The dreaded Nursing Home Decision for my grandfather
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We have made the heart wrenching decision to place my grandfather in a nursing home. Can I just tell you that this is by far the worst decision we have ever had to make with regards to my grandparents. It makes me sick to my stomach to think of my grandfather living in a nursing home. In fact, I kind of feel like it’s worse than death. Our hope was that both of my grandparents would live out their elder years here at home and pass away peacefully in their sleep.
Doesn’t seem to be Gods plan.
I have so many questions for God.
God, why couldn’t my grandfather pass away at home? Peacefully in his sleep?
Why does he have to live through being scared and away from his family in a Nursing Home?
Why does he have to be lonely at night and wishing he was with my gram and his cat?
Why does he have to live with others who are suffering in their own way and have to deal with others outbursts and illness?
Why does he have to be in a place where showers are only weekly and not nightly?
Why does he have to live in a place where he doesn’t have someone to help him right away?
Why does he have to wait for an aid who has a million other patients to tend to, help him get to the bathroom or get dressed?
I am beyond aggravated, sad and honestly, disgusted with the entire situation. BUT the bottom line is he now requires more care than we can give him here at home. His dementia and alzheimer’s disease has been wrecking havoc for years and last week was very difficult here in our home. We are to the point where his safety and the safety of people around him is in question. This decision was not taken lightly and the amount of tears that have been shed is drowning our home.
I snapped this picture yesterday when we got home from a trip to Michaels Crafts. My dad was pretending to direct traffic as they came into the house ;).
Our hope was that the new medication he was put on a few months ago while he was in the hospital for a month, would keep his dementia and Alzheimer’s under control and while it did help, it just wasn’t enough.
The only way I can describe his behaviors is to equate it to someone with multiple personalities. One minute he is sweet as pie. The next minute he is confused and agitated. We have been providing 24/7 care for him between 3 hired caregivers, my mom, my dad, me plus my aunt who worked here 4 days a week from 2pm – 7pm (a retired nurse), we still couldn’t manage his disease and keep sanity in our home. For some reason, my grandfather listens to my dad and I and he does as we ask. He is cooperative and reasonable when we are around but he seems to be having more issues lately with others in the house. The strange thing is, he is amazingly charming and so behaved at camp during the day. It’s like he’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
My grandmother is very upset and has been married to my grandfather for 68 years. While I know this will be tough on her, I think she may feel a sense of relief. She told me this is for the best. Personally, they will probably get along better this way. I feel bad for my dad. My dad is very strong and I have never seen him cry. He is pretty “matter of fact” and not much bothers him but this is hard for him. I can tell. It’s just really crappy no matter what way you look at it.
My grandfather is sad, scared and confused but he is willing to try his best to make his new living arrangement the best it can be. He helped me pack up his arts and craft box last night and we put together a caddy filled with his toiletries and personal care items which he decided what he wanted to take. He had a long talk with my dad and I think my dad made him feel at ease. My grandfather worships the ground my dad walks on and trusts him completely. Hopefully making him a part of the decision will help him remember what is happening and make it a little easier. I don’t know. I don’t know much about any of this. The thing is, with dementia, every minute is different and when you take someone out of their routine, they tend to decline quickly (from what the Dr.’s are telling us) so I feel like we are sending him off to his death. I know that sounds harsh but it’s the truth. Getting old is not easy.
We are moving him into his new home today so please say a prayer giving him strength and the ability to cope with his new reality.
About The Author
What started as a hobby, Jessica’s blog now has millions of people visit yearly and while many of the projects and posts look and sound perfect, life hasn’t always been easy. Read Jessica’s story and how overcoming death, divorce and dementia was one of her biggest life lessons to date.
I’m so sorry it has come to this! I know they try their best at the nursing homes but the horror stories you hear and they just don’t love them like we do! It’s the hardest decision ever and even worse to leave them that first time. Big hugs for your whole family (((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((())))))))))))))))))))))))))) praying for a smooth transition!
My prayers are with your family. I’ve been in your position and you are right…It is a gut wrenching decision to make. May you find peace in knowing he is in the best place for his increasing medical needs. …(It still doesn’t make it easier.)
