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    • CommentAuthorJoy
    • CommentTimeApr 30th 2014
    I searched the board, but can't find exactly what I need to know. My husband is going to a memory care center in five days. (Today is April 30) I've made my peace with that. What concerns me now is....should I tell him where he is going? I doubt he'd understand, but it seems so cold to just take him there and leave him. Basically, that is the advice I've gotten from the supervisor of the day care where he now attends and from the personnel at his new "home." In addition to that...the advice I've gotten from EVERYONE is to wait two-three days before going back to visit him. The idea is to give him a little time to settle in so that he won't just jump up and be ready to leave with me. It made sense, but this evening I re-read the chapters in The 36 Hour Day about acclimating to a nursing home and they specifically advise telling the person where they are going, having them help in setting up their room, and to visit often the first week or so. I really don't think he'd grasp much, even if he were there when we put his college posters on the walls and move in his easy chair. It might cause an opposite reaction. I can see myself full of regrets in either case. Those of you who have lived through this....what would you advise?
    Joy, I can only tell you of my experience. My husband has been in care for two months now and we had his room ready to go a few days before he actually moved in. I took the advice of others
    on here and told him that the doctor said I needed a break and he would have to stay there for awhile to be well taken care of ........ the 'awhile' wasn't quite the truth but I didn't feel he could
    grasp that it was a permanent move. He moved in on a Saturday and I didn't go back until the following Wednesday, at their request. I had planned to go on Tuesday but when I phoned they asked if I would wait one more day as he was still anxious and restless. On the day he moved in, my three children came with me and we visited for about an hour and then left just before
    their afternoon coffee time ......the staff was very good about diverting his attention.

    I'm sure the experience is different for everybody. I wish you the best.
    • CommentAuthorAdmin
    • CommentTimeApr 30th 2014 edited
    It's my belief that what you tell them depends upon how much they understand and how aware they are. If they are so advanced that they barely know you and are not very aware of their surroundings, you can simply take them without much explanation, except - they are going to take care of you.

    If they are very aware, you could tell them that they are going for "awhile", so you can get some respite.

    In my case, my husband was very aware, but physically disabled, barely able to walk, and in extreme pain. I told him that he was going to "rehab" to get therapy for a few weeks to help alleviate his pain. He was in so much pain, that he didn't fuss about it until the next day.

    There are as many different ways to tell them as there are stages and levels they could be on. A good, experienced staff will help both of you through the difficult transition stage.

    Many places advise not seeing them for a few weeks, but I wouldn't have taken that advice even if the facility advised it - which they did not. I went every day. You know your husband best, so I would suggest you do what you feel is best for him related to visiting.

    • CommentAuthorJoy
    • CommentTimeApr 30th 2014
    Thanks to both of you for sharing your experience. My husband seems so disengaged most of the time, but he still knows us. Did your spouse see the room before move-in day? One part of me thinks that would be a good idea so that it was not completely foreign to him. OR he might just be teed off that all his good "stuff" was being moved.
    My husband was attending a day care program, so I told him we were trying out a new one. My intention, with the OK of the ALF, was to drop him off for the day just like day care until he acclimated and then have him stay after 3 or 4 days of this.

    What actually happened is that he was so disoriented when he came home the first evening that he didn't know where he was. I think I had been denying the severity of his general disorientation. Our daughter came from out of town to help and she was the one who said after the first day, "Mom, he doesn't even know home, I think you should leave him overnight tomorrow." And so we did.

    We visited every day. Be prepared, because it is hard to see them there and hard to leave them there. I kept telling myself that it was the right thing to do and I can see now that it was. I was also told by our Alz case manager that he would decline the first month or two, and he might or might not regain the ground he lost. That did happen. The other thing is that no facility is perfect so you may have to compromise your standards some, with the bottom line being that he is being watched, interacted with, clean and fed. Whether his clothes match or he is shaved well really don't matter.

    I still visit at least once a day. He knows who I am and is sighs with relief when he sees me. It also gives me a chance to keep an eye on what is going on - I visit at different times of the day. Aides vary, nurses vary, shifts vary. Some are fantastic, others not so much. But the good comes with the bad and I can deal with it because I am now getting a good night's sleep, and not tied down with crushing responsibility 24/7.

    Having a background in embryology, I peppered my OB with so many worries and questions during my first pregnancy, that he finally said "You have to pay your nickel, and take your chance." I have called that phrase to mind so many times in the 37 years since and it certainly applies here. (It also makes me laugh to think what silly things I used to worry about. Good thing I didn't know what was in store!)

    Joy, all I can say is, just do it, if the time is right. Everyone will adjust to the new normal.
    • CommentAuthorFiona68
    • CommentTimeApr 30th 2014
    Joy, when I placed my DH one year ago he was aware of our home and would have fought me if I'd have told him beforehand. We went to the facility the week before to "have lunch with my friend" and he met most of the Memory Care staff. They were so nice to him and he had a good time. The day of move-in, I just drove him there. As we pulled into the parking lot, I had no idea how to tell him. Luckily for me, he said "oh, this place. I've been here before" and walked right in. We were met with staff who took us upstairs and to his room. At that point I told him " we are going to live here now. This is your room with your bed and things and my room is 'down there'." I had to explain it again and show him his dresser and clothes in the closet and then I told him that a lot of work needed to be done on our house and it was just too much for me, so we were going to live here for a while. He accepted it and one of the aids took him to an activity. I was there every afternoon for a few hours, but never brought my purse in with me. I just entered the room. When I left I always told him that I had to go to work for a while. In fact I tell him that same thing even now; that we both live there and that I have to go back to work when I leave.

