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After years of trying to get him go to the doctor my dad was diagnosed with advanced dementia. In April the doctor said he will likely need assisted-living by the summer. The family including him talked about it and he agreed to go into the assisted living center near my house and at least try it for three months. Part of the issue was he was unable to remember to take his medication and we were hoping getting the medication consistently would be helpful. He begrudgingly agreed to do three months. When we began the process he would periodically freak out. Even though he originally picked out a 2 Bedroom Apartment at the senior living center every time he went back to look at it he forgot he had been there before and would get Really angry saying it’s like a prison why are we doing this to him etc. By the time moving in happened he had deteriorated even more. He’s been in there less than two weeks and is so depressed. He absolutely hates it there and wants to move back to his house but literally can’t carry out the smallest tasks anymore. He’s blaming it on the upheaval and I wonder if that could be part of it? Ultimately the issues he was having living at home were manageable if we were to get someone to go to his house and make sure he takes his medication and check on him. It’s just that we had all decided together because of what we know is to come he would move closer to us into the living center that is able to provide different levels of care And we moved forward with that. He has a driving test next week and he will lose his license. There’s a lot of underlying issues that deal with him being triggered with childhood trauma based on living in a facility like that. Within the first week he was absolutely miserable And depressed. One day he said he feels comfortable there and he likes it the next day he is absolutely irate and going downstairs asking the front desk how long is he there for and when can he leave etc. Even though it’s just a senior living facility and they bring you three meals a day snacks and just help him take his medication. I don’t know how to help him understand what’s going on and the reality is that if he really wants to leave there’s nothing we can do to stop him. The reality also is that he lacks the ability to do it. Any insight would be incredibly helpful. Thank you!

Please, for his welfare and for the welfare of all of you who love him, stop trying to discuss or reason with him.

It is very possible that your father’s condition has NOT deteriorated, but rather that you are seeing behavior that he was previously trying to conceal from his family. Very few new residents in full time care adjust comfortably after two weeks, and MUCH more time should be given him to adjust before even considering changing in his surroundings again.


”Reasoning” is no longer a function of his brain that is useful for him.

He will NOT be “happy” or “comfortable” or “content”, because his brain is losing more and more ability to work every single day.

Your attempts to “help him understand” are not useful or helpful.

He is NOT being “triggered” by childhood trauma. His behavior is resulting from his dementia tia.

You and your family have lovingly decided that he needs consistent, compassionate care, and you have found a place where care can be provided for him. He may need anti-depressant medication and/or mood stabilizers to get through his adjustment to full time care.

Short visits from family members in very small groups will help his adjustment.
EVERYONE who enters residential care “wants to leave”, but sometimes that is not possible. The “best” thing for someone suffering from dementia is not always something that makes the patient and the whole family “happy” at LEAST NOT AT FIRST.

You have made the BEST decision for your father. Trust yourselves and be at peace that he is now safer, and in a situation where his needs can be monitored consistently.
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Nainoa Jun 12, 2021
Thank you!
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I would not use the word "dementia" with your father because of all the negative emotions engaged with the word. I spoke to my parents about specific things they were having trouble doing, like remembering to take medication when needed. We frequently repeated the same conversations because they did not remember the prior conversation where they have agreed to something. I found writing it down and posting it was very beneficial. Some things I "posted" like the new address and telephone numbers when they moved. Some things I wrote into letters, telling them where they were, why they were there, and when I would be back. When my father moved into MC, his letter included all the options I thought he would like: the kitchen that was opened 24/7 and would fix him a snack, the porch with rockers, and the garden he could sit in. I also told him where his clothes and other things were stored in the room, added some simple labels to his dresser, and used clear plastic boxes to store some things he used frequently. Often, if the LO cannot see it, it doesn't exist.

Dementia is very different for each person. What worked in one case may be a complete failure with someone else. I do know that the confusion of a failing mind and loss of memory is universally difficult for the person and their family. The person has difficulty waking in a new place and not recognizing where they are or why they are there. The family has difficulty adjusting to the fact their LO can discuss and agree to a course of action, totally forget about it, and express great anger where the "agreed-upon plan" is implemented. Although intellectually we know our LOs have memory problems, we frequently miss (at least initially) the implications of that loss.
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Nainoa Jun 13, 2021
Thank you for taking the time to give your advice. I’ve done all of the visual representations too but none of it seems to help.
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Repeat this to yourself every time you are frustrated "My Dad had advance dementia. He can't understand."

