It had been a few weeks since I had been able to attend my favorite workout class and I struck up a conversation with the lady next to me. After I mentioned my book on dementia caregiving, she shared how guilty her friend felt for helping her mom move to a facility.
I tried to encourage her—moving into the right assisted living facility was the best solution for my mother. Outgoing and gregarious, she blossomed in the welcoming community of her peers. She always had people to talk with. We visited her regularly, took her for family get-togethers and other adventures.
But I would still feel guilty. After all, wasn’t I supposed to care for her at home? When she threw her back out and the staff knew how to help her, I realized this was the right decision. As her daughter, I could take her places, keep her company and bring her treats. We shopped together or I took her list to the store and made the purchases. But I learned there were many things they were better qualified and I could not duplicate the nurturing community the facility could provide.
As her primary caregiver I worked with the staff to make she was getting the care she needed. If we can see ourselves as executive managers, securing the best resources for our loved ones, decisions about facilities become part of the equation.
In the beginning we can hardly imagine our loved one would not remember her husband had died, would not know how to find the bathroom or get dressed, become disconnected to time and wander day and night. Our homes might, or might not, be the best place for our loved ones. This is a hard decision, but we have to take into account what is best for our loved ones and ourselves.
So, if you have helped your loved one move to a facility and you feel guilty, recall the reasons for the decision and work the day’s problems. We need to forgive ourselves and focus our emotional energy on taking care of our loved ones as well as ourselves.
The day Mom was crying because her back hurt and all my attempts to help made it worse, I learned there were skill sets I didn’t have. When the aide moved her to a pain-free position within seconds, it felt like God told me—it’s OK. This is the best place for her. Over the years I valued and learned many things from the staff. Over time, as her difficulties increased, I knew she was in the best place for her. They were able to care for her through to the late, end-stage.
Welcome to the blog page for Biblical Dementia Caregiving. It is a resource to come alongside as you walk the dementia journey with your loved one. My name is Dorothy Gable and I wish to help, encourage and share the lessons we learned caring for my mother with dementia. For more of my story, please see the About page in this website.