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My mom has been in a group home for about three weeks now.


The story is kind of complicated. She's been going downhilll since she had a stroke 13 years ago, and has gotten more extreme (sleeping with a meat cleaver under her pillow, thinking neighbors are talking to her through heat vents, etc.) and more delusional and hostile (she thinks my husband steals dollar store figures from her, that he's trying to kill me, or he wants her dead for her money).


Over the years she's cut off contact with all family, including myself when she's mad at me about something. She's changed locks. She picks fights.
I've tried to help her countless times in ways big and small, either by driving her to the doctor, shopping for her, taxiing her around, etc.


Finally after many years of fighting I called adult protective services and they evaluated her, as did a doctor, a social worker, a couple nurses. The verdict was she is not fit to live alone. In large part it's due to confusion and health issues, primarily because she's diabetic and never monitors her blood sugar. She also stopped taking her blood pressure meds, saying she wanted to die, and her bp spiked. (She's fired every home nurse I've procured for her, which was my effort to try and keep her in her apartment, which she preferred.)


Finally I had enough and it went to court. I admitted I'm not sure I would be the best person to care for her considering the mental and physical problems. (The mental ones in particular.) The court assigned an outside guardian. And now she's adjusting to the home and we're in the process of packing some of her belongings for the home and storing a few of her items, and selling the rest for her care. (Well the guardian will sell them for her care ... I'm securing sentimental items and necessities for her.)


But now I'm contending with guilt. I feel bad that my mom is taken from her apartment and forced to a home -- though repeated efforts were made to keep her living on her own -- but I also know she really can't live on her own. I also know she feels abandoned somewhat and I feel like I've abandoned or betrayed her. But we've debated having her live with us, and with her issues with my husband (and in turn, with me) we're not sure it'd work. Right now I work at home, but I'm looking for another job, so having her around would distract my work because she has to always get attention and she never is willing to go anywhere.


If I work outside the home we couldn't leave her alone in our house for long spells. She smokes and she'd leave the doors open, let the pets out, maybe let in solicitors. We'd hate to come home and find the house burnt down (she burnt her mattress and bedding a few times) or find the cats missing, or something else.


I'll be seeing her tomorrow and I know she's going to ask to go home. I don't know what to say. I don't want her to feel abandoned, but I don't think I'm the best person to care for her. Not at the level of care she needs.


How do people handle that guilt, or cope with the transition? Or help their parents transition?

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Thanks, Christine73. Is your mom's personality close to mine's? That has to be tough!

You know, I had given the neighbor my mom's contact info at the home -- they're trying to get my mom a cell and she refuses it because she's mad at everyone, but the neighbor has the number of the woman who runs the home, so she could arrange to visit. I was gung-ho for that because I thought my mom would like company and seeing familiar faces, and she likes attention...

And what did the neighbor do the first time she called? She yelled at the woman saying she had no right to keep my mom in her group home. It seems she thought because my mom cooked for herself a couple times a week that she should remain independent. Never mind all the burns from cigarettes on her bedding and house dress or all the bruises from the falling or that she thought everyone was stealing from her.

The woman who runs the home calmly told the woman she wasn't going to hear her judgments or drama and it wasn't her place to go against a court decision, and told her to call when she was calmer, and the neighbor never called back.

Maybe she's too drunk to see my mom needs to be watched over. It just annoyed me, though. Instead of her coming to my mom's apartment for a couple years and drinking and encouraging a diabetic with dementia to drink schnapps she could have taken my mom shopping for groceries or to the doctor. Sure my mom needs friends, but she also needs people who aren't pouring cheap booze down her throat.
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Just read your recent post about the neighbor. Here's my advice there. Have your husband call her and tell her to never call you ever again. Have him give her your mother's contact info. He can also say that she is menacing and if he finds out, you guys will call the police. I'm so sorry...
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Heidi73, first of all, are you my long, lost twin? the way you describe your mom's personality is so much like my mom's. Second, you deal with the guilt by acknowledging and accepting the fact that you have taken excellent care of your mother, because you have.
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Ugh, I need to vent a bit. My mom is in a group home and seems to do okay there, except she just wants to sit around (in the home's walled porch) and smoke to no end.

