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Help and advice for my mother with dementia moving in with us

Discussion in 'Welcome and how to use Dementia Talking Point' started by jimmyjammyjames, Jan 7, 2015.

  1. jimmyjammyjames

    jimmyjammyjames Registered User

    Jan 7, 2015
    1
    Hi, I am new to this forum (registering today after speaking to Alzheimers society). My mum has dementia (diagnosed now for about 4 years) and we are looking to have her come and live with us within the next 9-12 months. The reason for the delay is we are looking to extend the house giving her her own room with ensuite and a sort of living room area. The plan is she moves in with us once the build is complete. I was wondering if anyone can help me with ideas for what I need to consider when planning an extension as not only will we be making an extra room for her to sleep in, we will create a bigger kitchen to incorporate a kitchen / diner. Therefore any suggestions for key equipment or ideas of what we should / need to include / install in the build would be a big help...eg are there certain ovens that are safer to install to prevent burns or gas leaks (both for the safety of my mother but also the rest of the family). Are there any features we need to consider for wandering? When I or other family members have stayed with her, she is up most nights fixating on issues from a leaky overflow (no leaky overflow) to something she has done in the day or spoken about - granted not every night but obviously she has no recollection of the moving around if questioned the next morning, in fact she gets quite narky as though we are making the whole thing up. I am also worried that she will get really disorientated as the place we live in is about an hour away from where she lives now and she hasn't been there for a long time as we tend to meet at hers or at other family members / friends houses. I spoke to the carers helpline this morning but they said we shouldn't do anything before we move in after the build but i think surely being forewarned must be a benefit, if not just for saving time and cost ?!?! Thanks for advance - hope someone can help
     
  2. Izzy

    Izzy Volunteer Moderator

    Aug 31, 2003
    58,771
    Female
    Dundee
  3. annie h

    annie h Registered User

    Jun 1, 2013
    148
    I just wanted to say that my Mum moved at a point at which she had very little short term memory left and it went fine. And she was living independently in a flat nearby, obviously with support from us and carers. There are two options - you leave here where she is and she will need to go into a home sooner or you move her. You will be around 24/7 which should help a lot. And the most important thing is that you make your mind up based on what you think is right at the time and don't even question your decision later. It's typical for them to be unhappy about moving but it's not "home" they are missing, but rather life as it was when they were younger and well.

    As regards what to include in a new build, I would say make the ensuite one of those wet rooms with full disabled shower so that if/when she becomes less physically able it will still be possible to shower her without her having to climb into a shower or bath. And plenty of rails or handles to hold onto around the shower and toilet. High level (disability type) WC. And of course no gas appliances in the kitchen! Locks (if you have them) of the kind that she can't lock herself out without a key. I wouldn't make the kitchen too complicated as she'll start losing the ability to use most appliances. Design it on the basis of what she will really use, not what you think you would have liked yourself.
     
  4. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    4,668
    Salford
    Hi Jimjam
    Just a couple of things, will it be an extension to your house or a separate attached dwelling? An extension might put your house up a council tax band if it's defined as a separate dwelling then in may get a council tax bill of it's own, it's a very grey area and councils take different views, putting in a kitchen can be part of the definition of it being a separate dwelling.
    External doors will be a problem area too, if she decides to go walkabout in the future you need to be able to control it but you also have to consider and emergency and how you can do this safely.
    As Annie says get a wet room and future proof by having wheelchair access to it on the door widths and avoid any steps.
    I'd plan it as if it was for someone with physical disabilities and even though that may never happen if it does retro fitting the adaptions might be difficult, you might end up kicking yourself if you put in 30 inch door openings then find out a wheelchair is 32 inches wide, that sort of things.
    Hope that helps
    K
     
  5. Owly

    Owly Registered User

    Jun 6, 2011
    538
    How will you cope if she is still "up most nights" when she is in your own house?

    Will you be going out and leaving her alone in the house, and would you therefore need to make the whole house safe against her possibly wandering around and moving/hiding things, switching on the cooker in your own kitchen, etc. She might well forget which bit is her kitchen and which bit is your kitchen, and your personal things. I think I would make the assumption that using a new cooker safely could be beyond her, and she is best cooked for by you, or left cold food if you are planning to be out. Even in her first year of dementia, my Mum managed to create quite a few burnt saucepans as I think she left them on the hob to simmer and simply forgot them.

    Also, even if you give her her own living area, will you be OK with it if she decides she doesn't want to sit on her own, but she always wants to sit with you in your living room?

    Dementia sufferers are easily disorientated by a move to a new house/location and it is possible she will need more supervision, not less, because she is unable to lay down new memories in her mind. So if the plan is that she will go out shopping alone, then I wonder if she will be able to remember new routes to the shops and find her way back again?

    There are a lot of potential problems bringing a dementia sufferer into your own home.
     
  6. MERENAME

    MERENAME Registered User

    Jun 4, 2013
    238
    scotland
    Make her new bedroom look as much like her old bedroom as you can.
     
  7. Margaret79

    Margaret79 Registered User

    #7 Margaret79, Jan 8, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2015
    I would make sure she is safe to wander around her place at night and not be able to access the rest of the house then it doesn't matter if she's up all night.

    My MIL lives in an annexe which is not attached so if she's up all night it doesn't disturb us. Having said that she started coming out at night and triggering the alarm so we are in the process of fencing part of the garden so that she can't escape outside our property and I will turn the alarm off at night so that I can sleep and she can do as she pleases.

    Emergency pull cords in the annexe, connected to the main house were great to start with but 4 years down the track MIL doesn't remember what they are for!

    Level access, doors wide enough to take wheelchair if it becomes necessary later, and of course, wetroom which is warm. Wall lights instead of lamps so that they don't get knocked over or fiddled with.
     

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