September607 Asked December 28, 2017

My parents are both 76 and went down hill this past November. How do I get them in the car to go into skilled nursing facility?


This past fall my dad was admitted to the hospital for over a week... I was my mom's sole caretaker, she has moderate dementia. My dad and mom refused the hospital's efforts to send him to rehab (he has mild brain damage and dementia, and acute kidney damage from this past incident). I now have medical POA and I have found a nursing facility that will not only take them both for their various needs, but will keep them together in the same room! How do I get them into the car to travel the couple of hours here, as they know there is a place for them but say they aren't leaving?!?! The nursing home will not go get them.

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katiekay Dec 28, 2017
That's great that the nursing home will let them share a room! My parents are in memory care and share a room and I hope they will be able to continue if they have to move to a nursing home in the future.

My parents did not want to go to the memory care either.. so I used some therapeutic fibbing.. told them I was taking them to lunch.. which was true.. lunch at the memory care. Once we got there it was pretty hard.. so no cake walk but at least I got them there.. with dementia you may be able to get away with some fibbing.
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surprise Dec 28, 2017
Work with the SNF, they have done this before. Ask if they can arrange for a meal and ice cream when you arrive. Perhaps you can have some belongings sent ahead via UPS so you don't need to deal with suitcases in the heat of the moment too.

When we moved mthr in, I bought her new things and dropped them by, and had already put photos on the walls. She was not aware of how long she'd been in the car, and my husband was taking her 5 hrs by himself... He was thrilled there were family bathrooms at Walmart he could take her into. He drove all day as she claimed to need to go every hour and it was another hour to get her back into the car. (Bring 1 person for each demented one so they don't out number you!)

They arrived at the facility after dark when they planned on noon! The ladies bundled her up and had her in the bath immediately (hoarding situation) and we left. They fed her in her room. For your parents, they could potentially go to their meal with ice cream while you step aside to deal with "some bathroom issues" while you step out the door to the gas station without attracting their notice. Their doc will need to Rx some anti anxiety pills so the SNF can offer them during that first week.

Best Wishes- I know it's heartbreaking. Safety over emotional comfort.
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Windyridge Dec 29, 2017
September, you’ve got to go through with this. It’s awful and it’s tough but think of what will happen if they are left to their own devices. Get past their anger and tears and make it happen.

I feel bad that my folks world has turned upside down for them but I’m sooooooo relieved that they are finally safe and well cared for.
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Windyridge Dec 28, 2017
My folks were a total train wreck but I couldn’t get them in care until mom had a really bad fall. She went from the hospital directly to assisted living. Dad had just slid off the dementia cliff at the same time. I took him to have lunch with mom and moved him in. He thinks he’s in a ski resort most of the time.

Mom is mad as hell but doesn’t have the know how to revoke my poa. And I intentionally did not put a phone in their room or she might try to lawyer up.

No one would evaluate these 2 and determine they could live at home. Not even the sleasiest of lawyers.
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Sunnygirl1 Dec 28, 2017
Are you sure they need skilled nursing care or a Memory unit? I'd just make sure that the facility can meet their needs. Also, are they private pay or Medicaid? It's my understanding that they need a doctor's prescription to enter skilled nursing care. I know that is needed for Medicaid.

Assuming that they are going to the proper place, I'd try to work with the doctor. My LO's doctor told her that she needed to go and get some physical therapy, medication established, etc. So, we called it rehab. She eventually agreed to go to Assisted Living to  get herself in better health, work on balance, meds regulated, help with memory, etc. Of course, once she got settled in, she was okay with staying and liked how they took care of her.
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JJGood19 Dec 30, 2017
At least your parents have each other. I hired a separate care giving company to help me manage my Mom's care. They helped me get Mom moved into the memory care, I did not even go. I went to see her about a week after she moved in, and kept telling her that the doctor prescribed her to stay at this nice apartment and that all the activities were designed to help her with her short term memory. She would admit to having a short-term memory issue.
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talkey Jan 11, 2018
I raised 3 girls, had a nice career, went thru a divorce, and practically hold a degree in potty-training grandchildren, but caring for Dad in my home and then placing him in Memory Care and all that followed were the hardest things I ever did. I visited every day, EVERY DAY, and made 30 trips across town to his house (that he built with mom back in 1958) to go thru more stuff than I thought anyone could accumulate, clean and paint (small ranch, but every room!), and sell the house. All-the-while dealing with some ugly sibling dynamics, and Dad just wanted to be in his home. I tried and could not keep quality, reliable help for what we could afford. After he fell a 2nd time in my home, I realized he was too much for me to handle and needed a staff (who also were mostly much younger) to care for him. Now we are on the other side, having buried Dad just last week. Still lots to do and still dealing with unpleasant sibling dynamics. I question everything that I did and cry every single day. I wish things had been different. I wish he could have stayed in his home or with me, but this way we were able to have some joy, some good times, and I was no longer exhausted. I would probably change some things today, but I did the best that I could to keep him safe and cared for, and I believe that he knew that as he took his last breaths.
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Harpcat Jan 1, 2018
You are doing the right thing that is in THEIR best interests. Forget about your feelings...think of it in terms of doing the thing that provides them appropriate care. We’d like to think we are responsible for their feelings...but we aren’t. We are not in control of that and can’t change it. So you must move past that. Approach it from a more "clinical" aspect so that you can get through it. Difficult?..yes. But not impossible. You will be glad once it’s done. Then you can be a daughter...they have each other and will adjust
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Windyridge Jan 10, 2018
Yes September, maybe set up some ground rules with staff about what warrants a phone call. Just guessing, but maybe they see you there every day and assume you want to be informed and involved in all things mom and dad.

I’m just a couple weeks ahead of you in this process.  We’re on week five I think.  I stayed around for about 2 weeks but began drawing back every day. I got to know key staff folks and saw how the place operated.

I’m 600 miles away. The staff has called me twice. Once to report on mom’s last fall/er trip and once to report on dads hitting staff/er trip. Otherwise I call for a brief update every few days. Sometimes that’s just a short text back and forth.

I haven’t talked to mom in several days. I should call her but I dread it.

Just keep plugging away. Everyone has adjustments to make. It’s never going to be perfect or without worry and hassles but it’s a hell of a lot better than having our folks stumbling around falling down houses on their own.
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Windyridge Jan 12, 2018

Very direct and honest story. “I did the best I could to keep him safe and cared for”.

I think that describes what most of us do. It’s hard to remember this when your elders are so unhappy.

My mom wants to go home where she would most likely end up dying on the bathroom or kitchen floor. Dad may or may not notice she had fallen.

I get a little stronger and more immune to the complaints each day.
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