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How can I tell my family I can no longer take care of my elderly mother, without them feeling that I just want to put her in a home? She is 93, needs a fulltime caregiver, has dimentia/alzheimers and I do not feel I am physically, emotionally, mentally, financially able to. I love my mother but I think it is time she is placed in a home. My two sisters and I have rotated yearly being caretaker for her for the last 6 years. I am the oldest of the three, 58 years old with alot of problems. How can I make them understand that I cant provide that care for her anymore, without them thinking I just want to give up on her. It will be my turn to take her in a few months and I am so stressed about it. I love my mother very much but I just dont feel I am capable of taking her in again, even though we do get help from In home support service, I just cant take that responsibility anymore?

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after reading your posts and answer I would like to add a comment and share my experience. My mom was living alone in senior retirement. Occasionally my mom would tell me she had fallen in kitchen, bedroom, bathroom. Many times I was there she would say she fell, although she did not. The day she did fall, not broken thank god, and off to ems she went. She had been out of the hospital for 14 months. Even though I knew Nh was a safer place to be, I thanked god each day that mom was well when I visited her, I had a hard time knowing that I would decide to place her in NH. I would not unless I really really had to. Well the time came. It was the hardest choice. As I look back, I feel that the time came and it was a good choice. There was a long adjustment period,. I often realize that that fall was enough reason., before another fall would occur and mom may have been hurt, broken. My guilt for her safety needs would have been unforgivable. I did go and look at nursing homes, and chose the one who I felt that the staff comforted my emotions. I felt alone at times, but I know now that the lord was at my side. Sounds like you and your sisters are close and have been communicating. it's possible that the each had the same feeling you have but have not expressed it yet. preparing the paper work for poa etc is very important.
While mom is in NH, I find it now when I go to visit, it is a visit, I still keep in touch with her meds, and her progress, and I'm there for dr appointments. I bring home laundry and bring her snacks. I have two other siblings that relinquished moms care to me when she lived in Florida. I know it's a tough decision. Your thoughts were my thoughts before mom had her fall that headed her in the NH. My heart goes out to you. First and foremost, give each other a hug and I hope you will come to a conclusion and a safe haven for your mom. Take care and god bless.
Equinox
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I have the same siuation but no help from my siblings. I took my mom into my house for 6 years without any help from them. I have a mental illness that causes me great difficulty. I told my siblings I could no longer care for her. Now, I'm repaid by not being allowed to see her or talk to her because they are mad that they have to tend to her. I am 50 and my siblings are older. I also took care of my grandma for 2 years before she passed.
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ibarro is right, dont worry about what others say, as I know from experience that this is alot easier said than done! I worried too, so I cant point the finger at u for feeling that way as I would have 3 pointing right back at me!!! Just be HONEST,you dont feel physically or mentally capable of doing this anymore, and its taking a toll on your health and well being, not to mention depressing because u love her so much and cant stand to see the suffering and changes anymore on a 24/7 basis, it is getting way too overwhelming for u!!!! I think when I finally decided to put mom into a facility I battled for months within myself, I even went to the extreme of letting her talk me into bringing her back home for a while, which only lasted a month, as she would NOT listen to me at all, and was falling all over the place! all I had to do was turn my face for a second, turn back around and find her on the floor! it was so depressing, then the doctors finally came up with her diagnosis, which said specifically that she needed to be in a skilled facility no matter what! there wasnt an option for home anymore, so I guess I got a lot of help from medical staff, they actually we made to be the bad guys!!! But guess what?
I could care less what any of the family thinks period, I have not gotten one call in 8 years from any of her extended family offering one ounce of support! and I bet the only people that will be at her funeral when the time comes is me and my husband and his family, not hers!!!! they dont care at all, all they want to know is whats being left to them!!! the nerve!
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you r asking my opinion and I will give it to you. just tell them that you can't do it anymore. That's it! and if they start judging you, separate yourself from them for a period of time. visit her at her nursing home. if your family talks about you, let them talking, they always do it no matter how well we do thinks. we can't have it two ways. people always talks if you take care of your mom or not, so don't care what they say. now is your time. they can't force you to take care of her any longer if you are feeling sick your self.
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That is great news Tweetie....but some nursing homes are as bad as they can legally be...you have done a great job finding one that isn't....choosing the right facility is very very important...everyone who is confronted with the difficult choice that most of will have to make needs to take some time and research the places we choose to place our loved ones
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My heart goes out to you because I am going through the same exact situation right now. My dad had taken a turn for the worse early last year and I have worn myself thin taking care of him in every way. He lives by himself and kept falling and the dimentia started creeping in. I would go take care of him every day and find him on the floor the next day. It broke my heart to see him like that. He finally ended up in the hospital and his doctor told me that it is time to place him in a nursing facility because he didn't need my care anymore - he needed 24/7 medical care. I made myself so sick over this situation that I ended up in the hospital myself. I promised him I would never do this but now that he is there, he looks absolutely wonderful. Nursing facilities are not as bad as everyone says they are. They take extremely good care of my dad and I finally am able to sleep at night knowing he is taken care of. I could not provide financial support for him to stay home with a caretaker and have applied for Medicaid for him. He does not want to stay there but I see how safe he is. Yesterday, I told his brother that I decided to keep my dad there permanently. To my surprise, he thought that was a great idea because he sees his brother looking better than ever. He is eating, taking his meds and looking so healthy. Don't worry what family thinks, they are not taking care of him the way you are and if you are starting to feel drained, then that is a sign that you have done all you can and cannot do any more. Be strong and do what is right for you and your mother.
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let them be mad, or give them the choice of caring for her themselfs.. dont let them make you the bad guy for trying to do the right thing! at least you realize your not able to care for her, a lot of people would keep trying even though they are in over their heads.
just give them a choice, they care for her or she goes to a home. if they get mad, its because its easy for them to hollor at you, but they know darn well that YOU are the one that stepped up, not them. they get mad because they try to guilt you, but do what you need to do. if you cant acre for her, its ok, it gets too much for us..do what you think is best..good luck
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Blessings to you all shareing what works and just knowing others have challanges help us all.
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nanlinjoe, it is a real blessing that you have found a facility for your Mom and have no concerns about the quality of care she receives. One has to know one's upper limits and also one's weaknesses. We all have weaknesses and vulnerable moments. There is no shame in facing our respective challenges and fears.
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Thank you, godhelpus, and MiaMadre. We're all in this together. The support and sharing in this venue is terrific, and it is thanks to the many thoughtful caregivers whos visit and share. We may be tired, but it is very touching that we still give so much of ourselves to support each other. Blessings, all. I am proud to be a member of this community of caregivers. It is the best, bar none I have ever seen or experienced. Please give yourselves a pat on the back, all. What we do is not easy.
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Isabelle: great advise, and as different as two approaches can be, my approach was to start by filling the bathtub with warm water and bubble bath, and having Mom's transfer seat in place (and her still in her PJ's I would ask her if she would like to soak her 'sore' feet.

