Moving to Sheltered Accomodation

Morag Wild

Registered User
Mar 3, 2008
My Mother lives alone and has started wandering during the night and weekends when she doesn't have the Day Centre (which she loves during the week). She is lucky that neighbours and the police pick her up and take her home, however, everyone agrees that she would be much better in sheltered accomodation. She has been allocated a lovely one bedroom flat where there are lots of people who have known her all her life (she lives on the Isle of Bute in Scotland). They have lots of activities in the evening and at weekends.

This all sounds perfect, only one problem !!! Mum seems to have gone off the rails since we told her about the move - wandering all the time, crying all the time, talking about things that don't exsist i.e. trying to go out during the night to look after the children (what children?) Easter weekend she ended up in hospital as the police picked her up in the town centre very distressed, they took her home and she didn't recognise her house at all (which is good news I suppose as we are about to move her).

We are now VERY near to the move (Saturday 5th April). My husband and I are going up from Brighton, my sister and brother are coming over to the island from Glasgow to move all her furniture.

How on earth do we cope with mum on the day? I feel she will be very distressed seeing her furniture going out the front door. Lots of people around and lots of noise. I am looking into the Day Centre having her up in the residential side during the day so we can do the move but how is she going to react, sleeping in a new flat on the first few nights. I am terrified that she wanders out as the warden is not on duty through the night. I have asked the doctor and he has agreed to give her sleeping tablets for the first week.

Have you any ideas on how we go about this? The recent events have worried me and I am beginning to think she has escalated into needing residential care. Her carers think she will settle in the new place but it will take time and patience.

Any ideas !! I feel ill thinking about Saturday as I feel I am forcing her to do something she doesn't want to do. The sheltered accomodation is lovely, with lots of friends her own age and lots of social life as she gets bored very easy and has a very low attention span and very short term memory.

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blue sea

Registered User
Aug 24, 2005
Dear Morag
No easy answers to this situation. It seems definite that your mother can no longer live on her own at home, for her own safety, so don't feel guilty about moving her - you are acting in her best interests. You might be right that she now needs residential care, but with everything set up for the move to sheltered accommodation, perhaps it's worth a try? Could anyone stay with her for the first few nights, - perhaps one of the carers if family can't? There is a real risk to your mother if she goes out at night on her own, so I think that you and the GP and social services need to be confident she will be safe at night. The responsibility isn't all yours - ask for an urgent review of this changing situation. Presumably the carers only see your mother during the day, so may not be aware how she has been at night. I would also query the use of sleeping tablets in this situation, as they can cause further confusion. In the end you can only assess the risks and do what you think is the best - go ahead with the move, or delay while more assessments take place. I'm sorry that this response may only worry you more - I just don't think there is a 'right' answer.
Blue sea


Registered User
Mar 7, 2004
Dear Morag, welcome to TP.

Quite a dilemma you have on your hands. The increased agitation may be just a blip with your mum, or it may be a part of the downward tread.

Cannot give advice, as your situation is not something I have had to deal with.

One point though, as mum is upset now, do you really think she will be able to cope with two moves in a short space of time.
Residential care will be the only answer if she does not settle. You are caught between a rock and a hard place.

Do hope things work out for you.


Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
Any ideas !! I feel ill thinking about Saturday as I feel I am forcing her to do something she doesn't want to do. The sheltered accomodation is lovely, with lots of friends her own age and lots of social life as she gets bored very easy and has a very low attention span and very short term memory.

Any move anyway is going to course her distress more confusion .

It does sound lovely that she going to have loads of friends around her in the new accommodation , but her friends are not not going to be they for her at night time when the wondering starts again .

When my mother moved in with me , the wondering at night got worse not better , because she was so confused it took her a very long time to settle with me .

for what I know now , I would not advice anyone who has a dementia & is at the stage of wondering getting lost , to go into
Sheltered Accomodation .

you should have more assessments done on your mother because how is she going to learn to get use to her new flat , people with dementia find it very hard to learn new things . that why she must be feeling so scared of the move she feels secure in her own home , because she knows where everything is . Residential care would be better because she have someone they all the time so would make her feel more secure after a long while

They is Accomodation flats like Residential care that have 24/7 care for the person who has dementia, while they live in a flat but they cost a lot of funding.

I do wish you both the best with the move & it be better if she stay with a member of family while the move take place , even if she has to stay in the house while it happen .
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Registered User
Jul 7, 2007
Hello Morag,

What a dilemma ! I really really hope that your Mum will be OK and settle. One positive thing is that if she knows a few of the people there they may look out for her and possibly if she joins in the activities they may tire her out for a while.

BUT - and I'm so sorry to be a "downer" for you when I'm sure you were just thinking you could breathe a sigh of relief for once - I would advise you to start looking for full time care NOW - even if its just viewing a couple of places to think about in future ( and as the family are so far away you may want to think about having her in a home much nearer to you).

We (sister and I ) had to move our Mum twice within four months and it was really hard on all of us and actually turned into a bit of an emergency because we'd been very self congratulatory about solving her living problems. She had gone into an assisted living complex , which is really one stage up from sheltered accomodation and even then we couldn't cope - and the one thing they wouldn't accept was people who wandered at night.
Mum never really settled - even at the end she was still asking where the toilet was etc etc - she didn't seem to be able to take in any new information so I think the flat (to her) was just somewhere she was sitting waiting to "go home".

Best of luck - hopefully it will all go well - but please - if you plan ahead for the very very worst, anything less is a lovely suprise.

Let us know how it goes



Registered User
Aug 29, 2006
SW Scotland
Oh dear, Morag. I sense from your post that you are having doubts about the viability of the sheltered accommodation.

Is it too late to postpone the move? Sheltered accommmodation isn't really suitable for someone with dementia, particulrly if they wander. Does the warden know about this problem?

I'mm sorry to lay this on you at this late stage, and you may well feel that it is too late to back out, but I'd definitely be looking at residential homes while you are there, as a fall-back in case it doesn't work.