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My mother has Alzheimer's, diabetes, is legally blind, deaf and is 87. She has been a mean-spirited, selfish, irrational, bad-tempered whiner all her life. My dad was the polar opposite, a sweeter, nicer guy you would never meet. How he put up with her for over 50 years is beyond me. Basically, he made it his job to keep her happy, which was only partially successful. By my 20's, I had been in counseling, was dealing with depression and short temper, and finally realized I could not fix her or save her, so I moved away, even though that meant not seeing my dad as much as I would like. I developed my own life, continued with counseling whenever I found a new snag in my personality that hindered happiness and/or relationships. I only visited my folks a couple times a year, and eventually got to the point where I just didn't really even think about her anymore.

Then came old age, illness, and my oldest sister who'd been their primary helper, moved out of town for her husband's new job. It quickly became apparent they couldn't live alone anymore, especially with my dad's dementia taking hold, so with my second sister, we persuaded them to move up by us to assisted living where we could help more, without being inundated, or giving up our own lives.

Dad passed away several years ago, and Mother has steadily gotten worse. Not a day has gone by in the past 10 years whenever we've been together that she hasn't complained about not being able to see. I realize she's got a tough life, and have felt compassion for her and done my best to be kind. I know her constant repetition of all her ills and disappointments and everything that has been "taken away from her" (i.e. sight, husband, house, etc.) is now part of the Alzheimer's looping. But, I can hardly stand it anymore. I'm not a saint. My sister and brother-in-law and I take turns every day going over there to check on her and take care of her cat. I see her twice a week. Her caregivers take very good care of her. My life hasn't been a picnic either. I've had cancer 3 times and my beloved boyfriend dropped dead of a heart attack 9 years ago when he was only 46. I am now working 2 jobs to attempt to save up some money for my retirement, and to be able to help out my nieces and nephews some. But I like being happy and tend to let go of the bad stuff and concentrate on the good. I'm like my dad, not Little Miss Sunshine, but usually able to "let go and let God". However, I am getting more and more depressed and finding it harder and harder to keep my happy going. I have indigestion and anxiety attacks when I have to go over there. She is now making up stories about my father taking his own life and complaining that he didn't take her with him. My sister and I were with him when he died. He didn't commit suicide. He slipped away peacefully in his sleep. She also makes up other stories about people in my family that are hurtful and untrue. I know she's unhappy, crazy, demented and not feeling well. I feel compassion. I do my best for her. But these things she says about my close, loving family, really upset me. Also, she refuses all attempts to do anything else but whine, won't go on any outings or get to know any people at her residence, and constantly belches loudly, especially when you are in front of her, and she loses or hides her hearing aids constantly, cries, carries on, God! It's so hard to take! She is on antidepressants, anxiety relievers, and her neurologist has her on a patch that's supposed to help her maintain what mental function she still has. And the crap goes on. How am I supposed to go on being a knd, compassionate daughter when I just don't want to be there anymore? She's toxic and I want to get away fom her, but I can't leave my sister and her husband to do the daily's. They are sick of it too! Am I selfish to want to put her in a nursing home, even though that means she has to give up her cat? Then I wouldn't have to go over there twice a week and could maybe get my equilibrium back. What do you think?

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I suppose that no amount of fast talking will get the NH to take the cat as part of the deal?
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My personal feeling is that if a person can't take care of a pet they shouldn't have one. It's taxing enough to have to provide all the assistance that an elderly parent needs without having to take care of their pet as well. My mother had a little dog that I ended up having to walk, take to the vet, and generally take responsibility for; finally her dog died and she accepted that she couldn't manage another one.

My question is: does your mother really need to be in a nursing home, and are funds available for that? Is the issue that you don't want to take care of the cat, or that you don't want to visit so often? If your mother moves to a nursing home, will you be able to restrict your visits, even assuming she doesn't have the cat? Because if you need to go just as often anyway, you will have uprooted her life for no good cause.

Can you leave your mother where she is and hire someone to take care of the cat on what would otherwise be "your" days to help? That's what I would do, assuming I had the funds to do it.
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I feel for you....but you are lucky she is in a facility and not living with you...if you have to shorten your visits do it, you need your mental stability. As far as the cat goes- everywhere I have been has animal therapy many have a dog or cat living on site...so she may not miss HER cat, find it a good home! That should not be the deciding factor of a NH no question if she needs it, I took my dog everytime i visited the rehab/sn facility and the patients loved her though she is a big 100 lb dog she was so gentle with the people...and would just lay her head in their lap.. so there will be pets around and I'm sure pet therapy will come in!Good Luck!
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Your emotional well being is important. It is not just about what is best for her but also what is manageable for you. About 40% of caregivers die before the person they care give. Your mother is toxic. Your responsibility is to see that she gets appropriate medical care and is safe, fed - her needs in general met, but you are not responsible for all her wants. Your health and financial future should not rest on your mother being able to have a pet. Life changes for all of us and you may be surprised by how she would manage in an NH.

Is your mother a candidate for a nursing home? So far she is managing in assisted living with a lot of help. Does her doctor recommend a nursing home? If so, I would say go for it and get her a stuffed animal. You are not being selfish, you are preserving your health - mental and physical.

My mother has a personality disorder and narcissism and I have had to back away a lot in the past couple of years as the stress of dealing with her affects my health. She is being cared for by others. I do what I have to as POA financial and medical. There is no way I could do hands on things for her. She has developed vascular dementia and with it came paranoia and some psychotic episodes. Of course as usual, I got blamed for whatever. It was too hard, so I have decreased contact.

I suggest you do the same anyway you can. I know how tough it is when you have been brought up by a mother like yours. You need to detach and distance yourself. (((((hugs))))
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Oh that internal "wants vs needs" debate. Do I just WANT to shift the burden, or do I NEED to get her into care so I can have a better quality of life?
Some nursing homes have a resident cat or two, would that satisfy her? In my opinion you really should not feel obligated to martyr yourself for her.
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Thank you, Eyrishlass and Ashlynne. I have her mpoa, which her neurologist says can be implemented any time. I've avoided it, for concern that she might not be able to stay where she is. Unfortunately, although her cat is a sweety with people, she fights aggressively with other animals, and we all have cats, and/ or dogs. I can work to find a home for her, but I think my reluctance is because I want Mother to move to a nursing home not because it's the best thing for her, but because I think it will lighten my load. I am struggling to be worthy of the mpoa and do what is truly best for her, objectively speaking. I know she'd be miserable in a nh without her cat. She has no understanding of something being better for us or for her cat. Emotionally, she's at the level of a 3 yr old and just wants what she wants with no thought of others. So I feel I need to find better coping mechanisms for myself instead of getting her "out of my hair" and psyche. Yet I do think my emotional well-being is important too. I feel stuck!
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When my mother, who sounds like a clone of yours, went into a NH her cat and dog came to live with me. I now have 2 dogs and 4 cats but I'm retired and I live in the country so my circumstances are a bit different. Could the cat come live with you or relative where your mother would know it was happy and well cared for?
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As much as we love our pets, and I have a cat so I understand, they shouldn't stand in the way of our getting the best care we can for our loved ones. If your family agrees that your mom should be in a nursing home but the only thing standing in the way is the cat then the cat needs to be re-homed and mom needs to be placed.

Also, considering your mom's personality she sounds like she may dig her heels in. You and your sister may want to discuss guardianship. It may come to that.
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