I had to put my 88 yr old husband with dementia in a memory care facility yesterday and it is absolutely eating me up, I can't stop crying I feel so awful.....He is weak, unsteady on his feet, incontinent, and needs eyes on his 24/7. I just can't do it anymore but now I just feel so bad and want to go get him and bring him home.

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Dear JPH1021,

I am not in your exact situation in regards to the "spouse" part. But, my mom is 95 with Alzheimer's and I tried to go back and forth to her house and my house for ten years after my dad died until I could no longer do it and I was only 41 at the time. Believe me I tried every avenue since she wanted to stay in her home for - forever. I had her in an AL facility since 2015 right up until she nearly died of severe dehydration and contracting the COVID-19 virus. When she was released from both the hospital and rehab facility, I moved her to a new facility and had her placed in memory care along with hospice being involved. I got her an apartment with a window so my husband and I could do "window visits". I know she is receiving much better care there.

Another option could be: is there any way you would be willing to sell your home (or even want to) and move in with him? If you don't want to leave your home and/or if it's paid for, do you have a family member who would be willing to stay there on a temporary basis? I have seen many situations where the husband/wife live together which would be a viable option so you could be with him and still be involved with the day-to-day routine as well as any care you may need.

Yet, another possible option: Does he qualify for hospice care? If so, they would keep him comfortable and also be a support system for you as they provide family with social workers, Chaplains/Pastoral support, if you want it, as well as being able to call them when you have questions. In my case, I like having them be my "second pair of eyes" and the nurse who sees her weekly always calls me to let me know about her visit with my mom. I am so sorry that you feeling like the decision is eating you up and that you can't stop crying. Maybe, if he had hospice care, you would feel better knowing you are still in the loop so to speak. I think right now it is so new and you are completely separated from him which scares and upsets you as you can't see firsthand how things are going.

Also, maybe give yourself and him a week or so and see how you feel then. That way you would have a better idea of how he's doing and if he is doing well, maybe you will feel a little better. I'd be willing to bet you aren't sleeping well while this is going on and that in and of itself makes it difficult to go through very stressful times and see things more objectively.

You are apparently worn out and I suspect you feel like you've let him down - you haven't - but, we all have limitations as well as our own health to think about. If you were to become suddenly ill, then you would be trying to do something for him while in a "crisis" mode.

Just know for any of us, there's always an "adjustment" period. I wish you peace of mind and I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. I sure hope you will let us know how things are going!
Helpful Answer (1)

I’ve not been in your shoes, so I won’t dare tell you how you ought to feel or that I understand. I don’t!

But if it helps... you love your husband so much that you made sure he gets the care he needs now, even though it is heartbreaking for you. It is the best thing for him, but worst for you. You love him too much to risk him harm by caring for him yourself at home.

You did not abandon him, you didn’t “dump” him, you didn’t make this decision flippantly. You love him and want the best for him. Like any dedicated, loving wife would.

If it was the other way around, and you had dementia, would he agree to placement in order to keep you from injury or harm, and get the specific help you need? I would hope he would.

Hope that makes sense. I hope your heart heals over time.
Helpful Answer (1)

dear jph1021,
I can empathize with you. I, too, had to place my wife of 52 years into MC. Guilt of doing so is a typical emotional response. But we all have our limits of caregiving. My wife was delusional, and a wanderer who had to be watched 24/7. Besides her being incontinent, I wasn't getting any sleep and was completely stressed out. Although I hated the thought of being separated, I had to find her a new "home". I felt the guilt of not being able to care for her. I finally decided that if I could find her a place where she would be safe, be loved, be under constant surveillance and where the staff knew more about the disease and how to care for someone with AD than I did, that I WAS taking care of her. That brought me some relief.

You cannot bring him home. He is where he needs to be. Visit him often. Hold hands. Converse as much as possible. Reminisce. Be there for him.

Look for support groups at his facility, your church or by contacting the Alz Assn. God bless you and your husband.
Helpful Answer (4)

Great big warm hug 🤗!

Give it some time. Grieving for the situation is completely normal. Be kind to yourself and remember that it now takes a village and you did what was needed.

I know that placing a loved one is one of the hardest things that I have ever done in my life. I found that it was easier as time went on and I could do enrichment activities with him instead of just taking care of his basic needs.

Cry as much as you need to and then start planning and preparing how you will enrich his NEW season in this life. Will you send funny cards and pictures? Will you bake his favorite treat? Will you cut his hair? Will you go through pictures, magazines or books?

Will you go get your nails done or get a hair style? Will you get to have picnics with old friends or new ones? Will you finally get some rest?

Take care of you and you will have the ability to help him. It is okay that you had to place him for everyone's wellbeing.
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