My father (84) has (undiagnosed) dementia (not too bad) but won't see a doctor. My mother (87) has slight age-related cognitive impairment. Mother's stress related to dealing with my father has manifested in acute itching. She has seen her doctor and been prescribed creams but nothing is working. I told her she should tell her doctor about her problems dealing with my father, thinking he could suggest someone (therapist?) to help her deal with the stress, but it seems the only person she shares this with is me (and what do I know? this is my first time dealing with this type of problem). She is also hard of hearing (has hearing aids but not very helpful - she hears but doesn't understand the words), but so far I have not been able to get her to go to an actual hearing doctor for further diagnosis. This adds to her difficulties with my father, which is frustrating for him, creates more tension and things sometimes escalate to him yelling at her. She has finally agreed to have a caregiver come in to their home twice a week, which she likes (dad doesn't really want anything to do with the caregiver). I have suggested that she move to an assisted living facility (she is also frail and has COPD). My mother sometimes wants to do that, but doesn't think father will want to go, and if she goes alone, what will he do? I can't imaging him living alone. I don't think we could force him to go. He has always been a very difficult, stubborn, my-way-or-the-highway kind of guy. He has no friends (that I am aware of). He always eventually stops liking anybody (neighbor, doctor, plumber, etc.). So, I just don't know what to do, or how to bring the subject up with my dad, without it sounding like I'm trying to control him or making him feel like I think he's a child. Because of hearing/slow thinking problems, I think I might put my concerns in writing, so they can read it slowly, instead of trying to say it to them, with interruptions and segues. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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Carol - your parents' situation is difficult. Most elderly are stubborn and stuck in their ways. Your father sounds like he won't go anywhere unless it's his idea. So, I suggest you not tell him.

Your mother, however, is open to the idea of moving to an AL facility which I think is a great idea. You should take your mother to tour several AL and see what they are like and if she likes them. Invite your father to come along but don't make it sound like you care if he turns you down.

When you and your mom come back from visiting an AL you both like, then you both can tell him about all the good things there. You can tell him that mom wants to move there because she needs more help and can no longer stay in the house. Have mom tell him she wants him to come with her but will understand if he wants to stay. Let him make that decision. But be clear to him that he won't be coming to live with you or you with him. I have a feeling that he is more likely to come with your mom if he makes the decision instead of having it made for him.

Be ready to accept his decision to stay. Maybe after your mom moves, he'll miss her enough or feel too lonely that he'll decide to go live with her.

Good luck.

Others will come and give more suggestions.
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Have they had a geriatric assessment done? You can ask the Area Agency on Aging to do one, or two. They will talk with mom and dad about what they think is needed now and in the future. Maybe hearing it from someone else will get dad on board that a change is needed.

Do not underestimate the power of the doctor. Fill doc in and ask for them to have a discussion with mom and dad.
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CarolB333 Mar 2019
I am working on that. I have some names to propose. Dad did start that process about a year ago, but then decided he didn't like the doctor. I will keep working on it.
Thank you. That's pretty much the way I was going to try to handle it. You have made some great suggestions. I did give them a letter yesterday that I wrote to them, addressing some of the important things, and it seems to have been received very well. (A letter due to the hearing problems, and conversations always going off on tangents.) I really appreciate your feedback.
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