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I'm scared that if she goes they will be mean to her but I'm so worn out

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When her needs exceed your ability to meet them, whether that means physically or financially or both.

That is the question I have been asking myself for the last 4 years. My mother was diagnosed with dementia in 2010 or 2011, and I promised my father on his deathbed in 2012 (believe it or not, she was the one caring for HIM 24x7--he had Parkinson's!) that "Mom will always have a place with my husband and me"--and I meant every word of it, it wasn't just that I wanted to ease his mind so he could die in peace. It was an easy promise to make, because I was under the misimpression that half her problem was being worn out from caring for him--besides which, after 60+ years of marriage, she was prostrate with grief and everyone thought she would grieve herself to death not long after him. But after rest and good nutrition, she started to bounce back and recover from her burnout. And she thrived in adult daycare. But then you could see that her skills were starting to slip. Even as her skills declined, I just kept reading and researching and finding new ways to cope. And when co-workers would say "Why don't you just put her in a nursing home!" I would get indignant. I really did want to keep her home, and I would say "When she can no longer feed herself." But we have been in a fairly steep downward spiral in the last year. First it was pneumonia in March 2015, but the hospital said it wasn't bad enough to keep her 3 nights, so we got cheated out of discharge to a subacute facility. (But at least we got the opinion of a new neurologist, who says it's not vascular dementia at all but rather advanced Alzheimer's!) Then starting August 2015 her gait started slowing and she started having difficulty negotiating stairs, and also started talking about her mother as though she were still alive (though she died over 60 years ago). And now in March 2016, a mild case of pneumonia again, so mild that she didn't even go to the hospital but I was forced to stay home a week to care for her. I am not a health professional, and I am 5 years away from retirement, and I have come to the difficult decision after much agonizing over it that after 4 years my reserve tanks are empty, I am burnt out, I can no longer care for her because her needs exceed my ability to care for them. I am seeing the family lawyer today at 6 pm to figure out what our next steps are. I am not taking this step lightly. I have stuck to it and stayed the course as long as I could. As her power of attorney, I spent her money frugally, denying myself the luxury of respite care if it would mean she could stay out of an institution longer. But it is to the point where we are having screaming matches at least once a month. She isn't happy. I'm not happy. We can't go on like this. It's like she's a drowning swimmer and she's dragging me under the water with her. I can't let history repeat itself and have caregiving do to me what her care for my father did to her. We have to stop the madness. If she can't afford the nursing home, and there is no medical reason to put her there, then we will have to find some other sort of placement. But when you get burnt out, like it sounds like you are and like I know for sure I am, you have to do something. Respite works for awhile, and can help you recover and recharge. But when it gets to where you get to be a respite junkie, and you dread having the aide leave, you know it is time.
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If you are worn out, then SOMETHING needs to change!

Are you getting help with her care at home? Would having an outside caregiver come in a couple of afternoons a week make it possible for you to continue at home?

I have not had the experience of caregivers being mean to my mother at the NH. My mother was an anxious wreck when she was home; now she's mostly quite content. She's enjoying activities and gets all her medical care "in house". We are not there "constantly", but someone sees her at least 3X per week.
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Difficult decision that you're facing. A couple of big picture questions
1. Are you the sole caregiver ? If you're exhausted then you need a break- do you have family or home aides?
2. How advanced is her dementia? She may not need skilled nursing care but only assistance with activities of daily living
3. What is her financial situation? Medicare only covers short term stays in a nursing home following a min. 3-day hospital stay. Would she require coverage by Medicaid ?
4. Some assisted living and memory care facilities offer short term respite stays

My personal experience is that dementia worsens especially sundowners in an institutional setting and I had to hire a sitter when my mom was hospitalized following a fall and then spent 6weeks in rehab- unfortunately even the 5star rated nursing homes can be dreadful and you have to be there constantly

My mom is now in a memory care facility which I chose to give her a better quality of life vs. a nursing home - it is not for the faint of heart due to the wide range of folks suffering with the disease - men especially can get violent and care staff is insufficient - I'm spending thousands each month on private caregivers because she is so scared to be alone there and has fallen in her room at night - it is a no win situation
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