My 84 yr old husband has dementia --diagnosed 2 yrs. ago --and relies on me to keep his life running smoothly. He thanks me often for taking such good care of him. For the last 5 years or so, we have discussed relocating to AL or FL from NC. We now live in a beautiful home with a landscape we created that brings us great pleasure in viewing--but no longer in working at. (I am 72) We are on a mountain road and his balance issues and neuropathy prevent him from leisurely walks in the neighborhood. His short term memory is very poor. He does continue to perform chores at home & visit with neighbors; he is generally loving and pleasant. On one hand, I'd like to offer him an environment he might enjoy more than where we live now; on the other, I am afraid of setbacks that will occur in a major relocation--learning where things are, remembering where he is. Socially, he is not the guy he used to be so I believe that our knack for making "couple friends" will be greatly restricted. Part of me wants to offer him a place to watch the sunset over the water, a place with flat ground and pleasing surroundings, a place I might enjoy more too. I'm the rudder of this ship, though, and there are no guarantees that I would have any hands on deck if I fell ill in a new environment. The negatives of a move from where we now live are apparent to me. Still, part of me wishes to provide the best, most enjoyable life for him while he is capable of enjoying it. Your insights and experiences will mean a lot to me.

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This is a rather heartbreaking decision as your hubby has friends where he is now. However, it is one in which a move, for EITHER of you will not get easier. I myself would be doing the move, but I would feel the same uncertainty and trepidation concerning you at this time.

I sure wish you good luck. A few decades ago we built a small house in the country in a wild stretch of land, hedgerow and all, glass fronted. And thought to move there in retirement. We lived in and loved it part time for a decade and one half then realized that its care wouldn't be in our hands, that we were beginning to take spills as we worked the land, and that we would be too cut off from help, from transit when we could not longer drive. We let it go, with love, with heartbreak, but packed our memories with us.

For your husband this would be a hard move, but it may go well; it is just so difficult to guess. I sure wish you luck. I know I haven't helped you make this hard choice but I think you already know what answer you will eventually HAVE to make. My very best to you.
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Reply to AlvaDeer

You already are providing him with "the best, most enjoyable life for him" just by being the loving wife you are and keeping him safe in an environment that he is already familiar with.
Uprooting a loved one with dementia can be quite detrimental for that person as their whole routine is disrupted and they lose the familiarity that was once around them.
I'm sure you already know that when ones brain is broken(as with dementia)that keeping a routine is of utmost importance and keeps peace and stability in their lives.
So while relocating sounds good in theory, realistically at this point in his journey, it's probably not the wisest.

Years ago the people that we bought our house from were moving from NC to IA to be closer to their daughter who lived there. The man had dementia and shortly after the move he went downhill rather quickly and she ended up having to place him in a facility. She later agreed that the move was just too much for him.
So I would just say, you're doing a great job and you're blessed that right now your husband is kind and still loving. Please enjoy that while it lasts and don't take one day for granted with the man you love, as there will come a day when you will wish he were here for even just one more day. This I know all too well.
God bless you.
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Reply to funkygrandma59

Do you have family and a support system in North Carolina? If you do I advise staying where you are but selling the house and finding a more manageable home to live in.
That may be another house, condo, townhouse or apartment.

If you dont have family or a good support system where you live now, maybe moving would be positive.

If you do move make sure to find a location close to medical facilities, shopping, assisted living and memory care facilities that are decent etc. Dont move to a rural area where you have to drive long distances for the basics.

Move with the future in mind about what you and husband will need a few years down the road. I would think florida would be your best option rather than Alabama.
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Reply to sp19690

Sharon71, welcome to the forum. Moving at any age can be difficult.

Finding a house or 55+ community in a neighborhood you like. Then the move itself with first downsizing "stuff", and oh how we can accumulate things. Not easy tossing out, donating, and carrying it with you to a new place. I remember when my Dad moved to senior living, I asked him to narrow down his collection of books. The standing joke was he went from 200 books down to 199. I let them take all his books with him, it was his cocoon.

Your hubby would be lost in the new kitchen, because items are now in different locations. Where is that silverware drawer? Hmmm, what cabinet now has the coffee cups? So much harder when one has memory issues.

Oh, just think of looking for all new doctors, specialists, and dentist. And finding where they are located. Are there any nearby Urgent Care offices? Medical care is so very important.

Let's not forget, getting a new hairdresser and barber. Hope there is a branch of your bank in the new location, if not, the hunt for a new bank. And just learning all the new streets, that will be on your shoulders. Finding a good mechanic.

