My parents moved to Florida from Texas less than 3 years ago to be near us now that we've retired. My Dad has been on ALZ meds for 6+ years. Even though they were barely capable of the maintenance, they bought a house. Dad had several bad falls in the home and Mom was overwhelmed with worry and effort, so we moved them into Independent Living in the area. It's a new facility with activities and a clubhouse with a dining room if they want a meal out, not a traditional AL. We did all the right things for the right reasons. Within days, my Dad is insisting he is going back to Texas and he wants Mom to go. We all know he is insisting for Mom to go because he is incapable or unwilling to take care of himself. Mom does everything for him, he doesn't cook, clean, or wash clothes. He also wants a hip replacement and will expect Mom to rehab him at home, she was a nurse. We moved them into IL to give Mom a break. It's smaller, has monthly housekeeping, no maintenance, activities, and options to eat at the dining room. He wants to buy a truck (can't get into one because of the hip), drive back to Texas, and have Mom co-sign and buy a 1970s fixer-upper (because of the price). Is he delusional or just stubborn? My sisters and I have helped Mom set up bank accounts in her name only and are beginning to split their money 50/50. We are all prepared for Dad to begin his solo journey.

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Oh boy, you have your hands full.

Your dad can no longer make rational decisions, that is what happens with dementia/alzheimers. It is time to figure out how to redirect him in the moment. Mom is going to have to just say no. If you go honey, you go alone. I am staying here and really hope you will also.

His executive function is hugely comprised at this stage, the drugs only slow the progression but they don't change the outcome. You and mom will have to be the decision makers for his safety. I am sorry, this is so hard to live through and do everything that needs to be done.

Please do whatever it takes to keep him from traveling off alone, he could kill someone.

What does his doctor say about the alzheimer treatment, is it still helping? My granny got to the stage that it only kept her agitated all the time, once it was discontinued she calmed down.

Change is very difficult for a broken brain, I would make sure that he is in a place that he can stay as he gets worse. He will settle in eventually and you don't want to have to move him just when things are starting to feel familiar for him. Something to think about.

Best of luck, stay strong and contact the Alzheimer's association for information about the journey you all are on. Knowledge is power in this situation.

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InTheMiddle77, time to pull out the "therapeutic fib" card. With therapeutic fibs you give Dad an excuse that you think he will accept.

Like, Dad wanting to buy a truck and move back to Texas.... you can say "Dad you can't move until the doctor says you are doing better".

Does Dad have a Florida driver's license? If not, tell Dad he needs to do the written test, and the driving test. Just fib saying everyone needs to do that when they move from out-of-state. Give the Dept of Motor Vehicle's a heads-up regarding Dad's condition, you can hand them a note. And what would be the chances of Dad passing the written exam?
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MargaretMcKen Sep 2019
Great idea to go for the driving license. You will feel dreadful if he kills himself or someone else, driving to Texas.
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Just read Artist Daughter's post and am reminded of a few more issues:   (1)  The role art and music play in calming and soothing minds, including those suffering with dementia, and (2)  movement therapy.  PBS showed a program in which people who were generally noncommunicative really became absorbed in painting, whatever they wanted to.  It was all free spirited, free movement painting.     Lots of good hits here:

When my father was in rehab after a several month journey through hospitals and long term care hospitals, I took my music to his rehab home and played the piano as often as I could.   Sometimes I played soothing semi-classical, but the music to which most people responded was from their younger days:  Bicycle Built for Two, Little Brown Jug.... music of that long ago era.   Black Hawk Waltz even stimulated one visitor to get up and begin waltzing, alone.

Patriotic songs and military hymns really stimulated the men, especially the Marine Corps Hymn.   I remember a few men standing up and saluting.  

Bringing a portable CD player with old music would allow him to listen in his room, if he so chose.

Movement, especially that of the PD for Parkinson's program, can apply to anyone.   It's to me an extraordinary  and insightful way to use music, camaraderie and creativity to reach deep into basic humanity and how music and dance can stimulate.

Dance for PD doesn't necessarily have to be limited to someone with PD.   I've watched the programs, and was so impressed how music stimulated people to give themselves over to the sounds, to let themselves be guided by the music, and just relax.

Watch the video, do some background reading, and see if there's a class near you.    It might even be possible to work with the IL staff to get some professional training onsite, to engage more of the community.

I watched a video of one of their performances; it was heartwarming to the point of tears to see people just so given over and captured by the music and the movement.

