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Moving my mother (82) with Alzheimer’s to Guatemala.

Francesca Wilde

New member
Jun 27, 2022
1
0
Can anyone offer any advise or has experience of moving/relocating a person with dementia.? Currently my mother is possibly on stage 4/5 of Alzheimer’s, she still lives at her home alone, my brother and sister visit her regularly, so she is not alone for more than a couple of days. She is still enjoying her garden and snacking. My younger brother would like her to move to Guatemala where she would live in a house next door to him, he can arrange carers at the appropriate time. She has been there before and liked it. The question is how would she cope with the move, the language. I feel she would be very disoriented and it would destabilise her. Anyone have any information on moving a person with dementia? Thank you
 

Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
17,546
0
68
Toronto, Canada
Hello @Francesca Wilde and welcome to Dementia Talking Point.

I had to move my mother from British Columbia to Ontario when she was about stage 4. This involved a 5 hour direct flight, no stop-overs. The flight was awful. I don't think my mother ever understood she was on a plane. And I had given her diazepam prior to the flight. If your mother were to fly to Guatemala, the flight would be around 13 to 14 hours. That's difficult for a healthy person but for an older person with AD, I think it would be a nightmare. In my opinion, it would discombobulate your mother and the confusion could last a long time.

You would also have to consider the medical care available and the cost for a foreign resident. Plus, how long would your mother be allowed to stay in Guatemala? What kind of visa would she require? Would she even be allowed to get permanent resident status with her illness?

I'm sure your brother means well but my opinion is that it would not be in your mother's best interest.
 

Lawson58

Registered User
Aug 1, 2014
2,890
0
Victoria, Australia
I visited Guatemala many years ago and if your mother moved there, I would check out the quality and affordability of medical and personal care that would be available to her. Bearing in mind that your mother is going to continue to decline, you have no idea of how long that care, appropriate and increasing, would be needed.

It is a fascinating country to visit but not without its share of problems. There is a reason why so many of its people are seeking a better life elsewhere. I lived in on an island in the Caribbean owned by Venezuela and it certainly was not a bed of roses, though we were a lot safer than living on the mainland.

Has your brother really considered potential problems, or does he even know what her stay might involve? I think it is lovely for him to suggest it but I am not sure that it would be in her best interests either. Nor am I sure that even though she might have liked it on an earlier visit, that it would be the same now.

That also leaves the ultimate question of Plan B. What happens if it doesn’t work out and you need to move her back again with all the disfunction that will inevitably cause.
 

northumbrian_k

Volunteer Host
Mar 2, 2017
2,445
0
Newcastle
Hi @Francesca Wilde and welcome to Dementia Talking Point our supportive and friendly community. My only experience of long distance travel with a person with dementia was for relatively short holidays. The last time was in 2016, not long after my wife's Alzheimer's was diagnosed. We flew direct to Newark, New Jersey. The whole airport experience, the 8 hour flight, and the transfer to our apartment was very confusing for my wife. She spent most of our holiday convinced that we were still in the UK.

Your brother has made the suggestion with good intentions but it needs thinking through. As well as the points raised by others above, other issues would include different climate and weather, food and drink, and cultural issues. These might be attractive and exciting for a short holiday but confusing and distressing for a longer stay, especially for someone with any kind of dementia.

Your worries about disorientation and destabilisation seem well founded.
 

Bod

Registered User
Aug 30, 2013
1,576
0
Can anyone offer any advise or has experience of moving/relocating a person with dementia.? Currently my mother is possibly on stage 4/5 of Alzheimer’s, she still lives at her home alone, my brother and sister visit her regularly, so she is not alone for more than a couple of days. She is still enjoying her garden and snacking. My younger brother would like her to move to Guatemala where she would live in a house next door to him, he can arrange carers at the appropriate time. She has been there before and liked it. The question is how would she cope with the move, the language. I feel she would be very disoriented and it would destabilise her. Anyone have any information on moving a person with dementia? Thank you
Nice idea, BUT there are MANY PROBLEMS.
Does brother truly have any experience of caring for Dementia patients?
Does Mother speak the local language, to the extent of native speaker?
Would the Airline accept her as a passanger?

Just 3 questions out of many that would have to be answered, before any decision could be made.
In short an impossible pipe dream.

Sorry
Bod
 

Shedrech

Volunteer Moderator
Dec 15, 2012
12,457
0
Yorkshire
Hello @Francesca Wilde
Welcome from me too

We're assuming that your mum is currently in the UK, as this is a UK site

I'd be wondering about your mum's future care needs .... there are care homes in the UK, so should her needs increase such that she needs residential care that will be available to her .... plus there's the support of the NHS and Local Authority Adult Services ... I appreciate that other countries have health and social services which may provide the care your mum will need but she's already in the system where she lives

and though your mum would be next to your brother, she will be far from you, your other brother and sister, who wouldn't be able to visit often or provide help