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Why do people send their elderly parents to care home - Page 6 - Carers UK Forum

Why do people send their elderly parents to care home

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
87 posts
It depends on the person (the carer). Even if, for a while, with an elderly parent, you become a 24/7 carer. There's nothing stopping you from preparing for your own future, and using, what is in some respects, life down time, effectively. Personally, I'm using that time to study for a diploma (I already have a degree, that is pretty much useless once you get beyond your 40's, I'm marginally beyond that now), that will allow me to help others later in life. I guess it's a case of seeking personal fulfilment beyond the caring role - and - future planning, for your own life.
I wonder if it makes a difference what age the carer is? For me, when I was younger, maybe taking 'time out' from my own life to be a carer wouldn't have been so onerous, as I'd have felt I still had 'plenty of time left' afterwards (ie, when the caree died, or had to got into a home for medical reasons or whatever). But now, at 60 plus, I know my own 'sands of time' are running out, and I have no intention whatsoever in 'wasting' these precious last years of physical and mental fitness. I'm not going to turn 70 and have 'wasted' the last ten years looking after someone getting from 90 to 100!

I also feel there is something profoundly 'wrong' in being old oneself, and still having an even older parent alive! Like my friend who'se 80 y/o mother only recently lost her own mother who reached over 100.

Then there is also the issue, to me, of having my 'sacrifice' 'appreciated' by the caree! That's what galls me so much, that I could give up the next ten years of my life (were my MIL not in a home!), and have that huge, huge, HUGE sacrifice on my part completely and utterly unappreciated by my MIL because of her dementia!
I guess it depends on your point of view. I don't consider what I'm doing as a carer for my Mother as a sacrifice. An opportunity yes, as many things in life offer hitherto unknown opportunities - but as a sacrifice, definitely not. Life presents us with many challenges, it is up to us to face them, and learn from them, regardless of how insidious they seem.
Have you been caring for 30 years like we have? Is your own health ok or has it been ruined by said 30 years of caring? I wouldn't brag too much if I were you none of us knows what is around the corner. It is not up to us to face them and learn from them. There is nothing that says you MUST care its only that in some cases if we love the family member we then have to care because there are no other suitable services.

Eun, I realise that you may feel bitter about your situation, however I don't think that I should be a target of that bitterness.

We all want what is best for our loved ones, regardless of whether they are young or old. If the system isn't helping, then surely it's the system you should be targeting, and not other carers like me.

In answer to your question about my health - physically, I'm fine - mentally, I'm often drained, just fighting for what I consider to be best for my caree. In many respects, our goals are similar, so why the hostility?

Forgive me if I'm wrong Eun, but isn't this thread about caring for elderly parents?

Seoc (John)...
Every time I read a post from Eun, I go down on my hands and knees with gratitude that I am not coping with what she and her family are coping with.....and pray we never have t.

SoA - I think the key thing you say is 'we want what is best for those we love'....BUT, that is my point - that 'what is best' for someone who has reached extreme old age, with mental/physical infirmity etc etc, which is the case for so, so many of the elder-carees here (though thankfully not all!), is, actually, death. It's that simple - they have outlived their lives, and their continued existence is a burden to themselves and to those who love them.

Death, at that time, in those circumstances, should be seen as a release (and I would think that even if I were not religious, which I am!)(no idea where atheists find their courage from!).