My mom wants nothing to do with me, in particular because she thinks I chose my husband over her. I've mainly been communicating with the woman who runs the home for updates, etc.

The other day, though, my mom's former neighbor called me, obviously very drunk, and just laid into me (in a voicemail -- I was at my mother-in-law's at the time) about how I kept hiding behind excuses of being sick (I had the flu in the fall, and stayed away while I was contagious, but using it as a crutch, no). She also told me that I shouldn't just call her when I'm drunk (I haven't had more than a second glass of wine or beer in years, and I don't call her because I don't like her, except to communicate a couple basic details about my mom), and in between she called me an f-ing a-hole, the b-word and all kinds of other names.

I was so horrified by the call. For some reason it rattled me. Maybe part is guilt that my mom is in a home, but it's also the hostility and name calling. I just sobbed for an hour after hearing the message. I almost wanted to call her back and say I'm doing what I can, and yeah, I could probably visit more, but she has no idea about the complicated history here. And in this situation she's getting her medications on time and eating regular meals, socializing a bit, etc. It wasn't an easy choice!

Instead I'm just going to ignore me and if she calls again and I pick it up I'm just going to ask her not to call me anymore, especially if she's drunk. I'll give her contact info to my mom and want nothing more to do with her.
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My mom's neighbor (or former, now) neighbor kind of set me off, too. She said to me, "your mother cooks for herself," like that justified her living alone. Two other neighbors I chatted with mentioned the smoking and fear of her forgetting to shut off her stove, etc. Also the hallucinations and paranoia.
Now my main goal is to get through the holidays intact. My mom mentioned to the doctor wanting to visit me and his wife passed that on to me. When I saw my mom she didn't mention it at all, and I wasn't sure if I should, either. We're tentatively going to bring her over for Xmas Eve, maybe to stay overnight, maybe not. I told the caregiver I'm playing it by ear. I have permission to bring her over for a visit, but now I'm worried my mom will demand to go to her place and go through her stuff, etc.
And my husband and I have been going through her things while she's at the home. We've plucked a few containers of clothing and other essentials. We also found odd things. Stubbed out cigarettes, saved for later, I guess. A jar of pickles (opened) in the cabinet. Old food in the fridge. Weird things saved. There was the foam packing from a radio she bought which she wanted me to take and use to insulate my basement. I found makeup that was decades old, which I finally tossed. All these little signs that it's time to let someone else care for her (other than herself).
I've packed a lot of personal items which I'm storing, too. I have them in my house, so if she does visit she can go through them there. I know she thinks I'm taking them for my own gain, but honestly it's just a case of "I remember that vase from when I was a child," and am holding on to it.
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Heidi, she belongs right where she is. You helped get her there. You did her a huge favor, despite her resistance and your emotions, because you knew things were going nowhere good the way they were; you had the guts to do the right thing, even if she is never grateful to you for a single nanosecond of the rest of her life, you did the right thing.

It hurts like hell to be the one who says yes, its time to take my mother's world apart - esepcially if its also you childhood home - but she was not going to accept that she would need help and direction to live in her own home, let alone accept appropriate boundaries and supervision from you. It was time and past time, and if you hadn't done it, you would just be waiting for the inevitable fall, accident, or disaster to end things for her instead.
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not abutters - abouters
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Heidi You should never ever feel guilty for caring. Caregiving is something else. We all SHOULD care about not all of CAN caregive. It isn't about how wonderful caregivers are as opposed to the care abutters because then the caregivers would scream we care about too. It's not about that at all.

