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I enjoy seeing my parent. The emotions I feel entering and leaving the nursing home weigh heavily on my mind for awhile. Nursing homes are just sad environments no matter how many activities.

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My Mom has been in one for almost two years now-dementia. It is very depression/anxiety inducing to have to place your loved one in a facility -I know she's safe, gets her meals and meds properly now- but years past pass before my eyes whenever I see her like this. Most important thing you can do is assure them you will never abandon them. My prayers go out to all dealing with this heart wrenching time of life.
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Its so tough. I try to see my grandmother in the nursing home once a week but since my father passed I have only gone once a month if that. She is in a new facility and the staff seem to be pleasant. But I know how much she would prefer to be at home. I think it takes a long time for our minds to accept this new phase in life. That one day this might be me hits me very hard.
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Wow, I read your posts and honestly I went into a nursing home to visit an old family friend. I'm a terrible person for not visiting more often, I brought her flowers, the kind she likes, and my mother failed to tell me she could no longer speak from the stroke she had. Shes 91 and it was such a sad sight to see her eyes follow my every word, I had no idea what to talk about, so I just rambled on and on about my life and family and friends and our new president elect lol, but as soon as I left I started to cry. She is such a funny lady, always cracking jokes and basically would call you out on your shit if you failed to do anything good in life, I just felt so sad that age really hits us all.
I have no idea how you guys can handle all of this especially with your own parents, I really have to give it to you all, they are being cared for and that is true love, true love for all the things you do.
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It's very hard, I know. My mom was in a SNF for four months, first in rehab, which was ok, as she had a private room. Then she was transferred to the longterm care unit with a cranky roommate. It was a nightmare--out of it, decrepit people "parked" in a central room all day. I would leave her there and just fall to pieces. Now she is back home with 24/7 care and it's much better. Spending even a few hours in that SNF is sad and suffocating.
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My mother was moved to Healthcare II I the hopes of getting her to do Physical Therapy. She was in AL and she started needing three people to transfer her, and she was falling. So she didn't want PTand they asked her if she wanted to get some strength so she can go back to her AL apartment. She said no, that she was happy where she was. I think AL was overwhelming for her, she has help 24/7. She's made friends, they get her involved in activities, she's happy.
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I totally understand. Get a journal and write out your thoughts, feelings and fears. It does help. There are so many days I go sit in the chapel or out in my car in the parking lot and sob like there's no tomorrow because I'm so sad at leaving my Dad alone in the nursing home. If I could win the lottery and take him back home to live out the rest of his days, I'd do it in a heartbeat. Until then, he's in the best place for him. I often feel better once I've cried. Then I go home and write it out in my journal. Once it's out there, my heart feels lighter and I can face the rest of whatever is going on.
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is it better to tell your recently admitted father who has dementia (recently admitted to dementia ward in nursing home) that he is there permanently or let him think it is temporary... even if he does keep asking about eventually leaving? which is better? they started to tell him this is his home now and he is in deep depression..
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crazycat1962, I suggest getting some counselling, to help you determine what changes you want to make, and how to go about it. Clearly the path you are on now is not satisfying to you. Something has to change. Please get some help in figuring this out. You are a loving, caring, worthwhile, unique individual. You deserve a chance at growth and happiness.
