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Old 08-15-2008, 05:01 PM   #1
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Guilt - Nursing Home

How does one get past the guilt when it comes time to place their father in a nursing home. I can no longer take care of him for safety reasons but the guilt it killing me.

 
Old 08-15-2008, 05:18 PM   #2
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Re: Guilt - Nursing Home

Don't let the guilt kill you. You are doing the right thing for your father. You know what he needs. You can't do it all...none of us can and you have to be smart enough and strong enough to act on his behalf when it is necessary.

It hurts us all to place our parents somewhere other than with us but believe me when I say this...it is for their own good! And yours!

This past February we had to move my mom out of her home and it was hard for us all but she is doing much better there.

Truthfully, it was harder on us than her!

Good luck and hang on.

Love, Meg

 
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Old 08-15-2008, 05:22 PM   #3
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Re: Guilt - Nursing Home

The guilt will never *go away* but it will ease.

You need to look at it from a different perspective otherwise your going to eat yourself up and that's going to make you unhealthy in more ways than I care to imagine.

Ultimately you need to say:
  • It was not in Dad's or mine best interest that he stay at home. If he had have stayed at home, I would have become ill and I would have been unable to look after him anyway and then he would have ended up ANYWHERE.
  • It is not because I have failed. I did not fail. I did everything I could do for as long as I can. In that sense, I have succeeded.
  • If something had have happened to dad, the authorities would have put the blame squarely at my feet for keeping Dad unsafe. Dad is safe now.
  • I can get some rest and relax a little bit now and when I visit Dad I can be more cheerful because I have a chance to recharge my batteries and give Dad the love he deserves whilst he get's the care from those qualified who can do what needs to be done to keep dad Dry,fed and Safe.

Yes .. Dad is in or about to go into a nursing home, but it's not the end of the world. Don't beat yourself up about it .. because I'm damn proud of your achievements !!!

You did as much as you could, for as long as you could. IfOnce Dad has been in the NH for a week or so,and you've had a bit more sleep under your belt you might think "Oh it wasn't that bad" .................but .... yes .......... it WAS that bad and if you bring him home, it will be "just as bad" quicker.

Your guilt comes from your heart, which means you love your Dad whole heartedly. So love him a bit more, and make sure he's safe, dry, fed so you can give him the love of a daughter.

Good on ya!
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... your loved one hasn't forgotten you ... the DISEASE doesn't remember you

Last edited by gemini1961; 08-15-2008 at 07:28 PM.

 
Old 08-15-2008, 06:08 PM   #4
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Re: Guilt - Nursing Home

jgj...every one of us who have had to make this decision truly understands your guilt and sad feelings...there's probably nothing that we can say that will ease those feelings...but, we DO understand.

This is a progressive disease...it will never, ever go back to how it was before...for the victim...or us. I'm so glad you've found your way to this forum............it will prove to be a valuable place to get information, ask questions, and share challenges. Lots of shoulders that understand EXACTLY how you feel.

We had to put my Mom in an AF over 10 years ago! It was truly heartwrenching...but it was absolutely the BEST thing we could have done for her. The caretakers are excellent...their understanding and actions in how they treat Alzheimer's patients has certainly taught me a lot! She's still there...in the very end stages...and I pray for Peace for her...but that strong little body refuses to give up.

Please return often...you'll find that your posts will ease the pain and guilt for others yet to come. Sending prayers your way.......Pam

 
Old 08-15-2008, 07:52 PM   #5
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Re: Guilt - Nursing Home

Welcome to the forum jgj. You have come to a wonderful place and I hope you find it helpful.

We had to place both of our parents in Assisted Living almost a year ago. When it first happened I had feelings of guilt but since then I have come to realize it was the best thing for both my parents and for me.

How can I feel guilty for giving my parents the care they need? How can I feel guilty for placing them in the care of professionals that are more able to give them the quality of care that I can not accomplish? I don't have a nurse on staff 24/7 or a doctor available three times a week. I don't have planned activities that fit their level of competency on a daily basis. I can't fix three balanced, varied meals every day and be sure that all their medication is given while checking for side effects and monitoring their vital signs. I can't stay awake 24 hours a day to watch them and keep them safe. I don't have wonder monitors on every door to make sure they don't wonder away. I can't watch them while I cook and clean and take care of all that needs to be done.

So now I find it really hard to feel guilty for giving my parents the best care possible even if that care is not coming from me.

Those are just my thoughts I do hope you find your peace in what was necessary for you and your father. I will keep you both in my thoughts and prayers...

Love, deb

 
Old 08-15-2008, 08:23 PM   #6
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Re: Guilt - Nursing Home

When we put my Dad in a nursing home I felt terrible, but it's the first night I slept straight through in months.

Remember that his reality isn't yours. You might think of all the wonderful things you could do in your home; favorite movies on DVD, TV, books, crafts, hobbies, visits with friends - but most likely your Dad isn't enjoying any of that. My Dad was frustrated as everything in his house reminded him of something he couldn't do, that he wasn't in control. In the nursing home his life was much calmer - and I think he actually lived longer and felt better because of it.

