Katy, I was exactly where you are now just two short years ago...... and I am here to tell you that you have absolutely NO reason to feel guilty because you have done exactly the right thing. Even in the earlier stages of Alzheimer's, your Mom has no clue there is anything wrong with her. It is the rest of the world that has gone crazy around her and she is the only one that is OK
My Dad has had vascular dementia for about 10 years. Mom was his primary caregiver. Then about 5 years ago she started complaining.... hummmm... that was just not typical for Mom. She told us that her doctor said she was depressed. That makes sense. She had been caring for Dad, who is truly easy to care for, for 5 years. Before that she had cared for her Mom who died of Alzheimer's. That's enough reason to be depressed when you want to be traveling and enjoying your retirement. So we let that one go right over our heard. Three years ago it became obvious and Mom was diagnosed with ALZ. It was so easy to blame it on caregiver depression and the rest was blamed on Dad. He didn't remember if he did it and if Mom said he did, how could anybody dispute that?
We actually tried, and we did find Mary Poppins/Marian Van Trapp/ English Butter type person. The caregiver we hired already had wings!!! She was experience, patient, willing to do anything we needed her to do. She would bring their paper, do their grocery shopping, clean and cook, take them to the doctor, give them their meds.... she just didn't wash windows
. Mom HATED having her in the house. Mom made life miserable for everybody. The phone rang constantly with Mom complaining. If we didn't get rid of that blah blah blah lady. Our angel hung in there until the day Mom started hitting her because there was no way she could defend herself except to leave. After the caregiver left my Mom went outside, laid down in the yard screaming hysterically that she wanted to die and refused to stop. Here I am talking to Dad who is the only one there
I called Mom's best friend who fed Mom chocolates laced with Xanax and called her sister who took Mom and Dad to her house.
The next day, after a quick trip through the doctor's office, Mom and Dad were off with my sister. Little did they know that they would be moving into AL just a few days later. Talk about the fuss they raised. Mom stayed in an uproar and she could whip Dad into a frenzy anytime she wanted. I have two messages on my answering machine that I have saved. One disowns me and kicks me out of the will and the other... she is just going to kick my butt into tomorrow. They have been there for two years and there is a reason I saved them. They are to prevent guilt!! The first time I heard them they were horrible to listen to and I questioned what we had done. Yep, the guilt bug chewed into my heart and soul.
Fast forward two years. Mom and Dad are now in a locked Alz unit. Dad is not that much worse. His Vascular Dementia has taken a step down but he's rather stable. Mom on the other hand is on a steep slipper rapid slide downward. It became obvious that she could not maintain in AL. She was running out the front door barefooted looking for the van that was not there so she could go back "HOME". She terrorized the staff with her antics. The dryer didn't work so she threw the wet laundry at the receptionist. She opened the door and it was not going round and roung!! She threw the remote at the nurse because she couldn't get a dial tone and the phone at the aid because it would not change the tv channel. She was furious at the rec director because the CD wouldn't play on the record player.
So I moved them here to a locked facility. She thought it was a respite before she went "HOME". When she realized it was forever she flipped out and ended up in a Senior Behavioral Med Unit for 10 days. Her Alzheimer's had gone straight to her personality/self control centers. At this point she can not make a complete sentence. She has lost her words and uses the wrong word most of the time. She still wants to go "HOME" but is medication to the point that hysteria and aggression is not possible. Sunday, she didn't know who I was for the first time. She just wanders off, going "HOME", walks around the circular walk in the courtyard and comes back. A few minutes later she does it again.
I learned something important. We can't feel guilty when we do the right thing even if it is not what our parents want us to do. We have been so conditioned to "mind" our parents and "respect" their wishes that it is ingrained. But in this situation we can't "mind" our parents wishes out of "respect" for them. We can't leave them in the home they love for their own safety and well being any more than they could have left us there alone when we were toddlers. You don't feel guilty taking your little one to a day care
So guilt is not allowed!! You have done what is right and good. You have nothing to feel badly about. Actually you should be proud of yourself for having the heart and soul and strength and courage to do what needed to be done in the face of their anger.
Just know you are not alone. My pictures have been torn up, I have been chewed up and spit out on the phone and in person, I have been kicked out of the will and disowned, I have been threatened with every possible ill, and I have even had the cops called on me for stealing their van. (For real she called 911)..... and somehow I have survived. I have even relocated my sense of humor along with the knowledge that I did what was good and right.
Yes, you will figure it all out and get more focused in the future. You will learn to just nod like a bobble head and smile as they rant and rave. Then you will get in touch with their doctor and request medication to take the edge off of their anger and frustration.
I was not a proponent of psychotropic medication to start with but I am now. I realized that they are truly in emotional pain. Beyond that they truly don't have the ability to express that anger and frustration in appropriate ways. As Mom's geriatric psychiatrist explained it to me... I would never refuse Mom medication for physical pain. I would never make her suffer that pain if I knew there was some medication that would take it away. So why was I not willing to do the same for her emotional pain? Good question!! He stopped me in my tracts and made me think.
Mom and Dad are both on a psychiatric cocktail of medication. They are not in a drooling stupor but the edge has been taken off the pain they are in and they are doing better now. Cognitively, they are worse, but emotionally they are much better
I haven't had to duck lately!!!
I hate you needed to be here Katy but I am so glad you found us. This is a great group and we have all been where you are. Just know that you have done exactly what you should have done and there is no room for guilt because you have so much more to deal with....
So welcome to the board and I hope to hear a lot more from you. Know I will keep you and your parents in my thoughts and prayers.
PS... here's your first towel. You are going to need it. You can wring it in frustration, tie up your guilt in it, wipe your wet eyes and even blow your nose in it. Or you could use it to pop those that annoy your. It's the most valuable thing you can have on Planet Alzheimer's because that's where your parents are. They are no longer of our world but in a world of their own. But most importantly.... we have the other end of that towel so hold on