Feeling guilty about Mom in nursing home, Dad still at home and lonely. Any advice?

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My husband and I bought my parents home, 8 years ago and combined living. 4 months ago mom had series of strokes, and is in nursing home. I have been dealing with depression for 2 years and been suicidal, hospitalized several times. Mom asks every visit, when is she going home? I decided not to visit for a couple of weeks to see if it will sink in that she has to stay there now. I feel so confused about this, but relieved too. Am I an awful person? I see my dad and mom asks him the same question about coming home. He understands she can't. Words of wisdom please. :)

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Dealing with parents and making those tough decisions are never easy. Stop feeling guilty about mom as she is being taken care of the best way and you did the right thing for your parents. Take this time to really begin to enjoy the time with your mother at the long term care facility. Get involved witht he resident council, join in on special functions with your mother, and have lunch with her as often as you can. She will always ask about going home and you may not be able to change so let her ask and you smile and say, "This is your home now." It is very difficult to see your loved ones grow old. Remember, aging is the part of life that plays a very important role in the human life cycle. This is the time to heal some of the hurts from an earlier part of your life with your mother and a time to help her see you as her wonderful daughter. Please, please take care of yourself and get help for your depression, but at the same time, enjoy the remainding days of your mother's life with love, caring, and laughter.
I, also , was the caregiver,daughter, homemaker, entertainment, time manager, bill payer...well, you get it...for both my parents the last 4-5 years of their lives. My dad had Pulmonary Fibrosis and lived 7 months longer than was expected. Since he was "end of life" he qualified for Hospice. I was able to set up cares and with assistance from Hospice and other private paid nurses, dad took his last breath with my sons and I holding his hand in his home. My mom was in overall worse health than my dad. He had taken care of her, but when he got sick the roles had to reverse. I encouraged her to offer him sips and help him with his urinal, etc. She had to help him when no one else was home with them. When he died, her grief was overwhelming. She wanted to die and she told me that everyday. I was daddy's girl, only daughter, and my sons were raised living arms distance from my parents, so all of us had grieving to go through as well. I had to be the strong one and cry in silence. I continued to take care of my mom, who was house bound, barely able to walk , and had severe central and obstructive sleep apnea. If she didn't keep her CPAP on at night, she was totally confused in the am due to lack of circulation of oxygen to her organs. I did everything to keep her safe. Had her meds bubble wrapped, cooked meals and had them in dishes so all she had to do was heat them in the microwave because the stove was a dangerous thing. I spent 3-4 hours a day with her..etc. But, she would fall frequently. And with her depression, physical and emotional pain, intermittent confusion, and loneliness, I realized I could not meet her needs doing this on my own. It was not fair to my mom. She didn't want to go to ALor a NH, but I was afraid I would come over to her house and find her dead on the floor. I don't believe it is God's will that anyone die alone. I had my mom admitted to Skilled Care...for physical therapy to try and get some strength built up. Medicare only pays that so long and the patient has to show progress. Being a nurse, I had hoped this would help, keep her safe and be less isolated over the winter months. At first she would ask me when she could go home, but I would just remind her about her difficulties at home and encourage her to have a positive outlook and point out how she had people at her beckon call 24 hours a day there. Within 2 months, mom made friends, her depression got better, she was engaged in activities, and started praying for others again. She even had a "special" friend who reminded her of my dad. Unfortunately my mom caught the Flu while she was at the NH and died a week later. She had so many comorbidities that her body could not fight the infection. It was her ticket out of this world and the
route home to her husband of 55 years.
There is alot more to my story, but the point of it all, is to look at the positives of what a NH or AL can offer. The elderly need socialization, medication safety, and food. If you are the lucky one that gets those last years with your parents then you have to really look at what is best for them and you. My parents were wonderful people and they would not have wanted me to become unhealthy in order to prolong their life, especially if they are suffering. And I believe that now that they have both died, that every breath that I take is a breath for them as well. This is life. It's too precious and short to feel guilty and burdened. Ask for help, ask for His guidance, and give up situations that you have no control of.
No, you are not an awful person. You are carrying the burden of undeserved guilt and you have not done anything to be guilty of. Some of your depression might be due to anticipatory grief which is normal and understandable.

My mother was in a nursing home over four years due to a stroke and a broken hip that she never recovered from. She constantly wanted to go home and even thought at times that she could walk again and could drive home. However, for her safety, it was not an option to take her home. No matter how often we explained to her why she could not go home, she would still ask to go home from time to time. I would try to divert the conversation to another topic or would say that such a decision was not mine to make, but the doctor's or would say that I'd talk with the social worker about it. What does your dad say when she asks him about going home?

