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I occasionally visit a parent in a memory care facility who has alzheimers. I dont like visiting. Mainly it is to check out that they are being looked after and to be seen as another pair of eyes watching the caregivers. It is very difficult to communicate with the parent. They also have toileting issues as well which I find uncomfortable. The alzheimers is at the severe stage.


I also never had a good relationship with the parent prior to them having Alzheimer's and they have never helped me out much in my life. I have pretty much been or felt on my own since about 12 years of age and built serious independence in my life. So, I don't feel much motivation to visit. I am also very busy and do not have a lot of spare time.


So I tend to visit about once a month just to check in for half an hour or so, check that they are being looked after, look in their room etc. It's not quality time. It's just me checking things out.


How do other children of Alzheimer's parents deal with parents with serious Alzheimer's? Are there other people who grapple with similar sentiment? People who have not had a good childhood/abusive childhood and have never had a good relationship with the parent?

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My mother was abusive. And still is in her dementia! I don’t visit at all or have any contact. It’s something I am at peace with. I manage her affairs (I’m an only child) and interact with staff and medical providers to insure her care. I approach this as if she is my client. I do a good job and have the best interest of my client in mind. But we have no connection. This is what works best for me. I recently read a quote that when something like this: forgiveness is giving up all hope of having a better past. My past is what it is. At first I used to worry about what the staff or others might think if I don’t visit. But that was the old “training” to constantly feel bad about myself! I flat out told the staff and her providers that I will not be visiting or having contact. I didn’t go into great detail, I just said that My childhood was traumatic and that I will be managing her affairs but not having any face to face contact. That they could contact me with any needs or concerns. That if a visit is needed, my adult daughter has agreed to do it and my spouse has also agreed, so I don’t have to. The staff has been very supportive of my position (also she is as mean as a snake to the staff so I think they have an idea of who she is).

You sound smart, strong and practical. You won’t find any resolution to your past by visiting her. I can only share what works for me, but like I said, I feel at peace and I am doing much better than when I first had to step in and manage her care. I did go to counseling and it was very helpful.
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TekkieChikk Jan 12, 2021
"I approach this as if she is my client. I do a good job and have the best interest of my client in mind. But we have no connection."

That is quite interesting, I've never heard of this before. I wish I'd read this much earlier, a friend of mine had similar issues with a step-parent in LTC who also abused her and could never bear to think of him as father... she always referred to him by his first name instead, even though she said that bothered her, too. 'Client' implies a connection but not personal.
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I have the same situation as yours. In fact, my father was physically, emotionally, psychologically, and sexually abuse. My mother’s silence and passivity enabled him. I suggest getting professional help to work through your “misplaced” guilt. I did, and it was very helpful. The unearned guilt the abused person carries, often makes the adult child a prisoner of their parents. I have found that very often the abused child is the most sensitive and caring. And of course, as the parent gets older and more needy, the conveniently forget the abuse and turn to the abused child for assistance. Please take care of yourself. STOP self-abusing yourself by feeling guilty. You have the right to a peaceful life.
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Heather10 Jan 12, 2021
Well said, Conflicted55

It is totally ridiculous to expect someone who is abused emotionally or physically to take care of their abuser.

That expectation in itself is abusive. Thus, the abused adult child is twice abused. Once by the parent and then again by society.

No one would expect a wife to stay with an abusive husband, and take care of him.

No one would expect a POW to take care of his abusive prison guards in their old age.
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I would suggest that you do as you are able, mentally. Your parent is being well cared for, reading your explanation.
I go to see my mother in her MC as I can handle it. She doesn’t enjoy my visits, and I end up angry and frustrated.
I visit enough to keep an eye on things. I also keep in frequent contact with my mother’s caregivers there.
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Reply to cxmoody
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Just because a man offered sperm & a woman birthed you, doesn’t necessarily make them a parent.
Your 1x per mo. visit falls under “honoring” this parent, in way of the fact that you were given life. Your life matters! You have a destiny to be fulfilled.
I think you’ve shown great wisdom to put boundaries up around your heart, your life and your time. No guilt. The fact that you’ve raised yourself since 12 yrs. old is a testimony to true grit, determination, resilience and survivor skills.
I give you my admiration and respect.
God bless you!
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Anyonymous1 Jan 13, 2021
Thank you for your kind words.
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Your story sounds like mine. I'm not sure my mom knew who I was last time I talked to her. I'm sure she had no memory of it 5 minutes later. I still feel guilty not seeing her more. If roles were reversed she wouldn't be bothered to visit me. Hang in there.
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Anyonymous1 Jan 9, 2021
This is actually what I think as well. I have always been worried about something happening to me as I could never have relied on my parents. People probably need to think a hell of a lot more about how they treat children they have chosen to have.
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Keep visits brief and infrequent, as you say, just often enough to make sure your parent is properly cared for. It sounds to me like you've found a workable level of contact, especially in light of the abuse you've received from your parent.

I've always had a poor/dysfunctional relationship with my mother; including emotional enmeshment, abuse, parentifying, etc. Even before she was placed in assisted living memory care, she was demonstrating severe paranoia, abusive conduct and irrational behavior. I learned to practice grey rock and low contact. Both these techniques helped me achieve some emotional distance, which in turn really helped me cope and get on with life.

Hope this helps.
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Reply to CantDance
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Once a month is more than enough from what you are describing.
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For your kind of relationship it sounds fine yo be checking on them once a month but I would at least do that and not the same day every month either so the facility doesn't know when you're coming
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Reply to bevthegreat
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Visit as often as you feel emotionally/physically comfortable doing. (once a week; once a month, once a year, never) BUT call and monitor the care she is receiving frequently (at least weekly).
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I think you have the right idea of popping in to make sure the caregivers know someone cares and is watching.  Outside of that, you have to do what you feel comfortable with.  It is difficult when the relationship prior to dementia wasn't good, because you don't have good memories to hang on to and the person in front of you is really not the same person you knew.  I have tried to use the time with my mom to come to grips with the past and make peace with it.  My parents were who they were, but I can't let that control who I am today.  Use it as a play book to know what not to do... It has been cathartic for me.  Maybe you can use the time with your parent to do the same.
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