And one thing rarely anyone thinks about, the local newspaper and local TV news. With the local TV news, all the anchors will be new to both you and hubby. It may make hubby think he is on vacation, and he might be asking when is it time to go home.

You mention that your hubby has good friends. He would miss them so much, and not be there if you need help with hubby for minor things.

You are need to be aware of the weather in a new location. How does the weather compare to where you now live?

So much to think about !!
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Reply to freqflyer

Honestly, I'd try to find the joy where you are but on a smaller scale, because the reality is that it is difficult to make new friends anywhere, but when you have someone who is diminished, it'll be exponentially more difficult. People who are not already invested in you from years of friendship will be unlikely to take on a new, "difficult" friendship. Add to that the extreme difficulties your husband will have in a new location with all unfamiliar faces, and I think you're just piling on negative after negative from which there'll be no going back.

I'd advise trying to adapt to his limitations where you are, because what little is familiar to him will be the best for him. Drive to a flat park where you can take strolls together, and visit with friends while he still can, because they're your support system, too.
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Reply to MJ1929

Moving will be harder than you can even imagine in a situation like this! I'll send you a private message about my experience in doing it. You can find it under your profile.
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Reply to Fawnby

I say this as an inveterate daydreamer and fantasizer. The desire to alleviate one's problems by moving to a new location is so universal that a clichéd — but true — response arose from it: wherever you go, there you are. It seems there are many reasons to stay and many downsides to leaving. Of course only you know all the ins and outs of your situation, and I hope this doesn't sound presumptuous. But I would be brutally honest with myself about how much of the motivation to move is based in a desire to escape a situation that is, sadly, inescapable. Having said that, there is nothing inherently wrong with what I call "palliative daydreaming": spending some time imagining that sunset over the water, the pleasing surroundings you'd enjoy. Think of it as a visualization technique to bring some peace and comfort to your day. I wish you the best, whatever you decide to do!
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Reply to GB2112

Would it be possible to do a “trial run?” Rent for 3 months or so in the area you are considering moving, and see how that goes? Perhaps call it a vacation? I know there are lots of variables affecting a person’s ability to do that type of thing such as finances, medical appointments, etc but perhaps it is a possibility.
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Reply to pheochrom

I can only speak from my own experience. My wife and I did this with my mother. We moved her to be closer to us, thinking it would help her onset dementia.

Instead, it seemed to make her condition worse. Once she moved, in unfamiliar surroundings, her condition accelerated and she would be gone a year later.

I'm not sure if moving her was such a great idea to be honest. We're also not sure how bad she was before she moved. I suspect it was pretty bad because on the flight to her new home she went to use the restroom and then tried to go back to her seat, her pants still down around her ankles.
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Reply to Raysot

My husband and I live in a 750 home, 55 plus lifestyle community. The home is smaller but handicap accessible. We have community spouses with dementia. We came from many locations within the past 5 years and made many new friends. While our neighbors with dementia can still be included in many social events, our quality of life is easier. Most of us can walk up to a mile or less to our ammenities. My bocce club includes 3 people with dementia who only need cues of the color ball and when it is their turn. We even help each other with transportation and have our own dementia support group among 30 clubs.
If your husband is ambulatory and rather social, you might want to investigate.
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Reply to MACinCT

My on experience with moving to warmer by the sea place was different.We lived in beautiful place, surrounded by gorgeous view of ocean by the beach, made more friends than ever. Then diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease came for my husband, we moved back here. Which I somewhat regret, I lived in several countries and would gladly move to warmer climate.
Try for a short trip, once you settle life is pretty much the same, even the best view becomes boring for some.
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Reply to Evamar

Age, dementia, and neuropathy are terrible combo. For walks on mountain roads, try a mobile chair.
Any change will upset the routine... prepare for the worst. Moving to warmer Florida is better than cold Alaska. Fl presents problems of natural disasters (storms and hurricanes) and power outages and flooding. What will be his and your reactions?
Weigh each change carefully. Maybe the current situation is good and stable. Good luck and wish you well.
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Reply to apramsssf

The church we went to for years dissolved so we had to change to a new one. It frustrates me that no one there knows the "real" Bill and aren't interested in getting to know the Bill with all the health problems which I totally understand. It was hard for me to make new friends because when being introduced, my focus still had to be on Bill or otherwise he may move out of my sight. New couple friends are next to impossible now. Had we been able to stay in the old church, there were men who knew him before his decline and probably would be more supportive now. I agree your home as it is now probably is not the best option, but if it were me, I would consider searching for a more appropriate home in the same area so you don't lose contact with all your friends. Perhaps occasional short vacations could help going somewhere more appropriate before he becomes to easily confused.
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Reply to KPWCSC

Sharon71: In my humble opinion, this potential relocation would be deemed more difficult than you may fathom. Moving is hard enough, but add in the fact that you're both elders with one of you having a dementia diagnosis, that compounds the difficulty.
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Reply to Llamalover47

One of the issues that comes with later ageing is that the world shrinks to the inside of a building. For many elders, it doesn’t really matter where it is, and convenience for visitors is more relevant. Visits from old friends are going to drop off as well, because they get older and fewer themselves.

