We put dad in Memory Care, mom is begging us to let him come home. I am so torn, did we place him too soon?

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My 88 year old dad has mild dementia. He developed blood clots in his lungs and is on blood thinners. We tried to keep him home but he always wants to get up and wander around and "go outside for a walk". My mom just wants to sit in her sewing room and won't keep tabs on dad. We were working on getting home care in for a few hours a day so they could take dad for a walk, make sure he is eating and help out around the house. Mom resists any kind of help and says she can take care of dad. After discussions with home health care, we decided dad would be safer in a Memory Care facility. He has been there a week, mom goes over everyday for lunch (she hates it). My dad is very social and very mobile but no one else in the facility is so he has no one to talk to. He keeps telling mom "I'll be a good boy if you let me come home". This morning mom begged me to "release" dad and let him come home. I actually agree with some of her arguments. "He is wasting away there with no one to talk to", etc. I am so torn, did we place him too soon? Should we bring him home and go with having caregivers in several hours a day to keep him busy and from going on walks by himself? Did the "facility" use scare tactics with us just to get us to move him there? All these things keep running through my head. I would love to just have mom go live with him there but she absolutely refuses to do that.

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Isthisrealyreal,
I like your suggestion! Maybe get a place for both of them in the Assisted Living Area where they have more freedom and help when needed. Mom could be with him and watch out for him so he doesn’t take off. If she hates that place, maybe find one she would approve of. Yes, she would have to agree to step up and take more responsibility for him BUT they would be together and that would help Dad adjust to not being home much better!
I just had to place my Mom after over 5 years of watching her slowly dissapear in front of me. It was unbelievably stressful and when she got much worse after falling “again” at the end of March, I knew when she did not bounce back, she was in need of constant supervision. I was already past burn out and knew that I could not continue caring for her on this new level. She begged, pleaded, cried, bargained ( I’ll be good now ) and drove me nuts with the same conversation every day until I finally placed her. It was awful. It hurt me to do it to her but there was really no other choice unless I wanted to die of stress before she died from dementia.
She has been there 8 days now and I still am having a hard time getting used to it but, I do notice I am not as stressed out wondering when the next incident will occur. I know she is getting much more attention and have a more productive life than her hiding in her cottage with me waiting on her hand and foot so she could live in the “world of make believe” that nothing was wrong with her. She truly thought she was fine and nothing I said could convince her otherwise. I am still smoothing her care out with physical therapists for her lymphatic leg and training the new hair dresser on how she likes her hair done. Now I need to find a new doc and dentist that are close by her new home and then I will be able to relax a bit more. I hope she adjusts soon, she did say she was pleased with the staff that cares for her.
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Toosoon, can you find a facility that they can live together and have all the help they each need? Your mom would need to understand that her compliance with help is a factor to being with dad.

You seem to have left the building, are you still there? How are things going?
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Absolutely your father does not belong in a memory care facility, except (and this is a critical exception) for the risk of wandering. It sounds like he might need to be protected from the impulse to wander.

Does this facility have "regular" assisted living? I wonder if he could try that. If he doesn't wander, fine and dandy. If he does, he needs a secure environment.

My mother was on the first floor of her nursing home. The other building on the property housed assisted living. Upstairs from the nursing home was memory care. For some events, some of the more social or more functional memory care residents joined the nursing home. Several would join for musical events, for example. An aide would keep an eye on them during the event. They might stay to socialize with cake and punch after the music. At least this gave the folks whose dementia was less advanced an opportunity for more socialization. Would any of this be available to your dad? Do you think it would help?

What did your mom and dad do together at home? Watch TV together? Go for walks? Have an afternoon snack? Read the Sunday paper and have coffee on the porch? They could probably arrange to do most of the same things together in the care center.

I feel so sad about your dad promising to be good. This isn't a punishment because he was bad. This is an attempt to take care of some special needs he has now. It is Not His Fault. I hope you and the staff remind him of that over and over. He was not bad. He is sick.

