Mom has some cognitive impairment, poor short-term memory, and tends toward "wishful thinking" sometimes. She just called me and asked if I was coming over for lunch. I said no, that's a nice idea, but we don't have plans today. She said ok, she will go have lunch in her buiIding's dining room (she was already half an hour late for that.) I didn't even have time to remind her that her building (independent living) still limits visits and requires negative covid tests for entry by family members, or that indoor restaurant dining is very limited around here (and I'm not doing it anyway,) or that it is still too cold for outdoor dining. Anyway, when I get these kinds of calls from her, I always feel bad that I am not seeing her or going places with her, as I used to, pre-pandemic (we talk daily sometimes more than once, videochat occasionally, but she finds that difficult.) So she is off to have lunch, and I have a sinking feeling in my stomach. Why, and how do I stop feeling so bad- like I can never do enough?

Imho, you inform her that you can make plans when the Novel Coronarivus restrictions are lifted,
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Reply to Llamalover47

My mom used to ask me the same question every morning when I called her and like you I felt the guilt....until I read on this forum about a person who has dementia and they said they would ask their spouse what they were doing today just in case they had to get dressed to go to doctors or dentist so that they could prepare for the day. So it's more about ...what am I doing today as opposed to ...are we doing something today. She just wants direction. I find routine is best for my mom so I have her over for dinner Wednesdays and Sundays. So when we speak on Tuesday and she asks If I was coming over I say today is Tuesday I have work but I will see you on Wednesday like usual and she is okay with that answer and I feel no guilt. You can never do enough because she can not remember what you did! She may be sitting there and calls to see if you are coming because she is getting hungry and does not want to go eat lunch without you if you had plans so she calls and checks and when you say no she goes and eats no big deal. It's really how you look at it.
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Reply to Onlychildbutnot

COVID is diabolical. I feel guilty about not being able to visit my mother. We don't even talk daily. Usually once a week. Luckily, while my mother is more forgetful, she does realize Covid keeps us apart. I did some window visits to her unit but that stopped with cold weather. And when I couldn't get her the items she wanted at the store I did make emergency drop-offs for her.

Don't feel guilty, just gently remind her you are unable to visit at this time. Hopefully once she and you are fully vaccinated, you'll be able to have lunch again.
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Reply to cweissp

Make plans and put them on her calendar. Take pictures when you are together. Include her as much as you can. Don't live with regret; seize opportunities.
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Reply to Taarna

You are doing all you can during the pandemic. Hopefully with will all pass you you can resume visits to your Mom. In the meantime, guilty feelings are normal because you are human. Its OK to feel guilty. It will pass too. Be there done that over and over again.
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Reply to Cecimerce

Do the best you can and try to visit her at least once a week.
I'm sure mom wouldn't mind going thru a Drive Thru for lunch and having a picnic nic somewhere, even if it's in the car.

I know you know she won't be around forever and yes it's an inconvenience, just like having company visit but we do it because we love them
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Reply to bevthegreat

Dtiara, maybe you can look at the situation in light of what you are doing. You are answering your mother's calls and conversing with her. That's something. Maybe her asking if you have plans, or if you are planning to come for a meal are not coming from a place of expectation or coercion, but of matter of conversation. If she is having memory issues, I would think you would hear (as I do from my dad) repeated phrases that were likely part of how she remembers conversations of the past. Also remember that just conversing with you probably makes her feel valued, like a normal person.
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Reply to Tamg59

"Why, and how do I stop feeling so bad- like I can never do enough?"

Your mother can't understand the restrictions, but you are well aware of them. It isn't that you aren't doing enough, it's that you can't yet. Hopefully that will change soon!

In your case, if she's still in IL with some cognitive decline, you'll likely have some happy days coming when it is safer. You can try to explain there's a dangerous "flu" going around (my mother wouldn't have understood the whole virus thing, but knew what the flu was.) You also have phone calls and haphazard video chats. It's only natural to feel that you are letting her down, but the situation is not under your control.

