My mom has Alzheimer's and she is in a nursing home. I get physically ill at the thought of going to see her and I have to force myself to go. Does anyone else have this problem?

Asked by

My Mother has been in a conv. home since sept. She has alzheimers. She lived with me for 9 years. I really have to force myself to go see her and do not go very often at all. I am the only child and took care of her myslef while working until I finally got some help. Which seemed to take forever. It wasn't until she set my patio on fire that her doctor realized the extent of her disease since she always seemed fine at her visits. Its like I have a panic attack before I go to see her and it takes all I have to go there. Everytime she "never" remembers when I was there. I call her often but she does not ever remember the calls. Of course, I feel guilty not going. Actually haven't been there since Jan. But I find myself becoming physcially ill at the thought of going to see. My home is now peacful. I do have a 19 yr old daughter, but unfortunately she refuses to go see her. Only on the holidays. Does anyone else have this problem?

Answers 1 to 10 of 10
Top Answer
Mia I too find myself hesitant when I go see my mom. Frankly sometimes I just flat out don't want to go. She's in her own home with a care-giver 12 hours a day. My sister and her family live there with her, (16 years they've been there).

She had a stroke last October and is bedridden. She is in the beginning stages of Dem/Alz and now thinks people are stealing from her.

I have my own place and she will call me and call me, and call me several times during the day so finally I go over(it's a long story) but most times when I get to her front door I start having the feelings of depression. Then when I get to her room, my whole body just seems like it wants to give out. But then she starts asking me to do this and that, and this, and that and I forget to breathe and I forget everything else, cause I don't have time.

Yes it is understandable how you feel like that but you must remember that the care takers at your moms facility need to know that your mom has someone so they will treat her with dignity and respect. If they think no one will come, no one gives a darn I wouldn't want to think how they would treat her.

I may say the total opposite of what others may say to you but I say suck it all in, and get over there to see your mom. Even if you can't stay long, go! Sometimes stay a while, and sometimes a little. That way the staff never knows what to expect. Keep them guessing but go see your mom. It's OK if your 19 yr old doesn't want to go, my 21 yr old doesn't like going with me either, can't really take her that way. I understand and don't force him.

Oh here's something else that might work prior to going to visiting your mom ----V-O-D-K-A!!!! :):):):):)
I have read through all of the posts here, as I am catching up with what's going on in agingcare. I've been hostage to some horrendous demands from caregiving, so want to get back in to being on this site. I counted 15 caregivers here, so far, and can relate with most of you, save one.

Mia, I can perfectly understand the panic attacks, as I was beginning to experience them. I didn't really recognize them at first, but upon reflection, if I stayed on that path, no doubt they would have gotten worse. Stress, anxiety, and anticipation of the next reaction...are so familiar to me. And it is AWFUL. I did not take anything for anxiety, as I don't drink, knowing that alcohol can make it worse. And I did not want to pop a pill, because It for me would be just a bandaid, with the underlying problem still there. So I took it all as it came, but didn't do real well. I have been relieved of that for now, which is another story.

My heart breaks for all of you, as I have experienced most of what you all write about. A bitter spirit is the worst, as it poisons you and dries the bones. We must strive to get past that. Often we don't see it ourselves (but feel it), though others always do, and it affects them. Bitterness is nasty stuff, and it kills our spirit, and makes us physically ill. I fight it even still. The key is forgiveness and prayer. It's not like I am any better than anyone, but actually weak, and pray for help for ME! Sometimes desperately, and often in the middle of the night when I can't sleep. So, Pamela, I agree with you about prayer. I believe it is vital to our survival, and am thankful for it. Some days, though, I just ask for prayer. I feel even too weak to pray for myself. And I thank God for those who have prayed for me. This site has helped me tremendously. First, to know I'm not alone, and that the problem is not all me. Here, I get perspective and support.

Pamela, I also agree that we should go to the nursing home. If it is too painful to spend time with a mom or dad, make your relationship with the nursing staff. They can be so compassionate, and completely understand. I have had such comfort from them. Let them do the dirty work, as they are whom you have entrusted your loved ones to. They get to go home at night and unwind. And we can too. I'm not saying go every day, but we do need to make sure their needs are being met adequately. We need to be an advocate. We don't have to be our parent's friend. Just look at their vulnerabilities, and run if they are mean. At least, that's what I do. Some times our visits are very short, depending on how they (2 dads) are doing that day. But sometimes we take a walk or play a game. But they usually aren't mean. Mom's a different story, though. I don't any longer answer her calls. She has another caring for her. It is not my job any more. I don't feel guilty, in the least. I did my part very well and lovingly. It was hard. She was really mean and refused needed meds. And no matter what I did was never good enough; Like dwestlake said, she was a pain.

maggiesue, I agree with Pam again about her comment. I hope you get some closure, and don't feel like a jerk. I would guess you're not, as well. Lach, I understand about feeling you have "no life." I truly gave up much, and felt it too. NOT a good feeling. It didn't feel natural or healthy either, and the only thing I can say that has helped, is: DISTANCE. I'd like to say I had emotional distance, but the only way to get that is through physical distance. The only way to get that is to have someone else care for our folks.

