Feeling Guilty

After nearly five years caring for my father it has come to the point that I can no longer look after him.
He is currently in hospital and due to be transferred to a rehabilitation unit after a fall at home a week ago.The caring has taken a toll on my physical and more importantly my mental health as my life has been put on hold.He is not the easiest person to look after,can be quite demanding and difficult at times.He was diagnosed with colon cancer over four years ago and opted not to have any treatment as at the age of 88 the procedure was too invasive.It would appear that the cancer is starting to develop slightly.The decision I have to make is that he cannot come back to live at home but a care home and I feel so guilty.I am sure other members have been through the same process but it so very difficult especially when he thinks he is coming back here.

Mark, welcome to the forum.

I know just how awful that feeling is, but try to turn “guilty” into “sad”, because you are NOT responsible for the current situation, on the contrary you have done your best to support dad.
Try to focus on what dad NEEDS, not what he wants. What you both want is to be able to turn the clock back, so he isn’t old and ill, but the fit and well dad of times gone by. Sadly, that’s impossible.

What you can do, is make sure that he goes to the best possible home as near as possible to your own home. Exactly which home depends on

whether or not dad owns his home
Whether or not dad has over £23,000 in savings.

Do you have Power of Attorney?
Do you live with dad? - The answer to this is VITAL, although you may not realise it. Please answer this one asap!

No point feeling guilty! Look at it this way, the only reason he needs a care home now (Note NEEDS!) is because he’s lived this long!

Had my late MIL died at 89 she’d have died in her own home, fully independent, and self-reliant. But she didn’t, she lingered on for five years, dying this year in a care home, in deep dementia, a complete ‘wreck’ mentally and physically.

Infirmity is the price paid for ‘living too long’. That is what is happening now to your dad.

I can understand his decision not to have invasive treatment for bowel cancer (stomas etc!), but that was his choice. Now he’s taking the consequences.

If he’s been ‘difficult’ to boot, well, again, that also reduces any ‘logic’ about you feeling guilty.

Yes, it’s sad it’s come to this, but that is the way it is. We either die ‘younger and faster’ or we die ‘older and slower’…he’s got the latter, and it is taking its toll.

YOUR LIFE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN HIS right now, as YOU have had ‘less of it’ than he has! Let me also say that a loving father would want the BEST for his son - and NOT to ‘impose their illness’ on them. He should WANT to go into a care home now so YOU can ‘get your life back’. That is what a GOOD parent should do. If he doesn’t have that attiude, then the fault is his. (Maybe he does, of course, and you still feel guilty- but don’t, or his sacrifice and good fathering, ie, by choosing a care home not to be a burden to you, will have been in vain…)

Also, just to say, many folk on the forum have reported that once their relative is in a care home their relationship improves dramatically! They no longer have the ‘burden’ of care, the care home is doing all that, so they can get back to ENJOYING the company of their mum or dad. I definitely found that with my MIL!

Thanks for your replies.Some difficult decisions to make but they will be for the best all round.

This forum is great for helping people ‘accept’ the difficult decisions so many of us have to make as carers.

A friend of mine who is also a counsellor was, for me, hugely helpful in ‘giving me permission’ to place my own poor MIL into a care home, rather than break into pieces looking after her myself. I found that really ‘helped’ with the guilt I felt for doing so.