How did you convince your ailing parents it was time to move to a independent/assisted home?


Both of my parents have dementia/alzheimers. They are still living in the home they have lived in for 61 years. They feel they are fine, doing great actually, but they really aren't.. My sisters and I are so concerned, and have tried to talk to them about it, but they seem totally oblivious to their surroundings. Not only do they no longer shower, their clothes smell, they smell, the house is filthy, they are buying the same groceries every single day at walmart and stacking them up all over the house. There cat is urinating in their house (we have tried to talk to them about it, they don't even realize it's happening).. My dad is still driving them to mcd's and walmart every day, and to a resturant for dinner. They live in a small town, and we've had quite a few calls from the city office, banks, etc., telling us our dad was in and very confused. Unfortunatley, all three of my sisters and myself live in different areas, so none of us are near enough to check on them daily or even weekly. We try calling but it's unusual for them to actually pick up the phone. We have started having family get togethers once a month but all this is doing is convincing us something has to be done, and done soon..Even though our dad seems to be careful when driving, we don't think he should be behind the wheel. He's actually gotten in two small accidents in the last 3 years. Our dad has not been to a doctor in probably 40 years.. He isn't about to go now (we've tried) so he isn't on any medication, but our mom takes 4 prescriptions. At one point she was 9... She was a lot worse when taking all 9 of them. Through her doctor we have cut her down to 4, but we don't even know if she's taking them, or if she might be taking more than her daily dose some days.. The worse part about it is that they don't realize how bad it is.. They just keep saying they are fine, they have everything under control. A few months ago we started realizing the bills weren't getting paid, they hadn't filed income tax for 2 years, the car insurance had been cancelled, house insurance was on the verge of cancellation,things like that.. My oldest sister was able to convince my dad to sign a poa and we have gotten them completely caught up financially and know where they stand.. We all feel they need to move to an assisted living home, but they won't hear of it. We have found one near me (a mile from my home) that is beautiful, wonderful location, great caretakers, great feedback, great reputation, and there is possibly going to be an independent apartment available in a few weeks... Although we know they need assisted care, we figure this is one step closer to getting them there. At least with this, they will have caretakers there when needed, plus my husband and I already plan to stop in daily just to check on them.. The thing is, we have all these great plans in place, but our parents want nothing to do with it.. How to you force your parents into doing what is best for them when they don't understand there is a huge problem? Can any of your give me some advice? My sisters and I feel like we are just drowning.. Others tell us, you just tell them how it is and that's that..We've had some say you just trick them, take them there and tell them they aren't leaving.. These are our parents that we love very much, and it isn't as easy as that! We want to help them, not hurt them...Our Dad is a very proud man who has always taken care of everything himself.. Of all the things he's lost, his pride is not one of them.. Any suggestions on how we can lovingly convince them they need to move to this home? Money is not the problem. They can afford it. The only problem is convincing them to do it.

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Ok so you have the facility & it will work it sounds like. They can both go in together & can do private pay & keep the pooch. Most excellent!

I'd next suggest you deal with the cat & kitty needs a new home ASAP. I'd go the neighbor wants a pet as their one died and kitty is it false story.Take a photo of kitty and have it framed for your folks. As far as the reality for kitty well I'd suggest someone takes it to a vet for an evaluation and take vets advice. In reality, they probably won't miss the cat as there will be new distractions.

You know if the facility does respite, this could be just perfect. Where I live there is a facility that markets itself to provide respite care (& not just Medicare benefit respite), like for families who need someplace for mom / grannie to stay at while they go on vacation, or long work project, or for a wedding. I'd ask the new place that you to be able to do a staging in the room in advance, so you take over their linens, put photos about, their toiletries, doggie kennel, etc so they walk in and stuff is just there. My moms NH#2 allowed me to get moms room all set up, photos on walls, cute window treatment, TV, etc put in the afternoon before she moved and my mom was on Medicaid too. A good facility knows how important the transition is and will do what they can to have this happen.

