How upsetting is it for alzheimer's patient to be moved in/out of respite care?

4 answers | Last updated: Sep 13, 2016
Bccollins asked...

I currently have my husband in respite care while I get well from a bout of pneumonia and have some much needed work done on the house. I will bring him home for a few weeks, then have to take him back as I need to visit my brother who is taking chemo treatments in another state. How upsetting and confusing is this going to be to him? Am I doing more harm than good? I have been considering placing him permanently in an alzheimer's unit but it is just so expensive.

Expert Answers

As Founder and Director of Circles of Care, Ann Cason provides caregiving, consulting, and training services to individuals and public and private organizations involved in eldercare. She is the author of Circles of Care: How to Set Up Quality Home Care for Our Elders.

My heart goes out to you because Alzheirmer's Disease doesn't just strike one person. Everyone involved needs care. Both you and your husband have needs and both may be upset at times. It is part of being a human being. Your husband may very well be upset when he has to move, but there are ways to help reduce the anxiety.

Prepare him for the move. Not too far in advance, but at least a day before, tell him that your brother is sick and that you have to help him for awhile. Let him know that you love him and that you will be back. Pack some favorite music, slippers, stuffed animal, newpaper, family he has familiar and comforting possessions. Ask your doctor for a few anti anxiety pills, given as prescribed, but often for a couple of days before, and a couple of days after the move. Since it is respite care, can you use the same facility each time? Can you take him to visit a couple of days before? Can you have a family member or paid helper visit him for a couple of visits while you are gone? If it is a family member, give suggestions of activities to do with him that make it easier and more fun. Go to exercise class together, or for a drive, or suggest a book for looking at pictures. has Alzheimer's specialists who can suggest good activities. Most of all concentrate on finding activities that promote life, living and well being for yourself and for him when you are together. Then realize you both can have life affirming times when you are apart. Don't let the fear of upset, control your thinking. Instead, find the support that you both need to both be together and to be apart.

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Community Answers

Donna q. robbins answered...

If cost is not an issue, I would absolutely leave him where he is. It's very disruptive for any older person with a medical issue but especially for someone with alzheimers to be moved more than they need to be.

Nan hayes answered...

Moving from one place to another is never easy. For a person who has Alzheimer's disease, changing the routine and moving to an unfamiliar environment can be especially disconcerting.

Although it may not be possible, it would be easier on your husband if you could leave him in the same place for the entire timeframe. Moving back and forth will be much more confusing than leaving home just one time. You may also find that you will benefit personally from the time off as caregiver. Since you have been ill, it may help with your own recovery and allow you to better care for yourself, your husband and your brother in the long run. While he is in respite, you can help make your husband more comfortable by surrounding him with recognizable things, such as a familiar blanket on the bed and setting up the night stand and dresser so they mimic the way he has them set up at home.

Rosar answered...

Hello, has a team of Family Advisors that are available by phone 7 days a week. They can help you find housing resources that will meet your needs. To reach's Family Advisors, call (800) 325 8591.