I totally understand. My 5 siblings and I had to make this decision with my Mother. The only way we could get her to co-operate was by having her doctor talk to her. It was like she didn’t trust any of her children. It is a gut wrenching, heart breaking time in your families life. I will pray for all of you.
I am so sorry you and your family have to go through this. Always remember that you and your husband have been wonderful to your grandparents. My husband and I hope that our grandchildren will care for us. We have one (16 yr old boy/man) here with us now which makes us very happy…visiting from Colorado…
I had to see my mother go into a nursing home for the same reasons and it was very difficult but was for the best. I feel as if I know your family through your blog…plus we are Sudbury, Massachusetts people who retired up to our house in NH. I will say prayers for you and your family. I promise, you will be fine and so will Grandpa.
Best to you and your family,
I am so sorry that your family is going through this. Having gone through this as well, I know that it is worse than death, and the grieving seems endless. Praying for you all, that God will give comfort and a peace that passes understanding.
oh Jess…. My heart breaks for you dear friend. You are so very strong, one of the strongest women I know and if you knew it was time, it was time. Try to trust your decision. None of us are superwomen. Sometimes we need help and have to let go and let others. Releasing control is hard and frankly most of the time it sucks. I am praying for your grandpa, your grandmother, you and the whole family. Love you! XOXO ~ KIM
My thoughts and prayers are with you all.
We have been where you now are & i know exactly how you feel. Probably the hardest time of my life putting my mother in a nursing home. My prayers are with your whole family❤
I’m so sorry Jess – such a hard decision and I hope your family gets through this
My heart is just breaking for you and your family. What a difficult decision you have all had to make. You have given it your absolute all and I hope you find some peace in that. I will be praying for you and yours.
My mom has Alzheimer’s Disease. She is the oldest of 3 girls. Everyone of them has it. Her youngest sister has a very aggressive form that was diagnosed when she was 55 years old. My mom is 72 years old and was well the longest. Now my younger brother lives with my mom in her condo so she can stay at her home as long as possible. I feel your pain! Getting old does suck big time! Not for everyone, but, for many! I know I don’t have anything positive to say really and I’m sorry for that, but, it’s how I’m feeling right now too. Take care and relish every moment that you can.
I an so very sorry. I have followed you with interest, because we are at a similar place with my own Father. My siblings and I live in different states from each other, and from our Dad. His wife is at the place where she can no longer care for him at home, and so it seems like she will be moving in the direction of putting him in a nursing home (or whatever the proper term is for them now. You know what I mean). While we have to support whatever she thinks is best, because none of us live close to them, it is breaking our hearts to think of how scared he is going to be. Maybe not all the time, but when he does have his lucid moments…what is he going to think we have all done to him? I’m like you…I wish we could all live to a ripe, old age…with full control of all of our casualties…and then die peacefully in our sleep. Thank you for your honest posts, and your transparency. It really is an encouragement to me.
My mom had a minor stroke 2 1/2 years ago. She went to rehab and then to an assisted living to get better. When she went in she could walk with a walker and get up and down. She did therapy for about 6 months and then decided she would stop everything I mean everything. No getting up alone, no going to the bathroom (diapers only now) and most days just staying in bed. It is so hard to see since she had been alone for 20 years since my father died and did everything for herself. She is 89 years old and was mowing a huge yard on a riding mower and push mower for the trim. I hope that your grandfather doesn’t give up and will do things with other people while he is there. It sure will help him alot and all of y’all. It is very depressing to go there weekly (I keep my granddaughter every day and it is 2 hours away to see mom) but ….
Keep you in my prayers.
Sending love and strength to you and your family. This is very sad. My father in law has the same illness. It’s so devistating. Hugs
Tears rolling down my cheeks as I read this I am so sorry you are going through this. We are not quite at that stage with my mom yet but I dread the day the decision has to be made. My siblings feel she can live out her days at home with help but I know too many people this just hasn’t been possible no matter how badly you want them to stay at home. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
I ran an Alzheimer’s Facility for 10 years. You are in charge of your grandfathers care. Keep on top of the staff. Keep reminding them of the man your grandfather was. Put pictures of him in his room so they can see him and your grandma in their younger years. Let them know what kind of a man he was. Make them see him more personally. Do not take what he does and says personally, the family suffers more than the resident. Make sure if he can walk that they let him. You have the right to question meds if they seem to knock him out. They will need to try different doses to find what is right for him. Remember you did the best you could. Dementia is hard to deal with, your family can only handle so much. My prayers are with you.
