Is my Mom in the right place?

retirementcommMy siblings and I have had a love/hate relationship with my parents retirement community.  I know that our journey would have been infinitely more difficult had our parents not made this choice. The fact that the community stepped in and forced them to move into Assisted Living saved us from having to petition the court for conservator/guardianship.

We’ve had a rocky road when it comes to our expectations of and the delivery of services. I have too many posts dedicated to this topic to detail, but currently, we are trying to determine if Assisted Living is the right place for my Mom who has dementia.

My Mom has been in Assisted Living for more than a year, and for quite some time, she was not very nice to the staff or even the other residents. My Dad helped manage this when he was alive, but after he died, it got even more difficult and we were told we had to bring in additional support and adjust medications or they would begin a 30-day discharge process. I’m simplifying the story here admittedly – there is a lot more that happened.

Assisted Living is not geared specifically toward someone with dementia. We started to notice that many of the staffers really don’t like my Mom and witnessed some situations that were disconcerting. We assumed the staff would be able to understand and accept her behavior and were trained to manage someone with dementia. However, even we recognize that sometimes things my Mom did felt very personal.

We have hired additional personal assistants daily from 1 to 9 PM for more than 3 months. My Mom has started to ask for a schedule and has episodes where she doesn’t recognize her apartment.

When we were told that my Mom might be discharged in 30-days, we started to look for other options. Because of my business, MemoryBanc, I meet many people in the senior community. I met two women a year ago that started a business to help families find the right living community. One of them has worked in management for retirement communities, the other is a registered nurse – both were caregivers to their parents and decided there was an unmet need to assist families in the search process and they launched Caring Considerations.  I hired them to help me find the right place for Mom – there are dozens in the metro-DC area. I also wanted some help to know what I should be looking for.  They helped me find several wonderful options and have helped me understand the disease process as well as what to look for in a community. .

I realized after the first tour, that a facility geared toward someone with dementia has many resources to better serve my Mom’s needs. Discovered.

This will be an ongoing topic as we move through this process …. more to come. 

6 thoughts on “Is my Mom in the right place?

  1. Sounds like a great service. I like the idea of the 3-3-3 package with the escorted tours. I remember making those tours and it would really help to have the eyes/ears of an experienced professional weigh in on the pros and cons of a particular facility.

  2. I found Assisted Living Facilities not the ideal place, especially for a family member with dementia. They are understaffed and it’s true the staff is not fully trained as a nursing home is to deal with dementia. Assisted Living places are more pretty and homey from the outside, but I did not like what I saw in my Mother’s Assisted Living when you need more care. My mother did not have dementia, but she was bullied by 2 residents who made her feel unwelcome at the dining table and led to her retreating to her apartment and in some ways I feel made her give up the year she passed. I asked the director and staff to deal with this issue and they did not. There’s a difference in care from For-Profit and Not-For-Profit facilities our parents live in. Most Assisted Living places are For-Profit.

  3. I have always wondered why my parents believed that a “business” be it non-profit or for-profit would work for the best interests of my parents. I believe that they never thought they would need the help.

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