lillyruby Asked June 2012

Did I do the right thing by snatching him away so quickly without him saying good bye to his surroundings of fifty years?


Sometimes I feel guilty by not letting my father return home but this little small voice is saying once he gets inside the door, it would be hard to get him to leave..
After doctors told me that my father in his early stages of dementia could no longer live alone, I brought him directly home with me instad of placing him into a nursing home. I was told not to take him to his home if he does not have a 24 hour live in person. I brought his belongings to my home without him ever going back to his place..Did I do the right thing by snatching him away so quickly without him saying good bye to his surroundings of fifty years? My dad is presently 91 years of age.

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vstefans Dec 2013
Ha, there you go, two answers above just the opposite of each other...but neither wrong necessarily wrong!! There are pros and cons. either approach can go well or go badly. My mom was reassured when I could show her pictures of the house and she could tell everything was being kept up, and she told me she did not want to visit if she could not stay. In her mind if she could walk again she would go live on her own there...and then later on after moving her to Arkansas, she was going to have her own apartment here. It tore me up to no end to give up the house where I grew up, but Mom handled that in her own way I guess, out of sheer took a long time for her to adjust even that far though. Bless you, however you decide to do things after consulting your own heart, and maybe getting some idea by talking to Dad about it, or how would he feel if..., or how did he handle things with his own parents, or something he just says in passing. You don't have to let guilt about "right thing" vs "wrong thing" enter the equation.
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pamstegma Dec 2013
Taking him back there will simply stir up a hornets nest and a lot of arguments. Keeping him at your home is impossible too, unless you can hire a sitter when you need to run errands. If you are already worn down to the point of crying, you need to call his MD and get some visiting nurses, OT, PT whatever he needs. You will not survive this without help. There will be days you'll want to find a nursing home for yourself, just to get away.
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Appaloosa Dec 2013
Is there a reason you can't take him to visit his old home? He might want to pick out some personal things to have at your home. He can tell his neighbors where he's gone and see some friendly faces. If he sundowns, be sure to go early in the day, and maybe have one of his friends there to help support you when it's time to leave. Or have the friend invite you all out to dinner, which gets him out of his old house or apartment gracefully.

If he's going to live with you, you'll have to clear out his old home anyway. Why not let him help with that? It might make him feel more empowered about the move. I'd be pretty crabby if I was moved without my permission, which can sour a relationship.
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TBIjourney Dec 2013
My Dad doesn't have dementia but due to other health reasons couldn't live alone when my step-mom died. He had time to say good-bye to his home and family/friends before I moved him from Michigan's Upper Peninsula to western North Carolina, but he still had times when he was angry about the move. Now, a little more than 15 month later, he still misses his home and would love to live there again, but has settled into living with me in NC. He knows he can't live alone, sees on visits how little effort 2 of 3 brothers make to see him, gets 1-2 calls a year from one daughter and none from the other so I think realizes that he's where he is wanted. I let him know often how much I appreciate having this time with him, take him back to our home town a couple of times a year to visit and try to make his days the best I can. We can only try our best. It's hard, but try to spend your time and energy on today and tomorrow and let the past and any regrets go.
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LindaGS Jul 2012
MANYBLESSSINGS WROTE "when we drove out of the drive, we asked if she enjoyed the day seeing the relatives and her old stomping grounds and she told us she would like to do that some day. She had totally forgotten the entire day and visit that fast."

This is a great example of what we go through. So just do what you can, and be very forgiving of yourself if you can not do anymore even though there are lots of good ideas floating around as to what you might "want to do."

