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AL adjustment
Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2019 4:33 PM
Joined: 3/21/2019
Posts: 19

My Mom, 90yo, has been in assisted living for about a month. I'd say she's probably mid stage. This is where she has chosen to be. She tells me she hates it but knows this is her best option for care. Tells me everyone is very nice and help her and sometimes she says she's not nice.  She is very anxious and fearful at times when she doesn't know what to do and calls my sister expressing her fears and anxiety, sounding tearful. New routines or changes in routine confuse her. Yet, other times she is very clear. She amazes me the things she remembers and can do and yet these other times are really upsetting to my sister to the point that she wants to take Mom home and live with her augmenting with paid help. My sister feels she is regressing due to stress of the place and it will all be better if she is back in a familiar setting.  The apartment is set up similar to her home with her furniture and arrangement. Wondering what others have found to be the adjustment period. Also wondering if I should ask neurologist about adding a med for anxiety. What are others experience with anxiety? She is on the Exelon Patch 9.6. Been on this higher dose a month, the same time she has been at AL.
Greg G
Posted: Sunday, June 16, 2019 6:23 PM
Joined: 2/8/2017
Posts: 889

Hey Misty,

I don't know why no one has said anything but I will.  

You mention that mom is around mid stage in her dementia disease.  Many times that is the point where/when AL starts to be the wrong fit for a person with dementia.  The staff there are not usually not trained in the techniques needed to care for someone with dementia.  In all its varieties.   As a higher functioning PWD when she checked in to a memory care facility, my mom took 7-8 months to really adapt to her new surrounding.  She went straight from her home of 48 years.  Granted my mom went to MC and yours went to AL.  But still.....

Your mom's calls about anxiety, stress and fear may be another decline in her progression.  And since the staff there can not help as much as she needs because of lack of training, these feelings and activities can be quite common.  You should call over to mom's place and ask the folks there (staff, nurse, director, etc) how things are going?  You may gain some insight from talking to them how things are really going instead of only relying on mom's word.  

Doing this may get a better understanding so you can talk with your sister intelligently instead of emotionally.  Mom is going to progress no matter where she is.  At some point she is going to want to "go home" no matter where she lives.  Even if it is in her actual home.  She won't recognize it.  Does your sister live alone or with a family?  Does she REALLY understand the 24/7 demands that will be placed upon herself and family?  Many relationships/marriages have been really tested when one has a person with dementia living with them.  And if you are going to relay on mostly paid caregivers for that eventual 24/7 care, it usually costs more money than a memory care place.  

And speaking of memory care, it may be time to start looking for one for mom.  Does the place she is in now have a MC unit?  If they are good, that might be your best option.  If they do not have a MC unit, then start looking around because it is better to pick the ones you would like before a crisis hits instead of being forced to choose one on quick notice.

Good luck and best wishes, Greg

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