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Transition from Assisted Living to Memory Care
I made the mistake of telling my mother we were moving her. It caused all sorts of havoc.
She began ‘packing’ which meant wrapping every possible thing in newspaper + searching everywhere for boxes. It went on for a couple weeks. I didnt know where anything was including her toothpaste, drinking glasses, shoes...every dam thing.
If I did it over, I would put her in the car, take her on an outing while everything was moved to the new place + then take her there + tell her I found her a new ‘better’ place to live. I would not tell her in advance at all.
If she has friends where she is now, I would get her on the phone to them after the fact
I moved my sister by car. We talked about it in general terms and she participated in what to pack or give away. Her transition was pretty smooth and at her memory care facility she is diagnosed as level 2 with 1 the least and 7 the most demented.
Two experiences that may help.
Moving mom from Independent to AL we took her out for the day and brought her back to the new room. Was hard on both of us, but it was in the same facility so she had some familiar faces and such. I had a ton of help to get it done before she came home. Lots of people all working to help make it smooth for her. We told her that the old apartment was unsafe due to a flood/broken pipes, mold, etc.
Second experience moving from AL to MC she went out for geri psych eval and we moved her while she was out there which lasted 16 days. She came home via ambulance so I did not have to confront her objections. She really did not know where she was for about a week, but eventually she figured it out.... sort of. Again, same facility, just down the hall behind the locked doors.
Good luck. I firmly believe that not telling is more loving. All she can do is get anxious about it. But it's rough on you. Get lots of support.
When I had to bring my husband to memory care, I drove him there, and told him we were going to lunch, and we sat down in the dining room there and had lunch together. I did not tell him he was moving or involve him in decisions about what to pack. The facility provided furniture until I could arrange for furniture to be moved into his room.
That first day I was devastated leaving him there, but he seemed ok sitting watching TV with a carton of Haagen Dazs. Those first few weeks when he asked to go home I told him the Dr. said he needed to stay a while longer. He stopped asking and seems content there now.
I was lucky in that my house is close to the MC facility so I brought her to my house for lunch. I made sure to do that several times in the weeks prior to the move so she was used to it.
I didn't tell her about the move. The other 'team' was setting up her new room to look exactly like her old one. When they were finished they phoned me and that's when I told Mom 'the fib'. A water pipe had burst in her hallway so they're moving her room to the section that's close to my house. "Isn't that great?! We'll be right beside each other!"
Notice I said 'section'. I didn't even tell her it was a different building. She wouldn't know.
I also made sure to take her on the day the music therapist was there as she loves music. I told him in advance so he gave her extra attention. And, of course, she got extra attention from us and the staff so she was on cloud 9.
I was there a lot for the first week and a half and then I started to taper off my visits. For the first few days I kept saying "maybe they'll let you stay here - wouldn't that be great? I love it that we're so close to each other!" She would say... 'oh that would be great.'
I was so nervous about that move - until a few days before when I had a wash of confidence come over me and that was that. Everything went really smoothly and she loves her new place. She's so much happier as she needed the extra attention and now she's getting it. She feels safer and she's where she should be. Life is good.
I think making it so positive at the beginning really helped her feel positive about it. She never skipped a beat and even now says 'boy, I really like all of the changes they've made'. (she still thinks it's the same place.)
Best of luck!
It helps if you can accept that she isn't likely able to process the information and accept it. I think some family members feel they are being unkind or inconsiderate by not providing any notice, but, experience taught me that notice was cruel and served no purpose. I had to get into her world, not the other way around.
In my case, it was nice because the MC was located in her hometown, which she hadn't visited in years, but, the name of the town brought her fond feelings. At that time, she still had some long ago, vague memories of her childhood. So, I just said, right before we got into the car, (we were leaving the ED for UTI testing) that we were going on a trip to Lake City. She was so happy! So, we looked at the scenery and drove to Lake City for the half hour drive. (I had her things packed in the trunk of my car. Other items I got later.) The director was ready with staff (a true Downton Abby welcoming) and they helped get her into a wheelchair and escorted her to the dining room just in time for dinner. I signed paperwork and the staff moved her things in from the car and unpacked her. By the time dinner was over, she was sitting in her new room, next to her new best buddy/roommate watching tv! Her roommate who was not as advanced as she was, said, don't worry, I'll take good care of her! She did too. Fast friends who got along great together. From that moment on, she was more relaxed and content.I think she sensed they were equipped to really take care of her.