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.
My 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.