A lot of the issues are fear based both for the eider & the kids. For most of us, our parents are first generation to go into a home, total fear of the unknown. It's the Susan Hayward movie Snake Pit view of what a facility is.... For my family both of my grandmothers went into a NH, and it did provide a point of reference for all and made it somewhat easier as that eventually the move will be made to a NH. For my mom, I moved her from her home of 50+ years to IL, she wasn't happy about it as she had issues with not needing a "home". She was in her bedroom, crying & wringing her hands while the movers were shrink wrapping her bedroom set. Dramarama. For the next few days, i called her every morning to make sure all ok, that she was ip & had put the doorknocker out by 8:30. About day 3, I called and no answer, called several times & no answer. I go into full war mode, getting dressed and in the car to the IL. Mom finally answers phone & sounds so out of breath......"I thought I heard the phone, I was in the hall almost at the elevator, I can't talk, as the van is taking us to Steinmart" and she hung up on me. In retrospect, she didn't quite understand that IL was not the NH that her mom went into, the fear factor was there, but she figured it out pretty quickly and adapted & she was in her 90's. I too had my own fear factor to deal with. We work thru it and be doing so enable our own kids to learn how to cope with our future aging needs. Good luck.
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You are welcome! It sounds like you all have a great plan in place - just be patient. It will all come together.
Good luck with everything and let us know how it turns out for you.
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Thank you anotherdaughter for taking the time to write all this. It is very helpful, and is the kind of advice i was hoping to get here...
I'm sorry you had to go through this with your mom, but can imagine the relief you are feeling knowing she is now in a safe place.
The home you describe sounds very, very much like the home we are looking at. They do have respite care, and I never would have thought of suggesting they use that as a trial period. Great idea.. Something I'll talk to my sisters about.
The home also does allow pets. My parents dog is very well mannered, loves everyone and is a small dog, so he won't be a problem. Their cat, however, just wouldn't be allowed to go for obvious reasons.. They are a continuing care facility, so their care will change as needed. They offer independent care right through end of life care. They also have a doctor that comes in twice a week, plus they have the registered RN and LPN's on duty. They said it's up to us if we want to use their doctor or if we want to keep a seperate one and take them for appointments. They have all kinds of activities, a church service every Sunday, a movie room, library, game room, beautiful dining room, family room, 2 just really is a wonderful place. We are planning to take them on a tour after my oldest sister talks to them about it and shows them the flyer (we don't want to gang up on them)... All of this will take a few weeks, and then of course, we have to wait for an opening..The Respite care might be an answer.. I'll have to check with the home and see if this is a possibility. We're just praying we can make this happen!
We have tried the option to hire someone to go in and clean, meals on wheels, healthcare personal to check on them, etc.. but my parents won't allow it..They just keep saying it's not necessary and they have everything under control. With all of us living so far away, there's no way to make them let someone in. We even had to sneak our mom to her last doctors appointment, which made her furious, but we knew she needed a checkup after finding out she hadn't been for almost 2 years and her prescriptions had expired. These are things that just aren't normal behavior for my parents, it's the dementia/alzheimers. They just don't see the mounting problems or seem capable of living in the now. It's so frightning.
But I know, anyone visiting on this site understands exactly how frightning it is.
Thank you again anotherdaughter for taking the time to write of your experience. I appreciate it.
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I just went through a similar situation myself - and successfully moved my mother into a beautiful Assisted Living apartment near me, from her home of 40 years (and 800 miles away). It wasn't easy, and the other posters are correct - it took a crisis.

She's been living on her own in the early/mid stages of dementia for a couple of years, but last month she had a series of falls and I had to go down there and bring her back with me. Thank heaven that she didn't break any bones, and was only bruised. The whole time I was there she insisted she wasn't going anywhere, and meanwhile her sister and I let her sit and watch tv while we packed up what she would need short term, and arranged for movers to come get her furniture. By the end of the week, when we started packing the lamps and unplugging the tv, she finally realized it was really going to happen, and she relented.

There are several options for you, though. In the short term, you can hire companies like HomeInstead to send caregivers to look in on them however many times a week they need, for as much time as they need, and they can help with the driving (he needs the keys taken away NOW before a tragedy happens) meal prep and cleaning. They can also make sure they get to Dr. appointments and can report back to you how things go. We had this service for 3 years with Mom and they enabled her to stay in her home until it just wasn't possible anymore, and they were an enormous help with our transition. They also called me anytime there was an emergency. If your parents try to fire them, let them know that YOU hired them and that they are under direction.

I also hired a cleaning service to come in once a month for a more thorough cleaning. (They couldn't do much about the cat pee everywhere, though...)

The other thing I did to help while she was in her home alone was to install security cameras and link to to an app so I could visually check on her myself. This gave me peace of mind that she was ok when the caregivers weren't around. It's also how I discovered the falls - I checked on her on a Sunday night and saw her on the ground, unable to get up. I called her, and she said she wasn't hurt, but she hadn't thought to press the life alert panic button she wore around her neck. Because I had that camera in the house I was able to get her to call 911 and have paramedics come out and pick her up off the floor. By the time I got down there several days later, she had fallen at least 3 more times, and didn't remember any of them.

