Hi all,

I've written a few times here usually talking about how difficult caring for my two elderly parents has been. My Mom has dementia, my Dad doesn't.

Last week we moved my Mom into memory care. I've been crying ever since. You may have read my posts. Read about the deep unhappiness as a result of 24/7 caregiving. Needless to say, I was not prepared for the avalanche of emotions that just keep rolling over me. I don't think I've ever experienced a pain this deep.

Please, if anyone has gone through this can you advise me? Does this ever get better? Is this pain going to be with me forever? Because, in all honesty, it's about a billion times worse than I felt with her at home.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
If you feel a billion times worse with your mother in care than you felt with your mother at home I would suggest you consider moving your mother back and continue your care giving.
If however, you recognize that you had reached your limitations in giving 24/7 care in the home, and that was the reason you were forced to move your Mom into care with there being little or no choice, then you will need to understand that yes, there is good reason here to grieve and feel sad, but there is really no good option to "fix this".
There are many times in life that we have reasons to mourn things that cannot be fixed, that have no answer. Mourning is fine as long as you learn that you must also use the reasoning portion of your mind to form paths of "reasoning", not just feeling.
How we think, what we think, tends to become a habit, a trail we daily follow telling ourselves the same things over and over again, making the ruts deeper and deeper. We sometimes need forcibly to break the patterns.
Occasionally we are unable to break the habitual pattern and need to see someone, a psychologist or a Social Worker who deals with life changes counseling to help us comb through our feeling, the rational ones and the irrational.
Only you can answer the question of whether your OWN LIFE (your one and only life) would be better and happier by taking Mom back into your home, or whether you are adjusting now to what is real grief and loss.
I am so sorry for all the pain. We lose them, and yet they are still in front of us, suffering, and we are helpless against the pain of this. Not everything can be fixed. Some things have to be lived with. And we must go on. Forward is the only option.
Helpful Answer (26)
ExhaustedOne Feb 2021
Your note struck such a chord for me. The reminder that not everything can be fixed and that sometimes pain and suffering are part of life. I forget that quite often. And my skills to manage that fact get clouded by a lot of emotion. Thank you for reminding me of that. And that this is real grief and loss going on.
See 1 more reply
What your feeling isn’t really worse... the reason it feels so bad is that it is more acute.

This is still fresh. It is different and, to be honest, it will take a long time to adjust. Just like it took a long time to “adjust” to living in the hell that caregiving can become.

The first couple of days after moving my MIL and FIL to memory care had us feeling like we had abandoned our children. It was pretty bad.

It sounds like you may need to be on guard for the phenomenon of selective memory. Please be gentle with yourself, but do take time to write down all.of.the.things that made you choose your screen name. I am SO glad that I had journaled at different points of the journey, especially toward the end. It was by no means consistent because of course, who has time to journal properly when they are caring for two people with dementia and homeschooling two kids and trying to maintain a house and friendships and a marriage and a business? And the two people with dementia were drowning out every other part of that life.

When my DH would start to wonder if we should have just placed his dad, or even after his dad passed and he started to wonder if we should bring his mom back again because she was “easy” (compared to his Alz VERY belligerent, aggressive dad), we would go through my notes.

Having something in black and white was so helpful when the selective memory would kick in - usually triggered by guilt. It helped us to remember that we were healing from an extended burnout as well and that there was no way we wanted to go back to before.

I strongly suggest that you refrain from ruminating in the feelings of sad and guilt. Instead, go for a walk. Talk to a friend on the phone without interruption. Take a nap. Leave the house without having to tell anyone or make sure someone is there to cover for you. Talk on the phone with a friend. Laugh. Hell, dance around the house like an idiot. Do these things BECAUSE YOU CAN.

You are reclaiming your life. And you are doing it in a healthy way. And you have made exactly the right decision for your parents. You are a rock star:)
Helpful Answer (19)

I have my mother in Memory Care Assisted Living. She's been there for about 18 months after transferring over from the regular Assisted Living building she was at since 2015.

If she was ill with pneumonia, she'd be in the hospital for managed care because it's out of my realm to provide her with that level of care. With moderately advanced dementia, incontinence and wheelchair bound, she's in Memory Care because because it's out of my realm to provide her with that level of care she requires. She needs a team of people working 24/7 to see to her chronic needs. I am her daughter, 1 person, not her caregiver, and manage her finances and the rest of her life from my desk and computer. Why should I beat myself up over that, it makes no sense. Just as I wouldn't beat myself up for Calling 911 to have her admitted to the hospital for acute care, I don't do it for getting her managed care for a chronic disease.

It's not abandonment, it's love and caring for all of us who have made the decision to do it. We've forfeited the "inheritance" which is being used for the best of care NOW, instead of being saved for the heirs to spend after the elders demise. That's what they saved and worked hard for: good care in their old age.

Please see a therapist who can help you work through the feelings of punishment you're doling out to yourself, and help you see things from a clearer viewpoint. Wishing you good luck and peace.
Helpful Answer (17)

Please seek therapy during this time. Most if not all therapists are doing virtual visits due to the pandemic.
Helpful Answer (13)

I just re-read your post. It looks like you may have only placed your mom?

If that is the case and you still have your dad with you, it will be harder. You are probably absorbing all of his sad into you.

Frankly, you may feel - on some level - like if you aren’t sad, then you look like a bad daughter. Especially, since your dad is there watching. This isn’t penance you have to pay, please remember that. Really examine what is driving the sadness. If it stem at all from what he thinks of you, try to let that go. Or get some help to let that go.

