Moving Mom to Assisted Living

Four weeks ago my mom contracted a stomach virus and was sent to the hospital to recover. While she was there the Doctors discovered that she also had a urinary tract infection. After a week in the hospital she was sent to a nursing home for rehab. When I visited her there I noticed that her memory had deteriorated dramatically. She thought I was my Dad (who died 10 years ago) After three weeks in rehab. she had gained enough strength to return to her independent Living Retirement home. But we were told that she would need round the clock aides for a few weeks.

A week has gone by now and it looks clearer that she will need extensive care for some time. Using aides from a service firm is costing her $400 a day. Her memory has improved somewhat but she is still confused and gets up several times during the night to see if the door is locked and to go to the bathroom. We cannot continue to pay for private aides because it will end up costing $12,000 a month.

Unfortunately we live 3 hours away from Mom’s home. We have decided we have to find a facility closer to us, possibly an assisted living facility that helps those who are memory impaired. The most difficult step now is to convince her to make that move. She has a number of friends in her community. But the real question is will she miss those people? Will another move cause her fragile memory to deteriorate even more? Do we need to tell her what to do or get her approval.?

We are meeting with her doctor on Friday. Out of that meeting we may convince her that the doctor recommends that she move close to us. I am very anxious about telling her she’s got to move. I don’t know how she will respond and what the result will be. I know one thing. The current situation cannot go on for very long or her assets will disappear and she will have no choices.

Preparing Yourself For The Family Meeting

Once you have created an agenda for the Family Meeting and discussed it with your parents and their trusted adviser, you are ready to have the meeting. Although it seems like a very difficult and perhaps impossible task, I assure you that once the Family Meeting occurs, everyone in the family will be thankful. For many families, issues like finances and death have carefully been avoided at family gatherings for years. But it is on everyone’s mind. It’s like the big white elephant that sits in the middle of the room that everyone tries to avoid but cannot overlook.

Once communication has opened up, a burden has been lifted from the family. There is a lightness and freedom to discuss topics that were left unsaid for a long time. Future family gatherings will be less stressful because doubt has been removed and everyone knows where he or she stands. Your parents will experience much more comfort and less anxiety facing the problems of growing old knowing now that the family is working with them.

You may find that one or two family members will try to undermine the meeting, using the excuse that it will upset your parents or will uncover old issues that shouldn’t be discussed. But don’t let them deter you. Consider the alternative. Do you want to keep everyone in the dark until after your parents have passed away and then deal with everything in a crisis mode? Or do you want to discuss things rationally and clearly with your parents and siblings so that everyone is included? The choice is yours.

But if one of your siblings does not want to participate or warns you that an open conversation with your parents is dangerous, thank them for expressing their opinion, but do not be deterred from having the meeting. Encourage them to attend. Consider either audio or video recording the meeting and providing them with a copy. Get them involved in any way you can. You do not want them coming back to you five years after your parents have died and inferring that everything was done your way and they didn’t have any say. Don’t give them that weapon to use against you.

Elder Mediation Resolves Family Conflicts

“My daughter is insisting I move in with her,” complains Martha. “She just wants to control my life and take away my freedom,” she continues.

Jenny, Martha’s daughter worries that her mother keeps falling, and fears one day she will break her hip or hit her head.

“I’ll take my sister to court before I will let her get control of mom and my inheritance,” exclaims Jim about Jenny’s desire to move her mother in with her.

It is amazing how quickly formerly cordial relationships between family members will sour when the family has to deal with care of elderly parents or inheritance at their death. Sometimes the consequence of dealing with the final years of elderly parents can break families apart and create long-lasting animosity.

The National Care Planning Council has seen an increase in requests from caregiving children for help in solving disputes with siblings. In one case, the caregiver was being sued by her sister for abusing their parent and stealing the Social Security checks. In another, the caregiving child would not allow siblings to see their mother, claiming they would take advantage of her.

A lot of times it is a “she said,” “he said” situation with neither party really understanding what the elder person needs or wants.

Some families find it hard to communicate with each other when their parent is in need of care. Perhaps when they grew up together they were not accustomed to come together as parents and children to work out problems. And now those children are older and taking care of parents and they don’t have this family council strategy to rely on. It may seem unnatural to them. But that is often exactly what is needed, especially in situations where perhaps one child is caring for the parents and the others are left out of the loop.

Children all have a common bond to their parents and as a result a common obligation or responsibility to each other. When disagreements arise, suspicions begin to grow. Suspicions or distrust often lead to anger and the anger often leads to severing the channels of communication between family members. This can occur between parent and child or between siblings or between all of them.

It is often at this point that a neutral third party can come in and repair the damage that has been done and help correct the problems that have come about because of the disagreement.

A practitioner experienced in elder mediation is a perfect choice for solving disagreements due to issues with the elderly. You can learn more about Elder Mediation at mediate.com