How do you deal with placing a parent in memory care?

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I placed my mom in a memory care home Aug 24th. It was a very difficult decision and process. Now, just over a week later, after over 7 years of being with her, taking care of her, watching her mind deteriorate before my eyes, I feel like I've made so many mistakes in so many ways that all I've done is ruin my own life and made hers miserable. What is killing me is that I'm seeing how much better she is doing at the home then when she was here in her home, with me here. I'm glad she is doing better. I waited too long but she wanted to stay in her home. I miss her so much and I want to visit her as much as possible but she seems to do better when I don't come around because she still feels like a burden and like I do so much, like she is a bother. She doesn't understand how much I miss her. She doesn't need me anymore but I need her. I don't know how to deal with this. It is so painful. She is still aware but her mind declined so quickly these past couple months I just couldn't handle it anymore.

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Just want to share too that when you're a f/t care-giver, that defines your life. So, unlike others who have careers, focus on families, or vacationed and traveled, or pursued education, you were a care-giver. I know that for me it's been difficult to figure out what to do now that I don't have my 24-days already determined for me. It's only been a few months, I visit Dad every day, and there are still things to be taken care of, but I still don't know where to go from here. I'm working on it though :)
(Oh, and the guilt over everything that I did wrong too...)
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Thank you all for your heartfelt answers. I've read about this but it's very different when one is walking through it. It helps to have this community, people who have taken this walk. Much gratitude.
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angelsiwel,,

It's not surprising that your mom is doing better. She has 3 shifts of nurses and aides to care for her. Our elderly parents get to a point where most of us can't care for them on our own. It can bankrupt us physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. That's where I think you are right now. It's only been a little over a week since your mom left. I think you're experiencing something like PTSD. Give yourself some time to feel better.

When I placed my dad in a nursing home after having cared for him in my home for many years he went downhill quickly. It wasn't because of the nursing home it was that I waited so long to place him. He died within a few months after going into the nursing home. That was about 6 years ago (I'm still not sure of the timing, I've blocked so much of it out) and I still kick myself some days over things that happened with my dad. The regrets and the seemingly selfish decisions on my part but you know what? I did the best I could with what I had to work with and it's very easy for me to look back now from the safe distance of many years and see where I screwed up but at the time, living with that stress, I did what I thought was right at the time and I don't usually allow myself the indulgence of looking back and seeing what I could have done better. I don't often allow myself to remember having a breakdown at the facility as a result of the culmination of weeks and weeks of stress. The staff had to take me into an empty room so they could check my vitals and discuss calling 911. I just fell apart.

Of course you need her. She's your mom. So when you visit her, kiss her cheek and tell her how much you miss her and how much you love her.
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angelsiwel, stop and take a deep breath in from your nose, and slowly out of your mouth..to clear your mind... In the past 7 years, you were there for your mom. At the time, that was what She Wanted - to stay home. And you granted her wish until her care was too overwhelming for you. So, you both went to the next step. And that was moving into a memory care home. And she's thriving.

She now has friends to 'visit' and talk with. People of her own age. And staff to handle her needs - so she no longer feels 'burden' like she did with her own daughter. Because deep down, she knew that you should be out gadding about with your own life - not stuck at home with her. Don't feel bad. You both thought that her staying home was the right thing. And, It's Not Too Late! Because she's now enjoying her new home. See, it's not too late.

I think, for your peace of mind, view your mom moving to the facility as her progressing back to being independent. And she has so many new things happening in her life. Turn your negative feelings into something positive. Why don't you make a 'visit date' with mom. Bring little gifts for her and her new friends - whether it's snack treats or some other stuff. Take the time to know the people there. I think, if you do this, she will stop seeing herself as a burden or bother - but that you truly care to be with her and her new home. Make peace with your mom and yourself. Forgive yourself. Because truly, you did it because it was what mom wanted.... You take care.
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Hi angelsiwel,

I believe the hardest part of being a caregiver, especially of a loved one, is that caregiving really becomes the center of our life, even more so than the person we are caring for, if that makes sense to you.
We put all our efforts, our mind, our hearts into trying to make our loved one feel comfortable, cared for in all possible areas, provide companionship and even becoming nurses, doctors, friends, parents, all. We try so hard to be everything they need.

But like a friend of mine once told me, many times the situations we are forced to face as caregivers are beyond what we can handle, and when caregiving is basically your all, where your life is greatly invested, then it is so very difficult to accept that the situation is bigger than us, actually has been for a while!

Once that's been accepted -which is in itself incredibly traumatic- then we are left empty handed. What we used to do, our reason to be is gone. That leaves us grieving, grieving not our loved one but our daily world, our daily reason to exist. I think you're grieving that.

You know you never meant to do anything but the best for your mom, imperfectly, sometimes maybe without the patience we all want to have, ineffectively some times...yet, you were trying your very best, simply because you were trying with and because of your love for her.

So I'd say, try to understand the underlying reason why you feel so sad. You're grieving what used to be your life, where you poured your heart and soul. And when that makes you think clearer open space in your heart for happiness and relief! The relief of having found a better alternative that's working! So many would like to be able to identify those alternatives and to actually have them.

Be at peace. Your mom, the mom you know, the one before dementia changed her life, would lovingly tell you that she knows you have done more than she'd have hoped for. And her heart would probably be filled of love and appreciation for the kind and generous daughter you chose to be!
God bless you.
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Dear angelsiwel,

I know its hard, you did so much for your mom, more than anyone else. I know its a lot easier said than done, but you did good. You tried to honor your mom's wishes and tried to make everything work year after year.

I'm glad you recognized the need to make a change and took the steps to make it happen. It is hard to step back. Please don't beat yourself up, because you made every choice with your mom's best interests in mind. Continue seeing her, being with her, because she still needs you. Change is tough. I personally don't like myself. Give yourself some time to adjust.
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