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Mom's Moving In


My mother was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and I am thinking about moving her into my home so that she has 24-hour supervision as her disease gets worse.  I have three children, a husband, a job, and a house to maintain also. 

I hear so much about how hard it is to take care of someone with Alzheimer’s and I am wondering what I should do upfront to prevent some of the problems that people experience being a fulltime caregiver.  I work from home and my children are teenagers, so I can be around all the time.   

I am wondering what I should anticipate and prepare for if mom moves in? 



You are wise to consider and prepare for the transition that you are thinking about.  Often, we jump in out of love and commitment in the moment without preparing for the work that your decision will entail. 

The first thing that you should do is find out everything you can about Alzheimer’s disease.  How the disease progresses, what treatments are available, what ways are best for communication with the individual that has Alzheimer’s, and how others have made it work as caregivers.   

After you have educated yourself, a family meeting with your immediate family is necessary.  The people that live at your house will be impacted the most.  While the decision is yours and your spouses, all family members should be heard.  Your mother’s care will impact your and their time, routines, space, vacations, and finances.   

After speaking with your immediate household, it is time to speak with extended family.  That being your siblings if you have them.  This is where you may have the greatest impact on your personal well-being as you become a full-time caregiver.  What needs to be out in the open is finances and support.  Almost everyone has some assets and is receiving Social Security.  What will your mother be contributing to your household expenses?  Are you expecting to be paid for caregiving?  This needs to be discussed and sorted out with your siblings up front.   

It is also important that you discuss assistance in providing care, either paid or sibling help.  24/7 care from just your family will be tiring and place a strain on you.  Will you want to take a vacation?  Will you need paid caregivers while you work? Do you need an evening out each week?  Whatever support you think is needed should be negotiated upfront.  Yes, her care needs will change and increase.  Leave the door open for renegotiation with your siblings as the disease progresses. 

Study your home environment for safety and convenience.  Many accidents occur when in unfamiliar space.  She will be disoriented at first and at greater risk of a fall while she tries to maneuver your home, bathrooms, and yard.   Consider where your mother will sleep, how she will bathe, will she need grab bars, do you have good lighting, are pathways clear, and other safety precautions.  It is best to create a space of her own to retreat to when she feels the need.  She may have favorite programs that she watches or have a desire to read in a quite space.  Try to set up her room allowing for privacy.  She may be most comfortable with some things from her home so consider what can be brought and where the rest will be stored. 

Most important is to take the time to think it through and plan for a smooth transition, both for you and for her.  With the support of your family and your siblings you will have a greater chance for a successful landing.  

I wish you well on this journey.



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