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I do not believe people can make others happy, for more than 10 mins (the choice to be happy is internal and our demented loved ones cannot make rational choices). A disease of the brain is still a disease and there is no known cure. All we can do is write and call our legislators to pass laws that help Alzheimers patients live better in whatever amount of time they're allotted. Until our legislators change the horrific system of indenturing family members and stripping our seniors of their dignity, they are NOT earning their paychecks; stand-up and speak up, because you're probably next.
It won't matter, though, b/c the information will not sink in to a broken brain, and she will ask you repeatedly why she can't go home. And, like a broken record, you'll have to keep repeating yourself over and over again until you feel flustered. Such is the nature of dementia, unfortunately. My mother would ask me where her dead relatives were a thousand times a day, so I'd have to come up with a story 1,000x a day, every day, about where they were or what they were doing that they couldn't talk to her on the phone. It's exhausting. And sad, too.
But to try to 'satisfy' your mom is likely an exercise in futility. For a better understanding of your mother's dementia, I suggest you read this 33 page booklet (a free download) which has THE best information ever about managing dementia and what to expect with an elder who's been diagnosed with it.
Understanding the Dementia Experience, by Jennifer Ghent-Fuller
Jennifer is a nurse who worked for many years as an educator and counsellor for people with dementia and their families, as well as others in caring roles. She addresses the emotional and grief issues in the contexts in which they arise for families living with dementia. The reviews for her books are phenomenal b/c they are written in plain English & very easy to read/understand. Her writings have been VERY helpful for me.
The full copy of her book is available here:
Best of luck to you.
I applaud you for your convictions in trying to make up to your mom for the hurt that your father dealt to your whole family, including you. I have to imagine that some of your determination to keep your mom out of a care facility is based in your not allowing your father's betrayal to impact you either.
Do the best that you can for as long as you can and please don't make any promises to mom or yourself to never place her. We all want to 'go home', but the reality is that your mom will reach a state where she can no longer be safe living outside of a SNF and you'll reach a point of being unable to safely provide for her needs without shortening your own life and detracting terribly from the life of your own family.
I wouldn't attempt a single fib. Be completely honest that your mom, for now and for as long as you are able, has 2 choices: with your family or in a SNF. Please don't make the promise that you can do this for the remainder of her life, you may have to break that promise. we never know the hand that life may deal us.
If you were left with the choice of caring for your husband or heaven forbid, a severely injured adult child, would you still place your mom's needs above theirs? Would she want you to, and if she she did, wouldn't that be terribly selfish of her?
Do what you can for as long as you can, just please, recognize your limitations as your mom's needs change and leave yourself the out that you may one day need.
Five years ago when I brought my mother to live with me, she was happy. Then my brother died and 3 months after that trauma she broke her hip. The dementia started to kick in and she began to lament about going home. She began to want her mother and father more and more.
I've learned that I am powerless over my mother's happiness and contentment. All that I - and you - can do is to provide the best care.
I applaud you for your determination to keep your mother at home. I'm doing the same thing and it's not easy, but in the end it's what works for us.
Bless you for taking her in. Just make sure that you're taking care of yourself and your husband and children as well, as they must come first before your mother.
And if for some reason she does have moments of clarity, you can tell her that her ONLY 2 choices are living with you or being placed in a nursing facility. I'm willing to bet she will change her tune in a heart beat.
But now that being said, you may end up having to place her as time goes by if her care gets to be just too much for you, as again, you must take care of yourself as you matter in this equation too.
You deserve to have a life just like your siblings. You and your DH have a right to enjoy your children and your grands. If not now, in the near future Mom will be harder to care for. You will be doing everything for her. Think about placing her. If she has the money, use it for a nice Memory Care or Longterm care facility. When her money is gone you apply for Medicaid. She will get the care she needs and you can enjoy her final time here on Earth.
Do not save your siblings inheritance. Mom's money is for her care.
If so, when that happened, had a major, undesired life change recently occurred in your life?
It is very rare for a successful outcome to result from an arrangement such as yours.
With the best possible motives, you chose what you felt was the only solution to your mother’s problem, but perhaps missed the part about how your life was going to change when the “solution” took place.
Even if your siblings promised they’d help, the likelihood of that happening was truthfully pretty remote.
Are you willing to consider changing the present arrangement to achieve more balance for yourself? You will need to be the person to initiate that change.
A good Assisted Living facility can be very much like
apartment living, if your mother would be willing (and able, AND eligible) to attempt it.
Why is it that “She cannot live alone”? Did she come to you with a diagnosis that includes “cognitive decline”?
Reading your response below to JoAnn29 that is mind blowing.
Have you or your mom consulted an attorney?
And if mom is no longer decisional you can contact an attorney on her behalf.
Her assets should be protected as much as possible making it more difficult for your "father's" POA to gain access to the marital assets. If this means taking him to the "cleaners" so be it.
Tell mom that you need her help. Give her tasks to do that she can do easily.
Many people with dementia will say they "want to go home" and this may not mean an actual physical place but it can mean to a time when they were healthy, safe and happy.
Reassure mom that she is safe, you want her with you.
Redirect as much as you can.
If there is an adult Day program that she might go to that might help her. It will give her a place to go and people to be with. It will give her a break and you as well.
We would have been absolutely not allowed whatsoever to move into her IL one bedroom (which was sec 202 and really a SUPER NICE little complex on a convent campus / church grounds), and as our current one dbdm has a private ground floor entrance making it handicap accessible, they allow pets for my kitties etc.. Welp, we moved her here.
When I reminded my mom of that I said, "who knows, if the world returns to sane if you want we can find the kind of place we wanted to get in the first place.". I know that, well, my mom wants to be independent OR AT LEAST to have a measure of the control over things.
So -- this is not my and my hubby apt anymore. It is OUR apt. Second, I t known that if somehow we find someplace else we could go then sure! And then mom's name would be on the lease and etc. My mom just doesn't want to be "homeless". It means other than here she feels she has nowhere else to go... Because she thinks that I would / could stop her or at the very least wouldn't help her if she decided she somehow wanted to leave.
I figured out how to get her to realize that no, no one took her ability to have her own home away. she did try to start framing it that way and I said, no mom im not going to let you think random ppl did this to you, I moved you out. And explained why again. She couldn't live alone, that's all. But that, if push came to shove that... Sure we could get out of this place and, say, go somewhere else. Even if we never do, and I don't expect my mom would push at all unless we somehow did find a place that's nicer and a better deal, the fact that she knows / believes me that it's an option, really erased a lot of her "homeless anxiety".
Edited to add: no one is sure if my mom actually has dementia. It is her COPD condition and an exascerbation as to why she's with us now. Normally I'd have gone to hers and left hubby to fend for himself with frozen food in the toaster oven but since he had a stroke in 2020 that's a no go. (and he's in his thirties. This was a 20mm aneurysm that was lurking in his head that clotted up/ caused venous capillary hemorrhagic damage so he got both ischemic and hemmo rahic damage in right temporal lobe.. midline shift and all don't ask how he walks and talks, no Dr knows...)
... Welp no more leaving him alone to care for tiny mommy. Now he is a saint dealing with her taking 90% of my time. His stroke actually taught him first hand what broken brain feels like, so though he is frustrated at times he is not mad at her or me.
It's also my superpower to answer the same questions dozens of times. So even in delirium she started saying "that's what you always say", or the weirder "that's what everyone says to me", and everyone was me ♥️
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