Father is in assisted living and now wants to leave.

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We recently convinced my father to try an assisted-living facility. He was living alone since his wife passed away about 1.5 years ago. His dog also died about 8 months ago. He is very depressed. He saw a psychologist and got on anti-depressants, but immediately went off them because of the side effects he did not like.

He was complaining constantly about how lonely he was and all he wanted to do was die. His house was a complete mess. We had a part-time care giver coming in, but I found out he was usually telling her to leave.

He can barely walk, has COPD and uses Oxygen. He is a heavy smoker. He is incontinent to the point where he uses an adult urinal and leaves those half filled things all over the house. In the kitchen he sat with one candle lit, blinds drawn, smoking. A very bad situation. My sister, who is local, would get called 5 times a day at work, and he would ask if she was coming over tonight. She has no life of her own and is also on Xanax. He's driving her crazy!

I had him at my home out of state recently for a visit. Couldn't believe he came. He broke all my rules. My son has asthma and cannot have smoke in the air. I have a wonderful covered screened in porch, which he would not use for smoking. Smoked in my house. Threw garbage on the floor, etc., would not bathe. We finally asked him to leave and took him back home. Then he was just going to show up on my doorstep.

He is overbearing and nasty. I'd love to have my old father back.

Fast forward: finally he tried assisted living. A nice facility; good food. He hasn't complained too much about the food. BUT now he insists on going back home. He says he really hates it. Still calls my sister 5 times a day complaining. Wants us to visit constantly. Won't get involved in any activities; just poo-poos the whole thing. Caught smoking in his room. I had to go in to see the director just like a kid in school who misbehaves. Just in a continually bad mood. Won't take any medication now. Constant guilt trips on how he wishes were were Italian because "they take care of their people". There's only two of us, I am out of state. My sister works full time and both of our houses have steps, which he cannot navigate; he's in a wheel chair now. Still no bathing; seems to refuse it.

Sorry for the rambling, but I could go on. Spoke with a lawyer; high bar for guardianship and would destroy our relationship probably.

How to convince him to stay? Oh, and since he's a vet he could get the time and attendance pension and stay there for very little. Leave more money for maybe a casino trip--I'm using that as an inducement.

Thanks for letting me vent and if anyone has any ideas or ways to approach, I'd appreciate it.


i have no answers for you, i only want to remind you that no matter what happens, hold firm, and NEVER EVER EVER LET HIM LIVE IN YOUR HOME!!!!!

this place is absolutely chokingly filled up with disaster stories of people who made the mistake of taking in or having a parent/in-law or having one forced on them. read a few stories ever day just to remind yourself.

i would encourage him to revisit the psychiatrist again, there are a lot of different meds to try. some have less side effects than others.

going into a NH is a difficult transition. no one likes the lack of control over their own life, no one wants to live by someone else's rules, eating and sleeping by someone else's schedule. it's going to take time for him to get used to.

don't buy into his guilt trips. if he continues to insist on guilting you, limit your exposure to him. when my mother did the guilt, i'd just say, "I can't talk to you now, bye", and hang up.

on the smoking, i think it's perfectly reasonable for the director or nurses to take his cigarettes away from him and keep them at the desk. he can stop there and pick them up on his way outside to smoke. he's lucky to have found a place where it's even allowed, must be a Veteran's place. (i'm a Vet too)
I feel for you. I moved my mother into an Independent/Assisted Living place in January. She has no physical or medical ailments (remarkable for her age 96), but I was getting increasingly anxious about her living alone in her own house. Finally, convinced her to go to Independent Living. It was a transition; she complained a lot. Complained that people in IL were not really independent, that she was the only one not on a walker or in a wheelchair, yadda, yadda. Still, she is getting 3 square meals and socializing with others. I had to get the Social Worker at the IL facility involve because Mom was threatening to "return" home. There should be a Social Worker at your Dad's place who can help you. I agree with previous poster that they should take away his cigarettes; why are they calling you? That is their job! I also agree with what the previous poster said about not letting your father cow you into these negative conversations....the I can't take you right now response is perfectly acceptable. He is in a safe place now; you want to keep it that way.
Remind yourself (it will do no good to remind your dad) that he was miserable at home, too. Probably, if he would admit it, he's less miserable in the AL. It's very clear from your post that you've decided it's best for your dad to stay where he is. So, as they say, "it's all over but the shouting." Start from that decision point and make it work. You and your sister have to set boundaries with regard to your dad's demands. He may call your sister 5 times during the work day, but she doesn't have to answer. He may want you to visit constantly, but you set the visiting schedule. His misery is not your fault and you can't fix it. All you can do is be supportive.
I'd advise developing a good relationship with the director of the AL. Your dad's smoking could turn into a major issue and you don't want him to get kicked out. Also, the other residents may ostracize him and that wouldn't help him to like the place any better. Ask the director if there's another smoker who takes regular cigarette breaks. It might help him to be introduced to someone who is following the community's smoking rules. They might become smoking buddies which would be a good thing in many ways. AL staff are usually pretty good at matchmaking.
Such a sad story. Can you hire someone to be with him, play cards with him. or something, he seems so lonely. I feel for you all, hopefully he will find a buddy at the AL place. I know I weaned my Mom into Daycare by staying with her until she met and felt comfortable with others there, it works if they have someone, anyone they like, as they are like a fish out of water. Good luck.
Quick answer - do NOT let him come into your home. His behaviors are only going to get worse until he gets to that stage of dementia where they just kinda sit there and become quiet. Good Luck.

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