It's about you knowing your limits, knowing the boundaries that will enable you and your Mum to have the best life for BOTH of you. So feel no guilt. This way you can devote ALL your designated time in being with Mum instead of being torn between running from A to B and back again and squeezing Mum time in when you can breathe...in fact I quite envy you.
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Also Midkid people who say things like you don't have any say in it haven't walked
a day in your shoes so they should worry about themselves and mind their own business.You keep doing what your gut tells you is right.
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Great news Heidi,
It sounds like your mom is doing well there. I hope that helps you feel better. Sometimes the care we get out loved ones come from various sources. You did the right thing. I hope you find peace with that.
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Heidi-
You did the right thing and it's natural to feel guilty b/c your mom wanted other things she could no longer have. We're going through "2nd childhood" with mother and she too, stomps her little foot and says "But I WANT...." and she can't have it, usually. It's not safe, it's not possible.....and so those of us involved with her care see an angry, petulant 3 yo....(I have 3 of those as grandkids so the similarities are startling). She wants to cook (but forgets she's cooking& wanders off) She wants to go places with friends (but has no driving privileges anymore) wants people to visit her (but she won't "share" meaning, all she talk s about is the people who DON'T visit her)...the list is endless. I don't know what the year will bring for Mother. She is declining physically before our eyes but she is still sharp enough to be manipulative and hurtful. Yesterday at church someone (who happens to know her) heard me saying we may have to have her moved to a home and this person said "You don't have any say in that! You're horrible". I felt so bad....and this person isn't in a position to judge...so my "guilt factor" went crazy. For a while. We will do what is best for mother, and I'm sure she won't be happy, but she'll be safe. Remind yourself every day that you did what was best and continue on with your life. Best of luck!!
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Hi all. Thank you for all the good advice.
I did visit my mom this weekend, and the home is nice. Nothing fancy, but it's clean and no pee smells, etc. (You know how you go to some places and it's just awful? This wasn't like that.) Just a home with four residents and the woman who runs it living there, too, with her husband and son. Some staff to help out around the clock, too. My mom was a bit grumpy because she now blames me for it, but she's been involved at the home, too. They let her cook dinner one night, so she liked that, so they keep her active. Got her out shopping a couple times, too, which is more than I could do most of the time!
But I felt better having seen her there finally. Took a load off the shoulders.
I went to my mom's apartment to pack some belongings. I'm keeping her clothing on hand to bring to her, along with some personal items, and some sentimental items I'll store in my basement, too (like some vases, knickknacks, etc. with some history to them in our family). The rest I'll let the guardian sell for her care and just watch over it a bit. (Not that there's anything hugely valuable anyways, but maybe it gets a few bucks...)
I spoke with a few of her neighbors, too. One woman still thinks my mom should be allowed to live in her apartment because she still cooks the odd meal or whatever, but two others brought up that they were worried she'd smoke and forget her cigarette or cook and forget the stove and burn the place down, so even though my mom doesn't believe she's a danger to herself or others, others do. That made me feel better about the decision, too.
It's just a bit odd to go for an outside guardian, but my mom threatens suicide at the drop of a hat, is paranoid, delusional, hallucinates, falls, etc., so even though she's mad about being moved out of her place, at least we don't have to worry about her falling or burning her apartment building down! And the woman who runs this home, she's more prepared and schooled in dealing with these personality issues than I am since my mom believes she should be able to somehow guilt me into doing things her way.
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I felt guilty transitioning my mom to nursing home but we exhausted all other options.
We tried home health care but my mom usually refused to let them in and I ended up having to go there anyway cause she needed her medicine administered to her.
When she repeatedly fell it got to the point where we had no choice. If I thought I could I would of brought her into my home but I wasn't qualified to care for her. When I tried to lift her I was putting her into even more jeopardy.

So you have to measure which is worse, putting your mom in care or her being a danger to herself. That should alone relieve some of your guilt. I know its hard but when there is no other choice what can you do.
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I'm still not sure what her ailment is that she has been appointed a guardian, but if she is pressuring you or trying to manipulate you, then either she knows what she's doing and and that it is harmful to you OR she doesn't realize what she's doing is harmful to you. Either way, don't allow it. You can't allow people who are not operating with full capacity to push your buttons.

