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Dad changed his mind about moving
Posted: Saturday, July 6, 2019 12:20 PM
Joined: 7/6/2019
Posts: 5

My Dad lives alone in a 3 bedroom house in FL and I am in MN. He lost his ability to drive 2 weeks ago and agreed to move to a senior facility near me.  I made all the arrangements including packing up his house last week. He is scheduled to move 7/12 and just informed me he has changed his mind (this is the 3rd time in 2.5 years he said he wanted to move to MN and changed his mind). He is unsafe to live alone. He is belligerent, confused and has trouble tracking in conversation. Any tips on how I can get him to agree to the move?
Posted: Saturday, July 6, 2019 12:32 PM
Joined: 3/8/2018
Posts: 809

As a first step I’d try going with what motivates him the most. For my mom, it was “if we cancel, we lose the deposit money” (or something similar cost related).

If you have kids or siblings, it could be “you’ll see Jane and Bob so much more often!” or “no more hot weather and hurricanes”

You could also try more stick than carrot: the house is sold, the doctor made the arrangements, you must come to us

Trying to reason with a PWD is futile, this is a hard situation for you

Posted: Saturday, July 6, 2019 1:05 PM
Joined: 7/6/2019
Posts: 5

Thank you for your message! I know he is scared about the many changes in a short amount of time. Although he is motivated by money, he is aware that this change of heart will cost him and has offered to pay for everything. He is a miser, but also has plenty of money, so its not a real motivator at this point.

I am afraid of switching to stick vs carrot - he is so quick to anger and has already stated he does not like me treating him like a child. That may backfire.

I may have jumped in to help too much and too quickly - found out a few weeks ago when I was down for a visit that his HOA was citing him for lack of outside maintenance and the deadline to replace his lawn was a few days away. I swooped in and took it all over for him, and he let me. He has not really had many consequences of his decline. So I'm thinking about pulling back and letting him feel his aloneness and helplessness which might help him make the decision. Also going to try to get him into his doctor (neighbor will drive him) on Monday and getting the doc to help move things forward.

Strange thing is he still wants me to sell his house, and it sounds like he may decide to move to a place in FL, but he wants to wait till its sold before he moves out which is crazy for many reasons - houses in his community sell very quickly. I told him he needs to move out first and then I will sell the house.

Posted: Saturday, July 6, 2019 1:55 PM
Joined: 7/17/2017
Posts: 403

Sounds like your Dad just needs YOU to be strong, firm, and confident.  He's like the kindergarten kid who says he's not going to school on the first day.  You state all the signs that he is not able to take care of himself any longer on his own.  Be strong, firm, and kind, but carry on with the plan.  Just behave as if he did not change his mind; and follow through this time. You don't want to be going through this whole planning phase again in six months when there is an emergency.  Take care and BE STRONG!!!
MN Chickadee
Posted: Saturday, July 6, 2019 3:02 PM
Joined: 9/7/2014
Posts: 1006

Could you act like it's temporary? "The summer weather is so much nicer in MN Dad, why don't you just come for the summer and then we'll find you senior living back in FL. Just come up for a visit to be near me. I miss you, I can't wait to spend some extra time together. And we're having such a lovely summer in MN!"  Is there other family in MN to entice him into a visit? Come for a special occasion, someone's birthday or wedding. Maybe plan a little family gathering or reunion in MN to tout. Try out the "senior living" but don't worry, it's not forever. 

You will have to arrange all the logistics and move him along in travel, keeping details vague and not troubling him with much. "Just a get away! I have it all arranged."  Eventually he will forget about the house.  And by the time the weather changes he would probably have adjusted to MC and have forgotten about moving back.  I would not bring up the selling of the house while you are trying to get him to MN. That may be too much for him to process, so take baby steps. Many of us never tell our LO we sold the house, it's easier on them to think it's still there and all their belongings are there. Therapeutic fibs are often called for. Eventually the house and its contents fade and they just know their facility as home. Most of us do not have loved ones who go to a facility willingly, whether it's a mile from home or 3,000. You have to finesse the situation and find the approach that works. 