If he is upset and disapproving to you, well, that is on him. You need to remember that. Things are hard for both of you right now. This goes for mom as well.

Hopefully, that is not the case. But, just in case you need to hear it...

Your parents’ aging is not your fault.
Your parents’ situation is not your responsibility.
Your parents’ displeasure with the living arrangements that are necessary are misplaced.
You are not the queen of the universe. So...
You cannot fix your parents lives for them. You can, of course, love them. As long as you understand that those are not mutually inclusive things.
You have been kind enough to help and be there, and I can assure you, you have made a difference. Now, however, it is time for a change.
The reality of life is that it is all about change and rarely do things stay the same.
It is ok to experience some level of happiness that your mom is in care. This is not a betrayal. It simply means you value your life, just as she and your dad valued theirs over the course of their lifetimes.
Find peace in that knowledge.

Wishing you all of the good things...
Helpful Answer (13)

I don’t see how you have any other choice.

You have done everything possible to care for your mom.

If we lived in an ideal world there would be no illness and people would die simply from natural causes or old age.

You have a huge heart and are obviously an empath. You give with your entire heart.

You mourn deeply as well. We all miss and grieve for the parents we had before their afflictions.

Please comfort yourself by knowing that she is well cared for and that you did as much as you possibly could.

You are still looking out for her best interest.

Don’t hesitate to speak to a therapist to work through your emotions.
Helpful Answer (13)

I am so sorry...I did this in April of last year...I dropped mom off on the curb during the height of covid pandemic and drove away...and then had to have blind trust in staff I did not know..It turned out to be wonderful..yes I cried for 4 months!! She has been 30 minutes from my home.. we do 3 zoom calls weekly...I sat in my car outside her window chatting..I made posters of love...brought her favorite fruit weekly..Mom now is so stable { she has Lewy Body Dementia} ...that I can move here to a regular assisited living 5 min from me...she is walking better and is outgoing again..they added so much to her life.. this really turned out well..the staff adores her. Our move is 2/25...DO not lose hope! God is good. A good memory care can help her be her best even with the dementia. My mom barely knew us, could not walk in and had horrible hallucinations. She had lost weight and refused to eat. Now she is strong, laughing and wanting a move near me..she still has dementia but it is much improved.
Helpful Answer (12)
ConnieCCH Feb 2021
I’m curious, Sadi roanokeva, if your mom is so happy, “doing so well,” and the staff “adores her,” why are you moving her again?? Was this a medically necessary treatment center? I’m still learning.
My mom bless her heart was as good as they come but when she was diagnosed with lung cancer she chose to not treat it .Eventually the cancer caused dementia. Her personality would change minute to minute. Evil to good. I took care of her as long as I could but she started doing things like escaping the house.. and yes once even finding her keys and driving her dogs in the car topless while my stepdad was in denial. All of these things kept happening and it broke my heart to put her in memory care. We tried 3 before we got it to an okay this will work. Mom was a country girl so she at least needed a place where she could walk around and get outside. At first I would go every day and every time I had to leave she would cry and so would I. The staff suggested that I do not come as often but I could not do that. So I compromised. I went every other day. I made it simple one day for me and my family the next day for mom. It was
not perfect but it made it easier on everyone. I hope you are close enough to the facility that you can do this. Sounds like you are very close in heart with her so she would not want you to be so sad. You did not lose her she is still there. Enjoy your visits with her. You have done all you could and she knows. One day my mom took my hand and even though she could barely talk.. she put it to her heart and said "you are my heart". I will never forget it.
Helpful Answer (12)
PatsyN Feb 2021
I hope at least you were able to laugh about that topless drive. (:
Caregiving 24/7 takes a toll on anyone - mentally and physically. It sounds like you are depleted, which makes coping with emotions more difficult. Rest as much as possible, your body needs it.

I also wonder how much of what you're feeling now comes from emotions you've kept a lid on so as to focus on caregiving. Maybe now that some of the pressure is off, those suppressed feelings are surfacing. If this idea resonates with you, then talk therapy might be helpful. If that's not an option, perhaps journaling. Write whatever you want, this is for you, not anyone else. And don't edit yourself, just let it flow.

Finally, there's some really good feedback here - take what works for you, if any, and leave the rest for now.

Sending you hugs ...
Helpful Answer (11)

Thank you all for your kind words, amazing advice and sharing your experiences with me about this. I recently read an article about this and the writer discussed this very thing, the unexpected "tsunami of emotions" that followed placing her LO in a memory care home. It was necessary. It hurts and somehow, her living away from home makes her dementia and situation more real. So, there is a real feeling of permanent loss as she assimilates and gets used to her new home.

I'm already on track with a therapist and I believe all of these feelings can be worked through and some are just the pain that comes with a separation like this.

Thank you again for all your help.
Helpful Answer (11)
ArtistDaughter Feb 2021
Usually I don't think I know how another person feels, but I think I do know how you feel. I moved my mom this week from an assisted living facility in my neighborhood to memory care in another city. I had cared for her for over 8 years in her home, lived with her for 4 of those years. When she was in assisted living I could walk over and see her just about every day, even in covid restrictions for window visits. Memory care is necessary now because she was seeking exits in the middle of the night. I cried for the 3 weeks of looking for the right place for her, and now still cry about her being so far away. Of course I do. She's been the main focus of my life for over 10 years, even in assisted living. When I leave my house for a walk now, I'm not going to stop to see her. She's an hour away. There were no good options in my city that were affordable. She is confused, but settling in to her new place already. I think it will take longer for me to adjust.
See 1 more reply
See All Answers
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter