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My 71 year old father had a fall and can no longer use the stairs in his home. His mobility is now severely limited, even when using the walker. He has Parkinson's along with heart problems. He moved into assisted living for 2 weeks now, and he is having difficulty accepting the fact he may not be able to return home again. He lies in the bed most of the day, and would only get up for meals & restroom.

How can I help my dad to accept and adjust to assisted living? Most of the residents look pretty lifeless, and I can understand why. It's not the facility's fault... it's tough to find meaning and purpose when a person has debilitated to the point of requiring assistance for the most basic tasks of daily living.

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The adjustment to assisted living can be a very long process, and it's not just a move, it's a huge loss for your dad. He is grieving the loss of his life and individual independence. My parents had to move together to assisted living 18 months ago. My parents are 85 and 88; mother has ALZ; dad has had stroke, serious heart issues. My husband and I assisted them in their home (we lived 20 min. away) until dad had multiple heart attacks that left him seriously debilitated. They are now in an apt in a lovely facility where my sister is the operations director -- so they see her multiple times a day and receive excellent care! I drive down 2 hrs one way 1 -2 times a week. But the transition was very difficult; they were both very angry, depressed, and "just wanted to die." They were so angry my dad even called the police to report he was being "held prisoner." It took a full year before they began to really accept their new reality; and it took the care of a wonderful geriatric specialist who over the course of that year prescribed the right medications including antidepressants, making adjustments every 3 months. We had to sell their home to pay for their care; we pay part of their expenses to help stretch their savings. This was all part of their loss. In addition to losing his own independence my dad is slowly losing his wife a little bit at a time. I feel the pain you and your dad are going through. My dad would also lie in bed and refuse to participate. Even with medication your dad will need time to grieve his loss . Support him with love and patience as best you can; and try to find him someone he can talk to periodically, whether a physician, a pastor, the nurse, or staff members he will come to care about. Another resident who sits next to my folks at meals was a huge help to my dad for she had also been moved quickly after a health issue and understood his anger. Please stay in touch with us in this forum and let us know how your dad progresses and how you are doing. The people in this forum were my salvation during our darkest days without evening knowing it--I just read their words. They speak from the wisdom of experience and with great compassion. I still read posts here on a daily basis and learn more every day. It's a long journey but you are not alone. God bless you.
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To Sunnygirl 1 -- you might not have intended to post here, but your thoughts are very helpful. In assisting my parents while they were still in their home, I found myself drawn in deeper and deeper into spending most of every day with them, 7 days a week. As they became more infirm and my mother's ALZ worsened there was no end to what needed to be done that they couldn't handle. My 4 siblings (none of whom lived nearby) were all too happy to let me do it. When a medical crisis put my dad in the hospital we arranged for him to be discharged into a rehab facility for a few weeks. It was husband who made me see that they were going to need a more professional care level than I would be able to give even if I moved in with them. We are 65 and 68, and as others have pointed out here, often it is the caregiver who ends up dying first if they don't accept help. It does seem "weird" that many give up their own lives in the care of others, but often it's not deliberate choice -- you just get drawn in. We were fortunate to be able to find a great facility and make it work. Some people don't have that option. The hardest part is accepting that as a son or daughter we may feel responsible for many, many aspects of our parents' care, and make great sacrifices to provide them the best possible medical care, living arrangements, activity, safety and companionship. But we are not responsible for their inevitable aging, which we all face; and we can't be responsible for their personal sense of purpose or happiness. Only they can decide how they will respond to the love and care being given to them.
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Hang in there. Patience and persistence is key. My mom is in her first full month of AL and I get pretty well dragged over hot coals when I speak to her. We children have to be strong to let them acclimate to their new life. Speak to staff often to let them know you care and they will respect that. I'm getting to know Mom's favorites and talk to them in person and by phone to inquire how she is doing. I'm working on my mom to get her to socialize more. The staff goes and gets her when something is going on so she won't just sit in her room. Remember he is where he needs to be.
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I would think about getting the social worker on staff a call. That is what I did when dad became upset about his move. Mostly it was having to adapt to the changes that was upsetting to him. He hated everything at first. He loves it now. Speak to the director of assisted living and get the admin staff involved. My dad had difficulty adjusting to the move from IL to AL too. The social worker got a male therapist to come visit with him a few times. It does sound like there is depression like symptoms going on.
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It's much more than adjusting to a new living arrangement. Like others have said, your parents are mourning the loss of their old lives. Their dreams are shattered, especially your dad's. There's little more that you can do except try to get your dad a geriatric psychiatrist, geriatric nurse practitioner, and/or, if he's religious, a spiritual counselor.

