Am I being selfish?

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So, I brought mom home for the weekend... and I think I will leave things as they are. Her in the NH, and me traveling to and fro to visit. I thought for sure I wanted her home until her dying day... and I'm feeling rather selfish right now. Her only problem? She can't sleep through the night without soiling her bed... she will strip off her "depends" in her sleep, especially if it's already full of pee, and she will remove the wet protective pad and take off her gown.... and lay back down with nothing on but a blanket.

This is how it is every night... or close to every night... and there's no home health available in our little neck of the woods for overnight - unless it's private pay.

I read many posts here about caregivers who have their parent home and are doing care even through the night... is that what I should do? I can't imagine waking up in the middle of the night just to change her bed/clothes/depends/ and then go back to sleep. I suppose I can always go back to sleep when she takes naps which is often, but is that a healthy thing for me?

Am I being selfish? She really is easy in every other area - outside of the facet that she's down to NO interests whatsoever except for sleeping. I don't think I can also sit with her all day just to entertain her... she won't watch TV. She won't read. She won't do puzzles... maybe it's that Cymbalta that's keeping her half-dead...

So I'm leaving her in the NH until I find another solution... Question? Am I being selfish?

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As I read your most recent post in this thread, Jocelyne, I was smiling for you and then I came to the end ... you are going to devote yourself to trying to make her happy in the NH. But Golden23 already expressed my discomfort. You cannot make someone happy. That is not the nature of happiness.

Instead, you might remove obstacles to her happiness -- advocate at the nursing home if you see she has a rash they are not treating, for example. You can provide opportunities for happiness -- bring in a framed picture from her childhood, or a calendar with kittens or horses or old barns or something else she especially likes.

You can contribute toward her happiness, but don't think you are responsible for it. Ain't possible.
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No, you're not being selfish. When I read the messages from people taking care of their loved ones who cannot do the normal ADLs, I wonder how they do it. I'm afraid that I couldn't go that far. Some people can. I'm just not one of them. And I am far from selfish. There is just a limit to the things that I can do.
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To solve the problem of your mom ripping off the depends, you can buy a jumpsuit that opens in the back, so she can't get to the zipper to take it off. If you search for "Alzheimers anti-strip clothing" you'll find them.

But I think you're better off leaving her in the nursing home, where there are three shifts of people doing what you're trying to do by yourself. And you are NOT selfish to take care of yourself! I'm sure a loving mom would want that for her daughter. Hugs...
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blannie: I can't blame her for ripping them off when they are sopping wet, so I wouldn't want to do what seems like a straight-jacket affair... lol.... you are kind to remind me of that though. I have heard of it here once before.

JessieBelle: ADL = Activities of Daily Living.... had to look that one up! The one thing that concerns me quite a bit is that my husband and me are trying to repair a marriage that has been less than ideal for 29 years. That plays into why I hesitate to keep her home. Truly, if we don't improve noticeably within 6 months or so, I may bail out. It's been too long already.

vestefans: I thank you for such a thorough answer. I know mom would be happier at home, though at home she would sit or sleep and do very little. Right now, at the NH, she gets physical therapy, eats in the DR, can engage with her table mates at meal times, and will engage with ladies at the nurses' station when put there. She has chances to mingle or sing for karaoke, or play bingo, etc, but she usually turns it all down. She mainly wants my attention more than anything. It almost feels suffocating... but I believe that can be the nature of caregiving. She has always been disconnected as a mom/person - with all her kids as well - so it's not like she wants our relationship, though I may be wrong. She just wants what she wants... me, at home, doing for her. I think what gets to me is that I feel sorry for her... like she has trained me to be. It ticks me off in a way, and I'm surprised I'm even saying this. Kind of like a new revelation. Dang, I hope I'm not saying too much!
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My, how I SO appreciate you guys. You are helping me find clarity. It seems the motivation for caring for her is not pure... it is motivated by guilt, and a sense of duty that she has always imposed on me. I am 62, and have not had a happy marriage, nor a very good life, so I think I will be smartly self-attentive (not -ish) and take care of myself and this marriage that may or may not pan out. The NH is excellent... clean, smells good, many activities, very communicative with me about every change, willing to listen to my concerns, and will bring together a meeting of nurse/social worker/myself/dietitian any time I feel the need. Maybe I should count my blessings and hang up the guilt. I will now work on how to make her happy while she is in the NH. Thank you, everyone... thank you.
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Golden mentions the stats on caregivers passing away before their loved ones. I think it would be sobering if we ever knew the stats on how many caregivers end up with very compromised health due to the stresses of caring. In addition, caregivers often back burner their own doctors appointments and test and such.
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Don't worry about whether you are selfish versus just engaging in self-preservation. I would also not just say she should be home because that's the ideal I believed in, or even that Mother Teresa believed in.

I think the bigger question is whether she would be happier in your home than the nursing home. If the answer in your heart is yes, sure, reconsider your decision. Caregivers do get used to getting up once a night to give care, and you might be able to forestall the soiling of bedding by doing a pre-emptive Depends change at a certain hour, and adjusting meds could even be helpful for several of her symptoms that would improve her quality of life - and yours if you take her home. Does she participate in anything at the nursing home? Is she depressed or stubborn, or does not like the activities, or is it more likely she engages in no activities at all because her dementia is advanced enough that she really can't?

One on one 24 x 7 care is a lot, and only do-able at all in a case where there is not much care needed, just full-time supervision and being there to help when needs arise. It's not about you being selfish. It does not have to be about you at all, but rather the practicality of managing her real needs with the help or lack thereof that you realistically have, and what will give her more happiness and you more good memories of these months or years (bear in mind, you don't know how long it would be). Think it through. Listen to your heart. Be real with yourself. I hope you end up making a good decision and feeling at peace with it.
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Do you ever ask yourself why you are donating so much of your life so they can sleep late and watch TV all day? I know I ask myself that a lot.

Jocelyn, I hope you can repair your long-suffering marriage. I think that should be first priority. I got the feeling it is going to require some long, hard work. Maybe some courtship again? Just being romantic here about getting things back together.
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agreed that your marriage should come first.

Sounds like your mum has a sense of entitlement to your "services", It does get very suffocating and no you have not said too much. Many here deal with that kind of family dynamic. I would back away from that real fast. Work on your marriage and your life. I see you posted while I was and mentioned the NH activities, They sound good.
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Superb support, folks... How could I ever thank you. Carlacb... You are mirroring me in a most beneficial and gracious way. Isnt it interesting how much we need each other. I am so so glad I spoke up. I wish I could throw a party for us all... LOL.... Hugs to each one of you....
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