I placed my difficult mother (Alzheimer's) in memory care 2 months ago. She was falling and the hospital wouldn't discharge her to home. She had care 7 days a week but really needed 24 hours which was unaffordable. I kept her in her home with her third husband for as long as possible (too long) so she would have her beloved, familiar surroundings. Up to about six months ago, she had been sundowning, escaping the house, trying to go 'home,' angry, irrational, though more recently she had progressed to sleeping all day, medicated due to resistance to bathing and being changed, but still resistant.
In the facility she is now sitting slumped over with a table in front of her because she keeps trying to stand up and then falls. She has zero ability to engage in any of the activities that some other memory care patients engage in. She did seem happy in a recliner listening to music at the start, but now she seems to have deteriorated. She is still on medication due to resistance, though I had the amount reduced since she was dazed.
I have once again developed insomnia (which I am prone to, under stress) over my grief at seeing my mother not in her home. I cry and feel my feelings, but I'm still waking up and rehashing and grieving and losing sleep which is debilitating. I'm not interesting in advice on sleep meds, am just venting in hopes of some relief.
My father - impaired decision-making after a couple of strokes, alcoholic, narcissistic but still independent and increasingly demanding - died a year and a half ago and I got over the main grief after about 6 months. His behavior caused me to not see him for awhile before his death, for self-preservation. Settling his affairs has been long-term exhausting because he was a hoarder and left his estate in a complicated, awful mess. Now I have to face Mom's final descent.
This sleeplessness over my mother's situation is no doubt just a more profound level of the anticipatory/ambivalent grief I've been experiencing for 20 years since she began losing her mind at around 70. She initially became terribly nasty and more controlling than she always was, making crazy decisions, a lot of insanity. At one point she disinherited me, though she rescinded it. I was living in her in-law unit with my very young children/babies and husband at the time, and she was in an irrational rage at us off and on. Eventually she drove us out (yay!) and I was so traumatized I would begin shaking if I saw her handwriting. I did not understand until later that her personality changes were due to the beginning of dementia - it seemed a continuation of the anger and control issues she exhibited much of her life. She had not dealt with her childhood trauma and took her pain out on her intimates while 'keeping up appearances,' even though her neighbors got a taste of her behavior - she didn't fool everyone.
At the same time, before her dementia we had a deep love connection. I am her only child. She was always high-handed with others, was successful and attractive, very self-centered, but supportive of me. She used to say "just shoot me if I get like that" - re: old age/dementia, which of course, is not a plan. I am pretty sure I was/am enmeshed with her emotionally, at the very least it is complicated mother-daughter stuff.
Bottom line, she is now living out the worst nightmare she could ever imagine, a locked ward where she is dual incontinent, and handled by strangers. It's tearing me up to see her like this, I hate going to visit her because it triggers a fresh bout of insomnia each time, then I feel terrible guilt, for taking time off from going to see her, and then have insomnia trying to 'figure out' a strategy.
I know I can't save her from her fate, but it's obvious the caregivers in this place aren't doing much for her, but there's not much she can DO. At least she's clean and gets changed. My husband says from experience with his own parents that this is the way it is and moving her won't help.