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Need some objectivity, I am too close.
Posted: Saturday, July 24, 2021 5:38 PM
Joined: 1/25/2018
Posts: 705

Hi gang. Haven't been here for a while. My beloved was admitted to a long term facility a year ago and there were a few bumps to work out. I desperately need some advice and have nowhere else to turn. I asked my spouse be moved to a private room for a variety of reasons that I feel are valid. They accomodated me in this, all-be-it for an additional, pretty high monthly bill. The problem is the furniture and decor of the room is abysmal. I'm not upset. She gets good care and they invest the facilities resources in staff and care equipment, not fripperies. Is it worthwhile for me to spend a few hundred dollars in sprucing up the room? Curtains and blinds are a must, but does it matter that her dresser is falling apart, and the bedside table looks like it was rescued from the city dump. She shows no real awareness of the generalities of her enviornment. She will play and interact with a doll or stuffed animal for hours. It doesn't seem to matter if it is a $400. hyper-realistic mock-up of newborn, or a beat-up Cabbage Patch kid. She will point out floral decals on the window exclaming "aren't those flowers pretty !" but then get stuck, pointing to the light switch:"isn't that beautiful !", a chipped floor time, the remote control for the TV.... She cries a great deal of the time and when I can decipher what has her most upset, she is very lonely, confused and afraid. I don't want to spend high 3 figures, (that would be a streach for me), to make her room homelike and welcoming if she has no desire, intrest or even awareness of my creating a more homelike enviornment. Despite my being almost 2 hours away I try to visit 4 or 5 times a week. I get the feeling the staff already thinks I am a bit doting and possibly titched in the head. Almost every visit I'm the only visitor on the floor. Redecorating and refurbishing her room may qualify me for a competency evaluation. Has anyone else done this and regretted it, or done this and was thrilled in the outcome?
CS 63
Posted: Saturday, July 24, 2021 5:47 PM
Joined: 5/23/2021
Posts: 28


My thoughts on the matter - if it makes you feel better then do it.  You don't know how it might make your LOWD feel, but it won'T make her feel worse! Good for you to travel that far 4-5 days a week, you should be able to visit a room that makes you feel better too.

Posted: Saturday, July 24, 2021 5:56 PM
Joined: 6/14/2021
Posts: 180

As you say, good care is a must and the decor must come after.

If you feel that sprucing it up will make it nicer for you both, by all means do it, but you don't need to buy new to have nice things.

I don't know about your specific area, but look into thrift shops or Goodwill stores to see if you can find an "upgrade" to the pieces which concern you.

I know when my sister died we gave many very nice and still useable pieces to our local hospice thrift shop.


Stuck in the middle
Posted: Saturday, July 24, 2021 6:56 PM
Joined: 6/4/2017
Posts: 1367

loveskitties wrote:

I don't know about your specific area, but look into thrift shops or Goodwill stores to see if you can find an "upgrade" to the pieces which concern you.

I know when my sister died we gave many very nice and still useable pieces to our local hospice thrift shop.


Used furniture is pretty cheap around here.  Also, if you have furniture at home that you no longer use and will eventually donate, you might want to move it to her room (and leave it there when your wife leaves).
I wouldn't spend a lot on this.  You're already spending a small fortune visiting, not to mention the cost of a private room.

Posted: Saturday, July 24, 2021 7:13 PM
Joined: 10/24/2019
Posts: 557

It sounds like your DW has very limited awareness of her surroundings.  (That’s true of my DW, late stage 6).  If that’s the case, then furnishing her room more attractively may be something you’re doing for yourself as much as for her.  Which is perfectly fine.

I remember your previous posts, particularly how agonizing the placement decision was for you.  I am glad your DW is being well cared for in the facility you selected.  Anything and everything you can do to reaffirm the placement decision and feel as good as you can about it are well worth it.

