Should I move my Mother to a new family home?

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Bob121, May 29, 2018.

  1. Bob121

    Bob121 New member

    May 29, 2018
    My Mother was diagnosed with Dementia a year ago and has been getting steadily worse. She lives on her own and has done for over 25 years. She is very independent, however this illness has made her vulnerable in that she doesn't eat regularly enough, her personal hygiene is declining and she has also been conned out of money for services/items she doesn't want or need. In addition to her dementia, she also drinks approx. one bottle of wine a day, upon her diagnosis, it was noted that she has alcohol dependency which resulted in her being declined for treatment by the memory clinic. I am worried about her safety and wellbeing, she is reluctant to accept help and is adamant she doesn't want to go into a nursing home.

    I want to do what is best for my Mother but am unsure what the options are. One thing I have been thinking of is selling my house (I live with my husband and two teenage daughters) and my Mum's house and combining our money to buy a bigger house. If I do this, I am looking to move my Mother out of the area where she currently lives. I was wondering what other members thought of this? If you have done this, what is your experience and what would your advice be? Thanks
  2. Bod

    Bod Registered User

    Aug 30, 2013
    Hi and welcome.
    Not wanting to go into a "Home" is normal.
    However what is in her best interests?
    In a Care Home, she would have regular food, medication(if needed) laundry and housework all done for her, and company.
    A home in her area, would mean the mention of places locally would mean something to her, and a real possibility there could be someone she knows already there.
    There would be a settling in period, maybe as long as several months, before being truly settled.
    I had to put my father into care, he didn't want to go. several months later I was there, his face during an entertainment session, I'd made the right decision.

    Ps. Those that have/are doing care at home, will tell you it's much harder work than you can imagine.
  3. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    Hi Bob, welcome to TP
    As someone who did move his mum in with me and my wife, it's not as easy as you may think and I did it without the complication of 2 teenage daughters.
    Sadly she will only get worse over time and what happens if the poor hygiene turns into incontinence and the drinking gets worse, let alone things like nocturnal wanderings?
    At present should your mum go into care then the money from the sale of her house could be used to pay for her care, if you tie her money up in a new jointly owned property how would you finance her care if a care home was needed? Would you be able to buy her share off her or would you have to sell the new house?
    If you asked the LA to fund her care I don't know what they'd say as it could be classes as a deliberate deprivation of assets because the value of her home is no longer available to pay for her care.
    Many people like me have done it and made it work but that's not to say it's for everyone, my wife eventually gave up work to care for my mum so that's a loss of a wage and all you get is £62pw in carers allowance.
    How do you, your partner and your children feel after they've spent time with your mum, could they stand it being like that 24/7/365 and it won't get any better as time goes on.
    Sorry to sound so negative but it's a big decision that will impact on the whole of your family and one that might be difficult to reverse so I may as well be honest about it.
  4. Hazara8

    Hazara8 Registered User

    Apr 6, 2015
    There will no doubt be people who will have carried out a similar course of action and who will therefore post their own experience here. Clearly, the thinking behind your question is admirable and should you be contemplating a possible change of home, which will be shared by your mother (I might have misconstrued the tenet of your post) then a great deal of careful planning and thinking is required, owing simply due to the nature of dementia and how it can literally take over a way of life and affect things in a way not really imagined before.

    All the 'best interests' options need to be looked into - daycare etc - and an assessment of your situation in respect of the potential caring role ahead. All of this sounds rather simplistic, but the underlying truth will be echoed by many who contribute here and who have experienced caring for a loved one 'at home' - that of preparing to adapt to a new way of life, as carer and daughter and mother with husband and family combined.
  5. father ted

    father ted Registered User

    Aug 16, 2010
    Hello Bob121,

    Your efforts to support your Mum in a family home are laudable and may work but I would think extremely seriously about this.

    You say your Mum is fiercely independent which is something very difficult to deal with when you are all under one roof and you are trying to control a situation. As your Mum's behaviour changes and becomes more demanding this may be a source of embarrassment to your girls who may then be reluctant to have friends over or may choose to spend more time away from home. When someone drinks to excess they mood swings can be very difficult and emotionally demanding on all those around them.

    My Mum lived with me for 8 years. Initially this was because I was fed up trying to solve problems that arose remotely having her under our roof saved me a lot of driving about and dropping everything to go and sort out the latest problem. That was successful until the last year when her decline and increasing demands defeated me and she went into a home.
    In reality your Mum is no longer independent if she cannot take care of her own needs and assume responsibility for herself safely. As often said no one would choose a care home. Not the person needing the care nor the family having to pick up the pieces but when lives start to fall apart both your Mum's and perhaps later yours with the stress of it all it can be the most positive solution.
    Good luck.
  6. jugglingmum

    jugglingmum Registered User

    Jan 5, 2014
    Within the next month I will have 2 teenage children. When crisis hit and I had no choice but have my mum stay in the short term, my children were 8 and 12.

