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I just put both of my parents in a nursing home. My Dad has Alzheimers and my Mom has mild to moderate dementia. They were both in the hospital and I moved them from there. My Mom is so mad at me, she says I put her there to die. But she can't take care of herself well anymore, let alone my Dad. He really needs to be there. They were living on their own and the conditions of the home were deplorable and she was either under medication him or over medicating him. She was not taking her own meds. I am single and work, I get no help from my siblings even though I have some. I had one brother who helped but he had a stroke himself 2 years ago and cannot walk or talk anymore, so that leaves me. None of the others help me, although they like to judge me and bad mouth me. It has been the hardest decision I ever had to make and I feel sooooo guilty. I feel they will be better cared for there if my Mom at least gives it a chance, but she is so scared. She thinks they are going to come and get her at night and hurt her or kill her. She cries and begs me to get them out. I have visited everyday, some people tell me not to, but when I don't Mother is so upset. She gets upset and gets my Dad upset. He would be ok, if she didn't continue talking about it to him. It hurts so much to have her say I don't care about them and just want them to die. How does one get through this without any family support???

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Seems almost everyone who has to make this decision has the same guilt and what if... feelings. My Mom still puts the guilt rtrip on me after 18 months. It hurts so bad, but there is no way I can care for her 24/7. And like almost everyone on this site, I, too, have siblings that just do not 'get it'. Seems like they have to belittle the one doing the caregiving to soothe their own guilty consciences. I wish I could tell you that it gets easier, but it hasn't for me. Living 6 hours away just makes it worse after I gave up 3 years to stay with her in her home, she thinks I should still be there. And, yes, the common statement is that we 'threw her way', 'wanted to get rid of her', etc. She doesn't understand, or doesn't want to accept, that she is not being punished; she just can't get up and walk like she used to because of physical problems, not because the staff 'won't let her'. It hurts. And like Secret sister says, God and prayer are the only things that really help. I know He is taking care of my Mom and I take comfort in knowing that He is strengthening me, too, to be able to handle it all.
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You can only do what you can do with your resources. Those who bad mouth you have no right to do so I'm sorry. You do what YOU think is best. Join a caregiver support group, form friendships with those who have similar experiences. No one in our family would be in their right mind to challenge my sister or I with what we do with our parents. While we did move them to a rented home with live in caregiver, what you are doing is for their own safety. If people aren't willing to put up then they need to shut up, that is my motto. It's tough, but people do not know the challenges of being a caregiver.

Being in a nursing home doesn't have to be forever either. If they are still physically able, you may want to consider an assisted living facility to give them some kind of independence. They have dementia wings and many locations. Assisted living is also much cheaper than a nursing home. Everyone feels guilty in the beginning, but as long as you are on top of things and BE INVOLVED...question the staff, observe the staff--make sure you do visit with your parents, then things will start to get better.
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Depends on the nursing home, for sure, but no place is perfect. If, if, if we could care for ours at home, we would. That is not always possible. Our loved one's condition is more than we can handle, so must find the next best solution. This does seem to be the hardest decision we've ever had to make. We have two declining rapidly, and cannot stop the process. They are getting the best care possible, and have our constant supervision and involvement. We're 4 minutes away, and are often overseeing their care. But even this is not enough to manage everything.

As for over- or under-medicating, I find this happens, even in the nursing home. Due to limiting factors, they can only do so much. They can't stop the mind's deterioration, or the natural decline eventually leading to death. I try to remember that even "experts" are still "practicing" physicians, and do not have all the answers.

Many of our loved ones are vulnerable, and can't adequately protect themselves. We do the best we can to fill in the gaps, and leave the rest to God in prayer.
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I think that you have to do what you have to do. If you could take care of them 24/7 yourself you would. I am sorry that you are going through this. I think people who are judging or critical should just be told to back off...I know that nursing homes have gotten bad press, however there reallyare many wonderful benefits to having a loved one where they can get 24 hrs care and 3 good meals a day. Often as folks age they become somewhat "child like" they cannot reason well and they refuse to try to understand. take care and God Bless
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Belinda,
It may help you get through the guilt if you think ROLE REVERSAL. At this point in your parents lives they are much like children in their ability to care for themselves and make good, safe choices. On the other hand, you are at a point in your life where you intuitively know how to handle this situation and have the confidence in yourself to do the right thing even if it hurts. Ask yourself what you would want your children to do if they found themselves in your situation. I am sure you would want them to do exactly what you are doing for your parents. Sometimes, love is as hard and cold as steel. This is certainly one of those times for you! If you did not love your parents it would be easy to go into denial like your siblings have and let things fall as they will. Then you would not have to feel any guilt because you could believe that it was your parents own fault if they screwed up. They are adults and should know better than to mess up with medication instructions or get themselves in dangerous situations. So let go of the guilt and continue to do THE RIGHT THING. You will have no regrets. I cannot say the same for your siblings once they experience the finality of your mom and dad's passing.
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Hi Belinda~I can understand your feeling of guilt. My thought in the matter is if you have exhausted all other possibilites for both your parents, such as daycare-etc; then you had no choice, but to place them in a nursing home. I am assuming you have looked into the possibility of assisted living for them as well.

