aerick54 Asked April 2012

How do I put my 85 mother in a nursing home without feeling guilty?

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My mother is in re-hab now for a complete hip replacement. She can stay there for up to 100 days. She has dimentia and aphasia, and is considered "total care". She can do nothing for hereself anymore. The problem is she has just enough of her mind to know she does not want to go to a nursing home. She always tells me she wants to go home (she was living in her own home with a 6 hour shift of caregiving and the rest, me caregiving. I ca't do it anymore, it's just WAY too much! It would almost be easier if her mind was gone totally, but she still knows, she wants to be home with her "own people" taking care of her. How do others out there deal with this?

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aerick54 Apr 2012
Thank you so much, 3pinkroses and jeanneqibbs, I truly appreciate your helpful input. I visit my mother everyday in the re-hab facility she is in now, and would love to get her in there for long term, but there is a "two year" waiting list!
I think I have come to realize that she simply cannot live on her own in her own home. I will be searching for another facility. This caregiving thing is so difficult, I do appreciate this site, and find it helpful. Thank you again everyone.
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jeannegibbs Apr 2012
A few months ago I would have tried to reason you out of feeling guilty. It is irrational and you don't deserve it.

But last month I hear a wonderful speaker at a dementia care conference, and I have a little different perspective now. Guilt is pretty much a given for caregivers. If you place your mother in a care facility you will feel guilty that you didn't keep her home as she wanted. If you keep her home you will feel guilty about not being able to provide the depth of care she needs. And you will feel guilty about all the other responsibilities you are neglecting. Can't win on the guilt scale.

So ... she suggests that we make peace with the guilt, that we force it into the background, and go on about doing what has to be done in the best way we know how.

If guilt weren't a factor, what would your decision be for your mother? That might be a truer way to get at the right thing to do.
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3pinkroses Apr 2012
Sorry, hit button and didn't finish - you can visit your mother and make her room comfortable and homey with her personal things. Take care and hope all works out.
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3pinkroses Apr 2012
I have been in the position you are in and understand the emotional and stressful feelings evoked by these circumstances. If you can, try to realize and consider the fact that you can no longer provide the care that your mother thinks she wants. There are misconceptions of nursing homes and they are not the ones of the past. My mother is in a lovely facility; and adjusting. It has not been easy. She has mental health issues as well as medical; but she is" with it "enough, as you had mentioned with your mother - to think she wants to be home again.

There comes a point where our parent no longer can care for themselves; we as children are not able to provide the required care. Therefore, a nursing home is the necessary next step. After researching a variety of facilities; you will find the best one (if they have the space). But do all that now, before you are rushed to do it. Put name on waiting list if necessary. My recommendation, from my experience, is one from a chain of nursing homes. These appear to have more care, programs for activities, entertainment, etc.

Try to lose the "guilt". Let your thoughts be those of understanding and communicating to your mother that this is what is best. She may to try to make you feel guilty, but what I have learned from therapists is we are trained to feel guilty. No one can make us feel guilty. This is a truth that you have to believe in after acknowledging it. Being at home is not always the best even if your parent thinks it is. Dementia fogs the thinking and in an ideal world, everyone wants to stay home. This cannot always be a reality or the "Best thing".

You can visit your mother, make her room
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aerick54 Apr 2012
Thank you karieh for getting back to me so quickly. I am going to go to those sites you suggested right now. I find this column such a great comfort.
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AgingCareCM Apr 2012
Aerick54,

Guilt is a common feeling for a lot of caregivers caring for a loved one especially when choosing to put a loved on in a senior living facility. I hope that you can connect with other caregivers who share these guilty feelings like you.

I have include some articles written by our Agingcare.com editors to help you get through this difficult time.

Feel at Peace: Lose the Caregiver Guilt
https://www.agingcare.com/Articles/caregiving-guilt-stop-feeling-guilty-126209.htm

Get Over Feelings That Prevent You From Visiting the Nursing Home
https://www.agingcare.com/Articles/visiting-elderly-nursing-homes-guilt-stress-emotions-139127.htm

Hope this helps! I want you to know that you are doing the best you can with what you have!

Peace and Blessings,
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