Care home guilt - anyone?(10 Posts)
That's it really. DF in a care home since July after period in hospital and deterioration of Parkinson's and dementia.
Everywhere I look, I read about how a care home is to be avoided at all costs, about how people are always going to better off staying at home, about families who put jobs and lives on hold to provide the care instead. I'm being made to feel that we've let him down big time. I thought I'd adjust, and learn to ignore the guilt, but I think its getting worse not better. Obviously its about him, not me, and as care homes go, I'm really happy with it - he's well cared for, and its a happy place.
And all books on dementia focus on supporting the amazing people who care for their loved ones at home - is there a handbook about supporting someone who's already in a home?
I just feel a bit crap at all this.
We can only do the best we can. You have done that. No need for guilt. Your father is in a happy place where he is getting the care he needs.
You will be able to spend what time you have with him talking and whatever helps him (music, photos, memories) rather than wearing yourself, and possibly your family, into the ground trying to care for his physical and psychological needs, for which you do not have the resources.
Be gentle with yourself, it's a long and sad journey for you, do not distress yourself with with 'what might have been's'.
Sometimes a home is the best place for them. The fact that you care enough to worry about them is the main thing.
My mum has dementia and at the moment is in her home with help but I'm aware that the point that won't be suitable will come. My brother won't contemplate moving her into care but I don't think he's thought through the realities of her not going into one.
She cannot come and live with me I live at the other end of the country so it would be taking her away from the rest of the family and her friends who are a vital part of her support network and frankly with 2 small kids, a disability of my own and my own business I couldn't cope with her even if I wanted to (complicated family history means I don't really want to either).
My brother has a chaotic life at best and also a small child of his own and can barely cope being at mums for a weekend, he also lives rurally so would struggle with healthcare.
My other siblings don't have permanent places to live and are both younger.
She likes being around people her own age and older and dementia has actually weirdly made her more sociable but she hates travelling so actually living with other people may not be completely a negative thing.
My GMIL went into sheltered accommodation with care 2yrs ago and it's been wonderful for her and given her a lease of life she didn't have before. My GF was the same and had a good couple of years in a care home after struggling in his house. I wish we had been able to persuade him to move earlier. My GM got dementia suddenly after a stroke and went into a dementia home immediately as she was quite violent at times and was quite distressing to be around.
I cannot fault any of the care homes that my relatives have been in. We knew we could n't cope with them ourselves so be made arrangements for the best care available & visited and gave what time we could and that is what I hope we can do for my mum.
Ah OP! Please don't feel guilty. I used to run some very good care homes and now work with older people.
I would never advise people not to go into a care home. Most people do want to stay home as long as they can but I often see older people trapped in a home that isn't suitable for them or they can't afford to maintain. And often families struggling to provide support particularly with profound nursing needs and dementia. A care home can in those circumstances be a far better option, reducing fear and worry and with love and care. Please don't ever feel bad or judged - you have done the right thing and found appropriate care.
Have you tried 'contented dementia' by Oliver James?
There was a programme recently about the work of a council and a gentleman with dementia being looked after at home by his daughter and visits from carers 5 or 6 times a day. But he spent most of his time in his bed or a chair next to his bed staring at a TV that he couldn't understand.
I thought at the time how much better he would have been in a home with people around him all the time, appropriate activities, and company.
We are reaching the stage with my Father where my Mum won't be able to cope and to be honest I think it will be a positive move for both of them.
You have nothing to feel guilty for and I don't believe in their own home is always best.
Thanks everyone, its a tough journey, thanks for making me feel a bit better about it. And yes hatgirl - I've just put contented dementia on my booklist,
I have worked in a care home for the past 6 years. If you have found a good home then I honestly feel sometimes that's best for everyone. I can of course only go on my own experience but my residents are truly like my second family. I see their families visit or take the individuals on outings and they are able to enjoy their time together rather than the pressure of caring for someone 24/7 sometimes resulting in negative impact on their own self worth, health, patience and future! Keep up to date with the homes care inspections, visit unpredictably and speak to different staff - this will help you judge if there's anything you think can be improved in your loved one's care as you have the clarity of taking a step back.
Some people may advise to spend time with the person who is suffering from dementia instead of sending them in a nursing home and others advice otherwise. If you think you can take care of your father/mother who is sick and can dedicate your life to take care of them, then that's okay. However if you think otherwise, you can send them in a nursing home so that they will be taken good care of by capable individuals. If you feel guilty for sending them away, you could always visit them and spend time with them.
My mum comes from a large family. Many of my cousins were snarky and some downright rude when she went into a home. None of their “concern” manifested itself by any actual help in the 5 years that myself and frail stepfather cared for her in the 5 years since her diagnosis. Nor did they visit her in the 5 years that she was in a home. They did create merry hell when they learned that her funeral had taken place without them.
My mum was literally at deaths door when she went into the home. I knew my stepfather was unable to care for her properly. He stubbornly refused to let her go into a home and I was powerless. The inevitable crisis happened and things were taken out of his hands.
Once in the home, with regular food, regular medication and company my Mum made an amazing physical recovery. It is hard, I hated visiting, I hated leaving her there. Fortunately my stepfather, once seeing the transformation was able to be at peace with the decision.
I hope that your dad will receive as much wonderful care a my mum did💐
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