If possible I would not step back and let him suffer the consequences of his choices. Sometimes people have no other choice but it's not the most desirable approach. Dementia is not just memory loss, but it also affects judgement and logical reasoning. Which is probably why he wasn't handling his affairs with the HOA. His brain may no longer have the bandwith for that kind of thing. It may be he will never see his decline, never understand the consequences, will never willingly move even when he gets to a crisis point or suffers bodily harm due to living alone. He very well may be unable to process that now due to his cognitive impairment and you will need to find fibs and workarounds to get things done. 

Is it MC you have arranged or AL? If he's far enough along that he can't live alone, is belligerent and disoriented I would worry about him wandering from AL and whether they could meet his needs now.  Good luck, let us know how it goes.

Posted: Saturday, July 6, 2019 4:17 PM
Joined: 7/6/2016
Posts: 29

"Dad, I understand that you have changed your mind  about moving to MN.  Just come for the summer.  I've arranged for you to stay just for the summer.  Then you can come back."

Don't discuss selling the house, or moving the furniture.  Don't discuss how much it will cost.  Take care of that, but without him having to process it or be a part of it.  Just put him in the car (or on the plane with you) and take him to MN "for the summer."  It's just temporary.  It will be fun.  We will get to spend the summer together in the cool MN weather.  It will be great!

If, at the end of the summer, he starts asking about going home (which at this point will already be sold) just tell him "You know, Dad, there was a leak in the pipes, and they are fixing that.  You can go home as soon as the repairs are made."   Lather, rinse, repeat.  Ad naseum.  

Keep reminding yourself that his brain is broken.  He cannot make decisions based on his best interests.  He doesn't have that ability anymore.  That part of your Dad is gone.  You may occasionally see glimmers of it, but it isn't really there anymore.

Leaving him to fend off the consequences is a bad idea.  He doesn't have the ability to connect his own actions to the consequences anymore.  And nothing you can do will fix that.

At first, "fibs" (or even outright lying) is hard.  We've been taught since childhood that lying is a bad thing, and you don't lie to the people you love.  All that has now changed because of dementia.  Fib away.   Fibs keep our loved ones from having to deal with things they are no longer capable of dealing with.  It is a kindness.  It is not a character fault.  

Repeat after me...  Dad, its just temporary.. just for the summer.  You can come back any time you want.  

You can do this.




Posted: Saturday, July 6, 2019 5:26 PM
Joined: 7/6/2019
Posts: 5

Thank you to all who have responded - I so appreciate it! His cognitive decline is not so bad that he will not know I am lying. I could not at this point tell him to come to MN for a fun summer - he would see right through that. He does fit all 10 early signs and symptoms for alzheimer's.

The housing I have reserved here is IL with options to move to AL without having to physically move - flexible. I don't think he needs MC just yet. 3 weeks ago he was living alone and driving himself to lunch, grocery, doctor, etc.

I am a strong woman and he does not like it when I direct him in any way - its new for both of us. I know I need to do it but he gets really pissed off and tells me I'm treating him like a child. I'm learning...

More shall be revealed in the next few weeks - thank you all again for your input. I learned alot.


Posted: Saturday, July 6, 2019 7:58 PM
Joined: 2/16/2019
Posts: 79

I manage my mother by telling her I am her assistant. I joke that I have been promoted to executive assistant from administrative assistant. She is like your Dad, it seems, and likes to be in control.

The problem here is that your father is not far enough along yet!  I can tell my mother "Remember, you wanted to move, and I assisted you with that?"  

Is there any way you can get him to move with him still feeling in control even if he isn't?!

(I am having a smilar problem now with moving my mother to MC. I have it all set up but I cannot get her to agree to come. I may be able to get her there for lunch. Then she forgets her AL)

Do you have a proxy or Power of Attorney?