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MY MOM SUFFERED STROKE 1 YEAR AGO IN JUNE. THERE ARE 4 OF US. I AM THE YOUNGEST AT 50 YRS OLD- AFTER HER STROKE MOM AGE 87 HAD TO GO LIVE IN A NURSING HOME- I DID VISIT EVERYDAY AND HAD TO LISTEN TO HER CRY AND BEG TO GO HOME EVERYDAY. AFETR 3 MONTHS OF THIS I GOT THE BRIGHT IDEA TO QUIT MY JOB AND CARE FOR HER MYSELF IN HER HOME THAT SHE LOVES SO MUCH AFTER 2 MONTHS OF DOING THIS BY MYSELF I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO GO INSANE- MY SIBLINGS DID NOT HELP-I AM A VERY CARING PERSON AND VERY CLOSE TO MY MOM- SO AFTER 2 MONTHS I HAD TO MAKE THE HARDEST DECISION OF MY LIFE AND PUT HER BACK IN A NH- SHE HATES IT AND COMPARES IT TO A PRISON-SHE CAN NOT WALK- I GO TWICE A DAY AND FIND MYSELF STILL HAVING TO CARE FOR HER BECAUSE THE NURSING HOME NEVER HAS ENOUGH HELP ! MY LIFE HAS SLOWLY SPUN OUT OF CONTROL AND I CANNOT FIND A JOB- IM THERE FOR HER TWICE DAILY AND HAVE NOT MISSED ONE NIGHT PUTTING HER TO BED. I AM DEPRESSED AND SO TIRED... BUT THANKFUL THAT I STILLL HAVE HER TO TALK TO- I FEEL SOOO GUILTY THAT SHE IS IN A NH- MY SIBLINGS ARE 20 YEARS OLDER AND ONLY VISIT MAYBE ONCE A WEEK FOR 30 MIN.-I RECENT THEM BUT KNOW THAT THESE ARE MY CHOICES AND I CHOSE TO GO TWICE A DAY- I NEED TO CHANGE SOME THINGS BUT DONT KNOW HOW-MY LIFE IS CONSUMED BY THIS- I HAVE CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN I FEEL THAT I AM NEGLECTING- I FEEL LIKE I HAVE NO LIFE-I LOVE MY MOM WITH ALL MY HEART BUT THIS SITUATION HAS LEFT ME FEELING HOPELESS.....
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Thank you for your post! I really needed all the input! Jojo
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All the recent posts are very good advice. My mom is still living in her apartment and I have VNA hospice, who all are caring and loving. Plus a 24 hour caregiving organization called Amy's Angels. And they are my Angels. I visit Mom at least once a day but she sometimes recognizes me or that I've been there and feel sooooo guilty that there is nothing I can do about it.
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Evaluate your feelings. Take time to identify the specifics which lie under your depressed response. (Example: sadness to see elder's suffering, knowing the end is near, looking at your possible future, loss of your own youth and childhod, overbearing responsibiliity, missing the way your loved one was, guilt, uncertainty, etc.etc..Probably all of these and more!) After I identified the specifics of my triggered emotions, I was able to think of ways to bring some balance back into the situation by combating the bitter with the sweet. Example: While at the nursing home (bitter), your heart is pierced by a crumpled body in a wheelchair (bitter), a somber, lonely expression half glances at you as you pass(bitter). Then, you slow down just a bit, (sweet) and you look directly into their eyes, touch their hand and say, "hello, nice to see you today" (sweet) and you make an incredible difference to that person in that moment. You might get a smile back or you may not get a response at all, but you have to hang on to the sweetness of that moment. You will also feel good about yourself for jumping over a wide, high hurdle! Another more personal example: When I see my Mom unable to communicate with words because of Alzheimers, I could just sink, withdraw and avoid my anxiety letting the pain take over. Feelings of anger, helplessness, regret, loss and fear will flood into me and if I let them, they will continue to drain me and weigh me down. So here lies the challenge: how do I pull myself back into the preciousness of the moment at hand? I touch my mother's hand and appreciate that they are so soft! Maybe I softly rub some lotion on them if she would like, knowing I've been able to "serve" her. I try to think of happy senarios before I go to the nursing home. I think of ways I can challenge myself to spread an inch of joy within a seemingly joyless environment. I have found some short encouraging poems( google Edgar Guest or go to the library) and I read to Mom. Even if I think or know she can't verbally respond, when I read the poem or essay I will be encouraged by the hopeful message and outlook I want to maintain in life. I guess, in a nutshell, I try to make the visit about them and the here and now, instead of making it all about me. Basically, it is an attitude switch. Yes, you could call me Pollyanna and I won't take offense. I hope this makes sense and that it can provide you with some relief. I know it is not easy, I am not trying to negate that fact, nor is it healthy to dismiss the need to recognize and face the hurt from time to time. However, you can help yourself achieve the balance between the bitterand the sweet aspects of your current situation.
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Thank you, djnorris. Like you, I also wheel my mother to the lobby where she can see others coming and going. Her room is so small and doesn't have sufficient sunshine in my opinion, plus her roommate is always playing music and keeping her side of the room dark and the door closed. I think her roommate also suffers depression, so unless she needs to be in bed, I'd rather that my mother be in the lobby or the sunroom which is really bright, has a large flat-screen tv, some activities and an aide who is always nice to Mom and takes her to the activity room. May God bless you, too. Many thanks for caring and your sharing.
