local family member, stop, freeze and examine why you are not placing Mom close by to you. Unless you plan on letting the chips fall where they may, you are setting yourself up for extreme stress if you are at a distance.
A Geriatric Care Manager can be hired to be the eyes and moniter too - but lack the family eye.Making life and death decisions from a distance is not a great option, when you get that call from the ER>
I'm also going to point out that virtually everyone who finds this board who places at the AL level find their stay is extremely short (weeks to months, if they make it that long) so what is your plan when they say she should be in Memory Care or skilled nursing?
Manny, What you are missing is that AL is nowhere near the level of care you have likely been giving your mother for the past year while in her apartment. AL is more like having a group of somewhat concerned neighbors living right outside your mother's apartment door - they are not truly invested in her every need and her safety as you might imagine. And they bear no real responsibility for her either. They will call you for every little thing that happens, in addition to her calling and tormenting you if she is able.
I was caught up in the same fantasy when I moved my early-to-mid-stage-dementia mother into AL. Although she "agreed" to go, she did not really want to and the sudden change in surroundings did not set well with her mental state. What I thought would be sweet relief at the end of moving day turned into a week of pure hell. I received multiple calls each day from nurses, directors and home health care aides regarding the problems she was having adjusting to the new environment. Then she fell in the middle of the 8th night and had a major break of her femur. I had to dash to the hospital at 2 a.m. and spend the next 3-1/2 days with her as she was ravaged by the medications and anesthesia. Four months later she passed away in a SNF. The whole situation was horrible. If I had only known - I would have done it very differently. 20-20 hindsight.
If you are going to place her somewhere and leave town, you should really consider a memory care facility where their level of care and responsibility is higher and well understood by everyone involved. Being her POA and having your name on her bank accounts is a great thing, but that means YOU are responsible for her. Shoving her into an AL is not the solution to your problem. I wish you the best of luck, you are going to need it.