Is he a social person? The forced (or seemingly forced) socialization would prevent my mother from ever moving to a senior facility. She’s looked at them. My aunt and uncle were serious about it until the three of them visited a place at lunch time and were told by some of the residents that they couldn’t sit where they sat because the regulars sat there. Very cliquish.
So all of them remain in their apartments, 2 buildings apart. Meanwhile, my uncle’s daughter-in-law (my cousin’s wife) manages a senior care facility in Chicago and her family owns several in FL.
Asking whether the elder is a social person is a good question, but so is to ask how they see themselves.
When my mother was still mobile we insisted that she attend a day care centre (two different ones, one was run by the (state) health board, the other by the Alzheimers' society), attending each of them once a week; meals - hot meals, a traditional hot lunch, which many of the elders liked - were supplied, in addition, there was music and games - in other words, activities, the elders didn't just sit around doing nothing staring at walls.
She didn't see herself as part of that demographic ("it's full of old people," she complained to my brother when he collected her having brought her there on her first day - he likened it to bringing a small child to school for the first time).
We insisted that she attend the day care centres mainly to give the carer a break; caring for someone with dementia all day every day is exhausting and can lead to carer burn-out.
This is especially the case when the trajectory of the condition means that recovery is not just a wild dream, but an utterly impossible dream, because not only will they not get better, they cannot but deteriorate endlessly in an inevitable, sometimes hilarious, yet often heart-breaking manner.
Remember, these people - even when memory is eroded - have lived lives of autonomy and responsibility, and this is how they still see themselves (when lucid).
Losing their independence - having run their lives, run companies, held senior positions, had responsibility, raised families where their word and will matters - is very painful, and humiliating, and will be intimately tied into their self image, their sense of themselves, and their sense of self-respect.
Accepting advice, counsel, support and - indeed instructions - from their own children, - whose lives they once ran - will be hard, irrespective of how close and affectionate and egalitarian the relationship as adults will have been.
For, egalitarian relationships (which were tied to egalitarian principles and liberal views) are one thing (and, as an adult, I cherished, enjoyed, savoured and treasured such a thing, a close friendship with my parents - they loved it and relished it and savoured it, too), but an inversion of the classic parent-child relationship, whereby age compels the parents to become the dependants, and where the children take responsibility for the life of the elder - in our case we eventually went to the High Court to obtain an Enduring Power of Attorney - is (psychologically, let alone physically) very, very difficult to deal with, both for the children and for the parents/elders.
You managed to do so well by your mom and finding such great carers to help out.
Yes, we did, and yes, we all agree that we can look at ourselves in the mirror. There is grief but no guilt, sorrow, but no regrets.
My mother never wanted to go into a care home, and regarded such places with undisguised horror.
And, in my father's case - cancer did for him, but he retained his mental faculties until the end which made matters, such as caring for him at home (with state support systems in place), a lot easier - we were able to care for him at home until five days before he died. Besides, he was an excellent patient, considerate of others, and very mindful of the strain everyone else was under.
And, with dementia, because of the annihilation of your mental capacity, you do not always actually understand that you have not been abandoned by those whom you love, when you move (or are moved) into a care home, bereft of family and/or friends and removed from familiar surroundings.
The carer - and her friends - had heartbreaking stories of some of the elders for whom they had cared, people who had been moved to a care home when the care needs became too great, and who had died within weeks.
I remember - around a month before my own mother died - the carer had some of her friends around to dinner; their stories were heart-breaking: "The old lady I looked after went into a home and died after six weeks;" "the old gentleman I cared for went into a home and died after two weeks," and so on.
She wished to stay at home as long as possible - and we were lucky that we were able to facilitate this, for she stayed at home until the very end, passing away in her own bed just before midnight on the night of 21st December, 2018.
However, having said that, we were lucky that we had such wonderful support - the state support systems were invaluable and necessary - and the carer was superlative; I have no doubt whatsoever that my mother lived for at least three extra years on account of the superb care she received (and we had the carer living with us and caring for my mother for six full years).
Moreover, we were also lucky re both social class, and the the fact that state support systems and public healthcare provisions exist: My mother had two pensions, - my father's and her own - and substantial savings, all of which were exhausted with her care. Furthermore, we have a pretty large house, - which meant we had more than sufficient space to equip my mother's room as needed, (hoists, day chair, air mattress, hospital bed etc) and everyone could escape to their own corners when circumstances called for some personal space.
Social class meant that my brother and I could also part fund my mother's care - we had the education and qualifications to be able to work in positions which allowed us to be able to afford to do this, and, okay, the sort of respective characters - and good relationships with our parents - which made us want to do this.
And personal circumstances also came into play: We none of us have any children - and only Other Brother has a partner, my German sister-in-law, whereas neither Decent Brother nor I are married, have partners, nor have we other emotional or caring commitments or responsibilities; in other words, we were able to give my mother the quality of care she needed without other comitments competing.
However, I will not deny that it wasn't difficult - sometimes, very difficult - at times.