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A month ago my Dad put my Mom in a memory care facility because he found caring for her while recovering from his own illness too much. Three days later she suffered a mild stroke which left her left side weak. She is walking again with her walker a bit, but needs assistance to get up and down, to the bathroom etc.
She has no short term memory (didn't before the stroke either) and was already having difficulty with self dressing, shower issues etc. before this. She no longer remembers a lot of their 63 years of marriage together either. She does always know family members but sometimes think we kids are her siblings. DAd though she always knows.
He lives next door in a Retirement apt. and visits twice daily. He feels very bad when she says she wants to go home. He knows he hasn't the strength to care for her but is not happy leaving her there. I do feel he overestimates her abilities with regard to her memory issues. He sees her functioning at a higher level than the other residents and able to carry on a conversation. Yes, sometimes she can carry on a bit of conversation but she won't remember it nor the person she had it with. I doubt she'll ever learn to recognize the caregivers who care for her daily.

How do I help Dad accept the change in living arrangements? They are both in their 90's. I don't live in town so can only come about once a month for a couple of days at a time.

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I do call him every other day now. I do wonder if his visiting 2x a day is maybe too much. I have talked to him about joining in bean bag baseball again. An activity he enjoyed but Mom hated going , so he quit. It's only 2x weekly but it is the same time as he likes to visit her. He likes being there before meals so she has that to occupy herself with when he leaves. I talked to him last night again and he said he is having a very hard time when she begs to go back home with him. I told him I thought maybe she was really saying she wanted to go back to a time that made sense. He said yes he thought that might be true but says she says she is bored there. He talked also about looking into another place but it would limit his visiting. We'd also like him to quit driving as he is 90. At another place he'd be dependent on my brother for rides. Maybe what would help him are ideas of activities, pictures whatever that he could use to stimulate Mom when he does visit. I will go back to see him next week which is also her 92nd birthday. I have thought about e-mailing him, he uses it but doesn't ever reply. Still the thought might be nice.
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Jeanne, I totally agree. His twice a day visits are the best stimulation she could be getting and if she was to be moved, he might not be able to make those daily visits. Any change in routine is very tough on the very elderly! My parents (92 & 94) have struggled with this recently following a fall my mother had. kwriter13 encourage and support your Dad any way you can. I think little notes once a week is a great idea. I'm so fortunate that my Dad has email & Facebook so we all send him little updates and notes. I call daily and talk to them on speaker phone just to check in. Its hard as its one more think in a busy life to do but I know its important to them both!
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With you out-of-town your Dad is pretty much on his own strength. Each of us has to cope with losses, and he is not any different than most. The disease will progress until she does not recognize him and if his memory is still intact, that will be another blow. At his age, he has been through the Great Depression and knows how to deal with difficult times. So give him time and maybe visiting her twice a day is too much for him to handle. He needs to socialize with others too so he has a separate life as well for his own mental health. Keep calling and LISTEN to him instead of trying to fix what cannot be fixed. Best wishes.
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kwriter13, you are right -- this is SO hard! My heart goes out to your dad, and to you, and to your mom.

I think that Dad being able to easily visit twice a day is more important that being in a more stimulating environment, if you could find one. Unless there is abuse or neglect, she is in the right place. Tell Dad that he is her social outlet and her stimulation, and his loving presence is important to her well-being.

Do you ever send your dad notes or cards in the mail? It would be nice for him to get one, maybe on Father's Day, that says, "Thank you so much, Dad, for taking such loving care of Mother for as long as you could, and for making the painful but loving decision to place her where she can get the basic care she needs. I am so glad that you are able to be with her each day. Your marriage continues to be an inspiration to me." Or something to that effect. Let him know in writing that you are proud of how strong he was to make such a hard decision.

I always said, and truly meant, that if my husband's care became more than I could handle I would place him where he could get the kind of care I couldn't provide. I talked to him about that, too. (He had dementia.) I always promised him that I would never abandon him, but I did not promise that I would always be able to keep him at home. As it happened for us, I was able to care for him until he died at home, with hospice care. I am so grateful that I never had to face that painful decision to place somewhere he could get care I couldn't provide. My heart truly goes out to your father. I know it would have taken me months to come to terms with the new situation if I'd had to do what your dad had to do.

Be patient with him, give him time, and plenty of reassurances that he did the right thing and you are proud of him for it.
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The option of taking her back to their retirement apt. is not there. She needs help moving to any spot and he can't provide that. So it is, what it is. But I Know when she cries and asks why she can't go home it is really hard for him. I know she is probably really saying she wants life to make sense again. But it is so hard on him. He talked to me tonight about looking at another facility. While this one is nice and the care is good he thinks she isn't stimulated enough and is bored. Everyone there does seem pretty out of it. But then she is too, it's just she is more socially oriented than they are. But she has no short term memory at all. I don't know if another facility would be better. There aren't many options within their small town. Where she is now is close enough for him to walk too. Another place won't be. We'd like him to give up driving on his own. He doesn't drive much now but he'd never quit voluntarily if he became dependent on my brother to take him. The rest of us do not live close enough to go often. This is so hard.
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My brothers and sisters were at my parents house the night my dad told my mom she would be going into skilled nursing as he could not care for her. She had Alzheimers. We all told my dad we had his back and that he made the best decision for mom, he visited her 3x a week. My mom died last October after almost 3 years in the home. He is still beating himself up and does not believe she was as sick as she was (mom was displaying dementia for at least 15 years, 91 at death . I don't think he has really grieved for her either. It will take a while for your dad to adjust, especially if they have a long term marriage. Support his decision of loving care, he did the right thing. My heart goes out to you and your dad.
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Your poor sweet dad! What a difficult choice he had to make and a brave choice as well. So many people would hang on by their fingernails, making life difficult for the entire family who would have to figure out how to help keep mom in her home even though the inevitable would be putting mom in a memory care facility after all. I think your dad did right by your mom. And he visits twice a day. Bless his heart.

I don't know if you can make this easier on him. I think all you can do is reassure him that he did the right thing, that his decision to put your mom into memory care was the right one and that it was done out of love. He knew she needed more care than he could provide and he made sure she got it and that is the most loving, devoted thing he could have done for her.

It's only been a month, he's still adjusting to the change. It will take a while. And at their age a change in the routine can be especially difficult. It wasn't an easy thing to do, I'm sure, but he'll get into a new routine, as will your mom, and this will become their new normal. There might even be a small part of him that he'll never discuss that is slightly relieved. Taking care of your mom at home was very challenging, I'm sure. Had he continued it could have and probably would have exacerbated his health problems in a very short amount of time. However hard it was for him, he did it for your mom and that's the most loving thing he could have ever done for her.

Just be there for your dad. Give him positive affirmations, reassure him that he did the right thing, tell him how much you respect what was probably the most difficult thing he's ever done and just love him to pieces.
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i would tell you to encourage your dad that they have made the right decision....that its best for mom. and hug him alot!!! one day he will probably be with her again ya know
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