The first visit I saw this old woman sitting by the front door of the nursing home, she would wave and say "Hi Bob" to everyone, unless it was a child - then she would say "Hi Baby." She'd be there all day long, and I thought how horrible it would be - to have that be all there was to life. Then I realized, she's happy as a clam! This was a big busy nursing home, so people were constantly coming in and out of that door. She had hundreds of people to wave at, that was all she needed. For her - being at home with no one to wave at would be horrible. When my Dad died 3 years later she was still sitting there waving.

 
Old 08-16-2008, 04:40 AM   #7
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Re: Guilt - Nursing Home

I felt guilt also, but from people on this Board I finally saw the light.

My Mom's 2.5 years in a good nursing homes were happy years for her. It was not at all like we had imagined. People were not drugged into conformity, not tied to their beds, not neglected, did not sit in dirty diapers, the place was cheerful, the staff were friendly and caring, and Mom was properly medicated, fed, washed, changed, entertained, and made comfortable -- far far better thatn I was able to do at home, which I did for 5 years with increasing frustration leading to a breakdown of my own health.

You did the right thing.

love,

Martha

Last edited by Martha H; 08-16-2008 at 11:37 AM.

 
Old 08-16-2008, 11:23 AM   #8
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Re: Guilt - Nursing Home

I would like to thank everyone who replied to my posting. My dad has lived with me since my mother's death in Jan. 2001. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's one year ago, even though it was quite evident something was wrong long before that, and it is progressing quickly. He is now considered moderate/severe. He has incontinence, doesn't sleep, wanders and has had 3falls since July 31st. He is getting weaker and I am so afraid he is going to seriously hurt himself. He has been hospitalized 4 times the last three months with dehydration. I am fortunate that I have visting nurses and a home health aide that can assist with his showers. I never thought in my wildest dreams that a time would come when I would have to change my father's clothes including his depends. He wets everywhere and the work that is involved in his care is huge. I do it all alone because it is just my father and myself. I had to quit work in February and I need to get back. I think if he lived in his own house and I was putting him in a nursing home that would be one thing but since he has lived with me for nearly eight years it is harder. I can't go anywhere as his care is 24/7. The days the aide is here I can at least get my groceries. Thanks for listening and I appreciate your caring responses. GJG

 
Old 08-17-2008, 07:08 AM   #9
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Re: Guilt - Nursing Home

I feel for you, I really do. It seems as though you've reached the point where you know what the right thing to do is, but just can't take that step.

It was hard for me to deal with putting mom in just an assisted living facility; and now a nursing home, but you what? Thank God I did. She was a danger to herself and I had my own family to care for so I wasn't able to take care of her 24/7.

About a year ago, I sat down at the kitchen table with my mom and had a very frank discussion with her and expressed my fears for her safety. At the time, she was still able to understand what was being said to her, so she understood how worried her little girl (as she always calls me) was about her.

I suggested to mom that we go and visit the ALF just to see what it's like....she moved in two days later. Oh, she was not that happy about it, believe me; but she knew it was the right thing to do thank goodness.

The dementia has really progressed now, and my mom is living in the past. Had I not taken the steps to get her into a facility, I shutter to think what could have happened if she was still home, alone, for most of the day. She just isn't the same mom as she was a year ago. You have to keep that in mind too, that their minds do not think like ours.

The main thing you need to consider is keeping them safe and keeping you sane! I hope you can come to terms with what you need to do. Looking back, I should have done it sooner.

Best of luck.

 
Old 08-18-2008, 09:53 AM   #10
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Re: Guilt - Nursing Home

gjg,

Honey, You have run the good race. No one will ever say that you didn't do all that you could. But the time has come to ask for help. Look at it this way. The staff in the nursing home are fresh and wide eyed because they get sleep and only work 8 hours a day, not 24/7. Your father would not expect you to ruin your health and his to take care of him. A good NH can care for our loved ones 24/7 with games and memory challenges, trained staff, nurses, med calls, in house dentists, doctors, round the clock staffs, 3 balanced meals and snacks, baths, changing clothes without fights, constant supervision, alert staff...

It was the hardest thing that we ever did.and the best thing that we ever did. And the hurt never left my heart. But it was for the best for my mother and my father..... Know that you are doing the right thing for both of you. If something were to happen to your daddy while you were sleeping or doing some other thing you would never forgive youself....

 
Old 08-18-2008, 10:04 AM   #11
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Re: Guilt - Nursing Home

gjg,
Been there, done that. My Mom began getting really bad in January, by February, we had to watch her 24 hours and work full time, too. By June, my DH and i were walking zombies. The day she wandered into the closed garage, 106 degrees outside, tore it for me. She just was not safe at home. Yes, feelings of guilt and failure, for sure. But the kind words and encouragement I found on these boards gave me the courage and strength of will to almost overcome those feelings. She has now been in a NH for a little over 2 months, happy and at home there. She is much better off, well cared for, watched 24 hours in case she wanders, monitored so she can't go outside without someone with her. Things we just could not do at home. She actually thinks she is back in nursing school at Baylor and in the dorm.
It does get better. The bit of peace you find, once the empty nest syndrome lessens is great.
Your dad will be much better cared for. You CANNOT do it alone.
Do what you need to do, and continue to post and ask questions. This is a wonderful place to get encouragement and answers and ideas.
Susie

 
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