I PROMISED my father I wouldn't put Mum in a care home on his death bed. Now you have to understand I loved and will always love my Dad beyond all else (save my children), so that promise means everything to me. However it is coming to the point that I don't feel able to continue. Mum would fall almost every time she stands if I wasn't there to support her. She wont shower because it hurts her.. She is totally bladder incontinent and I can deal with all of that. She is miserable to me when we are alone but not if others are there (usually) and I can tolerate that for the most part. What I am increasingly finding impossible is the lack of a proper sleep... Because Mum calls me at least 4 times every night throughout the night sometimes as much as 14 times I am running permanently on empty least it feels that way. Do I know she should be in care? Oh yes. Can I resolve that in my head? No I can't and I am sat here crying about it so please be positive because I can't take any moire negativity

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Jude, I'm so sorry you've gotten to this spot. The spot where you're too tired to think straight. I've been there.

Many years ago ( my eldest will be 37 next Shabbat, so gives you an idea)...when my girls, who are 20 months apart, we're 2 and newborn, i got myself totally exhausted, pushing myself with their care, bookkeeping for my husband's business and trying to keep a 3 bedroom house clean. Husband was, had been verbally and physically abusive. HIS mom had two kids inside of 11 months, and SHE never complained, according to him.

I went to my 6 week postpartum check up and my doctor seemed concerned, but I laughed off his suggestion that I needed rest and help. Fast forward two weeks, a day after my daughter's 2nd birthday party (huge family gathering for which I did all the cooking,etc). At my doctor's insistence, i had seen a psychiatrist who wanted to hospitalize me. I gently laughed at her concerns. " I have loads of reserves left", I remember telling her.

I was walking down the Avenue a few days later with my babies. This street had many businesses that shipped goods to the Caribbean, those big barrels, you know? I thought to myself, I could pack the girls in one of them and kill myself, that way there wouldn't be any mess, because my husband and mom would be so upset if I called attention to myself and made a mess.....

I walked home, chewing over those thoughts. I went into my husband's office and said " i need to go to the hospital ". "No, you don't " he said. I went upstairs, called the shrink, packed a bag for me and the baby and took the subway to my nervous breakdown. It turned out that my infant had a double barreled ear infection that I hadn't picked up on, because I had no reserves.

Jude, you don't have to tell your mom anything. She won't understand. Just work with her doctor getting her someplace and get yourself well.

Oh, and it turned out that my mother in law, " who never had any problems" refused to get out of bed when her second kid was 8 weeks old. Her mother came and took over the household for a few months.
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PD, I completely understand your dilemma, and wish I knew the answer, but I'm quite certain you already do, but are paralyzed to act upon it, as am I, thus we drag our feet on this same decision.

The dreaded Promise! My husband promised his Dad he would never Put him into a Nursing home, and 13 years in, we are at that very place to make the decision to do so. And while our complaints are different, as we don't have the "lack of sleep issues yet, putting our lives on hold, only to watch him decline in a recliner, day after day, year after year, and for what? We are down to " It's simply not fair", him expecting us to continue to do this, and should have taken steps a long time ago!

We all have a right, to enjoy our lives, and shouldn't be held hostage by a Promise that you know and I know isn't worth it's weight in water!

It's the FOG, the is getting to you, and yes, you will soon be sick from adhering to this guilt or unfair commitment to her, that is causing such a physical and emotional toll on you.

Your smart girl, but you keep thinking that her time here on earth is Probably coming to an end, that you can tough it out, but it just isn't necessarily so! It could be years yet, and are you prepared to make that commitment, going forward as you have done? I'm not, I'm done, but I have to honor my husband, and allow him to come to his own conclusion, and together we will find him the right place.

I so wish you had other to lean on a bit more, as like me, you are not willing to put this burden onto the backs of your children, as they have very busy lives of their own. You have undoubtedly made sure that You will never wish to be a burden to your own children for this very reason, and your kids adore you!

The one thing that you can lean on, in answering your own question, is that you have had your Mom in Respite care in the past, and probably know that she will ultimately adjust given no other option, and you know that your commitment to her will not end, just because she is placed into a Nursing home setting! You will continue to be their for her, but in a more rested and healthy way.

You know that you need to come to a decision at some point, as things cannot continue as they are! So if there are No medications that will correct this problem, no money available, or a government paid Night Nurse or Aide to cover her nighttime care, allowing you some much needed sleep, now and every night going forward, you are in an ticking time bomb situation, where something is going to happen, To You! And then where will she be?

My Dear Friend, take the steps to find her a nice Nursing home, and get out from under all this pressure from caregiving, it's time! It will all work out. You will never stop advocating for her, caring for her, loving her.

I'm sure your Dad would be Proud of You. He never completely understood the burden he placed on your shoulders. No one could have. Be free!
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Just to update you all I have a mental health worker coming tomorrow but in the meantime this is the sort of thing that stresses me right out:

I get a text message saying I have a doctors appointment...odd I didn't book one so I rang them - Bear in mind this is the UK and we like to waste money!

She said oh you need to bring your mum up to the surgery for a dementia review. I said I cant get her into my car any more so I am afraid I cant bring her

Oh well we will have to send out an assessor to make sure she is too disabled to get in your car! NOW I CAN FEEL THE TEMPERATURE RISING ...IN A BIG WAY

I said its not the issue that she can't get in the car but that I cannot get her in on my own.