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CaraMia, it must take time. Mother has been in the nursing home for four weeks today and it has been hard to leave her. I realize the time at come that I couldn't do anymore to help her...she wouldn't let me, either. Her dementia had reached the point where she didn't like me anymore, but wanted me with her 24/7. Now, she gets all the care she is suppose to have.

I'm about to make another change when I go to see her everyday at lunchtime. When I take her back to her room after lunch, she starts in about do I have my car there, can she go with me to take her nap or can I stay with her to take my nap, etc. That IS the conversation we hold the whole time. So, starting today, when lunch is over and I've visited a while in the lunchroom, I'm leaving her in the foyer with the other ladies who reiside there. That way, her nurse can take her to her room and help her with her nap. It is too hard on mother and me when I leave, so maybe this will help mother when I leave. My brother comes nearly every night when he gets off work. So, we are both up there basically every day...twice. The couple of times I didn't make it up there, I called to check on her. I don't talk to her, but the nurse.

I'm about to start going every other day soon and try that. If that seems to work out, I'll leave it that way then. I talk with other daughters who come in once in awhile. One comes every other night for suppertime. One comes 3-4 times a week. One comes daily, but they don't come into the lunch room. So, I guess whatever works out for you is the best.

It is hard, but I keep thinking mother IS getting the care she needs. There are aides who even come around to hug and kiss. That's nice, too, to see mother's face light up from the care and attention. It isn't perfect because mother fights with them and I know they must get frustrated with that. But, overall, I believe she is well taken care of.

Take care and God bless you and your mother. God bless all of us caregivers.
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Thank you all for sharing your wisdom and first-hand experiences. It is very hard, and only now have I gotten to a point where I no longer cry daily. My mother has been my best friend over the years and it feels as if I lost my best friend. I, too, used to visit her twice a day but started getting butterflies in my stomach with each visit. I have learned that the best time of day for me to visit is around lunch time, sometimes at dinner time, or early in the morning. Like others have said, I see a lot of suffering in the nursing home and it also hurts to see a dining table full of other residents who cannot communicate with anyone else or who are physically disfigured, or who make constant grunting noises. I imagine that it is hard for my mother to see that as well. Sometimes she just stares at others with a frightened look in her eyes. I just wish I could make it all go away. As some of you said, I have done all I could when I quit working to take care of her full-time for years. Now she is very well taken care of by a team and that is all I can ask for. Thanks again to each of you for sharing and caring. I guess it takes time to heal. Best wishes to each of you.
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Mom was recently in skilled nursing (nursing home) for 5 weeks after a UTI and a fall so I can relate to the depression of seeing her in this setting for this time period. I have since found a fabulous micro community and placed her last week. It is a end of life community so she will never have to be moved. The house is upscale and it is a 3 to 1 CNA ratio. Home cooking and lots of attention from the staff. Exceptional care. Mom is still adjusting but loves it there. Download Google Earth and search for micro communities in your area. Be aware that not all micro communities are the same caliber. Research them and visit often and at varied times before you make a decision. I am never depressed when I visit Mom now. In fact, my husband and I know where we are going when we need an ALF. Best of luck to you. I know how hard this is to go through.

Good luck to you.
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After my mother has been in a care center for two years, (she celebrated her 93rd birthday yesterday), I believe that I have accepted some of the changes in her life. She is relatively happy, could no longer live in her own home, and sometimes participates in the planned activities with her peers. Two years ago, she was living alone, driving, baking daily, typing letters, and watching TV. My dad passed away in 1988, and her life was centered around her neighbors, my sister and I, our spouses, her 5 grandchildren, their spouses, and 10 great-grandchildren. Her grandchildren have families and responsibilities that do not permit them to have much time for her. Her great-grandchildren are in school and activities that she cannot participate in or attend. Never in her life has she lived with her peers and a staff that not only care for her every need and most wishes, but have similar life situations. I have developed friendships with the staff and residents! Dementia is cruel to her, but sometimes she enjoys her current situation MORE now that she isn't relying on a handful of neighbors, her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and memories that were ever present in her own home. I live 5 hours from my mother, as do three of her grandchildren and their families. Life is full of change and eventually leads to death for everyone. 93 years may seem like a long time, but yesterday my mother complained that since we had birthday parties for her the day before and yesterday, that made her 94 now! There is no easy answer--none of us have experienced death--we just do the best we can and rely on faith and nature. Time is all that anyone has, regardless how we spend it...........