Posted: Sunday, July 7, 2019 6:05 AM
Joined: 6/24/2019
Posts: 67

Hi EricaO, my MIL lived alone in a 2 bedroom apartment in OH. My DH was her closest living child (in VA). She doesn't drive and the closest kin to her (a 90 year old sister, an 87 year old brother with dementia, and a nephew and great niece) couldn't, or wouldn't, help her out. We went to visit in Feb. and MIL was miserable, stuck in a dirty apartment and dependent on others and was "out" of her diabetes testing strips and Metformin. We suggested that she come for an open-ended visit (she could decide when to go back to OH) with us which she accepted. She is also very independent minded and still takes care of her bills (but it's getting more difficult for her) and we've gotten her mostly back on her Metformin by putting them in one of those weekly pill box containers (though we have to hide the actual pill bottle from her). We have made our home a welcoming place and have included her in all of our outings and plans so that she feels welcome and I always tell her that I love having her around to help me with maintaining the house and cooking - but in reality I end up with more work because she's like a messy child. However, I do it because I know she really can't live alone anymore.  My MIL's button to push was being around family - that's all she's ever known. Like your dad, MIL gets confused, has some trouble in tracking conversations and she gets 'pouty' when she feels she's being over-ruled or her suggestion isn't followed. The trick, I think, is finding his trigger and making him feel like it's his decision.
Posted: Sunday, July 7, 2019 10:38 AM
Joined: 6/24/2012
Posts: 519

My mom did this to us a few times also.  It took my brother to get in her face about it to get it done. (Her favorite son)  He drove to her house and the realtor met him there and they listed her house and it sold in a week.  She was so ecstatic about selling the house so fast... they really liked it... that she forgot about not wanting to move.  But then the moving part really had to be choreographed to get her out of there.  I wish you luck with it all.
Iris L.
Posted: Monday, July 8, 2019 12:23 AM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 16417

Ginsamae wrote:
 The trick, I think, is finding his trigger and making him feel like it's his decision.


This is doubtful.  PWDs have trouble making decisions and executing a decision if they manage to make one.  I speak from my own experience.  Oy!

Iris L.

Posted: Tuesday, July 9, 2019 9:25 AM
Joined: 7/6/2019
Posts: 5

I really like the "assistant" idea - will use that. I do have durable power of attorney and health care directive. So that's good. 

Things have escalated in the last few days - he accused me of stealing his passport because he knows I don't support him moving to Israel - a fantasy he has been talking about for the last few years. He was livid about not being able to find the passport which is in one of the boxes we packed last week for his move. He basically told me he does not trust me now which is devastating but may change. 

Today he is meeting with his doctor who he trusts. The doc is going to try to convince him to move - either to MN or to a senior place in FL. More shall be revealed this afternoon...

I'm thinking now that it might be better for him to live in a facility in FL vs MN - if he moves here, everything he is unhappy about will be my fault. You have to know that he has always been OCD, anal, opinionated and difficult. Curmudgeon is the word that comes to mind. All of this is now on steroids with the cognitive decline. I'm feeling kindof afraid of him and his anger towards me. 

Eric L
Posted: Tuesday, July 9, 2019 10:55 AM
Joined: 12/5/2014
Posts: 1286

Erica - I know this is going to sound a bit jaded and cold, but you really need to decide that you are in charge of the situation. Dad really shouldn't be involved in making any major decisions anymore. I would suspect that your Dad is probably more compromised than you realize. Most of us on these boards didn't realize that our LOs were actually worse than we thought. The HOA thing and the loss of driving privileges are good indicators that he is no longer in the position to make major decisions.

It seems as if you are his main caregiver. If that is the case, you are going to want to have him near you. If there are any sudden medical emergencies (like a fall - those are very common), you are going to want to be as close to him as possible. He is probably going to be unhappy with a move whether it is Florida or Minnesota. I would assume that in the long run, Minnesota is going to be easier for you. If that is the case, then he needs to move to Minnesota. He's going to be angry and upset with you. It's just part of the disease, but it's your job to make sure he's safe and taken care of regardless of his feelings.
Posted: Tuesday, July 9, 2019 10:58 AM
Joined: 3/25/2018
Posts: 172

I had to move my dad to an assisted living facility after his neighbors called me with concerns about his well being. Talking with him in the phone and visiting every few months was not enough for me to realize that he was not functioning ok, he was very good at seeming to have everything together. 

