Dad is digging in his heels, refusing to go to the dining room and opting to eat the snacks I provide. I'm wondering if I should push back?

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...so the transition to the new facility has been challenging. Though I expected there to be some bumps, Dad has decided to protest by refusing to go to any meals. This facility will only deliver meals to the room if Dad is sick. Otherwise, they will charge a $10 per meal delivery fee. So far, Dad has been refusing to go to the dining room and opting to eat the snacks I provide him. I'm wondering if I should push back a little. When I was a kid and refused to eat, Dad would not force me. He knew that I would eventually get hungry and eat what was provided. Would it be cruel if those snacks just disappeared? I definitely want Dad to eat, but this seems like a tantrum to me. It's sometimes hard to tell if it's dementia or not. For instance, after repeated meltdowns today, I gave in and went to the facility. Dad gave me the biggest grin when he realized I made it to the facility before he could get on his scooter and ride to the main entrance. He then said "Well, you can just bring me dinner." I see this move as a new opportunity to cut the umbilical cord. I created a monster at the first facility due to my own guilt with placing Dad there. I gave in to every whim. If Dad didn't eat the food, I would actually COOK something and bring it to him only for him to not eat it because he forgot he asked me to prepare a meal. I want this to be a way for me to use the help I struggle to pay for more, so I want to push back a little. I don't want to starve the man, but my thoughts are that he will eventually eat when he gets hungry. The staff is awesome about reminding him it's meal time, but if he says he doesn't want to go, they don't make him. So... should I push back a little? Maybe if Dad has no other alternatives, he'll eat in the dining room.

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... I really like the idea of joining him for a meal. It appears that he's repeating patterns from the other ALF -- eating breakfast in the dining room and filling up on junk the other times.

While my goal is to encourage rather than force, I honestly think Dad is being ridiculous. If I were to bring in a meal, he would gobble it right down. He just wants things HIS way.

I'm going to see if I can visit Sunday and have lunch with him in the dining room. After that he's on his own, but no more snacks. I spend about $40/month on oatmeal creme pies, snack size potato chips, chocolate pudding and sodas. Maybe if those options aren't available, he will eat something else.

I'm realizing a lot of this is driven by my own guilt and feeling not-good-enough. Dad was losing weight, so I decided to provide him a bunch of calorie rich foods to try to put some weight on him. Isn't it ironic that he wouldn't even remotely try the things the ALF offered (Ensures, Magic Cup Ice Cream)--stating that he "forgot" those foods were available, but can remember where the daughter provided snacks are ALL THE TIME (what's that? selective dementia?)

I'm interested to see how Dad will behave if I eat with him. I'll keep you posted.
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Reply to Tinyblu
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Oh BarbBrooklyn, I've been on a "business trip" since Monday. I'm working on letting go. I was calling him in the middle of the day, but I find that it's frustrating because Dad says he's out of something (like that disgusting hair goop he insists on wearing), when I know it's there.

This then puts me in a tailspin "Did I put it in a place where he can find it?" "Is Dad just confused?" "Oh no! Is he putting cleaning supplies in his hair!" "Is this a cheap ploy to get me to visit?" I find that I ruminate over these little details for hours and not get any work done. Talking to him literally makes my hands shake. This CAN'T BE HEALTHY.

I told him to ask someone to help him (which he probably won't), but I'm realizing I can't do it anymore. If things get really bad, I'll ask the hospice team to help with ADL's (he currently refuses the help).

This is hard on both of us. I've catered to this man since I was six years old, but I PAY people to take care of him and I am realizing I need to let them do it.

Ugh... tough love is not easy at all.
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Reply to Tinyblu
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You have a good plan - stop catering to his whims, whatever they are. He is a master at manipulating you. Sounds like you have "caught on" to his tricks and are setting boundaries. Good for you. Keep it up.
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Reply to golden23
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Tiny, how about going on an out of town business trip for three weeks? (Just tell dad that).

Something tells me he might settle in better.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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It's just a thought, Tiny...

(at first I read your headline and laughed my head off. He won't go to the dining room. Should I stop bringing tasty snacks to his room? Ya think???!!!)

... have you tried the dining room yourself? What's the food like? What are the other diners like? Is this that he has tried it and didn't like it, or that he won't even try it?

Maybe one evening or at the weekend you could ask to join him there for supper/lunch?
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Reply to Countrymouse
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Remember that facilities will provide snacks in the evening time. I would ask the facility to not give him those snacks. I am not sure if they have to provide them based on the state laws. I had to pull all snacks and my aunt held on for three days refusing to go to dining hall. I refused to go over and she finally asked me why she felt so weak and wanted to have the doctor visit. I told her that she needed to try eating first to see if the weakness goes away and if it didn't I would call the doctor. Magically she felt a ton better after she ate!!!!
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Reply to jbclync
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Visit at lunchtime. "I didn't have time to eat so I paid for a meal in the dining room. Come and keep me company."

Certainly not every day, but once in a while eating with him in the dining room at a table with other residents might help the room seem more familiar to him. I don't mean to add more visits, but to try this when you are visiting anyway. Chat with the others at the table.

Do accept that you can't be with him all the time and you can't micromanage his days.
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Reply to jeannegibbs
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Perhaps the staff can help? I was able to find out who Dad trusted most, and most of the staff in his MC was very helpful. Certain ones were able to work better with him than others, and they would often do more than just ask if he would eat or participate in activities. The other residents even helped by suggesting he sit with them to watch tv or eat. And I kept Dad's favorite cereal (Raisin Bran) and oatmeal there so the staff could fix it for him anytime he wanted, and he often ate either of those if he didn't like the meal provided. And, of course, the snacks ...Because he'd already lost so very much. Best wishes.
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Reply to talkey
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Tiny; just let him be. He's in a good place. He's paying good money for his care. Stop jumping through hoops.

Either he'll settle in or he won't.  If he needs Nursing Home care, I'm sure this facility will tell you that.  

Sorry to say, it's time for you to let go of this rope.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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Don't buy him the snacks and bring them to him. I wouldn't go over there to bring him meals either. When you visit next and he starts up, say it's either he eats in the dining room or he goes hungry. Fib and say that snacks aren't allowed in rooms anymore.
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Reply to Evermore99
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