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My Dad who suffers from dementia, progressing over the past year or so, lives with me. I am unhappy in my home, and there is nothing available for either one of us in the area. Also, my Dad is worsening & I need help. I am considering renting a home in a 55+ community, to give him the socialization, activities, etc., knowing he needs that, probably in home care too. I am hoping that I won't be so miserable, with all the house issues, and will be a lot of work, but, I am being told by friends, get in home care first (I am burning out), then worry about moving to a 55+ community, along with all the other things on my plate, my sister unexpectedly passed away last year, so I have all of that too & it's only ME, no other family. Which step comes first?????

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ssands1, firstly, my sincere condolences on the sudden death of your sister last year. No doubt it was quite a shock to your system and having been robbed of the chance to say goodbye. Is a grief support group something that might help you/be interested in?

In terms of stress level, a move is as stressful as a death; can you handle both in less than 2 years, and what effect would that have on your health? That being said, the stress of living in a place you don't like also takes a toll on your well-being. There is something about crowded conditions and lack of space that significantly impacts on your psychological well being.

You mention your father's dementia is progressing. Will a move cause him extreme confusion and disorientation? I made the mistake of removing dad's bed from mom's bedroom to give her more space following almost two years since my dad died. She was extremely upset, disoriented and didn't recognize where she was anymore, and continues to be in this state after several weeks. So depending on the stage of dementia, a change can be traumatic and can worsen it, sometimes permanently.

Is your father open to social/recreational activities and in home help/ personal support/companionship? If so, that is a big plus, and I encourage you to have these arrangements set in place before his dementia progresses further.

Big decisions to make. You might want to set up a decision making grid, where you create a table listing the alternatives horizontally and the factors vertically (in order of importance); then assign a value to each alternative depending on its cost/benefits.

I wish you the best.
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I am unhappy in my house, I don't want all the responsibilities of being a home owner anymore, aside from the fact that the area we live is over populated, too congested, and offers NOTHING for seniors, dementia, or even Me! Now, I know also I have to get help, everyone says get "private duty", but prices are same, and I know all the pros, but with agency, you have bonding, insurance, back up, and something to stand on, should it be necessary. Another thing, the medical community stinks, I can't get Psych appts for 2+ months, now Neurologist, 2+ weeks, my Dad is being put on meds, then taken off, then told to consult with other Specialist, it's CRAZY!
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Well, I ruled out a 55+ community, (the single family homes) people are too independent, clubhouse miles away. Now, I am looking at renting single family home centrally located to resources, I know Dad will be disoriented, but, it's for HIM, as well as me. I have to get out of this area, there's nothing!
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Shelter in place.
Moving is very stressful.
Everyone's advice is really good here, and I do hope you are able to move someday.
Keep talking, keep visiting here, and asking questions.
You will be surprised at how many crisis moments one can get by with a little help from your new cyber friends.

So sorry for your loss of your sister last year. You will meet some others who will show you that even after a year, your grief is normal.

Welcome! When it all falls to you, just a little help can make a huge difference.
Don't give up, and let us know how you are getting on.

Hugs for you and your father. {{{HUGS}}}
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Depending on your age, a retirement community might be a good fit for your dad but not so much for you. While people as young as 55 can live there, from my experience it tends to be an older crowd closer to 70 and up. Would you be happy there? I'll be 55 in January and while im sure I'd be happy in a place like the one my parents first moved to someday - that day isn't anytime soon. So - do you and your dad need to be under the same roof for financial reasons as well as your dads health? If no, do consider moving dad but maybe you can find something different for just yourself if it's a matter of you also not liking where you currently live. If you need to be with your dad - do consider the suggestions of the previous posts to get help for your dad - and therefore you - where you currently are. If nothing else, getting a bit of a break from your caregiving role will free you up to make a better choice to where you and dad could move to.
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Keep relief right where you are. It can be temporary while you are figuring out/deciding the long-term strategy, but don't wait any longer. Pam has good suggestions about the kind of help to get, but start with your own hot buttons. If Dad can and does shower himself just fine perhaps a bath aide isn't the highest need. Most people welcome cleaning help. Maybe you really need a lawn service. Whatever your highest stress items are, get help in those areas!

Another way you can meet your father's socialization needs is via an Adult Day Health Program. Look into that in your community.

I'm not discouraging a move -- that may be a good long-term solution. Just don't wait for that before getting help.
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Another thought on priorities - if your father hasn't created an estate plan, that's a top priority.
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Prioritize - which are the most important issues?

Moving is a major task; the research you need to do can be done while you're working on other issues. Are you unhappy in your home because of the caregiving situation, or do you dislike the house? If the former, that isn't going to change that much in a 55+ community - you'll still be living together.

You write that your father's dementia is progressing; do you have any indication from his medical team what kind of dementia he has, what the progression rate generally is, and what you can expect in the short or long term future? This would probably affect your plans to move or not to move.

Have you tried senior centers for activities? Libraries? A lot depends on your father's state of dementia. In Miami, I would think there would be an active senior center that could help with activities.

What did your father enjoy doing, and can he do that in some limited way now? If not, what can he do for activities?
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If I am reading this right, you plan to leave your home and move to a 55+ community? Sounds like a good idea, as there would be more activities and probably some people of your Dad's age. Now I believe in some community you would need to be 55+ yourself in order to move in, unless they allow you since you are the prime caregiver.

First thing to do is see if this is affordable, between your funds and your Dad's funds. Secondly, make sure the community has resources on-site for higher level of care when the time comes that your Dad would need that. Some community have the option of aging in place, may not be in the same building but still within the complex.

Some places have a waiting list with a refundable deposit, so in the mean time try hiring a caregiver for 3-4 hours per day or for 8 hours on one day so you can get a break. I know, if you are already exhausted, there isn't much one can do on a break.
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First you get relief at home, where you are. Bring in a cleaning lady once a week for two hours and a bath aide weekly for him. That's cheaper than moving and renting.
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