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Assisted Living pushing us to Dementia wing?

14 years ago

Hello all--

I have spent some serious time today reading your posts and admiring the courage I've found here. I'll tell my story and hope some of you have advice. I'm sorry this ran kind of long, even though it's the short version.

My mother has been in assisted living for more than 10 years. On Aricept most of that time. She has had memory issues since probably 1994 or '95. She's denfinately worse than she was then. She does not offer up topics for conversation and has stopped telling us stories of the old days, but can discuss some topics if asked, like the Tavern her parents owned.

Five years ago, against the advice of the head nurse at her first AL facility, we moved her to a new place (10-15 mins away rather than 5.5 hours). The Nurse said, we should wait until she's really lost it to move her, because there was a danger of triggering a decline. We took the risk and did so anyway with great results. She quickly adapted to the new place, dining room and room location. (Although she couldn't remember the 5 plus hour car ride after she got there!) Her room has changed several times and she can always find it. She loves to sit in the large, main room with it's atrium and windows. She does word searches every day and is still getting them right.

This may sound ghastly, but we aren't sure whether she's ever been formally assesed for her dementia. If she has an MMSE score (I learned of this test today, here) we didn't know to ask for it. I'm not sure how throrough her evaluation has been. My sister who lives nearby probably knows more though and it just may be a gap in my knowledge.

Anyhoo The facility is starting up a dementia wing and they want my mother to become a resident. They started talking to us about this at the beginning of the summer and yesterday they told my sis they will be moving mom on August 11. Now we are not sure about any of this. We don't know her actual classified status as a dementia patient, or if this is what she needs. We do know that she is content where she is, does not have incontenentce problems and quietly goes through her day, humming to herself, doing her word searches and taking meals with the community. She plays bingo the few times a month they have it. At night, she watches TV in her room. She has always watched a bit of TV in the evening and late afternoon. The new wing is not going to allow TV's because they don't want the residents sitting in front of the tube all day. We have had problems with her remembering to wash, but that has been resolved with a bit of staff intervention.

I worry that this move will agitate my docile and basically happy mother. She will loser her TV, she will lose her main room where she sits contentedly for a large portion of the day. There will be activites targeted to dementia patients of course. They are very high on a computer program that will show pictures of the past and help stimulate them. (When mom was 100% she couldn't use a mouse!) Seriously though, they are building a well thought out facility and will be a great place for her ...but maybe not right now.

If AL was good enough for her in January, why isn't it right for her now? She did have one incident where she pushed her roommate (and was later mortified when she was told what she had done, but could not remember doing it). This was around Christmas time. We feel as if we are being forced into this decision, rushed into making it, or that it is being made for us. Saving the $700 plus extra dollars would be a bonus in maintaining the status quo.

My sis is going to talk with the head next week and any input or thoughts as to how to proceed would be greatly appreciated.



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