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Mother fell at home a few weeks ago and was taken to the hospital and then sent to a local (5 mi. away) NH. The staff there told me that she absolutely needs 24/7 care. There's no way for me to provide that because I work 40/hrs./wk. The I'm an only child and have no siblings to help me. The last 6 months have been hell on earth for me because of Mom's frailty and worsening dementia.

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Good1Son,
I'm so glad your Mother is doing better and you are too.I'm sorry to hear your Mom had a bad fall....Falls are the worst and they happen so fast and do so much damage....Take good care,Lu
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Things are going well for Mother @ the NH. She now has a room mate & they're getting along quite well w/ one another. The stress is off of me now and I feel like a different person.
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Thank you everyone for your supportive comments, they really do help.
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I think I must be an exception to the rule. The rule that everyone needs to feel guilty for not being able to care for our parent/loved one ourselves and in our own home or theirs. Sure, some people can do it and I admire their ability in much the same way I admire someone who has a gift/talent I don't. We are all not cut out for hands on caregiving for our parents for a variety of reasons. I CAN caregive for my disabled adult son but can not for my mother. Do I feel guilty? No, not one bit and I never have. I could never provide the skilled care my mother needs and receives round the clock where she is now living. My brother and I spent two months finding just the right facility for our mom - and it's a beautiful place staffed with caring, skilled care providers. Do I feel badly for my mom? Yes, definately. Mom is slowly deteriorating both mentally and physically - she is a shadow of her former self and can no longer do any of the things she use to enjoy. Is that my doing or fault? No. I wish it could be different for her and I'd change it if I could - but I can't. So if I have any advice to offer you, its this: Do the best you can. Period. Then learn to know the difference between feeling badly and feeling guilty.
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Guilt is a good thing. If we do something bad and we feel guilty about it that will help us not repeat the act, just to avoid the guilt. I was rude to so-and-so. Gee I feel terrible about it. I can't even sleep well. Next time I'll keep my rude comments to myself.

I'm all in favor of earned guilt.

But let's see how that applies here.

You did --what? -- bad thing. So you feel guilty about it. And that will help prevent you from doing it again. So what, exactly is the bad thing?

Did you push your mother down? Probably not. Old folks fall quite a lot.
Did you cause your mother's dementia? We don't know for sure what causes dementia but good sons have been completely ruled out as a possible cause.
Did you contribute to her frailty? Can't imagine how.
Did you arrange things so she'd need 24 hour care? Why on earth would you do that, never mind how?
Did you deliberately give up being independently wealthy so now you have to work?
Did you refuse to allow your mother the 24-hour care she needs?

I'm just not seeing what bad thing you did here that you earned some guilt for. I don't see anything you need to learn as a lesson to keep you from doing it again.

This is false guilt, or unearned guilt, and, unlike real guilt, serves no healthy purpose at all. You need to be mentally healthy to be emotionally there for your mother. Give up the false guilt, please.

I think false guilt often goes along with delusions of power. We somehow think that we SHOULD be able to prevent Mom from developing dementia, or magically be in two places at once -- working and at her bedside. We have a very unrealistic idea of what our powers should be. And then we feel guilty that we are only human.

Focus your energy instead on how you can be supportive and a good son to your mother in the care center.
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Good1Son, welcome to the forum, you have come to the right place. I am also an only child. Oh how I begged my aging parents to downsize as that big house of theirs would be the death of them, but they wouldn't budge.

Long story short, my Mom [98] also fell at her home and could no longer walk due to head trauma, thus Mom needed to be placed in long-term-care. Not once did I feel guilty about not being a full-time caregiver to my Mom, as my Mom needed a much higher skilled care then I could ever provide. Plus I don't do well on only 2 or 3 hours of sleep which would have happened if I had retired from work and become a full-time 168 hour caregiver.

So think of it this way, you are giving your Mom THE best of care by people who are experienced with these medical issues, as this isn't their first rodeo. They can see signs that we could never notice. Plus sometimes takes two people to lift someone correctly... my Mom was only 85 lbs and it took 2 nurses to help her. Her very late stage dementia [which happened right after the fall] also made it difficult to handle her.

You are doing the right thing. Keep us up-to-date as to what is going on, and if you having any questions regarding your Mom's care, etc.
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Welcome good1son. The feeling that the caregiver should be able to do everything seems to come with care giving and when they can't a feeling of guilt ensues.

It is what is called false guilt due to not meeting the unrealistic expectations of others. The others may be society in general, family or the care receiver or others. True guilt is when you have done something wrong. You have done nothing wrong. You have made the right decision for your mother to make sure that she is cared for and her needs are met. Some parents and/or families expect one person to do the impossible so some of us grow up being manipulated by guilt. It is hard to get past that but it is possible.

Your mum is where she needs to be whether she or anyone else likes it or not. You are indeed a good son. Share more of your story when you are ready. Blessings to you.
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