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My question is this. Caring for her is getting to be a strain with all the needed repeating of directions etc for my Dad. He also chooses her clothes and gives her directions for doing the daily self-care needs. 2 meals a day are provided in the dining room but he is the one who has to do the choosing etc. And keep in mind he is 90 but still very sharp and up on all the current events. They do have housekeeping also. But he does the laundry but it's right there in the bathroom.

My brother thinks they should move to a asst. living facility. This would be quite a bit smaller than their present apt. Meaning Mom would have to give up many of her familiar and comforting surroundings. I know Dad would get some asst. with her but I'm wondering if it wouldn't all fall on him anyway because she'd want it that way and it would be easier to just keep her happy than let someone else do the things. Anyone have any experience with this? How much help would being in asst. living give my Dad. He doesn't need it for himself. Mom would be totally lost without him and he'd never go for moving her into a Dementia type setting as long as he can hack it. He won't even try the day-care options we've suggested.

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kwriter, if your dad is ok with the arrangement at this point in your mom's life, then he should know. I say if he's ok, then everyone should be ok. And who's to know that it won't be your mom that dies first? All this worrying about mom being left to her own devices, maybe for naught. By the time my husband and I get in our 80's, he should be WELL used to being told what to do, so he'll have a leg up. ha
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I totally agree respite care is a good idea. But Dad doesn't want to use it and I'm not there enough to percipitate it. The brother that does live there thinks it would be of no help. If I was there more often I could maybe get him to use it but then again I could give him the respite. It's not that my brother can't handle my Mom it's just that he doesn't know how to relate to her and is uncomfortable being alone with her.. He thinks there is nothing useful she can say so it's not worth the bother to communicate. The head of the retirement apt. did get him to sign Mom up for respite care after he refused me and my other brother. But he made it clear it was for emergency use only, not to give him a respite. Mom is usually easy going but can get very angry if she thinks you aren't doing right by her. I think he may feel this will be one of those angry situations and would be more trouble than help. He could be right but w/o trying it will never know.
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Thank you very much, wuvsicecream, for sharing your story of successful placement. You did what was best for your mother and I am so glad it is giving both of you peace.

How long did it take for Mom to adjust to her new home?
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kwriter13 I took care of my Mom (early dementia at this time) in my home when she could no longer live alone. She needed all the basics for a quality good of life, dressing, bathing with assistance, meals with assistance and meds taken regularly, etc.. I had her with an aid for times I worked but she really just kept Mom busy and happy, which was perfect for Mom, they both had high energy levels. Mom at that time was stable for the most part but very forgetful and had wandering issues. My Mother never cooked so I never thought she'd try. Then one day I got up in the morning and all four burners on the stove were on high and nothing on the burners. There were paper towels almost right near stove top. I asked Mom what she was doing, "I was going to make tea, but the stove doesn't work." She couldn't see the flame because the flame was blueish and I sometimes wasn't sure if it was on. I never thought she'd do that. Another day I found a steak knife hidden in her bed. That was her hiding spot. Then one day a friend called me and said I found pills in a tissue in my couch, are they your Mom's, they were. Then I started finding pills in drawers in my house too. I watched her like a hawk and she still out smarted me somehow. She started thinking I was poisoning her, she wouldn't eat her lunch if I made it. That is what she told the aid, that I was trying to kill her. She started doing all sorts of things I could not control. My boyfriend lived with us and she liked him a lot. Sometimes she thought he was a stranger. She'd say "there is a good looking man in your kitchen!" I could go on and on...
I must say that it is 3 years later and I left her today at the NH very happy and actually said to myself I am so glad she's here, I did the right thing. She was signing with the crowd "God Bless America" at the top of her lungs. She knew every word and looked at me and said I sang this in school a lot when I was a young girl. They had a singer there for the birthdays for December, they give those December birthday balloons and cake. She also thought it was her birthday, then told me her birthday but couldn't remember the year. It's not December lol don't matter she was happy about a party and cake was yummy. The hardest thing to do in my life besides putting my dog to rest was, putting my Mom in the NH. I have no regrets she's happy and safe and at peace and so am I now. It took a while for her to adjust and for the staff to get to know her personality and my guidance and input about her likes and dislikes and if I see her unstable I am on top of it and meet with staff or Dr's to express my concerns. One thing I do know is it is harder on the caregivers than it is for a person suffering with Dementia. Incontinence wasn't an issue until recently. That's an issue I would not have had a clue about how to adjust. Everyone is different but decline in behavior is going to happen with dementia. Good Luck to you and your folks
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kwriter13 it sounds like you have a very good handle on what is going on with your parents and how to support them. They are lucky to have you.

If your mother's dementia is so far advanced that your brother cannot be responsible for her for even an hour at a time, I suspect the strain on your dad is greater than he's admitting. As a caregiver for a spouse with dementia I can both understand your father's devotion and desire to stay in charge of her care and also how stressful and wearing 23/7 responsibility is.

My husband attended an adult day health program two or three days a week. This was absolutely critical to my ability to continue to care for him at home. Before I'd worry about assisted living I'd urge Dad to use the nearby dementia day care center. It doesn't have to be full days nor 5 days a week. But a few hours a few days each week would give him a much-needed break, and would allow him to participate in other activities and socialize more. He wants to keep Mother with him and stay in the independent apartment as long as possible. Taking advantage of the day care center may be a good way to meet that goal and extend the time he is able to take care of her.

Just as the move was hard but had to happen, I think arranging some respite for Dad is going to be hard, but not as hard as trying to remedy the situation if he gets totally burned out or run down.

