I've read lots of the posts in this forum, and I see many more that reflect anger, frustration and resentment than I do that reflect the satisfaction of taking care of others. For those who've been caregivers for a while - if you could go back in time, had the financial ability to put your loved one(s) in an appropriate facility, and live your life without the burden of caregiving, would you do it? Complicated question, I know, but thank you.

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No one is going to spend their time writing glowing reviews of the joys of caring for your elderly parent /in-law, etc. The reason we seek support groups like this is because we are struggling, We are often burned out, frustrated and with no one to vent to (because most of our family and friends can’t relate or are done listening). Of course there are some joys but let’s be realistic….the little free time we have isn’t going to spent telling everyone how joyful caregiving is.
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PatsyN Jan 16, 2022
Exactly. ❤.
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I've had my parents living in Assisted Living since 2014, in Independent Living before that since 2011, and now Memory Care AL since 2019 for my mother. If I could go back and do things differently by caring for them at home instead, I would not. Why? Because they have been given a very good experience in IL, AL and now in Memory Care. I feel that my father was given excellent daily physical therapy while in AL after his broken hip which allowed him to walk again, somewhat, before he passed away (of a brain tumor) in 2015. He liked AL life and played cards with the men there. My mother moved into a smaller apartment afterward but continued living there; her friends rallied around her when she became a widow and helped her through the grief; got her out of her apartment & back into the dining room & the activities and entertainment. 2 bouts of pneumonia were caught early by the attentive staff and she recovered from each; had she not been in AL, I feel like she would have died by now (she's 95 on the 20th). In Memory Care nowadays with advanced dementia, she has peers to socialize with and thinks she's being taken out to dinner nightly and to various places for entertainment (which isn't true). So she's been quite happy about that lately.

Had she been living with me, she'd have no socialization b/c DH & I have worked up until recently; she'd have been isolated and alone most of the time. Plus she has too many health issues which I'm not qualified (or interested in) dealing with. Not everyone is a natural caregiver and that's okay too.

People insist that homecare is best but it's not a one size fits all scenario. My uncle had 'caregivers' come into his home and they robbed him blind; one was caught red handed with a huge suitcase (his) filled to the brim with his silver & china, putting it in the backseat of her car. He was neglected to the point of dehydration and not being fed, too. No situation is perfect. The pros & cons have to be weighed first in order to make an informed decision.

You're going to get quite a few skewed views about the 'horrors' of Assisted Living here, and comments from our resident nursing home haters who have no firsthand experience with them, so beware. Make sure you listen to commenters who are giving you advice based on firsthand experience & aren't just emotional cries without basis or full disclosure. That's important to note, in my opinion.

Best of luck to you!
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Ariadnee Jan 16, 2022
Thank you so much for being the voice of reason here and consistantly calling people out on their less than informed posts.
I simply cannot fathom those throwing stones at us in the trenches, when it's patently obvious they are clueless about what it takes to be a caregiver in any capacity.
Otherwise, this is a very helpful forum, glad it's here.
It’s so difficult to answer that question because I am in the midst of caregiving now. My bride of 31 years lives with early and sudden onset of Alzheimer’s (66 yo @ diagnosis). We were seeing signs at age 62, but no definitive proof.

Today she still knows who I am, with occasional wonder of the man in the room. But she still knows me. Yet she cannot name all of our 5 children. Sometimes she knows 2, 3, 1, or none of them from pictures. The progression is quick for Jan.

The issues of caregiving are arduous. Am I feeding, bathing and medicating, properly? While those questions are appropriate the more important is, “Am I showing her the love and care that I promised her I would on 12/1/90?” That love can be shown rather she lives at home with me or in a memory care facility. But for her current level of needed care, she can receive that at home.

Will I place her in a MC facility? Likely yes, at some point in time. But I’ll fight against that day as long as I can. Don’t get me wrong, there are days I question how much longer I can do this. In fact, I think that question happens in my mind many times everyday. But I breath, pray, and ask God, for patience and strength. I often fail in both.

If it wasn’t for a wonderful caregiving partner named Audra, I would likely had to place my bride months ago. But this wonderful lady, who I found through an agency has treated Jan with care, comfort and friendship. Her help allows me times to go out for the day and read, have, coffee, exercise, go to a movie. What ever I want to do. Without this the famous burnout would have happened months ago.

As I said, my preference is to keep my love at home as long as I can, but there is certainly nothing wrong with placement. Each scenario is different. No two cases are alike. Factors like:
Expenses - Can you afford in home or facility care?
Your age and heath - Are you physically capable of caring for your loved one at home?
Knowledge - Do you know how to handle his/her medical and personal hygiene needs?
Patience - Can you remain calm in those tough moments?

All these and many more questions play a part in the needed care for your loved one AND YOU.

I cry a lot, knowing that my bride doesn’t have the cognitive abilities she used to and that she may very well need more skilled care in the future. But I will do my best, for as long as I can, to keep her home. At the same time, there is certainly nothing wrong with making that placement today, if needed.