Just like every family does not get to go to Disney World. Every family will do this transition to 24 hour elder care differently. Some has to do with money, a whole lot has to do with the temperment of the individuals involved.
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microview Jun 2012
Anyone who takes in their parent is a "Saint."
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N1K2R3 Jun 2012
Well, You did it, Lillyruby, so there's no use lamenting about it and beating yourself up about it. What's done is done.
NOW: If he is only in Stage One Dementia, you can be sure he knows what's going on. He feels pain, he feels abandonment and, probably many other emotions. Just because he doesn't complain all the time, does not mean that he feels fine. He may feel fine one minute and angy the next. There are days when he feels no anger at all......maybe weeks. Just keep on truckin' and keep up a light attitude. If however, he asks you for a specific item or a specific favor, then I would try to accomodate him on that.
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Seven4real Jun 2012
After one year in assisted living I brought my mom home to live with my husband and I. We tlked about it with her for a month and she always seemed to agree that it would be the best. She loves to garden and we have a huge yard and garden for her to enjoy. There were good things about the Assisted living place but, I couldn't get them to NOT wake her up at 8:30 in the morning, bring her breakfast and give her meds. First of all she was too tired to eat, but took the meds and went back to sleep and then was sick to her stomach and threw up the ,meds anyway. It wiped her out, she didn't get breakfast at all and then was finally starving by noon. She has mild to moderate dementia and has good days and bad. Last night when we finally got her stuff to our home she was tired and ripping mad at us. She said we lied to her about where she was going etc. We just tried to soothe her as best we could and we finally got her to bed. She slept good except for potty breaks and I saw her at 7:00 and she was just going back to bed for more sleep and seemed fine. Her room looks just like her room at her AL place and she has her cat in her room that she dearly loves. I know we have to just go day to day. I wanted her to be in my home so I could also give her the love and care she deserved. Wish me luck.
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Hi, lillyruby, it is a fine line you walk when faced with removing a parent from their home of so many years and all the memories it holds for them. I remember hearing when a parent or anyone is placed in a nursing home, they aren’t allowed to go home or to familiar places for, I think, a minimum of 6 weeks to 6 months to give them time to fully adjust. Seems and sounds harsh, but guess it may work. I don’t know.

What I do know, is when I moved my mother into our home, I had been trying to prepare her and talked about her coming to live with us “just for the winter”, beginning at Thanksgiving. She thought that would be okay, “just for the winter”. I had been going to her home 2-3 days a week because she could no longer drive and needed assistance with meals, I took her grocery shopping, to appointments and out for ice cream and a little drive.

However, when we were at the out of state wedding of a cousin, she had a major meltdown and we left at 3am to bring her home. Life went south from there. After a month in the hospital, we had to bring her to live with us. So, much like your situation, she was abruptly brought from her home to ours and the “just for the winter” Thanksgiving plans bit the dust. I had physical therapy, cognitive therapy, visiting nurses, all trying to bring her back, but she never recovered enough to return home. It was hard because she, basically, went from the trip, to the hospital, then here and never quite got it straight she returned to her home state. As a result, many times she thought our home was a resort on the lake by her childhood home. Glad she liked her vacation spot.

She was 24-hour care and I couldn’t leave her alone, yet I had to go mow her lawn and maintain her home. She kept asking to go home, so, when she was up the drive, I would take her with me. That way she could see her home, look for anything she would like to bring back with us and visit with her long time neighbor who, every afternoon for years, would get together at 4pm for a glass of wine and card game. However, each time we would go, she would say she could live alone again and it would be fine. Even though, when she was living alone I had to call many times a day checking on her, tell her to take her pills that I had in the daily divided cases and the neighbor would come for the glass of wine and card game. Even at that, half the time I would go over and discover the pills still had not been taken. She wasn’t cooking or eating properly, so there was no way she could go home again. When we would leave, she would so sadly look at her home of 50 years and say, “Good-bye little house.” It nearly broke my heart in a million pieces; in fact, as I type, I have tears flowing it was so sad.

I don’t think there is EVER an easy method or definitive way to remove a loved one from the security of their lifetime home. My mother was always happy here and grateful for the care and family around her, but she never stopped wanting to go back to her home. I can understand how she felt. I can only imagine know how hard it would be to give up everything that was yours, familiar, all the memories and live under the schedule of others. I cried many tears and tried so hard to make her feel at home and have autonomy. We are fortunate to have an area of our home that could be totally hers with private entrance, private bathroom, kitchen, living room, bedroom and two other areas to call her soul her own. I brought all her clothes over, all her bathroom items, bought her whatever food she wanted to eat, brought over her living room furniture and tried so hard to make her comfortable and feel as much at home as possible. I even invited her friends over for luncheons and visiting. I told her she could have them over anytime she would like and I would help her prepare food, etc. then leave so they could talk. But, even with all of that, she still missed her familiar surroundings and the life that was hers.

Eventually, when I would take her to her home, she wouldn’t recognize it until she had been inside for 20 minutes or more, so I decided not to take her any longer.

As her disease progressed, she still asked to go home, only it became her childhood home in the next state. So, three times we took her there in the hopes it would give her some enjoyment and peace. We saw all the remaining relatives, took her to see her childhood home and areas where she grew up and thought it was a good visit. Well………….when we drove out of the drive, we asked if she enjoyed the day seeing the relatives and her old stomping grounds and she told us she would like to do that some day. She had totally forgotten the entire day and visit that fast.