"Mom, can you come here a minute?" "How would you like to soak your feet for a few minutes?" Of course she would resist, but I just GENTLY told her that the water was already in the tub, or "We don't want it to go to waste", and she would just give me a look!! But, this seemed to get her motivated.

Once she relinquished her 'danties' (so she wouldn't get them wet) and seated properly on the transfer seat, she started to enjoy the experience. I would put Epson salt in the water, and bubble bath, and have a loofah that was like a back scrubber, so she could reach her feet.

Mind you... she STILL had her nightgown on, and the heat was up (torture for me in FL) but absolutely necessary for Mom.

OK.. so her feet are all warm and clean, and we moved up her legs to get all the 'day' off her, and then sometimes I would hear her say, "Well I guess I should clean up the rest huh??" (That was on a good day)

I made a hooded bathtowel so she could safely remove her night gown and then before you knew it (with a handheld shower attachment) I was able to assist her with the rest of her shower.

EVEN washing her hair, as quickly as possible. An all in one shampoo was a big help, and being PREPARED essential.

I always had the towels (warmed in the dryer) and hair dryer, soap and shampoo all setup BEFORE I ever called her to the bathroom. Also a big fluffy robe, or a change of clothes (new danties and all) make the transition easier. My trouble came in getting Mom to relinquish her dirty clothes!! I would have HER put them in the washing machine herself and press the button. She didn't like her laundry combined with anything else.

Body wipes helped between showers, right before bedtime I would use the Lavender ones designed for babies VERY soothing for both of us!

After her shower, I would dry her hair, all the while singing ROW ROW ROW YOUR BOAT... or some other silly song that seemed to keep her entertained.

