dear sheila caregiving caregiver caregiversDear Sheila,

My mom has mid-stage dementia. Her sister was living with her, but two months ago she died and I had to act fast to make sure mom’s care was continued. She didn’t want to go, but I moved her to an assisted living facility and told her it was just temporary. Her long-term care insurance covers most of the cost and I’m making up the rest, but I can’t do it for much longer. The good news is mom’s house is a potential gold mine. We could sell it and get the money we need. When I try to talk to her about it she gets extremely upset and insists she’s going home. It seems like her dementia’s getting worse. How can I get her to listen to reason?

~Seller Wannabe

Dear Seller,
I understand your decision to move your mom into assisted living; due to the situation, you needed to act fast to ensure she would be safe and cared for. People with dementia do best when change is minimized and life is predictable. If changes to her environment and the loss of family and familiar routines contributed to her worsening condition, her memory might improve were she to return home. It also may improve once she becomes more comfortable with her new home. You’re at a crossroads and need to decide what is best for your mother. Is selling her home and remaining in assisted living or returning home with support the best answer? To make a good decision you need to consider what she is able to do and not able to do. Is she able to bathe and dress herself? Is she safe in the kitchen and can she prepare simple meals or heat up frozen foods? Can she use the phone, TV remote and other appliances? Is she a fall risk? Her financial situation must be considered as well. Does she receive social security, a pension? What are the terms of her Long-Term Care insurance? You know that it pays for assisted living, but will it also pay for home care and what is the daily allowance? If your mom is able to manage or just needs reminders to complete her personal care and activities of daily living or needs a little help with meals, shopping and hygiene reminders, perhaps home care, such as that offered by Family Resource Home Care is an option. Home care offers assistance for as little as 2 hours to 24 hours/day. Remaining in assisted living may be a more viable choice, and if you choose this route, there are things you can do to make her room in the facility more comfortable and homey by bringing in furniture, photos, and other familiar objects. Meanwhile, when your mom insists that she’s going home try saying something like I also hope you can go home but right now this is the safest place for you and when the doctor says you’re ready, we can talk about going home. Good luck and let me know what you decide.
~Sheila

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