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What to say to loved one.
I am asking for advice. My sister and I are the only children and our dad has vascular dementia. He lived alone until it wasn't safe. We are two hours away but visited several times a week and of course called two-three times daily. We started looking for a place but it was so hard with the money situation. He got covid and was in the hospital for 9 days. As you can imagine covid and being in a different environment made his mind so bad there was absolutely no way he could live alone anymore. The hospital staff found us a bed at a new facility and we placed him there. It was on the rehab side and of course he hated it and complained every single day. When we called we went through the same conversation about how he had to get out and we didn't come see him enough. He needed us there everyday and it was like being in jail and on and on.
Then a bed on the LTC came open two weeks ago. He has a roommate and he has already complained. My dad has stopped eating and has lost down to 100lbs. 120-130 is average for him. He has already had screaming scenes with the staff on both sides. He I think has given up. Lays in bed all day with TV off and doesn't want to shower. My sister and I go every week and stay several hours. My mom, his ex, goes two times a week and his sister once a week and we facetime when they both go.
My question is what do you say when he calls or when we're leaving and he starts saying he needs to be with a family member around the clock. Or ask just how long is going to have to live there. We never get a happy or even content dad. He had a phone in his room on rehab side but we dreaded calling (although we did). Never a question or discussion about anything but how unhappy he is and the staff etc. We leave crying (not around him) and when we hang up.
At first we stayed away to give him time to adjust but were later told he's better when we do visit. I know you can't reason with them but I can't live under this stress. I have MS and barely get around myself. I don't drive anymore but still get fused at for not coming everyday.
Please give advice on how to handle this situation. He has been there since August. Thank you.
Those first discussions when your LO (loved one) is placed in a facility are the hardest.
Your dad may need to be evaluated for depression. Some depression medications can act like a stimulant too.
You might try to steer the subject towards something pleasant or try to answer with reasons why your dad is unable to live with family and then visit a more pleasant memory or ask for a story your dad likes to retell.
Thank you CanyonGal. It's so refreshing to read your post. A couple months ago he was settling in and his who personality changed for the better. Saying things to me and my sister we'd never heard, like "baby doll". We actually did get him out twice and it was a very pleasant each day. However that "sweet loving personality changed and he went back to the way he is now.
We are so afraid we are going to check him out then when taking him back he will refuse to get out of the car. Then what? If I knew it would not be a problem I would take him out every week. Any advice on that?
I love your comments on re-directing too. Sometimes when he gets started we can re-direct and others we can't hardly get a word in edgewise.
I really appreciate your post. No answers
Once, my mother wanted to know why I needed to her to get out of the car after an outing and I said because it was close to dinner time. And then I just proceeded to get the walker out and she did get out.
Thank you CanyonGal. You have the best comments to say. I really like the one to have staff come out to car. Let me mention, I didn't before, his dementia is beyond him ever living alone because of the confusion etc. However at the same time his mind is still sharp on some days and if someone is talking in general you'd never know he had a problem. When he moved in August there he was still playing basketball with the grandkids. He's 83. They told us he was way too over qualified for there. But we couldn't affords MC or AL. They also said he'd go down quickly and he has. Now all he wants to do is lay in bed. We offered to take him outside one day to the patio but he said, no it was too cold out and he didn't care for several of the men that go out constantly. I can call and tell him I'm coming the next day and when get there he will say "you said you were coming today, been waiting" or tell me his sister called last night and is coming, then she'll show up. It is so hard because he is just on the line. A lot of days he doesn't remember if they gave him his meds but other days he's so clear. It is SO hard as everyone knows. I really appreciate your suggestions and I will certainly use them.