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

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 Answer

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.