Memory Care for Father-in-Law


Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Mar 18, 2006
My FIL has finally been declared by the assisted living facility as being ready to "cross over" to the memory care unit. DW was fighting it as somehow moving him would make him less capable than he already is. He currently can't get himself dressed for lunch without frequent reminders and spends most of the day watching his telephone so he doesn't miss any calls. He has little or no concept of time and can't remember that his wife is dead.

As we investigated the memory care facilities, it bacame obvious that he would have a much better life than staying in assisted living. The "nicer" memory care facilities have almost continuous activities for those still capable of doing things. The staff to resident ration is also much higher so help is available.

What's the point of my post? If you find yourself in a similar situation, move your elderly-whomever sooner rather than later.
we had trouble placing mom in the alzheimer's unit because she was such a social and active person. but we were afraid that in the assisted living unit she would be shunned by the better-abled who might not have much patience for mom's condition. also, though she stayed put in the house, we feared wondering now that she was no longer in her familiar home.

placing her in the locked unit was really the best thing we could do for her. it kept her safe and the higher level of care was excellent. while mom could, she was taken on field trips with both her group and also with the better-abled assisted living group. they also brought mom to the assisted living for periods during the day with her little dog which she loved sharing with others.

while she could, mom took it upon herself to help people in her unit who were not as capable as she. she made friends there which was very strange to watch especially as they all deteriorated and lost their ability for conversation in a sense that i might understand it. somehow on some level they communicated with each other even under these circumstances, even if that just meant holding hands. i don't think she would have had that had we misplaced her.
we had trouble placing mom in the alzheimer's unit because she was such a social and active person. but we were afraid that in the assisted living unit she would be shunned by the better-abled who might not have much patience for mom's condition.
That's happening to my FIL. Some of the mentally "near normal" residents in assisted living are taking verbal potshots at him but they fortunately go right over his head. It's amazing how little sympathy is given by some people in pretty bad shape themselves. There are others that go out of their way to help guide him.

It sounds like you reached the same conclusion we have.
you have to consider also the other people there. their loved ones think they placed them where they would be with others of similar ability. as well, people who were never patient might not be likely to become moreso as they age or they might even revert and become irritable. i bet some are happy to just to have a regular bowel movement. others might not want to be reminded of what could become of them in just a few years. others aren't empathic. they might not know the person has alzheimer's and just think the person is being annoying.

one of my concerns was that there was no separation between those in various stages of alzheimers. in part i was afraid mom would pick up on their habits and that would worsen her deterioration. but mom adapted. after the first month she was pushing wheelchairs around so people could get a better view of the tv set. she was bringing people into her room and entertaining. it was what it was.

still, it was so sad to see her become one of them. sorry you are going through this now. as my brother said, at least we already have it done with.
My brothers and I put our mother into a really nice assisted living center two years ago, and she hates it.... calling at least one of us on the telephone almost daily to ask why we are being so cruel to her. She perceives herself as totally alone all the time, forgetting the field trips, visitors and other events that happened to her just hours before. Meanwhile, her slide into Alzheimer's continues slowly but surely. How sad it is ...
Alzheimer's is horrible. The end stages bad! It is not just memory or confusion. Hallucinations also... Near the end everything begins to shutdown. They become bed ridden with contraction. They can't even eat. Eventually the lack of nutrition or an infection will take it toll. I am sure there is a little variation on the progression for each person, but there is a fairly common progression. It just depends on whether or not some other complication steps in to take the loved one first.

I saw a parent go through it. I am sorry you and your parent are going through it.

It is a dreadful and debilitating disease. I am sorry for stating the grim details. But you need to prepare yourself emotionally for the outcome. It is sad. My experience with nursing homes is not good wither. Count yourself lucky if you find a decent one. Trust me, they will tell you that things are fine. You will only discover otherwise if you monitor closely and know what you are looking for.
I've talked with a number of people who have or have had parents or in laws with Alzheimer's. It's a pretty bad way to go and the worst part is that the Alzheimer's tends to take over to the exclusion of all other causes of death. I've runn across very few people who say that the patient's death was anything other in the very latest stages of Alzheimer's and usually directly due to Alzheimer's.

In the early stages with my in laws, they argued and fought to "stay in their home." There was no way they were physically or financially able to do that but they were beyond reason. I've told my children that when the time comes they just need to do what has to be done and not feel guilty or anguish over it (like their mother was/is). I've also said I'd prefer being drowned in a toilet over what either of the in laws had. For those that may not remember, my MIL had Parkinsons and fell and broke her hip. She spent a little over 2 years in a nursing facility having wild dreams and near constant pain.
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