Background... My mother, only 61 years old, was recently diagnosed with dementia. My father passed away from cancer 3 years ago and my mother lives on her own. I live out of state, my husband is currently on a military deployment and I am staying at out out-of-state home to take care of our 4 month old baby. Much of my mom's caregiving has fallen to my brother who lives near her. We are looking into moving my mom into a home. I am struggling with anxiety and guilt over all of this... wanting to be able to be there to help but trying to be realistic about my personal situation dealing with the stress of my husband being deployed and caring for our baby on my own. Air travel is required if I were to go be with my mom. I'm planning a couple of trips (1-2 weeks) to visit/help but I feel like that isn't enough. I guess I'm just looking for any type of support or encouragement.

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Another AF brat here.

Blannie offers good suggestions.

In caring for my father, I think the areas in which I could really use help from an out of town sibling are twofold:

1. Specific relief from physical obligations, which would be hard for you to do from a distance, and

2. Help with online research, right now on private duty firms, palliative care and specific companies. Locating a supplier that provides reasonable pureed foods at reasonable prices in reasonable quantities is my goal.

As Blannie suggests, ask your brother what kind of help he could use. If an AL facility is considered, perhaps you can do research on those in the area where your brother lives, contact them with a checklist, then e-mail the results to your brother. He'll have to do the personal visits, but he'll be armed with the results of your searches.

Addressing a variety of issues before selecting a facility can save a lot of grief later.

If you want specific suggestions, you can start another post and posters will tell you what they've discovered through their own experiences. Staffing to patient ratio is one critical factor. Whether or not the facility has institutional food or a chef and choice of meals is another.

You might also collect cards to send to your mother. It's (literally now) an old fashioned way to reach out to someone, and even if she doesn't remember or recognize your name, she probably would enjoy a lovely card periodically.

Once your brother selects a facility, you could skype with her if there's a staff, or perhaps your brother, to handle the connections from that end. Let her see her grandchild. Babies have a way of reaching people's hearts.

Or you could start a scrapbook of baby photos and send it to her. Older people like hard copy photos as opposed to digital photos.

Get CDs of her favorite singers, ask your brother what music device he has - CD or something else, and send CDs for her to listen to.

Or put yourself now only in his shoes, but your mother's shoes and ask what you would like someone to do for you if in either of their positions.
Helpful Answer (3)

Of course you feel guilty. That's the good news. Not that I believe you should feel guilty but you feel. You feel. You are with your brother in spirit if not in deed. Let him know that often. You have an infant and that is very important. Your mom went through a lot for that 4 month old to be a reality. That is your first priority. You have a husband who needs your love and support. That's your second priority. Somewhere in there you have to make time for yourself. Your plate is full but you can communicate and that is so important. I'm sure you will never forget the sacrifice your brother is making. I'm sure he is thankful for your visits. Let your brother know that it is okay for him to allow mother to be placed in memory care. Support him in making the best decision for mom And for him. Write him letters and include the babies little foot print or hand print or an outline so he can have the sense of what you are doing, that you are not ignoring him. Recall events from your childhood to shore him up and remind him of your familial love. He will feel your support and that's the most important thing you can give him.
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Can you ask your brother how best you can help him, given your current situation? As a caregiver for 15 years for my mom and dad, I would have been thrilled if my brother (who lived in another state) had ever asked me what he could do to help me. He always waited for me to ask and then only half-heartedly did what I asked. I certainly knew he lived far away and wasn't here for the day-to-day. But he never even really asked or offered me any kind of support. Something as small as a thank you card or a certificate for a massage once a year would have been awesome.

Maybe you could help manage mom's finances, pay her bills, etc. Ask about things you could do from a distance. Or 2X a year, come in for some time period to give your brother a respite break. Start by asking him. He may not know exactly what will be involved yet, but make it clear you're there to help in whatever way you can manage given your circumstances.

And thank you for your family's sacrifice. I'm an Air Force brat, so I get what you're going through. {{{Hugs}}}}
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