Q: Mom has Alzheimer’s and is in a nursing home. I get physically ill at the thought of visiting. How can I cope with this?
A: First of all, I salute you for your honesty. Your reaction to the nursing home is normal and you should be comforted in that knowledge. Given your mother's condition it is not likely that she will be leaving the nursing home. It is painful to visit a nursing home and see so many infirmed elderly people who you see as having no quality of life.
In the past, when I've gone to visit family members who are in homes, my first reaction was physical. I've since taught myself how to show up, be present and spend quality time without feeling ill.
However, I wasn't able to accomplish this until I came to terms with the fact that I was feeling fear that this would be me one day. Fear can make us physically ill. And fear is simply False Evidence Appearing Real. This does not have to be you in future years. Given your mother's condition, she probably doesn't know how often or how long your visits are, but you need to go.
So you gear up emotionally. You purchase some bright flowers and you KNOW in your heart that you are serving the greater good by visiting your mom. And when you are there, take her out of her room and get outside as far away from the depressing part of the home as you can. It will be good for her and it just might save your sanity.
I would also recommend that you join a support group for family members going through this. You will receive comfort and compassion from others who are experiencing the same journey.