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Moving Mom

Monday, August 15, 2011

Today is moving day. It's for my mom, not me. You see, for the past 2.5 years, my sister has been Mom's primary caregiver. It's taken a toll on her family emotionally, mentally and physically. It's become too much. And now that my nephew is having so much trouble learning the things he needs to know for school, and having emotional problems... I think my sister has finally realized that the family can't do this for much longer. I tried to explain that this would happen in 2008 when we were discussing options for Mom's care, but either she didn't want to hear it, or I didn't explain it well enough.

So, we found a place for Mom. It's a board and care home 3 miles from my house. They have lots of experience with people who have dementia and Alzheimers. The residents seem very happy. We brought my mom and my sister's kids for a visit. They all gave their stamp of approval as well. And today Mom's moving into her new place.

I don't think Mom totally "gets" what's going on. She keeps thinking that it's like a vacation or something. You know - only temporary. I don't want to tell her that it's permanent, but I don't want her to think we're abandoning her either.

I know this is better for everyone. The level of care Mom's receiving at home isn't what it should be. The kids need 100% of their parents' attention. My sister and her husband need to be a married couple again. My brother needs to feel like he's allowed to go off and have fun, find a new place to work, and move out. And me? I just need to not worry so much, and to go back to being the daughter instead of the babysitter.

It's hard though, you know? I cried making the list of things we would need to pack for her. I didn't cry when I was actually doing the packing, because I knew if I started then my sister would too, and then mom would get upset. Funny how you can be strong when people are watching, huh? But I'm crying again now. I feel like I'm betraying Mom, somehow, by not keeping her at home. But at the same time I feel a bit of relief that we've moved forward and aren't in caregiver limbo.

I'll be fine later. And tomorrow. And the next day. But for right now I'll be a bit sad and maybe cry some more if only so I can be strong again later.
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  • PUOKGIRL
    Thank you Junie.

    I took care of my mom for 3 years after she had her first stroke. I remember how difficult it was back then, even though some things were easier. Back then she was mostly mobile and could make a sandwich. But she was still easily agitated, and would call my cell phone non-stop. Eventually I just couldn't do it any more. I was in school full time, working part time and looking towards starting a Master's program.

    My brother took over for about a year. He took care of food and daily care, I took her to all the appointments and made sure the bills were paid.

    Then she had another stroke in 2008, which made her dementia symptoms even worse. Add into that her mobility issues and blindness... I knew she would need far more care than I could provide. My sister wasn't ready to agree with my decision to find a facility, so she moved in to care for mom and had a provider come in during the day. It's definitely taken a toll on everyone - dealing with the agitation, waking up all the time at night, helping her to the bathroom, cleaning her up afterward, the same questions repeated over and over, not being "allowed" to spend alone time with the kids. It's really hard.

    It's never an easy choice to make. Each person comes to it in their own time and their own way. Good luck with your Mom. It's good she has a daughter who loves her as much as you!
    2653 days ago
  • JUNIE33
    I have been thinking about my mom and her needs lately.
    I was her care provider for a couple of years until my sister decided to step in. It was very hard for me at first because I wasn't quite ready to give up the job.
    My sister has failed miserably at the job.
    This has left my mom wanting to return to me. At first I felt very responsible for my mom and her well being. Slowly I am rethinking what having her back with me entails. There are no easy answers. I have an adopted teenage son that just started high school. I have a big responsibility to him and to myself.
    It is important to talk about our fears and regrets and to get support whenever we can. Best wishes for you and your family with this transition.
    2653 days ago
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