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My 91yo Dad, who lives in Mass., was diagnosed with Parkinson's a few years ago and has also wrestled with depression for about 20yrs; he recently went into the hospital diagnosed with blood clots, because his typical day was sleeping/staying in bed until noon--or, more recently, 4pm or 5pm--coming downstairs, eating something, then smoking a cigar, reading the paper, and listening to the radio. Although he claimed to have many activities, he missed most of them--he wouldn't bother walking down the street to watch football with a neighbor, and when someone from the Civil War roundtable came by to pick him up, he'd still be in bed. My stepmom, 88 and with cancer, was basically dying trying to care for him, even with a woman coming in once a week. Dad's got longterm care insurance (assisted living or nursing care only) and essentially no money, so there's no way for him to get the care he needs at home. My brother and I decided, after talking with various folks, that it would be better for him to go from rehab straight into assisted living--to manage his meds and get him socializing. We had mentioned this to him last summer, and, although he was reluctant, he wasn't 100% ruling it out--and my cousin (his nephew, whose mother also suffered from depression) had apparently made some progress selling him on the idea. We found a nice place nearby, cigar-friendly, and with a former neighbor of Dad's already living there and loving it. The plan is for Stepmom to move there in a couple of months; the family dog is still alive, and she needs to wrap up some things as well (and doesn't want to move in until he's adjusted, as she will wind up killing herself trying to care for him). Well, of course, he's not happy--although he seems to be experiencing a number of mood swings. The move-in was hampered by a number of residents getting hit with the stomach flu, including Stepmom (who had to postone daily visits for several days while she recovered). My brother and I (neither of us in the same state, although my brother was out there to help facilitate the move) have been speaking to him on the phone, reiterating the need for Dad's care, the financial situation, and Stepmom's plans to move in with him. Unfortunately, he complains to her that we don't call (not true). He doesn't remember when she tells him she can't visit because she's got a visiting nurse coming to the house, and he says he can't get hold of her (even though they spoke on the phone five times today). Dad says he's perfectly healthy, without Alzheimer's or dementia. Technically true, but the short term memory is shot. Do we tell him that--explain how his short term memory is virtually non existent? If so, how? Or do we focus on the other reasons that have led to his current situation (eg, the blood clots, depression, etc)? The facility will be bringing in a psychologist to talk to Dad (and possibly modify his meds) but we are hoping to be able to say the right thing on the phone. Thanks in advance.

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Adam, I wouldn't tell your father anything that will (a) make him feel less of a man, husband, or father (b) make him realize that he's getting old (c) make him feel more vulnerable.

You might tell him that moving to AL is for the good of your stepmother as her cancer makes it too difficult for her to be the caring wife she wants to be. And tell her that moving to AL is for the good of your father, for the same reason.

If they can believe they're moving to AL to help their spouse, they can view the move not so much for them as for the spouse.

You can also tell them the move is to relieve them of some of the housework so they can spend more time doing things they enjoy.
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Sunny gives good advice. My Dad has serious short term memory loss from dementia. I have learned not to correct him or tell him I JUST TOLD YOU THE TIME ETC. Nothing is going to stick with your dad or mine. At best I remind him that he can be forgetful these days but at your age that's ok.

I tell Dad what he wants to hear and I fib a lot to get him to do things he needs to do. Luckily he's still a sweet old guy and I can get by with a lot. When he goes into care I'll have to tell him that it's temporary, a vacation place, the hospital where mom is, anything that will work for us.
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I would suggest to do and say what will work to get him the help he needs, but regardless of what you say, he's not likely to remember it. Reasoning is sometimes just not there and no matter what you say...it's just may not matter. It depends on the person and their progression. It sounds like your dad may not get on board. This is how I got my loved one to go to Assisted Living.

We went to the doctor and the doctor told her that she really needed to go to Assisted Living. She was adamant. I pleaded with my cousin and the doctor and I explained that it would be good to do temporarily for her REHAB. She would get her physical therapy, medications, blood sugar monitored, meds regulated, blood pressure monitored, memory improved, etc. She agreed to go. She soon forgot all about that though. After the dementia progresses, they will not recall why they are there. At least that's what happened with her. But, she did love it once she moved in. The staff was great to her and she has loved AL and Memory Care ever since.
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