Posted: Saturday, July 24, 2021 7:45 PM
Joined: 1/25/2018
Posts: 705

Upcharge for private room $600/month

SOC payment for Medicaid $200/month

Gas for travel $120./month

Yep, $920./month is a lot for me.

As for nice room to visit in, I don't have that much money if I hit the lottery.

All I wonder about is has anyone done this for a loved one bobbing around in earily stage 7 and had it make any difference to their well being and happiness? It ain't gonna do squat for my happiness. The woman I lived to make happy for 40 years is conversing with a Cabbage Patch Kid. There isn't a lot of happy in that scenerio for me. I just can't keep going through 2 visits out of 3 with her sobbing and distraught. Has a prettier room helped anyone's loved one be a bit happier, or is she likely too far turned inward to even notice by the time I have stuff delivered.

 8 weeks ago, with the first visit allowed in her room since the Covid lockdown, she grabbed my hand, said my name, and whispered: "I don't think I'm going to live much longer. I'm scared. Will you hold my hand?"

Today she sat and played with a dolly for 30 minutes before even acknowledging I was there. She speaks; says understandable complete sentences to the doll,(it answers from time to time), occasionaly speaks to me with an "I love you so much"-all well and good. It still doesn't help me to decide if it's worthwhile to spruce up her room a bit at this stage of her disease. I'm afraid she is slipping so quickly that by the time I beg maintenence to hang the curtains and wall decor, throw out the broken furniture and move in the new, a parade of elephants could march through her room and she wouldn't bat an eye. 

What has anyone else in this forum experienced in these kinds of circumstances? Am I just wishful thinking to hope it may improve her mood?


Posted: Saturday, July 24, 2021 8:00 PM
Joined: 4/2/2018
Posts: 4515

Markus, I've been wondering how you were doing. In our area, there are several good used furniture stores that have decent prices. Something like that or a Goodwill or Salvation Army would be a good bet. I think that might work for you if you want to save several dollars. I agree that it would probably be more for you than her.
Glad she is getting the care she needs, and I hope you have been taking care of yourself.


Posted: Saturday, July 24, 2021 8:17 PM
Joined: 12/27/2017
Posts: 383

Good to hear from you Markus!  

When my mother moved into a MC, my three siblings decorated her room; I doubt she noticed, but we did.  The one thing I WISH we would have brought from home is her small kitchen table.  

Posted: Saturday, July 24, 2021 8:23 PM
Joined: 9/21/2017
Posts: 971

Markus--So glad to hear from you.

I'd save your money, my LO complained the room was too small when they moved in a few years ago ( a single).

This week they said is was "too large" and went on so I had to call the staff, same room!

If you would take visual pleasure from different things in your wife's room do it, but change of any type may upset your wife.

I'm so glad your wife is getting good care, travel safe. (Maybe drop one visit a week and see if she cries less, with gas costs rising too).

Stay safe.

Jo C.
Posted: Saturday, July 24, 2021 9:17 PM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 11948

Hello Marcus, good to hear your voice, it has indeed been awhile.  I do recall how difficult a decision it was to decide on placement.  Glad you found a place with good care.

As for the furnishings; as others have said, it would be more for your comfort than it would be for hers.   The Goodwill and other charity shops do indeed have decent pieces one can get for a nominal cost.

However; if you are looking to please her; instead of furniture, why not go to Target or WalMart and get her a really pretty bright colored quilt for her bed?   She would enjoy the colors.  In the same light, you could find pretty framed pictures of flowers or other subects at those stores or in the Thrift shops that you could hang on her wall.

One can always find bright things to lighten up a room.   There are also inexpensive "stained glass" decorations that have suction cups to place on windows that catch the light; and there are even bird feeders that go on the outside of windows to give some interest now and then. Sometimes one can find really pretty colored artificial flowers in a container that could sit on her nightstand; she seems to react to such items.  All of that would be at low cost and you could both enjoy them.

It is sweet that she has her dolls to cuddle and communicate with; the doll and the cuddles must be very soothing for her and bring comfort.  Lovely that she has that.

