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  1. I still miss my dad, who died almost three years ago. I also miss my friend Hermon, who disappeared from my life a few weeks ago, courtesy of his son. Hermon has dementia and I spent the last year doing everything I could to help him stay in his home as long as possible. Hermon's son Steve got a woman to trick Hermon to get in a car to go have lunch, which was actually on the way to Steve's house three hours away. Steve tried to keep Hermon in his house on a small ranch with an 8-foot chain link fence around it. Steve and his wife were in no way prepared to keep a very healthy and strong man who wanted to go home. After about a week Hermon got over the fence, was captured, taken to the ER, transferred to a psych hospital several hours away, and then placed in an assisted living facility that does NOT have a locked unit and does NOT have a memory unit, which Hermon probably needs, sad as that is, according to a previous assessment. I talked to Hermon on the phone after he had been there for about a week, with his son's blessing, but now Steve does not want me - or anyone - to talk to Hermon, because he thinks that Hermon will soon forget he had a life before, friends, a cat, a home, and all that. He figures if Hermon is out of contact with everyone, he will just settle in and forget everything else. When he was still in the comfort and oriented to his surroundings, he would go into a rage about or at Steve about every day, saying that giving him POA was the worst mistake he had ever made in his life, and raging about how Steve was stealing from him and so on. I figure that is still probably going on, even though he has almost no contact with his son, and the staff is probably reluctant to be open about this, because their occupancy is at about 75%. It seems that Hermon will figure out that the reason he is suddenly living in Steve's town is somehow due to Steve. I also figure Hermon will keep trying to get home. He has no idea Steve is going through Hermon's stuff getting ready to have a big garage sale and then sell Hermon's house. Hermon will need the money to pay for his care at this point, but it seems cruel to have not told him anything about what is going on or where he is or why. Hermon reportedly thinks he is staying at a hotel or maybe someone's home while his caregiver recovers from a hysterectomy, after which she will continue caring for Hermon in his own home. Is this a normal strategy? Lying to someone about why they are no longer living in their home and keeping them in a situation of no contact with anyone from their past? Is this something that facilities do on any frequent basis with elderly confused patients? Does is ever work or do the people just disintegrate and become more confused? Is this ever a good strategy to capture a person with dementia and shut them up with no contact with the outside world? It seems really cruel, but I don't know what that is likely to do to a person who suffers from dementia. Perhaps someone else knows. I find it to be very disturbing, and maybe it is... The other thing that bothers me is that Hermon really has no contact with anyone outside this facility, and so no one really knows what it going on there. Steve told me that he has only talked to his dad twice in the three weeks he has been there, but calls the staff and asks them how Hermon is doing. The staff give him glowing reports about how Hermon is doing well, is happy, busy playing dominoes, and so on. I remarked that there is a financial motive for the staff to give Steve good reports and people in all kinds of facilities do better when family and friends are "looking over the shoulders" of the caregivers by way of frequent visits and contact. I don't think Steve believed me... Any comments from anyone who has had experience with elderly relatives with dementia living in facilities where they don't want to be?
  2. Dad died Oct. 26 last year. Mom JUST got diagnosed with dementia so we'll be moving her to assisted living at the end of the month & selling her house. This weekend we're having a yard sale to start selling 64 years worth of memories & belongings. We've been slowly bringing things home from there as I we want them. Today one of my sisters called to ask what pieces of Mom's silver do I want? As Mom has so much & it's always been in the hutch or buffet I have no idea plus I was at work studying a new collection of pottery not thinking of silver. But within 1/2 hour it hit me: "This is it. We are slowly dispersing, amongst ourselves, Mom & Dad's life. It's not staying at that house. Mom & Dad will never need it again. Mom will never see it again. There will never again be any of my family there [after the house sale]; Dad will never feed his squirrels, Mom will never swing on the front porch again nor will any of our kids." Will Mom remember all of these memories? How long before she forgets it all? I also started wondering what Dad would think of all this-if he'd be ok with Mom's moving-we found out from papers he'd written that he'd suspected the dementia several years ago but didn't want her diagnosed & treated differently. And it hit once again-9 months later & the pain still comes back.
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