I love my Mother dearly. She is the only person in this world that knows me fully and loves me unconditionally. We are very, very close. If I were single and childless, I would take her out of her facility and care for her at home, but I’m not. My husband has threatened divorce if I were to bring her home. He is NOT supportive in any way. But even if he were not in the picture, my child has mental health issues that have gotten worse with this pandemic. Among other issues, my child has an anxiety disorder related obsession with and fear of death. My Mother is failing. Bringing her home with us (probably to die) would most likely negatively affect my child. So Mom stays at her facility. I struggle with this daily as Mom gets worse. It has torn me up inside. I feel as though I am essentially abandoning my Mom for my child. Intellectually I know that most people would say that my first responsibility is to my child, however, it’s just a terrible situation. Has anyone else had a similar situation? How do you handle the guilt?

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Not guilt. Grief. There is a difference. Guilt belongs to felons who are evil. Grief is for people who cannot make everyone happy. I would say if otherwise you have a good and strong marriage that your obligation is to your husband and your child and that you do the best for your Mom that you are able to, understanding you cannot do it all. If your husband doesn't wish to live with an elder in the home he should not have to. This is something that should be taken on only when BOTH spouses agree to try to do it. So Mom must stay where she is and you must be as good and loving support as you are able to be.
If on the other hand this is a husband who isn't a good match, a good mate, a good support in your family, all bets are off. It is perhaps the marriage that cannot work. That's a bigger problem. Only you can tell what the answer is to that.
Not everything in life can be made perfect. We all do the best we can through all phases of life, whether for our parents, our spouses, our siblings, our children or our friends. Life isn't perfect and not everything can be fixed.
Helpful Answer (18)
Reply to AlvaDeer
PAH321 Jan 14, 2021
AlvaDeer - Thank you for your reply. I’m thinking a lot about your statement about ‘guilt versus grief’... And about your reminder that ‘not everything can be fixed’. I so, so want to fix it, but I can’t. It’s hard to accept but very true. Thank you again.
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I love my mother too. And because of my love for her, she lives in a Memory Care ALF where she's cared for 24/7 by a team of people who bend over backwards to see that her every need is met. In fact, last evening she was helped into a walk-in jacuzzi so she could soak & relax in warm water for 30 minutes to help the pain in her legs from neuropathy. That sure doesn't sound like a situation that should tear me up inside, does it?

If I were to look at this from a 'guilt' perspective & decide to upturn my entire life by bringing my mother to live in my home, not only would I be disrupting MY life, but my husband's life as well, which I do not have the right to do. It's his home too so he gets a say in how he lives it. Bringing a 94 y/o demented woman in a wheelchair & Depends in here wouldn't enhance HER life OR our lives in any way. She would require 3 hot meals a day, 3 snacks a day, continuous supervision and entertainment, and how would she get that, exactly, with us working?

I personally think you're looking at things from a skewed perspective. What you're saying is that it's 'wrong' for children to place their parent(s) into a managed care residence because it's our 'duty' and 'obligation' to care for them in our homes, whether we're qualified to do it or not. Whether we want to do it or not, and regardless of what our husbands & children think about it. THAT is what's 'wrong' here, in my opinion

There is no 'one size fits all' care plan for the elderly. Which is why there are managed care homes all over the world. There are also people who choose to take a parent into their own homes and care for them there, and that's fine too. But it has to be a JOINT family decision where everyone is in agreement & shares the burden together. To wrack yourself with unwarranted guilt over making a decision to place your mother is very unfair to you and to your family. Because your self loathing will come through to THEM; they will see & feel it & may even feel responsible FOR it. If your husband is threatening you with divorce if you take your mother in to live with your family, he knows you're way too emotionally affected by this whole situation! I recommend you see a therapist and get some counseling for your own peace of mind, which you DESERVE to have.

Remember & know that you are not abandoning your mother. She's abandoned if she's homeless and living on the street, not in a comfortable, safe & warm senior care residence. While it's perfectly natural to feel grief and sadness over the fact that your mother is elderly & in declining health, you personally cannot 'fix' that situation. I can't fix my mother's dementia or her AFib, or her neuropathy or incontinence, either, as much as I'd like to. Nor can I prevent her from dying. I can, however, agree to live MY life with joy & happiness and share it with my husband & children, which is the deal I made when I married. I owe it to them, in fact.

I am sorry you are going through such grief and being so hard on yourself. This situation is not your fault, so stop blaming yourself for your mother's old age & infirmity. It's okay to live YOUR life and to be a wife & mother to your child. It really is.