In your situation, the range of answers and experience is just more evidence that it’s hard to predict how things will go. Will the disturbance make current problems worse? Or will the easier conditions give a longer period where things will be more enjoyable? You are a decade younger than your husband, so where would be best for you if you outlive him?

If you decide to move, you could try to treat it in the same way as setting up a new room in a facility – bring as much familiar stuff as will fit in the more limited space. I’d consider taking photos of some things and taping the photos to the outside of cupboards and drawers – even an actual teaspoon! You could take the door off the cupboard with mugs in it, so that it’s all visible. A strip of high-viz tape from the bed to the toilet might help at night. You will know what might help your husband find his way around a new place. You can easily remove all this once it gets to be familiar.

If you have the finances, it could be good to find local affordable accommodation, and invite a pair of friends down for a visit. A visit every couple of months might be enough to stop the feeling that you have left everything behind.

We have to get our TV and radio reception through the internet (rotten reception in our farm valley), and we can get ‘local’ programs from just about anywhere in the world. We regularly listen to the 'farm' radio when we are 1800kms away in Central Australia. That might be worth investigating, too. Best wishes with whatever you decide, Margaret
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Reply to MargaretMcKen

Sometimes dreaming of what a change might offer are very different from what actually happens. We moved our mom to our home, different geographic location, easier to care for her. The initial move was good for her because she was suddenly getting a lot of care. Last year she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and I realized I couldn’t continue to give up my life for her. We moved her to a memory care and she’s adjusting fairly well. She does seem lost at times. I wish she could have friends around who she knows. Reality is they are gone.

I think you need to make a pros and cons list. a big move will be very stressful for you and he will feel that. Maybe you could downsize locally so you still have your friends around. You can also drive to flatter areas for outing walks. Now is the time to set up helping systems for yourself to manage his care so you don’t burn out. Stress creates a quicker decline in all of us but especially with dementia.
you might be able to find a young gardener to help with upkeep.
will selling your home help you move him to memory care near your new place at the beach? Or with in home care? Or a retirement home for both of you? There are Many options.
make your list and start decluttering as though your moving to a small home. That is a huge job. There is a wonderful online class to help with decluttering (those hidden cabinets that are full, masses of photos, China, games, crafts, linens, etc). (Look up Karen Kingston) It will be a huge help to you and refresh your energy and clear your thoughts on moving forward. It’ll probably be fun for your husband to be reminded of older family stories. Good luck. My heart is with you
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Reply to PammyMom

If you move he will decline. It might be a temporary decline or he may not regain his prior cognition.
Do you have a support network where you plan on moving? Now you do have friends that you can talk to. Now..your friends will stop calling you to do things with them. And there are a few reasons for that.
1. Your husband will not want to go. He will not feel safe with others around.
2.When he does go out he will want to return home sooner than you will.
3. He may begin to cause disruptions.
4. YOU are going to start saying no you don't want to go out because you don't want to get a caregiver for the evening, you are exhausted,
As a caregiver your world begins to shrink just as much as your loved ones does.
You need to make the effort to connect with your friends. Moving to a new location you will not have that.

Would you consider moving to a "continuing care community"? A facility that has Independent Living, Assisted Living and Memory Care? For now you can both be in Independent Living, as you need more help with him you can transition to Assisted Living and get the help you need when you want it. When it becomes more than you can do he can transition to Memory Care and you could then return to IL if you wish. You could travel, you could do things knowing he will be cared for.
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Reply to Grandma1954

Perhaps you can relocate somewhere else in North Carolina that offers the sunsets and views you are looking for. There are many options that are also designed for those retired. Your happiness matters also. Plus, your support network would be closer than if you were in FL or AL. Dementia is going to continue no matter where you live. Will moving speed up Dementia? Possibly, but I believe it would eventually be the same if you don't move.
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Reply to PMW336

Has he ever asked you, “Where are we?” As his dementia progresses he may not really know where he is. As the caregiver you need to make sure you are happy too, and have assistance if needed. If you can afford in-home care you can do that anywhere. This is a hard decision for anyone to make so just do what your heart tells you. After all, you are his security and if he has you he will be as good as he can.
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Reply to BuffyRoberts

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