Mental Health Woes: Should I Bring My Ailing Mother To Nursing Home?

My mother was the only constant person for most of my life. You see, I never knew my father, and Mom was nothing but honest about the fact that I was a product of a one-sided love affair. He left after finding out that I existed.

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My mother was too kind to tell me not to harbor hatred towards him, but I still did for some time. It was not because I grew up feeling inadequate or unloved – that was not the case since Mom showered me with more attention and love than I could ever need. I was merely mad because my father left her without giving financial support while raising me. That caused Mom to juggle three part-time jobs to look after me and my growing needs. She did not have time to get a proper haircut at the salon or spend time with her friends, and I felt helpless as a young kid because of that.

When I went to college, I promised Mom that she would no longer need to care for me. After all, I got a full-ride scholarship at Yale University, thanks to my impressive accomplishments throughout middle school and high school. I was also eligible to obtain student loans that could cover my books, tuition, and accommodation. And all the other expenses could be paid for by my part-time job at a publishing company. 

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Despite that, Mom was stubborn enough to complain and say, “Come on. Can’t I even pay for your food? What kind of a mother am I if I let you go out in the world without financial support before you are ready for it?” No matter how much I declined her money, she would often wire the dollars to my bank account. I would only get wind of it whenever she would call and ask me to check if the money already arrived. 

Looking After My Mother

Since Mom had always been so good to me, I made sure to marry a man who would let her live with us. That man turned out to Burr. According to my mother, he was the best son-in-law that she could ask for because Burr always treated her with respect. Whenever he came home with a gift for me, Mom would always get one, too. In his own words, “You already went through so much in life, ladies. Now, let me pamper you both like the queens you are meant to be.”

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When my mother started living with us, I found a way to keep her from going to work. Burr and I already had a baby at the time, and I told my mother that I needed help taking care of little Josh. She loved her only grandson too much to let me get a nanny, so she volunteered to babysit sometimes. It gave her a new purpose, and I did not have to worry about her getting in an accident to or from work. It was a win-win situation, for sure.

But then, after Mom turned 60 years old, things started to get crazy. Sometimes, I would find her standing in front of the door in deep thought. Whenever I asked what she was doing there, she would say, “I forgot the way to the supermarket” or “I had to do something, but I could not remember it.” Other times, she would stay in the garden, planting and repotting the same flowers. Still, I did not take her to a neurologist until Josh came to the kitchen one day, frowning. He uttered, “Nana’s weird. We were playing Jenga just now, but she suddenly turned serious and asked who I was.”

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The specialist tested my mother multiple times before the bad news came: Mom had Alzheimer’s. It was only in the early stages, but there was no cure for this disease, so she would inevitably get worse. 

Thinking Of Bringing My Ailing Mother To A Nursing Home

I wouldn’t lie – I genuinely thought of bringing my mother to a nursing home as soon as I found out that she had Alzheimer’s disease. You might hate me for even thinking about it, but I got scared of what could happen if she stayed at home with us.

Burr and I were not always in the house to keep an eye on Mom. Although Josh was already a teenager at the time, he was also busy with sports and school. It would be too much to ask him to leave everything behind to look after Nana. I thought that we would do Mom a favor by taking her to the nursing home because the caregivers would be able to check on her all the time.

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I merely changed my mind when I talked to the doctor privately, and he told me that Alzheimer’s patients who lived with family often regressed more slowly than others who lived by themselves. It was the best advice I took. After five years of having the condition, my mother barely reverted. I knew that it would still take time before Mom would forget any of us, and we wanted to make the most out of our time with her. 

 

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