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I placed my dad with dementia in a wonderful memory care ALF 5, weeks ago. Honestly I don't believe my mother took adequate care of him at home for a variety of reasons, so now he is gone. I am an only child and my parents have no other family or friends, so there is limited support for a home-living situation. However, my dad seems to be in superior shape to the other residents at the ALF and I feel that with better caregiving he could have stayed at home. Has anyone rescued a parent and brought them back home, and how did that work out?

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I "rescued" Mom from a wonderful ALF for no other reason than that it seemed she was sleeping all the time. Guess what, at home with me, she sleeps all the time. Okay, for a few years, she seemed better -- enjoyed activities like Bingo and neighborhood parties -- but at this point, I believe she would be fine in an ALF and I know my husband and I would be in better shape. It's been 8 years and she's still going strong. I think in my heart I thought that after the trauma of her fall and the rehab, she would not live much longer and I wanted to be there for her. However, I'm about to turn 70 and suddenly realize that my 60's were spent "on hold", while I played caregiver -- a role that does NOT come naturally to me. Yes, I've learned a lot about patience and compassion. Yes I've continued to feel great love and compassion for Mom. But so MANY days, I ask myself, "Why didn't I just leave her at the ALF?" She was not miserable. She was getting to know the other residents. She was coming out of her lethargy and beginning to interact with them, but I was so sure she would be better off with me. Truth is, she would have been fine either place and I could have avoided a lot of stress, marital strain, and frustration over losing 10 of my healthiest years to waiting until circumstances allow my husband and I to again have our time alone together, travel together, etc. I love Mom, AND the Bible says our first allegiance is to our spouse, although we are also expected to be sure our parents are taken care of. I sound like an awful person, I know, but if I could influence you to really and truly doubt whether "rescuing" your Dad is a decision you can live with, it is worth me looking like a jerk. Mom came to us when she was 90. She is now 98 and I have no doubt will make it at least to 100. At that point, I know I will have to reconsider my position, and I will probably place her again. I suspect it would have been kinder to have left her in the little community she was beginning to "join". She didn't like being with "all those old people", but perhaps that would have helped her come to terms with her own age and decline. She recently told someone she was pretty sure she was "at least 36". Gads, does that mean she intends to live another 60 years?! Yikes!
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Hi Upstream, memory care residents change all the time and so does their condition. Residents who were helpers to the aides when I first placed my Mom in memory care became the neediest residents a few months later! And the woman that was screaming for days upon her arrival, became one of the most docile residents. It is uncomfortable for us to see the actions of others that seem worse off . My suggestion would be to give it time and to help your mom regain her strength. Proper meals, proper rest and reduction of her stress. Get her to her medical appointments, dental visits, eye exams, etc --all the things that have been put off during Dad's decline. Dad will have round the clock care. I actually made friends with other family members of the facility my Mom was in. We all supported each other through declines and celebrated the victories.
Trust me, it's impossible for a senior to provide 24/7 care by herself. You can always take him home but I wouldn't do it for at least 6 months. And I beleive at that point -- your Mom will be stronger and you will be rested and both will be able to assess the situation more clearly. Right now, the undeserved guilt is leading your thought processes. Let us know how it goes.
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My inlaws are thriving physically now that they're in a nursing home. They are getting three good meals a day, regular hygiene , clean laundry ,and their medication . They are staying there- despite hating it and us.
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Thank you all for your answers. Maybe I haven't yet accepted his condition and still want to think of him as my dad who took such good care of me and mom. Maybe I'm still in denial and also feeling guilty. It's so weird to have him living...somewhere else. My parents have been married for over 50 years and we've been a small but tight family unit. Your answers reassure me that placing him was probably the best move for everyone. I really appreciate it.
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I agree with "it's impossible for a senior to provide 24/7 care by herself." I did it for my husband when I was in my mid-80s with just the support of home hospice. I felt relieved when the hospice team showed up in our home with the nursing home papers filled out and ready for me to sign. I did. Now 86, I feel I'm still recovering from overextending myself as a home caregiver to my husband.
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Upsteam, there will be many new "normals" to adjust to...having to watch it all while being fully conscious...
I, like you, small family, no outside support.
First watched it with my mom...and then she passed on in a really good way. She allowed me to be there for her last breath. It was primal, deep, beautiful, and still, enormously sad...brings a tear right now.
Dad's in a facility now, and so grateful for the help!! He's relatively ok, yet watching his slow decline in small ways. And I realize he's going to die at some point. And I process about it, off and on...and it's ok. I accept. It's part of the life process.
I focus and appreciate and enjoy the end times...I share stories and snacks...hug and kisses. Grateful he's still here. Until he's not.
Truly, what else can one do?

