Caregiving resources for every stage of the disease.
RSS Feed Print
Moving from AL to MC shared room?
Posted: Monday, January 8, 2018 11:30 AM
Joined: 4/1/2014
Posts: 4

We are still looking for the right facility near me to move my father to (he's in CA near my sister, I'm in OR), and have narrowed it down to 2 places. Both are memory care and there are pros/cons to each. If I can talk my sister into it, I'm leaning towards the one that I felt was better suited to dementia residents in terms of the caregivers' experience, training, set up of the building, etc. The only downside to this place is they only have shared rooms, and they are very small. The other place we're on a list for a single, but they have only been doing MC for 2 yrs, and the MC wing is very small, and feels very confining. 

Dad is an only child and has lived alone his whole life except for the years he was married (30 yrs total, maybe). Not sure he's going to do well in a shared room  - he's already paranoid about items going missing from his apt in AL. 

 We've already told him he'll be moving, and he's sort of accepting of that, especially when we tell him it will be cheaper. But I haven't mentioned it's a shared room. Any suggestions on what to tell him?

Posted: Monday, January 8, 2018 1:55 PM
Joined: 1/8/2018
Posts: 6

You know him best. It's wonderful you have found memory care situations.

 You can ask what happens if the roommate dose not work or fit?

Will they move him? or the roommate?

Mom has had roommates that worked out and some that asked to be moved. Theses were in skilled nursing facilities. It just depends on the interaction between the two.

I had my mother in a Assisted Living a room of her own with her cat for 6 months.  I thought it was the best situation for her. However, she told me later she was lonely there and did not make any friends. I had hoped for more visitors because it's a nice place.  She could not tell me how often she had visitors. She stared wondering at night so I had to pay for a person to stay in her room all night.  They did not have locked outside doors. After that I moved her to a Nursing Home, Skilled nursing facility. Which has worked well.

I thought  was going to have to put her in a Memory lock ward. However the nursing home said they could take care of her.  They have a tag on her wheel chair but she has not tried to leave. They have been able to take care of her, it's still better because I check on her almost daily.

Mom's Baby
Posted: Monday, January 8, 2018 3:08 PM
Joined: 12/19/2011
Posts: 1106

Well, I don't think telling him anything up front is a good idea. He may cycle over and over about it, and even if he says, "OK," he'll probably forget all about it quickly afterward. 

I was worried when we had to move my mom from her own room at memory care to a shared room after she'd spent down her funds and had to go on Medicaid, which would only pay for a shared room. I don't think she really even noticed all that much (of course, she may have been deeper into the disease than your dad at that point.) Mom did have a little trouble with understanding why she'd been moved, but that went away after a day or two. She tried telling me that they "made her move to a different building in the middle of the night!" (It was not a different building, nor was it at night). I just sympathized with her and said that was ridiculous and I'd talk to the people in charge. I made her laugh by saying, "They don't want to mess with us, do they!?" And that was about it.

In memory care, at least in my experience, residents spend very little time in their rooms other than when they're sleeping.  Once a patient is in memory care, they really do need more eyes-on observation and interaction, so it's inadvisable for facilities to keep people out in the commons area and busy with snacks, activities, etc. That's how my mom's was. She liked being around others, so she didn't complain. 

Is your dad a frugal man? I think one thing that might've worked with my mom if she'd asked would've been to tell her that we got a "heck of a deal!" that way. Less than half price! Wow! You get the idea. 

Bottom line is that this has to happen, it's best for Dad and for all of you in the long run.  He may fuss a little but he'll get over it. It's hard because we are taught to please our parents, and it's so tough to get past that and into the role of "this is what's best." 

Posted: Monday, January 8, 2018 3:30 PM
Joined: 6/20/2016
Posts: 1602

As the disease progresses, the living/sleeping space needs to get smaller anyway and frankly, I doubt he'll even notice he has a roommate.

Good facilities keep the room for sleeping/napping/personal care during the day and the resident should be out in the common areas.

My mother, on the rare occasion she noticed she had a roommate, thought it was a man and the female roommate thought mom was a man when she noticed.
Posted: Friday, January 12, 2018 5:11 PM
Joined: 4/1/2014
Posts: 4

This is such a rollercoaster ride. At first we thought we'd be moving Dad right after Christmas, then I couldn't pull all the pieces together, and since then it's been back and forth with he'll be in OR or he'll stay in CA... seriously sometimes it changes 3x/day. I can't take much more of this!

