When Mom or Dad Moves
One night after Dad went to bed, Mom called Sophie and me into the family room. She gave us both big bowls of chocolate ice cream – our favorite. Mom explained that Dad needed more help and staying home wasn’t safe for him anymore. She told us that soon Dad would move to a new place called Azalea Manor – an assisted living facility.
For many families, there may come a time when the person with FTD needs so much help that it is too hard to take care of them at home. They may be safer and more comfortable living in a special place where doctors and nurses are available to take care of them day and night. Some names for these care homes are , and .
All of these places help people with special needs. The people who work there are trained to make sure the person with FTD gets all the care they need.
This can be a hard time for a family. Some kids feel confused or very sad that the person with FTD is moving away. Others feel glad or relieved that things will be easier at home. When a parent moves away from home there is no “right” or “wrong” way to feel. It is normal to have many different feelings. You may even find that your feelings change from day to day.
You may find it uncomfortable when you visit your mom or dad in this new place. It is different from being together at home, especially since there may be lots of older people (like grandmas and grandpas) living there.
It’s important to tell your healthy parent how you feel about visiting at the care home, especially if you feel strongly that you do not want to go. If you decide you want to visit, talk as a family so each person can have a say in when the time is right to visit, how long the visit should be and what the visit will be like. You may find it is easier to visit with your parent in the room where they sleep rather than in a common area around other residents of the facility.
It’s okay if you decide not to visit every time or if you decide to take some time off from visiting. It does not mean you do not love your mom or dad. Getting used to this change will be different for every person, so take it one day at a time. Let yourself get comfortable with how things have changed.
At first I was surprised and angry at the thought that Dad would move. I remember thinking, “What? Are we really sending Dad away? It’s not his fault he’s sick!!”
Sophie told me later that she was secretly glad that Dad was moving. She was tired of seeing Mom so sad and stressed and Dad wasn’t even Dad anymore. She was happy to think Mom, she and I could have dinner together and laugh the way we did before Dad got sick.
The next weekend Sophie, Mom and I went to visit Azalea Manor. It was a big white building with a big parking lot and a big front porch where people were sitting. Some of them were in wheelchairs and some were in rocking chairs. There was a lady bringing people water. When she saw us coming, she reached out and shook Mom’s hand. Then she turned to Sophie and me and said, “Hi guys. My name is Felicia. I want you to know that my job is to take really good care of your dad.” Her nice smile made me think that, although it was tough, Dad moving in here was the right thing to do – for everyone.