How do we tell my parents they can no longer take care of themselves?

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My Dad is 84 and has been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment after he had triple bypass surgery. My Dad and Mom
lived in upstate New York but were recently moved by their
children to a Senior Living Facility in No. California.

We worry about their safety, getting lost or being gone for hours and having no recollection as to where my Dad was and he was driving at the time.....not now that they are in CA.

How do my siblings and I tell my Dad that he is not going back to
New York because every day he asks if the reservations have been made for him and my Mom to go home? Do we sit my Dad
down and tell him honestly...how do we approach the subject
without my Dad getting upset?

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Role reversal is one of the most difficult things to deal with when a parent begins to suffer from any form of dementia--especially Alzheimer's. As long as you accept that you have been thrust into the role of "parent" then everything SecretSister recommends is right on the mark. Like Dementia, I too was faced with both parents beginning to fail at the same time. My mom developed Alzheimer's in her late 70's and Pop resolved to take care of her--no outside help wanted. This worked OK for a couple of years until Pop, who was now 85, began to have his own health problems mostly heart related. His patience wore thin and he blamed mom for many of his problems. As an Only Child, I had POA but that was useless while Pop was still mentally competent--and he was. So I got to look on as he mistreated mom and made decisions about his and mom's care that were les and less rational. I did not have tools like this forum to help me but know they would have made a big difference if I did. Even the tip about offering several alternatives but insisting they chose one that will be supported by the rest of the family. That might have worked for me if I had understood the role reversal aspect of it.
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Dementia, interesting profile name. Truth makes people free. Why play games? How about a family conference if your siblings are in agreement. Does your Dad understand his diagnosis? Has his doctor told him "No driving?" Have you shared your concerns with him, and what was his reaction?" There is no easy answer, and no guarantee your Dad won't get upset. Mine had catastrophic reactions, and things got ugly. But I toughened up, because he lost judgement, and someone had to make the tough decisions. Dad no longer could. My Mom was incapable, too. It is difficullt, but some things just need to be done. For me, it was a matter of safety. Can they take care of themselves or not? That is your answer. If not, someone has to. Who that is, depends upon your circumstances. A compassionate and loving family who work well together is the best case scenario. A doctor can often "be the bad guy," and tell your loved ones his opinion, if you have a good one. Talk to him, get referrals to Social Services Agencies, and contact the Alzheimer's Association for tips and support. They're great and provide tons of free information, tapes, etc. The National Institute of Health is another great resource for information for dealing with Alzheimer's as a Caregiver. I read everything I can get my hands on, and attend their Support Groups. You find support, camaraderie, and strength to do what needs to be done there, and from this site.

Rather than just tell them they can no longer take care of themselves, how about a gentler, softer way? Offer them alternatives, depending upon their needs. Do they live alone? Do they need part time, or full time care? Do they need to be in an Assisted Living Facility, or Nursing Home? Or Day Care Program or Visiting Nurse? There are many solutions, depending on the level of care your parents need. I gathered together brochures, and gave them to my parents to look over. As their needs increased, decisions were made that met those needs. It's a serious, and delicate issue. Prayer helps. Take care.
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