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Guilty at asking my 94 yr old mother to go into a care home. - Carers UK Forum

Guilty at asking my 94 yr old mother to go into a care home.

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Hi, I am a 58 yr old daughter who is at the point of no return, My mother is now 94 yrs old, has become frail and is in early dementia stages. (some might say well into it but there is no definitive diagnosis as she has refused any assessment}.I care for her on my own, single child and no extended family.
She has become very frail and unsteady on her feet, she fell earlier this year and broke her arm....only to take the cast off herself after 1 week..She has had numerous falls recently , both outside and in the house. She has refused admission to hospital every time. Fiercely Independent!
I am now at the stage of realising she need 24hr care, I visit at least 2 to 4 times a day. but I cannot be with her 24hrs a day. Since I retired in March things have become much worse, she will not acccept help from her long standing carers. they pop in 10 mins 7am and 2pm to make sure she is safe and has taken her meds.however she more than happy for me to do washing, cooking, cleaning etc.
I am at breaking point but she refuses any help or to use OT adaptations I've put in place to make her life easier.
I cared for my dad wiith full blown dementia for 7 yrs. I can;t go thru it again. Why do I feel so guilty about asking mum to go into care? it's because she hangs off my neck in tears saying things like "I'd be dead without you, You are my one and only, You're my hero"
Please help me to do the right thing and stop feeling so guilty about the decision I have tp make.
Hi Christine

Things sounds really difficult right now. In terms of residential care, have you thought about the very likely scenario that your mum will say no? Have you already found somewhere you feel would meet your mum's needs? Would staying in her own home be possible with increased professional care? If her current care self-funded? It sounds like she has refused any assessment at all, including from SS?

The difficult thing is that although you feel your mum won't accept help from her paid carers and she is happy for you to do everything for her, it is your actions that enable her to behave like this. You are going to have to withdraw the support you can't give any more and be clear with your mum what you are prepared to do from now on. You can help mum with getting in the support she will need, but you can only change your input. What your mum does in light of that change is her own decision.

Do you have financial / health & welfare PoA for your mum?

Don't feel guilty!

Hi Christine,
Your Mum sounds as wily as my Mum was, who was also not above dishing out a bit of emotional blackmail. Don’t think my Mum was quite as blatant about it as yours however.
I was your age when I took on my Mum’s care. 10 years later, when Mum died aged almost 100, I found myself almost 70, (which I am now) and too old and tired to do all the things I had been planning for my retirement.
I have the excuse that I didn’t comprehend (nor do many carers taking on elderly parents), just what I was letting myself in for or how long it would be.
You already know what it’s like and recognise that you are reaching the end of the road. I’m afraid you will have to metamorphose from ‘heroic slave’ into ‘big bad wolf care manager’.
It seems that the very elderly are incredibly stubborn, selfish and self centred. Not on purpose. They just can’t see that their ‘child’ is getting older and may be suffering as a result of catering to their needs. In their eyes the ‘child’ is young, fit and has many years yet so why shouldn’t they help out?
It’s sad that your Mum has reached the stage of needing so much care, but she has got there by virtue of living a very long life. She won’t understand that she has no excuse to steal your years and possibly your health by refusing other help and care, but that is the case and not for you to feel guilty about.
Carers popping in for 10 minutes twice a day doesn’t sound right. Are they from an agency? Has Mum had her needs assessment updated lately and have you had a recent Carer’s assessment?
When they used to talk about ‘second childhood’ in relation to the very elderly it is still appropriate in that, like a toddler, they demand what they want, disregarding what they need. It falls to you to take over an almost parental role in your relationship and be firm with Mum. You aren’t her little girl any longer. You are the one who has to say what IS going to happen. There will be tears and tantrums!
I worked on my Mum by saying the carers were there to help me. I couldn’t manage if she didn’t have help for a certain amount of time every day. My Mum was smart enough to accept any and every aid in whatever form it took. Kept her ‘at home’ for a lot longer than if she had refused. Perhaps your Mum can be brought to realise that it’s a choice between lots of care and you or no care and no you. If she will accept that then it will ease things a bit while you search for the best Home in the vicinity.
If your Mum is beyond understanding the crisis which is looming, then you will have to go all out to find her a place in a Home because it’s what she NEEDS! Why feel guilty when you are acting in Mum’s best interests?
Leaving her vulnerable to falls or destroying your own well being are not options.
Brace yourself and ride out the storm.
Hi Christine,
I absolutely agree with Jane and KR. Please put yourself first - do what you think is best for you. It sounds like you've been caring for years. It is wrong that your mum expects so much from you.
Christine! You have nothing to feel guilty about and even though we will all tell you this I know you still will!!!! That's because from my own experience the guilt never goes away! I'm 72 (nearly 73 and an only child) and my mum 93 in November. My mum sounds just like yours...thinking that I should look after her/not understanding how hard it is for me . Saying things like "it's your duty to look after me"/phpBB3/ "If you don't look after me I'll make a will and you won't get anything"!!! Oh and also "I don't want strangers looking after me"!!

Eventually mum started hallucinating and was admitted to hospital last December . At this point I knew I couldnt go on any longer and she was admitted to a nursing home. But the guilt is still there Christine, especially when she begs me to take her home!

