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Does the guilt and sadness ever go away when you have chosen a nursing home for your mother? A very sweet mother, with mild cognitive issues and possible Lewy Body, very stubborn. Also, I am a 66 year old disabled (polio survivor), married and would like to travel with my husband before I am no longer able. Almost every time I visit her, we end up arguing (I try not to!) and I leave, then she calls and apologizes and I feel even more guilty. She has had 4 hospitalizations in the past few years, TIA strokes, anxiety and depression. Her never happy and very negative outlook is getting me down. She always thought she would live with me and she reminds me of this as well as always talking about her home and her things. I know it is hard but she has been in SNF for almost 2 years and it is not any easier.

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I wish I could say it gets easier. My Dad thought I would take care of him which I did for years but when he began falling, refusing to go to the doctors, refusing to take medications, refusing to allow help come into the house, etc, he eventually ended up in the nursing facility. (All my fault) He has been "mad" for over 2 years now but he does participate in activities and overall, and he is doing o.k. I believe when he sees me, I remind him of how his life was years ago and he wants that life back. I go to talk to the staff and make sure he has everything he needs or wants. It may help to focus on the positive things of staying where she is (i.e. not having to take care of a home, cooking)
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Reply to Lorraine11
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Wearygirl Dec 3, 2018
Thanks for your response. I do have to remind myself that she is getting 3 meals a day (very picky eater; sometimes gets anorexic); she has assistance with showers and we no longer have to do everything she needs when she lived at home. She has had several falls, also. I have realized that I cannot do it all, though, so I am appreciative of the help she receives at the SNF - I just wish she wouldn't think it is "all my fault".
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Have you considered staying away for a while?

Maybe take a two week break; talk to the NH about having her meds assessed by a geriatric psychiatrist to see if there is any adjustment that can be made.

YOU have done nothing wrong by taking care of yourself and trying to live your own life.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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Hello Weary. In my case, no, the sadness and guilt remain. I know in my brain that continuing to care for my parent in my home would kill me, but in my heart, I want to. Dementia is a cruel disease to deal with because you continually are beaten down emotionally by a person who cannot help the behavior and doesn’t remember causing any problems. My father recently died after living in a facility for 6 months and my mom appears to be declining rapidly as well. The guilt & sadness coupled with the grieving are overwhelming. I think if the parents remained in my care, they might be doing better and my dad may have not died, but then I have to remind myself, I would have died trying to save them. It’s a no win situation and I’ve found there’s either guilt or sadness by putting your loved one in a facility or anger, and sadness if you move your loved one in with you. (I’m speaking about loved ones in the late moderate to early severe stages which are typically the folks who are in the facilities.) It takes a village to care for a person who needs 24/7 care who is mobile and who doesn’t understand what anything is, where anything is or how to use everyday items without hurting themselves. You have to keep telling yourself that at least your loved one is safe and fed and unfortunately that has to be good enough. Alzheimer’s and dementias aren’t like other diseases where you can explain and logically approach a game plan. You are constantly dealing with different personalities and behaviors all within the same person who is living in a reality all their own while you are trying to live in a different reality. My heart goes out to you and all others walking this path.
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Reply to Alzh101
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Wearygirl Dec 4, 2018
Thank you for your response. I know there are many others in the same situation. I wish there were some better solutions, like letting elderly people live in their own home with 24/7 care that would not be so expensive.
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Is her depression being treated?

It sounds as though your mom has a raft of mental health issues and knows how to push your buttons.

Your mother has been assessed as needing 24/7 care. You cannot provide that at home without her paying for a great deal of in home help.

Does she have the funds for 3 shifts of caregivers?

Contrary to what she seems to believe, providing for her old age was HER responsibility, not yiurs.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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Wearygirl Dec 4, 2018
She has been assessed as needing 24/7 care and she does not have money for 3 shifts of caregivers. Divorced my Dad, so no VA help. I agree that it was her responsibility and believe me when I tell you that I tried for years to get her to address the inevitable issues that would come with old age. She had a plan and that was to live with me so she could just spend all of her money on what she wanted. Thank you for your response!
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Good evening, Wearygirl,
Both my parents share a room at a nursing home. Every time that I enter the facility, I ask God for His grace, mercy and power to go in with me because I often feel a sense of dread prior to my visits. Actually, I felt that way twenty years ago when they were still functioning and living in their own home.

I visit about every other day. It’s that long walk from the parking lot to the front door that seems to be so difficult. That is when I do the most praying. Once I enter, my anxiety and sadness abates and I’m on - greeting other residents and the staff, looking for my parents because they roam around the facility, and advocating for their care.

