Here’s my dilemma:
Eleven years ago, at age 61, my single (divorced) father was transferred to a VA post-acute facility following major surgery. He lived there for what were to be the last two years of his life. The memory issues his adult children had begun noticing prior to his surgery had been diagnosed as stroke-induced dementia.
While short term memory and other cognitive abilities progressively waned, he consistently remembered his family and friends-and a decent chunk of his pre-VA life. He asked us regularly when he’d be discharged, as he wanted to rent a new apartment, buy a Lexus, and get on with his life. We knew that his condition was
worsening, that family did not have the means to care for him at home, and that there were no other care options on the horizon (SSI was declined several times, VA Contract was elusive, etc.). In short, there was not likely to be a discharge.
Over time, we tried several answers – from factual and upfront (although none of us knew his time was so short) to total appeasement (“very soon, Daddy”). Anything less than appeasement agitated and/or depressed him. But appeasement left us feeling dishonest – and even manipulative. Regardless of the last answer, my dad would soon forget and ask again during that visit or the next one. What should we have told him?