Can't work out if I feel more guilty than angry

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Livveywills, Mar 25, 2016.

  1. Livveywills

    Livveywills Registered User

    Jul 11, 2015
    Brought mum home from the care home today, picked her up early having farmed out all but one of the children so that I could take her to Sainsbury's to 'help' buy food for Good Friday tea, stopped to get her crisps and biscuits and cakes to take back to care home.

    Took her to church, home for hot cross buns, let her 'help' by sweeping in the garden even though it took so much longer to clear the winter leaves etc up with her helping. Put a chair out for her to sit in the sun, put the TV on for her when she wanted to be inside

    Had tea complete with carrot serviettes and malteaser bunnies.

    When it came time for her to come home, we go out through the door quite happily, get in the car and I have barely started the engine when I get 'As far as I can see there is nothing wrong with me, I dont' know what you're saying about me to people. You've just put me in this place to die. It continued in a worsening state for the 10 min drive to the care home, felt like an hour though, Again it's I don't care about her, I don't want anything ot do with her, when I remind her that we've just had a whole ay today together and that I'm doing the same on Sunday it is totally dismissed.

    I tried pointing out that I simply can't cope anymore, I said if she wanted to go back and live in her own home she would have to accept carers in to do washing, dressing and meal times and actually let them in, all I get is a sulky 'that wouldn't be very nice would it'

    If I tell her I love her it is shrugged off, all she can see is that I'm not there all the time and I've now committed the ultimate crime of moving her to a care home after she started refusing to let my husband in to do meals and mediaction when i went away to work.

    Problem is, that she now views her house and living there through completley rose tinted glasses, everything bad she said about it I'm making up.

    If I point out something that she can't manage like cooking or shopping, or most things really, it isn't that she can't do them it is my fault because I won't let her.

    I got back in the car tonight and journeyed home with this mixture of anger, crying and downright grief I think.

    I feel like I'm hurting her in order to survive, I know in my head that she said similar things about me when I was at home but now the fact that I've put her into a care home is another stick to beat me with. I wish there was someone else to take a part of this responsibility, but my sisters have no contact with my mother and so it is just me, depriving someone of their liberty is such a final thing to do, I feel I'm going to spend the rest of her life trying to do nice things to try to make up for this crime and always always being told how terrible I am.

    I found out I was pregnant a week ago, all I want to do is tell my mum, but she's not my mum, and it's killing me. I don't know how we are going to cope with another baby on top of all of this.

    Sorry for the rant, better to put it down in words here than say at home while the kids are still up
  2. stanleypj

    stanleypj Registered User

    Dec 8, 2011
    North West
    Well, first, try to banish the guilt. Easier said than done, I know, but for a start you can stop thinking that you've put her into a care home, even if she can't. It's the dementia that's put her into the care home. Full-stop.

    It's obvious that you have done, and still do, your level best to help her in every way that you're able to. No-one can do more than that.

    I don't know whether you've asked the CH staff at all about how your mum is when you're not around. You might find that she is mostly OK just as she presumably is when she's with you - until it's time to leave. Many members also find that even people who complain all the time when they first go into a CH eventually settle and do come to regard it as their home.

    Decide that you are going to enjoy the new baby you are bringing into the world, whatever the difficulties. Your children will still need you, and you will need them, for many years, and as long as you know your mum is safe and well cared-for you should be able to enjoy your children. I do hope you are eventually able to banish the guilt and anger and really look forward to the new arrival.
  3. opaljewels

