My dad had a medical issue in January and has been in skilled nursing for rehab or custodial care since then. He cannot ambulated without help, needs help with bathroom, etc. Prior to that he was living in an independent apartment with my mom. He is 89 mom is 91. Mom cannot care for him and he requires 24/7 care. The facility he is in is great but there are no patients or residents that he can converse with, he feels he is not in control of his life and he misses my mom. How do I help him—any ideas? I am also struggling with my loss of him in this situation and I know my mom is struggling too. Thank you!

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Unfortunately there may come a point as life moves forward in which health and safety and necessary support for basic living activities assume a greater level of importance than ur former lives permit.

Your father may have reached that point. He is unhappy, and his family is unhappy, but his basic care is no longer manageable in the setting in which he was living before.

It IS possible to develop social contacts within a skilled nursing facility setting, and there MAY be sources where he is living now that he hasn’t yet accessed, or that because of Covid, have temporarily been curtailed or postponed.

Can you contact the social service department and find out for him if there are provisions in place for “opening up” the facility as control of the virus continues to progress?

Under normal circumstances, families are often included in social events in residential care facilities, and of course, all of this kind of contact has been curtailed. In the next few months, we should all see progress in the normalizing the return of previously enjoyed activities for this population.

Although his choices are presently likely to be severely limited, it may help him to feel more control if you can offer him simple choices- what to wear, choosing his menus, using a remote to pick out his TV favorites, anything you can come up with that will allow him to express and act on his own choices.

Tough times, but hopefully brighter days in the future.

Unfortunately you will be called upon in your dealings with him to maintain a relaxed, positive front. Tough for you, but important for him and your mom. For the near future, try to make his current situation as positive as you can, and assure him that he’s is in the best and safest place for him, and that as Covid management improves, you and he can hope that day to day life gets better.
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Connie....this is a difficult question because there isn’t much you can do to help him accept this big life change for him. Your dad's situation sounds very similar to my dad's. He too had to move from AL which he loved to the NH because of a fractured femur and being wheelchair bound. He absolutely hated it and lost his friends and couldn’t make friends where he was. He blamed me for it all. I knew this was where he needed to be but he couldn’t accept it. It is this giving up of control that is so hard as it would be for any of us. So I don’t have a way you can help him except to visit and attend activities with him. I hope your mom visits him daily. This is just hard on everyone.
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As facilities open back up in your area, it would do your father good if you could bring your mom to see him on a regular basis. That will make both he and your mom happy for sure. And until then(if they're not open yet )make sure that you are letting them visit via skype, or some other facetime app. They just need each other in whatever capacity possible. Best wishes.
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