My father (90) had a brain abscess last September that nearly killed him, and has left him with a weakened left side. He is wheelchair bound. Due to his inability to get himself around he has to live in a nursing home. My mother (77) does not feel strong enough to take care of him at home. She has heard stories about how awful home health care is and will not even consider it. Nor will she allow my husband and I to take him home with us. Physically he is getting stronger, but he is deteriorating mentally. He has paranoid episodes and anxiety issues. For example, he thinks people are plotting be against him at night. He swears he hears people talking about him. Or he panics when his meal is not on time (it is on time, but he misjudges time). If it were just a physical disability or the mental issues - I think she might consider letting him come to us, but not with both. She feels guilty about this and centers her life around her daily visits to him. The visits are killing her. He sleeps most of the time and if he is awake he gets angry that she won't (can't) address the issues that he imagines. He can't accept that the issues aren't real and she can't accept that he is not same man he was 10 years ago. This repeats every day and has for almost a year now. She has isolated herself. She doesn't want to do anything with her friends or with the clubs and organizations she used to. She has stopped or limited her hobbies. Compared to most people her house is spotless. But it is not as clean as it used to be. She is behind on everything but refuses help. I think she is depressed. But she would never seek help. I'm not sure what my question is... How do I help her? How do I convince her that she doesn't have to visit him everyday? There are others who can visit. How do I get her to maybe look into home health care? Really - if she just had someone to come in and help him bath and dress he'd be good. I feel like we are passengers on the Titanic and no matter how hard I push she will not get in the life boat or allow us to put dad in.

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Lizzykgat, be grateful that your Mom is clear minded enough to know that she cannot take care of your Dad at home. Otherwise it would have been quite a battle.

Your Mom probably figures she can't have any fun while your Dad is in a nursing home and that is understandable. Sounds like she really misses him. And being in denial of his condition is quite normal. I remember my Mom was in denial of her own age and that of my Dad, she would still give Dad a honey-do list to fix things around the house... my gosh my parents were both in their 90's and both were fall risks.

Guess visiting is no different than when we place our parent(s) into a senior facility to live... we try to visit daily then eventually it is every other day, then down to once a week... instead of 3 or 4 hours, it becomes one hour.

I agree with Sunnygirl above, do NOT bring your Dad home as he needs this higher level of care at the nursing home. Having caregivers from an Agency around the clock would cost around $20k, and you would need to make your house like nursing home, plus purchasing a hoya lift to help get your Dad from the bed to the wheelchair, as it usually takes two people to transfer a man.
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Based on what the way you have described your father's condition and behavior, it sounds like bringing him home, even with home health care full time, would be very risky. With all of his needs, it would be extremely time consuming and difficult to handle him. You say he's having hallucinations and is paranoid. That could keep you up all night. Plus, it's quite expensive to have 3 shifts of people working to care for him. Are they financially able to do that? I would respect your mother's judgment about that decision, as it seems wise.

If she is devoting all of her days to visiting with your father, I'm not sure of any way to stop that. I might try to get her to a doctor for a checkup if she seems ill or depressed. Go with her and even slip a note to the doctor and tell him what's happening. Rule out medical issues and see if she is depressed. Maybe meds could help.

Can you offer to take her to lunch, to the park, to a movie, etc. ?Try to get her away and to relax for an afternoon.
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