She is in a private room which is a little bit isolating; would or does  she enjoy going out to the activity room and/to watch others in activities; especially when there is music or exercise or balloon toss?   Even if she cannot participate, perhaps if the activity does not disturb her, she would enjoy watching.  If a wheelchair would be uncomfortable; they could always use a guerney chair for her comfort.  Guerney chairs have wheels that would permit taking her outside for short breaks weather permitting.

So hope all does well, do let us know how it is going.

Take good care;


Posted: Saturday, July 24, 2021 9:18 PM
Joined: 10/24/2019
Posts: 557

Your DW’s situational awareness is low.  It’s highly questionable whether or not your DW would notice the improvements you’re considering, never mind become happier as a result.

You are understandably concerned and distressed about what your wife is experiencing.  I would be, in your shoes.  She has good reason to be lonely, confused, and afraid.  I’d suggest talking with her neurologist/geri psychiatrist about potential anti-anxiety and anti-depressive pharmaceutical solutions.  You might also want to talk with the staff at the facility about the extent to which the behavior you describe is frequent when you are not there.

Posted: Saturday, July 24, 2021 10:15 PM
Joined: 11/19/2020
Posts: 178

are there any specific things from home that you think would make her feel more comfortable?  It seems like familiar things often times help.  Whether it be similar curtains, or blankets, a chair, etc.  


Posted: Sunday, July 25, 2021 6:45 AM
Joined: 3/6/2017
Posts: 2963

Hi Markus-

It is very nice to have an update on you and your dear wife that sounds so positive. 

Your wife likely won't notice if the disease has progressed to her playing with dolls. When my aunt went to MC, her sister decorated her sitting area in the MCF with a lovely Martha Washington chair and piecrust table and put a lovely bow front antique chest in the bedroom. AWD was happy to have her things. LOL, Auntie loved nice things and once told me she thought it a shame that when you died you couldn't take it all with you. Within a year the chair was trashed because of incontinence, the piecrust table disappeared and the chest's finish was destroyed by staff who placed water glasses on it and cleaned it with strong disinfectant. 

She'd retired to her summer compound that had a beautiful sunset view of Casco Bay and the last 8 years of her life when she looked out her window across the parking lot to a stand of trees she described the view from her first cottage as what she saw out the window- the gulls, the rocky beach, the boats bobbing.

If you do refresh the decor, perhaps look for something at a Habitat ReStore shop or online marketplace; you can pick up used furniture for almost nothing unless you get into bidding in the hot MCM market.  Small soft pieces like pillows and throws are nice, but they will likely disappear if there are shoppers afoot.

Check with staff about curtains. When we fixed up dad's room using a minimalist approach, they informed us that any window treatments had to meet a certain federal standard for flammability and be labeled for use in a hospital or congregate living space. We did locate such curtains online, but they were no improvement over what was already there. 

My nieces used to decorate my MIL's (MIL taught 4th grade for almost 50 years) room seasonally with supplies from the teacher store which she appreciated. 

TBH, your wife might not get much out of redecorating, but your feelings matter, too. The SNF where my MIL lived that last year of her life was just dreary. Everything was out-dated and shades of brown. The staff were amazing to her, but it was not a pleasant space. We brought flowers and got her outside as much as we could.

Posted: Sunday, July 25, 2021 7:24 AM
Joined: 2/29/2020
Posts: 785

I can only speak from my own experience. My DH is late stage 6/early stage 7, and he has no connection to his surroundings at all. As others have said, if it will make you feel that you are doing the best you can for your wife, go ahead and spruce up the room. But I strongly doubt it will make her any more content.
Jo C.
Posted: Sunday, July 25, 2021 6:19 PM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 11948

Though it may not work for everyone; when my mother reached the state your wife is in, I had bought her a really lovely quilt/bedspread - got it at Target and it really was very pretty and inexpensive. Put her name on the hem and it never disappeared.   She would stroke it.