BUT.. I stood firm like you will have to do and just keep telling yourself that YOU deserve a life too. Like others say your mother now NEEDS others to care for her even though is not what she WANTS!!!

Stay strong Christine. We are all here to support you.

Let us know how things work out..

Big hug. Xx
Christine.. ignore the PhpBB3.. mistyped!!!!!
Thank you all for you messages, it really helps me to deal with the guilt (my major problem). This morning I went to mum's with lunch, we ate together, I offered to do her shopping but she said she didn't need anything. We had lunch then she said she was going to have a sleep. She had 4 plates out and kept asking when the 'others' were coming back from holiday.
I got a call at 3.30 from some lovely ladies in our town bakery to tell me that they had mum at the shop with heavy shopping bags.
I went there immediately, she's told them she hadn't seen me that day. This has clarified my mind. I feel awful and I know it will be hell but I realise she must have 24hr care,
After reading your replies I know that I am not the only person going through this. Thank you. I now realise this awful experience is shared by many and I am grateful for your advice. I hope I can keep my nerve, forget the guilt, make her safe and comfortable and begin to live a life of my own, once more.
Hello, I'd just like to add some observations from reading this site. I can see many people suffering and crumbling under the weight of their caring duties. I work as a nurse and it shocks me that so many people are disappointed at the amount of forward planning and care for their elderly relatives, on discharge from hospital. There seems to me a complete disconnect between health and social care, I experienced this first hand with my father but had hoped the experience would not be repeated,
I spoke with a 'new' social worker today that my mum had been referred to (in 2.5 weeks).
She had had a poor handover, had no idea of my concerns etc. She is coming on Friday to have a chat with me about my concerns about mum's safety but also told me that perhaps leaving mum at home might be the kinder option for her. Not to distress her and make her feel unhappy, going into care.
Mum has had at least 5 falls in one week, hit the bedside cabinet an spent the night on the bedroom floor with a black eye. Was discharged from hospital after physio assessment that she mobilise with one (she lives on her own.) She fell off her stair lift 4 days after being discharged.
This could all be so easily preventable but I feel I have really struggled with this decision to have mum in 24hr care, as previously mentioned but as long as i'm available to provide all the support they are happy to let me continue. Feeling disheartened.
Hi Christine,
OH good, you are forewarned. You now know that this woman’s sole ambition may well be to get you to agree to looking after Mum full time, with absolutely no consideration for the well being of either of you. It would be absolutely not fair on either of you. How on earth are you supposed to be responsible for Mum 24 hours a day and how is it fair on Mum to have someone exhausted and stressed there to pick her up next time she falls and cope with any breaks or head injuries while waiting for an ambulance?
Utter nonsense.
I suspect that your heartstrings will be pulled, (you don’t want to give your mum so much stress at her age), your ‘guilt’ will be used, (you are a loving daughter, won’t you give her your time now she is nearing the end of her life), you will be offered so much more ‘wonderful help’, (how about an extra carer’s call and perhaps an hour for you once a week) and your civic duty button pressed (we are so short of resources and money, we do appreciate family carers, especially a nurse like you, who knows what to do).
Big test of your resolve coming up I suspect. Of course they want you to provide all care. Be realistic here. It’s NOT right that Mum should be alone and vulnerable to falls and lying all night with an injury. Equally important it is NOT right, fair or feasible that you should be a whole team of people all on your own. Give up your job perhaps?
Christine, you have got to say ‘NO’.
I know your Mum is very old. I know it might not be long before the next fall or illness or sheer old age brings the end. I thought that about my Mum. My Mum lived for years after that thought, to be a few days short of her 100th birthday at the end. In the meantime I had lived 10 years and aged 20.
Do not let either a friendly/ sympathetic or a judgemental/ pressure approach get to you. Chat or assessment I wonder? If the latter you need a copy of her ‘findings’ which may differ. Take notes, stick to your guns, use your own background and knowledge to your advantage, be proactive, not reactive (especially not to any false sympathy) you are fighting for Mum’s safety and your life!!
Please let us know how it goes.
Thank you Elaine, for your advice and concern on my my behalf. I have already responded to you in a long email, however my dodgy internet dropped out and I think the email disappeared, so I apologise if you received it and I am repeating myself.
I agree that there may well be a huge amount of pressure from the SW, however I have been caring for my parents for the past 13 yrs. I have made a difficult decision to put mum into care and I simply can't accept any more,pressure to care, to the detriment of my own health, both physical and mental.
The first SW I met with was fully supportive, however Mum's case has been passed to another, not sure why. I have decided that Social Services must be made aware that I won't respond to emergency phone calls at all hours of the day and night, expecting me to pick up the slack and wait for ambulances (last time from call to ambulance, arriving to take her to hospital was 9am till 7pm.)
Mum genuinely feels sorry that she has become a "burden to me", she wants me to get on with my life, however the stumbling point is she says she can manage on her own!
Keep fingers crossed for me, I intend to stand strong, my mantra to mum is "I love you and I know this is not want you 'want' but it is what you 'need'"
OMG what a mess!