    opaljewels Registered User

    Mar 24, 2016
    Know where you are coming from and you should NOT feel guilty as you have a life to live as well.
    Seen my mother deal with her mother in this aspect and we had to put Gran in a home (she kept wandering off)
    Now it's our Mothers turn- she has dementia now.
    At moment me & my sister are kind of dealing with it, but not coping very well yet
    Seeing the affect Gran had on my MUM we always said that we couldn't sacrifice our lives and I don't think you should. The guilt and anger is still there though.
    I think it's like dealing with a child sometimes- only think I notice with my Mum is that she forgets what she has said the next day.
    You have to grow an outer shell I think (people say I am hard, but if I didn't have a shell then there would only be a puddle of tears left of me dealing with all the issues).
    Take care now and focus on your kids and yourself.
  4. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    SW London
    I am so sorry you are going through all this. It's a sad fact that so many people who move into care homes cannot in the least understand why they need to be there. Of course they were fine at home! They could manage everything, we are making it all up - we just want them out of the way/want to get our hands on their money, we don't care about them, we can't be bothered, etc. etc - no matter how much we do or how how often we visit. And all that's partly because they just can't remember what we've done or how often we've seen them.
    My mother would insist she had been fine at home - in reality she hadn't been managing at all for a few years and could no longer even make herself a cup of tea. We had only put her in the care home so we could sell her house and take the money - it was no earthly use pointing out that given the level of CH fees, if we'd just been after her money we'd have left her in increasing squalor at home! (Where of course nobody ever visited her - she could not remember literally 10 minutes after he'd left the house that my brother had only just been.).

    I know all too well how very hard it is, but do try to grow a 'shell' and let the moans wash over you. She simply can't remember what it was like at home on her own. Let the care home take the brunt of it - step back a bit in the knowledge that she is well looked after. Take care of yourself, your own family and the little new one on the way. I know you may not feel very happy about that at the moment when you are so stressed about your mother, but I do hope that will come.
    Wishing you all the very best.
  5. Chemmy

    Chemmy Registered User

    Nov 7, 2011
    I hope it's helped, writing it down.

    The decision to move your mother into care wasn't taken lightly and was done in her best interests, so there is absolutely no reason to feel guilty. Concentrate on your young family...and huge congratulations over the new baby. How exciting :)

    Going forward, personally I wouldn't take her out of the CH in the short term if it provokes this sort of response. Visit when and for as long as it suits you. She has companionship there the rest of the time.
  6. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    Heres another one whose mum has gone into a CH.
    Dont try and reason or argue with her, the dementia will win every time. All she can remember is the time when she was able to cope at home and she thinks that is the way it still is. There is no way that you will ever be able to convince her otherwise.

    I told mum little white lies and blamed the doctor - "I wish you were able to come home (that bit at least was true), but the doctor says that you have to stay for a while"

    I also wonder if she has been out too long and got tired. Mum was always much more belligerent when she was tired. Perhaps a shorter time out would be the way to go?
  7. Slugsta

    Slugsta Registered User

    Of course your emotions are all over the place - you're pregnant! Congratulations :)

    Your mum is now somewhere safe, where she is well looked after. She is no less happy there than she was in her own home, from what you have said. You have done nothing wrong - far from it.

    If your mum gets distressed when you take her back, and that upsets you in turn, maybe you can consider whether she is best with visits just in the care home for now? That's your decision, of course, but you do need to look after yourself and the new life you are nurturing.
  8. CollegeGirl

    CollegeGirl Registered User

    Jan 19, 2011
    North East England
    #8 CollegeGirl, Mar 25, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2016
    Livvey, my heart goes out to you. I haven't read the other replies, but my gut feeling is that you should now back off a little, and instead of doing more for your mum, you should actually do less.

    That sounds awful, doesn't it? But you have children, another baby on the way, a husband, and a life of your own to live, and these should come first, in my humble opinion. Forgive me if it sounds harsh, I know it does.

    But if doing more isn't going to satisfy your mum and make her happy, then you maybe should just do whatever you can cope with, and no more than that.

    Sending you my very best wishes, and a big hug too. I hope you can soon enjoy the prospect of having a new baby, you deserve to enjoy it.
  9. cat64

    cat64 Registered User

    Sep 1, 2014
    And mega hugs from another who has just moved their mum into a care home x...we are two weeks on and the guilt is mega I feel like I have caged just have to keep telling yourself its for the best. She is warm/fed/stimulated and isn't getting into a pickle with money or phoning people at bizarre times of the night!

