I have a rare opportunity to get a way for few days to relax, but I am already feeling rotten for wanting to do this. I feel I am abandoning my husband (dementia) in the care of his adult children. I will be closeby in case there is an emergency. How to get rid of this guilt and enjoy my time off?

It's not abandonment to leave your husband in someone else's care - particularly when in the care of another loved one. You also should be living your life as much as possible. Just like you don't give up the ability to balance the checkbook when your husband no longer can, you don't give up the ability to have some fun because his illness means your husband can no longer experience that same fun.

Maybe it's not guilt so much as regret you are feeling - maybe regret you cannot enjoy the fun time as a couple anymore. If your husband was dead instead of ill, would you still feel guilty? Or regret he didn't make it to experience this fun? Dementia is a kind of death - the death in slow degrees of the mind and soul before the physical body.

I often regret my sister isn't alive to see her grandchildren growing up. I regret I cannot call her on the phone and talk about how funny her grandson was last night or how well another grandson played in his football game. But I don't feel guilt that I am still alive and still able to enjoy my time with those kids.

You are alive and you don't have dementia. Go and enjoy your life as much as you can, even if you regret your husband isn't joining you anymore.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to TNtechie

you may be stuck in a rut. having some free time...maybe you're not feeling guilt but just some fear. even if you go on your trip and have those 'feelings' proud of yourself to get out and be brave. once you go, then maybe it will be easier the next time and the next. a lot of times when I am afraid. I repeat that 'everything will be Okay.'
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to wally003

I have a tough time with this one. I am away all day at work and when I get home my mom just wants to spend time with me. I can't even go in my room and lie down for a bit. In all honesty I really can't afford the time to do that, but when I say she has me on a short tether I mean it. If I get away to have a quick lunch with a friend she usually calls me and tells me I've been gone a long time. Easier to just give up and not go anywhere. I feel guilty if I go run errands alone.

I understand. She misses me. She loves me. I am her support, her care, her lifeline. Just sometimes....yeah sometimes.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to 12LittlePaws
Ahmijoy Aug 23, 2018
Ugh. I understand. I care for bedridden hubby and he lives his life through me. If I get up from my chair, he constantly asks where I’m going and what I’m doing. He always asks “what time are we....” my life is like a bus schedule. I can’t leave him alone because if there were a fire (the house two doors away burned down 3 years ago) he has no way out.

Could Mom go to an adult daycare even a few times a week? If you have a church, do they have a Senior program? I’ll bet a church member would be willing to drive her.

My husband and your mom are bored, I’m sure. My husband doesn’t have dementia but sits all day and watches 40 year old reruns on television. If I could possibly get him out, I would.

Check out Senior Programs in your area. Mom will be so tired when she gets home you’ll get your break after work. And, when you are having lunch with a friend, don’t answer the phone.
Just go. Just do it. As long as your kids are aware of what they need to do for Dad, they and he will be fine.

We caregivers think no one no one can do as good a job as we do. And we don’t want to impose. Our kids have their own lives and are so busy...the excuses are endless. But as Sunnygirl1 says, if we don’t take care of ourselves, we can’t take care of anyone else.

Have a wonderful time and come back to share what a great time you had!
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Ahmijoy

To me, it's the responsibility of a caregiver to ensure that they maintain their strength, both physical and mental. You can't do that without taking respite time. And, if you read any kind of professional material directed at caregivers of dementia patients, it's clear that respite time is crucial for family members and caretakers. I would not expect one person to be a sole caretaker of my LO and never get respite. To me, it's clearly appropriate. Plus, not taking your adult children up on letting them give you a break by taking care of dad, probably would be very confusing and frustrating for them. That's just my take on it. You have to follow what you believe is best.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Sunnygirl1

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