I cared for my mother with dementia for 8 years, but earlier this year I began falling apart and two doctors warned me to leave and get a sibling to care for her or I would wind up with a heart attack or stroke from the stress. I told my sisters I had to leave and they would have to hire someone to care for her or they would have to do it.

They hired a day care giver for 8 hours a day since they both worked. Mom was placed into a psych ward in a hospital for about 18 days recently because her doctor thought her medication was too strong and he wanted to change it.
Mom became a bit worse while there as everyone was loud and screaming,etc.

Her doctor told my sister that Mom needed to be placed into a nursing home, that she cannot be cared for at home. So the search began to try and find an opening in any facility with memory care that was secure. It was heartbreaking to see many of the facilities and the one that was perfect was private and did not accept insurance, the second facility had patients that had been waiting for over two years to be admitted.

We found a place that we think is nice but Mom was not told about it until she arrived and was checked in to keep her from yelling and fighting. She has not had an outburst and she seems to be doing okay this past week.

My sisters and I feel like a "dirty dog" for putting her in a nursing home. We spent days crying because it felt like we had "lost" our mother that day even though she had not passed away.

I cannot go there and spend all day or every day,or I will be back where I was months ago. We were told we could begin visiting Mom but I am afraid we are going to confuse her and she is going to be shattered that we are leaving and she has to stay. She talked with the Director of Nursing today and told her she needed her keys and purse, so she could go home and get dinner started for my Dad.....who passed away in 2006.

What have you come up against and how have you handled it?

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I think we tend to make promises to our parents that we would care for them and not put them into a nursing home back when our parents were quite mobile and still had a clear mind. We never were able to look ahead 5 years or 10 years to see what it would really be like caring for Mom and/or Dad in our own home, as we would still pictured them being healthy and vibrant.

Plus we, ourselves, were younger and healthier back when we made that promise. I never made any promises to my parents, nor did they ask when we all were younger. Glad I didn't, because when the time comes that my parents need more care, it would be almost impossible for me to be there physically for them due to my own age related health issues.
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After a fall my dad went into rehab in a skilled nursing facility and just never came back out. The therapists there felt that he'd do better and be safer in the nursing home and I was coming to the end of my caregiving ability so my dad stayed.

I had told him at one time that he'd never have to go into a nursing home as long as I was healthy and as long as he wasn't bed bound. But there we were, he was in a nursing home.

I'd visit and he was always so glad to see me and I struggled with not visiting more as he would have liked.

He died 15 months ago and I still struggle with the guilt. Would he have lived longer had he been with me? He always said he was fine but was he really fine or was he just trying to spare my feelings? And on and on....

And what happened with his health was something I could not have dealt with at home. He was in end stage liver disease and toxins were building up in his body and affecting his brain. He needed to be in the nursing home. But I had made that promise to him.....although at the time I was truly naïve when I made it.

Yes, I still feel guilty. My brother tells me all the time to quit carrying that around with me but I can't help it.
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It has been a couple years for my mom, and I still feel guilty....nothing more I could do, and it goes along with the territory..So, give yourself a break. My mom and dad left their state and their am sorry, but forgive yourself, you can't do it alone, and neither could I....I did try.
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Every time you say that, I know it's true, but still . . .
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Stressed52, don't forget 1 out of every 3 Caregiver passes on leaving behind the love one they were caring for.... if that had happened to you, where would your Mom be living?... at a nursing home. What is great is you are still here to visit her, and it will be quality time :)
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With dementia you do indeed lose your loved one before they die. You face loss after loss as they lose more and more of their memory or their functionality or their personality. Needing three shifts of personal care is a big loss. I think it is perfectly healthy to recognize each major loss and to mourn it. You can no longer take care of Mom directly. That is sad. It is OK to cry over it.

It is not very productive to waste time feeling guilty about it, though. You did not cause your mother to have dementia. Each of these small or big losses? Not Your Fault.

Mom may be confused when you visit and leave. Not Your Fault. It is still better to visit her, to reassure her of your love, to not let her feel abandoned. You don't have to do every day or to stay for long. You are losing your mother. Please don't let her feel she is losing you!

And don't be so sure you can predict how she is going to react. We placed Mom in a nursing home that has a lot of activities. None of us expected her to participate in much. Well, she has apparently forgotten that she isn't a very social person and she goes to all the craft sessions, and bingo, and games, and entertainment. We are amazed and pleased.

Having Mom in a nursing home is a loss. But it is not the end. There are still a lot of ways you can enhance the quality of her life, and enrich your bond with her.
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"Mom, you can't go home until you get stronger. It's going to take a while." You may be surprised how seldom it comes up.

Don't feel guilty, please. Don't do that to yourself. You obviously love your mom very much and have done soooo much more than most daughters would EVER do for their moms. Your angel wings must be tough to carry around!

This is a rather silly analogy, but it's one that I've used many times in my life when I've had to do "what's best" even though it hurt: Did you (would you) feel guilty if you told your child he was going for his polio shot, and he cried and sobbed and begged you not to take him?? Did you cancel his appointment?

Of course you didn't (wouldn't). Because you'd be doing what's best for your son. Well, that's the exact same thing you're doing here: what's best for mom. The fact that YOU benefit from it is immaterial. You aren't Wonder Woman and you've "done your time in h*ll" so to speak.

If you're like me, you felt that caring for your mom was a sacred gift. 'Course it's only been a year for me, so my thoughts may change. ;) You have given her a precious gift -- for eight years. Now it's time to do something else. And that "something else" is to place her in a safe, clean and stimulating environment for the remainder of her years on this earth.

She'll adjust. Go see her once or twice a week; bring her flowers so she can brag on you to the other residents. Be kind to the nurses and aids, so they'll serve your mom knowing that you appreciate their kindnesses. And rest easy...sleep well at night...knowing that, even when it hurts like H*LL, you STILL do what's right for mom.

And this is it.
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