I feel guilty about my husband being in Assisted Living, even though the doctors said he wouldn't be safe at home. How do I relieve this guilt?

2 answers | Last updated: Sep 18, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My husband is in a great assisted living home, I visit him about 2 times a week. I take him to church on Sundays and so far he really enjoys this. Part of that is that he just wants to be with me. The home is lovely with about 30 - 40 people with their own apts...sometimes he calls me and is nice and sometimes angry. My son is in charge of his care which helps me as I was hospitalized 3 times after he was put in the homel I have started Grief Recovery, tried an Alz groups but every one had their patient at home... My children want me to have a life (almost 80), but at times I feel guilty about it.

Would love to hear from those whose situations are similar to mine.

Community Answers

Yorkie momma answered...

I am sure everyone is telling you not to feel guilty, alot easier said than done. My Dad who is 84 is caring for my Mom with help from me and i wish he would put her in a facility. He feles bad even discussing the idea of putting her in a day care for 2 days a week, the problem is, I feel bad if i dont get over every day, I work full time plus my husband has pick's dementia, so i am pulled from both sides. I want to help my Dad but i need to be with my husband, he is good right now but there are times when he is very resentful to my Mom which again puts me in a bad place. If she as in a a facility then at least i would know my Dad was not doing the lion's share of the care for her. She is very demanding and is hard to deal with so some of my siblings don't want to be around her for any length of time. I feel so bad for my Dad. The really sad thing is, he was in good shape when the "full" effect of Alzheimers hit our family and now this disease is killing both of them. So please dont feel bad.

Boomergran answered...

There is "real" guilt - when you've done something wrong such as stealing, lying, etc. - and there is "false" guilt, when you've done something that you think you've done out of selfishness or to make your life easier.

My husband (67) has been in a memory care home for almost a year. I had tremendous guilt over putting him there for the first 4-5 months. I tried to think of every way possible to bring him home, but I knew in my head that he was where he needed to be - for his own safety. It wasn't until he had a seizure, and the staff was able to help him immediately, that I was able to put the guilt away. I could not have taken care of the seizure at home and he could have easily died.

Anonymous caregiver, another friend of mine said that Alzheimer's shouldn't claim more than one life, and it will take your away as well, if you let it. When my husband would get angry with me, either on the phone or when I visited, I would simply tell him that the visits and phone calls were because I love him and wanted to be with him, but since that particular visit/phone call was only upsetting him, I would leave/hang up and speak to him later. That was VERY hard to do, but he quickly reached a point where he knew that being angry with me was going to have the opposite effect of what he wanted. I only had to leave him once, and I made sure to come back within a couple hours and not mention what had happened.

Yorkie Momma, your dad may feel guilty because he may have told your mom at some point that he would never put her in one of "those places." We have all made promises like that, but as situations change so must promises be broken. If she had a broken leg or hip and needed rehabilitation, he would be sure she got the right care. It's her mind that is broken, though, and she needs to be where she's getting not only good care but has an opportunity to socialize with others who have broken brains. Encourage him to find a place for her, even if only a couple of days a week. Ask him what will happen to her if something happens to him. Your hands are full with your own husband, and you can't be expected to abandon him to be with your mom if your dad gets sick and can't care for mom. It's a hard decision, so find a doctor or other professional who can help support you in encouraging your dad to find placement for her.