    I NEVER mention the word home and often will tell him that its really good to live there because they feed us and do the cleaning and I really like that. Because I am calm and positive, he is too. I also echo the other advice you've been given. Follow your gut on how often to visit him because you know your DH better than anyone.
    Good luck with the move. I'll keep you and your family in my thoughts.
    • CommentAuthorJoy
    • CommentTimeMay 1st 2014
    marche, thanks so much for sharing all those details. You hit on so many of my concerns. I had considered doing the "gradual' thing, but was talked out of it. I think what happened to you would have happened to us if they'd let me try it. Fiona, interesting that you went to the facility for a meal. We had looked at several places in our area and pretty much settled on the one where we are placing him. I had asked them if we could come for supper one night, just to give him some exposure to the place. We went as scheduled and had a similar experience. It helped me with the final decision. I like the idea of coming in without my purse. If I don't pick it up when I leave, he won't see that clue. I have someone coming to the house every morning at 7:00 so I can get to my school on time; he's used to my telling him that I have to go to work. I don't expect this to work like magic, but I am much more sure that we are one the right track after reading what you all have to say. We have four more days here at home. Our plan is to have our two adult sons move the few items of furniture and accessories we are taking on Saturday. I want it all finished so that on Sunday our family can gather together for one of the informal times that my husband enjoys so much. I am going to pull out all my "brave" for Monday....will certainly revisit this site and read your words again after I've put him to bed on Sunday.
    Joy, like Fiona, I took my husband for lunch at the facility (Sunrise) before the move-in day so there was some recognition on his part, but he had not seen his actual room until the day we
    took him to move. He definitely recognized some of the furniture (two chairs that had formerly been in his office, for instance) and he seemed happy with the room. Also, as Fiona says,
    I never use the word 'home' when I am leaving. I just say I will be back soon and he's generally happy with that - I know he doesn't know if 'soon' is a couple of hours or a couple of days so
    I don't feel guilty about that.

    Do what you have to for a smooth transition and I wish you all the best.
    • CommentAuthormyrtle*
    • CommentTimeMay 20th 2014
    I’m new to this site and came on it looking for exactly this kind of advice. I didn’t discover this discussion until just now.

    Every one of you has offered a good suggestion. Given my husband’s capabilities, I think I’m going to go with the “staying for awhile” story and say I’ll be back soon. If he asks why he has to stay there, I might say that I have to go on a business trip. I also like the idea of not bringing my purse in. As far as visiting, I don’t know what I’ll do but I don’t want to stay away from him for more than a couple of days.

    One good thing is that this weekend, there will be a motorcycle show in the parking lot of the facility where he will be going (a residence for veterans). He loves motorcycles so I’ll definitely take him to the show. If that goes well, I may take him back there again and sit in the courtyard.

    Thank you so much for your advice. Throughout this 7-year experience, I have been fairly successful at appearing calm and positive (even though I'm not), but the magnitude of this decision was starting to panic me. Now that you have given me some suggestions, I think I may be able to do this and at the same time, convey the impression to him that everything is fine.
    Welcome to our little club Myrtle!
    • CommentAuthorBrightBod
    • CommentTimeMay 21st 2014
    very interesting ideas on this topic, I like what Fiona did with her husband that sound like it worked very well, I guess you have to be smart in situation like this, this disease changes the person completely.
    • CommentAuthorFiona68
    • CommentTimeMay 23rd 2014
    Joy, Myrtle and BrightBod, I decided my course of action after reading many posts on this site of what others had done. Of course, I never thought it would work that smoothly but, as I've been told by his daycare staff and doctors, many times we are to close to them to see how impaired they actually are. He is still doing well in his ALF and I still tell him I'm going back to work, when I leave. He is starting to be as affectionate with his female caregivers as he is with me so, while he tells people that I am his wife, I don't think he recognizes the difference in the relationship I have with him vs. the caregivers who take such good care of him every day. I warned them the other day that he likes to give a little squeeze to my derriere when he hugs me and was told that he'd tried to do that to them too!!
    My thoughts are with you as you go through this next step in the progression of this disease. Best of luck.
    Like so many others, I waited too long for my own well being when I finally placed my husband. My heart shattered into a million pieces. I always felt that the day I left him there, he knew it had to be. I don't know how much he realized I had reached my limit--if not him, then I'd have had to be placed. But, it wasn't very long before he struck up a 'relationship' with a demented woman patient there and introduced her to everyone as 'my wife, Betty Lee.' So I knew he really wanted to be married to me, loved me, and in his way, he recreated what he wanted in his life. Very soon, when I'd take him out for a ride or soda, he'd hop right out of the car when we returned, knew it was where he lived and there were no problems. Statistics are in your favor, it will be best for both of you.
    • CommentAuthormyrtle*
    • CommentTimeAug 27th 2014
    to the top for abauche
    • CommentAuthormyrtle*
    • CommentTimeMar 2nd 2015
    To the top for pamwiebe. See comments by Fiona68.
    In my case I had his room set up before taking him. He was not able to share in getting the room ready and was quite terrified when I first left. He ended up in the hospital due to anxiety and angina. It was very difficult. I just moved him to long term care 2 weeks ago and again we are going through a transition. He has no idea where he is but still knows me and needs help eating. He understands when I tell him I could not do it anymore.
    • CommentAuthorpamwiebe
    • CommentTimeMar 2nd 2015
    Thank you Myrtle. There are many good suggestions on this thread,
    • CommentAuthormyrtle*
    • CommentTimeSep 5th 2015
    To the top for mothert.
    • CommentAuthormyrtle*
    • CommentTimeFeb 6th 2017
    To the top for PeggyG.