My 85 yeard old father has lived with me for the past 4 years and I have cared for him 24/7. I admitted him to a care facility for Alzeimers patients 5 days ago. The social worker advised me to tell him a "therapeutic lie" about why he was going to the facility. I told him my husband and me were going on a trip for a week and he needed to stay there so he could be cared for. It went better than I expected, and I called each day to ask about him. The nurses said he was doing well, interacto ing with the other residents and walking down the halls saying hello teveryone. Yesterday, however, when I called about him, the nurse said he had packed his suitcase and was ready to come home.
I have called the social worker to ask for advice, but she has not returned my calls. What should I do? Shall I see him in person and tell him directly that he will be living there, or do I stay away until he accepts that that is where he will live?
Welcome to the board Leonb. Many of us, including me, have been through the same situation. Those here were great help to me and I am sure they will come up with great suggestions.
You can tell him whatever it takes to keep him there. Remember he has no time frame, forgets, and doesn't have the cognitive ability to know what comes next. On moment he thinks it is time to go home and the next he is very happy talking to somebody or playing bingo. See what happens tomorrow. Perhaps you can come up with a medical reason for him to stay until he gets better. Perhaps some repairs that need to be done at home and you are sure he will be more comfortable there for a while. When you do see him only talk about the positive of staying where he is. It will take time for him to adjust. Some longer than othrs. Just know that you have done what is right for him, for you, and for your family. It will be ok eventually.
Just keep on telling him little white lies about why he is there. You will go home as soon as the doctor says you are OK. He (she) is waiting for xxx to clear up, for the results of some test, for whatever.
As time goes by they forget that they ever lived anywhere else, except a basic hopeless desire to be 'at home again' with Mommy and Daddy, as they regress to their own childhood.
My Mom went through it all, and it worked out well. She herself came up with the idea that she was at an 'expensive spa' with a Swiss chef. She also pointed out other patients or staff members and told imaginative stories about them. A little redheaded girl had been there, it was her granddaughter (no, it wasn't). Two staff members had gotten married right there in the dining room! (actually they brought some wedding cake to the pateints on another occasion, having gotten married somewhere else). That man walking by lost his job here; he was a neuro surgeon but now has to work as a gardener. Etc etc. If she had seen bits of some soap opera, the characters in it were transformed in her mind into the people around her and she believed all the dramas were affecting them.
In other words, she got really used to being there and even liked it, while getting the kind of care I could no longer give her....
Just don't make the mistake of taking him home ...not even for a visit. That makes everything ten times harder.
I just kept telling my mother that when she get better we'll talk about it; or that it's not up to me to decide if she goes home, it's the doctor.
She still mentions about going home when I'm ready to leave. She sits by the nurse's station where they can keep an eye on her as she is not to walk w/o assistance anymore due to her many falls. For some reason, she thinks she cannot get home on her own, and is left there all by herself. I reassure her that she's never alone there and "Krissy" (one of the nurses) will watch over you until I get back.
Home to her is her little room down the hall at the facility. So I think she thinks her house is down the street (or the hall) from where she sits for most of the day. She very rarely mentions the home where I grew up in with my brothers and we lived as a family. Sometimes she'll mention the house she grew up in. She goes way back to the late 40's in her mind.
Sadly, I've become a very good liar to my mother. It took some practice, but now all kinds of excuses as to why I have to leave; why she is there; why she can't go home; etc. are always on tap in my mind so I'm able to leave her without her getting upset.
You just have to make up stuff and keep in mind that a little white lie is better than them knowing the absolute truth.
Last edited by sunnydaze1; 08-05-2008 at 08:42 AM.
At first Mom thought it was a gand idea. She too related to the spa hotel. Now we tell her that it is because she needs help with Dad which is actually the truth. We know she could not be at home even if Dad was not an issue but that we do not tell her. She is worse than Dad. When she talks about going home there is no doubt that she means the home we lived in. She has come up with 100 excuses a month to go back home, temporarily or permenently. My sisters have taken her home for a visit but we leave Dad at the facility for two reasons. He physically can't take the trip and we know she will go back because he is there. Now she wants to take Dad home to die. We keep telling her we cannot find anybody that can stay with them 24/7 and keep talking about how much help they get where they are.
Dad on the other hand has his home at the end of the hall. He thinks it is a nice house on top of a hill in the woods. In fact it is a nice apartment on the third floor in the middle of a city with a little wooded area right outside his window. At time he equates it to a vacation hotel. Mom is always talking about going on vacation and he thinks he is there to make her happy. He talks about going home to where we lived and also going home to his child hood home. We have to check to see if there are cows there to know which he is talking about. Sometimes he talks about going home and I am sure he is talking about his heavenly home. If we can figure out what home he is talking about we can give him answers that seem to calm him. Mostly home to him is his family. He worries so. His Mother needs help milking the cows (she died in 72), has his brother eaten breakfast and gotten to work (he worked with his brother in the 50's and he died in the 70's), he wants to be home with his babies (the babies are between 53 is 57), but he will stay where ever Mom is and most of all he wants her to be happy. The only time we have major problems with him is when Mom has one of her "melt downs". Then we tell him they need to stay there to help Mom.
Yes, little white lies, omissions of facts, and feeding their own fantasies are all allowed. I know in my heart Mom and Dad are whre they need to be and we do what we have to to make them happy in the moment. Some days it works better than others but they are where they will be.