My father is 78 years old and has lived alone in his own home for the past 40 years. His house is an hour away from where I live (with my husband and my children - 2 grown and 1 leaving for college in the fall). For the past year, I’ve been visiting dad at least 3 times a week (going to lunch, running to the food store, and just being there to have companionship). It’s been exhausting but I knew my dad's health was declining - so I did it without question. Dad walks with a cane and has some minor confusion.
I’ve been trying for over a year to talk my dad into moving. He never had any interest... Two months ago, I couldn’t ignore my dad's medical decline anymore (his walking was getting worse and worse and he wasn’t taking care of himself). I talked him into going to the ER to get things “checked out”. He looked horrible and I was scared. Since that visit to the ER, dad’s been in the hospital, in rehab, back in the hospital, and now back in rehab. As you could imagine, my dad's anxiety is through the roof. He’s a bundle of nerves.... he may also have the beginning of dementia, but I believe that his fears are real. Seeing him scared and out of control from time to time, breaks my heart.
He’s been in so many different places (in just the past 2 months) and even though I visit every day, each time I leave - dad wants to find his keys and come with me. Here’s the problem.... I’m preparing myself for his discharge from rehab. My initial hope was that he would be “ok” with this rehab and then eventually, would naturally transition to AL (in the same bldg). I’m starting to think I have been in huge denial because it’s not that surprising that my dad doesn’t like the rehab at all (therefore I can’t imagine him ever feeling comfortable moving into the AL there). There’s no way he could go home (he needs far too much care AND even if he had in home care, it’s an hour from me 1 way, so I’d still be going down there every day to check on his care). I know of a few other AL’s in my area but I’m so scared that he’s going to hate all of them - because really he longs for the days when he wasn’t sick and life was good. I’m sorry - I forgot to mention.... he was diagnosed with bladder cancer 2 weeks ago. I’m not sure what the future holds for him. I just am consumed with guilt and worry. I don’t want him to be scared, anxious, and unhappy. I want him to make friends, discover new hobbies, and enjoy life! I don’t know if he’ll ever allow himself to do that. He’s seems depressed but the docs say no. I tell them he’s scared, and all they want to do is give him anti anxiety drugs (which we have found out the hard way - do NOT work effectively on him.). Please, if there is any advice you can give me - I’d really appreciate it. I’m 51 and I love my dad but I know he can’t live with me. I convinced myself that AL was the best option for him but I don’t know anymore.... Please help me cope as I try to make sense of all this!