My prayers are with your family and your grandfather. This is not an easy road to travel, as you are well aware. I cared for my mother in our home until her death from Alzheimers. She was bedridden for 8 months before she passed, so all bathing, and care was given in bed. I did have some help from Hospice and hired caregivers, but the brunt was on my shoulders. I still cry to this day, as this is one of the cruelest diseases around. To watch such a strong woman who could do anything, go to a woman waiting for her husband to return home, to calling me her sister, and asking me when I was changing her diaper “why are you doing this to me?” beyond heartbreaking. It is a cruel, slow death for them.
I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. I am truly so very sorry.
Thank you for sharing your journey with your grandfather. I’m currently dealing with much of the same with my dad. It is so difficult. Your openness is comforting and informative. Be strong. You have provided lots of love and support to your family. Your grandpa is a loved man. <3
My prayers are with you. We had to make this most difficult decision for my grandma. She had Alzheimers as well. Her safety had to come first. There will be good days and some not so good days ahead. Hang in there.
Heart rending, am so sorry it has come to this. My heart and prayers are with you, your grandfather and your family. You have clearly done your best with this situation, more than many others would have done for sure. Though I don’t deal with this awful disease I have an elderly hubby with mental problems and I know sometimes there is just no way to communicate – their mental world/reality is so different than ours. Blessings to you and all your family.
This is heartbreaking. I will pray that God will reveal his perfect plan to you all. I cannot imagine what your family is going through. Please know that I am praying for you during this difficult time.
I have been following your blog for a few years now. My husband & I moved from Indiana to Kansas to help care for my in-laws. My mother had just been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at that time & they lived on the family farm. We cared for them both in their home for about a year 1/2. When my father-in-law began withholding her meds when realized he was having problems as well. This led to our decision to move her into a nursing home. My father-in-law decided he wanted to live with her so they both moved. A long story short they are now in two separate care levels (halls) at the same facility &I no longer live together due to the rapid mental decline of my father-in-law. We have cried many tears over the past 3 years but are more certain than ever that we made the right decision. My mother-in-law is very happy &content to know that her husband is being cared for &a she is no longer under constant stress. Our stress level was off the charts & it has been such a blessing to know our parents are well cared for by trained professionals. We just did not have the skills & ability to provide the care they needed. This verse helped us during this time…”Be strong &a courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9. I hope this passage will comfort you as well. Please feel free to contact me if I can ever answer any questions or lend a listening ear. Praying for you! ❤️
What a terrible, heartbreaking decision. I know you have probably tried everything but have you tried to take him off all sugar and processed foods. I have read on the Whole 30 fb page how people have seen improvements. If you can please try…it may just give him more clarity.
Jess, my heart is next to yours in your suffering. This was a decision that you all made together as a loving family. Each one of you loves your Grandfather very much and if all of you, plus hired help, could not take care of your Grandfather’s needs, then, even though it is so sad and painful, it is the right decision. I’m hoping that the nursing home is close by and each one of you can visit him. We are all here to support you and love you during this seemingly unbelievable moment.
Although my heart aches for you and your family especially your grandfather, I admire each and every one of you. I consider you all my dear friends. Fondly.
My heart aches for all of you. I had to put my dad in a nursing home after he had a stroke. He was totally blind due to macular Degeneration but even after he had a stroke his mind was still very sharp unlike his body. I even hired someone to take him as I knew once I got him in the car, he would never get out. I can relate to it being the hardest thing you will ever have to do and my prayers are with you and your family. I pray if I ever have to go into a nursing home that I have dementia so I don’t know where I am!!!! prayers for all of you..
Prayers to your whole family as it is a gut wrenching decision. In my husband’s case with his mother his father made him promise before he passed to never put her in a nursing home so the guilt was so heavy. She ended up living for 2 miserable years in her nursing home and the only thing she could remember was how much she didn’t want to be there. Please know that you have gone above and beyond with your care of your grandpa and you just can’t put your entire household in jeopardy. Hugs to you all
My heart aches for you. I truly understand. We are caring for my parents round the clock ad we just have home health 3 hours a week. Exhausting! All of you will be in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult transition.
