My father in law wants to leave the nursing home. Any suggestions?


My father in law who is 86 has been in a Nursing Home for 1 week. He calls us day and night from his Cell. Phone waking us up. We finally turned our phones off at night. He has Congestive Heart Failure, COPD and Dementia. He can't be without Oxygen but says he is going home without the "damn" oxygen and he is going to drive. We had to take all his keys away from him.

Prior to the nursing home he was in the Hospital with fluid on his lungs for 2 weeks but never got better. The hospital released him to go home. Not sure why they did that as they knew he wasn't going to get better and couldn't care for himself. Bless his heart, We thought he would be OK to go home until we got him in the car and realized no way could he go home. He was too weak. We ended up taking him home to our house.

We just moved to our retirement home in the Country and it is only 600 feet downstairs with a bedroom upstairs. We planned on him staying on our Couch until he was better to go home. He stayed with us for 3 weeks in cramped quarters and we realized he had way more problems than we had anticipated and he wasn't getting any better. He wants to take his medication all the time and has no clue how to change his oxygen. Even after he would take his medication he would forget and want more medication. His cardiologist said he had to have full time care. He could walk to the bathroom and back with oxygen but couldn't do anything else. It is very tough taking everything away from him as he has always been independent. We were all hoping he could go home which is where he wants to be. He lives in the Country and we live 2 hours away.

We couldn't find home care 24 hours a day that was affordable as he lives too far away from a City so we had no choice but to put him in a Nursing Facility. It just isn't safe to take him home plus the Dr. said he needed full time care. He is calling us day and night saying to come get him he isn't getting better. We try to explain to him that we can't take him home but but he says he's going home with or without us. He screams at me that he wants his house keys and truck keys so he can drive and he's going to get someone to take him home from the Nursing Home. We hope that doesn't happen as he has lots of friends in the area plus he could call a cab. I told my husband we might have to take his Cell. Phone Away but we just hate to do that as he has had everything taken away from him. He is a very nice man but he has always been independent and is struggling. This has caused a lot of guilt with my husband and I. We don't know whether to tell him he isn't going to get better with his diagnosis and prognosis. He has had so much to deal with in the last couple of months. We don't think he will even understand. Any suggestions.



If he is in a NH than his evaluation says he needed to be there. The Dementia will get worse and sooner than later because of the heart failure and COPD. Maybe you can take the phone when he isn't looking. Then tell him he must have misplaced it. Really surprised he still knows how to use it. Mom forgot how to use a phone and TV remote early in her journey.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to JoAnn29

It is so very hard to be dishonest with our parents, but I wish I had 'fibbed' to Dad more. I think hope would have been better for him than the truth.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to talkey

Windy ridge is right. What your post says to us is that Dad’s brain is broken and he can’t take care of himself. He needs 24/7 supervision, observation and medical care. 95% of people who post on this site say their loved ones are raising Cain in the facility because they don’t want to be there. They cry, yell, beg, bargain and otherwise act out. From their standpoint, they are in a strange place, surrounded by people they don’t know who are insisting on taking care of them and as they see it “bothering “ them. From our standpoint, we know we can’t take care of them. We know we’d never forgive ourselves if something happened to them because we let ourselves be guilted into keeping them in their or our home.

It may be time for the therapeutic fib. “You can come to our house when the doctor says it’s ok.” We can be very creative with the TFs.

Dad will settle down after a while. I believe you made the right decision.
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Reply to Ahmijoy

My dad with dementia went into assisted living right after my mom in December. He was mad and confused, always trying to break out and find his car. After hitting a staff member he was taken in for a phyc eval and started on Ativan. It made a huge difference. It didn’t turn him into a zombie but it calmed him down. He was still a handful but he adjusted. Mom died a few weeks ago and we moved Dad to memory care where he’s doing pretty well.

This is tough stuff. But we have to face facts. My dad cannot care for himself or be on his own. The meds make it possible for him to be in care. There’s no other way in our case.
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Reply to Windyridge