How do I deal with guilt related to wanting to put my 88 year old mother in assisted living?

My 88 year old mother has been living with us for nearly 7 years. Both my husband and I work full time which results in her being at home alone for many hours. Lately she has been falling a lot. She has had 3 falls in the last 6 weeks all resulting in injuries. One of her injuries was a broken arm. She cannot dress herself and making meals is very difficult if not impossible. I spoke to her about going to an assisted living facility until her arm heals. I want her to stay there permanently but I do not know how to tell her. Also, I am having a lot of guilt feelings were I am not sleeping well at night. Any advice?

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I started posting on this question a little while ago, but then I clicked off and did something else. I was hoping someone else would answer so I could see what they had to say, because so many of us have the same feelings of guilt. I see you haven't gotten any answers yet, but I'm sure you will. The only thing I can tell you, is that it is OK to feel guilty. I've read so many times on this site about people feeling guilty that they cannot solve their parent's problems, or don't know what to do, or are at their wit's end about something. All I can tell you is, you are not alone. If you feel you cannot care for your mom as well as you would like to, that is a valid feeling. Have you discussed with your mom about various assisted living options? Does she have the funds to pay for assisted living? Does she have signs of dementia? Do you have anyone who could come in and be with her during the day? Adult day-care? Respite? This is a very stressful time for you. You might want to talk to your doctor or a therapist about getting some help with sleeping well at night. Being tired will only make you feel worse. Try to take one small step at a time if that is all you can handle. If you can get your mom to a temporary facility, then hopefully you will be able to get some rest and be ready take the next step. Best wishes to you and your mom.

Don't feel guilty, but the situation does have to change. (We do all feel guilty, no matter how much we do.) Can you postpone the decision by getting some in-home care? Can you somehow fix what is causing her to fall? If not, she will certainly be better off in assisted living. I'm assuming that you don't want to and can't afford to quit your job. I wouldn't, either. The subject may be hard to raise, but if you can get her there, she will be safer and able to be with people more, and may very well love it! Good luck to you.

Adult day care is great for my mom and provides her a social outlet and a variety of activities. It is still difficult to get her to go at times because she doesn't remember being there before. Many of these centers can also help figure out transportation if you are not able to provide it.

Before you do anything read "Your Mother, My Mother" by Dr Dennis McCoullough, a geriatric Doctor. It gives all the pitfalls of assisssted living. Maybe you could hire a companion during the day to be with your Mom. About your guilt, see a therapist. A good therapist will work out what you want, how best to achieve it, and how to talk to your Mom. It will save you months of agony. Good Luck

From what I have seen/read here on this site and from my personal experience - CAREGIVING = GUILT. There is basically NO way around it. We have to learn to deal with it and may need help in order to understand that there are many things we have no control over. Had your mother changed any of her medications lately? Often a new medication can cause dizziness and falls. My brother in law was put on a new BP med and one of the main side effects is dizziness and the chance of falls. :0( Check with your local Agency of Aging and see if your mom would qualify for a 'senior companion' - they come once or twice a week for a few hours and just visit. They don't 'do' anything like cooking, etc. More for companionship - will talk, play cards, etc. My MIL WILL NOT HAVE THEM IN HER HOUSE :0( But your mom may allow it. It is worth a try. Elder day care here is not free - it is $50 for a half day - free transportation to/from. My MIL WILL HAVING NONE OF IT. Your mom 'may' be willing to go if you can take her to look around. They offer sittersize classes that we thought my MIL would benefit from. She calls them 'suicide' classes :0( Many times our elders are their own worst enemies. They just don't want to do anything that is 'different' or puts them into a strange situation - not realizing that socialization is necessary for human happiness. DO your 'due diligence' as far as checking out ALF's - not all are created equal. Most are 'self pay.' Some will take medicaid - but most do not. Mostly - you need to find out WHY she is falling. A doctor's visit may be in order. Perhaps some PT to build her strength. Medicare will pay for that. It helped my MIL a lot - they don't realize that sitting in a recliner in front of TV 14-16 hours a day is the recipe for disaster! Keep us posted on how things go. She 'may' qualify for Medicare paid 'home health' due to her broken wrist. Ask her doctor. I know there have been so many Medicare cuts - my MIL no longer qualifies for the home health that she had for 3 years. They change the rules and 'wha la' you no longer qualify. :0(

I'm going through this with my 90 yr old mother. My sister and I finally faced up to the fact that she needs more than we are able to provide. She has Parkinsons, and Dementia. I am in the process of working with Senior Services and DSHS to help with the financial end of things. I also became aware that she qualifies for help for the VA since she is the widow of a WWII Veteran. This is so hard and being the problem solver of the family doesn't help me get over my issues of guilt. I ALWAYS come up with solutions, but this situation is beyond me. I also care for my husband who is disabled and has sever PTSD. There is a point when we need to look out for our own health or we will not be there for anyone including ourselves. I know I will not get over the guilt but at least I will know she is safe:-)

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