All the best to you and your parents!!
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I definitely agree with the other answer. Your dad is probably doing better because of the stability provided by the ALF. Having regular meals, regular medications and outside stimulation available helps a tremendous amount. Just because he seems to be better than others at the facility doesn't mean that he could be at home. Trust me, I know how you feel. My mom went into a rehab in December and lives alone. She has been transferred to the long term unit while we apply for Medicaid and get home care in place for her. Some days I think to myself that she could go home without support. However, when I think that, I remember back to when she was home alone, missing medication, double dosing, falling multiple times a day and driving her blood sugar through the roof. While I feel guilty for having her in a nursing home right now, I know the only reason she is as well off as she is right now is the regular schedule and medications she gets there. If she were to go home alone, I would be back under constant worry and I'm guessing the frequent falls and medical fluctuations would return.
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My Dad (87 years old) has lived at an Assisted Living/Memory Care community for about a year now. He is better than he was living alone at his home. And I am better because I am not all worried and caring for all his life concerns (home, medical, financial, social) on my own. His wit is happy and snappy now with me! I know its because he's now eating well, taking medications properly, and has a group of wonderful staff and residents to hang out with. I take him three days a week to lunch and for driving trips to favorite local places. He has a little calendar so he can be sure to know when I am coming by. We go on weekend getaways and have done cruises together.

I notice his memory issues especially when we are with other people and he can't engage in the conversation, and keeps bringing up his own life best experiences (repeatedly). He has issues with self care that I help to remind him (along with staff). He thinks others in his new home are frail and need much more care than he does, and at first he was calling the place an asylum. But, now, being by nature an optimistic kinda guy, he says he is happy there.

And bottom line, I am not losing my hair and living on a high stress level, and will likely out-live him, which is important! I think, don't be too hasty to move your parent home. We all have difficult situations to adjust to in our lives, and our elders do too. I believe my Dad is better off with his own little apartment, and some autonomy to not be "watched" every moment. My home is a small condo with stairs outside, and I'm afraid he would have fallen on them if he lived here. We have a wheelchair we use for him at times, as he cannot walk long distances. But I do want him to keep walking, as to not walk brings us to a whole different level of care. I have wondered about bringing him home to live with me, as it seems like the best thing sometimes. But, I have to step back from that emotion, and really evaluate what that would mean (cooking 3 meals a day, putting in a walk-in shower, taking him to senior center for social, sharing my TV for his always watching movies, sorting meds, and on and on), and never being alone. I don't have the faith for my survival! One of my key beliefs is that God loves him so much more than I do, and will care for his heart, even more than I can.
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Ach, beware, beware, beware!!!!!!

It sounds like you were not part of the decision to place him. Were you a part of his care before placed?

It is very easy to look at someone "doing well" in ALF and assume that they would be doing well anywhere. Wrong!

He may be doing well simply because he IS in the ALF. It is a protected environment where he doesn't have to manage, think, organize, plan, use the phone, drive, take care of money, and a host of other things.

Get the facts BEFORE you jump to conclusions. If he is doing well, leave him alone.
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Your dad is much better off being in an ALF, voluntarily, than he'd be if he were forced there due to a bad fall or some other disaster. Trouble is, most people wait until it's too late, and there's no other choice, and that's when the real chaos ensues. My dad fell and broke his hip while living independently, and it turned out he had a brain tumor. The rehab center would not release him back to independent living, in spite of having my mother there to care for him. I had to scramble like crazy to find an ALF who'd be willing to take him, in his deteriorated condition. I didn't want to place him in a nursing home, because what about mom? After 68 years of marriage, I knew they had to be together. I found them an ALF, and mom moved in too, reluctantly, because she was ' in much better shape than the other residents'. Turns out, SHE is the one who was in need of assistance even MORE so than dad! He passed away in 2015 and mom stayed on in the ALF, which was THE best decision ever. Now that she's deep into dementia, incontinent, and hardly able to walk due to neuropathy, she's in great hands with great caregivers, great food, great activities, and so on. Things change on a dime with the elderly, and you do NOT want to be in a position where you feel 'forced' to place your dad somewhere, you know? My suggestion is leave well enough alone, and allow him (and yourself) to adjust to the new way of life. Bring your mom by frequently to dine with him, or to do some activities, etc. Once you accept the fact that he's well cared for by capable staff, you'll start to feel better. Don't allow guilt to enter the picture........what you're doing here is HELPING your dad, not leaving him alone to wither away! I do not understand why we have to attach a negative image to ALFs or skilled nursing facilities. For those fortunate enough to be able to afford them, these facilities are life savers!! I know for a fact that my mom has a much better quality of life in the ALF than she would have living alone or with me.

Best of luck, dear one.
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