Fred and Mary lived next door to their son and daughter in law. As they aged their son and daughter in law started doing more and more around the house for them. It started with mowing the lawn and within a few years it had escalated to cleaning, shopping, laundry and bringing three meals a day as they noticed Fred and Mary were not cooking meals for themselves. The few times had tried cooking there were signs that it didn’t go well such as burned potholders on the stove, ovens left on all day and half eaten food on dirty plates in the sink.
The son and daughter in law had a family, worked full time and were finding it difficult to spend so much time taking care of their parents. They were also getting frustrated with misguided accusations that they were taking things from Fred and Mary and general verbal abuse (caused by dementia). They also wanted to go on vacation and worried about leaving Fred and Mary alone.
We met with the daughter in law who was exhausted from the stress of being a family caregiver. She didn’t know what to do but knew something needed to change and quickly. We talked about what Fred and Mary might need, what they would want in an ideal living situation, where they would want to live and how much they could afford to pay. We decided the best option would be to live in an independent living community that had assisted living too. This would give them a place to move when their care needs became greater. We talked about options in the town in which they lived toured the ones that were of interest. We found the perfect room in a building in Beaverton in which many of their friends also lived.
We also worked with the son and daughter in law offering suggestions on how to break the news to Fred and Mary that it was time to move. It’s not an easy discussion but with our help they were able to work together as a family to present the problems they were seeing and solutions they had found in a positive way that made it easier for Fred and Mary to accept the inevitable.
No move is easy and it took a few months for them to adjust but Fred and Mary are slowly meeting more people and are definitely eating better. The knowledge that they are getting regular meals, housekeeping, activities, and somebody else keeping an eye on them brings a lot of comfort to their family.