I hope this helps.
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Feelingguilty22 Jan 16, 2022
God bless you. I am caring for my mom and I too wonder if I’m doing all I’m supposed to regarding meds, bathing, amount of exercise etc. I certainly wasn’t prepared for this either. I find myself in tears every day. Doesn’t help that my husband wants a divorce. But I guess God wants me here right now. Take care.
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Wouldn't it have been great if I could have only kept my wife at home from onset to death? But once the demands outweighed my ability to properly care for her at home, choices became few and difficult. Caring beyond one's ability can not only result in burnout, but compassion fatigue, where the caregiver feels OBLIGATED to continue to care, even at the expense of his/her own health. I feel badly for those families who cannot afford the cost of a care facility. My experience was nothing but excellent. But I also commend them who are able to keep their LO at home for their strength, their resilience, and their commitment, as long as they have the energy and can provide safe, and necessary care without feeling obligated. I wish Medicare would pay for chronic long term care.
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RedVanAnnie Jan 16, 2022
Nicely said.
I was VERY lucky. My Husband was compliant, gentle, good natured and NEVER had an outburst of anger or violence.
I decided early on that IF it became unsafe for ME to care for him at home I would have to place him and
If it became unsafe for HIM for me to care for him at home I would place him.
With the help of Hospice I got the equipment that I needed so it was never an issue of safety.
Everyone has a "break point" where they can not care for someone any longer. It could be physical , mental, emotional safety they are all valid reasons to make the decision to place someone.
I do not think it is a "failure" I think it is recognizing that the person you are caring for needs more care than you can give. It is a brave, kind, loving person that can come to that decision and make peace with it.
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NeesaLee Jan 16, 2022
Hi Grandma 1954,
If I may add something to your excellent words of wisdom……Daily accessing what is best for both the patient and the caregivers…..(whole family) is so important. I daily asked myself, if I were inside my husbands mind and body what would I want from my caregivers or family? When I the caregiver was at my whitts end, I would think if I were him, Id really rather have a professional, be in AL. Other days I thought he was so happy to be at home, caring for him was rewarding I was glad he was at home. Unfortunately there are no pat answers. It really does go back to deep soul searching when making life’s decisions for someone else. Search your heart do what you would have someone do for you, and you can have peace in the moment and just as important you can live with no regrets after they are gone. Thats how I did it anyways for 6 years.

While trying to apply the golden rule, I did it with a huge amount of praying for wisdom. If you are a believer, you can believe that the Holy Spirit is indeed a “comforter” for you here and now AND will impart wisdom to you if you only ask. I am sometimes amazed at believers I know that only pray or lean into their faith as a last resort. If Jesus the very Son himself asked for help from God, it certainly ok for us to ask as well.

I don’t intend to come across as preachy, but it really does take daily seeking to make right decisions when the right decisions like placing your loved one, don’t FEEL so right. Doing the right thing CAN be really hard to discern.
Stay strong and many blessings!
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I wouldn’t have gone the facility way, but it was because my M was in the end stages of dying from cancer when she left hospital and I knew I could cope 24/7 for the duration – which was four weeks. My ex-husband also died from cancer, but chose to go to a facility because he didn’t want personal care to end up involving family members. Our daughters were with him the night he died. I think everyone needs to keep an open mind, and it depends very much on the circumstances.
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Yes…this was a decision I made in my moms best interest…I chose to ignore what I wanted..which was to pretend she was ok living alone …it makes me think of people who keep a sick pained elderly dog alive …thats not in the dogs best interest..we do it to keep our anxiety level down..I worked through the anxiety, the sadness of my mom not being the woman she used to be. It is a process. Her assisted living facility gives her people her own age to chat with, activities geared to her mental status and hot meals everyday. She loves her little “apartment”..she enjoys the staff and feels reassured a nurse is in the building. I sleep better at night..
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If we could go back in time and know what we do now, we would have taken more time to find the best facility for her needs. The bright, shiney, new facility we initially chose, turned out to be a nightmare and covid didnt help. Our pipe dream was to take her out of there and move her back home, which we did, in February, 2021, and pitch in as a family to provide all of her care. We QUICKLY discovered that we were not, in any way, qualified to give her the skilled care she needed 24/7. As well, we wouldve needed at least 4, rotating private nurses, which wouldve cost over $10,000 a month. Additionally, her home, which she no longer recognized, after 50 years of living there, would have to be renovated to make it safe and accessible for her. It was a lesson of epic proportion. We found another facility, farther away, but more suited for what her needs were and she has been there nearly a year. Is it what she wanted for her life, no. It is certainly not how we all pictured her final years. But, she is safe, clean, properly medicated and has all other essentials and kind people around her to help 24/7.
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Donttestme Jan 16, 2022
This is such a perfect answer for a very difficult situation.
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Some might find it easy to judge others, but we all walk in our own shoes and have to make these decisions based on so many factors: our abilities or the lack thereof to care for elderly parents at home, be that financial ability, physical, family demands or our psychological/mental health reservoir to handle it; what is in the best interests of family, you, your spouse and kids as well as the level of care your parent(s) may require (what is in their best interests medically, physically and given their psychological/mental status); what the past relationship was (in my case, I was a foster kid) and what the future portends. OR a combo of all of the above.

I am in awe of people who can care for their elderly parent 24/7 at home no matter the level of medical, physical or psychological demands (or the behavior issues) of their parent(s)/loved one AND who can do this with or without outside assistance AND who can do this with grace, love, confidence, who do it well and who do not lose themselves or become resentful in the process. I am not one of those people, but I an confident and resolved with my decision to have placed my mom in a nursing home over a year ago.

Sending love and prayers to all navigating these issues and hope all can find resolution and confidence in the choices we each have to make for ourselves, our families and our parent(s)/loved ones.
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bundleofjoy Jan 16, 2022
i like your answer! :) :)

huge hugs of courage from me, to everyone!!
I would do it again. My physical and mental Heath was deteriorating. I couldn’t cope with the ups and downs. One day my husband would take his meds,t he next day refusing them. Weeks on end it would be Pepsi and ice cream. Next few weeks just ice cream or just watermelon.

I would have to go for a drive almost every day with him insisting on the drive. The tantrums like a child were getting worse.

Each person has their own story. I found it was best for me to put my husband in a Memory Care facility. It was also best for him since he would get the proper care I was unable to give him
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