A myALZteam Member
I’m hoping one or more of you will be able to help. My 90 year-old mother who lives with me (since early 2014) has moderate to advancing dementia, depression, anxiety, hallucinations and delusions, and has declined markedly over the past two months. She sometimes wanders, is a fall risk, and has been hospitalized twice in the last month for falls. She has lately become combative, violent, and aggressive with me and caregivers. We’ve been scratched, bitten, left bleeding, and I’ve sprained ny wrist twice. I work full-time. My health is suffering big time (depression, diabetes, kidney disease) and I keep falling asleep at the wheel on the highway to work. Our house is on three levels and isn’t safe for her any more - she keeps falling. Her internist said so, told us we needed to find a place for her (“now”) and referred her to palliative/hospice care who said the same thing (so have other medical folks). My family agrees but I’m so torn, and keep breaking down in tears.
We have found a very nice ranch/style place (residential, unmarked, in a regular neighborhood) with 8-10 residents all with memory issues, and 4-5 full time staff. Was a pilot program for our state and now has 16 one-level, 7000 sq ft homes in nice neighborhoods around St. Louis and suburbs. It’s safe, clean and well-staffed. I like their patient-centered philosophy. It’s expensive but not as much as full-time care at home. Our team planning meeting is on the 22nd and move-in (the place does it; we just decorate) is the 29th. We were told by everyone not to tell her about the move, not to take her by, etc. My kids and one of my brothers will be here to help.
This is killing me. When mom is at her worst, snarling like a feral animal, screaming obscenities, etc., the move makes sense. When she’s calmer (but confused and rambling), I want to keep her home. I can’t bear to think of her confused and alone, among people who don’t know her and won’t know what she likes. I’m trying to look at this as a trial, not permanent, and that helps, a bit.
A) What do you think about this move? Yes or no? Impact on her?There is money (among the three kids, one grandson, and mom) to cover fees etc.
B) What would you suggest we say/do to ease this transition? How to prepare her? She values male medical opinions (half the men in her family are doctors). I thought we’d focus on the safety angle (“the doctor said”)
Please help! I’m desperate. I’ve been praying that God will take her before she has to move, which of course is stupid.
I’d appreciate any thoughts and suggestions. Some of you have been through this. How did you handle it?
Thanks in advance
Wow, Gerry. That’s frightening. You have a lot of strength to see it through.
But yes, I see this back and forth too. One minute Mom is happy that she’s physically hurt me or emotionally hurt me (by purposely not wishing me for my birthday). Other times, she’s asking people why I look so lonely and telling them to look after me (made me cry). She’s also asking people to agree that I’m pretty (never said that before, ever). Or she’s complimenting me on how well I drive and how I was promoted (I wasn’t, only applied). She’s also found three potential husbands for me, all wildly inappropriate. It would be funny if it weren’t so sad. I already miss her. I’ll miss her even more once she moves.
Sadly, they do lose the ability to care just as they lose the connection of who they are to you and who you are to them. Jana used to tell me she was planning to stab me in my sleep - I finally believed that she may be capable of that in her altered state even though she may, moments later, tell me how she loved me and thanked me for my caring. The inconsistencies are not something within your control.
@A myALZteam Member, thank you so much. That’s a good way to put it into perspective. In the old days, she wouldn’t want me to be hurt in any way. I know that. Now, though, she’s declined so much that I think she’s lost the ability to care. For example, the other day when I showed her where I was bleeding from where she’d scratched me while she was resisting being changed, she said, “Good. I’m happy.” So…..
Believe that your mother loves you enough that she would not want you to destroy your health for her. It helped me when I placed my husband. What could help her transition: same bathroom towels, bedspread, pictures on the wall, her favorite chair. Just know that it may not go well but she needs to be there. I agree with not telling her before hand. Doctor said is good. I remember reading that someone told their loved one that the carpets were being cleaned and she needed to stay for a few days. If her short term memory is not good. You will be able to tell her that several times!!!
You need to place your mom somewhere for her sake and yours.
I miss her and love her but im afraid her disease has taken her and she is ready to go.
What else can i do to help my mother?
I have been in same place as you woth my mother. I love her so much and want her with me but my health is not good and it breaks my heart for her. I know she is in good hands even though she is not eith me snymore. The professionals know how to help and handle my mom. They are doing there best they can.
@A myALZteam Member, yes, so true on all counts. Thank you.
@A myALZteam Member, yes it is time, and last night you got a strong signal! I am glad your mother was not seriously hurt when she fell.
“Here I am Lord, I have come to do your will.”