    My mum wasn't eating regularly, she had in fact turned her electricity off - so had no fridge and no heating for we think 18 months. She had been a hoarder all my childhood so her house was never in a fit state pre dementia to visit, so she visited me, so this wasn't apparent. Her personal hygiene - ie washing was non existent, and this one 4 years later has still not been fully addressed. She wasn't drinking and hadn't been conned as far as I know although she was buying to excess on certain items.

    If my mum's house hadn't been so dilapidated, I might have considered carers, but with what I know now, even if her house had been immaculate, it wouldn't have worked when I was over 200 miles away and she would have turned them away.

    I considered my mum could still cope with the basics, within the structure of my household she was getting herself breakfast, walking a familiar route to the shop for a daily paper, so I found her a flat in sheltered extra care (assisted living) near me. This has worked fantastically well, she is really happy there and at the start aware enough to realise I had found her somewhere she really liked that retained some independence, but if it had failed I would have felt the next step was a care home.

    Whilst she stayed with me, the basic rhythm of life was ok, but it meant we had to fit in an evening meal time which worked for mum, she criticised my son at everymeal for his poor tables manners, multiple times (dyslexic or dyspraxic related issues meant he was still struggling with cutlery at 8), she expected daughter to do jigsaws with her every time she was in the house, even though dau had homework, as this is what she did with dau on her visits in school hols.

    Roll on 4 years and she expects son, now nearly 13, to sing wheels on the bus with her as thats what she thinks she does with him. He can cope with this on a visit for afternoon tea but not for more than that.

    I can't imagine how I would have coped supporting my children through SATs and GCSEs with my mum in the house, let them have friends round who live locally every weekend, sleepovers, moved mealtimes to suit them whilst fitting in life with a PWD. It has been hard enough to support her living 10 minutes away.

    This is before alcohol is thrown in the mix, which from posts I have read on TP is a nightmare with dementia and seems to ultimately lead to a secure care home. You mention that the memory clinic weren't prepared to engage whilst the alcohol is in the mix, and if you have no way of preventing your mum's access to shops then this will continue.

    If you really think that you and your family are prepared to sacrifice much of your current lifestyle to dementia, before you do this, you need to stay with your mum for a week, to see how she reacts to you and the ongoing issues, and she needs to stay with the family for the same length of time. Dementia takes everything thrown at it and more, you don't know if agression will appear, refusal to cooperate, verbal criticism of children
  7. Hair Twiddler

    Hair Twiddler Registered User

    Aug 14, 2012
    Middle England
    Hello @Bob121, You have had some great advice from everyone already. The idea of living with mum in her house for a week is great.

    Without going into a long story of mum living with hubby, 2 children and me for 5 years, here are a few thoughts.
    My mum drank a bottle of wine per day, her body got use to it sometimes she was happy, sad, angry but she was almost always wobbly in the evening, it was a huge burden of responsibility on me. I had to sit with her and escort her to bed most nights. Mum had her own TV room away from my hubby and children, it wasn't a regular thing for us all to sit together as a happy family.
    Mum grew to hate my hubby. She was jealous of him. Mum only refered to him as "HIM" for about 2 years. Mum accused hubby of having sex with our teenage daughter, said I think to try to turn me against him, Alzheimer's mum wanted only me at this point. She would often tell me to leave this place and come to her nice house.

    Having mum live with us was hugely detrimental to our family life. In school holidays mum was always my priority and I spent so much more time all day, everyday with her than was right - for my children or hubby.

    Having mum go into respite for a week or two at a time became precious time for me. Sadly, as soon as mum went into respite I seemed to get ill, not an unusual circumstance for a carer I believe. The body and mind's way of coping. The worry of whether respite would actually happen was a strain too. The care home I chose (and others too) would not take a guaranteed booking just in case the room became unavailable i.e. a permanent person moved in.