I suspect that future generations will look back on us with horror that we forced the very elderly to endure what so many of them endure, and what so many of their families endure. (And as for a society that treat's Eun's family as they do, well, that will be held in disbelief and abhorrence.)
Jenny - here's a different viewpoint.
My dad was a great believer in fate. He narrowly missed being killed on three occasions during WW2 when those around did not. His views made me think too.
For me (and I'm not saying this applies to anyone else or every circumstance), fate had given Dad and I a chance to get to know each other in those last five years. I learned a great deal about myself from the experience about my strengths and weaknesses as well as re-evaluating what my life priorities were.
As a gardener, my dad used to talk about life in relation to plants - 'to everything there is a season'. Some plants don't make it, others bloom for a short time, others for a long time, but all will wither and die.
Just saying.
SOA, I care for my son, only part time now, due to my own health issues. I also spent years supporting all four elderly parents, all desperately ill and disabled. Like Eun, I now have long term health issues due to caring, and I too have felt very irritated by many of your postings. The reality of my life is so, so different. You really do seem to have absolutely no idea whatsoever about the reality of caring long term (37 years in my case) with so support whatsoever for many of them. Residential care is not an option for Eun's son, as there is nowhere suitable for him, which is an absolute scandal. There's nowhere suitable for my M, because he is seen as being able to live in the community if he has the right support. Only the right calibre of support is NEVER available, and I'm left continually filling in the gaps, trying to sort things out. Yet I get NOTHING for caring for him, not even the miserly Carers Allowance, as I'm now pensionable age. So please, please, remember that not everyone is in the same situation as you are.
Juggler, I wouldn't disagree with you at all - because when 'the right time' exactly is, where the balance between it being 'worth while' to continue living and 'letting go' actually is, is totally individual. And I do appreciate that when my time comes, I might well cling like crazy even to an appallingly limited life. (My nightmare scenario is locked-in syndrome).

I also think that a kind of 'Darwinism' may come into play - that as our own life ebbs away, and the sands of time run faster and faster to the end, we become not just desperate to cling on, but to be utterly ruthless in what that clinging on does to others! Because anyone 'younger and fitter' than us is 'expendable'. I'm not saying any of this is conscious, let alone deliberate, but it may possibly be instinctive! (For those with dementia of course, it is also irrelevant - they will have absolutely no idea at any level at all as to what they are doing to other people.....)

But, even if we can't pinpoint it for each individual, or know when it comes, or want it when it comes, I think the principle of 'the time is right to die' still holds - not that we can usually do anything about it anyway! (ie, we can't stop it, and we probably can't hasten it, given the practical and legal restrictions)(which are not to be dismissed easily, again, I do appreciate!).

SoA - I think you quite right about it being only a 'sacrifice' if it's something you don't want to do (at all or any more), and again, that is subjective. Interestingly, some one I know is a Buddhist, and they don't believe in making a sacrifice at all (from what I dimly understand), so I can only assume they would calmly walk away from a caree in need, and not feel bad about it at all???

For me, the whole issue of 'sacrifice' is criss-crossed with the proviso of 'worthwhile'....ie, I don't want to sacrifice myself 'unnecessarily'.....and I don't think that sacrificing myself, as I said above, to get a 90 year old to 100, is actually a worthwhile sacrifice! I'm not sure I'd feel it even for my own mother (and I'm pretty sure she wouldn't have wanted me to, had it been her)(my MIL is exonerated from selfishness by virtue of her dementia).

Would I feel it 'worthwhile' to sacrifice for my husband, or my children? I would hope I had the guts (and strength!) to do so for the latter, but I also pray I'm never put to the test.

I do think that one particular aspect of 'elder care' for someone with dementia is the sheer BOREDOM of it. I can enjoy being with my MIL for an hour or so, cosseting her along etc, and keeping her happy and entertained, but more than that and I go off my head with boredom! I found looking after my son when he was a baby very boring.

For me, I find 'companion caring' the hardest part, rather than things like doing my MIL's laundry (which I don't have to do now anyway). So sad.
BowlingBun, I've only posted 69 times, in 11 months, how can you be irritated by so few postings? I'm not a punch bag, but I am entitled to express an opinion, am I not? Or did I get something wrong? In that everything I say must first be approved by a certain elite and small group of people? As I said to Eun, if you have issues, please direct your complaints towards the appropriate authorities, rather than at fellow carers, just because you don't necessarily see eye to eye with them.

I avoided this site for many months, because of this sort of attitude from a very small minority. I have no intention of taking the same steps again.

For the record, if you're all going to use an abbreviation, it's SaA, or just plain Seoc :)

Jenny, yes there can be quiet times when caring for an older person with dementia, these can also create opportunities to use some of that time for your own benefit, and future. I'll be honest, I'm currently studying, online, for a Level 3 Diploma, which will help me move forwards when the time comes. So my quiet time is not wasted, in any way.
87 posts