How to deal with guilt? I cannot deal with the guilt from placing my mother in a personal care home.

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I am considering providing care again. My story is so long I don't know where to start. I live in northern Canada and found this website when I was desperately seeking support as the only caregiver for mother. She is 76, diagnosed with dementia in 2014 when she was on an extended visit with my brother in another province. She went uninvited, when he was beginning a messy custody battle that is still ongoing. After a couple months he couldn't manage some of her behaviours and care while working and after a long wait list got her assessed. He placed her in a personal care home in the summer of 2015. She started calling me in September saying she does not belong there and to come back to our hometown. My parents have been separated since 2008, were living together until the summer of 2014 when my father left her and moved near my brother. I was living in a basement apartment of their home for 15 years, raising my kids as a single parent. I paid half the mortgage for the building. By Christmas 2015 I gave permission to take responsibility of her and for her to leave the home. Too much guilt. For the 4 months previous she continually called saying she wanted to come home and if she didn't she was going to die. It was in a different province and about 2,000 kilometres from where I live. I made the mistake of moving from my apartment to her main floor apartment upstairs. I should have said if you're moving back you will have to move to my place. After she got back I had been at a new job for about two months. I could not travel for work because I did not have enough supports. I have 2 other brothers (3 total) but they were in the next town only accessible by plane 350 kilometres away. By the spring I was in counselling because I was so depressed and burned out from her obsessed about the past mostly about my father and being the only one cooking meals, cleaning and being home when I was not at work. I did not have a life. None of my brothers called her, they are not close to her. I am not close to my mother but very close to my father. My mother was emotionally, verbally and physically abusive to my father. But her stories were that when I was a baby and while I was a child he was abusive. My parents have suffered terrible tragedies in their lives - my father's mother was murdered when he was 19; my sister was murdered when I was 14;(my mother had her before she met my father); my parents lost twin infant boys shortly after they were born. After my sister's death my parent's relationship really disintegrated. Only now am I learning about my father's mental health but that he stayed and kept going for the family. By May 2015 I talked to mother about moving away and selling the house because I could not manage her care by myself working, and maintaining a 2 story house. It took 3 months to go through all of her things in her house. By June 2015 I had resigned from my job. I started downsizing by selling things and began planning selling the house. In July 2015 she left to go stay with a brother but he lasted one week. She went to the other brother and the same thing happened. She ended up with a friend and then back to one brother. Things got bad as he could not manage so while trying to sell and move I was working on getting her in assisted living there. It took a month to navigate and find out how to go through the system. Then I found out there was only one place and it had a very long waiting list. The only other facility is a long term care facility for seniors who are Level 3 . I found out by accident about a personal care home in a small community that is about 300 kms from where she was, which is about 700 kms from me. It is only accessible by car in summer and small planes. My ex sister-in-law was driving to the area for work and agreed to take her. I talked to her on the phone and said I want her to go there because she was going house to house and needed some level of care. So she went and after 2 days asked what she was doing there. She forgot our conversation. From October to December 2015 she called and said if she doesn't leave she will have a nervous breakdown and die. I broke down and had her come back at Christmas even though the house was advertised for sale for about a month. It was the worse Christmas ever but I felt so bad. I had 2 outbursts, first time ever. By February 2016 I escorted her back to the home because I just could not manage. I sincerely believe she has narcissistic personality disorder. By the end of January I had suicidal ideation as I just could not see any way out. Since then she has called saying she should be back in her home, she doesn't belong there and is having a breakdown. I'll be the first one to say I did not make a good plan. I haven't worked since June thinking I was moving. Now the house is being sold and she said she should be home. I cannot wrap my head around living with her again but the guilt is too much. I was just running away and now it's no choice but to manage until she gets unmanageable.

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Torntopieces. My mother took 5 months to adjust to the nursing home. She never liked it. After receiving a panicky phone call from Mom, while I was driving in rush hour traffic, I insisted that the nursing home staff make the calls for her. That one small change helped me a lot. I received a calm explanation from a nurse about my mother's concerns before I spoke to Mom. That way, I knew what to expect and if I could take a call from Mom that that moment.
It's very difficult to care for an elderly parent at home. It's easy for them fall and break a hip. You can't be with your mother every moment, but a nursing home has several employees that that can watch her.
It is important to sleep and care for yourself as much as you can. Both my parents had Alzheimer's at the same time. Their disease ruined my health. Do everything you can to prevent your mother's illness from killing you. I'm sorry if that sounds harsh, but I couldn't take care of myself. I am an only child, I had 2 sick parents and the rest of my extended family was sicker than my parents were. You can do much more for your mother for longer, if you care for yourself. Get a psychiatrist, if you don't have one. I credit mine with keeping me alive. Keep reading and writing to groups like this. I found a lot of useful info here. I researched Alzheimer's as much as I could. I wrote in a journal every week. I meditated. In addition to my psychiatrist, I saw a counselor at my church.
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tomtopieces, your family has been going through a lot and that includes you. Your first duty is to take care of yourself, and I do not think that taking on more than you can handle is going to help anyone. I am familiar with some of the guilt you talk about as my mother has been in a nursing home for three years, since she was officially diagnosed with dementia (my siblings and I had been worrying about her for years before this). A doctor told me that my siblings - who will not go near her - were likely to have been psychologically abused by her as children. She was (and can still be) a remarkably sharp woman who unfortunately knew (and still knows) only too well how to hurt us. Visits are painful because although she is losing it in so many aspects (which breaks my heart) she still tries to hurt me (which goes beyond trying to make me feel guilty). To top it all I am blessed with helpful in-laws who act as if nothing was wrong with mom (at least to my face, I suspect that they have told their friends a different story) and treat me as I were the most ungrateful daughter in the world. Well, the most ungrateful daughter in the world (who frequently wakes up in the middle of the night on account of the situation) believes that my mother is doing far better in this place than she would if she were living with me. Please do not let guilt guide your actions and take care of yourself.
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Mom wants to live in the town where her sons live. What would be different if she did? Would they visit her? Does she know other people there?

