Should I consider moving Mom out of the room she shares with Dad due to her dementia?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 23, 2016
Karen in tx asked...

My parents are in a Nursing Home in the same room. I recently moved my father from Assisted Living to the Nursing Home because his dementia and independence were declining. I did not want to put them in the same room but my dad really wanted to. My mother is at moderate to progressively worse stage. She has Vascular dementia and he has Lewy Bodies dementia. Both are handicapped in wheelchairs.

My father has been living with my mother for about six weeks now. They were both very happy living together again after 8 months of separation. They are very much in love after 59 years of marriage.

Here is my very recent problem. My mother knows that my dad is my dad and she still recognizes me as her daughter. However, she does not recognize my father as her husband. My father doesn't want to accept the dementia and doesn't really understand it and he doesn't deal with this very well.

What should I do with their living situation if this change with my mother is permanent? Should I separate them quickly or let my dad request to move out? Or should I stay out of this and let the social worker make the call.

I'm still fortunate that they are very cognitive and can carry on conversations. I know that this will not always be the case. I'm very lucky with that. I just don't know what to do! I don't want either of them to have emotional problems with this. My mother does not seem to be scared of the man in the bed next to her. ;-)

Thank you for helping. I will take advice from any and all.

Expert Answers

Mary Koffend is the president of Accountable Aging Care Management (AACM), an eldercare consulting and care management firm that works with elder clients and their families to find the best care providers and services to meet their needs.

Enjoy the moment! The fact that your parents are both happy living together and are much in love is a gift to them and to you. What is important is that your mom is pleased to be with your dad and knows who he is. It is not really important that she articulate that he is her husband. As time goes on, both of your parents may not be able to explain their relationship. If at some time in the future, they are adversarial with each other, you would need to revisit their living situation.

We often look at our parents through our eyes and forget that their vision is impacted by their disease. If you remain concerned about this issue, a discussion with the social worker at the facility would certainly be appropriate.