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Welcome to CareNotes. In this special section we will feature a reader's letter and provide an opportunity for an interactive exchange that will help find some answers and possible solutions to concerns. If you wish to respond to this letter, simple follow the link provided at the end of the letter and add your comments and thoughts to our CareNotes Board.

This Week's Carenote - 11/15/11
I am writing to ask if you have any advice as to how to tell my boyfriend that he is moving to a nursing home. He has Alzheimer’s and his short-term memory and some long-term memory are gone. He still recognizes me, but forgets my name. He still has a sweet disposition. We have been together 11 years and I have been caring for him for three. He is 70 years old.
Thank you.


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Name: tj
Location: wv
Date: 11/15/2011
Time: 01:21 PM


It would depend on how much he currently understands: with short term memory problems, he will forget anything you tell him, does he become angry? Is he resistant to new things? is he fearful? You must make sure he is safe, you need to care for yourself as well, this is a tough one. You could tell him he will be living in a new room where he will be able to have more care and safety than you can provide and that you will visit or not tell him anything, just take him there-staff can occupy him when you leave. You can visit when you can. You know him best and caretake on a daily basis, you know his mental acuity and how much he will understand. Dementia takes our loved ones away twice, once when the memory fades and again when the body fails. This isn't an easy decision for anyone, I wish you luck.

Date: 11/15/2011
Time: 09:22 AM


You didn't say why your boyfriend needs a nursing home. If he only has memory loss, perhaps an assisted living facility, where residents often have memory issues, is the level of care he needs. Typically, someone with memory loss experiences anxiety and depression. You could explain that the assisted living facility (or nursing home if he has medically-complex issues) will be a safe, secure place with staff who have special training to help residents with similar memory issues compensate for the problems he has recognizing people, asking for help, dressing in appropriate clothing and getting to activities that will interest him and keep him busy. Hopefully, his behavior is appropriate for socializing and he will be able to adjust to his new surroundings and neighbors with the help of his new caregivers. Don't be afraid to ask staff how you can help him during his transition and be sure to tell the staff his favorite foods and activities--and about his history: job, children, where he lived, hobbies, etc. so they can talk with him about things he can still remember. Be sure to take familiar photos and objects or a favorite chair to his new home to make him comfortable. And remember that it will take time for him to adjust to all that will be new in his life. Please don't feel guilty about moving your boyfriend to this new environment, which was designed specifically for people who need personal care and understanding of their circumstances.

Name: Jill
Location: NYC
Date: 11/15/2011
Time: 08:12 AM


I wouldn't necessarily tell him he's going to be moving because it may be too frightening for him to cope with and process. If possible, I would introduce the new environment to him gradually, staying for longer and longer intervals until he feels comfortable in "familiar" surroundings. Try also to point out positive aspects of the new environment so he experiences some fun associated with the new place. I would also, simultaneously, point out negative things associated with his current environment such as "not enough light" or "its too noisy here." It would also help to seek counseling from the nursing home and from social workers who have experience in matters dealing with transitions. He'll be fine once he adjusts to the new environment - it just takes time. He's very lucky to have you. Best wishes, Gran.

Name: Chris
Location: Toledo
Date: 11/15/2011
Time: 05:42 AM


Is there an opportunity for you to take him for a visit before he is admitted? This is beneficial both for him to have contact with the people at the facility, but also for the staff to become familiar with him and his needs before admission. This will make the transition smoother.



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