You did what was best for your parents. They live where they are safe. You are a good son. I highly recommend Roz Chast's book "Can't we talk about something more pleasant?"
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Change is a huge adjustment for anyone, especially the elderly. 2 weeks is not long enough to adapt the way we might ourselves versus a parent. Give him a couple months to feel safe and more confident in his new routine and space to adapt so that he will see and feel like he is still in charge of his own life.
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I really feel for your dad and you. I have had my mother in AL for 3 months after a fall, and for a while it worked pretty good. I keep asking myself how much of her isolation & poor attitude is from losing cognitive skills or was she always like this? I think it is both. Your dad changed states so he lost all his friends plus he feels he has lost some of his dignity. I get the AL to mail me the schedule of activities for the month and try to be there when something is happening I know she may like, then I practically force her to go. It doesn't make her happy, but I know it is good for her to get out of her apt & talk to people. I also speak often to workers there and make friends myself so they know I am concerned and hopefully they will make overtures to her. I get a report every time I walk in the door. Best of luck to you.
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Hi There,
I am so sorry things are not going well. Itr;s tough. I am in a very similar situation, my husband is 72 with Parkinsons and needs assisted living as well. Your post is exactly how I think things will go for him. I was wondering how t make it better for my husband. most people are much older than him. Is there a physical therapy component to the facility? I found one that was assisted and had a parkinsons program-if so perhaps a therapy /exercise plan could be the thing to get him out of his room A schedule and perhaps interacting with the therapists who may be younger would make him like he is not so alone and perhaps feel he is working towards getting some strength and indepndence back He may b=feel hopeless and depressed- but he needs to know there is hope and maybe things won;t be what they once were but he has a lot of life to live. Also, do they have social worker? Maybe you could speak to them and that person could stop by to see him maybe informally- not so much like a therapy session- but a coaching session. If your dad is typically friendly I would try to even find staff that he can connect with. I know my hubby is more inclined to talk to staff vs, making new friends.Also, if there are any activities you could suggest maybe he might be open to it- in time. Even though we know this is the right thing to do for safety and care imagine the adjustment if we had to leave out homes. I would give it time - try to visit when there are activities and go with him if they are activities he might enjoy.Communicate with the staff and let them know your concern. When you can take him outside and try to do the things he likes to do. I know it;s tough. I feel your concern. I will be there shortly and know my situation will be very similar. Again I have been approaching the assisted living idea emphasizing the rehab and exercise plan. Good luck...Bless you and your dad.
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My 89 year old father lives in a 55+ apartment and he won't go to any of the activities unless someone he knows initiates the idea and goes with him - even though he has lived there since 2004 and many of the people say hello and call him by name when they see him! It's helpful if you can find a buddy. When he was in rehab for a stroke, he got seated at at the dinner table with a gracious woman who made all the difference in his recovery. He actually didn't mind being there. I have hired someone to ensure he gets some companion care each day for at least 3 hours. She encourages him to go for walks, do light workouts on the gym equipment, short errands, watch sports on TV with her, etc. I'm also there quite a bit and take him out to eat and church, etc. Works for the moment.
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Has he been evaluated for depression? I would have him seen by a psychiatrist and evaluated for meds if he doesn't start to acclimate soon.
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