has a common question. Is it possible to move her mother into an
assisted living facility and still have her mother be happy? With a
little planning, it may be possible to help her mother adjust and end
up happy. And for Cindy to be happy too!
on as I answer another caregiver question from my e-mailbag.
father died a few years ago and Mom has been living alone since then.
My uncle lives close to Mom and checks on her. A while back, he
called and said she was having memory problems. He said I should go
down there. I took time off from work and brought her back here.
seemed fine while she was here so I took her back to her home. A
couple weeks later I received a call that she had fallen, breaking
her hip, and she had laid there for a few hours until my uncle
checked on her. She went into the hospital, then to assisted
has agreed to move here and enter an assisted living facility. I need
to go through her house, have an auction and move her here. I?m an
only child, but my own adult children might be able to help.
can I move Mom so that she is happy in her new home?
L., Kansas City, Missouri
of all, I?m not sure you can make your mother completely happy in
her new home. She will be leaving the home she lived in for many
years, and there are a lot of wonderful memories there. She will be
homesick. Anyone who has lived in a house for many years will miss
that place when they move.
an older person moves into an assisted living facility under your
mother?s circumstances, they understand that they will never have
the life they have been living, and they will have to depend on
others for the rest of their life. I would expect that she realized
her health was going downhill before she fell, but she didn?t want
to face it. She didn?t want to get old and have her body give out.
She wanted to be young enough to take care of herself completely
until she died. It just didn?t turn out that way.
with her about what she wants to take to her new home. Try to think
of every aspect of a day in the life she will have at the assisted
living facility. Does she have a working television? The meals are
usually at a set time, so she will need a clock. She also can read ?
does she have books to bring with her? She will need a calendar so
she can write down special events like birthdays, holidays, etc. Keep
her important list of telephone numbers, for close friends and
family, close to the telephone. As you walk through her house, you
might see other items that are precious to her. Take those also.
your children can help, why don?t you have them leave a day early
and take the items for her new home? If you don?t have a pickup or
small truck, you will need to rent one. The day before she moves in,
your children can put everything in her room. It will feel more
comfortable to her from the start.
are other things you can do to avoid problems later:
- Ask for a copy of
her medical records to take with you. You
may need to pay a minimal charge for them, but most places will provide
copies for free.
- Ask for a copy of
- Have her sign the
necessary papers for you to have durable
power of attorney for all her finances and property.
- Have her sign the
necessary papers for you to have the
durable power of attorney for her health care.
- Have her sign a
is very important to have her sign all the papers necessary for you
to make the decisions when she can?t. I couldn?t get my parents
to sign the living will. The only reason the doctors and hospitals
took my word on anything was that I lived with them. If I would have
lived next door, or in some other home, I could not have had any say
in what happened to their care. You don?t want to be in the
position of not being able to make the decisions you know she wants.
she is in her new home, visit her every day for a week or so. Try to
help her meet new friends and learn the routine. Then you can cut
back on visiting to a more reasonable schedule. From the start, try
to avoid letting her control your life completely. She needs to
develop friends, and if you are there all the time, she won?t do
may start complaining when she has never complained about things in
her life, but that is because she is probably homesick. She may come
up with various things to try to get your attention, but if she
really is sick (or whatever it is she says), you should visit her and
help her. Otherwise, set up a schedule to visit her -- and stick to
will need to do something about her house and the things there. Try
to include her in as many decisions as possible. If it upsets her too
much, just don?t talk about it.
time Dad asked about his team of horses. I told him they were at his
home. He hadn?t owned a team of horses for 60-70 years!
Dad was home and couldn?t get out of bed, he asked about his boat
in the back yard. About four months earlier my son asked if he could
have the boat, and I gave it to him. A few years earlier, Dad had
already told Eric that he could have the boat when he was finished
with it, and Dad was finished with it. Dad was then 94, and
the last time he wanted to go fishing he couldn?t even get into the
boat by himself. There was no possibility that Dad would even get to
the back yard again, let alone get in the boat. When he asked about
the boat, I just told him it was sitting there and that it was fine.
I know that wasn?t being completely honest, but there was no reason
to upset Dad. At that stage of his life, there was no reason to upset
him about anything.
luck, and please let me know how the transition works. If you have
any more questions, please ask.