My mom is almost on her way to visit sister number 2. After having her here for slightly over a month, I realize that even though I love my mother, it was too hard for me to care for her. There must be something wrong with me, I couldn't handle it even for a month?
For the last month I have lost my own identity tending to her needs from the time she would get up until I would get her into her bed at night. I am tired and burnt out...I put everything on the back burner to take care of her, ..sometimes she seems so unappreciative, and acts like it's my duty to do all this for her, and what stands out most is that unhappy look on her face.
Right now I'm angry and confused and yet feel a sense of obligation to do this all over again because my mother is in there somewhere.
She is on a list for a Nursing Home but it may be awhile before she gets in. She may be coming back soon if sister no 2 and no 3 can't handle her, but there are some services available for them where they live in case they need it. Since we live out of her area, she isn't covered here to get extra help.
What should I do, am I a horrible person to question whether I can go on looking after her? After observing her for the last month I feel she belongs in a setting where she can get some special around the clock care not in my home. She kept telling my other sisters how terrible she was doing here and how bored she was but she has said this when she was in their homes as well, so she is never happy?.
Sorry, I just needed to vent it out.
I'm sorry you're going thru this. You're not a bad person at all! You're a great daughter for recognizing that your mom needs are greater than you originally anticipated, and possibly she would be happier at your sisters. You've got your moms best interests in heart. Don't feel guilty, you're doing the best possible thing for your mom.
You are not a horrible person and every single one of your thoughts and feelings are identical to those I had when I was living with my Mom. There were many days when I despaired, I put my head into a pillow and shouted I can't do this any more!
It was only because my brother noticed how it was affecting me that he agreed to take Mom to live in their house, he and his wife both agreeing. They did that SIX months after promising me that they would. The longest 6 monhs of my life, believe me. Then after living with them only 3 months, Mom fell down the stairs, broke her hip, had surgery and attempted rehab and wound up permanently in a wheelchair at a nursing home.
I felt guilty for years (Mom went to my brother in June 2005, fell in Sept 2005) but after therapy I realize that we can only do what is possible for us. I was not superwoman, and I was trying to be. I did live with her for 5 years, but remember that at the start she was 'almost' normal .. the last year was really the only BAD time...
Do what you have to do to get that NH slot for your Mom, put pressure on them, say she MUST have a bed! The squeaky wheel gets the oil. Do not feel guilty! No guilt allowed here!
Oh Dorri, just so sorry you're feeling like this. Most here know too well those same feelings.
This is a HORRID disease! That unhappy look on your Mom's face is the same one we've seen reflected from our loved ones....most of it is caused from the fact that part of them realizes the changes...and challenges they are causing US!
So much of the behavior pattern that brings about the Alzheimer's diagnosis will change our lives too! I sure agree with Martha that the difficult decision of nursing home placement is usually the kindest action we can take.
Nothing in our life has prepared us for what any type of dementia brings with it...and we cannot feel guilty for trying to do our best and not succeeding in the manner we expect.
You're stronger than you think Dorri......just keep posting.....Pam
Thanks for all your replies.
I think mom will be happier in a Nursing Home setting. She always had a social personality before the dementia hit. I don't think one family member can provide enough of the mind stimulation she needs.
Mom told me that my sister told her that she doesn't have to go anywhere and that she can live with them? Huh?. How long will my sister be able to do this before calling out for our help again.
Martha, we have a house where our bedrooms are located by stairs, both upstairs and downstairs, so I slept with one ear open listening for mom's night wandering worrying that she might fall. It doesn't help that she is on a blood thinner.
It will take me awhile to get back into sleeping soundly.
Your mom was in your care for a long time, so I can understand how difficult that must have been especially since you were calling out for help months earlier. How did your brother and his wife manage with her, was it difficult for them too?
My mom is quite a bit different from what she was in July in comparrison to what she is now. She has declined rapidly. Most evident is her memory loss and her sudden inability to do anything for herself even the little things, although there are days she will still do some things? I'm still not sure I understand this?
