My dad has been with us for close to two years now and we are definitely reaching the point where we need a break at times. He is starting to get paranoid (ie, locking his bedroom door and locking his filing cabinet) and now he is on a mission to go to Canada because he thinks he is missing some important paperwork that he needs. He is very healthy and we are concerened he might just up and leave. We want to try to ease him into a group home environment and found the perfect place but he says he is not interested. He hasn't completely lost his marbles at this point so we are not sure what the best approach is. If we trick him, he will be extremely resentful and I really don't want that , but he is far enough along in this disease where you can't reason normally with him. He has no other options although he thinks he would be fine to live alone and he gets very defensive if we say that we do not agree. What is the best "technique" for getting him to go along with our wishes?

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Laura - How generous you & your spouse are are to have him live with you. This is a tough situation and I can relate. I worked on my Mom for a year to get her into assisted living and she only had mild short term memory loss...Rather than have him go out, might it be wiser to have someone come in?
If you want a day of respite, is it possible that you can have someone familiar to him come spend the day so you can go out? Your kids, brother, cousins, a neighbor? Can they try to engage him in games like jeopardy or activities like gardening so he has some fun and a break from the paranoid thoughts?

- if he insists that he can live alone, how about moving him into a studio apartment in an assisted living center? Grant his wish, tell him he should live alone if he'd like. Tell him that he's earned the right to restaurant dining at every meal - often they'll let residents keep food, refrigertors, toasters and coffee makers so he could be some what independent there and not have all meals in the dining room. You could see how that works...

If it were my dad, I'd ensure his car won't operate. Remove the rotor in the distributor cap so that it won't start or take out the spark plugs. This way it will appear okay - just in case he knows something about engines - but it won't run. Of course, if he is really determined to get to Canada - there are always cabs and air planes.. perhaps if you hid his photo ID he'd at least get stopped at the airport.

Two years is a long time to tend to someone with dementia. My cousins did it and they survived 2 intentional fires and numerous responses to 911 calls from grandma. The second fire was the last straw to move grandma to a nursing home. They invited her for pie and coffee but afterward went to the alzhiemers care center. She went in not understanding what would happen but once it came time to leave, it was hard on them all. My cousin cried for two days. They didn't visit for a week either to sort of force grandma to get acquainted. After two months all was well but there is still a twinge of guilt every time they leave after a visit.

Best of luck to you and to your dad.
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