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Advice: Mom moved into memory care
My 93 yr old mom was in high-level care in assisted living for almost 2 yrs. She was admitted when she broke her ankle, but she already had signs of dementia. 2 Mo. ago we put her in memory care. She was wandering, going outside, and having weekend long delusions. Before that it was mostly memory loops and random, yet shorter lasting delusions. Yada yada...I got her into memory care. She cried and cried every time I'd visit her. She'd beg me to let her go home, and then worry that she was being a bother. She said things like, "Is this what my life will be?" And, "I need something to look forward too." And I always bring her flowers because they make her so happy. But that has changed since she moved into he memory unit.
I'd keep it together until I got to my car and then I cried. In assisted living she'd finally started to feel at home, even called it her house. She had a friend and would listen in on other people's conversations. There were lots of places to walk. She felt free. But in the Meadow Wing, she feels trapped. Says the patients are just lumps. She loves the staff, but she is a bit more coherent than likely all the patients. But then she does forget most things soon after they happen.
There are 6 kids in our family. We are all spread out, but two of us are nearby. I'll be moving very far away in December. I'm still trying to figure out how I will make that work. I have one brother who is nearby, but I think his idea of dealing with our mom is different than mine or anyone else in the family. He goes in with a sad face and I'm not sure if it rubs off on her. He does not agree with us to keep certain things from her that may upset her. He says he has to be truthful, but the truth upsets her over and over. And I learned from the memory folks that telling little fibs is how they keep the memory patients calm and happy. It works with my mom, but how do I get my brother to think about her happiness through a dementia lens? He's also a bit angry at the family, which is a whole other story. But suffice to say that he is on a different page than the rest of us.
Today I went in with an iPad full of photos. She loved them. She even noticed the flowers I brought her. I walked her to the lunchroom and promised to come back. She did not hang on me or beg to go home. She did not cry or complain at all. I left her happy and hopeful. She may forget the pictures and happy visit, but I do believe she will be left with a sense of calmness.
So, I need advice on anything else I can do or if you've had to go through this how did you deal with it. Did you feel guilty for somehow not finding a way to bring her home and care of them yourself? What about siblings or friends? Did they help? This is so hard.
Also, has anyone taken their memory cared for loved one out of the facility just for a walk or lunch or something else? I just don't know what will help or not help. I'm willing to try anything.
Meanwhile, my mom will see a lot of photos. And, of course will keep getting flowers.
For most of every year, I lived far away from my mother in MC. My DD + brother would see her about once a week each. When they were there, they would facetime me so I could talk to mom. While she could still do it, I would call her on the phone frequently when should could still handle that.
I hired a companion that went to see my mom at least twice a month. She would take her to lunch, shopping, garage sales, take her to dairy queen, paint her nails, etc. Mom became very fond of her (called her ‘my angel’) + call me + another brother on facetime.
It cost me about $150-200/month for her time $25/hr + lunches, whatever my mom bought, etc. + was worth every penny. She scheduled herself + sent me a detailed invoice once a month. She would also call me + let me know if mom needed anything or if she was concerned about anything. (She is the one who recommended hospice to us)
I would also send my mom cards about once a week, sometimes with photos + notes..she liked getting mail. I also gave her a robotic cat that she really liked
My mom would not have wanted me or anyone else to up end their life for her. We made sure she had good care + saw her regularly. She was not happy to be in MC with all the ‘old people’ but that was the best solution for ALL of us as a family.