Our stepmom wants to put Dad in a facility, but we want him to stay home. What's best?

3 answers | Last updated: Oct 13, 2016
Help needed asked...

My stepmom is 63 and has been married to my Dad, 89, for 40 years, still sleeps in the same bed, and has always taken excellent care of him, better than nurses we would hire to give her a break. All the family love my stepmom deeply and were hoping she could keep hire 24/7 help and move to an alternate bedroom on the other side of the house near her office, kitchen and the family room.

Yet it seems my stepmom wants to put Dad in a facility which we were hoping to avoid or at least have her try 24/7 care for him in the home before moving him there. We are very concerned about my stepmom's health so we are willing to do what ever she thinks is best. I would rather try keeping my Dad in my home but I live in California and she thinks that is too far for him to travel. If she can not care for him, isn't it normal for one of his children to keep him rather than put him in a facility where he will be scared and confused? I want to honor my stepmom's wishes, I just feel she is so tired and it would be best if she took some kind of long vacation where she would be rested enough to make the best decision. What is the best thing to do for my Dad?



Community Answers

Help needed answered...

Yet it seems my step Mom wants to put Dad in a facility which we were hoping to avoid or atleast have her try 24/7 care for him in the home before moving him there. We are very concerned about my step Mom's health so we are willing to do what ever she thinks is best. I would rather try keeping my Dad in my home but I live in California & she thinks that is too far for him to travel. If she can not care for him, isn't it normal for one of his children to keep him rather than put him in a facility where he will be scared & confused? I want to honor my step Mom's wishes, I just feel she is so tired, it would be best if she took some kind of long vacation where she would be rested enuf to make the best decision. What is the best thing to do for my Dad?


Techiesidhe answered...

I like the vacation idea. Can either you or one of your siblings stay at the house for a little bit while she gets some respite? It would both give your Mom some rest, and it would give you a better idea of how Dad is on a 24/7 basis. Sometimes even with a 24/7 nurse, things can be overwhelming for the other person. Depending on how bad he is, a facility may be the best and safest place for him.

It's very commendable of you to want to bring your Dad into your home, but that is a HUGE life changer. If Mom thinks he needs a facility due to his level of illness, imagine what your life would be like. I'm not saying this to scare you off, I'm telling you this to make you think. DH and I take care of MIL, and even though she's ambulatory and generally able to care for herself, our lives have changed because of it.

Sometimes people just need more care than a family can provide. It's not that you're not willing to, it's that you're not able to. Don't be ashamed or feel guilt if he does go into a facility.


Epb answered...

If there is a Brighton Gardens Alzheimer's/dementia specialist assisted living facility in her area you should talk with them. Residents live there on a month-to-month basis and the charges for care are based on the level of assistance the resident needs. Our local facility is terrific, they have a "senior" rescue dog and cat on-site, they have hourly activities geared to the residents, take them to stores and restaurants, and it's like living in a hotel. My 75-year old mother enjoyed her time there; she's now in the late stage of vascular dementia, we brought her to live with us back in August, and I can say first-hand that people don't realize just how much care dementia sufferers require -- like a toddler, you cannot leave them unsupervised for even five minutes, and they grow to rely/trust only one person to care for them. It takes a tremendous amount of patience to deal with their convictions that tomorrow is Easter/Christmas/Thanksgiving, that their parents are worried they're not home yet, that they want to go to places that no longer exist, want to drive to the store, are beside themselves worrying that their car (a car they owned 30 years ago!) isn't in the driveway...and those things can all be their concerns over the span of five minutes. Multiply that by the waking hours in a day, while trying to get them to take their meds, keeping the house reasonably clean, and finding time to even use the bathroom yourself... no matter how much you want to care for them, it's relentless.

It sounds like your stepmother has been phenomenal. She's with him every minute of every day and if she feels she can no longer do this, respect her judgment. This decision cannot have been easy for her either! Even bringing in a 24/7 caregiver isn't going to give her much relief as she's then going to have to manage the caregiver and have her husband complain about them, accuse them of things, etc. Basically it could add to her stress versus alleviating it.

An Alzheimer's assisted living facility that doesn't require long-term contracts and 30-days notice of departure might be good for at least a few months. It might give both your father and stepmother a break, and he can always return home. In the meantime your family might be able to find a better solution to the situation.

If you don't have a copy of "The 36-Hour Day" you might want to track that down and read it. They give good practical information that covers all of the bases, especially when it comes to behavioral issues.

Hugs to you all, especially your stepmom!