Yes, it is such a hard decision. I think you have to do what you think best. Then pray a lot. I will be adding mine
I am so sorry you and your family are having to make this decision. This is never easy and I am certain it was not a decision made lightly. Certainly this is painful for all of you, having been a caregiver myself for several family members I understand how difficult all of this is. I am saying a prayer for all of you and yes I too have a few questions for God when I finally get the opportunity.
Sweet girl, I was in the situation last October. I know exactly how you are feeling. This post brought it all back..?..So, so sorry. I will remember your family in my prayers and in my prayer group.
yes…we have questions for God….we don’t die in our sleep and dogs die too soon. Either way it breaks your heart. I went through the same agony with my mother and grandmother and feel for your grandmother and your family and most of all your poor grandpa. Take care
I am praying for you and all of your family! Two of my teacher friends are having to make these same decisions and transitions for their parents this summer.
I’m so sorry you all are having to go through this. You are all definitely in my prayers. Praying especially for God’s comfort, peace and that you will each feel His presence even in the difficulties of these decisions.
Thoughts and prayers are with you all through this extremely difficult time Jessica! You are right…..it can be so difficult to get old! Stay strong and trust in God!
My heart hurts with you and your family. My Dad has Alzheimer and it is one of the hardest (I’ve not lived with a family member dying from cancer) Diseases to watch anyone especially a parent go through. I would like to paint a comforting picture but truthfully your emotions will be all over the place. You have been given such sound advice—make everyone see your Dad as an individual, make unannounced visits, and trust that most people want whats best for your Dad.
Pictures are a wonderful idea—helped my dad so much. Ask if you can hang one on his door so he will associate that door with “his” room. We figured out where my dad was in time and had pictures of him closest to that age. Music was also so important. His one Hospice nurse would always sing Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra songs for him—enjoyed every second.
Mostly take care of yourself and your family–share your feelings and funny and not so funny moments. My prayers will continue for all of you including Grandpa.
I’ve been in your shoes. It will be ten months on the 15th that Mom went to a nursing home. It was an incredibly hard decision. I agonized over doing it for months but, as you know, it can be too dangerous to keep them home after a while. I pray that your family adjusts quickly. Hugs to each of you!
We are in similar circumstances… maybe a few months behind. My heart aches for you and your parents and grandparents. My mother in law has Alzheimers and I found your blog when I published an article about the disease state eats away at our emotional, financial and physical reserves.
I hope his new home away from home is close so you can visit often. This disease is the reverse of ALS where one loses their physical capacities but their mind is intact and with Alzheimer patients, the reverse is true.
Ugh…. my heart aches for you today. laura
I’m so sorry for your Grandfather, and all of you. My Dad passed away in 2014 after two years in a NH for Dementia/Alzheimer’s, and it was a horrible two years. My heart goes out to all of you, and the only thing I can say is take comfort in knowing you did all you could do. This disease takes dignity from the afflicted and robs joy and peace from the rest of the family and loved ones.
Jessica my heart breaks for you right now, as my siblings and I just went through this very difficult decision process a few months ago with my mom. I cried many nights as I felt the same as you do, that I was sending her to die. She went into the nursing care of the facility from the rehab part. Several of the caregivers work in both parts of the facility and therefore followed her over. A month after she was settled into the nursing care area of the facility, my sister and I received a wonderful note from her OT. My mother was ministering to her every time she received her therapy – one of the aides spoke to my sister during a visit and said much the same thing. We had been worried she was alone, and God was using her in His own way to minister to people there. Know in your heart that God is in control and we may not be privy to His plan here on earth, but one day we will see the big picture! I pray He lessens your sadness and burdens as only He can.
Awe Jess my eyes were leaking (as my granddaughter said) reading your post. I’m so sorry you and your family had to make this difficult, sad decision. I can’t imagine the heartache watching your vibrant, smiling gramps transition with this horrible disease. Each of you has to process this life changing event in your own way. Sending prayers and hugs to you and your family.
