Should I be taking parents out to "my world" activities?

3 answers | Last updated: Sep 18, 2016
Salt asked...

Can anyone speak about more strategies related to returning parents to a memory care community following "real world outings." My mom is very angry about the placement. I want to take her out to do other activities but fear I won't be able to get her to return. She, as reported, does fine when I'm not around, participates in activities, smiles, is friendly with staff - though she lets everyone know she is angry with me. She and my step dad are there together but I moved them from there home in VA to AZ where I live, adding fuel to her fire. The placement is great for my step dad who is in later stages than my mom and whose overnight awakenings with confusion and agitation was the reason for the move. He participates in activities and is doing fine too. He has not had any overnight difficulties so far, maybe because he is no longer sleeping all day.

Expert Answers

Brenda Avadian, brings knowledge, hope, and joy to family caregivers for loved ones with Alzheimer's and dementia. She cared for her father with Alzheimer's and helps families one-on-one and in groups. She is the author of eight books, including the pioneering memoir "Where's my shoes?" My Father's Walk through Alzheimer's and the Finding the JOY in Alzheimer's series. She presents vivid, compelling, and funny keynotes to both professional and family caregiving audiences.

Most of us usually enjoy a change of pace when we're able to manage it physically and comprehend what is going on.

Your concern about whether or not your mother will be willing to return after a "real world outing" is a reasonable one; especially, if she's expressing anger to you about the placement.

Here you are trying to do a good thing for your parents and move them closer to you and one of them reacts with anger. This is one of the many challenges of caregiving. Yet, you don't say whether or not your mom is also memory impaired. If not, she may feel out of place in this community. Even though she copes while you are not with her, she may feel trapped by the decision to move. She likely misses her home.

Are you able to have her over for a night for a change of pace?

If she's cognizant, you could discuss with her your concerns"”you'd love to take her out but fear her anger and resistance at returning. Maybe she may just need to vent. (How could you, her own flesh and blood, do this to her?) Let her vent and she may then be able to move on with accepting the situation.

Community Answers

Salt answered...

Mom to has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's though her condition has not progressed to the degree of my step dad's. Her short term memory has really worsened over this last year. However, unlike my step dad she can still carry on conversations well and she is well physically. My step dad has more physical issues as well as the cognitive ones. Mom has been beyond logic or reason for a while though. She creates reality now since she cannot remember it.

Brenda avadian answered...

Salt, in that case, I will add a bittersweet response. Right now, you can "enjoy" what remains of your mom's cognition despite the moments of anger toward you. These are hard to bear and what makes caregivers heroes. Later, as Alzheimer's takes pieces of your mom, she will pass (down) through this stage and no longer be as aware. So, for now, enjoy as best as you can the reality your mom creates for herself. There may be moments where this reality will make you laugh. For all too soon, the time will come, when she will only be in your memory. My heart goes out to you and I will send you a hug.