Am I doing the right thing?

by Sharon
(Massachusetts)

My 93 year old Mom had a left MCA stroke on Sept. 11. She has lost a great deal of her ability to speak. She can't put all her thoughts into words. She calls me her husband. (I'm her daughter) She says words that make no sense when she is trying to explain something. As far as I know, she does not have dementia. She pretty much understands me when I talk to her but sometimes can not comprehend simple things.


She can walk and feed herself. She can wash herself and still reads the paper. All that being said, she is now living in a nursing home. She lived with me for 12 years and was very independent.

Since the stroke I don't feel comfortable leaving her home alone all day while I work. I feel she can not make wise decisions in certain situations. I don't think she could call 911 for help. She has trouble taking directions and I'm convinced she would try to do things she shouldn't such as cook or go outside to hang clothes.

I'm divorced, so no hubby to help out. Three useless siblings, and my daughter is not interested in helping out. So there's no one. Just me. I visit every night after work and I take her home on weekends. I think that's pretty good. Some evenings when I visit, she is darn near hysterical with wanting to "get out of this place", "I want to kill myself", "you have to get me out of here". Last night I asked the nurse to give her something to calm her down.

Fortunately, it worked. My problem is guilt. I am second guessing myself about her being in the NH. Should I bring her home, or should I just buck up and try to be strong? If I do take her home, I feel I would be losing a lot of my life. I know it sounds selfish, but the whole thing is so unfair. I really could use some words or encouragement.

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Thanks for the support
by: Bittersweet

I wanted to reach out to those of you who gave me words of encouragement and support.
Your words meant so much to me and it has helped me get through the tough times.

As the weeks and months went by my mother seemed to settle in more and more. She has changed rooms twice and I think it has made a difference in her happiness.

I had taken her to her heart doctor in February and I told him to tell her she can't come home. He did and she was not happy to hear that but she did seem to accept it. Now when I visit there are no more outbursts. I have cut out a few days, otherwise I can't get any of my personal things done...you know, that pesky housework, laundry, bills, and maybe a night out. So I have cut Monday, Wed. and Fri. from the line up.

She doesn't freak out about it and I usually tell her I won't be there the next day for whatever reason. It has made a huge difference in my life by taking back those 3 days. And she seems OK. I still take her out on Saturday and bring her home for the day on Sunday.

Luckily she can still walk fairly well, but I see her having a harder time, especially on the three stairs that go into my house.

I have come to terms with making what I believe is the right decision and I am comfortable with it. I no longer leave the NH crying hysterically. Mom seems content, although she likes to complain about just about everything. I bring her food from outside when I visit and she very much enjoys it and appreciates my effort.

All in all things have improved greatly....now my BF is going through it with his mother...I don't wish this on anyone.
Again, thank you all....God Bless!

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Yes, you are!
by: Anonymous

I am very sorry to hear about your mother's stroke and just wanted to let you know that you have not given up the role of caregiver simply because your mother no longer lives at home.

Your post indicates you are still caregiving in your regular visits and trips away from the nursing home. No, no, no 1,000 times no do not remove her from the nursing home. This may sound negative, but with a 95 year old mother with dementia who also had a stroke 7 months ago, I've been faced with some cruel realities.

Things are more likely to get worse rather than better with your mother's health. With your help and assistance from the staff, she will adjust to the nursing home facility. I've been there!

The guilt feeling may still gnaw at you, but be kind to yourself. Talk to yourself like you are your own best friend. You ARE doing the right thing.

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You're a great daughter!
by: Anonymous

It sounds to me like you are doing what is best for your mother.

She is in a safe place and well cared for. You have not abandoned her, but you faithfully visit her and make yourself available to her.

Moving her into your home under the circumstances would be a huge mistake.
It is a matter of safety for her and sanity for you.

You have nothing to feel guilty about and are doing a great job!

Hang in there.

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Don't make it any harder on yourself
by: Anonymous

Don't take her home to live with you! She may not be 100% content in the nursing home, but she may not be with you, either - and you would definitely be worse off!

Honestly, she is totally safe and cared for where she is. You are doing really well visiting her and remaining a part of her life, you don't have to feel guilty. It is better to take care of yourself and maintain your own independent life, but still visit her, than to take on complete responsibility for her care.

That would be too much for you. Choose what is best for BOTH of you, not just for her. You are being a good daughter already, you don't have to try any harder.

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Guilt...
by: Anonymous

Hi,
You are not alone there are so many of us who are caring for a parent. When you become a caregiver or guardian, your life changes. The thing that keeps me having a positive attitude is thinking back at all my parents did for me and my siblings for so many years.

Please think about you being in her situation, because one day we will need help. How would you want someone to care for you? It is sad and depressing in nursing homes. Some residents adjust better and faster than others. Make a schedule and try to keep it reserved for her and you will still have time for you.

Get your mom involved in activities and attend a few with her until she adjusts and feels comfortable. This is a difficult change going from being independent to losing all independence.

The two things I always keep in mind is to love her and support her and keep in mind what you would want if you were in her shoes. This Could be a long journey so do take time to enjoy your time as well. 😊

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