How should I handle my mother with dementia's move to a personal care home?

5 answers | Last updated: Oct 05, 2016
Butterfly28 asked...

Hello. I am in the planning staging of moving my Mom from her home in Louisiana to a personal care home close to me in Texas. My Mom has about stage 5 dimentia, her speech is limited - phrases not sentences anymore. She has had 2 24 hr. caregivers for about 2 years. She is used to be in her home - the familarity of her surroundings, but I'm not sure if she relates it to being her home. I go home once a month and she realizes me, but some times it takes her a couple of hours before she can call my name. So, my question is how much do I tell her when I go home to bring her back here. I will be home several days before we journey back to Texas to her new home. What do I tell her when we are headed to Texas, and what do I say when we arrive at her new home? How can I help her be more comfortable in the transition. I picked a personal care home, because it looks like a home on the inside. I will bring pictures and things from home, but I'm not sure what to say? Please advise.

Expert Answers

Donna Quinn Robbins is the author of Moving Mom and Dad and On the Road of Life, Drive Yourself. She helps individuals, families, retirement communities, and corporations make successful transitions through her company, Ultimate Moves. Robbins is an active public speaker on the topic of senior transition services and has appeared on NBC's Today Show.

I would not go into detail. I would tell your mother that you are moving her so she can be closer to you and that she is moving into a nice home. Take her bedspread, pictures, personal items. Make her new room as close to her old as possible. She sounds as though she would not understand anything more detailed and it would also confuse her.

Community Answers

Butterfly28 answered...

Well, everyone. We moved this past Wednesday with no problems. I did all of the packing while she was asleep on the days leading up to the move. On the day of the move, we had packed the car before she got up. We performed the same morning routine with batheing, dressing, and breakfast. We hyped up the ride to Houston as a just a "ride". My Godmother, who is 84, rode with us. Both of them sat in the back with my Godmother doing most of the talking, but keeping my Mom occupied. We made one stop halfway into the trip. (4 hour road trip). When we arrived at the personal care home, the Executive Director came out to the car, and the caregivers ask her if they could help her get out of the car. It's been great ever since. Long story short: She is adjusting well to her new home. The house has 10 residents with 3 caregivers. She is eating well and adjusting to the schedule. I spent the first two days with her for about 7 hours to observe and keep Mom company which I hoped help let her know that we didn't leave her alone. So, I just wanted to share with others who are thinking about making the move. God is good, and I believe He's watching over all of us as we care for our loved ones.

Cordelia answered...

I want to move Mom from Ct to NJ where I live. She's in a nursing home there, but I'm driving up 2x per month to see her, and I'm it. No other family members will go and sister is in Wisconsin. So, this has been encouraging to read! My issue is that we still don't have medicaid for Mom, but I've been waiting for almost nine months to get a decision in CT! In the meantime, I want my mother nearer to me and time is not on our side with dementia! Can anybody give me any words of wisdom? I visited two facilities near to me and both were superior to the place she's in now. She is very positive about moving. So, since I am conservator, lawyer is saying I have to go back to probate to get permission for this move, etc. Oy! All I want is to get her near me. Please comment.

Butterfly28 answered...

Hi Cordelia, Do it! The decision to move my Mom closer to me was the best decision. I can't tell you how much my Mom has improved. The caregivers believe it's because she gets to see me vs. talking to me on the phone daily. I visit 5-6 times a week. It's just great seeing my Mom so often and she just lights up when I walk into the room. It's great! She is talking more...everyone comes in and says Hi Mrs. J or Momma J and she just talks to all the people. A lot of times she is making sense in what she's talking about..The weather outside, the flowers, something on TV, my outfit and shoes, or her shoes. There are times when what she is saying doesn't connect, but I just go with it. It's just good to have a conversation with her again. We had lost that. I tell her about my day or my aches or pains..We hold hands, I do her hair..The caregivers at the home do her nails so she's always showing me her painted nails. It's great! All this to say, whatever you need to do to get her Mom closer to you is worth every cent, every form you need to fill out, time spent in court, etc. This time is precious, because we don't know when it's their last day or our last day for that matter. Cordelia, you won't regret the move and you will LOVE having your Mom close......Be Bless!

Cordelia answered...

Hey Butterfly, you made my day! I am going to forge on with the process and look forward to the day when I can get in my car, go see Mom everyday and know she's safe and happy. That's all I want. Thank you for taking the time to write about your Mom and share with me.

Blessings to you! Cordelia