Dorri, you are strong enough to admit that you can't do it any more and that is the hardest thing to do. Just let your sister's know that it is imperative for your Mom to be placed before it comes your turn again. I am sure they will see your point when it is their turn. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being able to admit that you have reached your limit. It is exactly what we each should be able to do. We are not super human. We can't do it all. We can't do the same thing a fully staffed facility does. There are probably 15 to 20 people that have contact with Mom and Dad each day now instead of one. How could I do all they can do.
So I applaude you for all you have done. You have accomplished what you were not sure you could accomplish and your month is almost over. You have done it well but had the strength to say you are done. Be proud of yourself.
The three months Mom lived with my brother and SIL were hard on them and her.
She was used to living in her own apartment, and felt in control there. Suddenly she was a guest in someone's home. My brother and SIL are both retired, home all day (thus making it easier for them than for me, one person, then working full time) .. but she began to 'shadow' my brother, following him around the house like a puppy dog. They could never go anywhere without taking her along. They had to take her to the house closing (they had downsized) and sitting around the lawyer's table she kept asking when the barbecue would be done! They took her to a senior center but it was a disaster, people noticed that she was not in her right mind and ignored her.
Once she had recovered from surgery and gotten used to the routines in the NH, she was much happier there - more to do, more friendly people, not feeling isolated in someone's house. They even took her on several outings, including a trip to a zoo in the wheelchair equipped van. I never did find out how she liked that trip because the next day she said, "what zoo?"
The NH even had an Elvis impersonator at the 4th of July party, which was probably the highlight of her stay, she forgot he had died and thought it was him ...
First thing is that NO your not a horrible person. Mom lives in AL facility and some weeks I say that "I can't keep this up any longer". Mom doesn't do anything now. Nothing. She must be lead to even get dressed. She sits in her chair and waits for one of us to come. I have two sisters and we are all very tired. We have brought Mom to our homes for the night and I'm exhausted when I take her to her apartment.
I don't think that Mom "thinks" anymore. She seems like she has no thoughts. She will call and say she is hungry. I tell her there are snacks in her fridge or sitting right on her cabinet. She doesn't see them or have a thought to open the fridge door. She doesn't move. She will just stare. I suppose what is going on is that the thought process is gone. Like " I want some coffee. I'll get up and make some". Then the thought is gone and she sits.
I love my Mom with all my heart. I know I'm a good daughter. I'm telling you now that I couldn't have Mom here for a month! No way!! After 10 hours at her place I literally feel like running to the car to get home. I'll get her place in order, wash and iron her clothes, get her showered and all lotioned down and she looks so sweet. I give her a kiss and hug and I'm out of there.
All of us here have had your thoughts and feelings. My Mom is fading and I can't stop this demon from taking her. Don't feel bad Dorri. Your only human and your a good daughter. She is only going to get worse and there is nothing wrong with saying .......enough is enough. I'm done.
You did your month honey. Let it go. You are adult enough to realize that you cannot do it again. That is more important than having your mother back again and having something happen to her because you are exhaused and she were to get up in the night and fall down the stairs.
Dorri, your Momma isn't in that body anymore. It's a wicked imposter that is there to make your life miserable. Your momma is gone. The disease has pushed her out of her body and has taken it over. Your mother wouldn't treat you like this, would she?
You had fought the good fight and have done what you can do. there is nothing wrong with realizing that you cannot safely take care of your mother again.
As Martha says, No guilt. You have done well...now let go...we are proud of what you have done!
Thank you, each of your replies are so comforting..(tears..tears..) I need that advice to really sink in...thank you..now I have to find some words to tell my sister especially the one who thinks we need to tough it out.
All 3 of my sisters work and like one sister said when she had mom in her care "going to work was like a holiday because it was a break from mom" I don't work outside the home because of a health condition, so it's mom and I from morning til night, I can't run from her.
Now my month is over, yet this morning I forgot that mom was gone and jolted up thinking I had forgotten to remove her support stockings for the night. LOL think it will take a few days to sink in that she has left.