There may be many good reasons (your mental health) to explain things to your Dad. His understanding isn't one of them
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The words he uses…saying it feels like a prison, wants to go home, hates it there….is like the dementia record being played by so many who move into a facility. My dad used many of those same phrases. Each move was upsetting to him as he advanced through the levels. It always took at least 3 months to adjust.
Is your dad social? If not it will be harder. By the time my dad decided it wasn’t beneath him to play bingo he looked forward to it every day. He found a group of men to sit with at meals that he enjoyed. Does this facility have activities? If so, can you be there during some of them to encourage his participation. I would often plan my visits to my dad when he was in LTC during a game time like bingo or dominoes and participate with him. Can you visit with the director and have them help get your dad included and also find some men to talk with? Just know what he is going through is typical. They aren’t used to group living first of all, and the new routine and surroundings are difficult with dementia.
Your family made the right decision, try to go with the spirit that he is safe, getting care and having opportunities for socializing. He will want to blame you but you aren’t the bad guy, the brain disease is that made this decision necessary. Know that many of us have been right where you are.
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MHHE1967 Jun 20, 2021
I wish I could be there and participate with my loved one’s activities, but no visitors are permitted past the front parlor because of Covid.
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Yes, moving can cause the dementia to advance. Moving him back would be moving him twice. Would not undo what has been done. Stopping driving will also be a blow. He may need depression medication to help him adjust. If he is already on an antidepressant, he may need it increased. We recently increased my DH aunts and she is much more pleasant. This is a huge thing he is doing. Not easy. But necessary. I would not encourage him to go back home, it will all have to be done over again with even less ability to adjust.
Watch Teepa Snow videos to see how she teaches caregivers to interact with dementia patients. That might be helpful for you.
You can’t make him understand. If it makes you feel better to discuss it with him, then there is that, but each conversation is complete unto the moment. He won’t retain much if any of it. Keep telling him he is doing great, you are proud of him, you are glad you can stop in to see him, he really likes his new place, you like it too and you know he likes the food and the nice staff. He was so wise to choose such a nice place. Etc. I hope he adjusts soon. I know it feels sad to see him there. I hope you get two positive days in a row very soon.
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Nainoa Jun 12, 2021
Thank you so much
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Your father does not need to comprehend his dementia. He just needs to be in a safe environment. If he is confused and disttaught, it may be time to re-assess the necessary level of care.
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There is no reasoning with someone who has dementia, as "logic doesn't live here anymore"(that's a saying form my local caregivers support group, and it's a good one to keep in mind).
Are any of you POA for your dad? If you are and since he's been diagnosed with dementia, whoever the POA would have the final say as to where dad will end up. Even if dad says he wants to leave, he wouldn't be able to.
Continuing to move him will only confuse him more. He just needs time to adjust to his new living arrangements, and if he needs to be given an antidepressant for his depression, then have the Dr. prescribe it.
I'm sure this is very hard on you, but you must now do what is in the best interest of you dad and his safety. Here's hoping things will calm down for all of you as time goes by.
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Nainoa Jun 12, 2021
Thank you so much for taking the time to give your advice!
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Hi there, I suggest that you check out Teepa Snow on youtube, she has a facebook page with live discussions, and her website...she is pretty much the expert on Dementia (alzhemiers, lewy body etc), I have relied on her information for quite sometime...like my Dad, there is no ability to reason because he can't, his brain is not capable...I listen, tell him I understand his feelings, then redirect him...I think Teepa has a video on youtube, fb page about when patients what to go home etc. Unfortunately from what I understand, moving your Dad home is not a good idea, he will need more care...Dementia is a dying brain, Teepa explained, there will come a point when his brain changes will result in the inability to be mobile, affect his eating and drinking.. Losing his license, will be hard, its the loss of independence...I think Teepa covers this as well, along with communication...Teepa's skills knowledge are my resource to get through this situation with dementia...
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I usually advise my families that it often takes a minimum of 3 months to adjust to a big change such as entering a facility. The truth is that it’s very possible Dad wouldn’t be able to go back even to the level of function he had 2 weeks ago because of the progression of the disease. Often the routines and familiar surroundings help an individual to disguise their true level of disfunction until the brain gets to the point where no more covering and adjustments can happen. Also keep in mind that families often step in and take care of of some things and don’t realize how much they are truly doing to help the person function. When that support goes away (like when a person goes to a facility or is even hospitalized due to injury or health) the true state of a persons ability and the effect of the progression becomes obvious. Give dad time. He may calm down a bit as he starts to adjust. He also may always want to go home. Tgat can be normal, and it isn’t always the home you think he means. Short-term memory loss and misfiring of signals in the brain can mess with the normal perception of what home means. And by the way, the staff at the facility are acquainted with this behavior. Stop reasoning with a person who is unable to understand or remember logic. Get into his world and react to his feelings. Ask him to tell you what his favorite part of home is. Each person is different and what works will be different. Eventually memory care may be appropriate. Good luck with the transition!
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Grandcaravan Jun 15, 2021
Perceptive explanation! Thx
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He belongs in memory care, not assisted living.
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Invisible Jun 15, 2021
I remember a man from my father's memory care who belonged in memory care but was physically healthy and relatively young. He was a Vietnam Vet and he was very unhappy. Wanted to be at the VA with his fellow soldiers. He spent his days pacing the hallway from the dining facility back to his room and refused to eat normal meals, preferring PB&J in his room. It was like watching a caged animal.
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