QUIET, deliberate actions seemed to work best, and being PREPARED essential (worth repeating)

I hope that by all of us sharing our successes and failures we will have more than one approach to helping our parents and loved ones. One thing is for certain, cleanliness is important, fresh 'danties' daily were part of our bedtime routine, even if met with opposition. Clean hands and teeth mean a better nights sleep. And establishing a routine seem to help.

God Bless you Mom (rest in peace)
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My 86 y.o. mom could no longer live independently and my sibs thought that I should take mom in since I have the room. I told them that I couldn't do it for several reasons, the most important being my own mental health. I am bipolar, which has been under control for the last 5 years with medication and I'm afraid that the extra stress might send me back into a dark hole. Reason #2 is that I work part-time and my hubby is home retired. It wouldn't be fair to him to have responsibility for mom when I'm gone. #3 is mom's clingy personality. Everytime I would want to make plans with friends (alone or with my husband and friends) mom's feelings would be hurt if she wasn't included. If mom was more self-reliant and didn't need constant attention, I could manage mom. My brother also has a house big enough for mom but doesn't want her with him and his wife, either. My sister lives in a small townhouse. I feel ok with my decision to have mom taken care of in a very nice assisted living facility that is very close to our homes so we can visit often.
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Isabelcares,
Thank you for your kind and tender insights. Helped me too.
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On the showering, you could start by helping her wipe her face each morning with a washcloth, then gradually over a period of days, calmly mention to her that you will help her wipe her neck and her upper back, then upper torso, as you continue over the course of the week to help her wipe down thoroughly with a warm washcloth.

Leave her feet untouched. Then, in the course of each day, tell her you will soak her feet. While her feet soak, tell her you will wipe down her legs with a warm washcloth, then add some lotion. Maybe in a couple of weeks you can tell her you are just going to do the wipe down while she stands in the tub. Don't turn the faucet on, just wipe down, and a large container for water to wash off any soapy residue. With luck, you may be able to turn on the shower, or the faucet over the tub to at least get her more, rather than less water cleaning time. Just don't rush her, or argue, or make it an unplesant time for her.

As for the full-time care, I am a full-time caregiver to my Mom. Smooth music can be uplifting, daily short, leisurely drives when the sun is shining and traffic is not as heavy as rush hour, other outdoor time, like sitting outside for a short spell, some mild activity time, like sorting clean laundry (even if not sorted correctly) and little vignettes sharing, among other moments in care make for full and mostly balanced days for both of us. No two days are alike and nothing is perfect. It's just doing the best that we can, and our loved ones being able to enjoy the greater comforts of home rather than being in sterile institutional settings where everything is unfamiliar to them and it's all an unending routine.
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I have been caring for my mom who has alzheimers for about 5 years now the past couple of months she has been deterioating rapidly she has home care Monday through Thursday then she comes to my home Thursday night till Monday morning when we bring her home. She has become quite difficult since she doesnt recognize her home when she gets there and when she is here she wants to go home, After I bring her home and settle her in she remembers its her home then later she calls me and asks why I brought her to this place (jail) she calls it and to come bring her to me. When I get there she tells me she never called and she is not coming. I am thinking of bringing her to leave with me when do I know when it is time since she has outbursts, very nasty and she does not want to shower I have stayed very calm since I know tht arguing with her doesnt work since she wont remember anything later and it only upsets everyone. Can anyone give me some suggestions on how to make her shower and any suggestions on caring for her full time would be appreciated
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jmuniz, my heart goes out to you. Your heart, body and mind have been clear in giving you the signal that the time for a new phase in your Mom's caregiving has arrived. You've done your best. Take a deep breath, and let your siblings know. If they are so inclined, they can support you by helping you to find the right home placement for your Mom. It will be a lot more emotionally draining before it gets better and before you feel entirely at ease with your decision, but you will never get to a better place emotionally if you don't put your siblings (and yourself) on notice that you have nothing more you feel you can give in-home. The day comes when that happens and there is nothing you need to be afraid to say when it comes to unloading how you feel to your siblings. You need to hear yourself say the words as well.