Are you taking an anti-depressant? Are you seeing a therapist? If not, I recommend that you do to help you deal with all of this.
I am basically going thru the same thing with my mother. I brought her to live with me in Feb. last year. She broke hip in May and had replacement surgery. Afterwards seems her dementia got worse long story short I had to put her in a controlled enviroment at a nursing home (locked doors on halls) because she kept threating to kill herself. I feel guilty I promised her she could live out her life with me, which isn't going to happen. I do visit her once a week, that I will always do. She crys wanting to come with me and live with me. More guilt. But I tell her she is where she needs to be and as soon as the doctor says she can come home she will. I don't make her any promises. She seems to take that in stride.
I am not going to tell you not to feel guillty, you do because you are a loving person. What I will tell you, parents don't have children so they can be a burden on them in the older years. I wanted to take care of my mom, and I am. She is in a place where she is getting the best care available, just as your mother. I too have several health issues and taking care of her here at home was beginning to take a toll on me also. Which if it had continue I wouldn't been able to give my mother the proper care she needed nor would I been able to care for myself.
Visit your mom or you will regret the little time you could of had with her. My mom doesn't remember me being there 5 mins after I leave. But we enjoy the time we have together even if she is still threating sucide if she can't leave with me. Love yourself enough to know you are doing the best thing for your mom by placing her in a place where she is getting the care she needs. God be with you and your family.
Depending on the serious effects of your mother's strokes she may need to remain in the nursing home. I would investigate if she can be in a rehab under medicare and perhaps regain enough strength and abilities to live at home with home health aides.
Given your recent illnesses, you may well not be the best person to either render the care or be living in the same home, understandable.

I firmly believe avoiding visiting to make a parent get used to a nursing home is never correct. If you can't go, get family members interested in her care to visit her. Any nursing home who wants you to ignore your mother so she gets used to a situation she doesn't want isn't acting in the best interest of your mother and probably is rendering substandard care. If they suggested this action --start shopping for a better nursing home asap.

For the fragile elderly living in homes, nursing homes or assisted living facilities, they all need to be visited regularly. They all need the reassurance that their spouse, children, grandchildren love them, that their life has a purpose. Feeling abandoned will not help them recover from any illness or deal with any long term disability.

Good luck do the best you can do. Get a family plan for your mother which does leave her with fears of abandonment.
I felt very guilty about putting mom in AL. Once in a blue moon I still do, but my overriding feeling is freedom to do the things I want to do that I couldn't with mom needing/demanding 100% of my time, energy, and focus. STOP THE GUILT!! It is unproductive. You have more than enough on your plate since you are taking care of your dad.

When my mother asks me "When am I coming home?" I answer, "I'm not sure mom, I'll ask" and then I IMMEDIATELY change the subject. The subject I change it to is immaterial, but a switch in attention is necessary. The best way to get her "invested" in the switch is to ask her a question about it. Could be anything? Where did you get those shoes? What day is it today? Who did you vote for last election? Anything to refocus her attention. You could also pretend you didn't hear the question.

It is VERY difficult for someone who does not have depression already to deal with this. It often takes a non depressed mind and drags it down into depression. It will make your depression worse. What good will you be to your dad with even more depression when you let the guilt get to you? What good will you be to yourself and your other family members? No good at all. Take care of yourself first. You can't take care of ANYONE else until you take care of you.
Please don't feel guilty. You've provided your parents the best living environment for their needs. When physical and dementia related needs overwhelm the home care system in place, it's time to get our elders the professional help they need. I truly believe we honor them by doing this.
I had to place my Dad in a nursing home after a fall that left him unable to walk. When he asked to go home, I said that he would need to be able to get out of bed and transfer by himself and go to the bathroom and back to bed safely before he could go home. He was 6 ft 2 and a large guy, it took 2 girls to get him to the bathroom and I could not have done it by myself. The price to hire a caregiver 24hrs was three times what the nursing home cost, he couldn't afford that and he understood. He worked on his physical therapy, though he never improved enough to go home. I visited almost every day, as painful as it was. I couldn't take care of him by myself. He had skilled people there who could watch the condition of his skin and monitor health problems as they popped up. I found that as much as it hurt, I had to be honest and tell him the situation and that it wasn't because I didn't love him and that I would be there by his side through whatever came up in the future. He wouldn't be facing this alone.
I wouldn't advise to stop visiting, just visit and be honest. If that doesn't work, change the subject or bring some photos to go through. Bring articles from the paper to read and if you start to feel anxious, leave and go for a walk or talk to the nurses. You are feeling pain because you are a caring and compassionate person. I wish you strength to get through this time of adjustment : )
My mom had dementia and broke her hip. She refused to do therapy or even try to get out of the wheelchair. Therefore she went from being a rehab patient to a regular patient at the facility. She would ask us to get her pocketbook as it was time to go home. We would change the subject or tell her it wasn't time yet. Eventually she stopped asking. Either my dad or I were there every day with her. There was never a day when one of us wasn't there. We got her to play bingo and she did a good job! She loved when the entertainers came. She could sing the words to every song, yet couldn't remember what she had for lunch that day. She wouldn't remember my children, yet she never forgot me. I think it was because I was a constant presence in her life. She would even look out the window and see me driving in and tell my dad, here comes Carol. I think that if you keep a positive attitude and a happy face around them it helps them to cope. Only my opinion, but it worked for my mom.
You keep telling her she is home, this is her home now. Even if you were to take her to her house, she will quite likely ask about going home. They forget everything and often obsess about their childhood home and try to get there. Take a break from visiting so often. Usually the NH will ask you to NOT visit for the first two weeks. This allows the patient to realize they are in their new home. Visiting too often leads them to believe home is somewhere else. I have a sister in a group home, if she moves, we take a break until she settles in. Also I limit my visits to once a week and do NOT take her overnight, this simply adds to her confusion. Stop visiting until BOTH of you have accepted this.

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