Wishing you the best of luck accepting what is
Helpful Answer (15)
Reply to lealonnie1
PAH321 Jan 14, 2021
Lealonnie1 - Thank you for your reply. I have read several of your responses to other people’s questions, and you provide a lot of helpful suggestions.

In the first paragraph of your response you said that your Mom is at a facility where staff bends over backwards to see that her every need is met 24/7, that she is able to use things like a jacuzzi to help with neuropathy and that that is not a situation that tears you up inside. That’s great! I’m glad that you were able to find such a lovely facility.

Unfortunately, not all of our loved ones are as fortunate and reside in facilities that leave A LOT to be desired. Moving the LO would be much easier said than done and wonderful facilities don’t always exist locally.

I’m sorry if what I wrote in my post has inadvertently offended anyone who has chosen to place a LO in a facility.

I truly don’t think it is wrong for children to place a LO in a facility. I don’t think that it is anyone’s obligation to care for a LO at home. I know that the wants, needs and abilities of the family living at home are paramount when trying to make a decision. Facilities are much needed in society.

(Frankly, I can only hope that if one day my needs progress to the point that my Mother’s have, that my child will put me into a facility. I do not want my child to try to care for me at home because I know how doing so affected me before I placed my Mom into a facility.)

I think it is because she is failing rapidly that from an emotional standpoint I wish I could comfort her at home for whatever time she has left.
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When my FIL got so bad he needed 24/7 care, my DH said "Of course he can move in with us" (Read: DW will do EVERYTHING for him)

We did have a little sit down with 2 daughters still at home, aged 16 and 19. They loved their grandpa, but one of them would lose a bedroom and he had a horrible, deep, phlegmy cough that lasted all day and night. He wasn't able to use stairs, so he would have been in the bedroom across the hall from DH and my bedroom. I would have been in charge of everything.

The girls said they would simply move out. I didn't blame them. Dh thought they were selfish brats, but HE never spent 24 hrs straight with his dad and anything that involved bodily fluids made him throw up.

The answer was a hard 'no' and I spent the next 4+ months running out to FIL's condo with food, to take him to drs appts and to clean.

It was brutal. But it only lasted 4 months. About the time I was having non-stop stress migraines, he passed away.

To this DAY, DH says I am selfish. Well, since he did less than nothing for his dad's care, he can't talk. I don't stick up for myself. That needs to be DH's paradigm and I cannot change it.

In a nutshell--my girls came first.
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Reply to Midkid58
PAH321 Jan 14, 2021
Midkid58 - Thank you for your response. It was very helpful to hear how the situation played out in your family, and I really, really appreciate that you were willing to share your experience!

To me you sound the exact opposite of selfish. You put your girls first and went through four months of providing care and support to your FIL to the detriment of your own physical health (stress migraines).

Isn’t it ironic how people that do little to no caregiving (your DH) can be so critical of what others (you!) actually DO do!!! I have found myself thinking often of the old saying ‘no good deed goes unpunished’. Despite everything I do, I am also the one who receives the criticism.

Thank you again.
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Well, here it goes. Do as I say, not as I did.
You and your Mother love each other very much and unconditionally. A loving mother that has had a full and loving life would tell her daughter that she has had your time, love and support throughout your whole life. Her cup is full and she wants that for you. She would want you to take exceptional care of yourself first and foremost. She would want a healthy and happy woman to raise her grand daughter and bring her up in a loving home.

I didn’t follow my own advice, my mother was very demanding. I lost myself by trying to take care of more than was humanly possible. Every aspect of my life suffered and there wasn’t any “me” left. I lost everything that was important to me including my health. Your choice has consequences. Pick the choice you can live with. You’re in my prayers.
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Reply to Ggnsadie

Spend time with your Child, with your Husband, with your Mother & time by Yourself too. Separate it all out as mixing it all together in your own home is not going to work.

You may wish to warn your child & DH you will need to spend more time with Mother during this special time of her declining health. Or maybe look for opportunities for quality time instead of quantity.

Letting others do the physical care for your Mother is part of the process of letting go. But it does not mean you love her less.
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to Beatty
PAH321 Jan 14, 2021
Beatty - Thank you for your response. No, I guess as much as I wish it could, it won’t work. Intellectually I know that my child’s needs must come before my Mom’s. Thank you again.
A lot of good comments here and I agree with all of them. In any family, the next generation must take priority over the previous generation. Most (normal) parents understand that and don't expect their kids to give up their lives and/or marriages for them. That is the circle of life.
You are doing what's best for your child and your mother is in a safe place being cared for by professionals. You have nothing to feel guilty for.
As for your husband, no offense, but he kind of sounds like an unsupportive tool.
Do take care of yourself. We have to put ourselves first, at least once in a while.
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Reply to NavyVet90
PAH321 21 hours ago
NavyVet90 - Thank you for your reply. Mom is 92. Without her knowledge, years ago my aunt (her sister) told me that Mom told her that she never wants me to take care of anyone. That was before the dementia settled in. It has only been very recently (within the last two months) that she actually asked to live with me. When I struggle with not bringing her home, I try to remember what she told my aunt those many years ago when she was of a more sound mind.