My mother moved from her own place right to MC. I visited at least once/week, sometimes more, until the lock down, starting mid-March 2020. She didn't have a phone, due to inability really to use it and because of hearing loss would have trouble with it. Video chat would not have been possible either. I managed to squeak in 2 visits, one outside around her birthday and one inside in a special area. Because of the masks, distancing, hearing, eyesight and dementia, it isn't clear she even realized I was there! I know she hadn't forgotten me because a staff member took a pic of me when I was delivering supplies and when she saw it, she asked why I didn't come in, didn't I want to see her? That was heart-wrenching as there's no way to get her to understand. Between the 2 visits, she had her first stroke. Two and a half months later she had another, which took her. I was there multiple times during her last days, including when she passed, but by then it's really too late.

When my mother would ask about going to see her mother or her previous home, I would just push it off, maybe tomorrow, which was okay with her. By then (usually well before then) she would forget, but the promise gave her some hope!

Promise your mother as soon as the government allows you will visit again and you can resume your happy days together, going for a walk, having lunch, etc. Tell her it can't come soon enough because you miss her too, but we all have to do our part to stay safe. She may not remember it, but at least by promising more good times soon, you will leave her with hope. Cheer her up by sending cute cards and little treats or flowers.

Hopefully soon this will all just be a painful memory for most, including you and your mother. If she's only in the early stages of cognitive decline, you should have many more years to share together. Look to the brighter future rather than dwelling in the dismal past (and present), none of which is under your control. Make plans for the two of you when we can be freer again!
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Reply to disgustedtoo

Please stop feeling guilty. It is not your fault that she has dementia and it is not your fault that there’s a pandemic going on and restrictions are put in senior group living places.

My MIL keeps asking us to visit her ( we live 1000 miles away ). She has dementia that requires memory care and now lives in a care home. She wonders why nobody would come visit and we tell her that it is not safe because there’s a deadly disease going on. And she’ll say, nobody’s told her. Every time!

I feel bad too. I read somewhere in this forum and I agree, the feeling is not out of guilt, but grief. Her brain has gone bad, and there’s no cure. Also I feel sad that we can’t just do the activities we used to do like getting together with friends, doing activities at the senior center, since we are all seniors ourselves and try to be safe.

in another few months after more people get their vaccine the case numbers should go way down, things will be better, some restrictions will be lifted. It should be happening soon. Hang in there! That’s what I say to myself every day.
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Reply to Ludmila

It isn't guilt, that sinking feeling. It's the sad thought - actually, not even that sad when I write it down - that your mother would love to be having lunch with her daughter, and as things are she'll be having lunch with her fellow residents instead...

So, yeah, not even that sad. She sounds like a lovely, sociable lady who is making the best of things. Only she'd rather have lunch with you. Sounds like it's mutual?

You can't make Covid stop any sooner than it's going to. Praise your mother for her community-mindedness and get your jab asap.
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Reply to Countrymouse

Honest answer? I can’t even understand the rules and regs that are hampering and disturbing and derailing MY life, so why have you decided that you’re the reason that your mom’s life is a tougher place than it was pre-Covid?

Would you feel better just TELLING HER that you’re looking forward to the pandemic being over, when you CAN do fun things again?

YOU didn’t plan an organize the awful mess we’re all living in. I didn’t either. All I want to do is HUG my LO in Memory Care, and I have to fight the guilt CONSTANTLY, even though I KNOW I shouldn’t.

Be good to yourself Dtiara. If you can find some advertising from a nice nearby restaurant or from her favorite store, plan a “trip” for her and talk to her about that.

You and she have the sweetness of days together in the future. Don’t get all glued up about the present. We ALL need to do that. Hope you and she enjoy LOTS OF PLEASANT DAYS, VERY SOON!
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Reply to AnnReid

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