Life Changes


Life Changes

So much can happen in two months. Dean started out in assisted living and spent three comfortable months in a very nice facility with a private room. I wouldn't hesitate to call it luxurious living, like in a 5-star hotel. But his dementia behaviors (particularly his anger issues) were not easy to hide in this serene setting and his blood sugars were not being managed well either. The nursing staff was not as skilled as he obviously needed, so we had to find a place for him in a skilled nursing facility, ASAP, we were told.

After a multitude of calls by his case manager, the director of nurses at this assisted living, and myself they finally found a Medicaid bed for him in a town thirty miles away. I was not happy about this distance, but felt we had no choice. He had been given a deadline to move, and I was not even allowed to see his new location, as they moved him that very day.

I wasn't expecting his new place to be nearly as comfortable as the assisted living one he had come from, but to be honest, it was the worst of all the places I had visited. I was very disappointed in this choice. So I continued to call on my own until a week later when I found another care center just eight miles away that would be able to take him.

His new placement happened just a couple of weeks before I was given a plane ticket to go see my sister in Florida for Thanksgiving. I would not have been able to enjoy myself, or maybe even to have gone, if this new care center hadn't taken him. But thankfully, I was able to get some much needed respite with my sister's family, far away from the worries and pressures of caregiving for a glorious two weeks.

Upon my return, just as my life seemed to be settling down again, Dean went into a depression as he began to realize that this living arrangement may be permanent. He sees his blood sugars getting better, but I am not making an effort to have him back home. All of a sudden, he starts pushing me away, leaving me feeling unloved and guilty about his situation, not calling me often during the day like he's been doing.

It's hard to make him understand that I'm not the one keeping us apart. It's his own medical problems that are the culprit. He has already started to show signs of improvement though, after a psychiatrist put him back on one of his psychiatric meds they had stopped giving him at some point in his care. I see him coming around now. He's already called me twice today (on the cell phone I got him) and he's starting to sound like his old self.

Well, this is our new normal. I still take him to church once a week and my daughter and I also visit at least one other time during the week. We are planning to bring him home for a Christmas Eve supper and gift opening with the granddaughters.

I brought him home for an open house birthday party on December 4th too. We are trying to make his life as comfortable as possible. Caregiving does not stop when they leave your home. It just changes.

Dean at his birthday party. He had 3 sugar-free ice cream bars--with his 3 teeth.

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I like your description of all the changes as \"the new normal.\" It's the adjustments that I find most difficult to accept. You are a great example of groundedness and knowing what you can and cannot control.


Your tireless advocacy inspires, Teresa. I love how you don't accept what's unacceptable and focus on finding acceptable.\r\n\r\nI hope Christmas Eve brought a festive spirit to your home which blessed all of you. Let us know you did when you can.


You are such an inspiring example of steadfastness. God bless you for your example.


Medical issues and caregiving are challenging enough anytime, but when there are psychiatric needs as well, it's a much bigger challenge. It's also so humbling to know how much medication (or illness) can affect how we behave and how we treat others. I remember nurses telling me not to take my mom's anger personally. How easy is that? I'm so glad they got his meds back and things are beginning to smooth out a little. The adjustment is a roller coast ride, for sure.


Teresa, I'm so glad you were able to quickly find a better place for Dean, and that you were able to go on your two week visit confident of his good care. It's great you got that respite to go see your sister. It is hard to see our LO struggle with their situation and feelings. But it sounds like you've got your head on straight about it; it's not your fault and it's his illness that's dictating things. You are doing some good self care and I need to follow your fine example.\r\n\r\nIt's so good to hear his medication is adjusted and he's feeling a bit better. Hope that continues without interruption. I can see it's constant adaptation and change even when our loved ones are no longer living at home. You're right - it never stops, just changes. ... I love the picture you attached. He looks happy. Sending hugs...