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Transition from Assisted Living to Memory Care
Posted: Friday, October 25, 2019 2:44 PM
Joined: 8/10/2016
Posts: 14

We have just been told that my MIL needs to be moved to a Memory Care facility.  All the advice and directions as to where, how, etc. seems manageable so far.  But the simplest question is baffling us.  How do we physically get her there?  She does enjoy car rides.  Do we just take her on a car ride and end up at the new facility?  Any thoughts?  Thank you in advance.
Posted: Friday, October 25, 2019 3:52 PM
Joined: 5/16/2017
Posts: 580

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

Posted: Friday, October 25, 2019 5:23 PM
Joined: 3/10/2019
Posts: 145

In my case I arranged for a medical transport company.  I had taken DH to the emergency room after several falls and consulted with the doctors and social worker about moving to memory care.  They arranged it from the hospital.  The advantage of the third party transportation is that your LO can't blame you if he/she is unhappy with the move.  It redirects their anger to one or more doctors.  Good luck!
Posted: Saturday, October 26, 2019 8:33 AM
Joined: 10/26/2019
Posts: 1

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.



Posted: Saturday, October 26, 2019 2:03 PM
Joined: 6/24/2012
Posts: 532

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.  

Posted: Saturday, October 26, 2019 8:46 PM
Joined: 3/25/2018
Posts: 172

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.


Posted: Sunday, October 27, 2019 2:23 AM
Joined: 12/17/2018
Posts: 287

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.) 

MN Chickadee
Posted: Sunday, October 27, 2019 9:40 AM
Joined: 9/7/2014
Posts: 1029

Yep, that's pretty much how we did it CarolynsDIL. First we moved all her furniture a few days before while she was at her day program.  Then Dad took mom for a ride, said they were stopping at this senior center for lunch. Dad ate with her in the dining room while I finished setting up the room, they stayed for bingo or whatever the facility had for an activity, and then he just excused himself to the bathroom and didn't come back and the staff moved in to spend time with her. We went outside and cried together. I know how awful that sounds to lie, to just leave, but it was the only way. Explaining would have been useless. She would not accept any logical reason or the truth. Saying goodbye would have caused a meltdown and she would have been trying to follow him out and it would have been much worse. Since her loop was short, it wouldn't have mattered what we told her anyway. A half hour later she forgot how she got there. Leaving the facility that day had me physically sick. The adrenaline feeling was awful, I wanted to vomit.We posted a letter from dad(and staff had copies) saying the doctor wanted her to stay there for a few days and that he would come visit soon. The staff repeated this to her. The first days and weeks were awful. The most stressful of my life for sure.  She was not easy to settle in, but by the 4 week mark she was making some progress. By 8 weeks she was doing pretty well. By 12 she seemed to enjoy living there as much as a PWD can. It's a marathon, not a sprint. Hugs, it's a hard journey.
Posted: Sunday, October 27, 2019 12:57 PM
Joined: 12/17/2018
Posts: 287

MN Chickadee wrote:
A half hour later she forgot how she got there.
I know we often can't fathom this so we don't rely on it as much as we should.
I don't think my mother truly understood that she moved.  And I kept using the water pipe explanation but she didn't even need it.  I stopped after a few days as she was just looking perplexed when I would mention it.
By the way, the move I'm talking about was from an open door care facility to an MC care facility so probably easier than the move you're making from AL to MC.  There is more change involved in that one.  Fortunately for me, my mother was more aware at that time and having hip problems so I used the hip issues to prompt the move from AL to care.  And because the care section was in the same building, it was easy.  It sounds like MN Chickadee is talking about a move from home to MC.  I can't even imagine that one!  That would be so hard.

Best of luck!


Posted: Monday, October 28, 2019 5:46 AM
Joined: 8/10/2016
Posts: 2198

Posted: Monday, October 28, 2019 11:44 AM
Joined: 10/9/2014
Posts: 1092

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.  

Eric L
Posted: Monday, October 28, 2019 1:01 PM
Joined: 12/5/2014
Posts: 1288

MIL stayed at home with us for entire journey. We never had to move her, but my wife and I did move our bedroom downstairs next to MILs. She hated being downstairs alone and my wife and her brother were taking turns sleeping on the couch in the family room adjacent to her bedroom. After a while, I told my wife that I just couldn't imagine the next 5-10 years of our marriage being spent in separate rooms (turns out, it was only 2, but still). It finally dawned on us that there was a bedroom across the hall from MIL downstairs (we used it as a playroom for years) that while not perfect (it was part of an addition, we figure the original owners built it specifically to care for their aging parents), it would at least solve our problem at hand.

We just didn't have the dementia experience back then that we do now. We tried to explain why we were moving downstairs to MIL and she was just awful about it. "I don't need your help", "Why are you abandoning your kids?", etc, etc. She told my wife that she was a terrible mother for leaving the kids alone upstairs. It was just a mess.

Thing is, we had a slab leak in the kitchen and had to redo the entire floor downstairs and we had to put new carpet up the stairs. We decided that since we were putting new carpet up the stairs and into the hallway that we would also do the bedrooms. In retrospect, instead of "clearing the move" with MIL, we should have just told her that we needed to move into the downstairs bedroom until the flooring issue was fixed.

Once the move was made, we didn't hear a peep about "abandoning" our kids. I think after a good week or two, she probably thought that we had always been downstairs.
Posted: Tuesday, October 29, 2019 12:36 PM
Joined: 2/5/2018
Posts: 51

I did this 4 months ago. I was living out of state with my mother and scheduled to move her to memory care near me (approx 2 hrs away in different state).  I picked her up at day care and told her there had been a plumbing issue at the apt so we were headed to a place near me like her day care until the apt was fixed. I had the director of the memory care (who had previously met my mom) prepared to meet us at entrance and take mom to an activity and my husband and I snuck out.  They kept in touch with me several times a day for the next several days and I finally went back to visit after a week. My mom was comfortable and happy there and has never asked when she's leaving or "going home"
Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2019 6:26 AM
Joined: 10/11/2019
Posts: 1

Thanks.  That was really helpful.  I like the doctor idea. We just moved my mom yesterday. Ugggg.
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