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Caregiver Guilt Advice,What Would You Do?

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Frustration
Caregiver guilt advice needed.  Our story, is shared by by Samantha in (Oregon) I am experiencing caregiver guilt.Frustration

My mother-in-law and I have always had the kind of relationship where we like each other one day and drive each other nuts the next.She lived in a small apartment.Her son and I lived in a two bedroom house about fifteen minutes away. We check on her daily since she has so many health issues.

It soon became apparent that she could no longer live on her own, but she didn’t want to go into a nursing home either.The only other option was to have her move in with us. We prepared her room and moved her in, knowing we would face some tough days ahead.She had a visiting nurse and therapist visit her on a regular basis, as well as home health aides who helped with her bathing.
Even with that level of help, it was still hard.Her health issues include diabetes, a kidney transplant, heart disease, dementia as time went on, as well as smaller issues. Because of this, she had to take a lot of medication and had to follow a certain diet.She didn’t like to do either of these things, so it was a daily chore just getting her to cooperate with us.Caring for aging parents wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.There were some good days too. We learned a lot about her childhood years, about her family that was spread out all over the nation.We developed a Person Centered Profile to use in the home and for any hospitalizations.
My husband remembered some from his childhood, but when they all scattered to various states, contact wasn’t maintained very often.
This was nice that he got to hear stories and see his mom in a new light, as we have never seen her as happy as those nights we just spent talking.There were scary moments, too.
I had to remove all the candles and matches from the house when she nearly burned it down. We had to watch the kitchen like hawks, since she would start cooking,then forget about it and go take a nap.I have heard of caregiver stress, but I soon realized reading about it and experiencing it are two different things.
We were in a dilemma. She was getting to the point where we had to watch her one hundred percent of the time.Not only to make sure she didn’t burn the house down, but to make sure she didn’t hurt herself. The final straw came when she tried to take a shower one night and she fell. We were both sleeping so didn’t find her until a few hours later, on the floor.
She was hospitalized and the social worker told us she really needed to be placed in a nursing home where she would have nonstop monitoring.She explained that we shouldn’t blame ourselves, that we were dealing with  caregiver guilt that was misplaced.It was with heavy hearts that we finally did place her in a nursing home.
We chose one that was not far from our house.We had taken care of her for over three years. At this point, the time had come when placing her in a home became a blessing in some ways, it left a huge hole in our hearts too. We had really grown as a family during those years. When it came down to it though, we had to do what would keep her safe.
Samantha

Thank you for sharing your story. I think that you made the right decision and choice for your family.I think that it is important for many family caregivers out there to understand that when a decision to place a family member in an alternative setting, what is in the best interest of the entire family needs to be considered.In your case, your safety, as well as your mother-in-law’s safety was at risk.

Many family members feel that they are giving up the caregiver role when they place their family member in an alternative setting, when in fact, they are just changing roles.

You are now taking on more of an advocate role, than a care giver role. I always encourage family members to place their aging senior in a facility close to them. That way they can pop in any time of the day or night and check on them.

All the best
Diane