If things would be better for her in that different location, could your brothers take on the task of investigating possibilities in their town?

My sisters and I originally tried to find a care center for our mom in her familiar neighborhood. We ultimately moved to her to one close to one daughter and fairly convenient to another daughter. (The other two of us travel about 30 miles to visit.) We now realize that it makes no difference whatsoever to Mom where the care center is located. She would get the same family visiting regardless, and she had no other ties to the old neighborhood. She is in a wheelchair -- it isn't as though she is going to walk to the corner store!

So, if it might really be a benefit for Mom to move, I hope your brothers can help with that. But location may not really be a big deal.
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You need to read more about dementia. In the upper right hand corner of the page, there's a search box. Please put in "Want to go home" and you'll get lots of threads about people with dementia who are placed in some kind of a facility (and sometimes they're still in their own homes) who are adamant that they "want to go home". They're not happy where they are - in many cases because they want to go back to before they had dementia.

Your mom sounds like a very challenging person to be around. You've already done more than most people could handle, so quit beating yourself up! Get your mom in the best place you can and leave her there. Take care of yourself and your own mental health - that's your first and most important priority. Do what you can for your mom, but don't feel like you have to give up your life or your own mental health. You don't owe that to anyone!
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I admit I got a bit lost with all the bouncing around your mom did - I can't imagine how that felt to her, a person with dementia. So, I need to ask - since I'm a bit confused - what's the problem with finding a care facility near your brothers? Regardless of where mom ends up you need to leave her in place for a while and stop with the knee jerk reaction of pulling her out when she calls. A huge percentage of folks with dementia - and some without - ask to "go home" when first placed in a facility. Many of them don't have any idea of where that is. Also a good percentage settle into their new environment after an adjustment period during which they are learning new routines. My own mother took three months to fully adjust. Now after six months - last week she actually said to me she knew she was right where she needed to be. I almost fainted! Get a proper needs accessment done, find a good facility that will meet thoses needs and then give it some time. You may be pleasantly surprised.
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forkintheroad, I do know that someone diagnosed with dementia 2 years ago is very unlikely to be able to live alone. (And often they have had symptoms long before the diagnosis.) Would her doctors be onboard with saying that, if she insists on leaving the care home and a legal battle ensues? But let us hope it doesn't come to that.

I'm so glad you have the legal authority to sell that house. One less big hassle and stress to deal with.

Please accept that you are doing the right things. Guilt is not appropriate. You deserve mental health support during this challenging time.
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I should have also clarified that she accepts she needs to be in a personal care home, it is the location of the one she is presently in that is the problem. She would prefer to be in the town where my two brothers are.
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I am sorry I should have stated that the deed to the house is in my name and we had discussions about moving while we still lived together. I did not force her into care. She is not able to live alone.
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forkintheroad, what a terrible stress for you! I am so sorry you are going through this.

I don't have any idea what things are like in the remote reaches of Canada (or even very rural, remote US). Is there counselling, therapy available to you? What got you out of your suicidal ideation when it happened? Please, please take care of yourself so that doesn't happen again! Do you have some good friends (1 is enough) you can share your emotions with? You can certainly come on here and vent anytime!

As to where your mother should be, I think you have found a good solution. You may not be able to force her to stay there -- I imagine that Canada enforces civil rights for vulnerable adults just as the US does -- but you absolutely don't have to agree to care for her. You have civil rights, too.

I don't know the status of your sale of her home. It sounds like you have paid half of the mortgage. Is your name on it, too? Did mother agree to sell it? Are there doctors who would confirm she is not competent to make her own decisions? Selling a house in order to get funds for the parents' care is pretty standard, but as to the legalities of your situation I just don't know.

About the guilt. Guilt is a great human characteristic. You do something bad. You feel bad about it. You don't want to feel that way again so you don't do that again. Good mechanism.

But that good mechanism causes great harm when it gets perverted. You have done nothing bad. You didn't cause any of these sad tragedies in your parents' lives. You did not cause your mother's sad diagnosis with dementia. It is not your fault that your brothers cannot care for her. You've been working your tail off trying to make good arrangements for her and doing what is best for her. You have not shrugged your shoulders, said "I was never close to her anyway," and moved away. You are trying very hard to be responsible and caring.

So what do you have to feel guilty about? PLEASE drop the guilt! Since I know that is very much easier to say than to do, at the very least PLEASE do not let these irrational guilt feelings blackmail you into making inappropriate decisions.

Since this kind of guilt is very hard to overcome, I am sincerely hoping you have access to some mental health counseling. Even if it is some distance and you can only go once a month, go! You deserve support.

Mom: "I don't belong here. If I have to stay I will have a nervous breakdown and die."
You: "I am so sorry you feel that way, but I guess you have to do what you have to do. I am working very hard not to have a nervous breakdown myself. Let's try to be nice to each other, OK? I love you very much."

The fact is, Mom cannot live alone in her house (or anywhere else). She does not have family available and capable of caring for her. (They've all tried. Dementia is very demanding.) So she is in a good safe place. Good for you!

DO NOT bring your mother home to live with you. Not in her house and not in yours.
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Whose house is being sold? If it's your mom's it can't be sold without her permission. Why don't you let her come home and you find somewhere else to live. Idk how things work in Canada but in the states people have civil rights and can not be forced into care unless deemed unfit by doctors and authorities.
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