Dementia and the Caregiver Guilt Trip
Posted by on May 18, 2015 in A Day in the Life of Dementia
I’ve been feeling overwhelmed by the ongoing journey with mom. Two weeks ago, I sat and observed her in the community center before going up to say hello and she looked so sad. I left wondering if we are doing right by mom and was in a funk for days over it. My mom told me for 30 years she never wanted to be a burden to her children which is why they moved into a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC). A quick tour through my blog will tell you a very different story. I am honored to be able to advocate for her, but when she goes through periods asking me to take her with me, my stomach drops. I feel guilty that we should have moved her in with us, not into this memory care community.
In an instant my funk is lifted thanks to a comment by a woman I met at a business function. She told me her mom has dementia and her dad has been telling her over and over “If I go first, your mom is going to beg you to let her move in with you. Don’t do it, she would never have asked for that. It’s the disease, not your mother talking.” In an instant, this woman helped me realize what I knew, but emotionally got mired in guilt, and could not recognize.
My mom NEVER wanted to live with us. I know this because I remember a visit my mom and I made with a good family friend who told us that when they got old, they were moving in with their children. When we left, my mom spent the entire ride home berating the idea of a parent moving in with a child. Personally, I don’t think it’s a bad idea. It could have made things easier for us in many ways.
I’m lucky that I was around my parents and we had so many conversations that have helped me know what they wanted. It doesn’t always mean that I know it’s the perfect choice, however, I need to recognize that it is the right choice for all of us right now. Sometimes, it takes a new day and a new viewpoint to help us see the light.