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How can I move my daughter closer to me, without going behind her back or losing her trust?

Answered by David Troxel

April 10, 2014

My daughter was diagnosed as early memory loss at 54. Now she is at beginning of middle stage at 59. An opportunity came to get a condo unit closer and we were told to just move her, apologize and go on from there. We prefer not to go behind her back as our daughter still understands much, but forgets easily. The new condo is brighter, safer, and closer to family with space for caregiver when needed.

What do we do to not lose her trust in us, which I think will happen if we just move her?

It sounds like you are asking whether it would make sense to move her to a closer place where you believe she will be happier and safer. My vote is a definite yes.

Persons with dementia like your daughter don’t always make good decisions because of the disease. You ultimately have to substitute your good judgment for her diminished abilities.

I would suggest trying to talk with her about your ideas to see how it goes. Ethically, this makes many family members feel better—that you have tried to respect her and get her input as much as possible.

That being said, there may indeed come a time where you move her closer without her full buy in. Be sure to show enthusiasm and positive emotional energy before and after the move. Script the family to let all stay on message that you are so happy to have her near. If she is still upset you can say, “Let’s try it for a month and then we will take a look at things.”

Hopefully she will enjoy being close to you and make the adjustment.

By the way, many Alzheimer’s Associations have younger onset/early stage support groups. Call your local society to see if there are any services that can help a younger person like her. Brainstorm possible engagement activities for her. Can she do some simple volunteer work? Do what you can to keep her physically and socially active.

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