How can I help Dad understand where he is?

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I was able to get Dad moved into the new facility, but he is SO confused. I really think the long drive has him thinking that we moved from our hometown to another location. He thinks he is in a hotel, and he's afraid to touch anything.


I spent lots of time with him picking out locations for all of this things and letting him decide where he wanted furniture, etc. but he doesn't remember doing any of it.


He's not eating in the dining room, and today he said the items in his room don't belong to him. I keep trying to explain that this is where he lives now, but he just wants me to pick him up from the hotel.


I had planned to not visit for a few days. I told him I was in another town for work. Will that help or hinder?


I expected some challenges with the move, but not this. I feel awful.

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My mom has MCI with short term memory problems but no dementia - so she still reads well and eventually remembers stuff. Mom moved in with me a couple of years ago. When I leave to go shopping, I leave a note that says where I've gone, when I expect to be back, my cell phone number, 911 for emergencies and my address (mom does better direct dialing numbers than using a directory list on the phone) along with a reminder that a family member is available in the house next door and their phone number. When she stays with someone else for a few days I write her a note that starts with where she is and who is with her, continuing with where I am, why she is there, when I will be picking her up and any other details she needs to know. This works well for us.
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Reply to TNtechie
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It takes time, but there will be an adjustment. After one year, Mom will look at me and say, "Is this where I live now?" (Moved her 400 miles to my city). "Yes, this is your senior community and now we live in the same town which is great because we can see each other almost every day...and I can take you to your appointments and then we can go out to lunch together if we want." That soothes things until the next time she asks about where she lives.

We have mixed emotions when our loved ones are placed in a community, and it is a huge adjustment...for everyone. But like others keep saying on this site: They are safe and cared for.
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Reply to jjmummert
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Well, there you have your advice: spend more time with him. Spend less. Take your pick!

You see, Tiny, none of us has the One True Guidebook. We can share what worked or didn't work for us and what we've read would theoretically work. But your father is different from our loved ones. And your father no doubt varies from day to day. You are not going to get every decision "right." Not possible. And sometimes you won't even know whether what you did was right or not. I see you pretty frantically try to always do what is best for your father. That is admirable, and it is a good motivating factor. But you cannot succeed 100%. Not possible.

My advice is to do your best, if it doesn't work try something different, and RELAX.

Your expectation that you should be perfect I think gets in the way of you simply being great (which you have been).
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Reply to jeannegibbs
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Tinyblu, you've already gotten some good answers to your question. Here's my experience: Before I moved my dad from my home into a memory care facility, I feared what you and your dad are experiencing, so I spent the first night with him, stayed for his first three meals, and was prepared to stay longer. Turned out that my dad adapted quickly, which luckily made my fears and preparation needless (although after 8 months he still wants to go "home" every day -- to his childhood home). You posted your question two days ago and I hope your dad has adjusted better by now, but, if not, maybe you could try staying with him for a few days to take him to meals and other activities and once at the meal/activity you could fade into the background. Good luck.
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Reply to bicycler
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Tiny, no I don't think you should stay away. He needs a familiar face. Ask the RN in charge if staff can help by trying to get him out of his room. They can't force him but they can give a little nug. Anytime we moved Mom we told her she was going to an apartment or a new apartment. She would meet knew people, etc. He has had some big changes lately. New AL not going to Daycare. He will adjust but...will probably always want to go home. For ur peace of mind, know he will get care needed, 3 meals a day, and be safe.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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I know how difficult it is for you. But your dad will acclimate to his new surroundings. From what you wrote it sounds like he hasn't been there very long. There will be a significant amount of time that he'll need to adjust. He's going to be more confused for a while. That's to be expected.

I'm assuming he was confused while he was at home and that is partially the reason you placed him in a facility. If he was confused in his own home it's only natural that he would experience increased confusion in a new environment.

Have you spoken to anyone at the facility about how he's doing? Do they come to get him for meals so he can eat in the dining room?

It's difficult to say if your visiting him now would be better or worse. Perhaps you can plan a short visit and see how that goes. Get an idea of how he's doing. See how he reacts when you leave and then decide if you need to hold off on another visit. While you're there ask the advice of the staff.

There are others here who have placed a loved one with dementia in a facility. See what they have to say as well.
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Reply to Eyerishlass
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My first thought is to enlist the help of the staff in gently reminding him over and over again that this is his home now
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Reply to Daughterof1930
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