I have to put my mother in a nursing home after being her caregiver for years. It breaks my heart. How do I deal with this?

Asked by

Answers 1 to 10 of 10
Expert Answer
3930 helpful answers
Of course you are upset! You feel like you should be able to do it all. But you are doing what is best and safest for your mom. You are getting help, that is all. You've tried other ways and they aren't enough (or haven't worked, or don't work anymore). Please know you are doing what is best for Mom. You have honored her and continue to do so by getting her the best care possible. Stay close and help her through the transition. Be her advocate. You will eventually find that you enjoy each other more, since your visits won't be totally about health care.

Please keep checking in. This is a hard time for you, but you are doing the right thing. Keep a close eye to know she is getting the right care, but treat the staff as team members. Make friends with them. An antagonistic attitude doesn't help. You'll all be a team and help your mom.

Take care of you, too.

Hi Brendalou,

I'm so sad for your heartache. A broken heart takes a while to heal - the fact that you care so much means your decision was probably to give her the best care at this time. You did not say how she is doing, but hopefully she is in a good place and you can still visit her...

I have not had to make that decision yet, and empathize with you as a single woman who dreads that day herself. I hope you will be ok, everyone on this board is pulling for you - just keep writing & hopefully you will come to peace with your decision.
Hello. Just had to do the same thing in March. I'm still getting adjusted to not having her at home with me. Stress and being on call 24/7 was so embedded in my life. However, I visit her every 2-3 days, and I realized that I'm spending more joy filled times with her now. I can just sit and make silly talk and hold her hands and
brush her hair and just spend quality time with her. This is rewarding and helps me cope to realize it is the best choice for her at this time since she is severe end stage Alzheimers. She remains pleasant and in otherwise good health.
I'm in the process of having to make this decision for my mother. My fiance and I moved in with her after my dad died in Jan, '09. She has diabetes, high BP, and dementia, but is in denial about the dementia. We have had to replace several major appliances so far, and the place is a mess, as nothing has been done in a long time. My mom clearly can't be alone at all, and does things that put her in danger. She fell and broke her arm this past Monday, and is still in the hospital. Her doctors have suggested looking into assisted living for her, due to the above mentioned issues. I'm an only child, and I quit my job in anticipation of taking care of her. Due to her health issues,however, I'm really torn over which decision to make. All she wants to do is come home, and she's told me she doesn't want to be put in a nursing home, etc., and is very paranoid about this. Her short-term memory is pretty much gone, and she is confused much of the time. I have to follow her around when she's at home, and can't leave the house. I will have to give her insulin if she comes home, and she has already stated that she intends to go back to her old regimen, which wasn't working. I had help (retired nurse) lined up, but she had to back out. Am I just avoiding the inevitable, or would it be better to try to make it work for her at home? I would appreciate any advice, as I'm really upset about this!

Take a look at this article by Carol. It might help you find peace with your decision.


I know how you feel. I have not had to place my mother yet. My husband and I have gone into counseling to help us either find ways to cope with her in our home, or to make a decision to place her in a facility. My mother has never been diagnosed with Narcissistic personality disorder, but we are pretty sure this is what she has based on her behaviours. It is breaking my heart to think that we may have to place her, but feel it is coming to this. Counseling is our last resort. Please continue to let everyone on this site help you through this time in your life.
PRAY i want have to make that decision but, if i do then like you OUT OF LOVE do want is best for her. I work in nuring homes for 15yrs. and have seen family place family there and just walk away.I am so happy to read you go visit her and know she is getting the BEST of both worlds ,good care and YOU, a win win decision. I hope you'll not down on yourself for doing a wonderful thing. ALSO, your caregiving to her is not over, just differet .She still wants and need you,that means,taking care of yourself!
I am in the processes of doing the medicaide paperwork with an elder lawyer and my husband was starting to accept that his care was too much for me and now is weaker and he even told me and the social worker that he could not go home. Today a nurse was in his room when he was on the phone with me and asked him to hang up because she wanted to talk to him and did not want his wife to hear what she was going to talk to him about- he did not hang up just put the phone down and she asked him why he is sad and he said he could not go home and she told him he could go home and try it out and could g=come back-which is not true he has to be home 60 days and then enter a hospital for 3 days before he could be readmitted to a nursing home-I was so upset after I told him I could not care for him with only 7 hr. daily aides esp, now he has urineary problems and I have many health problems, then I called the DON and said the nurse had no right to give her opinions when she did not know the whole situation and I had been in two days ago working with the social worker and he is now on pending medicaide status.
Just keep in mind you are doing what is best for the health of the person, not your own personal comfort and that you have fully evaluated the facility that they are going to live in.
Hello there.
I too am in a similar situation having cared single-handed for my 90 year old Mum who has Alzheimers. I've got to the stage whereas I can't handle any more abuse or violence. I thought we'd done with that 2 years ago - but unfortunately not. I have Social Services coming this afternoon and we're supposed to be taking her to see her doctor - and I just hope to God for her safety and mine that we can resolve this.

Share your answer

Please enter your Answer

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support