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My 87 year old mom is in the moderate to late stages of dementia. My 86 year old dad has most of his faculties but is slowly declining cognitively and has slowed down significantly in all other areas. Three of my siblings and I take turns going over to help one day a week. Invariably 1 of us gets sick, can’t leave work, or is away visiting grandchildren. It worked for the last 4+ years when my dad was running on all cylinders but now their need is too much for us to handle. It’s time for the professionals to step in. My dad was all for getting an in-home caretaker. She was there one day on a Friday and my mom freaked out all weekend long and my dad buckled and told us to cancel the caretaker who was wonderful. My dad and mom purchased an apartment at a really nice senior living facility in March but decided to stay home when Covid hit. Now that things are opening up, my dad decided it was time to start living there. They are there this week and my mom is miserable - always mad at my dad, crying all the time and accusing my dad of hitting her (which she has been doing for the last 5 months). Two of my siblings visited them at the facility and all my mom did was ask them to take her home. I was with them 3 days leading up to the day they left giving them all the paperwork and instructions they needed to start living there. I have so much anxiety and cry all the time questioning whether we did the right thing. My dad promised my mom that if she stays all week he’ll bring her home on the weekends. He’s now realizing once she’s home she’ll never go back. What is the right thing to do? Why do I feel so sad, anxious and guilty? My mom was the best mom anyone could ever ask for and I just want her to be happy, well taken care of and safe.

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I’m not even going to detail the torment and fear I went through before placing my mom in a truly wonderful nearby residence, but what I will tell you straight up is that the years she spent there, almost 5 1/2, were the BEST years of the time following my dad’s death.

I had every fear, every concern, every reservation. She had lived in my home with me for the 9 m this after she’d shattered her hip, and spent 60 days in a rehab working with an almost miraculous PT and OT, but we knew when she left there that she’d never be able to return to her own home.

DH and I welcomed her in, I spent 3 months sleeping (not very much) on an air mattress on the floor next to her bed because she was a significant fall risk.

Ultimately I came to the realization that I was unable to provide the safety that she needed in my home.

Ears streaming down my cheeks I drove her to the residence, told her I loved her, and left. It was suggested that I wait a few days before visiting again, and I waited.

For the next 5 1/2 years, family visited every single day, sometimes twice a day. And she participated to a degree that shocked me, went to parties, sang at sing alongside, and generally lead a safe, comfortable life.

You are all doing the very best you can do to provide a safe, peaceful, and comfortable life for her. Yes, you ARE doing “the right thing” by taking the steps you’ve taken, and you may well have given your father a living situation that may allow him the peace and comfort that he deserves, too.

You are not “forcing her into” residential care; rather, you are finding a setting in which her needs can be safely managed 24/7/365, and where she can benefit from professional care for the same time frame.

I presently have a dear LO in a very good MC unit, and exhibiting symptoms similar to your mom’s it took her several weeks to adjust, but now, over 2 years in, she is grateful for her surroundings and her caregivers.

She may benefit from a trial of a small dose of mood stabilizing medication, and that should certainly be tried. Hopefully you can figure out some way to discourage your father from attempting to soothe her with visits “home”.

It is the “right thing” to let her have the time to realize that “home” is with your father, and that her whole family wants her to be safe and comfortable living where she is right now. You feel terrible because we all want a simple happy ending to our family stories, and this story isn’t ending happily.

But it may surprise you as you find out that day by day, it may get a little better. And if it doesn’t make her happy, as you can remember her being happy, You all did your loving best.
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Reply to AnnReid
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Bear in mind that you can't fix this situation; your mother has advanced dementia which is nobody's choice in life. It is what it is. Where is she SAFEST and best off? What's the fairest thing for your DAD? You crying, feeling sad, anxious and guilty isn't going to change the circumstances of her disease; it's just going to thrust YOU further down the rabbit hole than you already are. Know what I mean? We spend our lives, us children, trying to 'fix' our parents.......trying to make them 'happy' when such a thing is not even possible, especially where dementia is concerned. We try to play God. We fail. Over and over again we FAIL. Yet we keep doing the same things again & again, expecting a different result. And we know that's the definition of insanity.

Your mother has a husband. In reality, it's up to HIM how things are handled moving forward. He purchased an apartment with their future care in mind; HE did that. Thank God, too, because a lot of parents don't. They throw the entire burden of THEIR old age onto OUR laps and then complain about everything we do.

Accept the fact that your mother has dementia and is going to 'want to go home' no matter WHERE she is. The best thing you can do is learn all about the condition by watching Teepa Snow videos, and then let go and let God handle the rest of your mom's life. The 'right thing to do' is what's been done.

My mother will be 94 soon & lives in a Memory Care ALF. Lately, she constantly asks anyone who will listen, "What am I doing here?" She references, "When I get out of here........." which is going to be when she passes away. I have accepted the fact that nothing I can do will make her happy because she is seriously unhappy INSIDE, has been for life, and now, combined with dementia, is an untenable situation. Does it make me sad? Yes, sometimes it does. But I realize that she has dementia and mostly, it's the DEMENTIA talking and not her.

Wishing you the best of luck accepting the situation you're faced with, and allowing YOURSELF to be happy.
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Reply to lealonnie1
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Your Mum has dementia, she is no longer capable of making rational decisions. So it is time for others to make decisions for her that are in her best interests.

Dad recognizes that he cannot care for her at home. She refused in home care giving, so this is the nest best option for her.

No Dad should not take her back to the old house for the weekend.
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Reply to Tothill
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