Hi, Jess! It broke my heart to read this post on your grandfather. I remember when your grandparents (on both sides!) moved in and what a crazy adjustment it was! You are so good at taking the stressful times in life in stride and laughing your way through them. I know this is different because it’s so heartwrenvhing, but my prayer for you is that your grandfather has more good days than bad days there and that you have many reasons to laugh! Keep sharing. I know it helps you but it helps so many others, too! It’s crazy how many people I know in your situation with family members – both grandparents and parents! I guess we’re just getting to that age. Hang in there, my friend. You are in my thoughts and prayers!!!
I’m so sorry, will keep your grandfather and your family in our prayers’ ! My husband was recently diagnosed with dementia. He’s 75 and in early stage! He has told me when the time comes to put him in a nursing home and that was the hardest thing to here! Reality set in at that moment! We are high school sweet hearts and married for 55 years I can’t imagine my life without him!
One of the hardest things you will ever have to do, is to grieve the loss of a person who is still alive. (Lessons Learned In Life Inc)! God Bless all that have this disease and are going through this disease with a love one!
So sorry you have to go thru this i never got the experience to have my grand parents stay with me , how wonerful that must be to have those memories.. Stay strong it is very hard to see your loved ones go thur something like this . it even scares me to think of how it will be like when i get to that point in life . Sending prayers your way
Heartbreaking. Jen I’m praying for your gramps, you, and your family.
I can feel your pain, Jessica. For awhile there will be a hole in the fabric of your family, but you have only so many choices and I see that you realize this is the best for your grandfather. Please don’t beat yourself up over it.
I went through this with my 98 yr old dad, who deteriorated rapidly after my sister, with whom he lived, died of cancer. I could never be to him what she was, as they lived in a different state. It was so traumatic for him to move to a strange place where people had odd accents and the food was not what he was used to. I got no sleep as he was busy getting into mischief during the night and sometimes needed to be rescued.
Finally had to do something and the nearest place was an “assisted living” facility. Still had to hire someone to do his morning care and he became more attached to her than to me. He lasted about a year, before life just overwhelmed him.
This is not to discourage you, but to follow up with a little sharing moment: If you count the times your dad’s life has been saved by medical science, I think you’ll see that he is older now than nature intended. He’s had a wonderful life with his family, and that’s what one needs to hold onto. The end comes to us all and hard as it is, it’s natural and we are no longer used to early deaths.
Remember the good days. Make a photo album of his life experiences to help your family remember him clearly later. Our memories do die or slip away as we age. You’ll be happy to have the record.
Personally, watching my dad, who was 95 when he came here and 98 when he died, make me determined not to live past my sell-by date. But that’s just me.
I wish you all good things as the months go by and urge you to consult with social services agencies as necessary, b/c I still think that I didn’t know enough and didn’t know how to deal with the facility where he lived when there were problems. (For one, I couldn’t understand how every resident ate the same food. Dad was diabetic and I expected a diabetic diet, no realizing food is now so bland and the amounts so small that everyone can eat the same and still survive, and it’s amazing how little really old people eat.) There will be issues. Get advice from people who know the answers, is my advice to you.
Hug him and love him and do the same for everyone under your roof. It will be your best gift to them.
((((((((((((((((hugs))))))))))))))))) to you and yours.
PS. Don’t publish this if you prefer. No problem for me.
Tears came to my eyes reading this. I know exactly how your family feels. My mom had Dementia but my Dad was not in bad shape at all. He refused to be separated from her. So we had to put them in a home together. We tried home care but they would not cooperate. As long as they were at home they wanted to do it all themselves. For my mom, that meant staying in bed all day. My Dad couldn’t cook so he would buy fast food. They lived their last 6 and 7 years in assisted living and nursing home. It was the hardest years I ever lived through. And YES!!! I questioned God over and over! My Dad was a minister and I did not understand why God would treat a faithful servant like that. My mom broke her hip and was bedridden for her last 4 1/2 years. My Dad passed away in his sleep last year at age 94. He stayed right by my mom. He died 19 days before their 75th anniversary. My mom passed away in February at 96. Her Dementia was so bad she never understood my Dad had died. God bless your family at this time. My heart goes out to your Dad.
I just can’t quit thinking about you and your family today and wondering how your grandpa did last night. Continued prayers for you and your family.