So how do I decide between the 2 places? 

Place #1 23 MC residents

 Con: Shared small room w/ 4ft high wall dividing, and shared bathroom. Not available right now.
Pro: great common areas, good programs and caring staff, residents he could talk to/same cognitive ability. I loved everything about this place except the very small shared room.

Place #2 26 MC residents.

Con: Very small common area for hanging out, many residents were not verbal from what I saw. It is like they put up a locked door on one hallway. 
Pro: private room and bath, only 1 mile from my house. Room opened up at end of this month.

I am going to see Dad next weekend and will see what kind of reaction I get when I mention a shared room. Maybe he wont' care especially if I tell him it saves a lot of money (it does).  I feel like i'm in this endless loop going back and forth about where to move him. The stress is killing me! 

Posted: Friday, January 12, 2018 10:56 PM
Joined: 1/11/2018
Posts: 12

Wow did your reply help me! We are just starting 4hrs a day with a sitter now. But I know it will be full time memory care at some point probably soon.

I was wondering if my mom would mind a shared room either. It is also for the lower cost reasons that I would do the shared room.

You eased my mind so much, because you are right. They stay in the common areas and not really in the rooms until night!  

And if she still had her memory, she would be thrilled that it was a "deal" and saved her money. 

Thank you so much, I'm not even worried about a shared room now!


Posted: Friday, January 12, 2018 11:39 PM
Joined: 6/20/2016
Posts: 1602

The only thing a private room does is give the LO a way to stay isolated.  Always go for the smaller shared room, especially when there is better care in the facility with no private rooms.

My mom shared a room and 99% of the time never realized she was sharing, same for her roommate.  The facility was staffed with people who were long-term employees, many with 10+ years at that facility.  Even the head cook in the kitchen would come and talk to the residents about what their favorite dishes were and he opened his kitchen for activities like making a birthday cake (they have once-a-month birthday parties with cake) or "cooking class" where the residents could sit and watch an item being prepared (staff supervised, of course).  Sing-a-longs, stories, theme days like opening day of major league baseball (hot dogs for lunch, singing Take Me Out to the Ball' groups coming in to sing or spend time, pets always welcome as long as they were well-behaved...quality over "beauty" as far as facilities go.
Posted: Friday, January 12, 2018 11:47 PM
Joined: 1/11/2018
Posts: 12

Thank you daynite, I don't think my mom is in a state to know whether her room was shared or not either! And yes I think she would "isolate" in a room of her own.

I was really struggling with this "shared room" thing,  until I read these posts, now I don't feel bad about it at all.

But I will feel bad again very shortly, LOL because of how terrible all this is to deal with when we know our moms/dads would never want it affecting us like this.

Posted: Saturday, January 13, 2018 6:24 AM
Joined: 3/6/2017
Posts: 951

We're still in the process of getting dad's into an appropriate setting. 

I would pick training and staff retention over a private room. The place I toured yesterday has private rooms, but they're small and staff prefers to have people think of the rooms as a bedroom within the larger house unit- a place to sleep, dress, store your things. They actually discourage TVs because they want residents more engaged.

When dad was in rehab last year and grousing about having a shared room, we commiserated and said "it's just like being back in the army" which oddly appealed to him. He and his roomie became quite friendly over the 7 weeks they were together.
Posted: Saturday, January 13, 2018 7:55 AM
Joined: 8/12/2017
Posts: 123

+1 to good programs, caring staff, great common areas and training/experience  FAR outweighing a single room.  You are seeing it through your eyes that enjoy privacy and breathing space.  For the PWD, engagement and staying connected are the key needs.

The disease changes visual processing and sense of space.  PWD tend to notice what is right in front of them over the big picture.  It was described to me this way: as the illness progresses, they increasingly appreciate being "hugged" (e.g. a single vs. double bed) over feeling "at sea".   When I moved my LO into an average/roomy sized room in MC (a shared room wasn't available), the initial reaction was, "Wow, how many people will be staying in here?  This place is huge!"