I did not sell his house until after he passed away, so in his mind it was always there for him to move back to. I looked for places, picked the best one, and presented it to him as a temporary place, see how you like it, they cook all your meals and clean your room, you can just relax and enjoy yourself. 

He was not convinced but willing to give it a try. I drove home there myself, hours in a car, trying to keep his spirts up. At that time we still had family alive, and they were all there at the place to greet him. The facility made a meal in their private dining room for all of us. He moved in easily. I went to dinner with him there at least three times a week. He liked it there and never asked about his house or moving back. 

I don’t know if not selling his house yet and presenting it as temporary will work for your situation. I know how difficult this is. 

Posted: Tuesday, July 9, 2019 12:22 PM
Joined: 6/11/2019
Posts: 516

EricaO wrote:

You have to know that he has always been OCD, anal, opinionated and difficult. Curmudgeon is the word that comes to mind. All of this is now on steroids with the cognitive decline. I'm feeling kindof afraid of him and his anger towards me. 

I feel for you. Similar situation with my mother who has always been difficult incredibly opinionated and IN CHARGE. This too shall pass. The "on steroids" behavior is a description I've used myself. While it still comes into play, it's becoming less and less in recent months. Oh, she still gets mad at me and fights about having a caregiver or going to daycare ... but more and more she KNOWS she has a problem and looks to me for quite a bit now.

Deeeep breaths.

Posted: Tuesday, July 9, 2019 2:02 PM
Joined: 7/6/2019
Posts: 5

Update - he has changed his mind again and is coming to MN! His doctor convinced him. Yay! I will fly down and bring him back this week. Fingers crossed no other surprises. This site and your input have been really helpful for me to understand more about how I can better deal and communicate with him. Thank you all so very much...
Klear Water
Posted: Wednesday, July 10, 2019 9:42 PM
Joined: 4/7/2019
Posts: 17

I am in the same boat. I flew to Florida to move my Mom to MN - just temporary. Come for a couple of weeks. She is seeing through that and her care giver has basically brain washed her not to come with me because she says I will put her in a home.

I had found the greatest place for her to go in MN (Duluth) and fixed her room up so nicely and thoughtfully for her.

Now she is digging in and will not go for a "vacation" or leave her dogs at all. It is a big mess. 

I called the Alzheimer hotline and they recommended I either seek guardianship or for her to be deemed incompetent to make her own decisions. 

I am an only child and I am exhausted. I have fought with her for 10 years as she has been an alcoholic and argues all of the time.

I am feeling pretty down and low at this time. I am tired of the neighbors offering unwanted commentary and advice, though I have needed their help too. We have all put so many hours into caring for her I can hardly believe it.
I am ready to pull the plug on the plan and head back to my family who love me sooner than later. At some point, I have to care for myself.
She has 24 hour care in her home and I am still needed to problem solve nearly every other day. Last week she almost bought two air conditioners and then called a third company to come in.
This is such hard work. Blessings to all of you out there. Best wishes and stay strong.
I can relate EricaO. Take care of yourself.


Klear Water
Posted: Wednesday, July 10, 2019 9:46 PM
Joined: 4/7/2019
Posts: 17

EricaO, didn't see this last post. Good for you. Good luck. May the force be with you!
Posted: Friday, July 12, 2019 3:30 PM
Joined: 5/30/2016
Posts: 573

Your father should not be a factor in deciding his level of care. The roles are reversed and you must stay vigilant in making it about safety first. Fiblets in this case are necessary. PWD are never good at change and any chance of remaining in their home without care is dangerous. Money becomes an issue when most of the time it is a nonissue. Do what you can to make it clear that staying in his home is not an option. Sending you hugs and lots of support. I have been where you are and I speak from experience. My FIL passed away almost eight months ago and suffered from Alzheimers and Vascular Dementia for seven and a half years before he had a stroke and passed. As much as we loved him, he could not make good decisions for himself.  As hard as it was for my DH to switch roles, we realize every day how grateful and lucky that we were to do what he had to do.
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