My father had a severe fall in June 2011. He has recovered from the physical injuries very well however the fall included a head injury which has uncovered his ability to mask dementia. The dementia is well established. My step mother, who has been married to my father for 5 years (and the marriage was deteriorating rapidly prior to the fall) refuses to accept him back in the marital home. My father wants to go home. He spent a long time in the hospital and has now spent the past 6 months in a carehome - which he has seen as the next step in getting back to his house and which she has seen as the final destination. She has 'moved on' in her daily living; she has established new routines and they simply do not include having him living with her any more (I should mention there is a sizeable age gap...my father is 75 and step mother is 64. My natural mother passed in 2002 from cancer.
My wife and I feel very caught in the middle. We want to advocate for my father but also fully understand that step mom simply isn't capable of caring for him. We have tried to softly suggest that for the costs of the carehome she could obtain significant respite and help in their home but that just doesn't seem to be an option in her mind. We have 3 children (11, 9 and 7) and have discussed bringing dad to live with us but that is less than ideal also - he can only manage 1 - 2 hours in our home at a time before he is simply exhausted and asks to get back to the 'lodge' (his carehome). We have purposefully lived such that our kids friends are constantly around - there is a lot of activity in our home - intended so that we have the 'luxury' of knowing what our kids are doing.
The fall dad took in June 2011 was down the stairs in his house. Those stairs are still present and, in my mind, still represent a physical risk for him. Living at home is not ideal either, not for him nor for step mom.
His dementia has left him somewhat confused for certain, but he is still high functioning. He recognizes people and connects with them readily - he might confuse names but he still knows people. Confusion is present of course, and short term memory loss is prevalent - one might have the same conversation several times in a row. There are also some physiological side effects from meds taken post head injury, such as incontinence and a disrupted gate in his stride - balance is off on occasion too. Which reminds me of the risk presented by the stairs in his home.
I am really not sure what to do. He obsesses about getting back 'home'. Originally I thought 'home' just represented someplace other than where he was but he definately associates home with his house. We have now taken him there (in the co-ordinated absence of step mom) and he definately associates that house as his home. And he wants to go home.
The carehome he is in is not ideal socially, but he is safe and very well cared for there. He is simply bored. Most of the other residents are far more advanced in their various dementias. We try to stimulate as much as possible but both my wife and I work and of course with three children we are somewhat on the run. Our kids come first in our world but we are torn about how to best contribute with my father. Through the winter we would have him home at least once a week and visit him 2 or 3 other days as schedules allow. The spring and summer have been much busier with activities for us so our visits have dropped to once weekly many times.
Any suggestions would be most welcome.