What I am trying to relate with all this verbiage is I honestly don’t think there is an easy way to uproot someone, especially someone with AD. My mother lived with us for a year and a half before we lost her at 95. I still carry the guilt and have asked myself a million times over if I did the right thing and how could I have made life better for her. I had no choice because she couldn’t live alone and I didn’t want some strangers living with her changing shifts every 8-16 hours. Plus, you never know what will go on when your aren’t there and their minds are confused. It is hard to find reliable, trustworthy people and I just felt it best I knew what was happening to her, the care she received and what was fact and fiction in her mind. A nursing home was not an option, as I couldn’t bring myself to begin to entertain such a life for her. Yet, today, I even question if she may have done better there and had more stimulation. I did my best to play games with her and give her mind activities to enjoy and keep sharp.

So, lillyruby, try not to beat yourself up over this. No matter what path you take, there will be major bumps and deep ruts. Maybe some day you will feel the timing is right to take you father back to his home for a little visit, but, it was my experience it was hard on us all, yet how could I deny my mother that request? I so deeply understand how you feel and the heartbreak and guilt we, as caregivers, feel over so many decisions. With AD there doesn’t seem to be any right or wrong answer. The mind creates some terrible places for our loved ones to live and I found there it truly very little we can do to bring them mentally back to us. They get lost in the abyss of an, often times, very cruel world and the best we can do is try to get into their world and help them find peace with what they see and believe. Like the one winter night ~ 3am ~ my mother insisted she had to go pick up her brother because he had called and was waiting for her. He had died 13 years earlier (long drive), but she was fighting us to get dressed and go get him. Finally, I had to leave the room for a few minutes and when I returned, I told her he had just called and got a ride home and told me to let her know he would see her in the morning. She finally settled down, after much reassurance he did get a ride and, of course, by morning we were onto some other mission.

Please, try to find peace in knowing you are doing the very best you can for your father. It will be extremely difficult for both of you, but know you are a good person and love him dearly. If you didn’t, you would have placed him in a nursing home and forgotten him like some families. Not that a nursing home is bad, but some people use it as a dumping ground. As my father-in-law once sadly said when we were going to visit someone, “This is the throwaway society.” Sad, but oft times true.

However, you are here asking for help, trying to do the best you can. Currently, we are on our third parent living with us with AD and it is a struggle with all the accompanying issues of incontinence, wandering, weakness and potential falls, etc. Last night my father-in-law believed he was at a hotel and had to go down the hall to the meeting rooms. Other days, he is at work and other times he is fine. The mind is a mystery that no one has truly figured out, so we just do the best we can to do the best we can.

Please keep us posted, it is a challenge, but in the end, don’t beat yourself up or try to second-guess what you could have done better. You are doing your best!! That is all ANY of us do here. My mother has been gone for almost two years now and I still find myself wondering if I could have, if I should have or why I didn’t do thus and such to give her a better life in her final years. It is only human and it is not only hard, but heartbreaking. Don’t go it alone, there are so many of us here that have walked that same mile in your shoes, we know and understand how you feel. We even understand and have also had the not so nice thoughts that come with the territory. So don’t hesitate to vent, we don’t judge, just offer what we have experienced and found worked in our particular situations, as well as what didn’t. By sharing, our prayer is to find hope, peace, understanding and love dealing with an unbelievably difficult situation that no one, especially our loved ones, should have to struggle through alone.

Hugs and support!
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Jannybee Jun 2012
We brought our mother to my brother's home directly from the hospital where my SIL is her primary caregiver now. (I am her daughter) They live on land that they bought from my parents 20 years ago with the idea in mind that when this day came, they would be there to take care of them. (my father passed away a number of years ago) So now she is with them for the last couple of months and it has been bumpy at times. She tried to convince all of us at first that she could go home...that she could handle it and it made us feel so guilty, that we were keeping her prisoner or something. So we tried to take her down to her house to visit it for a day but it made her feel so melancholy and sad, and I think that she knew that she couldn't stay there after that. She not only has dementia but also congestive heart failure and atrial fibrilation that makes her so very weak. She has slowly stopped, over time, feebly pleading to go home but it's just so sad, knowing that now we are facing a new chapter in her life and ours. Seeing our dear mother decling like this and not seeing her in her own home. But we are doing our best as a family to give her all the love and care we can as we look to each new day. We look at this time as being able to spend more moments with our precious mother. She is slowly adjusting to her enviroinment. It is a loving one and filled with care.
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