My mother just started in a care home a week ago. It's a nice place overall, but my major concern about memory care for my mother has always been that she is not going to get the social interaction that she needs. My mother is typical of most Alzheimer's patients in many ways, but she is very conversational, she is witty and she is remarkably sharp in the moment (although she's as totally confused about time and place as the next AD person). Lively conversations about every day things are what she wants and needs most, and in memory care, most of the residents are almost non-verbal. So if the staff isn't engaging her directly or she isn't getting a visit from one of her caregivers (who are still coming regularly and spending a few hours at a time with her), then she is anxious and confused. Yes the staff does some activities with the residents, but my mom isn't interested in activities or busy work, per se (she never has been, even before the AD). And the staff obviously can't be chatting with my mom the whole day long. They always have a lot to do.
So I'm not sure what the answer is. All I know is that when my mom is not socially engaged, she is anxious and discontent. And sitting around with a group of the residents who aren't talking makes my mother feel even more alone and anxious, I think. She probably thinks they're just being unfriendly.
Yesterday when I visited her she was intermittently very confused, "why are all these people in my house?" and intermittently angry and outraged at me that she is forced to live in this new place. "You're not my son anymore". I keep telling her that she is in this new place "temporarily" until her arm heals (she fell at home a few weeks ago and broke it) and until her balance is a little bit better (even though this is probably not true), but that wasn't helping yesterday. She just said that there is nothing wrong with her and that she wants to go home.
Any advice? Thank you for reading!
Hello Mikey, this is one of those difficult times where things pop up that affect our Loved One, (LO), and we seek ways to meet the difficult challenge to bring comfort and it can also cause heartache for us too.
Part of this is; not only will your mother need time to adapt to her new setting which can take several weeks to a couple of months or so, give or take; we adult children also need to adapt to this new way of being, and I found that it was not at all easy. I often found myself awake in the wee hours wondering what I had mssed or what I could do better. Of course, the answer was that it would take tincture of time until adaptation had been achieved. I found myself crying in my car after visiting; grief can also be part of this change for many of us.
Rather than look for a drug to settle your mother right away, perhaps another avenue of assistance would be to speak to the Activities Director and the Social Worker at the facility and share with them what your specific concern is and what your mother's needs are; they may be able to set up an approach that would be helpful to your mother.
It is also good to ask that your mother be sat at the dining table with those residents who function at her level, rather than those who are farther along in their dementia. This was a big deal to my mother.
After our Loved One is admitted to a care facility; there must be a multidisciplinary team meeting within a certain amount of time, different from state to state. Most often it is within weeks of admission. It takes time for the facility staff to get to know your mother and her way of functioning.
At that meeting, you can discuss your mother and what she is most needing; then the team can put together a plan of care to meet the needs dynamics as much as possible. Perhaps her facility would be willing to have the meeting earlier than usual.
It is hard for staff to engage her all the time, so there will be gaps and what King Boo had to share is also part of it all. What I did was to hire a "companion," a lovely woman who had experience in being a companion to older women including those with dementia. She went in to "visit," and kept my mother engaged several hours each day she was there.
You mention your mother's prior caregivers visiting; if you have not done so as yet, be sure you discuss with them what your mother needs just in case they need a reminder.
It is wonderful that you are so attuned to your mother and are her excellent advocate. As said, it is going to take time; just keep blaming the doctor for her being "in the hospital," or "in rehab." If there are one or two indivuduals that function at her level, staff will know who they are and perhaps a friendship between them could be put into place with a little planning.
Let us know how it is going, we will be thinking of you,