And I would give your father a little longer, while trying new approaches, before thinking serious about their splitting up.    It could crush both of them emotionally as well as accelerate his dementia.
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He is delusional. With dementia, there is a time when they have grandiose thoughts and think they are fine and can do things as perhaps they did 30 years ago. He needs to be told "No, you are not moving because you need help and cannot live alone" and he also needs to be told by your mother that she is not going. If you have not already done so, it might be helpful to have a neuropsych evaluation done but he might only show as "cognitive dysfunction" at this point so maybe better to wait. I think it must be really difficult to be in that position; to be old, maybe realizing you are at the end of your journey and wanting to recreate your past life. One thing that helped in our case is that, I began asking, "well, how are you going to manage....(whatever) to get him thinking and problem solving. My FIL has vascular dementia so he seemed fine but his high level functioning was fading and he could not plan or problem solve. He may not be able to see that his plan is a bad one that cannot possibly be successful . but the process may help. Or you just tell him No, and try to deflect him. He will progress to another phase and this plan will go away. If he is not competent or safe to make decisions, then the POA could possibly limit access to funds. If he is not that bad, then you have to hope, saying, "Nope, Mom is not going and we are not helping you do this" will be enough.
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Middle, I see his attitude as thinking life will be much better in Texas (mass shootings notwithstanding), harking back to better times through a kind of rosy colored type recollection.   It's where the better days were spent; older and stressed minds associate that with better times that could return if they were back in the same area and situation again.

Still, even though he might be hopefully dreaming and reminiscing, the fact is that his desires need to be addressed and dealt with, as his dissatisfaction could probably and likely worsen.

Trying to bring reality to his visions probably won't help and could only hurt, causing him to see his current situation as even more unlikeable, frustrating, and challenging., and more harking back to the good old days in Texas.

What I'd consider is trying to enhance his life here, which could mean that you become involved in some activities initially to help him through this challenging time.   This might mean taking him to activities he could enjoy, acting as intermediary to help him to develop new friends.    A Senior Center might be appropriate as well, but you'd have to help to engage with others (as I assume he'd resist).

Helping him engage in planning for future activities might also help to create a sense of purpose.  Just be careful to choose activities that uplift him as opposed to depressing him and focusing more on the current situation's negative aspects (as he sees them). 

The fact that it was only days after moving into the IL suggests to me that this was for him a challenge that he couldn't face, alone.  

What activities did he enjoy, that still might be done with AL, that you could help him with?   is the staff approachable and cooperative in terms of helping him devise a plan, even something as simple as coming to their room during musical events and ensuring that they make it safely to the community rooms?

Music to me is one of the best ways to address and calm agitated minds.
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Can you tell me what ALZ drugs are? Is he on Alzheimer's drugs? Is he diagnosed? Is your Mom then the POA? Is your Dad in need of guardianship, do you think? It all sounds very unrealistic. Mom is not considering this, I hope, whatEVER Dad does. And yes, a grey divorce sounds, at this point, ideal to me. It is sure what I would be wanting were I your Mom. She is finally in a rather safe place. Heaven forbid she do this with him. I think that your Dad needs a thorough re-assessment at this time. If he can pass it, divide the assets and let him go. How awful. What a dilemma. Important to me now that Mom not endanger herself with this no matter WHAT.
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It sounds like your Dad needs memory care, and 24/7 supervision. He cannot be left to his own devices, he is not of sound mind.
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Let him have the hip replacement but be sure to let the doctor's know there is no way he can do re-hab at home because his wife can not take care of him and he would be on his own. Do this before the surgery. Can you just refuse to take him "home" once he's in rehab? Mom's going to need you to be strong for her. What ever you do, don't let her leave with him or take care of him after surgery. And he REALLY doesn't need to be driving anywhere. He could kill someone. He needs to learn a new word. That word is NO.
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InTheMiddle77 Sep 2019
Since the original post, Dad went to his surgeon about scheduling his replacement. Instead he got a cortisone shot and more PT. He might try other Drs but he's already been told Mom will not rehab him at home. He will have to stay inpatient until he can do for himself.
Do not enable your father to live out delusional fantasies. Do not take him to a used car lot. Do not help him call realtors about a house. Do not allow him to return home after hip surgery i.e. "Dad, if you decide to have the hip surgery you will be going to inpatient rehab". And make sure your mother co-signs nothing. Without help, he can't do much.
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It looks like he will not be able to get to TX by himself. If by any chance he did manage to get a truck and drive off, mom will not need a divorce. Mom will need to get him an undertaker. He is living in the past in his mind, where he was younger and happy. We can never go back there.
I live in a beautiful IL place in a suburban area and I chose to move myself here. It is where I need to be and I now love it very much but the first 2 years, at night I would have dreams of NYC where I lived most of my life, trying to get back in my old apt. or looking for another one. I felt I had lost some of my old identity. Later I realized that I missed the person I used to be and doing the things I used to do, which I can't do now. In time those dreams stopped. I don't want to leave where I am now. Change can take time to adjust ourselves. That is true even without brain problems. As mentioned by others, music is wonderful help. The music the person loved. It can be played in the background. I would also add movies, old ones on DVD that the person loved. But I do think all of us miss who we used to be. Dad is so lucky to have Mom and you in his life. Maybe you can tell him that you don't want him to leave because you will all miss him. Beside that, your mom needs support to deal with him. She can't be his caretaker all the time. Help is available at least part time. It may be hard for him to make new friends there if he is in bad shape. Where I live, it is good that husbands and wives can make new friends seperatel , often through shared interests, old or new. But this takes time. Not sure how much he can participate. The move to FL was a big adjustment and changes are hard as we get older. Women seem to adjust faster, especially if they are in decent shape.
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