So, back to your situation. Is the place you found a "Continuing Care Community"? That type of facility allows residents to start at an independent level, and add services as needed so they can "age in place" there, rather than having to move to a separate nursing or residential care home, as their needs increase. The best ones also have doctors, physical therapists, and other specialists that come to the facility. I'm fortunate to have found a great one like that close to me. The other critical thing was that the place is pet friendly. There was no way on earth that Mom would go anywhere without her dog and cat, and I wouldn't want her to be separated from them.

One option might be to ask if the place you found has respite care available. If so, they might be able to arrange for your parents to come for a "vacation", where they stay in a furnished apartment there, while "visiting" you and your family. It might be a good way to introduce them to the idea, and hopefully agree to stay. We were going to try that ourselves, but Mom's falls made the whole process happen before we had a chance.

One other thing that I did ahead of time, was to talk up how great the place is, including showing pictures. "Wouldn't it be great if you didn't have to worry about cooking your own meals any more - or cleaning up after?" "Wouldn't it be great if you didn't have to worry about fixing the (insert whatever needs repair in the house)?" "Gee, it's awful that the yard is so overgrown..." I had begun talking in those terms last year, and although she never said "ok, let's go", I think it helped.

I also talked to her doctor ahead of time and told him what was happening, and when I got there I took her in for a "checkup" and he told her bluntly that it was no longer safe for her to stay in her home alone, and that pretty much her only affordable option was assisted living. She argued with him, but his telling her that also helped set the stage.

It's also important to reassure them that this in NOT the nightmare nursing home of the past that they might be picturing, that you would never in a million years do that to them. Tell them that you miss them, and want to spend as much time with them as possible (are there grandchildren in the picture? That's a great lure!) while you can. And finally, tell them that even though it might be a difficult transition in the short term (moving is NOT fun for anybody), that you, their children, will take care of all the hard stuff for them. That really helped with my mom. I basically took charge, and let her know that this was really happening. No going back. It's really hard to do when your parents have always been in charge, but you have to find the strength. I like the idea of using the "We have to do this for Mom" - and use the same thing on her, telling her that you are worried about him.

Sorry for the super long post, but since I just went through this a few weeks ago I thought it might help. It has taken several weeks for her to stop complaining about wanting to go home, but now she is settling in, making new friends, enjoying the food, getting physical therapy, and most importantly, having people around 24/7 who are making sure she's safe. I can finally breathe again.

Hope this helps - Good luck!!!!
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Igloo572, you have some good advice here.. Thank you for your time writing all of it. Others wrote that there is no way to convince them, force them, trick them (we would never trick our parents) and we just have to wait for something to happen to one of them, social services will get involved and then they'll end up in a nursing home.. That is exactly what we're trying to prevent! We don't want one of them to get hurt, and don't want either of them to end up in a nursing home.

I think all states differ when it comes to assisted living/nursing homes. In my state, our nursing homes are medicaid driven, and it is NOT where you want your loved ones to land. They are more of a hospital setting, run by medicaid rules and regulations. We just want our parents to end up somewhere safe and loving, a nice environment where we know they will be cared for..

We have a situation in our family right now where one of our aunts had a stroke during surgery in January. She is now in a nursing home, basically a paying bed .She's being given something like 12 different prescriptions daily, she's pretty much just out of it and not being cared for other than her basic needs being met.. It is the fear of my cousins that she will just lie there until she passes.. They are besides themselves with frustration and fear.. She was much better the first couple of months in a rehab facility paid for by medicare, able to communicate, get up and walk, feed herself, etc.,but once medicare decided to no longer cover her care, she was moved to a nursing home, paid for by medicaid.. From the time she's been there, she's been going down hill. It's almost impossible for her to communicate, she no longer gets out of bed, doesn't feed herself, her grooming is not being met, it's just a very sad situation. She's hallucinating, all kinds of things.. It's obvious it's the drugs, and most of them are being given as a way of keeping her mobilized. It's heartbreaking. There are so many patients there, she isn't getting one on one attention, she isn't getting the tests they need to run to help her get better because medicaid won't approve them... she's just a bed number.

While I undestand not all states are like this, this state is... The reason my sisters and I all agree on the assisted living home in my area is because I live in a very small community, and this home comes highly recommended.. It's a loving environment run by people who truly, truly care.. The home covers people from independent residents to end care/hospice care... It's not a situation where they will want them moved to a nursing home in 30 days.. It is not covered under medicare or medicade.. It's a privately owned home.. There is a registered RN on staff/call 24 hours a day as well as LPN's and nurses aids.. Believe me, we have done our research and homework..

