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Mom had serious cognitive difficulties, likely Alzheimers. Dad is 73, has Parkinson's, but is still mentally pretty good. On a good day, mom does well enough in her routine that she could fool a stranger, but she has 'manic' episodes, particularly when she hasn't slept, when she loses all ability to be rational. She has a poor grasp of time, dates and place, and no ability to consistently follow instructions, like in taking meds. He does all of the planning, organizing, scheduling, reminding, for her.


They retired to a resort area when health was good, and are 2+ hours away from the closest of their 4 kids. We, the siblings, are all in agreement that the time has come for them to be near, within a few minutes, of one of us. We worry about his health as much as hers, because he should keep his stress level down because of the Parkinsons. Last week, I had to call security at their community to go check on them after she called my brother sobbing while driving around (yes, we know she should not be driving, but we cant convince dad to take the keys from her yet either) with some delusional story that he tried to kill her, or himself, and he wasn't answering the phone in the house. During the immediate crisis, both agreed they needed to move, but once things calmed back down, she forgot, and he fell straight back into saying they are "handling things".


We have offered to help as much as they want to make the move easy on them. We will pay the cost for the move. We've shown them apartments, 55+ apartments, and independent living communities in three different states. They refuse. Dad insists they are not ready yet, and that they are fine most of the time. We insist that he needs to plan for the bad days, as they will only get more frequent.


My question is, since Dad is still OK, what can we do to convince him that they need to move NOW. If it was just Mom, we would make the choice for her. But taking the choice away from Dad, an otherwise competent adult? Is there a way to get social services involved without him hating us? Any one else deal with something similar? We are out of ideas! We feel like it is going to take something tragic happening to make him realize the time is NOW!

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Can you get her doctor to tell them they need to move? Mom's doctor advised me to let him be the one to tell her when she needed to go to AL. He said people expect to hear unpleasant news from their doctor and then she could get mad at him instead of me.
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I am 72, my husband is 74. We have been married 54 yrs and have lived in this house for 44 yrs. Our kids,3, want to be the parents and want us to be the kids. We go along with it most of the time. My husband quit driving after he got lost coming home from the library 3 yrs ago. He has dementia from a brain injury. We solved a large problem by hiring a housekeeper one day a week. I also have a lady who comes 8-12 in the morning and prepares breakfast and supper and does a little cleaning. This is working for us right now. Yes I still do a lot of care for my husband but we are still in our house.
It works for us and for now keeps our children happy.
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Personally, I can't figure out the great desire to stay in one's home. Wherever you live is YOUR home. Neighbors change and often don't know the long time residents of a neighborhood. The children are gone. And there is virtually no support system. I recently commented to a friend on this after she mentioned her sister (late 70s) welcomed phone calls as a way of having contact with people since she couldn't go out any more! WHAT? If she was in a senior community or independent living arrangement, she would be in a barrier free set up and would have access to people all day long. And my brother and SIL (mid 70s) aren't ready to move yet. My SIL can barely get up the stairs to the bedrooms. Another accident waiting to happen!
Goodchild ---wish I had the magic answer. When my MIL needed housekeeping services, one son/DIL gave her 6 months of housekeeping as a Christmas gift. By the end of that time frame, she just continued it herself. (Though she didn't need it before that according to her!) If any of you or your sibs have children, can you play on that element? Meanwhile, how much support are you and your sibs currently giving? If a lot (visits etc) what happens when that exhausts you? Can you hire a geriatric manager to assess things? They come into the home for a few hours and then make recommendations. Sometimes, an independent/honest review of things can take the 'kids' out of the equation.
Things have changed since our elders watched their parents age in place. The children are scattered and working full time. Very few stay at home Moms to pitch in. Good luck and please keep us posted.
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Ah, senior safety. The conundrum of aging. You don't say how old your Mom is, but based on your Dad's age (73), I'm guessing you're in your 50's or younger. The challenges of aging is that most of us want to age in place in our own homes that we've most likely lived in for the past 30 years or more. Getting seniors to entertain a major move in their 70's or older is very disruptive to them and their psyche. Safety is not in their thought pattern even though as children, it is generally paramount to us.

Plus elders have been YOUR parents all their lives so they think you "taking over" their decisions about where to live is wrong and upsetting the order of how the world works.

Would you or your siblings be willing to leave your jobs and pack up and move to be near them? Most likely not. I lived near my Mom and my brother lived with her. My other sister (who lived closer to Mom than me) rarely visited or checked in on her. We knew we could never convince her to leave her home of 50 years, so as she aged and got more frail (yes, occasionally falling), the last 10 years I lived by the phone waiting for "the call". The call finally came at age 86. She stood up from the sofa, wobbled and went down, not even taking a step. She broke her leg. That was the beginning of the end. Surgery and then rehab in a nursing home brought on a stroke. The poor thing didn't last 3 months.

My advice is this. Get your siblings together to discuss a plan of action. Then ALL of you make a visit to Mom and Dad TOGETHER to plead your case for their safety. Do not dictate to them. Ask them their thoughts. It's a difficult conversation to have with our parents and often it's many conversations. Remember to always speak to them keeping their point of view in mind.

This journey with my parent's and in-laws have given me great pause and insight as to how I want to live out my twilight years and to discuss with my children NOW what my wishes are to keep me safe.
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goodchild, ah yes, trying to get the folks to move into a safer environment. Good luck with that. My parents were the same way. Their stock answer was "we can manage".

I remember bringing them a brochure on a really fantastic place for 55+, and they said no, maybe in a couple of years. HELLO, my folks were already in their mid-to-late 90's. Guess I would need to wait until they are 100 before they would do anything :P And to top it off, Mom refused caregivers.

