My parents just moved into an assisted living facility yesterday and already want to go home. What can we do to try and make this work?

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My parents just moved into an assisted living facility yesterday with only 1 days advance planning. After 10 hours Dad just wants to go home. But his health is the reason they are there. And his verbal agression towards Mom, which is going to cause her a breakdown. The first night he just screamed to go home. All us kids are sick about it, and the effect his increasingly difficult personality is having on Mom's psychological health. What can we do to try to make this work for them both?

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My heart goes out to you. My Dad's anger brought the Sheriff Department's Elder Abuse and Prevention team to the house, and cost them their freedom. Dad was removed from the home, sent to ER, then moved to a Geriatric Psychiatric Hospital. They had to court-order medications to control his aggression and angry outbursts. He never will return home again, as they moved him to a nursing home for greater care. The medications help curb the agitation, but have sedating side effects. For Dad, Advanced Stage Alzheimer's is the culprit. Mom doesn't understand, and can't relate to him on a gentle, calm or reassuring level, and causes him great anger and hostility towards her. For them, things just aren't going to work for their psychological health, because they aren't healthy enough to adjust mentally or cognitively. They will never be able to cohabitate together again, as each has their own issues, and for them separation was absolutely essential. It was the only way to end the ongoing battles between them. We who are healthy must cope with the adjustments, trying to be as compassionate, loving and supporting to both, as possible. So far, it's been quite the journey, and not always easy. Support groups help, and may meet her needs, as well as yours. You may want to ask a Social Worker for guidance, and a Psychiatrist for evaluation and counsel.
Secretsister I am so sorry things are so hard for you it must be very depressing for you to deal with all this upheavel and I hope you are getting support- it is very hard when our parents can not cope on their own and expect their children to step in and solve their problems-I can see that in my family and my Mom is so nasty to us kids-the ones of us trying to make things better for her and of course she just loves the ones who do next to nothing for her. I do pray that God gives you the strength and wisdom to carry on-you have been so supportive for me and others and my wish is for you it that life gets easier for you,
Thank you, Austin. I appreciate your sensitivity and encouragement. What a blessing you have been along the way, and how much you have learned and grown!

Actually, I'm relying more on God and less on me these days, and it seems to be key. Mom is no longer in our direct care, so that relieves us of both responsibility and her abuse. How's that for a Christmas present? My husband is elated, and wishing we never had to......but alas, no situation is perfect. Now we can concentrate on the love and support for our nine year old, back to family peace, and compassionately caring for and loving on our ailing fathers, who are declining. We are finding more joy in the past couple of weeks, knowing that little rests on our ongoing struggles with mom, and that our fulfilment comes from serving those who appreciate every things we do, as well as the one who sees and knows all. We got a Happy New Year's present, as well. We are free to build on, and cherish the time we have left, and gather memories with two dads, and they get to see us more relaxed and stress free. What a bonus that we have more time to enjoy our little boy, while he's still little, and no one is robbing him of his special place or competing for our constant attention.

We have been greatly blessed to have the supportive care at both ALF and NH for our loved ones, and they have a better life because of it. We have better lives because of it, and we are going into the new year counting our blessings instead of our problems. God is good, even in the valleys, and walks beside us all the way. Praying you all have a wonderful 2010. May your troubles be few, and your joy be many!

The facility has dealt with this many times, so speak to the SW and administrator about how to handle the transition. They should be able to help you (and both your parents) with a transition team. If your mom needs to have an intervention for your dad's anger - that is part of the facility's services. Let them know you are being proactive & relying on them to help your parents.

Every situation is different, which is why you have to stay firmly focused on finding solutions to you and your family's problems. Ask for help and a daily update (you will have to call & show up no doubt) but in the end the hands on approach will pay off & it will not be so labor intensive. Many times it is also a good time to consult a life coach who specializes in transitional events. You will most likely find your buttons being pushed and discover that you can be run ragged unless you alter how you approach things.

New Years is a great time to reflect on being the change we want to see. Having gone throught this by trial and error for many years personally and now advising others through a volunteer network I am finding that positive self-talk and having a weekly one to one with someone focused on your growth makes all the difference in how effectively you handle the stress that aging parents care & needs take on your own life. Life is too short to keep on with the same old family dramas once our parents have aged.

Here is hoping that you will stay on this site, but also find support face to face - there are many local caregiver support groups and being advised by someone who has done it - like Carol B. on this site in person is priceless. For me, as a volunteer I am able to share hard won knowledge and feel good knowing that someone else won't go through what I did.

Wishing you the best!

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