We have a nurse in the family that works in an assisted living/nursing home facility. Those that can afford the assisted living side stay there, those who run out of money are moved to the nursing home side (medicaid paid).. She has told me there is a significant difference in the two sides.. It breaks her heart when one of her residents is moved to the medicaid side because she knows their quality of life has just gone down hill.. She worked in a nursing home before this job and said all she did was deliver medication her entire shift. She had so many patients there wasn't time to get to know any of them, spend any time at all with them or help them in any way. Being a person who loves the elderly, she just couldn't keep doing it, so found a job in this other home, which she loves because there is time for her to bond with each resident and actually tend to their needs.. That is what we want for our parents.. Unfortunatly, the home she works at cost twice what the one in my area does. It's just the difference in the area.. I'm in a very rural area, she works in a city.

I came here for advice on how to talk to them about this, and all I got were people saying it can't be done.. Very disheartning.

However, Igloo, what you said about one of us having a big personality talking to them is a good idea. We have actually already decided that my oldest sister, who is the typical oldest chid (lol), is going to talk to our dad and tell him if something happens to him, mom will not be able to take care of herself, and that we have found a very good home for her, but we think the transition will be much easier if they make it together.. We have plans to do all this in a couple of weeks when we are all available.. We also want to take them on a tour of the home to see what they think.. We are just praying things will go much better than we could hope for.. We just want the best for our parents, like everyone does, but we just won't accept that there is nothing we can do about it.. We have actually had that attitude for the last couple of years, just knew all we could do was what they would allow us to do.. but things have progressed to the point where we know we have to do more..
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On the positive, it sounds like you & your sisters are all on the same page that they need to move out of their home of 6 decades and there is funds to pay for the needed new living situation.

But I'd be concerned that AL would be the place to go. Eventually if they live a long life they are going to need a NH. I bet both of them can qualify for needing skilled nursing care level of facility (a NH). I'd be concerned that if you get them into IL or AL that within short order you'll get a 30 day notice that although they just love, love, love mom (or dad) that she (he) needs a higher level of care....and it has to be done and they get separated. They, as you describe it, they are pretty much are interdependent to do their ADL's, so this would be devastating.

It's going to be simpler to get them into a NH simultaneously and if this is private pay can be done. Your probably going to have to shop around to find a NH that can take both and have rooms set up that work for a couple. Most are segregated by sex. I think they have to be for how Medicaid works. For my moms NH the rooms at the ends of the hallways were somewhat smaller as they abutted the stairwells so were allowed for a single resident and the married couples were in those.

About dad, yeah he needs to see a doctor. You are right in that it's more than normal aging. Stroke, maybe. But could be he's having TIA 's - transient ischemic attacks. My mom had them as her lewy body dementia progressed, they are subtle but seem to increase over time.

For what it's worth, when my mom was still in IL and seeing her gerontologist, she said that for men the main tipping point of an episode for a TIA would be dehydration....usual is they get up have coffee and go and do and it's super hot (like now) then 3 days later have a major confusing episode which is a mild TIA. They go into hospital get rehydrated or spouse gets them to laydown and up fluids at home and then they are all good...but pattern happens again & again. Very stressful on their body.

Is one of you girls a big personality that can basically make them move? If so, come up with a war plan on doing this. Otherwise the reality is....there will be an incident based emergency hospitalization then NH for 1 of them and they will be separated. Good luck none of this is easy or simple.
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I've given up and switched to focus on creating a support network for aging in place at home. I know it would be devastating for my parent and would just accelerate a depressive onset, which would probably be worse for both of us than trying to find support for continued living at home.

I know which battles I can win and which I can't.
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Unfortunately this is going to be crisis driven. Many of us are in very similar situations. I'm also long distance caring for my folks. I've done all I can at this point. They will not discuss having help in their home or going to assited living. I wish it were not so, but it will take a trip to the ER or some other event to force the issue and even then I expect a fight to the death.
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I might try the "you love mom don't you" approach. " Mom needs more care than any one person can give her dad. You need some support. How about you come a take a tour of this AL place near where I live." Take him on a tour with free lunch. Other than that, yes, you have to wait for the broken hip.
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This sounds like a very difficult situation and there is no way to force your parents into moving. There is no "tricking" them into it.

The first poster, freqflyer, has the right idea. You may have to wait them out until one of them becomes sick or injured to make some changes. I know how difficult that is but once one of them is admitted to the hospital you'll have access to a social worker who can step in and help and Dr.s who will be advising that they can't continue to live on their own. Your parents are more likely to listen to people who aren't their "kids".
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