How do you Cope with the Feelings of Guilt when Placing your Aing Mother in a frail care unit of a Nursing Home?

by Nadia Green
(South Africa)

Today I am afraid my story is not a happy one. For 6 years I have been looking after Mom 24/7 and last month my health just started giving in. Mom was admitted to hospital day after Christmas and stayed there until 5 January 2014.

She is 89 years old and suffers of the beginning stages of dementia. She is unable to walk anymore and needs full time professional care.

We discussed the matter together and she agreed that it would be best for her to go to a care facility. The problem is I know she did this for me, not for her. The last thing she would have wanted is to be locked up in an old age home with lots of people invading her privacy. She is a very private person and now needs to share a room.

I must also explain that Mom and I lived together my entire life, I never married so it was just her and I.

Not only have I lost my best mate through Dementia, but I have to cope knowing I failed her that I was not able to look after her to the end of her days.

It is breaking my heart.

I visit her twice a day, make sure she eats and the staff looks after her well. Sometimes I pop in in the evenings as well. Yet every time I leave I feel rotten and guilty.

I am crying constantly and wonder through the house like a ghost and do not want to do a thing. She is on my mind constantly even when i sleep. I just cannot get her frail little face out of my mind. I know she is lonely and depressed and there is not a thing I can do to make it better.

I know I have to handle this but how?

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I Remember You, Too
by: Anonymous

I remember you, too, Nadia.

You're a very strong and caring person. You seem to find a positive light in negative situations. And look where you are headed now. We always have the option of making choices.

Instead of shutting down and feeling sorry for yourself, you're opening up to give and help others. Doing the recreation thing at the nursing home seems to be the next step on your path. It helps you and helps others... a win-win situation.

When its good for you and good for the universe, it always feels like God's hand is in it.

I commend you for not being afraid to keep moving forward. I find strength in your fortitude.

Keep us posted.

Thank you all from Nadia
by: nadia

What can I say? it is wonderful to know that there are people like you that actually have the compassion to respond to little 'ol me! Your words of encouragement means so much to me you have no idea!

Today, for the first time in four weeks my Mom actually smiled a little and spoke to me for a little while. Must be all of your good thoughts.

I think therapy for me will be to get involved with the nursing home. I spoke to the matron and she is very keen that we start a craft centre for the elderly. The people there are really very lonely and maybe through my crafts we can lighten the burden a little and who knows maybe Mom can join as well

I will write to you as soon as I know which crafts work and which one's not. Maybe you can then introduce it to your loved ones. God has a plan with all of this I know, I just do not know what yet.

Thank you once again and God Bless

Support for You
by: Anonymous

Dear Nadia,
First, thank you for posting and letting us all know how you and your mom are doing these days.

Aren't you the wonderful daughter who has told us of the large puzzle (or Saduco numbers?) that you created for you mom? That was a wonderful story. You have been in my mind often since then.

Your happy spirit will come back.

We are all here supporting you on your journey, even though we have never met. Picture all of us holding you up during this sad time of adjustment and acceptance. Picture us hanging from your hair, your shirt, your car mirror! We are supporting you and sending you love. We are surely sending thoughts of love to your mom too.

The last email had some great suggestions in it. YES, find a counselor that specializes in grief therapy because this certainly sounds like grief to me.

In my own story, we moved mom to a care home almost 2 years ago. Tough going at first but our mom too agreed it was time. It was painful all around but I realized one day that instead of me trying to not feel guilty I had to say out loud, to myself, "I feel so guilty!!" and amazingly this started me on my journey of acceptance.

Acceptance is my only path to serenity.I have accepted that the feelings of guilt just go along with caregiving, no matter how compassionate one has been to their loved one.

Writing in a journal really can help! I've been writing all along so that I don't forget my mom's stories. The other day mom started singing and fortunately i got it on video.

You are a wonderful, loving, kind and compassionate daughter Nadia! Let us believe this about you and love you until you can believe it yourself!

Write again please,
mary in Santa Rosa

by: Anonymous

I am sorry for your pain. I am going though the same thing with my mother, she is the same age with dementia. It is a nightmare, you want to help but you can't.

It's best for her to be around people who can help her. Please don't feel guilty, you have no reason. From what you have said, you have done everything you can. And still are. Good luck, take care of yourself. And try to accept the situation.

Coping with Grief
by: Anonymous

I would be thinking like this: Mom is in good hands and probably having a fine time. Even if she is suffering there is not more for you to do except visit her. Time to get your own life all about you.

Step number one: go see a counselor, psychiatrist, or even a life coach in order to learn how to fully connect with yourself. Learn how to grieve, learn how to heal.

step 2: Do things that enable your sense of joy and independence. If you don't nurture this you'll take unhealthy feelings into any new friendships or attachments that you make.

step 3: Lean on your higher power: God, Christ, or whatever you believe in. Go to a temple, or church Learn meditation, Tai Chi, or Yoga to connect to yourself and higher power

step 4: see a good Naturopath and do a body cleansing program to get as healthy as possible in order to feel better and enjoy the life you have left!

Best wishes!

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