The way I look at this is, you did what is best for both your parents, as well as for yourself. Perhaps the staff at the nursing home can help support your feelings on this, or even your parents neurologist.

What may be upsetting to your parents is they may feel as though you have taken away their independence-and unfortunately they are not able to view the whole picture.

It sounds to me you did what is best for everyone involved-and you have to support your own feelings in this decision---If you have some time, perhaps going to some support group meetings of your local chapter of the Alzheimer's Association will be of value.The Alz Assoc-also has a hotline that is open 24/7-and that number is 1-800-272-3900.

I personally have gone thru this caregiver journey, and know what it is like to place someone in a facility. I also realize how VITAL caregiver support is. It is important that you DO NOT compromise your own health-which is so easy to do.

Stay strong, and do not let your emotions get the best of you-as for the others in your family, the situation is what it is.

Good luck!

Hap
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Belinda, One of the terrible things about Alzheimers and dementia is that the normal adult reasoning and judgment processes go away. Your parents probably can't make a good decision about what is best for them. They proved they couldn't do it themselves based on your description of their situation when they were at home. And yes, of course your mom is frightened. She is in a strange environment and her brain isn't capable of adapting well because of her dementia. If it helps, when I still had mom at home she had rough nights and would tell me about people hiding in her closet trying to kill her. Does the NH have a chaplain on staff that might be able to talk with your mom and calm her fears?

The guilt you feel is normal. Your head tells you you are doing the right thing, but your heart is torn up. I know, I've been there. Doing this alone is what is so hard. You need to find some support other than your family. I don't know what it is about families, maybe they are in denial, maybe they just can't handle seeing their parents declining so badly. You are the caregiver because somewhere in you, you found the strength to do so. They have not. You can't change them, so you need to look out for yourself. Your local area on the aging will probably have a caregiver support group if the face-to-face thing would help. This site is a lifeline for many caregivers. Stick around, we're good for each other.
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I often think that we need to have a more humane way of dealing with aging parents and realatives.

It is no longer realistic to promise anyone that they will not end up in some type of facility. I think that we make these promises to our parents to help them overcome their fear of abandonment. It would be kinder if we had a frank discussion before the moment occurs. In that way, parents have made their wishes known, provided the caregiver with instructions, and understand their childrens' limitations. Too often caregiving is "sprung" on the child who steps up to the plate. This decision should not become a "lottery."

Perhaps we should focus on helping children have a meaningful dialogue with their parents before situations reach "critical mass." In this youth-fixated country of ours, we view aging as a disease. When was the last time you saw an nice, craggy, older face on your favorite television show? The result is fear of getting older. We fear aging...fear loss of independence...fear death. This is not a healthy way for anyone to live.

Those of us who are caregivers now need to speak up and make our wishes known to our children and future caregivers. Maybe our experiences will be another important legacy that our parents will leave us.
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If parents can "make it on their own" then I don't think anyone writing to this forum (and as far as I have seen, ALL are very caring people) would want to move their parents out of their home. It's when the parents CAN'T make it on their own (even with all sorts of help coming into their private home) that things get tricky and all the anguish starts. I definitely would not want to put my children through what lmw124 went through. We go to hospitals (if we are lucky) when we need to - we go to assisted living residences when we need to and then to nursing homes when we need to. Why pretend something different? All we can expect of our children when the time comes is that they help us find "good" residences and nursing homes and that they visit us when they can. It is up to us to make the best of the rest. I feel that life is about reality - not some dreamwish. We just have to be strong enough to accept this fact. Moving into an assisted living facility or even a nursing home is NOT the END of life - it is another beginning.
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Oh I do understand that all nursing homes are not the same and I do understand it is hard. When my Grandfather was ill I went and lived with them and took care of him. When my Grandmother was ill she came and lived with me and I took care of her. The last conversation my Grandfather and I had was about what would become of my Grandma... I told him actually promised him that I would take care of her. My husband is a wonderful man and enabled me to do what I had promised. Many times it is a hard thing to do but I will always, always be glad that I did. Now my own parents are 85 and 82 and we help them... I do hope to care for them as I did my Grandparents. take care and God Bless
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