I feel extremely guilty beginning to look for nursing homes for my Mom, but my husband and I are feeling burnt out and are under a lot of stress caring for her. We live with her and are now at the point where she can still be left alone but she enjoys going for multiple walks and we fear she will fall or get lost. My husband is now working nights and I am working days so someone is always nearby. My Dad passed away two years ago and I have no siblings so it is just me. How do I overcome the extreme guilt for not being able to keep her at home and needing to place her in a nursing home/memory care center?
Thank you in advance for any kind words or advice

Guilt isn't appropriate.
We cannot feel guilty about something unless WE CAUSED IT, and REFUSE TO FIX IT.
You didn't cause this.
You can't fix this.
Words are very important. Choose wisely what label you plaster onto your chest. The correct G-word here is GRIEF.
You are grieving. You are grieving her severe losses which will be continual until she loses the ability to know you you are, to know her own history, to eat and to swallow. You are grieving that you must stand witness to these losses.
It is a kind of hubris to think you can fix these things. Only a god could fix this. Only a miracle could fix this. In my own history of standing witness I have seen few godly interventions and no miracles. You aren't a Saint. You are a human being with limitations. Please embrace that, as your Mom would want you to.

I am so sorry.
Helpful Answer (20)
Reply to AlvaDeer

Do you want your mom to be safe?
Do you want her to have the care that you can not give her 24/7/365?
Making the decision to place someone in Memory Care, or in Skilled Nursing is not an easy decision. So when you come to that decision it is not a spur of the moment decision.
Taking care of someone with dementia is NOT easy.
You have no reason to feel "guilty"
You can feel Grief.
You can feel Sad.
You can feel Angry (at the disease, not at mom)
But please do not feel guilty.
Helpful Answer (19)
Reply to Grandma1954
Ohwow323 Feb 29, 2024
Could not have said it any better! Thank you !
I moved my mom to MC a month or so ago. Scariest thing I have ever done. Anxiety, guilt, fear were consuming me. But I think like most things in life that scare us, the anticipation was much worse than the execution. It took a couple of weeks but my mom adjusted. My mom is doing so much better! I have to pinch myself because I can't believe it. Being able to be her daughter again, rather than her caretaker feels so right. I am much less stressed so I am able to enjoy my time with my mother again. Maybe we just lucked out with this MC? Just follow your gut not your guilt or fear. It is really nice on the other side.

*Disclaimer - my mom is obviously still very sick and it is sad to see most of the other residents and know that my mom is going to decline eventually and she won't be able to communicate or go to dinner with me or laugh with me but overall it is the best place for her and that is an amazing feeling.
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Reply to kstay10
Ohwow323 Feb 29, 2024
Thank you for sharing your story! Know that I am sending cyber hugs to you cuz I hear you! <3 heart
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You did not cause your mother to be old and get dementia. It is not your fault . You also can’t fix old or dementia .
You need to do what is best for all of you . You have decided that placing Mom is best, which I agree with since you are stressed and burnt , and Mom could get lost .

Mom may or may not understand due to her dementia. I used to tell my family members with dementia that “ the doctor says you have to live where there are nurses” . I’m sorry but there are no happy endings with this awful disease . Dementia is the worst and what you are feeling is grieving the mother that you knew before her illness .
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Reply to waytomisery

In a perfect world, no one would have to rely on others to care for them. There would be no need for nursing homes.

Unfortunately, there is no utopia.

Ask yourself this, ‘If I needed around the clock care, would I desire to have a complete staff looking after me or would I prefer to burden a family member to care for me?’

I know how I would answer this question. I would choose the nursing home over being a burden to my family.

I raised my children to be independent and I would never want to take their independence away from them so they could care for me.

I cared for my mother too. I took her into my home after she lost her home in hurricane Katrina. So, I know how difficult this situation is for you.

My mother died in a lovely ‘end of life’ hospice care home. One of the last things she said to me was that she was glad that she was no longer a burden on her children.

My mother was extremely appreciative of the wonderful nurses and aides that took care of her. She died peacefully at age 95.

Please don’t feel guilty. The most important thing is that your mother receives care. That care doesn’t have to come from you directly.

Being an advocate for your mom is equally as important as doing the work yourself. You will be a wonderful advocate for your mother because you care about her well being.

Some people think that it takes strength to hold on. It takes real strength to let go. Most of the time, letting go of the hands on care is the best choice for everyone involved.

Wishing you peace as you go through this transitional time in your life.

Transitioning is always uncomfortable in the beginning. After all is said and done, you will ask yourself, why didn’t I decide to place my mom sooner.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
Abli64 Mar 1, 2024
Thank you so much. Placing my mom tomorrow in memory care. Your kind and thoughtful words really help. Wishing you the best.
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Safety for your mom is the first concern. We are not responsible to make them happy. A good roof over their head, good food and safety is what my counselor taught me. My guilt is gone. My mom made friends, went to activities and now calls her dementia assisted living her “home”. It took some time for all of us to adjust. If a person lives a long life ….AL or a nursing home may be our future. Good Luck. Get counseling if you need it. It was a lifesaver for me!
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to Sadinroanokeva

My mom is currently suffering from Alzheimer's and had become a danger to herself and to my husband and me so she was placed. I found an even better place and will be moving her soon. Recently she had a rare day where she was quite lucid so I told her she would be moving to a memory care facility where one of her lifelong friends is a resident in the assisted living building on the same property. She gave me a huge, genuine smile and said she thought she would like that. Of course she does not remember this conversation and another attempt to somewhat prepare her resulted in her being unsure but on a day where lucidity was not as present as before. (she asked what my deceased father thought about that idea and whether he would live alone). I reassured her and she settled. I am leaning on that lucid day though where she appeared to be truly happy to live near her friend again. I don't feel guilty, I didn't make her sick and I did not do this for any reason other than it is the best option for BOTH of us. She will have more activities and social interaction than I can possibly ever offer her. I will still see her frequently but they will keep her safe and happy. She has always been extremely social and at our house she was isolated while I worked.
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Reply to Lovemom1941
AmThereToo Mar 3, 2024
More power to you! I, too, try to gauge genuine emotions in the rare days when my vascular dementia Mom is lucid. I struggle with my distant (largely unhelpful) siblings' guilt about her having to go into care. I am hoping she will benefit from more social interaction and will settle into a less emotional response over time.
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Your “care” of your mom does not end just because you placed her. When I placed my mom, I was still her advocate, watching over, to be sure she received good care, visiting, taking her special treats. I found I still was watching over her, I just had other folks to help carry the load.
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Reply to Msblcb

Nothing prepares anyone for caregiving. It’s hard! So don’t blame yourself. Caregiving can also wreck your health—physically, mentally and emotionally. Life would be a lot harder for her if you couldn’t be a part of her life because you were incapacitated.

What you can do is find the very best place for her. The website lists nursing facilities in your area and rates them for a number of factors. Look for one that has four or five stars overall. It might not be the closest but you want the best. There were a number of nursing facilities closer to my niece but it was worth the thirty minute trip to know her dad got excellent care.

I also recommend going out to see her frequently. You’ll feel better as she will, and when family visits a loved one often the staff will understand there’s an extra set of eyes. The staff at my brother’s nursing facility always thanked us for coming to visit. Some cried when he died.
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Reply to katepaints

I also feel guilty about putting mom in memory care against her wishes. But therapy helped me deal with it and my rational mind is convinced I did the right thing. She was a danger to herself and others living at home and used to throw out the caregivers and cook herself. She also jammed a knife in a socket and knocked out the electric system and nearly killed herself. She has vascular dementia.
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Reply to felixmental

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