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Preparing a parent for a nursing facility


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Dad is 95 years old and suffers with numerous chronic health issues. After taking care of him for a little over 10 years, he has begun a downward spiral. His level of care has advanced to where I can no longer give him the care he needs from home. 

My brother and I have decided to place him in a Veteran's home. It was a difficult decision to make, but we feel this is the best place for him at this stage of his life. 

The problem I am having is how to talk to my dad about where he will living the rest of his years out. Please advise how to best to approach the subject as we are moving him next week. I know he will be sad, confused and scared. We want to make this transition go as smoothly as possible. 

How do we tell him?

Your thoughts and insights are greatly appreciated. 

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3 minutes ago, Sweet Sue said:

His level of care has advanced to where I can no longer give him the care he needs from home. 

I would tell him this in a loving and caring way. If he's still mentally present he will understand.

Will he like it? Possibly not. But I'm sure he understands that you want him to have the very best professional care available.

Will you be able to visit him often? If so, reassure him of that and stick to it. 

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3 minutes ago, Sweet Sue said:

we are moving him next week. I know he will be sad, confused and scared.

Don't representatives come by to orient him? It depends on his level of cognitive functioning. Keep it simple. 'We are moving you to a senior apt with healthcare attendants. We'll visit regularly'. Complex teary overexplaining makes matters worse.

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1 hour ago, Sweet Sue said:

Dad is 95 years old and suffers with numerous chronic health issues. After taking care of him for a little over 10 years, he has begun a downward spiral. His level of care has advanced to where I can no longer give him the care he needs from home. 

My brother and I have decided to place him in a Veteran's home. It was a difficult decision to make, but we feel this is the best place for him at this stage of his life. 

The problem I am having is how to talk to my dad about where he will living the rest of his years out. Please advise how to best to approach the subject as we are moving him next week. I know he will be sad, confused and scared. We want to make this transition go as smoothly as possible. 

How do we tell him?

Your thoughts and insights are greatly appreciated. 

Tell him you love him and are there with him every step of the way and you'll be visiting him. He may be aware of his health issues and feel he's less of a burden to his family if he goes to the home. Reassure him as much as you can. How are you doing? Would you feel you'd benefit from counselling? There's a lot of emotions in the process of letting go. 

Is palliative care at home an option towards the end? Something to explore with his caregivers or doctors. I'm sorry you're going through this. Keep posting if it helps. 

Edited by Rose Mosse
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My elderly parents are resistant to any suggestions regarding THEIR best interests, however, they are open to hearing what is helpful to ME or my siblings.

So I would frame this as 'me' needing help in caring for him, and I hope that he will try out a possible solution in a care center close by where I can spend time with him in a more relaxed way.

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My FIL (father-in-law) was recently admitted to a nursing facility and he passed away at a hospital (unrelated to the nursing facility and hospital). 

In order to assure your Dad that he's not being "put out to pasture,"  reassure him that you and your brother will visit him often so he won't feel neglected and abandoned by his grown adult children. 

Whenever my husband and I visited FIL, we always brought his favorite home cooked dinners.  I saw other friends and family doing the same for their loved ones at the nursing facility.  Or, the patient's favorite take out meals are appreciated. 

Frequent visits, your and your brother's precious time, spending a lot of time with your Dad and allowing him to savor a taste of home are all gestures your Dad will look forward to. 

There is nothing more important than being together because anyone who is institutionalized whether permanently or temporarily feels lonely and bored.  There is only so much blaring TV they can watch and it's not quiet.  Background racket is maddening. 

Comforts from home are nice such as a large security blanket, extra long cell phone cord, favorite snacks and whatever your Dad would like while he anticipates your next visit. 

Beware of theft though.  That's what happened to FIL and you can't prove anything was stolen.  FIL's cord went missing and when we complained to upper management, his cell phone's extension cord magically reappeared one day. 

Beware of any neglect and make sure you complain to upper management immediately.  Never delay. 

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Thank all of you, for your wonderful suggestions. 

He is settling in now and receiving excellent care. The facility is a little over an hour away so it's not too far for me to drive to see him, however, my brother lives 500 miles away, so his visits will be less frequent. We speak to dad everyday and he sounds like he's in very good spirits. 

He's working with an occupational therapist three times a week to work on balance issues. They are trying to recruit him for the baseball team he told me yesterday! We both had a good laugh. 

Right now he doesn't have a phone in his room. At this facility, you call the floor and ask to speak to "X" patient and they take the phone to them. It is a little of a hassle as the lines stay pretty busy. Not only that, dad appears to be sleeping no matter what time of day I call. He was sleeping a lot at home too. Dad suffers from dementia among other chronic health issues so he forgets the things we tell him. 

I miss him terribly but take comfort in knowing he's in a good place with people that are given him optimal care. It gives me peace of mind and I can live with that.

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On 3/22/2022 at 10:42 PM, Sweet Sue said:

 

Do the best you can in all circumstances.  Your brother can't visit him due to the 500 mile distance but you can visit him whenever you will. 

Call at random and sometimes you'll be able to have a phone conversation with him. 

It's good to know that he's receiving excellent care. 

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Sleeping a lot is very common for people with dementia. My FIL passed away from Parkinson’s with dementia. 
 

My grandfather was very very resistant to going to a nursing home but once there loved it so much he didn’t know why he didn’t go ages before. Mind you he lived at a very expensive one that had every possible amenity, pools ?libraries ,art lessons you name it. 

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