She's sick and I would keep that in mind as you set boundaries and live your life. It sounds like you have difficulty doing that. I might explore some counseling that might help give you some tools to use daily to keep the boundaries and to boost your confidence.

Plus, it doesn't matter what your mom asks you do to. You are not her guardian and are not calling the shots. So, your hands are tied. Hopefully, she will be able to understand that and stop badgering you.
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Visit once a week or every two weeks, share a meal, and go home. Living alone at home would not be better for her and living with you would be terrible for you. The guilt will go away when you recognize that you did nothing wrong and it's your mother who is trying to make you feel guilty in order to get you to do something you don't want to do. You cannot live your mother's life for her but you can live your own life and I suggest you go ahead and do that.
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"we're not sure it'd work" - Heidi - there is no way in God's green earth it would work and you know it. Your mother has mental illness and because of that has a need for a certain type of care. The feelings of abandonment are part if the illness. You have never abandoned her. You have worked hard to look after her and she has fought you along the way. She has operated through FOG - fear obligation and guilt - and pushes those buttons in you. Let go of the guilt - it is false guilt which comes from not meeting the (unrealistic) expectations of others. True guilt is when you have done something wrong and you haven't.
Taking her to your home would not be the best thing for her - and a disaster for for you and your hub. It sounds to me like she has borderline personality disorder and she will always find something to be angry at. Your decisions are not making her that way. She may not improve much - if she has been like this for years. Mother who has BPD and VaD is now on an antipsychotic and it has calmed her down and dealt with the delusions. but she is still negative, feels abandoned and so on. Your mother needs to stay where she is. I went through some of the feelings you are having when mother was admitted to the geriatric psych hospital as I knew that the way of life that she had had was over. I was involved in the process and decision that sent her to hospital. But the changes were not my fault - just mine to deal with. At that point it was necessary for her to have additional and different care. She was diagnosed and she eventually complied with drug treatment and is now in a good ALF which specializes caring for seniors with mental health issues. My mother is very forceful too, but I let her know years ago that coming to stay with me was not an option. She would have ruined my life just as your mother would ruin yours. She threw it in my face a few times - fine - it only strengthened my resolve. You are doing the right thing, Just figure out the words to respond to her. ((((((((hugs)))))))
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"Mom, the doctor says you need to be here right now so you can get stronger and get your health back." You mom's decline, mental and physical is not your fault. You shouldn't feel guilt for saving her life by getting her better care.
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Thank you, Sunnygirl1. I keep telling myself now is not the time to feel guilty. Before the move to the home, my mom was falling, confused (she has dementia and depression), stopped taking her meds (probably due to depression), was hooked on Xanax and in the process of moving her we found out she's been getting someone to buy her booze and has been drinking heavily. My hope is after a couple months -- she has a new doctor who is changing her treatment -- she'll improve.
I guess it's kinder to make the cruel-to-be-kind decision, and in time it'll be better for all. My mom is a very forceful personality so I'm preparing for her to be bitter and angry.
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It sounds like you did all you could to help her, but her mental decline prevented her from accepting the help. It's fortunate that a competent third party is in charge. That way you can tend to your own needs and give mom all the support she will accept by visiting her in her facility.

I'm not sure what is wrong with your mom, but when people stop taking meds, don't do things that are necessary to keep them alive and just self neglect, it could be that she's having mental decline, dementia, depression, or something else. Whatever she has, she's been deemed to be incompetent by the courts, so I would try not to let her reasoning play on my mind. She's been found to not have proper reasoning, so don't go there. I would read on this site about some of the things you can say if she ask about why she's there or when she's going home. My response would depend on what her ailments are and how much she can comprehend and remember.

I would try to let go of the guilt. You didn't do anything wrong, so guilt is not appropriate. In fact, to me, when you allow someone to stay in a dangerous or neglected state and suffer, that's when the guilt should come in...not when you get them help.

Hopefully, once she gets settled into a place that will attend to her needs, you'll feel better. Sometimes people who have mental issues, don't transition in or feel good, no matter where they are..even in their own homes, but perhaps she will. I wish you all the best.
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