Hugs for you knowing that even though you are doing the right thing for yourself and your mother, it will still be very painful and there will be lots of tears to come. Those tears can be very healing. Hang in there; deep breath, and speak up so that your siblings can hear you loud and clear, ok?
God bless you and your sibling who have worked the rotation in caring for your Mom. You both stand tall in my view.
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You have reached the point-I was afraid to state that I could no longer take care of the husband and was very surprised when I got the nerve to say it everyone except him agreed and a few days later even he agreed. It is better to have her in a place that is close to of least one of you so you can go in often at different times and do not always sign in-most nursing homes will not say you have to stay away for a certain length of time but will probably tell you it will take time for them to adjust. I am sure your family know how hard it is taking care of her and that you are sharing your feelings with them-keep in touch,
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Just be completely honest with them!!!! IT is taking an unbelievable toll on you, and u just cant do it anymore mentally or physically as u are completely drained, and that it would also be to her best advantage to have people her own age around her constanty to uplift her spirits as well!! And the family isnt the one taking care of her, u are, and it is so in her best interests, to make her life full of activities that u cant offer at home, as well as give u peace of mind, believe me, I had to go through the same exact thing! at first she always wanted to come home, then began to like it, and now wants to stay!!!! This decision will not only help you, but more importantly HER, she needs the socialization with others, and a skilled staff to help her do things that u just arent skilled enough to handle anymore by yourself!!!! do NOT feel bad about this, its for both of your goods!!!!!!! Please let us know and update on your decisions, we care!!!
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I would think you possiby can have a family meeting or conference as to how the situatuin can best be handled--and by all means explain your own personal concerns at this time. Perhaps everyone is on the same page-but not letting one another know...
Good luck on the next phase of your caregiving journey~
Hap
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Well said Lyrica... and my condolences on the loss of your aunt. She was truly blessed with you by her side!
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JUST TELL THEM... I think that there is no "good way" to say it- but the issue is , if you are burned out and they are burned out, you still have to provide her the best care you can.... and that is not necessarily for you to be the one giving the care any longer. Believe me, when it comes time to have her not live with you any longer, there will still be a rotation needed for you and your sisters to visit her regularly, and at different times of the day, to ensure the good care you think she should be getting is really happening. That is a burden too- because you really cannot just put her in a home and never go back.... and you wouldn't want to. A whole new set of responsibility arises when you are watching over her nursing home care. You will need to stay in touch with her nursing staff re: medication changes and MD visits and changes in her condition, and possibly even still doing daily maintenance things like doing her wash. I did not like losing my Aunt's clothing in the community nursing home laundry, so I did her wash twice a week. Aunt Marge was an Alzheimer's patient; she became too much for me and my mother to handle when she was 8+years into it and we had to place her in a nursing home because neither of us could afford to stop working to care for her needs. She was in Day Care, but kept eloping . (Adult Day Care is a good interim step if you can't stomach a nursing home, by the way). Once Aunt Marge got acclimated to the home and the routines there, she was so much happier.... because she was occupied with activities and other peers most of the time.... they have the energy and staff to keep them stimulated and interested, so they will sleep better at night. It is absolutely exhausting to try to provide that same level of stimulation and care yourself. There is only one of you - or your sisters- and there does come a time in this illness when it takes more than any one family can do. The only time that it gets easier to care for her is at the very end, when they are no longer able to get out of bed and their body systems are shutting down. and your loved one begins the final journey of slipping away........... and then it was an honor to bring Marge home with hospice and help her be comfortable at home with us, by her side, as she left us to go on to that better place with Him. I promise you, if you cherish your mother, you will feel so much better once you get her the right level of care, that will allow you to take care of yourself enough so that visiting her is a blessing instead of another burden on an already overloaded back.
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Tell them the truth....It sounds like the three of you have done a great job, you have done all you can and your just not able anymore. It's in your mother's and your best interest to get her to a full time faciity.
Research the facilities that would suit your mother best and visit her as often as you can. You may be surprised, your sisters may be relieved that you broached the subject. Good luck...
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A key line in your post is: "It will be my turn to take her in a few months and I am so stressed about it." That's it. It's time. No two ways about it. You are officially at the point where it's your survival or her survival, and in order for you both to survive, you must put your mother in a care home. So if you keep that "absolute" in your mind, you will be strong and know this is the right thing to do----and then you tell your siblings. By the way, bless you and you are to be commended for caring for your mother all this time in her home. Now it is time for the next phase of her care, and I'm sure everything is going to work out well.
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The one footnote to all of the great advise others have provided is this: VISIT THE NURSING HOMES you are considering placing your mom in.

