Caring for my father in an assisted living facility nearby.

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I'm dealing with guilt and the feeling that I need to with him constantly. It's draining my energy and occupying my thoughts to the exclusion of everything else. I'm feeling a huge need for some balance in my life and his constant desire for me to visit is causing me to feel burnt out. It is extremely overwhelming especially since I am the type of person needs my time alone.


The guilt feeling is definitely there, but you have to go on with your own life. I just moved my mother to assisted living after being her main caregiver for the last year. I stayed with her five nights a week, did her grocery shopping,paid her bills, made sure she had meals, checked on her constantly when not with her to the detriment of my job, my life, and my husband. Moving her to assisted living has not done away with my guilt nor has it made her suddenly "better". What it has done for me is know that she is cared for and safe. I don't have to worry about her wandering off, her safety (she decided to drink Gain detergent one day - luckily my niece was with her), and so many other things. I was to the point I resented her and dreaded going to her house. Now, I get to enjoy my Mom again. I go and visit and talk and enjoy her. Is she cured, no. Does she still have really bad days and make me feel guilty, yes. But I feel a lightening of the burden I have been carrying and again, I can enjoy my Mom again. Your Dad would not want to be a burden to you any more than Mom would want to be with me if she had all her facilities about her. Go visit your Dad, hug him, enjoy him, and let the professional caregivers take care of him. Easier said than done, but that is what I am trying to do in my own life. Good luck to you and your Dad.
psorre's answers was a great one! The guilt will not go away or subside for some time, unfortunately that's the reality. Some caregiver's feel that their loved one's move to an assisted living community will be a cure all for everyone involved - the reality is, it just doesn't happen that way. A move to a community after being the primary caregiver at home may result in hurt feelings, resentment, and feelings of abandonment. The good thing is that it GETS BETTER! I can promise you that from experience. Like psorre says, think of everything you can do with them again now that your not the only one responsible for their personal care. You can visit and enjoy your quality time together. If you are experiencing feelings of guilt in not providing any care, I suggest talking to the Director of Nursing at your dad's community. See if there is a routine 'activity of daily living' that you can be "responsible" for. Some family members still like to shower their parent, and the parent prefers that because of their familiarity with you. Think of something you can maintain responsibility for 2-3 times a week - even if it's participating in a regular activity program with them! It important to be on the same page with the nurses though, because if it's a personal care activity you want to make sure it gets done if you are unable to make it on the designated day. Hope this helps you find a good 'in-between'!
We have my mom in law in the assisted living side of a senior comminuty also. At first we were there all the time, checking on her, visiting, getting to know the staff......then the staff actually told us that we had a life to live and nobody is promised go on with our lives and not center it around her. We then expalined to her that we had things to do and would only be coming twice a week, but she could call anytime. We only go once a week now, taking her out to lunch, shopping, sight seeing or whatever she wants that day...she loves this for it gets her out and we get a long visit. (She has mod-sev demenia, but still remembers how to call us, day and night.) This has helped my husband and myself (I am disabled and have many drs appts myself)..and also gives her somthing to look fiorward to each week. Hope this helps you are not alone in this
I have worked as a cna for over 15 years. I usually work assisted living in the dementia units. I think that 90 percent of the families who have placed their loved ones feel the same way as you do. It would be best to plan visiting days. I can't say that I know how you feel, but I can suggest to you to start doing things for yourself that make you really happy and to put your father on a visitation schedule. Your father knows that you love him and if you plan visiting days with him, it will give him something to look forward to. He wants you there all of the time because he is in a strange environment and he is probably lonely. I am suggesting to you to encourage him to join in with the facilitys' activities. Maybe you can start by getting a calendar of activities from his assisted living activities director. Also, speak to the activities director and tell her what your father likes to do. A good activities director will find something that will keep his interests. Talk to his caregivers as well. Let them know how you are feeling. A good caregiver will see to it that your father stays busy throughout the day or that he is doing something within his room or his apartment that makes him happy. He will still miss you and want to see you, but if what I'm suggesting works, then you will see the change. When you do go to visit, ask the staff if they have seen any changes in him, if he's is going to the dining room to eat, versus eating in his room. If he is eating in the dining room, ask if his table mates are compatible to him and if they are not, you can ask for the staff to seat him with people who are more on his level. That little thing makes such a huge difference. If he has the proper table mates, he will look forward to meal times, which will maybe gain your father some new friends. Stay in touch with the staff, from the administrator to the laundry person. When the staff feels comfortable speaking with you about your father, then you will feel more at ease. Staff loves to tell the family what is going on with their loved one. I hope things get better for you soon. I don't like to see family members go through this stage, but most do. Take it one step at a time. Its a trial and error process, but as long as you have a healthy life for yourself, you will be able to better cope and come up with ideas so that you and your dad will be happy. Good luck and you are in my prayers.
My mom was in assisted living and I told the cafeteria that anyone who came to see her got a "free lunch" my treat. Then I told all her biddy friends our neighbors and the relatives to go and eat a lunch on me. They had an ala carte menu and my kids often went by and had a scoop of ice cream with grandma. Not sure if they wanted to see grandma or wanted ice cream, but what do I care? She got visited. I went for my lunch hour about 3 days a week and ate with her. She was at her best early in the day and that way I fit it in easy. I hired a nursing student 4 hours a week to come on Friday afternoon to take her out on errands or on an outing and I re-imbursed her for gas and receipts. They would call me if they found something outrageous and expensive like a chaise lounge for the patio. Mostly this nice helper made sure my mom's drawers were straight and she had toothpaste and got to see the light of day from time to time. One more set of eyes on mom.
You will find your rythme.
I agree with the above posts. Great advice. My experience was for two weeks me, my sister and father took shifts being with my mother in a rehab facility. (My brother decided to take a vacation during this time.) Our plan was to have someone constantly with her from the time she awoke to bedtime. My father and I got only one day off, each week. That was draining, let alone what you're talking about...feeling the need to constantly be with your father.

The piece of advice that I can offer, in addition to the others' comments, is that yes, assisted living facilities' main priority is the patient/resident. However, a secondary endeavor/benefit is to give at-home caregivers or family, a break as well. I had a nurse tell me, while visiting my mother, "We are watching over her. You and family caregivers need breaks too. You will be better for her and when you are with her, if you get away from the stresses and worries occasionally to rejuvenate physically and mentally."

Looking back on it, I agree and should have put "getting away" in our schedule more often. One can get so worn down both physically and mentally that it can effect decisions and judgement calls concerning the loved one getting care.
I won't elaborate here, but I think being exhausted contributed immensely to decisions (bad/wrong decisions IMO) that were made concerning my mother's care and led to her subsequent death. (I think my father was so tired and frustrated, yearning for how his life used to be, that he had had enough of the rehab center and made decisions that were best for him, not her.)

So, now, looking back, I understand what the nurse meant. You will be better for your father if you get away occasionally. To soften the separation with your father
perhaps start with a getaway 1 day a week, then progress to twice a week. Perhaps eventually get away every other day. You both need it.

I wish you and your father...peace.

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