Should we move in with Mom, or move her in with us?
My family has the choice to move a family member in with my mom at her house, or move my mom in with a family member. Which would be the better choice? We are worried her Alzheimer's would progress faster if she were in an unfamiliar place; is that a legitimate worry?
Whether to move in with an Alzheimer parent or move them to a family member's home is a frequently asked and quite realistic question. I do feel that your concern about the possible exacerbation of the disease in an unfamiliar setting is legitimate and should be a concern. It is wonderful that someone in your family is stepping up to the plate with willingness to change their lifestlye by having your mom move in. But this does need to be about mom and the best venue for her to feel successful and secure. The ideal way to foster that goal is to keep her in the most familiar setting surrounded by well-known furnishings and peaceful remembrances. That would be her home where she will have less frustration and memories enhanced by the familar objects, colors, and design. Empirical data has certainly shown that any traumatic event or change in living situation or familial status does effect the rate of decline. You can optimize life in her home by slowly simplifying her environment; downsize by getting rid of extra clothing, papers, housewares etc making it as easy as possible for mom to function as normally as possible. Do not make changes suddenly and do keep her most treasured items nearby so she can feel comforted by their view. If you are making the move into mom's home, be sure to take time for you and take good care of yourself - her carepartner.
What a great answer, and a great opportunity to have such options. It certainly would have been easier for myself to move nearer to my parents' home, if I had already been retired (or independently wealthy). Unfortunately, I had to move them to an independent living facility near me. It has caused their AD to get worse, and for them to have more difficulty between themselves. On the up-side - I attend all their Dr's. appointments with them, and we eat together frequently. My siblings are visiting much more frequently, as I live more central to my siblings than our parent's former home. We have pulled together as a family very well in the past 2 years, and are all helping in the ways that we can. Thank you for the question, and for the answer. We're all in this together!
I agree that keeping your loved one with Alzheimer's in a familiar setting is probably the best solution, but it definitely isn't always the easiest. My suggestion is to keep her home for as long as possible but as the disease progresses consider other options. Another important thing to remember is that even if you are in her home, you cannot be there all day, every day. I would suggest investigating home care agencies and adult day cares like Active Day http://www.activeday.com. These options provide caregivers with the respite they need and adult day cares are designed to meet the needs of dementia patients by offering health care supervision, engaging activity programs, rehabilitative therapies in a comfortable, home-like setting.
How fortunate you are! You have two wonderful choices. If both are truly equal, I would recommend having a family member live with your mom. Keep in mind, that a family member who lives with your mom is likely giving up income (and a life) to care for her. For this reason the family member should be compensated. Additionally, others should step up to help to give this live-in family member respite each week.
On a personal note--since my brother lived with our father and appeared to neglect him as did my sister who lived five blocks away, I flew 2,000 miles to move my father from his Wisconsin home of 45 years to live with my husband and me in our Los Angeles area home. Initially, my father kept wanting to go home. But as the disease progressed, he was comfortable where he was.
Brenda Avadian, MA Spokesperson, Caregiver Advocate, and Editor, TheCaregiversVoice.com
It seems best to move in with the dementia patient. However that is not always possible. Any change in situation & living arrangements seems to upset my husband even when I am there. When we try to visit children, I usually try to stay in a hotel so that I can keep him in as a controlled enviroment as possible. What usually happens is that he is fine while we are gone, but when we get home, he wanders from room to room like he is looking for something familar. It usually takes 2 or 3 days to get him back to "normal" again.
Allowing your Mom to remain in her own home is a true blessing. We moved my Grandmother from her home in New York to Virginia to live with my Mom. At that time we did not understand dementia/AD and assumed my Grandmother's problems were just old age and lonliness following retirement. Having a much better understanding of AD now, we are allowing my Mom to remain in her home. Her progression has been more favorable than my Grandmother's. My Grandmother passed @ 91 after 15 years of moving here and being totally incapable of care for herself for the final 10 years.
I have moved in temporarily with my Mother who is in early stage Alzheimer's. I am miserable and so is she. She has lived alone for so many years it is difficult for her to have another person in her house. I left my children and friends to move over 2 hours away to care for my Mom. I have been told and have read that the patient does have a difficult time when moved to a new home, but they eventually adjust. I don't want to sound heartless but to keep my sanity I plan to move my Mom back to where I call home with me. She did live there for many years before moving away from all her family and old friends.
I had to move my mother in with us as we are both in our 30's and it was not feasible to move down the country out of the city. Luckily in Dublin there are more facilities for her eg better healthcare and day care centres and she enjoys the buzz of the city as the small town she lived in was lonely for her at times with no immediate family nearby. It helped also that her little dog made the move into our house too. I enjoy having Mam as I am an only child and the company for all of us is good. I have a shopping companion too.