We had to move my dad to a memory care type of assisted living facility 11 months ago. The facility is about 10 minutes from home. My mom does not live with me but does live in my subdivision. She has begun picking up my dad from the facility 3 days a week, and she plops him down in the living room of their home. I think this is a terrible idea but I can't get her to stop doing it. What is everyone else's thoughts about this? To be clear, she wanted him OUT of their house, and I had to move him from the house to the facility, 100% on my own, and under duress. She takes him out of the facility because she hates the place, mostly because she finds the other residents to be creepy. She says she takes him home because she "doesn't know what else to do with him." When home, they sit in the living room with no TV or music, no food...just silence and sometimes discussion about end-of-life stuff, or bickering. It's by no means a lovey-dovey situation while he is home. Sometimes she is downright verbally cruel to him. My parents are still in their 70s and their health is such they are both likely to be around for another decade. This is going to drive me nuts.
My parents housed my mom's mom part-time, sharing with her brother, but became frustrated with the situation and then grandma went to live permanently with brother in another state and my parents really didn't see her but a few times in her final years. Otherwise, not really any interaction with the aging parents. My parents moved me across the country when I was 3 and so we had really no contact with aging relatives, we just simply received the news that so-and-so had died.
No sane, mentally balanced parent wants their child to suffer because of their needs. I take that as a given. So if your parents' needs have outrun your capacity, you need to have help come in, or you need to turn their care over to authorities who can force care for them. (yes mom, running marathons, but not dealing with an unreasonable elder. I could run a marathon; I can't do what you want me to do, which is to make you and dad young and healthy again. And by the way, I'm not you. I'm me. I may have more limitations than you did". (OBTW, did your parents take good care of their parents, hands on?)
Honestly the suicide talk goes back about 5 years (at least) so I stopped taking it seriously a while back. That was how she let me know she wanted my dad out of the house: she said she would either kill herself or move out to a hotel and leave him there alone if I did not move him, pronto. So that's what I did.
Time to deal with mum's issues. She is, to me, showing a pattern of decline typical of dementia.
'Incidentally - do you have POA financial and health for both your parents?
Your mum is a disaster waiting to happen and that includes your dad when he is with her. Would a visit by APS identify that your mum needs help? Can you discuss this with the staff/social worker at the facility and see if they have any ideas about keeping dad there? What is his doctor's view of these visits? (including the verbal cruelty). Is he noticeably distressed/disoriented after them?
I completely agree that a threat of suicide has to be taken seriously, and followed up.
Let us know how things pan out,
If she doesn't have dementia, I'd tell her that; that you are prepared to walk away from her threats and let "the State" take over her care. This of course is the nuclear option, but it's the one to keep in mind when you have the following conversation. Just remember that you are NOT negotiating and not wheedling.
"Mom, I can't do this any more. Your care, dad's care, the care of your property needs to be handled by professionals. I can hire help for you. But I'm going to die if I keep trying to do this all myself. I"m not so young anymore and I have other responsibilities."
Mom: "Oh, you're so full of it, I'll just kill myself".
You "Mom, since you've threatened self harm, I'm going to have to call 911 right now. You need to be evaluated by professionals"
Mom: "Oh, so you're so important, you can't take care of your mom and dad; forget about it, I'll be fine".
You: "No mom; I've called the EMTs. If THEY decide not to transport you, the Area Agency on Aging will be here in a few days to assess the level of care you need. A geriatric care manager will help find you that care. I'm sorry, but since you won't cooperate with me, your loving daughter, I've got to leave your care in professional hands."
Where does one find a Geriatric Coordinator? Of course, mom will refuse any outside help.
Is your mom driving your dad back and forth? I wonder if she is a safe driver and should be out on the roads at this point. Maybe this is one way to address this situation?
This must be breaking your heart.
Ideally, both Mom and Dad could be together in a very nice assisted living, even separate rooms/apartment. I have seen this when the wife just gets so overwhelmed, frustrated, and angry that she moves the hubs out. Neither do very well apart for long. She must have got burned out. There is no shame (or shouldn't' t be) in getting burned out, or having a mental illness. Any type of cognitive decline requires assistance imo.
1) Mom at home cannot maintain the home and must have help. Call in professionals to keep the home up, because this time goes by fast before a crisis makes it impossible to live there. You can, move her to senior housing temporarily to fix up the house. They will need the money from the home for housing later.
2) Dad at AL is entitled to leave on outings. If they are drinking still, he would want to go with her, and that would be destructive to his memory, imo. Even if they are not drinking, they might just miss each other and are negatively bonded in their marriage.