Sandy talked about getting sicker than her mom. I was getting sicker emotionally the more time I spent with mine. I could actually feel it. Elizza talked about the depression she feels. That's what it does to us, which leads to the feelings of hate. dedestock, I understand about the abuse, and expectation to be at their beck and call. Evil is a good word for what it feels like, as I have thought that often. My mom literally burned up her dance card with me. I kept praying for a miracle, and it seems we got our answer prayer: Mom requested a new guardian, and God answered by casting out the scorner. I am left to clean up the debris. (Paperwork.) Today I got an email from my sister saying mom has shingles. How very sad for her, after just finishing Breast Cancer treatment, and also on oxygen for COPD. She's also got serious Personality Disorders. I understand what seashoregal said about wishing, but not being able to make mom happy. All the prayer and wishing did not change that. In fact, mom's guardian said he figured out mom really does have a personality disorder. I asked her, "You didn't believe me?" She replied, " has to spend time with her..." No thank you. I did 53 years. I did my part! I'm not being mean, but it was extremely unhealthy for me. The ONLY thing that helps is distance. Mom's one sick cookie. Dad escaped through Alzheimer's.

Gigglebox, you're a gem! So neat of you tor pray for the ladies. naheaton, it was neat to hear the story about singing hymns. Anne123, your salute was great. Hope you are saluting yourself, too. rosenutt, and all: you ladies are a hero in my book. God bless you all. Please be careful to guard your heart, for out of it are the issues of life. Bitterness is like drinking poison hoping someone else will die. It only eats us up inside. Sin and sickness is not God's fault, but if we go to him, he often answers prayer in unexpected ways. I got my miracle answered prayer, and not how I imagined it. Still waiting to see how God will work out the rest of it. I'm praying for/with you all as well.

I can understand this. My life started a downhill spiral when both my parents took ill in March 2007. Mom has dementia that has been getting gradually worse since 2000. Dad was taking care of her at their home in NJ (I'm in CT) but at 94 it was getting to be too much. She had a UTI and had fallen several times. I took time off from work to go to NJ. I got mom admitted to the hospital and started talking to dad about assisted living. Dad had hurt himself trying to pick mom up when she fell. I took him to the ER to be checked out. The attending prescribed a muscle relaxer. After being in NJ for 5 days I returned to CT.

I got a call that night from dad that was incoherent. I called a neighbor and a cousin that live in NJ and dad was hospitalized. It turned out to ba a bad reaction to the meds. So they were both in the hospital and I had to return to NJ. Eventually they were both released to a conv home. the social worker determined they should not live alone. To get them out I arranged for an assisted living apt here in CT. After I got them moved in Dad was a royal PITA. Wvery few days I'd get a call that he wasn't going to stay and had to take time off to meet with the facility staff. My boss told me I had an attendance problem. Eventually I moved my parents into my house (BIG mistake). I was eventually laid off from my job. The time I had to take off was a factor in the decision to vote me off the island. Mom is now in a nursing home and really doesn't know who I am. Dad still lives with me. I feel bitter that my life has been taken over by them. I have yet to hear a "thank you" for what I have done to make them comfortable. I interact with my father as little as possible. 3 times a week he takes a the dial a ride to the senior center then to the NH to visit mom. I can feel my BP rise when I have to go pick him up. I just want my life back.
Thanks Maggiesue,
I know what you mean. I hate it and her too. Which makes me feel even more guilty. I gave up 9 years of my life taking care of her, I didn't go anywhere except work and errands after my Dad passed away, and now I finally have it back. I am the only child so she moved in with me. When I do go see her I get constant calls she wants to come home, etc. It makes it even worse. My daughter even went 8 hrs away to college to get away from her before she went into the convalescent home. Now my daughter is back home and going to school near by. I am enjoying spending time alone with her, that is time we never had growing up becuase my Mom was ALWAYS there. But, the guilt is incredible. I feel damned if I do and damed if I don't.
I take Xanax before I visit with my 91 year old mother. Ask your doctor for a script. He or she will understand.

Yes, I want my life back too. I hate it and I hate her. But what are you going to do? These old people need to be looked after. It's the right thing to do.

I've found her dementia easier to deal with than her original personality. I tell her lies and they seem to satisfy her better than reality. Then she forgets and we move on to some other distraction.
Mia, first of all - DON"T feel guilty.. you have to do what you have to do - what's right for you and for your family. I just got back from visiting my dad - I dread going each week. I need to go more often, but I cannot and will not go every day. He's critical and it's just not worth my time n effort. I went today to pay his March bill - private pay... and he saw me with a receipt... WHAT's THAT? he questions me and I just say, OH It's a receipt and talk about something else. He doesn't care nor understand where his money is going... It's a sad situation. I visit alone b/c he is so ugly with company... very few of family come see him..

