My 84 yr old husband has dementia --diagnosed 2 yrs. ago --and relies on me to keep his life running smoothly. He thanks me often for taking such good care of him. For the last 5 years or so, we have discussed relocating to AL or FL from NC. We now live in a beautiful home with a landscape we created that brings us great pleasure in viewing--but no longer in working at. (I am 72) We are on a mountain road and his balance issues and neuropathy prevent him from leisurely walks in the neighborhood. His short term memory is very poor. He does continue to perform chores at home & visit with neighbors; he is generally loving and pleasant. On one hand, I'd like to offer him an environment he might enjoy more than where we live now; on the other, I am afraid of setbacks that will occur in a major relocation--learning where things are, remembering where he is. Socially, he is not the guy he used to be so I believe that our knack for making "couple friends" will be greatly restricted. Part of me wants to offer him a place to watch the sunset over the water, a place with flat ground and pleasing surroundings, a place I might enjoy more too. I'm the rudder of this ship, though, and there are no guarantees that I would have any hands on deck if I fell ill in a new environment. The negatives of a move from where we now live are apparent to me. Still, part of me wishes to provide the best, most enjoyable life for him while he is capable of enjoying it. Your insights and experiences will mean a lot to me.
I sure wish you good luck. A few decades ago we built a small house in the country in a wild stretch of land, hedgerow and all, glass fronted. And thought to move there in retirement. We lived in and loved it part time for a decade and one half then realized that its care wouldn't be in our hands, that we were beginning to take spills as we worked the land, and that we would be too cut off from help, from transit when we could not longer drive. We let it go, with love, with heartbreak, but packed our memories with us.
For your husband this would be a hard move, but it may go well; it is just so difficult to guess. I sure wish you luck. I know I haven't helped you make this hard choice but I think you already know what answer you will eventually HAVE to make. My very best to you.
Finding a house or 55+ community in a neighborhood you like. Then the move itself with first downsizing "stuff", and oh how we can accumulate things. Not easy tossing out, donating, and carrying it with you to a new place. I remember when my Dad moved to senior living, I asked him to narrow down his collection of books. The standing joke was he went from 200 books down to 199. I let them take all his books with him, it was his cocoon.
Your hubby would be lost in the new kitchen, because items are now in different locations. Where is that silverware drawer? Hmmm, what cabinet now has the coffee cups? So much harder when one has memory issues.
Oh, just think of looking for all new doctors, specialists, and dentist. And finding where they are located. Are there any nearby Urgent Care offices? Medical care is so very important.
Let's not forget, getting a new hairdresser and barber. Hope there is a branch of your bank in the new location, if not, the hunt for a new bank. And just learning all the new streets, that will be on your shoulders. Finding a good mechanic.
And one thing rarely anyone thinks about, the local newspaper and local TV news. With the local TV news, all the anchors will be new to both you and hubby. It may make hubby think he is on vacation, and he might be asking when is it time to go home.
You mention that your hubby has good friends. He would miss them so much, and not be there if you need help with hubby for minor things.
You are need to be aware of the weather in a new location. How does the weather compare to where you now live?
So much to think about !!
Uprooting a loved one with dementia can be quite detrimental for that person as their whole routine is disrupted and they lose the familiarity that was once around them.
I'm sure you already know that when ones brain is broken(as with dementia)that keeping a routine is of utmost importance and keeps peace and stability in their lives.
So while relocating sounds good in theory, realistically at this point in his journey, it's probably not the wisest.
Years ago the people that we bought our house from were moving from NC to IA to be closer to their daughter who lived there. The man had dementia and shortly after the move he went downhill rather quickly and she ended up having to place him in a facility. She later agreed that the move was just too much for him.
So I would just say, you're doing a great job and you're blessed that right now your husband is kind and still loving. Please enjoy that while it lasts and don't take one day for granted with the man you love, as there will come a day when you will wish he were here for even just one more day. This I know all too well.
God bless you.
I'd advise trying to adapt to his limitations where you are, because what little is familiar to him will be the best for him. Drive to a flat park where you can take strolls together, and visit with friends while he still can, because they're your support system, too.
If your husband is ambulatory and rather social, you might want to investigate.
In your situation, the range of answers and experience is just more evidence that it’s hard to predict how things will go. Will the disturbance make current problems worse? Or will the easier conditions give a longer period where things will be more enjoyable? You are a decade younger than your husband, so where would be best for you if you outlive him?
If you decide to move, you could try to treat it in the same way as setting up a new room in a facility – bring as much familiar stuff as will fit in the more limited space. I’d consider taking photos of some things and taping the photos to the outside of cupboards and drawers – even an actual teaspoon! You could take the door off the cupboard with mugs in it, so that it’s all visible. A strip of high-viz tape from the bed to the toilet might help at night. You will know what might help your husband find his way around a new place. You can easily remove all this once it gets to be familiar.
If you have the finances, it could be good to find local affordable accommodation, and invite a pair of friends down for a visit. A visit every couple of months might be enough to stop the feeling that you have left everything behind.
We have to get our TV and radio reception through the internet (rotten reception in our farm valley), and we can get ‘local’ programs from just about anywhere in the world. We regularly listen to the 'farm' radio when we are 1800kms away in Central Australia. That might be worth investigating, too. Best wishes with whatever you decide, Margaret
I think you need to make a pros and cons list. a big move will be very stressful for you and he will feel that. Maybe you could downsize locally so you still have your friends around. You can also drive to flatter areas for outing walks. Now is the time to set up helping systems for yourself to manage his care so you don’t burn out. Stress creates a quicker decline in all of us but especially with dementia.
you might be able to find a young gardener to help with upkeep.
will selling your home help you move him to memory care near your new place at the beach? Or with in home care? Or a retirement home for both of you? There are Many options.
make your list and start decluttering as though your moving to a small home. That is a huge job. There is a wonderful online class to help with decluttering (those hidden cabinets that are full, masses of photos, China, games, crafts, linens, etc). (Look up Karen Kingston) It will be a huge help to you and refresh your energy and clear your thoughts on moving forward. It’ll probably be fun for your husband to be reminded of older family stories. Good luck. My heart is with you
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