After six years in my home, and a year of beyond challenging care for my very sick dad - where I was going slowly going insane and shooting my health and career to hell, and taking my husband and kids down a very difficult road with me - today - today! - it looks like we finally got a great possible 24/7 placement for my Dad - he has to be evaluated tomorrow morning. And I was ECSTATIC. Put down the deposit already. Happy! Told Dad (who said he was okay with a nursing home - like really okay with it - because he knew everyone was getting tired) and then....I have been getting hit with waves upon waves of guilt. And now I'm sad. And I'm sad because he's sad - and of course, he is. But I really thought the relief would conquer the guilt - but not so much...Arrrgggghhhh. Are we ever, EVER allowed to feel happy about our choices again? Arrrrggghhhhh.

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BarbBrooklyn - i guess i feel guilty because I'm so HAPPY he's leaving. I love my dad, I've cared for him for years, but I just couldn't handle this situation any more and I feel I've failed him because I couldn't keep this up until he passed. I feel guilty because I thought when things got really bad, he would do what i THINK i would do and throw in the towel and call in hospice - but he hasn't = and maybe he SHOULDN'T. But I was getting mad about it. And how silly is that? I don't even FEEL that way, I just wanted the care issues to end...not my dad.

I am SO happy we officially have a placement that is 24/7 care, safe and beautiful. There will be problems, I'm sure, but at least I get to be a daughter again and love my dad fully. This is taken my soul. I also get to be a wife and mom again. And a business owner. Everything was being consumed by the black hole of his care. Thanks everyone for letting me vent. I'm sure there'll be more rollercoaster feelings, but I've gotten over hump 1.
Helpful Answer (28)

I'm glad that youre feeling better! My brothers and I, we never, ever considered the idea that mom, when she developed "mild" cognitive decline and later vascular dementia, would or should live with one of us. We watched mom struggle with her own mom, who simply had mobility issues, for 7 years, in our home. Poor grandma was desperately lonely and isolated, mom was constantly stressed and the misery was shared all around.

I think of ALs and Nursing Homes in the same way I think of public schools; they are the natural socialization environment for folks of a certain age.
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I expect your Dad is more apprehensive than anything else - after all these are new people and new routines - but also sad about separating from you, of course! - how would you feel if he was saying "thank God for that, I'm sick of the sight of you all..."!?

But this is a huge change and everyone is bound to be unsettled. You've picked a facility you're happy with, so lean on them heavily for support and reassurance, take one day at a time, and have faith that all will be well.
Helpful Answer (18)

Of course you feel guilty. Goes with the territory. Accept it, have a good cry. It’s a huge relief when the loved one is placed in a safe, secure environment. Now the PTSD sets in for you. Yes, it’s PTSD- because why we are caring or months and years of caregiving leading up to this moment -we are totally on high alert, waiting for the next crisis. Frustrated and anxious every day because of all the juggling - mom; wife; daughter, executive, chauffeur, medical assistant, estate manager...just to name a few.

I felt total burnout as I moved my mom then had to quickly clean out 40 yrs of moms home, repairs and sale while maintaining a full time job out of state. I took a break from mom and took several months (yep months) to sort out feelings, hate , guilt, love, loss, and turning the page on the next chapter. I had the support of friends, this site and others who’ve walked this walk with their parents.

You did everything right. Now shift from being primary caregiver to the loving daughter you want to be and have the time to be.

Feel better. You deserve all good feelings. Dad will have good and bad days. He is turning a page too and entering some final chapters. You can help best by just visiting, holding hands, playing music or taking walks together. Truly cherish the moments. Dad will be fine.
Helpful Answer (18)

"I get to be a daughter again and love my dad fully."

^ when you feel down, and guilty, and scared, focus on this, only this. You will be so happy to visit him now, and he'll be so happy to see you, every single time.
Helpful Answer (14)

You are beyond burn out.

Dad needs more care than can be given at home.

Guilt is appropriate as an emotion when you've one something wrong, something harmful to another.

Tell me what you've done that's wrong.

You feel guilty, I suppose, because you've put yourself and your family first. Of course by doing so, you are saving your mental and physical health so that you can advocate for dad. But you know that. Because if you're not around, what would become of dad.

Why do you feel guilty?
Helpful Answer (13)

Oh, I can so identify with your post and the others. After years of caring for our parents my siblings and I placed my mother in a nursing facility 6 months ago and my father is soon to join her. And yes, the guilt is awful. I broke down crying the other day because I too obssess and fantasize about bringing her home and taking care of the both of them. I find myself justifying our decision to people and even on this website and I am going to try not to do that anymore. We thought we could take care of them until the end and we could not. In my fantasies I can take care of both with help from my siblings, but I realize that in my mind I am going back to a time when my mother was stronger and didn’t need as much care. I don’t know what to do with the guilt other than try to be the best advocate for my parents and to be a constant presence still in their lives. Today, at the nursing home while I was hugging and kissing my mother goodbye, I noticed two CNA’s whispering together and in my mind I just knew that the one was telling the other what an uncaring daughter I was because my mother was in there. In reality, he could have been talking about his coming weekend, but that’s what guilt will do to you!
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Today, I told our cleaning lady that next week Dad would be at a nursing.....I COULDN'T SAY IT ... I defaulted to "nursing center" - but I wanted to let her know so she wouldn't walk in and think he had died. Uggghhh. Of course, she did not care at all. PTSD - as mentioned - I'm sure, is on the way. Thanks everyone for kindness and wise words.
Helpful Answer (9)

Don't feel guilty... what is happening is you are getting him the help he needs and you need ...Now you can have quality time together......... There is a big difference between those who finally accept that this is the best thing to do and those who just want it to be easy. My mother, god bless her, wrote everything down and when the time comes we will do what she has set out.... but I know we will feel like we are letting her down somehow....
She even wrote not to worry if we felt guilty...It just means we love her.
Helpful Answer (7)

I think it's natural to have mixed feelings about sending a parent to a nursing facility. We live in a society that teaches us that we must be self-reliant, and handing over our parents to a facility just feels wrong. If your family history includes a bad experience with a nursing home, then you may be carrying around an emotional burden that you do not need to carry.

Change is hard. It's not easy to let go of the father you've been caring for. It's not easy to transfer his care, especially because, for the past 6 years, caring for your dad has become part of who you are. That is a big change.

Your dad is facing a move. Psychologists rate moves as among the top 10 most stressful life events. And, there usually is not a revolving door that gets you back out of a nursing home. It is a frightening prospect.

You've cared for your dad for as long as you could. Please give yourself credit for a tremendous undertaking. Know that you gave your father 6 years of closeness, family time and care. It is time, however, for your dad to receive the 24/7 nursing care he needs, and for you to reclaim your career and devote some energy to your immediate family. First, you will need to claim time for yourself to heal. Be kind to yourself.
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