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I completely understand and there is no right answer to handle the emotions you may be feeling. Just take it one step at a time. And you should at least feel good at the fact that you are visiting and able to spend some time with your parent.
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It is very hard, I did it for years mom would fall down go into a hostial and then they sent her to rehab in a nursing home. I knew somthing ws wrong but no one would tell me. She would come home be ok for some time, while I was there. We had nursing in , cleaning people. She would fight with all of them. She had broken her arm, fell broke her hip. But the nursing homes up in New York are the worse. You see so much. I was doing all this long distance from Florida to New York. After the last fall she had it was too much. You see had altzmiers/dementia that did not tell me the truth until I demanded a test. She would live the gas on, hit me, house was dirty, mail not open. So on one visit I sat down with a person from the state of New York a social worker, I was advised that they would be therre and for myself to go back to Florida and plan on coming back in two weeks. well two weeks did not even past, Yes I called every day, for one week making sure the medicine was taken. Mom sounded all right on the phone, it is a hidden illness unless you know the signs. Well one day on answer so I make a call to her doctor he said mom was back in the hospital another fall. When I got up to New York I found a mess, medicines all over, no one was checking in. They had to plac her in a nursing home her mind was going. Do not do what I did, Yes I did bring my mom to Florida , made my own house child proof , but I did question every one are you sure I can do this by myself. Well that was a lie. Mom was with me five days only then the abuse started the hitting, the child games of fallen on the floor not eating. Yelling at me. The fire dept had to come her sugar was so high, she blacked out. She would not let me give her a shot. The fire dept looked over her files and said to me dear how could you think you could do this . Mom wsa on so much medicine and her contion was not for being in a house. I had a private assisting room pick out for day care if needed, that is where I had to place her. It was very nice, I made sure pictures and things she like wherre placed there. I was therre almost every day. I even did sleep overs, and help decorate for holidays, and help with the meals. But I did feel bad, but she knew me but not my husband or children at the end. it also hurt me alot when many of the people had no vistors, I was there friend and relative. We watch movies, dance with some of them, color. I quit my job to be with mom, and gave up alot, and now today I am suffering. My mom is in a better place with my dad. Don't blame yourself things happen, you can not do a 24/7 and be there, it is not going to change things. Some people think they can do it all but you can not , you are only going to hurt yourself. When you leave next time say I will be back and say I love you.I know it hurts saying good bye. As long has they are being taken care of and you do visit.
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Look at the glass as half-full. Be thankful there is a clean, safe place for your parent, and the other residents as well. There are elderly who are virtually trapped in their homes, some of which are very substandard. There are elderly who reside with relatives who resent or neglect or take advantage of them financially. There are elderly living in poverty. Your parent has none of that to deal with. Even without family to visit, other residents there are much better off in the facility than they might well be elsewhere. Remember, too, that the very old cannot always take advantage of 'stimulating activities', nor may they really enjoy doing so. Opportunities to mingle and socialize are there for those who do wish to participate or have the mental faculties to do so. We see the depressing side of getting old when we visit retirement facilities when, realistically, it's just a consequence of us living so much longer; life expectancy has increased almost 10 years from the 1950's to the 2000's. There are consequences for everything, especially living into old, old age. Remember, too, that YOU could be the nurse, chauffeur, cook, laundress, maid, counselor, social director on a 24/7 basis were there no nursing homes available to your parent. Many of us can attest to the emotional, physical, even financial, toll THAT situation exacts.
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And PS. .. You are one person. The nursing home has a team of people, 24 hours a day.
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Also, as in joining a group....last thing I want to do is join a group where the only subject is about our pain and each other's pain. I joined groups nearby of my similar interest to get out and do things. Guess what? These people have elderly parents too!! So the subjects are discussed, but it is not the main topic. We share and then off we are to kayaking, or biking, or a concert and we dance like crazy, the group of us. Anything to get you out and about, to enjoy others and life itself, even if it is for just a few hours a week. Do it. So you are not caught living for your parent's suffering, as it then is you suffering. We suffer, but don't let it consume you. My new friends help me understand that when I get down. And then I help others when they get down. It gives you something to look forward to.
I have stated many time, I just went to the meetup.com site. I sound like an ad!! But I am in a photography group and a social group, where we picnic, kayak, bike., eat out, play cards, etc. Don't overload yourself, but make time for yourself to have some fun with others. You can make good friends who care.
