My mom asked to be moved to assisted living, and now she is miserable. What can I do?

4 answers | Last updated: Dec 27, 2014
A fellow caregiver asked...

My mom asked to be moved to assisted living and she is sooooooooo unhappy. Nothing is good enough fast enough. She is very resentful of me for finding her this lovely apartment, even though she approved it ahead of time. Her overall health has really gone downhill and I wonder if she is in worse shape than we realized. She is almost nursing home-bound. I feel so helpless. She has the money to take care of herself if she would just let herself do it. i think this is one of the most frustrating things I have encountered. I have three brothers and they don't know what to do, either. It seems like she does respond to my younger brother and his wife, and she has turned everything over to him. It feels as if she is deteriorating fast. I never expected it to be like this!

Expert Answers

David Solie is an author, educator, speaker, and thought leader in geriatric and intergenerational communication. His book How to Say It to Seniors: Closing the Communication Gap With Our Elders is a landmark text that has been read and reread by legions of baby boomers searching for a better approach to working with their parents and other older adults.

Most of us are not prepared for the rapid deterioration that aging parents often experience when they leave their primary residence. Even if they pre-approve the move, there Is no guarantee that, once it happens, they won't have a powerful negative reaction. The anger over this difficult transition always seems to find its way back to their primary care coordinator. In this case, that is you.

You are navigating a very volatile, complex and emotional passage with your mother. There are no easy answers or quick fixes. Given the complexity of your situation, you may want to consider hiring a professional geriatric care manager. A geriatric care manager will be able to help you determine what is going on with your mother; she can also help you find the most appropriate facility for her, given her failing health. If you find someone whom your mother trusts, she is likely to feel less anxious and disoriented -- which should help you and your family breathe easier.

Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...

I am a care manager, working in Assisting Living. when you bring a person from a home that they lived all their lives surounded by families, to a place that, you have people that you don't know never seen before coming in the apartment, remimding you about showers, medicines, taking your laundry, cleaning the apartment. it could be confusing, deppressing. Sometimes it could take weeks for you to adjusted. We with our loving care, we assured them that everything will be fine, Because this is what we are train to do. we make sure you are treated like family.

Crystal068 answered...

I could have written this exact scenario. I just moved my mom this past week from 5 years in independent living to assisted living. It is a wonderful facility and the staff are amazing, but, my mom has completely forgotten the past 5 years and seems to have regressed back to 6 years ago when she lived in her hometown. She is furious with me, hates living with all "the old people"....she is 83, BTW....and cannot remember 5 minutes ago. She thinks she does nothing because she cannot remember the activities that she goes to. I am hoping that it will iron itself out with time and that she will settle in. In the mean time, she sounds miserable and totally confused.

A fellow caregiver answered...

The only real answer will be when our loved ones die. Then we will be free of them, yet tied with guilt. How can we get over the guilt? I have done so much for my mother, but I still feel guilty for not doing more. She doesn't even know what she wants....God help us all during this time.