Sunday, June 13, 2010

Feeling sad about my mom....

So it looks like she'll be moving to the nursing home permanently, unless something changes in the next couple of weeks. She has been in the rehab unit of this nursing home several times (it's the one that's attached to her assisted living facility), so we are familiar with the NH and the workers and the residents. And I take my mom to the church services there every Sunday. But some of her stays in the rehab unit were during times when she was hallucinating and disruptive, and she was so angry about being there....then sad.....it's been a miracle that she keeps recovering enough to go back to her apartment.

But realistically, I can see that of her neighbors in the assisted living facility, my mom is one of the lower functioning folks. Even before this happened with the recent confusion. It's not realistic to imagine my mom coming to our house, as we'd have to remodel to be able to bathe her, etc...I just can't imagine how we could make it work and not do more harm than good.

So intellectually, I know that the nursing home is the "rightest" thing that we are able to do....but I am feeling not just guilt, but grief. Big grief. Grief that I can't help her more. Grief that things are getting worse. Grief that her world is getting smaller again....and that I may not have done enough for her, or done it right. I feel with this transition that is probably imminent, a person has died. It's the "mom that lived in the assisted living apartment", of course, if she goes to a nursing home, then that mom (the one that lives in the assisted living apartment) is gone forever. And I'm having such a trouble with that, in some weird way, I feel like by agreeing that she needs to move to an NH, I'm somehow killing that "mom that lives in the ALF". Does that make sense? I've never put it into words before. I'm so sad that this is happening, and I feel so helpless, like no matter what I do, it won't be right...


Anonymous said...

You're helping your mom by keeping her safe. If anyone is "killing" your mom it's Alzheimer's. You have gone above and beyond what many people in your situation have done for their mothers (including I think, some of your siblings). There's no right answer to your situation but by doing the best you can you're honoring your mother.
It sounds like your mom isn't happy in her current living situation; it's too much for her and she's confused and possibly frightened. Her world needs to be smaller for her to feel secure. Nursing homes -- good ones at least -- are not the hell on earth that you might imagine them to be. Much has changed in the past 20 years and much more is understood about gerontology and caring for the elderly.
No matter what you do, you can't stop her confusion and loss of competence. Alzheimer's is a terrible disease but it doesn't mean that your mother has to be unhappy. She can still have good times and the less she has to worry about (even little things like feeding the cat or remembering to lock her door) the happier she'll be. It's a shame that the things that used to give her pleasure, like going out for a meal, have become a source of anxiety for her but that's just the way the disease is.
I hope you're able to relax and stop blaming yourself. You're doing an extraordinary job under very stressful circumstances.