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Just to be clear, my mother is in a nursing home and I am depressed. It's been over 2 years. Two years of my mom getting her clothing stolen, two years of me washing her feet because the twice weekly showers are not thorough enough. Two years of dealing with mean people in power and being afraid to fight back because I fear retribution. Two years of being disrespected by staff and disregarded by administration. Two years of putting up with stupidity. For example, when my mom got dark spots under her eyes above her cheeks from dehydration, the nurse said I was just complaining because I want my mother to still be pretty. When mom had some sort of sore or blister on her upper lip and I had to bring it to their attention, instead of the other way around, they blew it off and said , "maybe she bit her lip." I just wanted to explode and say, "She has no damn teeth opposing that part of her lip because you never brush them!!!" (Did I mention that dental care is nom-existent except for what I do?) Two years of having my quiet, reasonable requests met with such retribution, such onslaught. And worse, people who clearly don't get it, making flippant, stupid comments like, "why don't you just move her?" They don't understand all these places are the same. They don't understand that you can't just find a great place and enroll your parent; the nursing home has to *accept you! Good luck if you are already on Medicaid. Also, after a certain point in Alzheimer's, moving the person could be fatal. I can't explain why, but it's true. I don't have the energy to prove that to anyone, but my mother's environment can't change. When it did for a short time, twice, she was almost instantly at end of life. I know because I've seen a lot of ppl at end of life. Point is, I am in so much pain, and yet so numb. If feel almost helpless, like in those dreams where no matter how hard you try, your body is to heavy for you to move. I have been abused by the ppl at the nursing home and limited in the way I can fight back. Believe me, I talked to the social worker, to department heads; I even talked to the CEO. When things got unacceptable, I called the ombudsman and the state. Guess what? They're all in bed with each other. And yes, of course, I've talked directly to the aides, even kissed their rear ends, hoping to get a little better treatment for my mother. (And believe it or not, my mother is on one of the better facilities in our area. I know this because I have toured 17. Some several times.) I find myself wanting to stay away. I hate that place. Yet, they have my mother and I love her more than anything. Add to this watching my mother's decline due to Alzheimer's. Would you believe I have at times been grateful for the nursing home problems because they distracted me from the ravages of my mother's Alzheimer's? Would you believe that at times I have wanted my mother to die because at least I know she'll be safe with God? Would you believe I have sobbed half the night away trying to will my mother to "come back to me?" Would you believe I am sometimes afraid to even go see my mom? Then I hate myself for not being stronger, but I have literally used all the strength in my body doing, fighting, and grieving for my mother. I'm up 50 pounds, my teeth are cracked because I was so upset I clenched them in my sleep, and I walk with a limp now because I waited two year after my injury to get my tendinitis taken care of because I was instead spending 4-5 nights a week in a nursing home where I constantly felt I had to watch my tongue and my back. I've suffered, and there's just nothing left anymore. I'm on the frayed ends of sanity and I fear what I might be pushing down just to keep surviving this. I fear what will happen when it all comes out. When reality hits me. When my mother dies. Can anyone say anything that will help me in any way?

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Hello, I have read your all post and feeling sad for your mother and you. I believe that you should opt out the decision of keeping your mother at that nursing home.

As, she is not doing well so assisted living will be a better option for you. The services offered by them will surely be helpful for your mother coming out from depression and all health problems. You should first go and check out the assisted living services they offer and then it’s upon your choice. I can also provide an assisted living apartment around your city.
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Christine73, just want to send a hug and say that yes, having our loved one in a nursing home did add a different aspect to the depression the people in our family were already experiencing. My mom and I were just talking about this today. She was saying how exhausting and draining it was having daily conflicts or potential conflicts with the staff at the nursing home. My grandpa changed facilities twice; this was the best he'd been in. We liked most of the people there. But still, every time we asked for info, or tried to get him what he needed, it felt like things could go bad. And having a couple dishonest people on staff makes you doubt everyone. It was really hard.

I had to keep reminding my mom that the situation was not her fault. She took excellent care of my grandpa for years, and ultimately time just took it's toll and he needed more than what we could provide at home. You obviously love your mom and are doing everything you can to keep her safe and comfortable. It is really hard to be responsible for someone and simultaneously have almost no control. But you are doing as much as you can for your mom and the act of doing those things means something. Your mom knows she is loved and that is probably the greatest comfort anyone can have.

So I know the other ladies are right about talking to doc about depression but as someone who is terrified of side effects and avoids drs, here are some make shift things that have helped me when I'm really down:

I know it's corny, but when I feel stuck, sometimes it helps to just give myself a break. I'll just try to deal with what I have to for a few days (or weeks) and tell myself "I am not going to try to solve -- or even think about -- this bigger problem right now." Sometimes just having that quiet for a few days helps me see things more clearly.