Just some non-furniture ideas that may please both of you: 

 I hung a pretty framed picture of flowers on the wall across from her bed and a blown up  framed photo of her her and her sisters on the wall next to her bed; she loved getting together with the five "girls" when she was well.   Did she know or process the photo?  Don't know.

Also became quite a shopper at a hobby/craft store that carried all kinds of stuff. I bought  stick-em items for her wall and closet door  for each holiday and season and she seemed to like looking at them. Christmas was special; found a tiny prelit tree that was really cute and placed it on her nightstand; she seemed to enjoy gazing at it.

 Used the guerney chair and got Mom out to activity room where she could watch the activities; especially when there was live music.  Sometimes she seemed to watch, a few times she fell asleep; but it was  a bit of a change for her.  I attended watching programs with her as much as I could when not working.

 The bottom line in this in our case was that until the very end, it seemed to stimulate her a bit for short bits of time.  Or . . . . perhaps it was just me.  In any case, it also made me feel I was doing something for her.

NOTE:  Not only do we try to give color, etc. if our LO can still notice the items, but the staff responds to it; they know there is much caring and they also see the patient/resident as more of an individual.  It seemed to make a difference; the staff sure noticed.   Just our experience.

 Best of luck,


Posted: Sunday, July 25, 2021 8:43 PM
Joined: 1/25/2018
Posts: 705

Thanks All for the honest and informed responses. Hershedbuzz-thanks for the tip. I'll check with the facility about safety requirements before I make any purchases. I do think time is a factor in my wife's case. She does have very little enviornmental awareness, but it must be somewhat better to go to bed in a room that doesn't look like a homeless shelter. She may not be able to identify the changes individually, but it may give her a more positive experience in general. I will scale back my budget quite a bit. Window treatment, a few pieces from home, and some rearranging of the room and we'll she how she does. As the room sits now she cannot even see her TV, or out the window from her bed. If I wait another month even the general feel of the room may be beyond her ability to notice.
Posted: Sunday, July 25, 2021 9:01 PM
Joined: 2/16/2017
Posts: 1472

Dear Markus, 

It is nice hearing from you. You are such a loving caring husband your wife is so lucky to have you.  When my DH was in MC his room was just a normal room nothing fancy. I had his recliner from home in his room facing the window and the TV. I had the bedspread off of our bed on his bed, it was a king size spread on a twin bed so I had most of it tucked behind the bed. I had all the pictures hung on his wall of all the kids. I made it as comfortable for him as I could but I don't think he even noticed these things.

He spent most of his time watching out the window so I had a bird feeder outside his window and this and the TV occupied his time. Like Jo C said adding color to her room  would be a nice addition. 

Thanks for the update and please take care of yourself. Hugs Zetta      

Posted: Sunday, July 25, 2021 11:11 PM
Joined: 1/1/2021
Posts: 107

Riffing off some other ideas here, I think decals, stickers, or paint may be a better investment in new furniture. It sounds like some contrast may be more helpful to her than quality workmanship.

Posted: Monday, July 26, 2021 1:53 AM
Joined: 6/12/2016
Posts: 1800

Hello Markus!

I was thinking about you just yesterday! Its really nice to hear from you! I would get her a pretty bed spread/quilt/comforter. A floral pattern of bright colors? If its exceptionally soft she would get comfort from touching it. Perhaps a large picture to hang across from her bed. Targets has good sales on bedding items, so does Home Goods. Marshall's has great prices too. You could find a pretty and very soft/fluffy throw blanket for $20 at any of the stores I mentioned. Hobby Lobby often has a great selection of large posters on sale, some are very beautiful. You could mount that on the wall using thumb tacks, no need to purchase a frame. I think she would notice bright colors but probably not much else. 

Good luck! Thank you for the update. I'm glad to hear she's getting good care!

Posted: Monday, July 26, 2021 10:36 AM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 20034

How about some fake flowers and a colorful poster?
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