Hello 73monte ...
I too, first came to HW because of another illness (and of mine) - but have gotten somewhat involved with this illness - because of my Mother. My Mother did have a 24/7 live-in caregiver for 15-months after leaving the hospital in May of 2011. It worked well mostly because Mom was at home - and she felt there was someone there helping her all of the time.
While it was a comfort to her, as her dementia progressed, she began having occassional episodes late at night - thinking someone was in her house trying to kill her. The last episode like that was pretty bad, and her primary doctor wanted her to be checked into the local hospital - into what I would call the psychiatric ward. Tht was in August of 2012.
Before being released, the psychiatrist and her primary both stated they would not allow her to go back home - even under the care of the caregiver she had had for 15-months. So ... it was a forced move by the doctors, for her to go into a facility with 24/7 registered nurse care. She has been at that facility since September of 2012 now.
The positives of a facility like she is in ..... they do take memory care very seriously. I have many times watched the games that they play that are intended to stimulate the mind - to keep it active. Games that could not have the same affect if she were in her home with a caregiver. I have watched the degree of respect given to the patients there - by the caregivers and the nurse too.
And when she falls, as she does from time to time, there is a registered nurse there on staff - who always calls me - and lets me know if the doctor needs to be called, and what they've done in the meantime. Again, this is care she would not be able to get at home with a caregiver.
This memory care center is set up into 4 small buildings with a home-like atmosphere. Each building holds a maximum of about 18-patients, and each building has at least one house pet (typically a dog) - for the animal therapy benefits. Entertainment comes in about once a week - and it's usually a singer who also plays an instrument, and who gets the patients involved within their performances.
And the facility does everything they can to discourage a patient from spending much time in their own room ... activities or group activities are highly encouraged. And even though my Mother was mostly a loner in her life, she does love the bingo games, the nail polishing parties, the entertainment in the Great Room and the occassional talking to an animal. The cost ... about the same as her living at home with a 24/7 caregiver. Actually when her old home closes (in a sale) in two weeks (it's been vacant for over 10-months now) ... it will be slightly less costly for her to be in her Memory Care Center - than living at home with the caregiver.
In summary ... for my Mother , it wasn't a choice to leave her home. It was a doctor's order. The term "nursing home" can mean a lot of things! I went thru one close to a year ago when I was searching, and it was appalling - but, of course, they are not all the same. Where she ended up going was to an Assisted Living Home for Dementia and Parkinsins.
And ... if you had feelings of guilt, they are misplaced! If you were guilty of something not nice, you would not be writing about your concerns for your Mother.
Wishing you well ..........!