Tina, just hang in there. Again, YOU HAVE TO DO WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO.. don't feel guilty about it..

I am preaching to myself.. I question my decision. I wonder if they are treating him right.. I wonder what his brother thinks.. I wonder what my brother (whom I never hear from) thinks... and then I don't care... it's a roller coaster of emotions... But I drag myself there to the nursing home outta duty and love.
My mother lived with my family for five years and caring for her was very difficult. I finally had to place her in a nursing home, because her disabilities and behaviors were beyond my control. I visit her several times a week. Because of her many disabilities and emotional problems, but especially because of the difficulties I had with my brothers and sisters, I ended up being burned out. I am slowly healing, but each visit to the nursing home leaves me worn out and depressed. My husband was the first to comment that I always seem to feel ill on the days when I have visited her. He is right. I don't have any answers for this problem, but I wanted to let you know that you are not alone.
When you sacrifice decades of your life doing and giving to parents who are capable but selfishly enmesh their life with yours, there comes a point when you realize your own life has passed you by. Then your parent(s) age, continue to be self centered and continue to make your life miserable, which effects your spouse, your grown childten, not to mention killing off all your own hope's and dreams for your own life. So, why do we feel guilty about anything at this point? Because this unwarranted guilt is from a lifetime of giving and caretaking, making us feel we have to dutifully suffer till we escorts them to their grave. Just because this person is our parent does not mean we have to spend our adult lives dedicated to them. A truly unselfish parent would release you with love. We were born through them but we dont owe our life's to them. Yes, they did provide and care for us when we were children. They are obligated to that by law. I get soo irratated when people say to my mother.. "you took care of her when she was little, now it's her turn to take care of you" Let's examine that statement. First of all, it's ignorant for someone to make that statement. In my case, my mother makes herself out to be so angelic when she tells everyone, "Ohh, I feel badly she takes care of me." Thats a flat out lie. She says that to elicit some kind of compliment to her, telling her she deserves it. Her sense of entitlement has me running ragged and has her lifting her feet as she sits in her bedroom chair while I'm vacuuming and cleaning her room.
With emotionally abusing, self-entitled guilt producing parents, we have very minimal obligations to them, eg: safety, food etc. Those of us with these types of parents will most likely take the severly damaging repercussions of our parents selfishness to our own graves... and here I am, with my miserable, unappreciative, self entitled narcissist mother living with me and complaining how she hates it, tho every need and desire of hers is met. My grown childen don't come to my home as her only interest in them is how they make her feel... my husband endures my daily complaining about her. If she thinks we're both out, like when my husband is walking the dogs and I'm in the back yard and she didnt see me... she gets all pissed off that we left her alone. Why? Because her driving privileges were take by her doctor and she''s angry staying home. Everywhere I've taken her for social activites she refuses cause at 87 she doesnt want to be with "those old people".
Tell me exactly why I "should" feel guilty if I am caring less about her and more about my emotional preservation, my children and my marriage? For those of you in my shoes... think about your life of unwarranted guilt. Our parent(s) instilled the "guilt button" in us and we push it ourselves. My kids hate my suffering, They tell me, "Enough with the BS guilt. Go live your life, mom!"
That's my message to those of you who relate. God bless you and me with the couage to take care of OUR needs and start living!
I have been taking care of my mom from afar for the past 11 years after my dad died, only until last year did it get worse due to mentall stability. So I know what it means. She was always controlling and hate is a word that I became familiar with at an elevating rate as the years went on. I became ill in the first year not knowing it was her controlling me that made me ill. So every year I was wondering when this will end. I always seem to get ill before going over there on my ritual Sunday in which she would never ever let me deviate from.

I would say now that she's out of the house...which is the best to just as what a previous poster said...psych yourself up...suck it up....prescript or a cocktail..what ever it takes ...go for at least you can't take it anymore and then leave...and then go do something for yourself...go to a bookstore and peruse for an hour..have a good espresso and a beignet...treat yourself for a little bit may make it smooth over a bit, and then you will look forward to a visit because you have psyched yourself out that afterwards is a present to yourself....with your daughter perhaps say...okay sweetie how about afterwards we go to the nail salon and get tips and toes done? Or a pizza feast or a movie something fun. Just an idea.
I know being a caregiver is tough - I am one. But I think we are sometimes depressed for ourselves - we are mourning the loss of our parents and take it out on them! It is not their fault that they are old and incapable. They have lousy moods. . . but do you want to think of all you did as a kid that they put up with?
I am trying to say - this is life! We are cheating ourselves and our parents if we give in to the depression and anger. Let's take it 5 minutes at a time and it is then something we can deal with.

Share your answer

Please enter your Answer

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support