How do you deal with guilt when you stop calling?

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My 88 yo mom is in assisted living getting loving care in a home with 2 other elderly women. Mom can't really hear me on the phone anymore and she mostly doesn't understand me when she can hear. I went from daily phone calls 3 years ago to 1x a week and dreading it. Most of the time I call and she's asleep. I work during the week and visit her 2.5 hours away every 4 weeks or so. We can't really talk because she can't hear me. I've had her evaluated and have nurse come to clean wax out. She won't use any of the 3 hearing aids ( high end ones) I bought her and now they are "lost" anyway. She used to kind of know if I hadn't called in a couple days but lately she has no clue. Her short term memory is 2 minutes at best but she still knows who I am. Am I being a bad daughter not calling more often..? I can't get over the guilt but when I try to call I'm left extremely frustrated and usually upset. I text one of the caregivers regularly to see how she is and the caregiver is wonderful about sending photos and keeping me up to date. Am I wrong in feeling solace in the caregivers texts instead of actually trying to talk to mom????

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Misty, your mom sounds about like my dad. I’m 3 states away, Dad is in a very good memory care facility. We were just there for my mom’s memorial. Dad still knows me but doesn’t know if I was there 10 minutes ago or ten years ago.

I though about trying to move him near me but he’s finally well adjusted to this facility and I don’t want to undo that.  Not to mention the logistical mess it would be.

I don’t call him anymore as conversation is very difficult. He’s pretty delusional. But I do call and text with nurses and other staff to check on him.

It’s hard to not feel guilty but my presence would not change anything. My company and comfort would be lost to him in the next minute after I left.

Don’t beat yourself up about this. It’s a reality for many families.
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Whether mom talks or not, IT IS YOUR PRESENTS that is important...she may not recognize you, but just to know, someone came to see her, is a blessing to her..Soon or later we are going to get there, then what??...will we feel that same way?? we dont know.. just go see mom, hold her hand, talk about your childhood (most old folks remember that) and other things you think might ring a bell with her :)
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Don't feel guilty. She probably forgets you called a few minutes later. Can you write her short notes. Just telling her how your week has been. Or send a card telling her how things are going. You could mention her caregiver has been telling you how well she is doing. My Mom got to the point she couldn't carry on a conversation. This desease is not their fault or ours. You have to remember that it really effects you more than her. Like my RN daughter says, they are in their own little world.
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MistryPearl, I know how it is when one's parent has difficulty in hearing. My Mom was that way even using her hearing aids. I realize it wasn't her fault but it was exhausting trying to have Mom just catch one or two words of what I was saying. I couldn't write it down as Mom was now legally blind. She was 98 and this started almost 10 years prior and just worse and worse.

Thankfully my Dad would answer the telephone at home, and once in a great while I will ask to speak to Mom, and when it became too complex Mom would hand the phone back over to Dad.

When my Mom went into long-term-care due to complications from a serious fall, Mom couldn't understand anything, when she did talk none of it made any sense. I was happy that she knew who I was and called me by name.... until I noticed she was calling the nurses and aides my name.

My Dad and his caregiver would visit Mom daily so it wasn't like she didn't see family. I would visit twice a week for a very short time, gathered up laundry and returned it the next day. Mom thought she was at a hotel and was upset with my Dad because he took the tour bus without her.... [sigh].

How great that your Mom has a kind caregiver who is willing to take photos and keep you up-to-date with your Mom :)
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