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Alzheimer`s Disease/Will moving make more confused?


Our family is considering moving my 90 yo Grandmother with moderate Alzheimer's to an assisted living home.  Right now my Grandmother lives with her daughter and son-in-law but often has to be left alone.  

Our family feels it would be best for her to live at the assisted living home but have some questions.  In the past, when there has been major changes she has gotten markedly more confused.  We worry we will regret moving her if she gets overly confused.  I guess since we thought about this we are questioning the move all together!  

We understand that it is best to tell her that we are just trying this out and we plan on moving her bedroom furniture to help with the transition.  

Can you please give us some advise on permanent confusion resulting from major change in the Alzheimer's life?   Thank you!

Hello Jennifer:  Thank you for your question--it is one that can help many other people.  
I have seen many times when a move such as one from a home with family into a facility does precipitate an increase in confusion in the elder with dementia.  I believe that confusion will settle out and go away as she begins to feel more and more comfortable there and depending on her memory, she will forget about her other home and begin to consider the facility her home.  It's important that the facility personnel know how to interact appropriately with elders with dementia, and also that the family visit her frequently.  There are many ways to help her with this transition-too many for this short reply.  I recommend you read my book "Love, Laughter, & Mayhem - Caregiver Survival Manual For Living With A Person With Dementia."  You will find many ways to help make her more comfortable and accepting.  
Please don't question the need for the move--she's not safe to leave alone.  I would tell her it's just temporary "because the doctor wants to do some tests with your medicine and you need to be where people can watch you for any reactions" or something along those lines.  Make the doctor the bad guy and give her hope she's going to return to what she knows soon.  
My guess is that after a week or two, she will be much happier because of all the social stimulation and people around her all day who are smiling and being nice to her.  
Do move her bedroom furniture and pictures so she will have things around her that are familiar.  Do tell the staff things about her that will help bring a smile to her face if she's becoming upset.  Did she have a favorite pet?  Did she have a job she loved?  Was there a house or vacation she always likes to talk about?  Staff (and family) can bring up those familiar memories any time to help calm her.  
It's impossible to know if the increased confusion will be "permanent."  I don't think it will be unless she has a stroke after she's admitted that will decrease her cognition and ability to function.  Just concentrate on putting smiles on her face, give her lots of hugs, and hope that she will be back with the family very soon.  Good luck to you and your family Jennifer as you move forward with your Grandmother through her dementia.  Cindy

Alzheimer`s Disease

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Cindy Keith, RN, BS, Certified Dementia Practitioner


As a nurse and dementia consultant, I can answer most questions on all types of dementia. If I cannot answer your question, I will attempt to find someone who can. My passion is to help caregivers of people with dementia, which in turn helps all those wonderful elders with dementia live better lives. When caregivers are better educated, they are able to better care for themselves and their loved ones, so education is key to decreased stress levels and healthier, happier families.


I have worked as a nurse in various disciplines of nursing for over 20 years, most of which was with the elderly. I was a health care coordinator in a dementia dedicated assisted living facility for 4 years before I started my own business (M.I.N.D. in Memory Care) as a dementia consultant six years ago. As a dementia consultant, I help families nationwide through phone conference calls as they struggle to care for their loved ones with dementia.

Alzheimer's Foundation of America Geriatric Interest Network Sigma Theta Tau International

Published "Love, Laughter, & Mayhem - Caregiver Survival Manual For Living With A Person With Dementia" which is a collection of stories about people with dementia I have known, loved and worked with. Every story has a lesson to teach and this book gently teaches family caregivers lessons about how to better care for their loved one, as well as themselves during their caregiving journey. Published "Love, Laughter, & Mayhem In Eldercare Facilities: The Master Key For Dementia Training" Created "Bringing Nurturing To Memory Care" staff dementia training video Created Ebook: "Hair Stylist's Helpful Tips For Working With People With Alzheimer's & Other Dementias"

Registered Nurse with Bachelor's degree in Nursing; Certified Dementia Practitioner; Author of 2 books and an ebook

Awards and Honors
Sigma Theta Tau National Honor Society of Nursing

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