    I went to visit my mum yesterday too and came away exhausted but pleased she was clean/fed and chatting even though it was mega confused chatting!..mum had two gentlemen wanting to talk to her!!! that made me smile.

    Dont forget your hormones will be raging so your moods will be all over the place.
    big congratulations on baby:) many children will you have now?

    I would possibly do a little less too....think of your family/children and your health is so important. Mum will be safe and she wont really know how many times you visit each week....take a day at a time and be kind to yourself. take care x
  10. Owly

    Owly Registered User

    Jun 6, 2011
    I agree with the others, the way to cope will be prioritising yourself and the new baby, and letting the care home do what it's there for, caring for mum.

    You can also try "changing the script" in some way. When she rolls out the same complaints time after time, it's likely that you're giving her the same defensive answers. It can become a grim kind of repeated dialogue that she uses in order to feed her inner sense of injustice about how she's ended up this way. Feed her inner "pain body" (you can google Eckhart Tolle and read about that).

    People with dementia (and frankly, many elderly parents without dementia too!) can become as demanding as you will let them be. How much of your life you sacrifice to them is entirely in your hands. Set boundaries. Mum is just one of many people who depend on you for their happiness. Mum has the care home staff and the companionship of the other residents. You are a primary happiness-giver to your children and they must take priority.
  11. rhubarbtree

    rhubarbtree Registered User

    Jan 7, 2015
    North West
    Agree with all the excellent advice given by others. I was amazed at all the activities you packed into one day. I have come to understand that my OH (living at home) can only deal with one activity which involves lots of people a day. Later in the day as he gets tired the atmosphere changes and flare ups can occur if I am not careful. I would have thought, church and a coffee was enough for one day. Also going back to your house probably reminds her of how she remembers her own home.

    Your sisters obviously have their reasons for not keeping in contact with your Mother but it doesn't mean you have to compensate.

    Thanks for sharing your baby news with all of us on here.
  12. Chemmy

    Chemmy Registered User

    Nov 7, 2011
    What a wonderfully succinct piece of advice. :)
  13. Delphie

    Delphie Registered User

    Dec 14, 2011
    You're doing too much for your mum Livvey. If your huge efforts resulted in her happiness that would be a good argument for you carrying on, but the fact is you're exhausted and being pulled in too many directions and your mum is still unhappy (or at least telling you that when she's with you).

    So maybe make some changes and do less with her/for her. If she's still unhappy then that side of the equation will remain unchanged. Nothing lost. But you'll gain by having more time for yourself, your children and the new baby.

    It's worth remembering that feeling guilty is, while difficult not to, a complete waste of time. You didn't make her ill and you can't cure her. None of this is your fault. You can't make her happy. However much you do it won't be enough.

    I remember my mum, when she was still living at home and I was running myself into the ground to support her, telling me she had a daughter, Delphie, who never as much as visited. That's the reality of dementia. Mum didn't recognise that she was ill, she didn't recognise me, and she certainly didn't recognise anything I did to help her. I could have stopped working completely, left my family, moved in with her, and she still wouldn't have been happy. And I would've had a breakdown.

    Now she's in care I visit when I can, but I've claimed my life (and my health) back. Should I feel guilty? Should you if you do the same? Looking at it objectively I really don't think so.
  14. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    SW London
    So right about the elderly without dementia, too. OH had an old aunt, no dementia, who was intensely self centred and became incredibly demanding. She would insist on him going a 2 hour drive to see her when he'd just got off a long night flight for work and was knackered. I said to him once, 'If you drop dead from running around after her, all she'll say is, 'What about ME? What about my food?'
    Believe me I am not exaggerating.
  15. Livveywills

    Livveywills Registered User

    Jul 11, 2015
    Thank you, all of you for the advice, for the caring comments and the gentle kick up the bum!

