Once we had everything in place my father decided he no longer wanted to move to the assisted living facility. Is this unusual and is there any hope he will change his mind once he is there for a while?

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We found a beautiful assisted living faciltiy for my 93 year old father adjacent to the nursing home where our mother is living. As soon as the papers were filled out and the deposit check written, he has started to fight the move. Says he doesn't want to live in a box before being put in a box. He told me yesterday he is going to hate it and nothing will change his mind. I understand that it will be very different, but it is frustrating that he won't give it a chance before making up his mind. Is this unusual and is there any hope he will change his mind once he is there for a while?

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Hi Winnie,
This is not unusual at all. If you are gentle but firm, and you stress that this is so close to where your mother is living and that she needs him nearby, you will likely get through this okay. Be prepared for complaints and other stress for awhile. Eventually, he's likely to see the benefits, including much more social interaction. He'll make friends and probably get to like it, even if he still complains. It sounds as though you've give this a lot of thought and preparation. Try to make it happen. I do think he'll get used to it and change his mind. You'll just need to detach from his complaints, knowing that you want the best best for him. Try not to take it personally. Change is difficult and he's got a right to fuss a bit. Good luck,
As Carol said, I think he will adjust fine after a period of time. No one likes change, but often we don't realize that change is good - this is one of those circumstances. You are making the right decision. Take care.
My 89-year-old father went through the same situation. Once we got him moved in, and he saw that he could see my mother each day by walking next door, he began to say it was the best place he had ever lived. I think he had actually gotten to the point that he was afraid at home by himself; now he feels safe. Good luck to you and your father.
I work at an assisted living community. What you are describing happens more often than not, especially among men. You should stand firm. Be understanding, but don't waver. Change is hard. And, be prepared, your Dad may continue to complain to you and tell you that he hates it there, even though you get reports from the staff that he has adjusted well and made plenty of friends. This is really common. Keep the lines of communication open with the staff to get the complete picture. We have a resident who continually complains to her daughter that she has no friends, eats alone, feels deserted. In fact, she has a large group of friends, goes on lots of outings, and (except when her daughter visits) is the life of every party. I chalk it up to some kind of subconscious retaliation that parents inflict on their kids for all the times they were on the receiving end of their children's largely unfounded complaints (Mom, so-and-so doesn't like me, I hate dance class, my teacher is mean.......). There is a flipping point in life where the parent, to varying degrees, becomes the child. You've reach it.
It's not unusual to get cold feet. We all have at some time or another. Change is uncomfortable to many of us- even a wanted change. It's hard going into an established community and he could have concerns about making new friends. He may also be concerned that once he moves in the family might not come by as often.The most important thing is to let him know that it's a temporary arrangement- let's face it, if he doesn't adapt he does have the right to move out.
Winnie, this is a process of learning about what the choices and options are, and looking at what are wants instead of needs. Over the course of time, with advocacy of your father with him and learning about his preferences, options and choices, we would get him to make a meaningful decision on his own. We offer as services and advocacy our clients time to sort through all questions and concerns. Even upon placing your dad, we go to facility placements, working with the staff there and the family-answering what is important to your dad for the next 24 hours, then the next 48 hours, one week and so on---it is a processing and need to know of the variables. Clarifying needs away from wants, and negotiating with dad what is best is not always a needs but instead, he may be driven by wants. "I do not want to leave my home, how do I downsize and move, who and how is this done?" I hope this helps you to work through communicating with your dad. I am in Florida all the remainder of the month and would love to chat sometime-give him a big huggy! Linda Smith
I am experiencing also similar situation. My mom aw slicing in independent low income housing very near my home. The last 4 years have become assistant living. Since her fall she's gone down hill. She weighed 125, now she is 99 pounds. She refuses to eat regularly, and is to frail to go home. I have told her that long term care is what is good for her. I hinted that I would be moving out her things at the apartment. Because it is only for those that can live independently. she insists she can do everything by herself and is strong to go home. She all bones and a layer of skin. If she was to walk on her own the likely hood of her breaking something iwould happened. Because of these stubborn attitude of not eating , she wants to go home to get strong . what do I say. I feel so cruel packing her things, and she still thinks her apartment is hers. I have spoken to her that this month is the last month to pay the rent. Here at the long term home you will get stronger. What else can I say so she won't become more depressed.

This is a difficult journey for your mom and you to take. There is not an easy answer to what mom is feeling. You must gather up your strength and place your faith in a higher place now. It is not your destiny but your mom's to take. It often is not what mom says as much as it is just you listening to her. Just relax and take time to just listen. Don't offer opinions, just let her talk through this processing of change. Your mom wants to have some control over her choices. I suggest you have someone come from the nursing home and just sit and discuss those choices and options and consequences for mom. Be lovingly truthful with mom. Mom, I think must come to the realization that it is her decision to make, and your decision to accept. Again, separating out the wants from the needs is the first step in the right direction, I think. Perhaps allowing yourself time to reflect on the why and how come mom's misplaced guilt you feel about getting rid of her apartment, and other issues you are left to resolve, possibly has become your burden to carry, since you are probably the caregiver. It is not the best means to find a way in which you may be better prepared to understand the entire situation and place it away from your emotions. It is a life change, for both you and your mom. Sometimes just allowing yourself to come to terms to allow the guilt for the situation you both find yourself in to place it aside and only deal with today, this hour and this minute is enough to help you to think more clearly. Get some support and help from those in the environment around you to support you and your mom. I am trusting that things will be more clearly defined with the right supports there to hold you up, while you hold your mom up. Best regards-I am supporting you in spirit and trusting things will work for the best! Let me know how tomorrow will look, okay?
The important thing we did for both my mom, dad and grandmother at this juncture is to leave the home they are leaving intact and in place, for as long as you can afford to. (3 months?) Because that gives them permission to go back for things, go back to stay or revisit, and say good-bye to friends, have one last soire in their home.

My grandma was the most difficult to extricate and we tried three different housing situations, before we were sure it would not violate her to dismantle her lifetime home.

My mom had a little house on my block to "play independent" with very few belongings for two years before she required assisted living. She ate dinner with us. she walked to the corner store. She had only two place settings to keep clean and put away. She had a washer and no dryer, she spent much of each day washing and hanging up her laundry. She puttered in the fruit trees and passed out the fruit to the neighbor. My mom went back to the big cluttered house for a month after staying 6 months. She learned she could not longer drive or use the phone or get respect from the pharmacist. That seeing all that stuff to put away and manage overwelmed her. She had not realized how far she had decreased. Her friends gently sent her back to me, in a much better frame of mind to stay. Then we rented out her house to a friend, with the understanding that her bedroom would remain intact until we came back to sell the house and that she or other relatives may come and stay in that room from time to time.

It takes a lot of grieving to make these transitions for everyone. They do believe they will get better and be able to resume those unfinished chores and hobbies and crafts.

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