Posted: Saturday, January 13, 2018 8:06 AM
Joined: 8/12/2017
Posts: 123

As for his paranoia about belongings going missing, he should not have valuable/irreplaceable items in his room, especially if they are small items.  I started this journey feeling very conservative about meds, I thought I was ever so holistic.  But my LO also developed the paranoia and suspiciousness, which only fueled his anger and isolation when he reached a certain stage of the dementia.  A low dose antipsychotic has been very helpful in easing this, and even made his thought process more clear overall.  Would you consider having your father meet with a geriatric psychiatrist?
King Boo
Posted: Saturday, January 13, 2018 8:07 AM
Joined: 1/9/2012
Posts: 2749

I sure hope you didn't decide to have a "chat with Dad and see how he reacts."  How do you think he will react?  Negatively, of course, and then you have yet another roadblock up in your head.

There comes a point when you have to let go of the need for parental approval or you will be making emotional decisions and not well thought out emotions, which will not be in his best interests.

In order of priorioty 1. Good care with caring staff.  2. Ability to absorb a higher level of care so you don't have to move soon 3.  Medical care available on sight.

I don't rx. placing solely based upon other residents level of function because this can change on a dime, the disease progresses faster for some than others, people move, etc.

As to roomates, at late Stage 5, my Dad and his roomate were oblivious to each other most of the time - except, oddly enough, when something bad would happen (fall, slide out of bed for example).  Then, they would shout out for help for each other.  This was early in his move to skilled.

We had a private room earlier in MC simply because that was what was available, and my LO was up a lot at night.

Posted: Saturday, January 13, 2018 8:37 AM
Joined: 2/3/2017
Posts: 172

I considered moving my mom into a shared room to save money but decided against it primarily because of how she is.  No matter how hard the staff tries to get her to engage with others she won't ... and she naps quite a bit in her room.  She also is pretty mean to the other residents so I can't imagine her making friends with a roommate.  She criticizes everyone.  It kind of makes me laugh ... she sits in the dining room and comments on everyone ... "I can't believe she eats with her fingers"  "he is so out of it"  etc etc.  I would not want to subject a roommate to her nastiness.  She is a loner through and through - and frankly seems not to like any of the female residents.  Now if she could room with a guy who liked her ... she would love that.  She craves male attention.  But I don't think the guy's family would like that too much!  As for your concern about making friends in MC ... I have not seen any friendships blossom in Mom's MC.  It seems this disease brings out the self-centeredness in people and it's everyone looking out for themselves in Mom's place.  I guess I have occasionally seen the less demented chat with one another but those farther along in the disease are interested in themselves and that's it.  Sorry for the long response.
Posted: Saturday, January 13, 2018 11:18 PM
Joined: 1/11/2018
Posts: 12

Hi iccare,

May I ask you, if your mother is able to look at other residents and "talk about" them, then what were the other reasons that made you move her to 24 hr memory care?

Posted: Sunday, January 14, 2018 11:01 AM
Joined: 2/3/2017
Posts: 172

JWill ... she moved in to MC almost a year ago.  At that time she was in assisted living and would get up in the night and wander around the halls getting lost.  She would also go across the hall to her "boyfriend's" room and wake him up, then ask him to put her back in bed ... numerous times a night.  That was the main reason for moving her.  Over the past year in MC she has become unable to toilet herself without staff assistance so she is on "incontinence care" and she gets up ... sometimes more than 20 times a night ... asking for "help" from the staff.  When they ask what she needs she doesn't know.  She is just very agitated.  She also was unable to tell the staff in AL what she wanted to eat.  The staff in MC give her foods that she likes and they encourage her to eat ... which she may or may not do.  So, more than anything she needs the hands on care in MC.  There are about a dozen residents in her MC and at least 2 caregivers ... sometimes 3 ... caring for them.  She needs that.

But you're right it seems odd that she can comment on the other residents at her level of dementia.  Her speech is breaking down as she enters stage 7 but she has moments of clarity ... and as far as her fellow residents are concerned the clarity is not nice.  She is not alone ... there's lots of bickering among the people she lives with.  Imagine a day care setting with 2 year olds ... I hate to say that.  Several of them like carrying around baby dolls ... and boy, if one wants a doll that the other has, there's trouble.  I wish I could say it was more harmonious.  All that said ... I love Mom's MC ... the staff and the other residents.  I have gotten to know all of them ... their idiosyncrasies both good and bad.

Posted: Sunday, January 14, 2018 12:37 PM
Joined: 10/21/2016
Posts: 1950

I would always choose the facility that has the best trained and most stable staff.  Staff makes all the difference in the day to day life.
× Close Menu