Don’t Dread the Move to Assisted Living

I was physically ill the days leading up to my parent’s move from Independent Living into Assisted Living. They fought the move, and would not allow personal care assistants into their apartment in Independent Living which could have allowed them to stay there longer.

The community they lived in forced the issue. They were a danger to themselves and others in the community. They gave them the choice to move out, or move into Assisted Living. Navigating that with my Mom was an incredible challenge, she was ready to hire a lawyer and move out. Thankfully, my siblings all came to town to help manage the move.

My parent’s living space went from 2,000 to around 600 square feet.

We all knew that my parent’s were not happy about the move. However, they also were both in a moderate stage of different dementias. We tried to make the time more of a family reunion and distract them from the reality of the move.

Thank goodness there are 4 of us. It tapped out all of us emotionally.

The big surprise? How happy my parent’s were in the smaller apartment with a view of the front entrance. My parent’s were the happiest I had seen them in a year.

After my dad had his celestial departure, we found that mom needed to be in a memory care community. That move was a little easier. I had someone help move Mom’s things while I took her out to lunch and we drove to her new community. She really liked her new room with all of her things and her habit of wondering when Dad would return to her apartment disappeared. She was now in a community that wouldn’t make her choose a meal off a menu (all the choices overwhelmed her); she always had table mates (the other residents in Assisted Living didn’t want to sit with the woman who couldn’t remember their names); and she always had an activity that would meet her where she was.

dancingMy mom was never a joiner. But her personality and interests changed through her dementia. What I have seen over and over is that the longer you wait for the move, the harder it is for your loved ones to adapt to the new community. I was shocked to arrive one afternoon to see my Mom dancing. She always shooed my Dad away when he asked for a dance.

I know how hard it is to face the decision and be the one to make it happen. You are making the best decision you can with the information you have. They are lucky to have you in their life to be their advocate. Believed. 

6 thoughts on “Don’t Dread the Move to Assisted Living

  1. I want to thank you for these posts. It just helps to know that I am not the only one who has experienced such challenges. In some ways, your experience is very similar to mine … except I have just one remote sibling who chooses to not be involved … which is fine … because I now know I have known my parents (now just my mom) best daily over the years so I can understand needs best…. although it is so so emotionally & physically draining at times. What particularly comforts me is when you say we make the best decisions we can with the information we have at the time. Comforting. So true. Thank you.

    1. Thank you. Your parents are lucky. I’m sorry you don’t have support from your sister. I have had lively discussions with several “onlies” who say that made it a lot easier. I can’t imagine going it alone. You are a rock!

  2. I really enjoyed the article I work in ALL 4 levels of care, doing music, music therapy & also educational programs, & teach spanish to seniors also I work in MANY different facilities I have SEEN SO MUCH since I started this career after retiring from the public schools…It is MOST important to have adult children involved also I have seen residents having to be moved to different levels of care etc etc GREAT POST, article
    JUly 8, 2018 10:30AM EST Sunday Sara R.

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