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My mother is refusing to go into assisted living. How do we get her involved?

8 answers | Last updated: Jul 22, 2014
maryanne asked...
My mom, who has dementia, is refusing to go into assisted living against the doctor's and our decision. We have tried to get her involved. How do we get her there when she refuses assisted living?
 

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Beth Spencer is a social worker in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with more than 25 years of experience with families who have a member with...
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Moving a relative with memory loss can be a very delicate operation as you are finding out. When someone has flat out refused, as your mother has, it becomes even See also:
How can you help calm dementia parent in nursing home?
more difficult. Reasoning does not usually work and ordering someone to move doesn't work either. Several things to consider:

  • Is there anyone whom your mother might listen to - a sibling, minister, or friend who could help her understand the need for this?
  • Can you do it gradually, perhaps taking her several hours at a time and staying with her? You would gradually expand the time and use some of it to fix up her room, go to activities, etc.
  • Can you bargain with her? This might involve asking her to try it for 6 weeks and then you will discuss it. If you do this, though, you have to be prepared to take her back home if she remembers it at the end of 6 weeks and doesn't want to stay.

Does she have to move now? Perhaps you need to wait a little longer if you can.

Look at it from your mom's point of view. No one wants to be forced to move out of their home. She may not see the need, probably does not understand that she is at risk. Is there a way to help her remain at home but make her safer? Is there anything that might entice her to move, anyway to make it more attractive to her?

A colleague and I have written a manual for families on just this topic with much more detail, Moving a Relative with Memory Loss: A Family Caregiver’s Guide.

 

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ruthielaine answered...

I'm sorry but this answer isn't helpful to me. I am in the same situation and we have tried everything - she won't even leave the house to go for a visit. Now I'm battling cancer myself and the stress of taking care of her is I believe killing me. This weekend she tried to hit me with her can when I brought up the subject again. I need a real solution. I'm fighting for my life here.

 

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Ebw610 answered...

I agree with ruthielaine response....I could have written it myself. Everything ruthielaine is saying I am going through. I have stage 4 breast cancer, my mother refuses to go assistant living.......and is making the last days of my life miserable. It is not an easy task.....The last resort is she being forced to leave her home by some organization that feels she will be a danger to herself, which I am trying to avoid...

 

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keg runner answered...

I'm moving my mom into assissted living today - we have no choice but to blindside her - my brother is taking her to lunch while I move her furniture and belongings to the facility. She doesn't know it yet, but she will not be going home after lunch - the facility said if we just get her to the parking lot, they will take it from there - it's terribly sad and I hate doing it this way, but it is the only way it can be accomplished - the doctors are insisting she needs around the clock supervision - it is for her own safety. Know that we have been talking to her about this for some time - and now she gets violent if I mention it - she was in the hospital last week and her behavior was so far out that social workers got involved and now we really have to get her into the assissted living - I'm dreading this day, but she has left us with no choice but to blindside her - however; if she will allow it I plan on spending her first night with her and if she is too angry with me - we have arranged for her regular caregiver to stay the night (we had a daytime sitter for her). My only hope is that once she gets there and sees all the opportunites to socialize and play games she will calm down.

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

My husband and I are facing the same situation. My mom was released from her latest hospitalization to hospice with a projected 10 days to live. We brought her to our home and nursed her back physically to the point she will not be recertified for hospice. Her dementia, however, is worsening and she has fallen or been caught in mid fall daily for the last week. My husband has strained his back lifting her back up and we have told her he cannot help her up anymore. We are sending her to respite care at our chosen assisted living facility for several weeks; she thinks it's for walking therapy. She will have daily physical therapy to improve her balance and leg strength, hopefully. We are telling her that she cannot come home unless she can walk without falling, which we don't think she will be able to do. We are also hopeful she gets used to the place, makes some friends and decides to stay of her own free will.

 

sjdel answered...

It was the hardest day of my life. I picked Mom up from the adult mental hospital, took her to lunch, then had to hide as four attendants physically lifted her up and carried her upright into the assisted living center. She has mad enough to call me every bad word in the book and tried to hit me with her cane. She would not share a kind word and stated she never wanted to see me again. I was no longer her daughter. I had to remind myself this was her disease talking and not my Mom. The next day she met me with are you here to take me home as she did everyday for 3 weeks. But she was glad to see me and we had a good lunch at the center. I now have her back home and it was nice not to have the constant responsibility for the 3 weeks. She was safe and had three good meals a day. Other ladies were there her age that she could talk to and enjoy passing the day. Now it is just me and the dog. I love her with all my heart but she can not remember where her tooth brush is or how to fix food or drink. She is sad that I have to help bathe her like a child but happy I can. I set out her clothes like she used to for me when I was little. I am disabled so things go slow but we are making it for now. I also had to move her 94 miles north to be near my brother. It is just the two of us children in the family and I needed help after caring for her alone the last 6 years.

 

Junearline answered...

We have 90 year old parents living in the same home for the last 60+ years. No central heat or air, steps to get into the home and and also inside to the TV room that was added years ago. Dad wants to move to independent or assited living but mom won't go. We are letting them muddle through and helping best we can but I'm afraid it will soon get to the point where one of them can no longer walk or take a fall that breaks a hip or leg. We hate to see them this way but they are of surprisingly sound mind for their age. It's still their decision.

 

 
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