It is all very sad, but for the health of Dad (memory care), something has to change, you are right. Keep alcohol away from him because of the meds.
3) You are sounding understandably burnt out, so call in a Geriatric Coordinator for both parents. It is not for you to have to take this all on yourself. Send care, oversee this from the distance of your own home. If you don't have a home, move out and get one so you can survive this. Imo.
Sorry, but that is the best I've got for you. My heart goes out to you in this difficult situation. Please try not to take sides, both parents are needing more help.
I understand that the logistics seem impossible, especially financially and with resistance from your Mom. There was already a crisis when you had to move dad (abruptly). Someone needs to take action quickly, imo, to intervene. You were there, but that must have taken a lot out of you. So sorry it has come to this in your lives. If you could look at it from a Geriatric Coordinator' s perspective, it may seem complex but with some simpler solutions.
Her suicide threats would seem to make that something to be seriously considered. Perhaps even an inpatient stay....
Isn't it horrible to watch your parents devolve into this? And then not even have a sibling to go through it with?
So, I come here to find out if the things I am feeling or thoughts I am having are correct. And of course to vent. This forum is the only place I have to discuss these horrible issues that are taking over my life.
My parents are educated, world traveled, and were very kind and compassionate people. They used to do things like volunteer at animal shelters, thrift stores and the library. They were marathon runners that traveled around the southeast United States and competed for many years while I was growing up. I am baffled every day as to how we ended up at this point.
I’m an only child too except my dad acts like your mom and my mom is the one suffering from dementia. My dad had allowed my mom to go hungry rather than bother to feed her. She had lost a lot of weight. She couldn’t manage her self care, was not bathing or changing clothes and my dad complained that mother didn’t DO HIS LAUNDRY! Just my dad’s narcissist personality, just like when I was growing up. If dad went to the store he’d just buy crap and she couldn’t live on crullers and chips! There’s no way I’ll ever trust my dad to care for her again! That’s why mother is in ALF where she’s safe and well fed and has company and friends and laundry services and they shower her! If I hear he’s been taking her home there’ll be a report to elderly abuse!
I am disabled and live 3-4 hours away from my parents but now I’m not being fooled by my dad anymore. He’ll pay her bills too! Because I’ve not seen her so happy in years.
Don’t just take your parents word that things are fine. My dad was eavesdropping when I’d talk to mother on the phone! Finally the sheriff called me and alerted me to what was going on.
Verbally abused mother and physically if you count starving her! Never in all my days would I think this could happen! I was fooled!
She is struggling, isn't she? - and very blue. And apparently either not seeing or not caring about (or both, I guess?) the impact it has on you.
Does she have any other known health issues besides her desperately low mood?
Dad pretty much refuses to participate in anything. I am only 50 and work 6 days a week so I can only do so much. I have asked my mom to try to attend some things there, like maybe Bingo or something and participate with him to get him involved, but she refuses. Mom has been pretty snippy with the staff and has dropped the F-bomb there a few times to both staff and residents. It's quite lovely.
She is not adjusting well at all. The whole move initially was sort of "respite care". She was supposed to take a few months to get herself stronger and get organized and get the house in order. What she has done is given up. She's just turned 76, is rapidly becoming very weak and wobbily, and the house is going downhill quickly. I'm trying to get her to move out but she refuses. She hates the house and says there's bad memories there but she says she won't move. She says no apartment living because she doesn't want to talk to other people. She says she will commit suicide if I try to move her to any type of assisted living facility.
It's like this bizarre dementia version of the movie Groundhog Day with my two parents.
Yes, dad comes home happily but he is very confused about - why he can't move back home? Then she gets mad at him. She takes him home around 9:30 AM, then he begs not to be dropped back off until after lunch, and then she gets made because she is responsible for providing him lunch, and then he is sad when he gets dropped off again.
I should try having a word with her, or better yet getting someone she'll listen to to have a word with her, about its being much better for your father not to have his routine disrupted or his environment changed. Remind her that she was forced to accept this decision, it wasn't the choice she'd have made if she'd had one but she didn't. Now we all have to make the best of it. That kind of thing.
Try to get your Dad signed up to activities and therapies - as many as they have - so that he's always booked.
Meanwhile, hugs and more hugs to your mother. *Apart* from the dad aspect (yes, I do realise it's a biggie), how is she adjusting to being on her own?
I'm wondering if there is perhaps some cognitive decline and/or mental illness involved here.
Her treatment of dad may be abusive; I would consult with dad's doctors on this and then cross the difficult decision of trying to figure out how to prevent her from taking him out.