Without belaboring what's been going on here, I really need some feel for why people in my generation, late 60's and up, get so on a high horse about putting someone into respite care or into assisted living.
We hit something of an ephiphany here yesterday in that after a weeks discussion, My husband said he wanted to look at somewhere for respite care. If I have gone away in the past, it's with a pasted together group of people who hopefully would show up when they said they would. Also, my girls have been great to take family leave and come care for their dad but they both have very responsible and stessful jobs and this is not fair.
We are fortunate to live in a very high rent district with excellent care facilities. The newest and the best was the last we visited and it was beautiful, alot of men around who enthusiastically endorsed the place instead of alot of really ancient people clinging to the walls or in wheel chairs.
The staff were young, bright and cheerful, not burned out.
I had lunch today with two friends (former friends?) and told them I thought this was a grand solution for my husband . They were shocked!! Felt I should take him into a total care facility and yada yada. They, of course, hadn't stayed up half the night with him nor had they just changed all of his clothes before we left (he had lunch with their husbands) because he had wet himself head to toe.
We have tried overnight in home help. They too have burned out. We have, thank heavens the resources to deal with this in a way that I believe will be good for him and good for me but the major feeling seems to be that I only think it would be good for me, ie., better throw yourself on the funeral pyre.
I wonder why the generations coming on can walk away from a hangnail with no blame while people my age resent and put down a cg who is looking for a solution that might be of more value to both people involved.
Obviously I am angry and really venting. We've really had 5 very hard years, and yes, I know many on this list have had it harder and for a longer period of time but I am so burned out at this point that I feel I have no peace of mind. One of the problems has been that my husband goes around the in house help to get to me if things aren't to his satisfaction.
I think you are incredibly lucky that your husband has recognized the need for respite, and I will keep my fingers crossed that you can strike while the iron is hot and that your husband will adjust well. Let's hope!
It sounds like you've found a good facility. One of the things they should be able to do for the 2 of you is give you an honest assessment of level of care that your husband requires. That should reaffirm YOUR need for respite, since you've been the one providing almost all of that care. You can probably get an independent assessment of your situation through your local Area Agency on Aging, too. (In fact, that kind of assessment is required, before NH placement, where I live.)
I can't begin to express my admiration for what you do for your husband and your generosity with CARE.
I would say, Go for it-_-you've done your homework, apparently, and your husband is agreeable. never mind those "former" friends" who are not wearing your shoes ! We all know very well what a caring CG you are--and how much you deserve that respite!
I wonder if the different reaction from people older than 60 is because of the relative newness of Assisted Living. They may just automatically conjure up a 1950's Nursing home in their brains, a time when things were rather bad.
For what it is worth I say - move into the lovely place, invite your hesitant friends to come and have a nice dinner served to them on a linen tablecloth, show off the place. Who knows, they may be putting their name on a waiting list.
Besides - it is a wonderful way to have your hubby's needs met without killing you in the meantime.
I think your decision, together, is a good one. Don't worry about what other people think. They haven't been in your shoes and they just don't have any idea what goes on in the care of a loved one. Not all my children knew until I got sick a few months ago and had to go to the Emergency Room. The one daughter I count on all the time was in Dallas with her husband on vacation. I had to call on the other daughter who lives here in town to come to the house and take care of her dad until her sister returned. She (the one who took care of her dad) learned a lot about his care. In fact her and her boyfriend have agreed to take my husband to Georgia in October for a couple days. I am so looking forward to that time to myself. I can hardly wait. My only problem is I don't think 2 days is enough. They should be gone for a week. I could use that resting time.
I am 62 and my husband is 74. We have both decided if he ever gets to the point again (we were there 1 1/2 yrs ago) where he needs constant care, assisted living is just exactly what we are going to do. We have a wonderful facility here in town. I have several friends that already live there and they are very satisfied. One friend is now in Italy for 3wks. She left knowing that her husband had at hand everything he could possibly need. She is in good health,he has multitude of health problems. People that have no clue what you both go through day to day really have no right to judge your decisions. Assisted living makes perfect sense to me. Go for it before you to become ill.
What you've talked about illustrates very clearly why so many caregivers, myself included, tend to reduce their circle of friends over time. Those who are devoid of empathy and make no effort to understand are not going to add anything to your quality of life, and in fact will simply drag you down at a time you need to be lifted up. Those of us on this list know what you've been through, and I suspect everyone is as admiring as I am of the way you've held up through all of this. When I think I'm having a bad time, you're one of the people I think of. It helps get me out of the "I can't deal with this" slump in a hurry. We're with you in spirit, and are here for you to vent to whenever you want.
The best thing anyone has said to me was my youngest daughter when she said,"Mother dad's life is really over, but yours is not, and we want you to know that anything you decide is right for you is right for us." And my children have stuck to that. I have done it all myself, put my husband in a full-care nursing home, and now (for the past four years) have him home with full-time in-home care for which I am using my children's inheritance. So far, the children have not tried to second guess me, but sometimes friends do. I figure they are just trying to be helpful and that unsolicited advice feels great to the giver but does nothing for the receiver.
My advice, get together with your husband and children and , perhaps, other close family, make the decision and follow through with it. And whatever you decide together, never look back,but make the most of the life you all have left. It might be the best move you have made in a long time..and try to minimize the guilt feelings. They will always be there to a certain extent at certain times. A friend of ours whose wife passed away a few weeks ago, she had Parkinson's, called recently. She had been in an assisted living place, a decision made by the whole family, and not an easy one, for about 2 years. He said that he was glad they had made the move. He went to visit her every day, she had the best care, was usually in good spirits when he visited, and they spent quality time together, looking at old photographs, reminiscing, holding hands. He could not have given her the professional care she needed at his home.
There are pros and cons, but you, your spouse and children only can decide what's best for you, not friends, neighbors, and acquaintances.