We recently put my dad, who has dementia, in a nursing home. Is it better to tell him the truth, or should we say that it is temporary?

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We recently put my dad in a dementia nursing home. Is it better to tell him the truth or that it is temporary? The staff recently decided after a week to tell him this is his home now and he is very very depressed.

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Is he depressed because he doesn't understand why he has a new home or because his loss of control over decisions? Enforce how much you love him and that you want him to be safe and well cared for and that's why he moved, because you don't have the ability or knowledge to provide for him. When I explained that to my MIL it made sense....that we were doing rehab facility before home because we didn't know how to give her the care she deserved at home. We may have been able to, but there will be no doubt now, with the rest of the family that there were no shortcuts. Good Luck and much love to your dad.
gijones, "dementia" covers such a wide range of cognitive states and abilities that there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer to this. I think I would start by talking to the staff about why they made the decision they did about what to tell him. Is that just their policy with everyone, or did they customize their decision for him?

I know of a case where the family told the mother that she would be there a few weeks, until she was walking better. She was happy with that, even though she'd already been there nearly a year. Obviously that answer would not work for someone who had a better sense of the passing of time.

I think "this is your home now" may work well for some patients, but for many others that is incomprehensible. Even the house they've lived in for the last quarter century isn't their "home" in their mind -- they are thinking of a childhood home when they want to "go home."

Make the best decision you can based on what you know of your dad's current state of mind and what would be most comfortable for him. This is not at all an exact science where you can look the answer up in a book. Don't beat yourself up over how your decision works out. The only perfect solution is for your dad not to have dementia, and that is not going to happen.
thanks for your help. I just came back from the home and discussing it with the night nurses. I will ask the head manager if it is a blanket policy or not. My dad has not had a sense of time or date for almost 3 years...so I tend to think if we tell him it's temporary he would be much happier and not have to be on anti depressants and other medicines that are making him lethargic. He has been there 9 days now. He was much better until they started giving him medicine two days ago. He can't hardly put a spoon to his mouth now. This last weekend he was joking with the nurses, etc. I don't want to make the staff mad at me for talking with one shift and then the next... I also spoke with the doctor about having him maybe be the "bad guy" to tell him he would need to stay there. It's definitely not an exact science. Praying for whatever is best, we will do.
Two mornings ago he did call me and say, "You have to get me out of here, I'm going crazy". He also doesn't like being on the medicines he told me last night.
What Meds are your Dad on? Bless his and your hearts, hearing them cry out for help is heart wrenching! My Mom was ok at first with HER decision to move into Nursing Home care but her dementia got worse, she began to ask daily and worry about "how all of this was being paid for" and if she would be evicted...due to her not wanting to follow the rules. Now she doesn't know where she is or how she got there. She's constantly wanting to pack up and go home and wanting to know when will she be released. I tell her this Is her home, no more moves This works for 15 mins, then repeat.

Right now for your Dad, maybe just make it a "temporary stay" this way he won't feel abadoned or as depressed. But do check those meds, some of them can have very bad reactions...you don't have to agree to everything they suggest and you can decide to remove or try another med.

Help him make friends and attend the activities, Socializing with the other residents will greatly help him. I hope he adjust and embrace this change, it's very emotional.
With Dementia new surroundings are very confusing to them my Mom's been in a NH for 2 years now she gets agitated if she goes on a different floor, or uses a different bathroom if you move her stuff in her room. It took a few months until she adjusted but once they needed to move her to a new room and they moved her back and said they will never move her again she got completely disorientated. The Med thing you mentioned bothers me.... I say this because psych. meds are for stabilizing non for lethargy. It is one thing if a person is tired because of sleeplessness but quite another if he/she is sleeping at night and zombie during the day. You should consider times of day as well sometimes are better than others. My Mom I noticed has better times that are more pleasant or not so pleasant. I found that the day staff knows much more about my Mom's behaviors than the night staff. When she first was admitted I had to explain to the staff about her personality she stubborn and sneaky but a sweetie if you don't push her buttons. I always seem to push her buttons. I know my Mom and what her behaviors are, these things go deeper than a person with dementia, personalities are altered more by drugs more than dementia. Drugs are meant to clear the air not make it foggier. What I am saying is the staff and Dr.'s do not know personalities but you do. You need to express how you feel about changes that are not caused by dementia, it is hard to tell. Dementia is usually confusion about where they are, who is who and times and what happened five minutes ago. Drugs do not bring that stuff back, but habits are very strong and if that is altered I would think it's the drugs. For example my Mom was always social, loves party's, music, icecream. When she is not on the correct meds she wants nothing to do with any of those things. I have good communications with the staff... after they realized I was "not' telling them that they were not doing their job well... I explained, I was trying to help them make her quality of life better. That is our only goal!!!
yes, quality of life better.. that is the goal... thank you.

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