My Parents Are Still Apart

  Overwhelmed with feelings of guilt. Trying to do the best I can. The assisted living memory care where my father has been staying cannot accommodate my mother’s difficulty swallowing liquids due to her stroke. 

My mother is back in skilled nursing after a psychiatric stay for major depression and behavioral changes due to a UTI (urinary tract infection which can result in confusion or delirium-like state, agitation, hallucinations, other behavioral changes, poor motor skills or dizziness, and falling).

For now, my father remains in memory care. When I first looked at senior care options, I did not even consider looking at board and care homes for my parents, for I imagined them to be crowded and depressing. I only had in mind what the worst homes are like. There are nice homes. Of course, they cost more. 

A beautiful brand new board and care home close to my home can take them both, but it does not yet have its license. Once there, my parents will live in a two-room suite with a private Jack and Jill bathroom and sliders from both rooms to the backyard. My mother loves flowers, so I plan to plant some with her. Now the yard is simply walkway and lawn. 

Kills me that it is taking so long to get the two of them back together. 

My dad keeps saying he wants to move back to the beach, but I cannot oversee their care from our home and my son is adamant about not wanting to move again. We’ve moved our son far too many times. He attended five elementary schools. That’s four too many. We promised him we would not move again once we returned to Mission Viejo from the Mojave Desert.

My parents’ home is not senior friendly. Three stories tall, it presents fall risks. Significant deferred maintenance needs to be addressed. As kitchen appliances have failed over the years, my mother bought toaster ovens to cook. My greatest fear is that if my parents returned to their home, they would go back to drinking, which means that my father would again fall down the stairs (he does so at least once each time we visit).

39 thoughts on “My Parents Are Still Apart

  1. Leslie January 3, 2016 / 4:10 am

    Such a hard issue to deal with. I’m glad to hear that you have found a place near you so that you don’t have to move or have a long drive. Being together may help them considerably in their recovery. Have you considered Skype? At least for the short term it would give them the opportunity to see one another.

    Praying that the new place gets it’s license soon and your parents are able to be together again.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kitt O'Malley January 3, 2016 / 9:57 am

      Because of their cognitive deficits, my father’s dementia and my mother’s inability to communicate verbally, Skype wouldn’t work right now. They crave physical contact and do a lot of hand holding and kissing during visits.

      Like

      • Leslie January 3, 2016 / 10:10 am

        Oh I didn’t realize they were getting to visit each other. That’s one positive. How long till the new place is ready to go? Any idea?

        Liked by 2 people

  2. gentlekindness January 2, 2016 / 11:39 pm

    You are right not to move again. It would be too traumatic for your son. You have every right to choose your own priorities and set your boundaries.

    You are only one person and your responsibility to yourself and your family that you live with comes first.

    Try not to let guilt and shame from guidelines set by society or programmed by family, church or community torment you. You have to love yourself.

    If you take care of everone because “you should” according to other people….people who are not enduring your situation….people who are not struggling with their own mental illness….people who do not have a child that needs special attention….then you will have a mental breakdown or a physical health breakdown.

    Other people do not live inside of your head, so they do not know what it feels like.
    Annie

    Liked by 3 people

  3. 10000hoursleft January 2, 2016 / 2:25 pm

    What a struggle! You really are doing your best though. Great you can see a positive outcome once they’re together and your focus can shift to working out which flowers to plant where in that garden 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  4. lydiaa1614 January 2, 2016 / 12:56 pm

    Kat, I totally understand what you are going through. We had similar issues with my Dad. One thing I am thankful for is you are thinking of the needs of you and your family first. This is so important. The board and care home sounds great and it is close. My husband worked in one for almost five years. The level of care they gave there was amazing. In fact we still get invited to Christmas and birthday parties there because they encourage long-term relationships with the patients. We have sadly also attended a couple of memorials but again, it shows support to the family. I wish you luck on working this out for your parents.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kitt O'Malley January 2, 2016 / 1:09 pm

      Thank you, Lydia, for your kind words of support. I do hope it will work out. The home is lovely.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. dyane January 2, 2016 / 12:55 pm

    First off, I absolutely love the photo of your beautiful mother and handsome father.
    This is a tremendously stressful situation for an adult child to endure, and you’re handling it with grace and thoughtfulness. No one could ask for a more loving daughter.
    As Vic noted, there’s a way for them to be together, thank God and it sounds ideal, but how incredibly frustrating that it awaits the license….(Yes, you absolutely cannot move again.)
    Sending you my love as always, my precious friend. And strength. You’re in my prayers today, along with the rest of your family.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Kitt O'Malley January 2, 2016 / 1:08 pm

      Thank you, Dy. The new place is gorgeous. No ocean view. But they’ll be together, nearby and SAFE.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Laura P. Schulman, MD, MA January 2, 2016 / 12:54 pm

    I’m so sorry that your parents are separated because of their disparate needs. Can they handle an assisted living facility with step-up care? These provide everything from stand-alone houses with assistants to help with household chores, to garden apartments, and as a person needs higher levels of care, they can progress all the way to skilled nursing. There is usually a common dining room where the senior can take their meals if they wish, and meals can be delivered to their dwelling if they are unable to cook but don’t want to go to the dining room. People with dementia should not be cooking anyway, because they might forget to turn something off and start a fire, or other accidents. Just kiting this idea.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kitt O'Malley January 2, 2016 / 1:01 pm

      We looked at a continuing care community, but they housed memory care, skilled nursing and assisted living patients (as well as independent living clients) separately. I think the home I found will address their needs for now. Just waiting for the license in the mail. They’ve passed inspection. Holidays threw a wrench in the plan.

      Like

    • Kitt O'Malley January 2, 2016 / 1:07 pm

      At the board and care, neither of my parents will cook or clean. They will have a bedroom, bath and sitting room. Eating in common dining room. Cooking done by staff. They have visiting MDs here. My mom will be assessed for visiting PT (& speech therapy?). I live nearby and can take them to see hematological oncologist (dad has hemochromatosis & mom has non-Hodgkins lymphoma).

      Liked by 1 person

  7. bpnurse January 2, 2016 / 12:52 pm

    Oh, Lord, that is so hard to deal with. As a long-term care nurse (Assisted living and nursing homes) I walked literally hundreds of families through this process, and it was never an easy decision for them to make. Then it came time for me to put my sister in an assisted living facility, and I felt just as lost as they did. Believe me, I feel for you. Sending love and prayers.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kitt O'Malley January 2, 2016 / 12:59 pm

      Thank you! Just hate the trial and error. Have moved my mother too many times since November trying to get her close to me and get her the care she needs (as well as the care my father needs). Can’t wait until they can live together. That matters more than recovery at this point.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Just Plain Ol' Vic January 2, 2016 / 12:47 pm

    Aw Kitt I know this can be so tough, but knowing there is an option to get them together, hopefully that will ease your concerns a bit. Thinking of ya, sending positive thoughts your way! Take care.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Kitt O'Malley January 2, 2016 / 12:57 pm

      Thank you, Vic! Just wish I had tried that route from the start. Trial and error. Learning as I go.

      Liked by 1 person

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