This is such a sad situation. I hope you find a way to achieve some improvements.
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Your poor mother. (And Dad, and all of you. But especially mother).

Your mother wants your father to be happy and safe, cared for at home. She wants to be a good wife. She wants her husband not to be locked away with people he can't talk to. She wants not to feel bad about how she's "treated" him.

None of that is anything that anyone can't understand. The rub is, that you know what happens in reality. Your mother can't cope with your father's dementia-related behaviours, so she shuts herself away in her sewing room and wishes that everything will somehow be okay. Only, it is far from ok.

Increase the amount of support so that she isn't having to handle him on her own? I think if you tried that, you would probably find that she couldn't cope with the intrusion into her routine. Plus, your father's dementia will inevitably worsen so that eventually he is likely to need placing again. But at that time, he'll be even less able to form relationships with the facility's staff and adjust to new surroundings; and your mother will feel even guiltier about "abandoning" him for a second time.

What about looking at alternative facilities? Maybe a continuing care facility with a greater diversity of residents would provide better social opportunities for your father, even be a place your mother might feel more at home.
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I don't think an 88 year old could handle the demands of caregiving alone and I agree mild dementia doesn't belong in memory care - several residents at mom's facility could easily be in assisted living and have better lives, incl food, friends and activities
The men that are there are either bored, wander or get aggressive

It's understandable that mom doesn't want strangers in her house but it wouldn't be right to move her into a memory care facility either

If you are unhappy with the current facility then moving him sooner rather than later is a good idea
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Mild dementia in memory care? Yea, they used fear tactics. I was told my dad needed memory care, which I refused, he is doing great, he goes out all the time but he gets home fine. If this is the case with your dad, let him have his dignity back.
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I guess I would have to say he should come home, but only only only if mom would agree to some help, if possible. If she can't agree to help, then he should remain where he is. I know, I'm jaded.
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Also, it depends on what kind of dementia your dad has. My dad had vascular dementia and he had good days and bad days but his dementia didn't progress in the same way as Alzheimer's or some of the other brain disorders.
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I like Marcia's idea. Just going on blood thinners your Dad should be monitored regularly. Blood test once a month. It is heartbreaking but as said, he will only get worse. My GFs father liked to walk. The police supplied him with an ankle bracelet. TG he never wandered off the street they lived on. He always came home. Your Mom needs to understand that if she wants him home she needs to do her part. That maybe having aides in the home to do what she can't. If she won't agree, then he will not be safe with her. Have a doctor or who you get to evaluate explain this to her looking her straight in the eye.
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I would suggest your family arrange for an independent assessment of your dad; one done by someone other than the facility where he lives. People with mild dementia can still live at home. Your mom would have to agree to have help, I think. Or maybe he could live in an assisted living instead of a memory care facility. He might find more people to talk to at a regular AL.

If your dad needs a lot of help with Activities of Daily Living (eating, dressing/grooming, bathing, going to the bathroom, and transferring- getting in and out of a chair or the bed.), then he probably has passed mild dementia. If your dad is actually wandering....trying to leave the house because he thinks he needs to be somewhere or is trying to "go home", then a residential memory care placement is probably warranted. If he just wants to take a walk, and still can ask for help and knows who he is, maybe the placement was premature.

Even if the assessment determines a memory care placement is a good idea, there might be a facility with higher functioning residents where he could be placed. There is something called the Eden Alternative. If they have one near you, you could look into it. The two we toured grouped the residents by stages. The members of the group we visited were in much better shape than our loved one who still lives at home!

Again, I really suggest having a Aging Life Specialist talk to you. (Get one whom you pay by the hour. Some are compensated by the services they refer you to.) They might guide you to groups who can assess the situation and they may know more about the resources available to your parents. Hopefully, you can come up with a solution that your mom and dad like better than the one they have.
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