I wish all a Happy New Year filled with lots of extra strength, lots of patience, love, understanding, and wisdom. I found in my last month I needed all of the above and then some.
Thanks again, I relate to all the replies and I'm grateful for the support and comfort.
A simple word... let the sister that thinks you should all keep trying do it. I knew Mom and Dad needed placement long before they were placed but listened to that lone dissenting voice in the family. I eventually realized that she thought it would work... as long as somebody else did most of the work. That someone was me. She still doesn't know all that I did. We finally evolved into a situation where it was impossible to keep Mom and Dad at home. I backed up and let her handle it. That's when the move evolved. It is easy to say that something can be done when you are not the one doing it. The hardest thing to do is to stand up and admit that you can not handle a situation as it is and have the courage to make the necessary changes. Arm yourself with facts not emotions. Emotions seem to be dismissed but logical facts are hard to negate. It's simple. "I can't do this any more and we need to make other arrangements!" The rest will come out after you start. Be prepared for disagreement and dissention but be firm in your conviction. The most determined voice is the one that is usually followed... be that voice. If one wants to do something different, then let them do it. They will come to your side soon enough
As for jumping out of bed this morning. I hope you used that energy to do something for yourself. Yes, it will take a while to readjust your life but it will happen. My best advice is to pamper yourself for a while and enjoy having your life back.
oh dorri i know just how you feel. you are not a horrible person and dont think that way. i think we all feel some guilt, but you have to do what is best for you and your mom. our lives are short and you have to be strong and take care of yourself. i know how hard it is, but it really is the truth.
The hardest thing for me was finally realizing that Mom had no recollection of the 5 years I moved from Germany and lived with her in her apartment, took care of her, did everything in my power to help her, knocked myself out for her and screamed into the pillow when I couldn't stand it another moment ....
When I called her at the NH she asked me how the weather was in Germany, how my husband was doing - she had lost all memory of our separation and how I left Germany to go and live with her. Sometimes I thought, what did I do it all for? She doesn't even know I did.
But somewhere inside she did know. And I feel her love even now, from 'the other side' where I believe she is still alive and happy.
It is just human to want some praise or recognition for what we do ...
Thank you I know it is hard for you all too.
Mom is very confused too, and asks why sister no 2 didn't come to see her..she's the one that lives hundreds of miles away. My mom's mind is between 3 geographical areas, one day she thinks she's there, and another day there..Martha, I understand the frustration you must of felt at times when your mom was having memory blanks.
One of my sister's wrote me today and told me she can't put mom in a Nursing Home and wants to take care of her indefinitely? It's her home that mom left here to go to and where mom will be staying for how long remains to be seen. I can't interfere in her decision, if she wants to look after mom I have to respect that.
My other sister feels we need to relieve her after a while because she will need the break, so we are back to square one. I tried to tell her that I pretty near had it but don't know if she took me seriously. I'm so tired, I want to help out but don't think I can do it again and if everything goes as planned mom will be coming back next month. Now I'm feeling guilty that I'm letting my sisters down.
Deb, mom has gone but all I have been doing is thinking about her all day and getting more and more frustrated.
Dorri, you're not letting your sisters down. Nor are they letting you down. This is a tough situation and all of you are trying to do what's good for your mom. But they simply haven't come around yet to seeing that it would be better all around if she were in a good facility. Stick to your guns! If sister needs a break, have a caregiver go to her house and grannysit for a day a few times a week, or see if there are any adult day centers nearby. Having my MIL go to a day center two days a week has been my sanity-saver! Don't give in and have your mom come back to your house. Once you do that, you'll be stuck again and they be saying what's the big deal?
I have a motion detector that I place across MIL's bedroom door when she takes her nap during the afternoon. I'm disabled myself and need to lay down, so as soon as she lays down, I do too. But I was ruining my own rest by constantly getting up to see if a noise I heard was her getting up. The motion detector now alerts me when she gets up and I am able to get off my spine for a better length of time. Maybe that would help your sister.
I hope your sisters come to understand your reasoning soon.