Warm wishes to you as you continue to look out for your parents' best interests.
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Thanks for all your input. YEs they have been living in a retirement apt for over a year. THe move was hard on Mom but had to happen, Dad could not take care of the house anymore and outside help was undependable and moreover upsetting to my mom. He has brought up ast. living himself on numerous occasions but always as something they'd have to do in the future say a year from now. He has voiced Mom is getting worse a little. But seldom complains or admits things are hard. Asst. living are part of the services offered at the place they now live in. But would involve a move across the street and into smaller digs. They also have dementia day-care 2 doors down the road.
I just know if it would give my Dad that much more help as I know as long as he is there, my Mom will look to him if not demand he do whatever it is she needs. He is her rock, her constant and the one person she trusts totally. They could do meals in their room, the place will deliver them. But that would be too isolating for my Dad. He needs the stimulation. My brother and I try to get down there once a month but we do leave several hours away. DAd usually prefers we stay together rather than giving him a break. He wants to see us too and doens't want to leave my Mom out of something either. One brother does live in town. While he will do anything for them and visits with my Dad often he is at a loss on dealing with our Mother. So he can't give my Dad any weekly relief in terms of taking her on alone for an hour or two. and Dad won't leave her with anyone but we kids.
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I totally agree with all the advice given.
first and foremost, have a talk with Dad
as he opens up you will be able to see his needs.
suggest to him just to have a trial bases for a while
to give him and hand and a break at the same time.
give it some period of time for adjustment, this is a stranger
entering your Dad’s home, after the adjustment time
your Dad will be more relaxed. But do let him participate
as much as he wants, it keeps him active, he has a routine
it gives him a feeling of self worth, and independence.
Also if your Dad is a Vet
the VA will pay for services at no cost to your Dad.
Look into the VA. Sound like you’re on the right track.
Take care
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My father is bed bound and usually unable to respond to much. He was put on hospice a little while back. My mother was diagnosed with dementia a little over a year ago. As a result of their health issues, my parents have become my full-time vocation. Because of helpers, we have managed to keep them in independent living (1 meal a day provided). Because we do not want Mama turning on the stove, I do the cooking. One of our caregivers does the laundry, housekeeping comes in every other week & I keep up with it the rest of the time. I don't think my parents would have been happy in assisted living and with the caregivers it has not been necessary. I bought a hand-held printer & have notes all over to remind Mama what to do. I do all the meds & put them in labeled boxes according to when they have to be given. I call & remind her to do things. Noon meals are delivered to their apartment, but I really don't recommend it. My personal opinion is that my mother would be better off leaving the apartment for lunch, but I can't get her to. While I don't know your parents, it seems to me that if you could get by with helpers coming in & helping a little bit, they would be happier staying where they are.
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Not to be blunt but it would kill them in my opinion. I would hire help and let them live their lives happy together. Moving is devastating, especially at 90 with or without dementia. I know I wouldnt want to move even at my age. I hope you keep them where they are familiar, happy and comfy, routine is so important at their age.
Good luck !
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Assisted living and memory care can both be extremely helpful options when they are needed.

Your dad has managed to care for your mother in this retirement community for over a year now, right? In what ways is the strain starting to show on him? What seems to be hardest for him? For example, dinner is in the dining room. Is getting Mom into the elevator, picking out her food, maybe encouraging her to eat, getting to be a strain? If so, is it possible to pay for meals to be delivered to their apartment? On the other hand, that might isolate him more -- perhaps it is good to get to the dining room in spite of the effort it takes. Similarly, if he is running low on energy maybe having someone help with the laundry would be good. But maybe it would sadden him to give up normal household activities.

Carefully evaluate the nature and cause of the strain Dad is under so that you are solving the right problem!

If Dad is unwilling to consider the day care program, it seems unlikely he will be open to moving Mom out of the apartment. I hope you can come up with ways to support him and lessen the strain for him without making things worse for both of them.
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I agree with the other answers to a certain extent. If your Father is healthy and it is not too stressful for him, then staying at home is great. Our own experience is that my Father-in-law has heart issues. He was trying to do everything himself and we noticed things deteriorating as well as themselves. He ended up having a stroke, she couldn't call for help and when my brother-in-law just happened to drop by, several hours later, she locked herself out of the house. He was able to break in and get my Father-in-law to the hospital. She didn't know anything was wrong.
They are now in a wonderful assisted living! I do not agree with "dechansenching" in all cases. The assisted living, my in-laws are in, take excellent care of both of them. There are adjusted prices for everything, depending on needs. After the first two weeks they lived there, my FIL had to go back to the hospital for another problem and was gone for 3 1/2 weeks. My MIL was well taken care of and I picked her up everyday and took her to see him. The people are very caring of each and every person. We had the advantage of my daughter and niece working there as CNA's before my in-laws moved in and they were able to tell us about all the inner workings that go on, as well.
There are many assisted livings to choose from with very different accomodations, plans and people. I suggest you start doing your homework early so that you are prepared when the day comes that they need to go. One reason why we chose this place was because it had a Memory Care Cottage which my Mother-in-law will need later on. She will still be in familiar surroundings with people that know her and her needs.
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I would agree with N1KR3-try to be very specific when questioning your dad about the additional help he might need. Make sure he agrees to it before engaging outside help. I would not recommend assisted living for anyone, as pretty as it looks. These organizations call themselves "non-profit" but are really just run as hotels.
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I agree... it is not the time. I am in the same situtaion. If not for my Dad, my Mom would not be able to live alone. However, he WANTS to do all of this stuff and he is ABLE to do it as of now. I've tried to get someone in to help with the daily chores, but he doesn't want anyone right now and he is OK doing it himself for the time being.
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In this case, I would NOT suggest Assisted Living. Consider additional outside help to come in and do cooking, laundry, and other chores. Keep in mind that things change. There may come a day that Assisted Living is the answer, but not now.
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