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My father died this year after a short battle with cancer. My Mom has had Parkinson's disease for over 20 years and is wheelchair bound. She has to have 24/7 care because she cannot do anything for herself. I have basically moved in with her and while we have caregivers so I can continue to work, her memory is failing and I find myself at my wit's end. My family has noticed that I am stressed and they say it shows in my face and attitude. The caregivers we have are great, but when something happens and they cannot come (illness, etc) it throws us all off. Mom is showing signs of dementia in that she cannot remember the simplest things at times and is also showing signs of Sundowner's. I promised her years ago I would not put her in a nursing home, and while I want to keep her at home as long as I can, it is becoming increasingly difficult to stay with her. We live in a small town and it is hard to find good help that you can count on. I feel guilty for even considering a nursing home for her.

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You have to forget about promises made in the past when things were different. You have to do the right thing, regardless of old promises made out of a sense of something that doesn't apply now. This specific promise is not contract anybody can keep. We do not get to pick how we age or pass.

Let go of guilt. Guilt will waste your energy that you are going to need to handle all the financial, legal, emotional, and other needs that need attention. I always say that if you haven't done anything illegal or immoral, you have nothing to feel guilty about.

I challenge you to write down much more specific feelings you have. You are not the first or only person to feel these things. Here's a jump start:
- regret that things are the way they are
- helplessness to stop aging
- fear of the unknown future
- grief over losing the personality of the person
- sadness over losing opportunities to do certain things that never got done
- uncertainty with unwanted change
- personal doubt over being able to handle it all
- distress over how overwhelming it all is
- anxiety over not knowing what to do or how to cope

Just for starters. Writing this all down really will help you.
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Hmmm, mom caregiver would be out of a job if you place her in a care facility, yes? Not what I'd call an unbiased opinion.

There are stats about the high percentage of folks who die within a year of placement. I have to assume that that's because they were very ill. My mom had been in a nh for 15 months now and had mostly thrived. She's getting better health care than she would at home. The nurses have picked up on pneumonia several times when it was mostly asymptomatic.

I watched my grandma decline many years ago at home. Cut toe ( aunt did her foot care, my mom has a podiatrist who comes in). Brother brought home the flu. Pneumonia, then gangrene. A horrible way to die. Staying at home is not the bed of roses it's made out to be.
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Jeanne, wonderful article! Thanks for sharing that with me. I just have to realize that Mom doesn't mean what she says most of the time and that she isn't the same Mom who raised me. She has changed and it is so hard to watch her decline.
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I just talked to Mom's caregiver on the phone and she said "your Mom would die if you put her in a home". That is not the first time she has told me that. I gently told her that Mom may love it there; she would have others around her. Of course there would be a learning curve but it is not the caregiver's place to tell me what to do! ARGH!
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Here is a very good AgingCare article about promises we've made to our parents in the past:
https://www.agingcare.com/articles/I-promised-my-parents-I-d-never-put-them-in-a-nursing-home-133904.htm
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No, it would be better for both of you. It will give both of you more time together without all the baggage you have now. So you have a choice: work yourself to death or let the pros carry the burden while you sip tea with mom.
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My husband had dementia 10 years before his death. I never promised him I would keep him out of a nusing home, although he would have liked such a promise. Instead I promised him I would always see that he got the best care and that I would never abandon him. As it turned out, with help I was able to keep him at home, but I would have placed him in a care center if I thought he would get better care there.

You made your promise years ago, in good faith. But no one can foresee the future and promises like "never" and "always" are risky. You've done your best. Now it is time for your family to take a hard look at what is really best going forward.

Guilt is a fact of life for caregivers. Sorry. We don't earn it but we feel it in spades. Push it to the back of you mind and make good decisions in spite of it. If you keep Mom at home and something disastrous happens you will feel guilty that you didn't get her into a care center. If you succumb to stress and are laid up and can't take care of her, you will feel guilty that you didn't take better care of yourself.

Guilt is in your future. Accept it. When it comes to making decisions, ignore it. You shouldn't make decisions for your mother's care based on what lowers your guilt level. She deserves more objectivity than that!
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There are days and times when I think a nursing home is the best place for her but how do I get past the guilt of feeling like I am only doing it because it would be better for ME? She has told me she doesn't want to go to a nursing home...well who does? Of course, you always hear the negative things about a nursing home too when you talk to caregivers, etc. We (the family) agreed we would not do anything until after the first of the year and here we are!
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If you don't get her to a Nursing Home, you will die before she does. Ask her, is that what she wants? No mother wants to kill her child with this burden. Talk to her MD about placement. You can still see her, hold her hand and kiss her.
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