Could your husband help? Not from the grave no - he would find it quite difficult and OK OK I shouldn't have been rude but really?

Fair enough she did accept she had overstepped the mark but then she apologised for her next comment before she even made it.

Well I am afraid we have to send an assessor out because we can sometimes show you how to get your mum into the car. INTERNAL RAGE SETTING IN

Could I speak to your manager please because I know you are not to blame for this and I want to direct it to the right person.

Manager comes to the phone (and regretted doing so in less than a minute) as I say. Could you please tell me why, when you have sent the certification that my mother is disabled to various doctors and social workers; why when you can see she has had dementia for several years and is on quite high doses of medication for it; why when you can see she is 94 and has been in hospital twice in the last 4 weeks for falls due to TIAS do you think she needs an assessment to tell someone that I am not prepared to risk MY HEALTH and MY SAFETY getting her into the car.

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If you and your dad were as close as you say then I'm pretty sure he would not hold you to that promise after seeing the toll it has taken. You have to look at the context in which he asked this of you...
Did he have his own fears and prejudices about care homes?
Did he have a somewhat dysfunctional marriage, in that he sacrificed more of himself that he should have to please his wife and keep things stable?
Did he understand that she was unable to give unconditional love and that only a binding vow would make you do what you have been doing?
I'm going to segue into an odd direction... it is like vowing to donate a kidney to a family member who you know will need it some day, seeing it as a sacrifice worth making for the greater good. But what if you only have one kidney (one life), must you still keep that vow?
Helpful Answer (8)

PD, I know what you're saying. It's like being out in the wilderness somewhere with this person who has become someone not very likable. It always amazes me when someone loses their sense of us as a person. My mother thinks nothing of waking me up in the wee hours for some trivial something. She can get pretty nasty if I don't get up right then to take care of it. It makes me wish I could just disappear, so I related to what Barb wrote.

People are generally pretty kind. "Yep, you're out there in the wilderness, aren't ya? Your mother is so lucky to have you." Then they say good bye and maybe show up again in a year.

It's enough to get us depressed when we realize that people around us are such stinkers.

I don't think you should consider the promise made to your father. Even he had to ultimately put his parents in the hospital. The main thing to consider is how to get your mother to agree to go. Forcing her to go would make things so difficult. I wish you had a backup person -- I wish we all did! They could take over for a while so you could get things arranged.

I hope there is a good life out there when this is all over. I think we've earned it.
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You have all been really kind and generous of thought here and of course I am now blubbering like a baby but I will take time to take it all on board and talk with someone this week...the outcome I am not sure of ....but I will start the process or at least try to
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(((((((jude)))))) there comes a time to make a change. I think you are there. You are doing an admirable job at great cost to yourself. I think it is time to consider your needs. You have paid your dues. Your mum will be fine in a facility and will have other people to torment. You need to do what you have to do to survive. Your life is important too. Love, hugs and prayers
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Your dad should never have asked you to make that promise to him. It was unfair. Even the best parents are not perfect and make mistakes. Asking you to promise to keep your mother out of a nursing home was a mistake. If he saw how caring for your mother was affecting you, I believe he would reconsider and let you out of your promise. Your dad was a loving parent and he would want you, his daughter, to be there for your kids. If he saw how caring for your mother was affecting his grandchildren - and risking their mother's life - I believe he would not want you to put yourself in that situation.

That said, you are sleep deprived. You already acknowledge the primary side effect of sleep deprivation, which is impaired judgment. Other side effects include reduced ability to retain information, accidents including fatal car crashes, and injury. The effects on your health of not getting enough sleep night after night include increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, and even death.

You have children. If you have to choose between their wellbeing and the irrational promise you made to your dad, which are you going to pick? In this case it's not enough to say you will choose your kids. You must act. And from the sound of things, you must act quickly.
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Well if you met Mum today you would have thought nothing was wrong with her - well if you had met her this morning. She was almost sweet natured, actually kind to me and compliant (which she never is) We had a mega blip this afternoon when she wanted to learn how to use the phone. But she has been compliant again tonight and is now in bed so I am taking advantage nnite folks
An hour on and sleep wont come - what is it with sleep deprivation I should be out for the count
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PD, people are so uncomfortable with people who don't like their mothers. They don't understand that not all mothers are that stereotype snow-white image of motherhood. I doubt that very many are. Your mother is one of the most difficult ones I've read about. I am so glad that you're trying to step away. Taking care of someone who shows no love or respect can make us feel crazy, like we're being used up.

Care navigator sounds like a fairy-tale name for a social worker. Some are good, but some are not so useful. Your elder care system over there sounds very complicated. The only problem we have in the US, beyond cost, is trying to talk the elder into going into a facility.

Your talk about mazes made me think of rabbit warrens. They can build a large maze of burrows underground on the English hillsides. Made me think that doing elder care in the UK must be like jumping down the rabbit hole. No telling what you might find in the maze -- Mad Hatters and Cheshire Cats perhaps. Sorry for the run-on distraction about Alice in Wonderland. Maybe it is relevant or perhaps I'm going nuts here. :-)
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