Follow
Share

This guilt is heavy. My mom recently moved into a nursing home. The ONLY thing she says she enjoys is visits from family. Which leaves a lot of empty time for her. When I offer books, puzzles, coloring etc she always says no, she doesn't enjoy that stuff. Then she'll say, "You know what I do enjoy? When you take me out and we go do stuff." ... Unfortunately, I cannot do that everyday so she just sits around with no purpose. Does anyone have any idea on how to help her? This makes me feel horrible and so drained. I give all I can to her but it isn't enough. When I visit for 2 hours, she asks me to stay longer. If I take her out she wants me to come back and stay longer even if we've been together all day. It is like a choke hold and it breaks my heart, makes me cry, makes me exhausted, and makes me feel so guilty all at the same time. I wish I could help her find a reason to enjoy each day outside of family visits... something to give her purpose. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Dear Shanan,

I'm so sorry to hear how you feel. I know you are doing the best you can for your mom. I think we all struggle with guilt because we care so much.

Sometimes it feels like no matter what we do, we cannot win. I think you are doing more than most adult children. I know the guilt is heavy but please don't do this to yourself. You have a right to a life as well. I know finding a balance will be hard.

My grandmother never wanted to leave her house but was forced to at 90 due another dizzy spell. She too only wants her family. I tried to be the good granddaughter that visited her at least once a week. But I had to pull back because my father passed away and dealing with the grief has overwhelmed me.

I don't want this to sound harsh, but maybe consider pulling back on your visits. Let her adjust to her new environment. If she is physically ad mentally fit maybe she just needs to accept this new situation and try to make the best of it. But if she thinks you will always come to her rescue, she will be less likely to adapt. Just a short term thing to see how she copes.

I cut back on my visits and my grandmother is still doing well. When I am in a better state of mind, I will resume my visits.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I understand and relate to the guilt. My Mom has been gone two years and I still look back and feel guilty and that I should have, could have done more.

I used to visit my Mom twice a week and stay the whole afternoon with her plus I would phone her every day. I probably should have visited more but I found the visits emotionally draining. I have five other siblings, three who could have visited her more but didn't. If we had all done our share she would have had no time to be lonely but it was what it was...........

Do you have other siblings who could visit? I agree with the other responses.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

I can see where you walking in and visiting does not cause you guilt. It is or may be when you walk away and have to leave after a visit, that more of the reality sets in, i.e. guilt as mentioned becomes heavy. As well as, when you arrive with good ideas or activities that may seem like an engaging opportunity, when they don't get the response that should have been positive, perhaps, more guilt. hmmm... The phrases I hear are "what I enjoy" and "when we do stuff together". Well, those cannot possibly cause guilt for you or her. Seems like a lot of varying options. A weekly schedule with a set time, i.e every Saturday 1-3pm I will be here.... Wed pm: I will be by at 6-8pm: set times OR this month is July: print out the calendar or for July, August, 2 months, etc, and circle days you will be there, for example, if you think that helps you both and hopefully there is a calendar of events at the NH that shows those days what is available on the days you are not available.

Of course, weekly schedule changes, monthly, too, but can always build an 8-week plan or 2-3 month plan and say this is my plan. But: the rub is: the buildup of her expecting you to arrive after not seeing your for a week or other, and then you don't show or wait to last minute to say can't make. That happens because plans change, but just seems like your take you out schedule could be once or twice a month maximum and then the other times listed as just going to come and spend 2 hours on-site. Seems like you have to balance the schedule of activities available at NH versus the times, so it provides enjoyment and rest away for the both of you, when needed. Hey, start with minimum and then surprises are always nice to add also. Hopefully some of the feedback sparked a new approach. Good luck!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Dad has told me many times that he doesn't do anything at Memory Care, but I've popped in at all different times and found him involved a few times. And the staff has told me that he participates more than he lets on. I visit every day -- I've missed 6 days in 2 1/2 months.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Thank you all for your responses. I appreciate it so much! I think I do need to set some boundaries and I think the idea of attending some activities with mom is a really good idea too! I appreciate the support. We lost my dad 2 years ago to Alzheimers and immediately after he had to go to a memory care facility my mother began her unraveling. It has been very difficult and your words are an incredible support. ❤ Nice to know I'm not alone.
Helpful Answer (7)
Report

Visit at times when you know some activity is scheduled, and go to it with her. Sit with her at an accordion concert, string beads with her, cheer on the rubber duckies in the stream race. Expose her to the types of events available to her. Chat a little with other participants. After she has made a couple of bracelets with you there, she can better decide if she wants to continue beading without you there.

You say she "recently" moved in. It takes some people quite a while to settle in, especially if they are not particularly socially oriented. Don't give up! But set boundaries for your own involvement.
Helpful Answer (6)
Report

My mom is similar to your's. Not very social outside of family. When she has gone to rehab, they offer bingo, crafts, etc. She tells the activity director "oh that sounds nice" ...but never goes to anything. Refused to eat in the dining hall and eats in her room. She isolates herself. There was nothing we could do. We did mention it to the doctor, but they brushed it off.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

As much as you want to make her happy, you can't do it for her. She must find a way to do it for herself. Set some boundaries for your own well being for you must decide how much you can realistically do and not do. It sounds to me like she's putting a big guilt trip on you and you are accepting it. She needs to adjust to where she is and you need to take care of yourself. Otherwise, you will end up in worse shape than her emotionally.
Helpful Answer (9)
Report

Is her depression being treated?

Are there activities at the NH that she could participate In? Has she always been this way?
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter