Moving My Mom 1000 Miles From Assisted Living to Skilled Nursing Care (Part 3)

Moving My Mom 1000 Miles From Assisted Living to Skilled Nursing Care (Part 3)
Diane and her Mother

Diane and her Mother

Up to now, it has been a tough six-week transition for my mother.  Right after we moved my mom to skilled nursing care, she was announcing to those who would listen that she was kidnapped.  Really?? Oh my!!  This was actually the clearest thing she was saying and the rest was random scattered memories mixed with 75 – 95 percent delusions.  It was very tough for me to see.  But I never gave up on her clarity coming back.

Tomorrow, on Monday, it will be six weeks since I moved my mom from Seattle to California.  You may have missed my previous blog posts on the preparations for moving my mom because she was diagnosed with breast cancer (Part 1) and the trauma and joy of moving day itself (Part 2).

It has been a tough road as a boomer daughter with a ton of paperwork, but it has a happy ending.  My mom lives at a wonderful community that I represent in Lake Forest, CA.

Who was the worst marketer for about three weeks?  Yup, my mom!!  She was announcing daily that she had not been fed breakfast.  My mom was so convincing that two different department heads (who don’t work in the health care center), believed her when they walked by and tried to get her more food.  I appreciate both of them always watching out for all our residents, including my mom.

It turned out that my mom’s thyroid was out of whack.  Now, my mother is back to her happy dementia self.  Today, it was a joy to witness her having 70 percent clarity of mind.  She said, “l love it here.”  “The food is great!”  “We get to have lunch outside and I like it.” “Remember years ago, I lived here?”  (She went to college at UCLA and it has happy memories for her.)  She saw my computer and asked if there were pictures to see on it.  (This was huge remembering a computer could have photos.)  My mom knew today that she lived in California!

We browsed through the Sunday paper together (I was pointing out good highlights).  She loved sitting outside talking, feeling the breeze, seeing the birds and watching the fountain in the courtyard.

So the proof is in the pudding!  Someone with severe vascular dementia can put a new home in his or hers long-term memory.  It has taken six weeks for my mom to be comfortable with her new routine.  I just want to continue to enjoy her clarity moments and I am always grateful that she can call me by name and still knows who I am.  Today, she shared smiles and laughter with me.  God is good!

Please share your success, failures or comment to join the conversation and interact with other senior living professionals on what is currently being effective to increase occupancy on a nationwide basis.

Diane Twohy Masson is the author of Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” available for sale at  Masson’s book will be required reading at George Mason University in the Fall as part of the marketing curriculum.  She is currently consulting with Seniors For Living and two debt-free Continuing Care Retirement Communities in Southern California – Freedom Village in Lake Forest and The Village in Hemet, California. Connection and partnership opportunities: Email:


  1. Linked In Elder Care Professionals

    Very touching article and not easy to accomplish
    By Jeff Weinberg

  2. Linked In Boomers: Aging Beats The Alternative

    Yeah! both mother and daughter got through the transition period. Having done this, I know how tough it can be. Good for you, Diane!
    By Lorie Eber

  3. I just saw this, I dont know if you have addressed the financial aspect of it. We help people qualify for long term care medi cal when they have assets like a Home, money in the bank, life insurance etc. You can preserve your assets and medi cal can help towards payment of care. She would still have a share of cost, but it would help a lot. If you need any help with this or any questions, please let me know. I am here to assist in any way I can.

  4. Diane,

    Great article about the challenges of dealing with one of the most challenging times in an individual’s life…. The industry needs more stories like this to tell the public.


  5. Downsizing your life should not require garage sale-ing your sense of self and identity.
    As a geriatric chaplain and counselor I have watched far too many senior’s identity and sense of self “dissolve” when they move from larger homes to smaller ones and jettison many of their belongings, nicknacks, mementos that hold precious memories and stories that need to be preserved and honored.
    I saw what happened to my aunt when I had to remove her from her home of some 50 years for 3000 miles.
    It was for her and others like her that I wrote the Living Legacy LifeBook to help seniors downsize without sacrificing their sense of self in the process.rewriting the narratives of their lives, come to honor and respect their lives as lived, see themselves as living into the next act of their lives not the last one, and become a contribution to their families and communities in a whole new, enlivening manner while at the same time leave an abiding posterity.
    You can see me introduce in a brief six-minute video the Living Legacy LifeBook at

    • Paul, every situation is unique…my mom has dementia…things have no value for her…she lives in the moment.