Why can we not act on what is best for those we care for?
I keep reading about how hard it is to make the decision to place the person they are caring for in assisted and/or memory care. Of course I would not want my loved one to live outside his/her home before necessary, but I read horror stories about the behaviors, some of which would be difficult, even in a hospital setting, the complete and indescriminate incontinence, the lack of mobility and ability to shower or the refusal to do so, as well as performing any type of personal hygiene, the constant angry outbursts and the wandering out of the home at all hours, the falls and trips to the hospital and problems with eating. Of course there are numerous degrees of all of these behaviors, but the dementia is always there and as it consumes more and more of the patient's day and night, I doubt that moving the patient into a safer environment than we can provide in our homes is an abandonment, but an act of love, and can, in most cases, result in a better quality of life all around as the caregiver can regain a better sense of peace of mind and visits become something that are less filled with frustration and emotional stress than the constant exhaustion of keeping them at home. The stories about how another parent exacted a promise not to "put mom or dad in a home", and the feelings of guilt I hear are not reason enough to keep from providing a higher level of care when we can possibly manage it. When the patient no longer believes that they are at home anyway and continually asks to go home and does not remember who you are as their family member most of the time, the loved one should be able to adjust to a new environment as long as there are familiar items around. My husband is not at that point yet, though he is close in many of the ways I have described, but I know it is coming. And I know that it will never happen if I cannot find financial resources. This is not a matter of wanting to "dump" responsibility onto someone else in the vast majority of cases. We constantly hear about and talk about caring for the caregiver and in my support group every one of the caregivers are pretty much the same age as the patient and trying to deal with their own health issues while giving the best care possible, yet expressing such determination about keeping the loved one at home, and sometimes being made to feel guilty by family members who come by once in awhile for an hour or two and have no real clue as to the extent of the dementia-nor do they really want to know, as they are in a state of denial. I just want to say that with any long term and incurable illness, there comes a time when what is best for the patient is more important than your feelings of guilt. So I guess that this not really a question, but an observation.