When do I tell dad he's not going home?

mikeandbarbOctober 11, 2008

I thought he understood that he wasn't going home. When I took him to the ER a few weeks back he asked ..so this is it, the time has come.. and I said yes dad it is.

With his dementia and everything else going on I'm thinking it's not going to make a difference cause he will not remember or retain being told he's not going home.

The rehab/nursing home fail through they said he's to much of a flight risk being that they only use bracelets on them.

My son told me that if dad becomes to combative and the home cannot handle him they'll kick him out and he could end up being bounced around from one home to another if medication does not calm him down. He's not combative but he talks loud and shows his anger at times.


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Don't tell him. Just say things like "later" or "when we get finished painting," or "after February." Just anything. Lie through your teeth if you have to. Change the subject, talk about what the neighbors dog did...anything but why he can't go home. As you said, he probably won't remember anyway. The main point is that you don't want to upset him by just telling him that he is NEVER going to go. You're just borrowing trouble ahead of time. Give him time to settle down where he is.

There are medicines that will calm him down when he needs them. It's very unlikely that he would be allowed to get to a point where he could not be handled. If you have him in a home where they cannot or will not handle him, you have put him in the wrong place again. They need to have a locked unit so that patients can move about, but are not in danger of going out a door. Ask THEM, not us, about what to do if you can't stand to talk to him. Try staying away for at least a week.

Just remember that you are not the first person to have a parent with similar or worse problems. It works out. I'll give you an example. I had FOUR in the nursing home at one time. My mother-in-law, very alert, but very frail. My step-father, with terminal emphyzemia, my mother, wild, stubborn, healthy and strong with Alzheimer's, and in the same room as my mother, my aunt who raised me until I was 12, also healthy, but in the last stages of Alzheimer's. I managed. You can too. But not if you worry about what MIGHT happen.

You might have a long road to travel with him. At the present time, just be glad that he can still move about.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 11:08AM
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Thank you agnespuffin, I thought that might be the best way to handle it but I feel like I'm lying to him or avoiding his questoin and this is something I need did or had to do. But then on the other hand Thrusday he couldn't hold onto a conversation and remember what he was saying and then some of the things he did talk about sounded strange, like telling me two women brusting into his room fighting in the middle of the night and his room mate having visitors all hours of the night.

WOOOOOO, You sure had your hands full with four at one time I don't think I would have managed that.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 11:17AM
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Another thing to keep in mind is that you want to direct the conversations outward, not towards himself. Therefore, don't ask him things about how he is feeling, what did he do yesterday, etc.

Just start telling him about what the garden is doing, describe the weather, what you read in the paper, your new blue dress, shoes or whatever. Just anything to pass the time without getting him started on what's going on in his life. If he starts tell you something like the two women fighting in the room, say something like "that reminds me of when I was in high school." Get used to changing the subject.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 12:17PM
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Agenspuffin has given you good advice. Don't consider your changing the subject or avoiding the subject as lying because it really isn't. You're redirecting his thoughts. The "I want to go home" is probably deeply ingrained in his brain, so there's no way to remove it. The only thing you can do is just change the subject, avoid the subject, or put off the moving back home to some unspecified time in the future. This is the only way to handle it without causing him undue stress.

And the advice about not talking about himself and his problems is good too. I spend most of my time with my mom discussing the weather. We've had the same conversation over & over again -- about how it's hot in the summer and we complain, and then it gets cold in the winter and we complain. We both laugh about it together. It makes her feel as though she is contributing to the conversation and that she's still sharp enough to enjoy a chuckle.

I've learned to make sure all our conversations are lighthearted. I never tell her about the bad things in the news. Just the silly stories that we both can laugh at together.

Most places that deal with memory care residents are prepared for outbursts, stubbornness, resistance, wandering, etc. You probably don't have to worry about your dad getting "kicked out" of the place he's in.

I know this is really hard for you, but it's not a unique situation. Many other families are going through the same thing. You are doing the best you can given your unique set of circumstances. It's never an easy road.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 3:55PM
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All I can add is this..............LISTEN TO ALL OF THE ABOVE, it is good advice. Remember what I said before, YOU ARE NOW THE PARENT, he is now the child. It sucks, it is hard but others have survived and so will you.
Is he in a locked unit? If not and they don't have one then find another long term care nursing home now, don't wait. If they are not prepared to handle full blown Alzheimer's then you don't want him there.
The home my mom and brother are in has a locked Alzheimer unit, the patients can move about freely, there is an enclosed court yard so they can sit outside, a huge lounge area and everyone that works back there is trained to handle the patients, so if one gets out of control they know what to do.
Ask the Administrator of the place questions, are they capable of handling a patient that gets combative, do they have a locked unit and so on. YOU need to ask these question and demand answers so you can make an informed decision about your dad and long term care.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 7:36PM
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In this situation lying to him brings him peace. My husband was seriously combative. In Kansas they can not kick a patient out, so they admit him to the hospital for meds to calm him, if they don't work, then they don't accept him back. My husband was in 3 nursing homes because nothing worked. At the last one they had a yelling patient and they kept her. Also there is a difference in a nursing home and a behavioral center. You don't want him in the latter. All of the Alzheimer's units I visited were locked. One even lock the two men in their room together at night. I never would have put my husband there.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 2:41PM
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I'm sickened by what I've read here. It took me nearly a year to get my father who had been misdiagnosed, was drugged out of his mind and lied to by my sisters, and mother out of a locked-down alzheimer's home. After an independent neurological exam he was proven to be competent. I enlisted the ombudsman's office to get that accomplished and we stopped them from getting him declared incompetent, imposing Guardianship/Conservatorship and throwing away the key on his life. Medications, anestheseology, depression, abuse, malnutrition, vascular problems and more can cause the 'symptoms' of AD. Further, the only - I repeat, the only proof of AD is that obtained by brain dissection postmortem. If your father, mother, sister, brother or other relative is not out of their minds when you register them into one of those God-forbidden 'homes' they soon will be with a relentless dose of drugs which render them unable to think at all. It's called a chemical labotomy and it turns human beings into benign masses that don't require much in the way of care from nursing home staff or family members who would rather lie to their 'loved' one than make the effort to see to it that they get the very best diagnosis and care available. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you - your turn's next, Baby!

    Bookmark   December 30, 2008 at 11:08PM
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Truth now, you obviously have had a horrible experience. However, I can assure you that not every memory care facility fits your description. My mother is in the memory care wing of her assisted living facility; she's been there about 3 months now. She takes the same medications, mainly vitamin supplements, she took in her AL apartment. They were all prescribed by her doctor, and none of them have left her in a drugged stupor.

Her living situation has improved considerably since she moved into the memory care wing. She's always involved in the activities & crafts. The residents congregate in the big living room to watch TV, play games, etc. There are activity stations in the hallways and a low resident to caregiver ratio. She has her own room with her own furniture and clothes. She gets three good sized meals a day plus three healthy snacks. They go on weekly outings too.

I watched my mother's cognitive functions diminish over the years. I have no doubt that she is in a good facility and that her dementia is real, not the result of medications or any of the other things you mentioned.

You end with a quote from the Lord. After dealing with my mom's situation, I've told my daughter that when & if the time comes, to never feel guilty about placing me in a similar facility. I'd rather live forever with my full mental & physical capacities. But I know that's not going to happen. There will be hard decisions ahead.

Don't rush to judgment and don't be so self righteous. You haven't been a part of this board long enough to really know the people who posted on this thread or their situations. Each one of them is a loving, caring person, trying to do the best for their loved ones and their own well being.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2008 at 1:03AM
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