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Dad Hates His New Home


You just helped move your father into an assisted living facility from his home.  He was no longer able to prepare meals, take his medications independently, or bathe.  He now needs 24-hour supervision, and the family could not manage that with its available resources. But Dad is having trouble making the transition.  He does not like the food, his room, the noise, the activities, his bed, or most anything the facility has to offer.  Visiting dad has become pure torture for you because the dad you knew has now become sullen.  You are afraid that he will spiral downhill but you are not sure what to do, as you are unable to stop working and stay home to be his round-the-clock caregiver.  You feel caught.


This situation has no simple solution.  Your father is mourning what he has lost, mostly familiarity.  We all are used to our home.  Our home does not have to be a palace to be desirable for us.  So your father’s reaction is not that unusual.  Some individuals adapt very quickly, others do not.

You can be of some assistance in this situation by providing some level of normalcy for him.  Make sure that he has prized comfort possessions like his robe, reading glasses, slippers, favorite clothing, books, snacks, or whatever else you know he enjoys.

Minimally, visit at least as much as you did when he was in his home.  Make your visits memory makers.  Play a card game, go for lunch, watch a football game together, or maybe a favorite movie.  Do something together that you will both enjoy is the key.  Making your visit memorable and maybe more enjoyable than your visits were at his home will paint his new life in a different light.

Address his concerns with the facility.  While they may not be able to change everything that he does not care for, most facilities welcome kind feedback and will do their best to make him contented.  DO NOT approach the facility staff with anger and demands.  You might have some success with that method initially, but you may also find that staff will steer clear of you in the future.  Remember a yelling or demanding child is just that.

If after many months things do not improve, and your father remains unsatisfied, it may be time to visit other facilities.  You will know if it is just his usual complaining or a heightened response to the actual environment.