Question: My father has dementia and has got to the point where he needs more attention than my mother can provide. My two siblings and I are contemplating taking care of dad in two-month increments at our homes. Does this approach make any sense? Does it do more harm than good to move him around? He has spent a lot of time in our homes over the years. Thank you for any help you can provide.
Dr. Amy: It is difficult to fully answer your question because I am not sure how far apart you and your siblings live or whether you plan to move your mother and father together. I know of cases where this has worked when the parent has no dementia. Moving your father may work but I want to caution you that a change in surroundings can potentially increase confusion in people suffering from dementia. If there are no safety issues and if it is practical and feasible, you might also want to consider the option of keeping your parents in their home and arranging for homecare services to help care for your father. If there is an adult day program in your parents’ community, that is also an option you could explore. If you do choose to bring care into your parents’ home and/or utilize an adult day program, you might want to take your idea of having your parents move home to home and, instead, rotate responsibility among the adult children for overseeing their care and being the point of contact. In this way, no one sibling will have all of the responsibility.
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