My husband has some good qualities and some nasty ones. I’m not perfect either. However, as I get older, I am less able to tolerate some particularly bad qualities... and maybe that’s not a bad thing. Thank you again.
“Sacrificing one family member for another” are awfully strong words. Certainly your devotion belongs to your family at this point. There is no way you could handle your mother's needs with your already care overload and your husband's threat of divorce. Even if you don't think she is getting enough care or proper care, there's no way you could provide better care at home. Why did you decide to place mom in a care facility to begin with? Do not those same reasons still apply?

As far as your husband's ultimatum and lack of support, it might be time to re-evaluate your relationship. As a male, his threat disgusts me. He apparently has drawn a line in the sand where your crossing it excuses him from the marriage.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to sjplegacy
PAH321 Jan 14, 2021
Sjplegacy - Thank you for your reply. Yes, I placed her initially because I could no longer handle taking care of her myself and felt that a facility was the best choice for everyone involved. I guess I am re-evaluating now because she is rapidly declining, and I don’t think there is much time left (maybe a few weeks, I don’t know).

Regarding my husband, his threat disgusted me too. His lack of support over the years has caused me to withdraw which makes the relationship even worse. I so envy folks who have supportive spouses they can lean on! Especially during such trying circumstances and times. Our relationship definitely needs re-evaluating as well. Thank you again.
You already have your hands full with your child who needs special attention, and a husband who is "not supportive in any way," so why would you think you could even begin to care for your mom in your home? You are correct, when you say that your child must come first, as he or she must. You are NOT sacrificing one over the other. You are doing what any loving mother and daughter would do, and that is making sure your child is well cared for and safe, and your mom is well cared for and safe too. The fact that they're in 2 different places, doesn't mean that you're not doing your job as a loving daughter. You are doing the very best you can, and have nothing to feel guilty about. Guilt is for someone who has done something wrong. That does not apply to you. You've done what has to done in the best interest of your family. So please don't continue to beat yourself up over this situation. Your mom I'm sure doesn't want you feeling guilty over her, and would not want you jeopardizing your family for her. God bless you.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to funkygrandma59
PAH321 Jan 14, 2021
funkygrandma59 - Thank you for your reply. Yes, I suppose my hands are full already. I guess I just want to take care of everyone. (Except myself, ironically.)

Your last sentence really struck a chord with me: that Mom wouldn’t want me jeopardizing my family for her. I have not shared my child’s mental health issues with Mom because it would only upset her. However, if she were younger and in her right mind without dementia and knew of these issues, she would definitely not want anything done that might make her beloved grandchild’s mental health worse. So thank you, thank you in particular for that comment! That gives me comfort.
Choldren and and spouses come first. Your mother has lived her life. You are doing the right thing.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to ZippyZee
PAH321 Jan 14, 2021
ZippyZee - Thank you for your reply. I appreciate your supportive reminder.
What you are experiencing is grief not guilt and is totally understandable and normal.
Your first priority as a Mom and a Wife is to your family.
I dislike threats as much as I dislike ultimatums. They are pretty much the same.
I am sure it would take quite a bit to actually go ahead with a divorce but that is neither here or there.
As I mentioned your priority is to your child and to your husband.
I am sure your husband is also thinking of the effect that moving your mom in would have on your child.
Taking care of someone in addition to your child is a daunting task. Particularly with all the conditions you mentioned in your profile.
Leave your mom in the facility where she is getting care that she needs.
Do what you can for mom but you should focus on your family.
(I am going to add something here that I do hope you do not take as a harsh criticism) I think you and your husband should talk a bit about how he feels as he does or rather why he expressed his feelings by jumping to divorce. It is rather a drastic solution. If necessary talking with a counselor to help sort through feelings on both sides.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to Grandma1954
PAH321 Jan 14, 2021
Grandma1954 - Thank you for your reply. I don’t like threats and ultimatums either, and they definitely don’t help any situation. I think my husband is concerned (like I am) about the effect Mom moving in would have on our child. He may have additional concerns that went unsaid. I’m don’t feel criticized at all by your suggestion that we see a counselor. Neither of us are good communicators with each other. Thank you again.
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