I have no patience with mom. How do you deal with the guilt?

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I'm finding it very hard to deal with my mom. She is getting worse. In my head I know it's not her fault, but I'm not dealing well with it. We have found a place to put her that will hopefully do better than I'm doing, how do you deal with the guilt.

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Oh yeah, Guilt, the constant companion of caregivers everywhere. And since we basically are feeling guilty because we can't do thing perfectly, the guilt will always be there. In her insightful book "Loving Someone Who Has Dementia," therapist Pauline Boss suggests a goal of "Good Enough." If you can embrace that philosophy that helps a little with the guilt.

If you place Mom in a care center, you feel guilty that your couldn't do a perfect job of it at home. If you keep her home in spite of your shortcomings as a caregiver, you'll feel guilty that you haven't placed her where she will get care and attention from people who have chosen caring for elders as a career. There is no perfect answer. Placing Mom is objectively the best you can do so it has to be good enough.

Whether to visit Mom in the first week or two is a controversial subject. What does the care center advise? After the initial adjustment period visit her often. Play cards with her. Bring in some pages and crayons and color with her. Go to bingo with her a time or two, and then let her go on her own (unless she needs help -- the facility will have volunteers to help her, but if it is convenient helping her yourself might be a good use of visiting time.) I think you will find it more pleasant to interact with Mom when you are not responsible for her hands-on care. You'll still need some patience, of course, but the pressure is off.

My mother absolutely thrived in the nursing home, much to the family's great surprise. Family had taken care of her until her dementia and mobility both got beyond us. After a somewhat rocky adjustment period, she went through the final two years of her life content. I'm so glad we placed her in that comforting environment!
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It is difficult when our mind is saying one thing and our heart or conscious is saying something else.

But bottom line - aside from being impatient- do you believe you have or are going to do something bad or wrong? Do you believe your mother will receive better care in a professional caregiving setting?

If you believe you’ve done the right thing - there is nothing to feel guilty about.

Certainly, it is understandable that you would feel badly - how this has turned out for your mother. It’s a sad situation. But please try to separate guilt from feeling bad.

It may be a bit of splitting hairs - thinking about it this way but I do believe it’s important to know the difference.

You have done nothing wrong. In fact, placing mom where she’ll get round the clock care from professional caregivers is the right thing to do - especially if you find yourself getting impatient or short tempered with her.

Wouldn’t it be great to just get back to being a loving, generous, well-rested daughter?
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Susie, one has to realize that not everyone is cut out to be a caregiver, and that it is ok. I wasn't cut out for it, so I just dealt with the logistical side of this journey. And yes, there were time when my patience was wearing very thin.

As for the guilt, when it comes to elder care, it seems no matter what we do, we still beat ourselves up saying we didn't do enough.... and all the "what ifs", and "why didn't I's".

Be relieved that you have found a place for Mom, a place where this isn't their first rodeo, who have been on this journey many times over and knows what works best for the resident. Mom has to learn to adjust to her "new home", so keep the visits limited.

Another way of thinking about it, would you have chosen "caregiving" as a career, taking care of others? Probably no,, thus you were placed into a "job" where you had very little training, and no mentor to help guide you way. Let the pros handle it now.

And once Mom is in her "new home", try to get a good night sleep.
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