My 88-yr-old Dad moved into assisted living 4 weeks ago. I wasn't able to find a "perfect" place, but this was the best option available--a 10 bed board and care facility about 90 minutes from where I live.
Since moving, Dad has been spending almost all his time in bed. He's depressed and angry and doesn't want to do anything. It's easy to see the large amount of muscle mass he's lost in 3 weeks. When I beg him to exercise, he says what's the point--he'll be dead soon anyway. He says if he was among people who knew and loved him, he would exercise. But where he is, all he wants to do is kill time. He won't socialize with the other residents. He won't pet the resident cat, or practice the piano, or sit on the sun deck.
I'm drowning in guilt. I was a full-time caregiver for 3 yrs, and I'm exhausted. But I'm terrified that my choice to move him is going to lead to his death. Have I taken away his will to live? What can I do? How do I judge whether this was a mistake?
He needs to be encouraged, but it is his decision whether or not to make the best of the situation. His decision!!!!!
You cannot be guilty about your own survival! He needs to understand that!
Be totally honest with him & let him know that this is not the end but another begining. Unless he is selfish & callous he will understnd and respond properly.
Ask the staff to help in the transition. They have been through it before and know how to handle the adaptation of an elder. You can arrange a meeting to plan a course of action with them. That is what they are there for.
It is a blessing, because she sees that not all facilities are horrible places. She was once a very social person...and now this has returned. Everytime I go to visit her, some one is telling me what a "hoot" my Mom is. She looks healthier because she is not constantly stressed and this gives me peace of mind too.
When she is discharged she will return to her home with lots of help from us and some from caregivers. I am committed to helping her stay in her home...but, if the day comes that she needs more, I will find the best surroundings for her that I can.
I realized a long time ago that I cannot do it all. I do not have a medical background and no skills in that area. But I can do everything else for her. I just want her to be as happy and as healthy as she can be. I agree with all above, you have to be responsible for your own health and destiny. This does not end when you have to move to a facility. Those people who flourish are those who can adapt and roll with the punches. However, you can only be responsible for yourself.
My only advice is to check on the facility regularly...do not just go on what your father says. Offer him ample opportunities to get involved, try out a hobby, whatever, then step back and let him take a few steps on his own. If I had taken my Mom out of rehab when she wanted to go home, she would not have had this chance to heal and get to know some wonderful people.
Good luck....guilt has a way of creeping into my life too.
If you are blessed to have the opportunity to take care of your elder loved one, embrace it. While my Dad was in the nursing home, I got to know quite a few other residents there and saw how their demeanor changed in time. They lost their zest for life. I have a feeling that your Dad is not going to change until you change his circumstances.
There were always card games, an excerise room, personal garden plots, movie nights & a piano in the lobby which residents were encouraged to play. I realize it's soon to consider a move but you might check into a larger more social environment for him.
Don't give up.
I'm just sayin'
"I HATE to move you and I HATE to see you like this but, I MUST work - I can't afford to stay home anymore. And, you can't be home alone during the day. I am not a young woman anymore. Your physical needs are more than I meet - I fear for your safety at home. If I continue to lift you, I'll hurt myself and could drop you - which mean you could suffer a broken hip or worse. If THAT happened, you'd end up in a nursing home. At the rate you're going, you'll end up in a nursing home MUCH sooner than you would normally. "
Tears doesn't hurt - he'll know you mean it. You might also ask him what his solution would be - if he says he could be home alone, then run down the list of "why nots" - prescriptions, bathrooms that are too small, can't get in tub/shower, can't make food - etc, etc..... I would also suggest that you visit a little less often which might force him to get up. The care givers might also take food into his room and set it up at a chair and table across the room. I'd hope they have "snack" time in the morning and afternoon - cookies, pie or cake and coffee in the dining room or kitchen - they need to go tell him it's there to tempt him from his room.
Medical examinations are a good idea, perhaps a low dose anxiety drug or anti-depressant might help too. All said, at some point we have to accept that our parents are in charge of their destiny. It's not easy and it sucks. My own mom refused to do physical therapy and exercise which meant she could not walk. We nagged her for 4 years but she wouldnt help herself. Now she uses a wheelchair and can't maneuver around her house so she's in a nursing home. She's 90 so is weak due to the natural decline with age but she hastened it due to her inaction. She'd rather sit and watch TV or do her crossword puzzle than exercise. I have to accept this decision because she's still with it enough to make her own decisions. She's easy though and doesn't apply the guilt - my father, brothers and uncles on the other hand - HUGE drama queens!! HUGE!! It was hard not to laugh at them but I still felt guilty when they could not be at home. I hope you find some solution for YOUR sake - his tool
If you are in assisted living, you might need assistance with some things but you should generally be self-reliant. It's understandable he feels "dumped," but he chooses to sulk instead of adjusting to the new surroundings and making the best of what he has. If I were you, I would ask the staff for tips and other Residents to reach out to him and get him out of bed. Also, go over the reasons why he was placed; but be honestly assertive. Otherwise he'll keep trying to flip the script on you and making you feel guiltier. Despite his age, he's always been a strong man. Believe me, he can take it. ... Do you need me to come with you?