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I turn my car's music on very, very loud and cry.
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That's a very good guestion and one I even ask myself. Mother has been in the nursing home four weeks now. I've had to change somethings because of the guilt feelings to save my sanity. The first two weeks, I went to the nursing home twice a day and leaving was hard on mother and me, especially in the evening. Plus, I was so tired all the time and did nothing but rest the hours I was home. So, then, I cut back to once a day to go to the NH. Lunch one day, supper the next, but leaving in the evening was still too hard. So, I am currently going just for lunchtime. I stay about an hour and a half. Then, she is ready for her nap and the nurse comes to help her and I can leave. I am not so tired either now.

But, everyone tells me not to feel guilty about mother having to go to the NH. So, I when the guilty feeling comes, I remember how hard it was to care for her at home and finally got to the point where I couldn't and she wouldn't let me. Her dementia got to the point where she refused her insulin, medicines, eating, bathing, dressing in clean clothes, always anger with me, falling, trying to run away, etc. It got so bad at home. So, I think about the care she is getting now and even when she fights with the nurses, they still give her her insulin, medicine, bath her, wash her hair, clean clothes every day, etc. And, lots of postitive attention from the nurses and aides. She is doing better there than at home. But, it is still hard to leave her.

I have a friend who had to go see her mother just once a week because of the guilt and her mother begging to go home. Everyone has a way of handling it the best way they can. Find a friend to talk to, that helps a lot. God bless you and the rest of of caregivers.
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My dad had his dad in a nursing home and it was not fun. I have never been to one, but I can go by his experiences. I had promised both parents they would not be placed in a nursing home, and God allowed me to keep my promise. They both passed in a hospital. How would I help myself in your situation,.....one thing, even though you are a man, you need to join a group with similar issues. u can find one in your city. Also do what you like doing as much as possible. Anything of interest to you. When you are with your dad, if he is aware, talk to him, do what he likes to do, Knowing that his last years, months or days are filled with doing the best you can for him with no regrets. No matter what the reason you had to put him in, just make sure you are doing what is right for him now emotionally and things he would enjoy, if possible. As for your emotions. It is ok for you to cry after leaving your dad. If a person ever states it is not they have not experienced it, or are not telling the truth, or surpressing the emotions. It is ok to cry...Also when u are with your dad, and if he want to talk about what time he has left, talk to him. Get his insight, let him tell you how he feels any questions he has. Also tell him of your fears, No shame, we all have fears when we get to these crossroads. My dad was in the hospital and he dreamed about not coming out and going home, I did not know this until they were wheeling him down to surgery, and he told me, don't worry, honey, God is gonna take real good care of you. I have thought of that so many times and cried. He had had a vision or dream or several of each. So please talk with your dad, it important for both of you not to let anything be unsaid. When u leave, and if he were to pass, unexpectedly, you will be able to feel in your heart that you did all u could and was a wonderful son to him...that will sustain you during the first day times of sadness and later. I did not know my dad was dying when he was put in the hospital....It was thrown at me like doors slamming. after two weeks his body basically shut down. I was with him when he was passing, and I talked to him and I know he heard me....I talked honestly and lovely, as we had a wonderful relationship. I allowed him to go, by saying so...that made a huge difference to him....he felt more free. and Yes I did cry when I talked to him when I was told there was little time...if u don't I don't know if you have a heart or are not human....everyone has at some point to breakdown and let go, especially if it is your last parent, and yes if it is your last parent feel an abandonment. That is natural and normal. I have asked, and everyone tells me that they feel that way. Good luck, God bless...God loves both you and you dad....
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I share your emotions, too. I am the only son of my dad and the last of his surviving family. He'll be 89 this September and will celebrate his first year living in an assisted living community in October. It's funny but I feel more emotions thinking of the other residents living with dementia and other mind robbing diseases than leaving dad. He told me he is happy he sold the house, car and made me POA. He said I am always there for him now and I feel good about that. THAT's what I always think when I leave him. Just be thankful that the staff is there for your loved one, keeping a watchful eye on there health and activities. Never feel guilty - you did the right thing! You are giving your loved one a chance to live out their life in dignity. Heck, dad thinks he's a "king" now. He gets more attention now than his mom gave him! LOL! Just never forget to tell your loved one you love them when you leave and that they did good in their lifetime!
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