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As a PS to my previous post about activities for my mom, I wanted to also ask how others in my situation dealt with the guilt. i feel so guilty for not being able to allow my mom to live with us. I am married, my husband of 20 years works offshore on the oil platforms and is gone 2 weeks out of every month. He is home the other 2, and when mom lived with us before he was very good about dealing with her, making her lunch, etc., but she has declined so much in the last 2 years that she really needs assisted living, or an in-home caregiver. However, in my home that would be disastrous, I have my daughter and 10 month old grandson living with us now. My mom is very negative, and as I said has profound hearing loss even with hearing aids and is VERY JEALOUS and gets very agitated when somebody has even a few word conversation that she gets left out of. She starts the pity party of being left out and cries. I understand that it must be hard but it's also hard to expect a room full of people to ALL stop and direct their comments towards her, talk slowly and loudly, etc. so she will feel included. It's just human nature to get caught up in a conversation. Also, she can't amuse herself anymore, and she follows me around like a puppy. When I leave the room, she is constantly inquiring about where I went, and if I do go away for a few minutes she chastizes me for being "gone so long". I know I shoudl take care of my mom in her old age, but I'm afraid that if I took her in it would be at the sake of my own sanity and my marriage. How, then, do I leave her crying in her room when I leave from visiting her? It breaks my heart. Any suggestions?

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Thanks for your help, I know everything people say is true about not feeling guilty etc. I have siblings, but they are step siblings and when my dad died 14 years ago their relationship with mom was more out of duty. He was the glue that kept "his kids" and "her kids" together. As mom gets more downhill in her dementia it was decided that she woudl come live near me as I guess I am more calm with her, more able to deal with her with less frustration, as I am her only biological child, our bond is pretty strong. So basically I am in it on my own until the end of her life. The other kids did a lot for her when she lived alone after dad died, but now that she's dependent to this level, it has become my responsibility. So asking the others to step up isn't going to help the day to day of her life, such as it is. They have the ability to detach to a greater degree than I do, as they don't have the bond we do. But it is heartening to see all of the posts here, it helps when I read them. I still drive home in tears after every visit but I am trying to put things in their proper place. I am glad I found this site.
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Thanks for your help, I know everything people say is true about not feeling guilty etc. I have siblings, but they are step siblings and when my dad died 14 years ago their relationship with mom was more out of duty. He was the glue that kept "his kids" and "her kids" together. As mom gets more downhill in her dementia it was decided that she woudl come live near me as I guess I am more calm with her, more able to deal with her with less frustration, as I am her only biological child, our bond is pretty strong. So basically I am in it on my own until the end of her life. The other kids did a lot for her when she lived alone after dad died, but now that she's dependent to this level, it has become my responsibility. So asking the others to step up isn't going to help the day to day of her life, such as it is. They have the ability to detach to a greater degree than I do, as they don't have the bond we do. But it is heartening to see all of the posts here, it helps when I read them. I still drive home in tears after every visit but I am trying to put things in their proper place. I am glad I found this site.
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How do you deal with the guilt? Well, I'm not going to tell you not to feel guilty. Feeling guilty seems to be the default background condition for caregivers! Very few of us do anything to deserve it, but there it is. So ... learn to live with it. Learn to shove it into the background. Go ahead and do what needs to be done in spite of the guilt. Above all don't let the guilt make decisions for you.

If you place Mother in assisted living you will feel guilty that she is not living with you. If you bring her to live with you you will feel guilty that she is exposing your daughter and grandchild to constant negativity. If she makes your husband uncomfortable you will resent her and then you will feel guilty about that.

The state of your mother's health is not your fault. Her negative, demanding personality is not your fault. You have nothing to feel guilty about! But "don't feel guilty" is easier said than done. Accept that a certain amount of guilt is going to be there and get on with your life. If the guilt gets too overwhelming, a few sessions with an objective third party -- a counselor -- might be in order.
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Needy people equal entrapment, and no one with about 10 minutes of "me" time a day should have to wrap his/her life around them unless they're suckers for punishment. The last thing you want to do is hurt her feelings, but somehow Mom has to understand you have a family to take care of. You just can't do it all, and your siblings have to leave the bickering aside and step up to the plate as well.

The way I see it, you've done -- and are still doing -- what you can with what you have. Expecting more is just ... inhuman. Take care of yourself my friend.
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Your first responsibility is to yourself and your family...you cannot sacrifice any of that for anyone. Would in-home work where she is living now? Our responsibility is to see that our parents are safe, well cared for, comfortable and that they know we love them. This does not mean you have to have them living with you.

It is a grand idea but the usual reality of it is someone has to suffer and it is the caregiver. Read other threads; folks give up jobs, have to default on their homes, move miles away, marriage and relationships suffer to the point of separation and/or divorce and their own health falters.

We had Mother in our home for two years and I love that we were able to take care of her. She wanted for nothing and we did it out of love. Siblings were jealous, manipulative and down right rude to me and my family. This was not the retirement life my husband worked hard for and we looked so forward to. We could afford 24/7 help when we traveled but there was always the going back home.

Husband said enough and Mom moved in with one of my siblings 2 months ago. I sleep all night (although the first few nites I could hear her calling me), blood pressure is down and my back no longer hurts all the time. The level of stress in our home is now below zero and we are able to breath. It was still a very hard decision.

Don't make any decision based on Fear, Obligation or Guilt! You know what made it easier for me... I know in my heart Mom would have never taken anyone in and cared for them like I did. She even told me she could never do this for anyone.

Best of wishes. Make plans for your own elder years now. The big lesson we have all learned.
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