I'm glad I found this site. it was very helpful as I tried to care for my grandfather. My grandfather moved in with us 8 years ago. My husband and I were his caregivers, we worked full time, had a small child. It was managable until about a year and a half ago when his health really declined. He had dementia, incontinence, limited mobility, and had swallowing issues with a couple of episodes of pneumonia. We brought in caregivers to help but realized that he would n eed more help. We didn't want to put him in a nursing home. We promsed my late grandmother we would take care of him. We watched as the man I grew up adoring became a shell of himself. After his last hospital visit he spent 6 weeks in a rehabilitation facility where he improved slightly and then got pneumonia again and declined. Medicare discharged him because he wasn't making progress and we knew we weren't able to provide the care he needed at home. We placed him in a skilled nursing facility. I don't think he he really understood what was going on other than he wasn't coming home. we told him he needed to get better so he could but 10 days later he passed away. to say my heart is broken is an understatement. I know he's in a better place and he's not suffering any longer and I try to think that he knew we were doing this for his own good. my family never helped with his care, I was POA so i'm the one who handled all of his medical decisions and arragnements. I'm the one who agreed to place him in the home and I feel responsible. Everyone tells me that I did everything I could for him. I cant help but feel that I failed him.. I am having his memorial service next week and I don't even want to go. I refuse to accept comfort from people who couldn't be bothered with him while he was alive
I know for a fact that i would never have seen the symptoms of the three bouts of pneumonia that my mom has had, that she's recovered from. Getting your loved one to a good facility IS taking care of them.
It is not unusual to go through the "what ifs", I think we all pretty much do that. I know I did. We can only do what we think is best and let the professional pick up where we left off. I know we always think we should have done more.
For the memorial service, depending what the standard for your area, you could make a timeline board showing photos of your grandfather when he was a child, a teen, getting married, his work, his family, and his later years. I found a lot of comfort going through the photos [tons of them, half the people in the photos I didn't even know] and sorting through them.
I'll try to to be strong and will try to rise to the occasion as I have already planned the memorial for next weekend. I wanted to celebrate his life and share the memories of the man that he was. It will be sad for the family members that weren't around for it while he was alive but I'm not doing it for them I'm doing it for grandfather.
As others may write, the underlying issue of caring for someone is to find the best care possible during varying stages of illness. As the person becomes more physically (or mentally) compromised, that issue and the level of care evolves and changes.
I think your actions were very appropriate, and laudable. You recognized when he needed more care than you could provide. He was in the last phase of his life's journey at that point, and to have attempted to care for him at home wouldn't have been fair to either of you - you b/c it would demand more physically than could be provided, and him b/c he needed help from professionals who could be available 24/7 - he needed more than you could offer in home care.
To acknowledge that isn't an admission of guilt, or lack of concern, but to me reflects a recognition that it's time to sacrifice the comfort and benefit of his presence at home to the higher need of appropriate care at that time.
Think of it this way: if you had kept him at home, you couldn't have met his needs. To have tried to do so but not been able to could be considered as not providing the necessary level of care.
We're all going to die someday (not to be maudlin but life isn't eternal) and unless we're inanimate objects like rocks, we will someday or other face our own deaths. This isn't said to be crass, but rather to recognize the limited nature of human life. Hard as it is, recognizing what's best for him in that situation takes a lot of courage and strength, which I believe you have.
As to the memorial service, there is no need to have one. There are a few threads on this forum on the issue of final good-byes and services.
Check out the first and fifth threads. You'll find that others have faced this dilemma and decided to commemorate their loved one's life in ways other than an expensive, generally emotionally overwhelming, service.
I understand your position on accepting "comfort" from people who weren't a part of his life. I frankly feel the same way and probably will only have my family for a nonfuneral type get together. If they don't come, then I say my goodbyes in private and have a final get-together just for the people who were involved in his life.
The only people I want to share in my father's good-byes are those who helped him when he needed it, not patronizing do-gooders.
You promised his wife that you would take care of him and you did. You should be feeling proud of a job well-done and satisfaction that Grandfather had the care he needed, even when it exceeded you ability to personally provide it.
The intense feelings of bereavement can complicate how we view things immediately after a death. You absolutely did not fail your grandfather! Disappointment that he had to be in a facility is natural. Guilt? My goodness no! That is just a part of all the negatives you are feeling now. It is not reasonable at all.
You'll get through the memorial service OK. Yes, it is too little too late for many of the people who will be there, but for your own peace of mind try to let that judgment go for the day. Remember GF, honor him, do what comforts you and your husband, and smile at those who really did fail GF -- knowing full well that you and your husband behaved beautifully.