Also sometimes if there are things looming over me, it helps to make a list of things I need to do and put all the info I need (eg phone numbers) right on the list. Just doing one thing for yourself might be enough of a break in habit to help.

Finally anything that is "sense" oriented can help distract those negative thoughts and feelings -- listening to pretty or upbeat music; exercise (I am awful about that) but also going for a walk around a botanical garden or art museum; visiting a shop with pretty handmade things or nice smelling soaps or perfumes; reading something interesting but not difficult (I read "The Girl on the Train" recently -- even my mom who's been really preoccupied was able to get into it.) I know these aren't substitutes for treatment but sometimes it's enough to get your mind onto something else.

I'm sorry this is so long. I just feel really bad for you and hope you are doing ok. Just know it is not a flaw in you that this is so hard. Your mom is lucky to have you.
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Dementia is a long and tiring journey for everyone

Is there anyway you can find someone to sit with mom for a couple of hours and give you a break ?
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Thanks for the response, everyone. If you know of a nursing home you consider good, it would be a great help for me to have the name.
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I do understand the feelings you describe of being in pain and also numb, of feeling helpless and unable to move forward. I have Major Depressive Disorder and I know those feelings well. I do not suffer this alone. I am on two antidepressants and I see the prescribing psychiatrist several times a year, or more often if problems arise. When specific life issues make the depression active I see a talk therapist for a while.

Depression is a true disease. And there are treatments! You do not have to just accept your misery. The mental health people can't solve the nursing home issues, but they can help you feel stronger and more in control of you feelings. Please, seek treatment for yourself. The stronger you are, the better you can advocate for your mother.

One thing depression can do is rob us of our objectivity. When our chemicals are out of whack we tend to see everything as a problem. Everything is gloomy. Improvements go unnoticed. It is just the nature of depression. That is another reason to seek treatment.

You perceive that the ombudsman and the administrations are all in bed together. While that is possible, it seems pretty unlikely. So several people have looked at the issues and don't find them as objectionable as you do.

You perceive that "all these places are the same." Not so. My mother was in a semi-rural nursing home whose building was 50 years old. Far from glamorous, but it was always clean. My three sisters and I each visited once a week. We got to know the staff who usually worked with her, plus a great nurse who seldom worked in her wing but was an excellent advocate for patients. Sometimes one of the staff would call me by my sister's name. We gave them a picture of the four of us, labeled. They got a kick out of it and then knew our names.

We got to know the women she usually ate meals with her, and who eventually became her friends.

We brought in treats occasionally and made sure there was a cookie plate for the nurses station, one for the social activities staff, one for volunteers, and one for the kitchen.

Was the care there perfect? Of course not. And we were not afraid to point things out, especially if they happened repeatedly. We were never belligerent about it but we could be quite firm in stating what we expected. At least one of us attended every quarterly care meeting.

We liked the staff; the staff liked us. When we were cleaning out Mom's room after she died, several staff members came in and hugged us.

So there really are decent and caring places, usually plagued by understaffing and high turnover, but doing good work. It can be hard for persons with dementia to adjust to new places. The nh painted and updated each room, one by one. While Mom's room was being done she stayed in a different room, in a different wing -- different staff, etc. This did increase her confusion and she did need a little more help, and she was confused again when she moved back into her room. But it was not a permanent setback for her.

Seeing your mother in a nursing home and watching dementia take its toll is depressing. No nh is perfect and each flaw may have been magnified by your depression. Starting fresh in a new place might be worth an adjustment period.

But first and foremost, get some treatment for your depression - you deserve it!
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Suffering in silence because speaking up yields nothing but fear of retribution is no way for either of you to live. What stage is your mom's Alzheimer's?

I know you said you don't want to move her; however, perhaps there is a nursing home farther away that would be a better place for her? Of course you do not want to move her; however, if the care she is receiving is making both of you worse off then please consider touring memory care homes that are further away but still within driving distance for a weekly or bi-weekly visit. Something will give and it likely will be your health.

Also, you are not alone in feeling depressed about your mother's quality of life. You feel helpless. She is helpless. It is a heartbreaking situation. Please know that you have come to the right place to find comfort and support.
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Christine, I feel for you, and for mom! Is mom unhappy as well?

My mom is in a nursing and thing things are not perfect, but her things don't go missing and the staff is respectful. I'm not sure I'd be able to hold my temper with the comments you are getting!

If you've sat down with the management and are getting flip answers from them, I'd contact the Ombudsman assigned to the facility. All nh are not the same.

But make sure of course, that your mom is not resisting care, i.e. showers, dental hygeinist, etc.

You should also probably see your own doctor and talk about your fraying nerves. Getting some help with that will only help you help your mom more.
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