I had to wait until there was a serious fall by my Mom, and even that didn't change her mind. Then when there was a second more serious fall, my Mom had to move to long-term-care due to her brain injury. Dad always thought Mom would come home, so in the mean time he accepted having professional caregivers come in to help him.  Then eventually he moved to senior living, and enjoyed the place, especially the food. 

Such a sad situation. Yes, the time is NOW, then that way your Mom would still be able to learn her way around an Independent Living facility... some have some really nice apartments with options for higher care. Plus learn the Staff, and be able to meet some new friends.

It's hard to convince parents to change their ways. I found that my parents still viewed me as a kid, and what would I know :P Heck, I was a senior myself.  Sure that must happen with other families. Are there any people that your parents would actually listen to? Like their family doctor, someone at the church/temple, a really good friend, a sibling?

Otherwise, sit and wait for the phone to ring... I use to go into sheer panic.
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Great advice here! I understand your worry about getting your parents into a safe living situation. My parents have been married 69 years (both are 92) and still living independently in an apartment (not a senior residence). They sold and moved from our family home 10 years ago and moved into the downstairs of my home, where they lived for 8.5 years. Although the first few years were great, eventually the living arrangements put a lot of strain on my husband and I, mainly due to my dad's stubbornness and anger issues, and just over a year and a half ago they moved to the apartment, which is two hours away. I must say, my parents moving out took a huge weight off my shoulders. Although I do worry about them, I realize that they are managing as well as they can, and I know they are determined to stay in the building as long as possible. My mom knows that if something happens to my dad, she will be able to move back in with us, or to a facility in my town. That way I can visit daily and keep closer tabs. Bottom line is, no matter how well-meaning we are and how much we want to "do" for our parents, they are of the war generation and that toughness and do-it-yourself mentality are hard to change. Best of luck to goodchild and to all of us with aging parents!
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For us it was a gradual thing. The folks were married over 60 years when we got them in off the farm. The had bought a house in town, where they were able to stay over 1/12 years. The way we got them from the house in town to Assisted Living was, after many conversation, to convince Mom that Dad needed the extra care and that in trying to do it all by herself, she would hasten her own end. It took some fast talking and having the papers already ready to sign for it to actually happen. There Dr.s both agreed that they would do better in a facility, than by themselves. Dad died in February and though Mom was heartbroken to lose him after 67 years, she is in the same facility, and we are very glad she is already 'placed'. She considers this her home now, and enjoys the time spent with others. Don't know if this helps, except to help you realize that you re not alone and that others will get behind you whatever you decide!
God Bless You!
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Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to share an answer or your own experiences, I very much appreciate it. It was particularly interesting to hear the parents perspective from SandraO. I do try hard to always be respectful of my parents independence, but will be more thoughtful in the future of how I frame my requests to them. With my mom, 75, it's more difficult as I really don't think she has the capacity to make such important decisions anymore. She may understand in the moment, but has a hard time following arguments or even understanding how distance effects the help we can give. She'll call and ask me to come over today....I live a 4 hour plane ride away.

One thing to mention, this is not a longtime home for them. They have been there about 6 years, and have few connections in the area, and made few friends before she started to deteriorate. She doesn't really connect one to one anymore. I had to call security to check on them because I don't have a single phone number for a friend or neighbor still living there, none!
We have had doctors tell them it's time to move, both hers, as well as his neurologist. Dad will agree, then not act. Sometimes, I think he's just overwhelmed.
We all 4 siblings support as we can. We range in age from 40 to 51, so are still very much busy working and with families of our own, but my kids will all be college age this fall so I will have more freedom. I strongly believe mom should never be alone for more than a few hours, so we coordinate when dad needs a break, or when he flew to visit his own mom, who is 98! In the kast 6 months,I've flown out twice, I've sent each of my daughters out, my two brothers have flown in, and my sister who is only a few hours away sees them about onice a month. They also spent 3 weeks visiting us. So they are getting help from all of us at least every other week. But it gets tiring to keep it up!
I would like to hire help, but I'm not sure how to introduce it. What she needs is a 'friend' who is aware of her mental status, and can take her out to lunch, shopping, etc so my dad can get some mental rest. It's exhausting mentally to answer her same questions again and again.
Lots to think about, thank you all again! It's just so helpful to feel others are out there in the same boat.
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The move & the idea of the move may overwhelm your dad - express that all 4 sibs will come & pack them up - just the effort of sorting everything could be a barrier for him - talk to him about this & reassure him of the help you will give during any move
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Depending on the "Community" where they live some of the Senior communities have other sites around the country. Is this the case where they live? If so you can sometimes set up a "visit" to see how another one or some people on a little vacation to another area and use the other community almost like a hotel or "respite". If that is not the case with where they live is there a "nice" retirement/ independent/memory care community where one of the Siblings live? If so you can sometimes arrange a "tour and a brief stay" to see if they would like it. If it is broached as a "vacation" not a move Dad may be more willing to try it out.

There are a few things that you might want to consider.
Your Dad may not be really "mentally pretty good" it seems like he is making poor decisions about your Mom. Allowing her to drive is a major one. Not realizing that your Mom needs more care and supervision is another. Many people can, for a brief time, put on a good front that they are doing well. I bet if you press him during a phone call he may become agitated, change the subject or try to deflect conversation in another way.
If they do not want to move from the area where they currently are it might be time for you or another sibling to take a vacation and check out Assisted Living/ Memory Care facilities where they currently live. This way they will still be in the same area, same friends. (but they will loose friends as many will not come visit) And a move where they are now may result in a move in a year or two if you want to bring them closer as both decline.
But it does sound like your Dad needs to be evaluated a bit as well. Dementia is common with Parkinson's and the type of dementia needs to be properly diagnosed.
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