As I described in my last blog post, we had unsuccessfully moved Mom to an assisted living facility that we thought would be perfect. Since Mom had other opinions on our choice, we knew we had to give the next move more thought. It was a lovely place so what were we missing?
Maybe the answer was dogs, cats and birds. Who wouldn’t love a place that allowed pets? I located one nearby and went by myself to take a tour. I was greeted at the door by a friendly dog. A cat was sitting on the front desk. I looked out to the courtyard and the sun was shining and birds were singing. Literally. In cages. I had found heaven for Mom.
I sat down with the manager and signed a contract. Happy, I went home to announce to my entire family that I had found the perfect place. I called the movers and made the arrangements. I wasn’t sure Mom understood the plan, but at that point, I didn’t know what details about her life were making sense to her.
Moving day arrived, so I led the movers to the new address and my husband Bob and I set up Mom’s new room. We thought it would be easier on her if she didn’t experience the furniture moving, so my brother Jim waited with her in the lovely sunroom.
Bob and I put the finishing touches on her room and were pretty happy with it all. We went to the sunroom to get Mom and there she was. Arms crossed over her chest, lips pursed, and that troubled look was back. When she saw me, her first words were, “Why on EARTH would you think I would live in a place like THIS??”
Oh dear. Just then, an elderly woman with dementia slowly walked over to me, took my hand and started sucking on it.
This was not going as planned. I tried to convince Mom it was a great place with lots of pets and a beautiful yard, and that she should come with me to see her new room. No deal. She said she wouldn’t spend one night there. Not one. Even my supportive husband said that I probably hadn’t chosen the right place for her. I had to agree. I can laugh now but at the time, there wasn’t anything funny about any of this.
Once again, Mom came home with us and it was back to the drawing board. Her furniture went back to storage. On the one hand, Mom was in the early stage of her Alzheimer’s so her strong opinions needed to be respected. On the other hand, I still had two kids at home who had very busy lives which meant I was keeping a schedule that would make anyone’s head spin. I couldn’t leave Mom home alone. It wasn’t safe. I confess that one time I had her with me while I was running errands and I lost her. Very embarrassing.
I needed help. My family all pitched in and started looking for another assisted living home that would be perfect for her. I concluded this one wasn’t a fit because too many of the residents were in later stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s and Mom felt she didn’t belong there. At that point in time, we were all learning about the world of assisted living and memory care, and we had a lot to learn.
That was the second move. They say the third time is the charm. We were hoping that with any luck, it would be.
(Next blog, Moving Again: part 3 of 3)
- Suggestion: I jumped too quickly when choosing this facility. Finding the right fit can be challenging. Just realize that this is a process and there is a learning curve. We got our deposit refunded to us from the first facility, but not this one. This one was an expensive learning experience.
- A Place for Mom: Found at Aplaceformom.com. This site has a source list for almost every state and a checklist of important considerations that can help you in your search.
- Senior Living: Found at Seniorliving.org. This site has a lot of good information about Alzheimer’s along with a search bar for the city and state you are looking in.