I moved my grandparents from Florida to Texas because my grandparents had no family around them and were getting in trouble at the assisted living home there. I am still in my first year of their care. They are in a memory care facility here because he walked off down the street while we were moving them in. At times, they are a joy to be around, but many times the conversations are so stressful. My grandpa calls me regularly to tell me he needs supplies, and that he needs to go check on his house in Florida. I visit once a week to check on them and get them anything that they need. I work full time, have a family , and my teenage kids are very busy in their sports. I am completely overwhelmed with everything that I have to get done. When I get these calls or when i visit him and he tells me how miserable he is; It take everything I have not to cry. He has no hobbies, and gives me no ideas of how I can make him happy. I want to make him happy, but I know that moving facilities will not make him happy; their neighbor who helped them in FL said they had moved into 3 different facilities within 6 months. How can I tell him that I cant drive him back home, and that this IS his home? How can I get him to be happy or at least content? When my grandpa gets agitated my grandma gets agitated and anxious. She knows that he gets confused, but she has dementia too and will usually follow along with whatever he says.
Sadly, one thing that I learned is that sometimes people who have dementia are not able to be satisfied. Their brain may not allow them to settle down and enjoy things. It's not their fault. I might discuss your grandfather's day to day state of mind with the staff at his memory care facility. If he is agitated, anxious, worried, depressed daily, then why not discuss it with his doctor and see if medications might help him. Working together, maybe you could decide if meds would help him. If not, then I would work on trying to divert him to positive things and not dwell on negative.
You say that he and your grandmother have been in 3 different facilities in a short time. I would explore why. Because, if the issue is not addressed, it could continue to cause discord in any facility. Is this what you are worried about? Whatever is causing the problem, I would think a discussion with his doctor about his condition is indeed in order. Medication helped a great deal with my cousin's contentment.
Some people suggest telling the patient anything that works in the moment, because they are not likely to recall what you told them previously. It depends on the person and their memory. Usually, it's something you have to repeat over and over. I would normally agree with my cousin, who has dementia, and say we would do what she wanted later on. With the doctor's approval. Of course, she would forget that within minutes and I would have to repeat it. I tried to keep her content and change the topic to other things quickly.
You might talk to the Memory Care's activity director about the activities. I think that most states have required scheduled activities for Memory Care facilities. You can discuss what they are doing and how your grandfather gets involved. Actual hobbies, as we think of them, may not be possible for him any longer. I'd focus on things that he can do as the posters stated upthread, like looking at old photos or listening to his favorite music when you visit. The facility should have daily activities that involve him as well. He may not be telling you about them, because he forgets.
Any time my Mom asked when was she going home, I would answer "maybe tomorrow" and she accepted that. Of course we never did take her home. Plus the home she was referring to was her childhood home in another State.
You're doing the very best you can and from what you described you are doing a lot. But there may be nothing that will make your grandfather happy and it's not in your power to make him happy. You are devoted to your grandparents, you're looking out for them, you visit them regularly and that might have to be enough for now.
You've got a full-time job, kids, maybe a husband and you're overseeing the care of 2 people who have dementia. And your grandfather tells you how miserable HE is?
I know with his dementia he can't understand or see the situation for what it is. I get that. But you're doing enough. More than enough. I know you love your grandparents but it's not an ideal situation for anyone and I'm not sure there's potential for it to be an ideal situation at any time in the future. Your grandparents are going to continue to decline, your obligation and devotion to them will increase, your grandfather's not going to stop wanting to go home but maybe if you can divert him away from the topic his desire to go home will pass.
When you visit take him and your grandmother a treat. Hot fudge sundaes or some pictures you have laying around the house. Don't give your grandfather the opportunity to start telling you how miserable he is. Visit at a time when there's an activity your grandparents may enjoy, maybe something with music and singing. I used to read the magazine Reminisce with my grandma and she loved that. I'm sure there are issues laying around their facility.
It's a very difficult situation you're in. Are there other family members who can visit to give you a break?
There's nothing wrong with crying. It can be a release.
I think as soon as you realize that its beyond your power to make another person happy unless they are willing and able you will be a whole lot further in your journey.
You did not mention how old your grandfather is but I'm assuming that he is probably in his eighties?, nineties maybe? When people get to be that age it is hard to make them do anything that they are not comfortable with . I would suggest that you just be with him where he is. I spent so much of my Mom's last year trying to get her to do stuff that she was not willing and probably not able to do. Sure, encourage your grandfather but if he can't or won't then just sit with him. Get him to open up about his past. Elderly people are more familiar talking about their past especially when they have dementia. Bring in old photo albums of his if you have access to them. Encourage him to talk about the pictures. But just be with him on his level. I'm sure there are many on here that will have even better thoughts and ideas. Good Luck!