Most of the time we have an uneventful visit and I leave them contentedly listening to music or watching a DVD, or engaging in some activity with the other residents, but there are some days in which the fog of dementia clears in one or the other and they become very aware of where they are and what has happened to their life. Those times are tough.

For example, recently my mother said, “I never dreamed that I would end up in a nursing home”, and another time “I miss my house” (that was sold to pay for their care). That was hard to hear. It’s weird, these moments of clarity and understanding. It’s as if we have gone back to a time in which their mind and bodies were still capable. As if they had been asleep and awoke to find themselves in this predicament. It doesn’t last very long, and they seem to lapse back into a confused state or they get distracted by other things.

I have learned to acknowledge their feelings. It is amazing how much that seems to work. Yes, it does suck that their old age was accompanied by poor health, poor mobility, and dementia when a friend’s mother lived alone, drove her car, and took care of herself until she was diagnosed with cancer and died two weeks later at the age of 95.

Yes, it takes the sting out of it to acknowledge that life is unfair, but I don’t leave it at that. Before I leave, we say our gratitude lists, and they still have a lot to be grateful for; it just has to be acknowledged also.

The sadness does not go away, and the guilt? My siblings and I took care of our parents for over 15 years, well past the time they had already qualified for a nursing home. We and professional caregivers became the nursing home. We did this until we couldn’t anymore. I now recognize guilt as regret. Regret that they did not have a healthy, vibrant old age. I had no control over that, but with God’s grace I can bring some comfort and care to them.
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Reply to Treeartist
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My husband at age 76 was moved to a SNC due to the effects dementia has had on his body. I miss him and wish he could be at home with me, but hospice and his Dr. made me see that I could not take care of him any longer. I am slowly learning to become a wife again. He loves holding my hand and even likes to give me kisses, The time we have together has been precious to me. I can even laugh at him when he tells me to leave. It is so nice not having to be a caregiver.
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Reply to PPAspousew
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I so know where you’re coming from. It is so cm,n for the parent to say it’s all our fault. Been there and have the t shirt. Just knowing you aren’t alone in that regard should help. So very common!! Go and enjoy your life and realize that she’s had her life and she is just wanting to make you feel beholden. She’s in a safe place and guess what...you CAN'T fix her..and never will. She’s in charge of her emotions not you. Tell yourself that over and over until you believe it and it will make it easier. Once I realized I can’t make my dad happy (as much as I wish I could), it became easier to have a life. Once I realized he had a pretty damn good life up until he was 96 and he fell and broke his femur and that when he was my age he was out dancing, traveling and having a ball, I no longer felt responsible for his happiness. It’s a lie we "fixers" tell ourselves. So my advice...go have a life before you keel over. And if you do, guess what...mom will manage without you. Go for it sister!
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Reply to Harpcat
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You have nothing on your profile. Does Mom have Dementia? I would think the strokes have done some damage. If she does, you will not be able to reason with her. Walking away and leaving is the best u can do. She may never learn though. I was 65 when I took in Mom. Like you, I was hoping I would have her in an AL sooner than later. My DH was 68. I was so afraid something would happen to one of us where we couldn't enjoy our retirement. So I see where ur coming from. Went she asks about living with you tell her she needs more care than you can physically give her.
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Wearygirl Dec 3, 2018
Yes, she has been diagnosed with dementia but sometimes I wonder. The staff and several roommates keep reminding me of how sharp her mind is...I have now completed my profile. I do worry about enjoying retirement and I have to remember that we are on the backside of life and need to enjoy our lives. Thanks for your response.
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I don't have guilt and didn't when I placed my LO in AL, then MC. I cried tears of joy because I knew that she was getting the care she needed.

I might start by discussing her depression with her doctor. I'd explore medication. Dementia often causes depression, anxiety and agitation. Meds helped my LO a great deal, but, until she got on the meds, I did not argue with her or try to correct what she said. I agreed and then changed the subject, always trying to stay positive. It helps to keep in mind that the person has cognitive issues and you can't convince them you are right.

I might read a lot of Lewy Bodies and dementia in general, which you say she has, and be able to recognize it's the disease talking and not her. If you make up your mind that you are not going to get upset or bothered, it helps to stay calm. I might applaud yourself for placing her somewhere she is cared for and have peace with it.

I couldn't tell from the various posts and your question if she is in AL, MC or nursing home. You might explore if she is getting the right level of care. Things may improve if that is remedied.
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Reply to Sunnygirl1
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She is punishing you for doing your best . The demands of love can be very toxic, especially when parents hold over our heads, how much they sacrificed to raise us.
My answer to that is i didn't ask to be born. She did not ask to be old and crippled.
No one is at fault here.
You must do right by you. I would write her and call her , as often as i could stomach, and visit once per month.
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Reply to jennyfrix
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