What is the right thing to do? How will I know?
My 78 year old mother has been diagnosed with dementia. She also has lifelong clinical depression. My 83 year old father, who is in good health but has limited mobility, cares for both of them in their own home which is in close proximity to all 3 of their children. My mother doesn't remember her 3 children or her 6 grandchildren; she can be violent; cries many times a day; does not dress herself, bathe herself or do any other self care. She also can not do any home care - no laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning. My father does it all. She frequently insists that my father is not her husband - that he is a terrible man holding her hostage. She tries to run away, she has tried jumping out of moving cars, she stands in the driveway screaming that she is being tortured. She thinks my sister is her childhood best friend. We try to help by taking my mom to our house for several hours once or twice a week. But as soon as she is away from my father, "the awful man," she wants to go back. My father seems to think it is his duty to take care of her, but everyone can see it is killing him. Her doctor is a well respected geriatric dementia specialist at a world renown hospital and he recommends in home care twice a week to give my dad a break. So it seems awful of us to think she needs more care than that. Like we just want to get rid of her. But it doesn't seem like my 83 year old father should be up in the middle of the night barring the door because she is screaming to get out and swerving off the roads to keep her from jumping out of the car! How bad does it need to get before moving my mom to a memory care place is the loving choice and not the selfish one?
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