We moved my dad to a MC facility 2 weeks ago. He has went through a lot of changes in the last few months. Losing my mom unexpectedly and moving from his home in AZ to a MC facility near my family in WI. He is in mid stages of Alzheimers, he is very physically fit, but cannot live alone. He calls me multiple (15+) times per day. He tells me every day he hates it there and wants to move.
Should I expect this transition to take at least a month. Will he possibly relax and adjust?
You have no real way to “know it must be horrible for him”, because you don’t have dementia.
Most (if not all) people entering MC because of circumstances like your father’s react negatively.
Even those who know, or knew, that they needed care before they entered, will STILL react negatively because they will STILL be confused, in a different place.
Their confusion cannot resolve UNTIL they become accustomed to the structure and routine of their new surroundings.
It will be harder for you than for him, but you MUST TRY to back off and let him adjust to relating to his care staff.
Answer the phone ONCE or TWICE a day, tell him you love him dearly and you’ll see him soon, then HANG UP. If he’s using his own phone, let the batteries run out and tell him you don’t know how to recharge them.
I was able to learn all this because I was caring for TWO dependent people when my LO entered a fine residence a couple miles from my house. Before COVID we never missed visits every other day or so, but that was after we were sure that LO was enjoying her surroundings and becoming more relaxed. For her, it took 5 months, but to those of us who loved her, it was all for the best.
If your dad is safe and well cared for, you will hopefully be feeling more relaxed too. It will happen….if you let it. You chose the best place you could find. Let him learn that you were doing right by him.
Given that his ability to "understand" all these changes is irretrievably broken due to dementia, meds to calm his agitation may be the best solution available.
Your facility is the first that I know of recommending so many visits at the beginning of the process, the 5 I have dealt with all said the opposite.
You should stop answering all the calls as well, one a day should suffice unless there is an emergency.
Set some boundaries, it will help both you and he as well.
Let the trained caregiver's do their job.
Read around this site, they all want to go home (wherever that may be in their minds), most also hate the food and anything else they feel will work to get their way.
Give the adjustment period a bit of time, for sure. At least a month. Some memory care patients need the help of a mild antidepressant or other anti anxiety medication to help them adjust but you don't want something that will bring on increased falls.
No one can really give you any guess on all this; your Dad's doctors, who know him could make the best guesses and they are almost always hesitant to do so. Each patient is as individual as his or her own fingerprint.
I know there is a tendency to want to know the future. But really you are stuck in the day to day. I sure hope things go easier for your Dad soon.
15+ calls a day is obviously excessive. I would not answer that many. Maybe answer 2 a day and ignore the rest. He has to learn to rely on the staff and not so heavily on you.
It is certainly possible that he'll adjust. He may hate it and want to move at this moment but I bet he'd say the same thing about any place you moved him to so just stick it out. Dementia is horrible and I bet it is very hard to be happy.
My mom has mild/moderate dementia and is in assisted living with extra levels of help to compensate for her deficits. Luckily, she adjusted pretty quickly. I moved her there after living with me and hubby for 7 years. It just progressively got to be too much for me. Even with caregivers.
Best of luck.
While an elderly person is not quite a resilient as a college freshman, there is some value in not visiting every single day or talking on the phone 15 times a day to help your dad get accustomed to his new surroundings. He is safe, he is cared for, and you should take a few days off from visiting and limit the calls to one or two a day if you feel you have to talk to him. (I would call the people there to check on how he's doing, but avoid talking to him at all for those days.)
Most places recommend about a week of no visiting, so if you can bear to do that, give it a try. He needs to stop looking outward to you to provide him with a life and to look around where he is to find things to do and get to know his new neighbors and caregivers.
It may take him even more than a month to settle in, particularly because he hasn't been allowed to do it so far. Talk to the administrator at the MC and ask for him to receive a bit more attention when it comes to drawing him into the activities and ask if they'll try to keep him really busy for a few days. He won't have time to think about getting out or you coming to put an end to his misery if they can do that.
When my own Dad [my Mom had passed the previous year] moved to senior living, I never took him out to eat or to visit my home. I didn't want to disrupt the "routine" that the facility had in place. Dad had his meals in the main restaurant and he was assigned to sit with residents the facility thought they had in common. Amazing, the couple Dad sat with were from Dad's midwest home state and a town that Dad knew.
It was recommended by the facility to give Dad two weeks to settle in and after the two weeks then stop by to visit him. I did the daily visit thing after work. Then later it was every other day. Then once a week when I brought in supplies that Dad needed.
Dad and I would talk on the phone. But at night Dad would get into his time machine and go back to the 1940's, so I had to pretend it was 1940's myself and answer questions in that manner.
All in all, my Dad loved senior living.
The staff does recommend family visits as much as possible so the resident does not feel abandoned. He is confused with time and thinks my mom passed away 12 years ago. I am realizing I need to set boundaries for myself, he is very dependent on me which is not allowing him to make friends or participate in any activities.
Thank you again!
If you can let a few of the calls go to voice mail then call him back when it is convenient for you,. If you can give him times to call that might help. then gradually decrease the number of times he can call. Let him get used to the staff and the residents rather than relying on you.
Not sure how many days to stay away and I also am concerned about the care at ANY facility. You pay ALOT of money for these places and still have issues.
I lasted as long as I could but now he is collapsing a few times a day and has lost control of his bowels, etc...it is alot of worry. The Drs said to take him off the ALZ meds at this stage they cause more harm than good. I took him to ER for the collapsing and hospitals are a nightmare....they have no training on how to work with an ALZ patient. He kept pulling needle out and would not let them do an EKG. They did do a CT after he was strapped down and Dr said to just take him home is brain is very atrophied. That was pitiful.... I pray for you and your Dad.