    Mum and I have a lifetime of relationship based on guilt, my dad died when I was 2, she never remarried, she didn't date, and she didn't have friends. I was her world and every time I tried to break free of that the guilt trips were suffocating.

    We have 4 children of our own ranging from 17 down to 2 years and then we also have residency of my niece who is 8. Crazy big family, just what I dreamt of as a child. But it is fair to say that baby number 5/6 is a bit of a shock to the system, I thought I was starting an early menopause!!!!!

    The quality of our lives has improved so much in the few weeks mum has been at the care home, just little things like being able to lay down yesterday afternoon for an hour as was wiped out and then make the little ones egg muffins for tea and sort dinner for the older ones later on. I couldn't do that before as mum had to be fed, given tablets etc. We can go out for a day - the thought of that is bliss.

    I go away for 3 days tomorrow for work and it is so good to be able to go knowing that I don't have to worry about mum's safety.

    I'm sure I do do too much, it is so hard to accept that she won't ever be happy or satisfied. I've spent my life trying to make up for the fact that she isn't happy. In my head I know that this is the right decision, for mum and for us.

    We've made it through another week, and the trip back to the CH wasn't quite so fraught today.

    I am going to look at how I manage time with her, thank you for the advice on shorter visits. Popping in to see the CH manager in the morning on my way to work to hand in the signed contract for mums place, so will ask how she seems when I'm not around, I suspect that as someone suggested she may well be very different when I'm not there.

    Thank you again for your responses, I'm going to print them out to reread when we have another really bad day
  16. Owly

    Owly Registered User

    Jun 6, 2011
    That's encouraging news, that she wasn't so fraught today. Perhaps she'll "latch onto" some other residents in the care home and meet her needs that way. You do sound as if you have your hands full! I hope you can now enjoy your 3 days away.

    It sounds a good idea to ask the CH manager how she is when you're not there. Also, next time you go in to see her, go in quietly and hover and watch if at all possible, before she sees you coming.

    I haven't been in that situation, but I've read on this forum that carers have been both shocked and relieved to see the 'complaining' parent laughing and having a super social time with the other residents. ;)

  17. RedLou

    RedLou Registered User

    Jul 30, 2014
    The staff at the hospital my father landed himself in told me he 'played up' and 'guilt-tripped' when I visited (they used to dread my visits and I hope that wasn't a reaction to me!) When I wasn't there he was very tranquil apparently. When I appeared it was moan, moan, moan, mainly to me but also to them.
  18. Aisling

    Aisling Registered User

    Dec 5, 2015
    Am so pleased for you. You are a caring, wonderful person. Your mum is safe and looked after. You may be surprised to hear that your mum is grand and settling. I hope so but you have done your best.

    A new baby. Congratulations. You may get out the knitting needles soon!! Am being nosey now, what are egg muffins? Am longing for scotch eggs for ages and can't get them. No I am not pregnant!!That time involved apricots. I loved scotch eggs when I lived in England. No hassle, picked them up in supermarket. Enjoy your 3 days away.
  19. Livveywills

    Livveywills Registered User

    Jul 11, 2015
    Just returned from the 3 day work trip. I can't tell you how reassuring it was to know that mum was safe while I was away, these trips are usually so fraught with anxiety. I got several calls from her, one day she didn't want me she wanted the famous person, so kept ringing and getting frustrated that I answered, and when I didn't she rang constantly. The next day mum rang wanting the mother of the children rather than me. But even the stresses of those calls were so tempered by the fact that I could put the phone down and get back to work knowing she was safe, even if not happy. Rather than probably not happy and not overly safe.

    Aisling - Egg muffins were a take off of the McDonald's breakfast we get in the UK, a bread muffin with an egg in it, which my girls covered in tomato sauce - completely disgusting but they were happy!

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