    I struggled to keep mum living with us for as long as I could. I did my best but in the end Alzheimer's mum defeated me and mum lived the last months of her life in a care home. Would I do it all again? even if by some miracle I could make it easier for hubby and our children? No, I honestly wouldn't.
  8. Fullticket

    Fullticket Registered User

    Apr 19, 2016
    Chard, Somerset
    I would agree with all the posts so far. I had my mum move in with us after years of cross (very!) London trips to her to sort out the muddles she had got herself into, clean the house, make sure her washing was done, etc. etc. Three times a week north London to south London and back. She was being conned out of money, was going out without locking the doors and drinking nearly a bottle of wine or half a bottle of brandy a day, so if nothing else risk of falls. There being an invisible son it was left to me to get on with it. She was not ready for a care home so we moved her in with us but it soon became clear we needed a house with a downstairs bath and bedroom. So we moved 150 miles away to achieve this. At this time mum was reasonably still with it but forgetting her friends in south London, so it all worked well.
    So far, so good but if asked if I would do it again then I would say most likely not.
    My partner and I do not have children but it was still an enormous ask of him (and me) to rearrange his life around her - and that is what it is. You will find that your time is taken up with mum's needs, wants and demands. Will she have clubs to go to? Who takes her? Who collects her? Can she go shopping with you? If so, allow double the time. Is she mobile at the moment? If so, how soon will she become immobile and you will need help lifting and moving, getting walking aids in and out of cars, taking hours to walk up the high street, stopping every few yards for a rest or a wee??? Where will she sit in the evenings, will she have her own sitting room and TV and who will be sitting with her? Assuming it is you, can you envisage what it is like to only watch short, comedy programmes because she can't follow the plot of an hour long drama? How will your husband and children feel about losing you to her? Do you work? If so you will either end up not working or attempting something at home part time. I could go on and probably have, at length and being totally boring.
    Changing incontinence pads, having repeated conversations about the same subject and supervising showering was actually the easiest part of the job. Mum died in March and I miss her but after an interval of wondering what I was here for if not to care, I do not miss the enervating role of carer, the constant drain on my non financial resources.
    As for combining finances for a house, I would get some advice - as previous posters have said, LAs could look askance at this and I think you would be building up trouble in the future as circumstances change.
    Sorry to sound so negative!
  9. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    SW London
    #9 Witzend, May 30, 2018
    Last edited: May 30, 2018
    I would honestly think very carefully before doing this.

    If you've never actually lived 24/7 with anyone with dementia - which can worsen faster than you might expect - it's very hard IMO to understand what stresses and strains it can put on a family.

    We had my FiL living with us when our daughters were still in their teens, and at school. One reason he eventually had to go into a care home was that he was frequently up and down a lot in the night, coming into all our rooms to see who was sleeping in 'his' house, banging and shouting and demanding to go out at 3'am, and obviously waking us all up. Daughters were coming up to important exams, my husband was working long hours in a demanding job, not to mention all the stresses and strains on me, as his full time carer - far too much to go into here.

    I was extremely fond of my FiL - he had often stayed with us pre dementia, and was a very pleasant, easy guest. I honestly would never imagined the sort of behaviours - some of them frightening - he began to display. To be blunt, we were blithely clueless about dementia when he first moved in - we thought it just meant gently getting more forgetful. If only...

    Suffice it to say that when it came to my mother, several years later, it did not even cross our minds to move her in with us. We supported her as best we could at home - help coming in, lots of visits and regular 'sleepovers' with her, until it really was time for a care home.

    There is also the question of deprivation of assets. If, with the best will in the world you bought the bigger house and moved her in with you, only to find sooner or later that the situation had become untenable and a care home was needed after all, and if enough funds were no longer available, the local authority would almost certainly see the use of her funds as deprivation of assets, and require you to pay them back.
    If there was still enough money for care home fees, this would of course not be an issue.
    Sorry to sound so negative, but I do think anyone contemplating this needs to be under absolutely no illusions as to potential problems.
  10. Tin

    Tin Registered User

    May 18, 2014
    Everyone has said just about what I was going to write. Sharing finances to purchase a new home - a quagmire. All I can add is that at some point your life will be completely taken over with caring for your mother and it is incredibly demanding both emotionally and physically. My mother lives with me, I have no children or a partner to think about, but my life has changed, less friends now, just a handful that care for me. Any social invites, day or night, I now have to organise a sitter, cannot leave mum alone, if I did the house would be wreaked! Try the week living with her and then with you, you really will see things you never expected and if she moves in with you, the same behaviour and activities you see will continue.

    Of course if you are lucky enough to have a large amount of money and can afford to employ people to help you, then different story.
  11. Bob121

    Bob121 New member

    May 29, 2018
    Thanks to you all for sharing your experiences and your honest opinions. Your input has been very insightful and invaluable.
  12. Tin

    Tin Registered User

    May 18, 2014
    Its odd because most of us have told you not to do it/think hard about it and yet we have all done it. Mum been with me for just over four years and no plans yet to place her in a care home.

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