I was faced with similar decisions with my sister who had early onset( 57 y/o) Alzheimer’s disease. By 62 she was in a nursing home, her home sold and only limited possessions remaining. I can say that while this is such an painful time for you and your family in the near future your grandfather will not remember “home” because the care center will be home and normal for him. One thing is certain about Alzheimer’s patients, everyday is a new day with new people and new experiences. They truly live in the here and now. Take comfort in that. He will take joy every time you visit even though your name may not come easily or at all. Alzheimer’s is a thief of a disease that little by little steals that person who means the world to you. Prayers for you, your family and your grandfather.
So sorry that it has come to this. I have been there with my Dad…..as heart wrenching as it was, things worked out well. He was in an alzheimers unit and was stimulated to the best of his ability daily. When we took him home for a holiday, he wanted to go “home”, so we drove him back. As a retired nurse, I also spent 8 years taking care of dementia patients. The staff are trained to treat them as a whole person, and will reminisce with them about old times. My prayers for your grandfather and family.
I’m so sad to hear of your Grandfather’s decline. As difficult as this is, it is what has to be done. I pray for you and your family. My grandmother had be put in an assisted living situation due to Parkinsons and Bi Polar disorder. She wasn’t happy at first, but later thrived. She was involved in all the activities, had her hair done every week and made lots of new friends. The staff grew to love her & she loved them. On her last day she told one of the nurses that she was going to skip Bingo because she was tired. She mentioned that she dreamed of my mother the night before (who had passed away the month before) and that she needed her. My beloved grandma laid down for a nap and passed away. A fitting end to a life lived loving others.
As I read this blog today, my tears are falling for you and your family. Having someone you love dearly decline before your eyes is really tough. The sadness can be overwhelming at times. All of you will adjust to your new normal, but that doesn’t make it any easier right now. I look forward to reading more about your grandfather’s antics at the nursing home–and there will be many. Prayers and Hugs for you and your family.
Jessica, Honey I’ve been there and done that. … Got the t-shirt and flip flops to prove it. Getting old sucks for the person going in the nursing home, and it sucks for the one that is putting the loved one in the nursing home. I know your heart says one thing and you mind tells you another about this decision. Try to be strong. I will be praying for you and your family as you go thru this transition. And I’ll be praying for your Gram and Grandfather as well. It will be the toughest on them.
I am so sad for all of you.
The best decisions are sometimes the hardest and my heart breaks for your family. A friend had to make that decision for her father 3 years ago and he is doing very well. They keep him engaged and while he no longer recognizes my friend he seems happy and well cared for. As hard as it was for her she is comforted by knowing it was the best thing for her father. God bless you all.
Thank you Beth! Each day is a day at a time 😉
I know this is not what you want. I ache for you, because change is so difficult for old folks, not to mention ones with altzheimers. Go to see him as often as you can. Take him little treats you know he likes to eat. And love all over him. Let him know how special he is. You are a special family. Prayers.
Thanks so much Lynn 🙂
This broke my heart because I know your journey. My dad also has Dementia. 6 years ago when my mom passed away, I sold my house to move in with my dad to care for him. It is a horrible disease. I am thankful that he is still home with me, but I know the day may come and placement may be necessary. I, too, pray for a peaceful passing at home.
Prayers for you and your family. It is so, so hard.
Thank you Linda and sorry to hear about your dad and your late mom.
I am late getting to my emails, I am sure about now your grandfather is in the nursing home. You gave yourself the answer when you said, ” it’s the best for all concern that grandfather go into a nursing home”. He’s no longer able to take care of himself, your grandma can’t take care of him. Yes, you all love your grandad/dad/husband, but you still have your own life to tend to as well.
In our family, it came to choices between putting both our mom and dad in a nursing home. Some of the sibling was for it, some against it. But those of us that felt it was the best place for them, felt bad, but what else could we do. No one was able to take them in and give them the 24hrs care they needed. God see all of this, and I know personally, he does not give us more than we can handle, no matter how hard it seems at the time. I will say this, you and your family should visit as often as possible, (rotation shifts) this way it keeps everyone strong, supports one another, and lighten the load to avoid being overwhelmed. May God Holy Spirit be with you and your family. Keep leaning on your support systems, each other.
Thank you so much Ivory for your encouragement 🙂