When you just lose the urge to visit...

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I imagine it's one of those common things no one ever likes to admit, right? Mom is in a rehab center right now. I honestly thought it'd go way differently than it has. I imagined her making friends, chatting with people, maybe doing this or that. But instead it's been dreary (and it's no fault of the place or the staff either). Like today, I brought her some brand new clothes and her favorite candy and she barely acknowledged me with more than a mutter. It was so discouraging.

I don't mean to say I'm not going to visit anymore or that I blame her, I owe her everything and I'll keep fighting the good fight for her even after she's gone. But right now it just feel like a chore. Every day it's doctors and nurses and aides and social workers and talk about hospital beds and her latest antics, it's mentally crushing me. In fact I'm thinking about not even bothering to go tomorrow but I know I'll cave from the guilt and the concern like I always do. But it really is ruinous and I never thought it'd get as depressing as it has. Sigh.

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Mcnb203: I'm very sorry to hear that and I appreciate you taking the time to reply to me!

Like I said, I'm not pressing on the grandchildren although I would ideally like to see them put a little more into it and take a more active role. Things like bringing her fresh laundry, occasional snacks, that sort of thing, as it could save me a trip or two here and there. I've been gently trying to let them know that she probably doesn't have a lot of time left but they're not really grasping it yet. Their own personal lives are kind of a mess, which doesn't help.
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Mcnb, I'm sorry for your loss. You seem to have been very devoted and had a close bond with your mother. I hope those times you spent together during the last years of her life will help you cherish her memory and the better times, as opposed to the years which life was more challenging.
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My mother just passed away last Friday.. She was in a long term facility for a year and a half. I visited every day for dinner. I did skip days when I had something else to do but not many. Some days were harder than others. I cherish the visits that we had and especially the ones where I knew she was happy to see me and I made a difference in her days. Some days I left in tears and said to myself I was not going the next day but the next day I went and I was glad I did. We had a routine and I think that helped put a little consistency in her day. We would take a walk, comb her hair, brush her teeth and then look at magazines together( she loved looking at the pictures) another activity we did was made puzzles. I went to the dollar store and bought some 20 piece puzzles. Good luck to you!! It is very depressing and frustrating to deal with the negativity. I totally understand the way you are feeling.. Hugs to you!!!!
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It is not necessary to visit every day. My MIL is 92 and Mother is 96. Everyone has their own lives. I know for certain that Mother did not sit at her husband's bedside everyday, at the NH.

But, it is easier to visit someone that at least makes a visitor feel welcome. Is your mother on an antidepressant?
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I think a healthy adult relationship involves give and take, and if you have been lucky enough to have had your relationship with your mother evolve from parent/child to friends and equals you are grieving a profound loss. Your relationship has suddenly become that of a caregiver and advocate and your mother has nothing available to give you in return. I think that dynamic is probably also in play with her grandchildren, they don't know how to react to this new person in grandma's body so they are pulling away. Hopefully in time they make the effort to relate to her in a new way and do not just withdraw.
You will need to grieve also, and if allowing yourself a little time off is what you need then don't feel guilty, she is being cared for.
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dmanbro, let your Mom know you won't be visiting her on Monday [or whatever day], give an excuse of being busy with work.... if you don't let her know, she might worry too much.

My parents are helicopter parents, even though I am pushing 70. Even with a simple cold my parents get all panicky. So, give Mom a heads up on your plans :)
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When my mom was in rehab (post stroke, vascular dementia blooming, but before they discovered her broken hip), mom wanted NO ONE to "see me this way" aside from her children. So I wouldn't stress the grands too much right now.

Give yourself a day off to recharge. Sunday could be a GOOD day to visit, as there probably is no therapy. You could just chat. Visits don't have to e all day; my mother is tired after an hour. Since it takes two hours to get there each wsy, I get a pedicure, or do grocery shopping or browse at Goodwill. Find small ways to treat yourself well. I've also rediscovered Books on CD from the library for the long drive.
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Thanks again for the great replies! I also think I'm feeling a little more stress lately as her grandkids are visiting a bit less frequently right now. I guess they're a little "freaked out" by her mental state right now, which isn't an excuse but is understandable. I've tried to delicately let them know that their grandmother isn't in a good place right now but IMO they're in denial, at least to a degree. They lost their mom a few years back so I think they greatly fear going through the grief again re: grandma. Although I'm sympathetic and everything, the loss of that "relief" means it's all on me and in recent days it's gotten to me.
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Time for a mid-course correction.

1. As Babalou suggests, stay away for a day or so.

2. You BOTH need down time; give her a chance to rest up without having to have a visit, and give yourself a chance to recharge your own batteries.

3. Think why you're doing this, how you'd feel if the situation were reversed or if you were her age and your son was dedicated enough to visit you so regularly. Or how would you feel if he just came occasionally, inferring disinterest?

4. Remember that you're her link to the life she had before entering the facility. That's an important link.

5. You still have a long life; she's in her twilight years. If you burn out from too many visits, or don't visit often, how will you feel when she's gone? Will you regret not spending the time with her?

I apologize for being blunt, but sometimes these frank assessments can bring me back from asking the same kind of question you're asking.
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You'll come back refreshed and better able to do what needs to be done, promise!
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