Anxiety about going to see your parent? How do you handle it? My mother is just not the mother I have always known any more. More or less, I am mourning the loss of "mom". Since she was put in the nursing home, she has been so mouthy and mean. I know she is like that at times, as I have experienced that many times through my life but it is happening more frequently. Honestly, I have no idea how some of the caregivers do their job when the patients they are trying to help become nothing short of mental/emotionally abusive.

I am noticing I am having flashbacks and anxiety issues each time I go to see her. They revolve around my step-father being in the maximum security section of the VA hospital in Marion, IN after he had his stroke and was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and alcoholism. The four times I have gone to see mom have caused me to get upset due to seeing patients hanging out of their rooms around their doorways, moaning, crying, yelling, etc. Seeing them lope-a-long down the halls, incontinence issues, etc. That hospital back then, reminded me of what I had always thought of as an insane asylum. This nursing home, since I have never had any experience with seeing people in that environment, is similar. Same kind of patients, doing similar acts, but not in the stark, medicinal, white institutional facility. So three of the four times that I have been there have caused me to get sick out in the parking lot. Originally, I was under the impression that it was due to me having bronchitis. But now that I look back at what had happened, I can easily see it was nothing more than nerves. I have contacted my doc and she has put me on some anxiety meds to ease up the anxiety and panic attacks that have started back at night. I have PTSD for a few reasons. I had gone through therapy and my doc had taught me some coping skills. The problem is, I am rusty as using them and back then the issues were not happening anywhere near as frequent as they are now.

I have to get this under control, as it is effecting me seeing mother. I feel guilty enough for not being able to care for her in her home and that she is in that nursing home... But the only offset to this that helps me is that she has no concept of time. So that helps me a bit, but the guilt on most days is overwhelming.

This last time I came to the nursing home last week, when I walked in her room, she yelled at me, "What is your problem now?!" No hi, how are you? No hugs, nothing. From the moment I walked in the door, she did nothing but be ticked off, argue with the aids who brought her her dinner (She said that she was to have crab legs and a pizza party.) instead the aid brought her tuna noodle casserole and spinach. Then kept getting loud because she was suppose to return with the correct dinner of crab legs and a pizza party. I was there maybe 8 minutes, I could not take it any more. I had brought her a deck of cards since she loves to play solitaire but she did not even pay attention to me telling/showing her. I had to get out of there. So I told her I would track down the nurse/aid to see what was going on with her food and I walked out of her room. I did not come back. Which also made me feel very guilty.

I just do not know how to act when she gets like this. When she would be like this when she was her old self, I would often argue back or would leave in a state that it would take hours for me to calm down and not talk to her. I have no way to vent back to her now. There is no way will I cause a scene at this place and that in itself upsets me as I cannot even defend myself when she gets this way. I either have to take it or leave. Back out in the parking lot, I got sick again. I got in my car, just shaking. I feel like I am letting her down even more so than normal. I feel like I am letting myself down for not being able to defend myself. I really just do not know what to do or how to feel.

Has anyone been in my shoes??? I would love to hear your stories and how you handled your issues.

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I actually talked to the person who has POA and explained that the place and her being in it is giving me flashbacks to seeing my step-father in that horrible VA when I was a kid. I go once a week over there. I found out from the POA that they have a hair salon there and she is set up to go get her hair done later this week. I am finding out new things most every day about her care, etc. She has been there for almost two weeks. Since I am not POA, my hands are tied on things that I would do for her. I have to clear everything with the POA. Which gets to me as I am the only child. She has one relative who is in another state, a sister who mom reconnected with a few years ago. The two had not seen each other since they were kids. They grew up in different places due to being farmed out during the depression. All but one cousin and that sister and of course me are all she has left for living relatives. Only I am close to the nursing home. The rest are several states away. She has some friends who will stop by and visit and her POA stops in to talk to her almost daily. I learned last night she has no real diagnosis except that she has some form of dementia that has been happening for several months now. Which I knew due to her having a CVA event almost two years ago. She has been going downhill mentally over the past 6 months. It just really gets to me that she is going down a similar path that my step-father did. Having seen him go from knowing me to not knowing me within a year, scares me to death to think that mom could do the same thing. She is not "mom" now. But for her not to recognize me, I am sure will hurt me to no end. But yes, I agree. I am having to take time for me. I am struggling to go just once a week and after having talked to the POA and listening to the story of how his wife struggles with her family member at the same place and often comes home crying and upset... It is nice to know I am not alone. Ever wonder why we feel guilty? We KNOW we cannot take care of this person but what is it inside us that is making us feel guilt? For me, it is having medical training.
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Seems that all of us who have loved ones in NH feel the guilt and the anxiety. All of us (I think) deal with the stress of the after effects of the visit. I tried to remind myself that no matter how bad it was for me, it was worse for my dear Mom. Sometimes the only person your elder feels safe enough around to be crabby is...YOU! I let her whip me, complain...I just did what I could to help, tried to use humor...remember it's not her anymore, it's the disease. Try to be a bit tougher if you can and let the guilt/anxiety go...I know it's SO HARD...I KNOW. You are grieving her decline, and the institution of the NH (no matter HOW good and there are MANY good ones...)still, it's the pitts. hugs to you and stay reading stuff on here, it will help.
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If I were you, I would take a break from going there for about a month and focus on your own needs. She is being taken care of. You have issues and life ahead of you to Enjoy. You can call in once a week to ask how she is. Why exacerbate your stress by allowing guilt--which is a fear-based, false emotion, by the way--when she is so miserable? Your visit is not making her happy, it's making you sick, so get over the guilt trip and work on yourself. Put yourself first and be your best. Some people don't like that perspective, but doing what you're doing creates martyrs, complications with stress-related illness, and dying younger.
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omg- yes- u r not alone!
i send u hugs and kises-
and will give u my story-right now i am just too exhausted to do much of anything-
but i will-
and u r most likely stronger than u think-
but yes, it is very difficult!
and YOU R NOT ALONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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