Last month I asked how one can get past the guilt and grief of putting a loved one in Memory Care. A month later, I can honestly say it was the best decision.
We found a private, highly rated retirement village that has a memory care floor. It was a hard move for me since I was my mom's main caregiver for the past 2 years. Her dementia was getting worse, and I couldn't be there for my family and her. She was staying at her house during the day, while I was at work, and then I'd pick her up to stay with us in the evening. She didn't like staying with us either. In the evening, should would insist on going home to the point of walking down our street. Her reality was out of wack and we couldn't convince her otherwise.
I felt so bad when we finally put her in Memory Care. The night before, my husband, son, and I packed all her stuff up to be ready for the movers the next day. She was at my house with my daughter. She had no clue. The next day, I let her know that her primary care Dr. wants her to visit the memory care facility because he thinks it will help her. My brother took her there after we got the OK that everything was moved in to her apartment. We moved some of her furniture so she'd feel like home, but bought her some new. Some say to have everything the same as home, but my mom wondered how her furniture got there! It would have been just fine with my mom to have it all new.
It took a whole month, many nightly phone calls from her confused of where she was at, a UTI that she became aggressive toward staff, us not being able to see her due to COVID, and me working through my grief and guilt. Now we are able to take her out of the facility for lunch, a drive, or a visit at our house(by the way, we all had COVID in June..including her)! She has a friend! The staff say she sings all the time! There are times when she still asks to go home, but she did that when she stayed with me. There are times she is so sad missing my dad, but she did that when she was with me. I realized that I wasn't responsible for her happiness. I was never going to make her happy. The only way I could is if I could turn back time. I can't. Now I'm at peace, she's singing most of the time, and we can see each other now. I never thought I'd feel this peace, trusting other people to take care of my mom, and getting back to my family. It only took a month, but it was a long month. I still have to talk myself through that we did the best we could do to keep her safe. I thought some of the comments were harsh...like "her safety trumps her happiness." It's true! I can't fix her. Now I'm part of a team that gives her the best care.