Have your sisters be an active part in this process too. Have them visit the same nursing homes, or others and then compare your notes on the facilities that will work for ALL of you.

Do not take it upon yourself to make this decision, do not wait until a significant event/accident happens that warrants an immediate UNEDUCATED move take place.

And then... after you do all this... and you and your sisters are happy with the facility you decide on, make a plan, a schedule of how you will visit, who will be healthcare advocate/proxy, set up a DPOA (if this is not already done) and ask what you can do to make this move a positive one for all.

If the facility insists that you NOT visit for any period of time to allow them to adjust... trust me.... LOOK FOR ANOTHER FACILITY!!! Not visiting is not the answer.

Once your mother is moved to a skilled facility your involvement may be just as much as it was at home, BUT with the skilled staff around to assist her instead of that responsibility resting on your shoulders only!

Placing Mom is not an easy thing to do, and some refuse to do so, even at their own expense. I felt that way for years myself. While on a visit with my brother, she had to be hospitalized after almost poisoning herself with a common household item!! It was only then, that my brother(s) realized that Mom needed 24/7 supervised care! Of course I continued to be a MAJOR contributor to her care by visiting her weekly, and setting up a visitng schedule for the rest of the family, and bringing things for Mom to do, and eat and see and feel!
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Jmuniz, I'm wondering why you are so worried about telling them at all. Didn't you say that you'all have rotated being care takers of her for the last 6 years? Well if that's the case, I'm pretty sure they knew the day was coming when none of you could take care of her anymore. Talk to them, tell them that time has come.
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I agree that you have to tell them and that they will probably understand! If someone does not seem to understand, that is usually because we do not want the facts to be true. But the reality is as so many have said - the nursing home would give your mother a better life than you or your siblings can do. I would take the empahsis away from your ability and put it on the full care your mother needs and would get at a home, and the fact that her life will be better. It is not just you making the decision - all of you should talk and you will share your experiences and share the decision (I am repeating what others have said) and it will not rest on your shoulders.
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Oh, my heart just goes out to you! I was in the same situation, and I was 45 at the time. (That was 2 years ago). Mom was living with me and I had become a mess ... emotionally and physically. Mom wound up falling and breaking her shoulder, and started to decline. It was then that I had to face that I just couldn't do it anymore. My sisters and brother were more than understanding even though no one really wanted it to happen. But they could see that I was getting sick myself. It was so hard to put Mom in a care facility that I just laid around sick to my stomach for almost two weeks. She kept asking to go home and my guilt was awful. But I have to tell you this ... Mom is now safe. She is getting proper nutrition and exercise that I was unable to give her. I was so stressed that I found myself screaming at her when she did something silly, and those moments will haunt me forever. Please don't get to that point. I know that some people promise their loved ones that they won't ever put them in a care facility, but that is just not feasible. You owe your own family and yourself the attention and support that you won't be able to give if you are caring for your mother. I think you have given it all you have, and it's time for you to rest now. Let your mother go to a place where they are better able to deal with her needs then you ever will be. And know that she is SAFE and well cared for. That is what is important. Finally, be good to yourself. You have honored your mother in the past, and will be honoring her by getting her the care she needs. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
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Just tell them. If your are stressed than she will be stressed. If they don't want to keep her longer than there turn and you are not able than maybe they will want to put her in a home too. Talk to them. And hopefully it will be a joint effort. Good luck.
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MUNIZ:

Baby, you've reached the point when your mind can't absorb what your a__ can no longer endure. The bottom line is that your mother's needs are increasing, your resources (and your sisters') are practically maxed out, and a higher level of care that none of you is able to provide on a full-time basis is required.

You all have made sacrifices, explored all possibilities, even shared the responsibility equally over the years. And from the statements you've made placing your mom in a nursing home might seem tantamount to betrayal. That's why you three must come to a decision that will benefit all, especially your mother. Whatever happens, make sure you continue to be an integral part of her life.

Just as you've shared the responsibility, now you're going to have to share -- and learn to live with -- a bittersweet pain that will never go away.
Years from now, as you rewind the tapes of your existence, you'll have the peace of mind that comes with knowing you did the best you could with what you had.

I wish you the best Muniz, and stay strong as you've always done.

-- ED
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