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Living with Elderly Parents: Do You Regret the Decision?

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Yes, I regret it. Totally. My mom is narcissistic and always has been. She is 92 and in very good health. She does get unsteady when she turns around too fast or the like, and her vision isn't the best. She came here to visit not quite a year ago from her house/home a few hours away. I thought it was best for her to live here where she has company and I can take her for dr., vision, dental appts. as needed. She has mentioned a couple of times going back to her house to stay and I firmly said that if she wants to do so that that is fine, but she will have to have someone (an aide) to come in and help. Mom has the finances to do so. I even mentioned another option, that she could sell her home and I mine, and we could get another with a better layout with more privacy for her and me both, and then she could have a lot of her belongings with her (because her home and things are "everything" to her)....but of course she didn't want to do that. I lost my husband 20 years ago and have worked in a traveling job on and off over the years since until 4 years ago when I wanted to settle down again and get my own house and have my things from storage back with me. So my things mean something to me, but not like my mother. I am of the mind that if I get to a point where I cannot afford it or health wise need to downsize, I would be fine with a few books, and "some" things. But I have always been of the mind after all that traveling and learning to do without, that I would think Mom would be happier with family for company and to get out and do things some of the time. But no, Mom's things are way more important to her. I might mention here that I am the only one left, brother and father died years ago. I have 3 adult children, one of whom lives with me and we get along so well, and the other 2 not so far away and we get to visit now and then. Mom however is fine to go out to eat, or maybe shopping, but she wants to go nowhere else. In her hometown, she has no one, no social support, and no friends. Her life was about me when I was a child and was there every single second of my life with no breathing room. When I married and moved away, it was all about my dad, until he passed away. As mom aged, she became less able to go on her own (she has a car and license) but did not go to her dr. appts., and needed help with that and grocery shopping. She talks incessantly about herself and her needs, and I told her that if she lives with me I can get her to her different appointments, because luckily my full-time work out of home schedule allows it.
To this day, she does not want to let go of her house and thinks I will end up moving in there to take care of her. And yes it was mentioned in the past by her, she thought I could get a job in her town and live there and cook meals everyday and I would be happy (with no life, but her). I said you don't want me Mom, you want a husband. SO, I definitely in my head "put my foot down" and knew that I would never move in there. But with different comments along the way that is so typical of the narcissist, she truly hoped I would fail and have to live with her. And I am thinking to myself, I never ever will do that even if I have to be homeless. The idea that Mom is ok for me to give things up in my life because of her wants is NOT ok anymore. I had a job overseas that I really loved and gave it up because I thought I needed to "take care of her and be there for her". I have even once mentioned this to her, but her idea is oh that wasn't important, you shouldn't have been there anyway.

When she first came here, she made it very clear to me that she wouldn't stay here if my daughter's boyfriend was here. So I made it clear to her that he and my daughter are currently living together with me and that was that. I said he is the nicest kind of guy you could want around, give the shirt off his back to someone kind of guy. It has been one struggle after another with her, and the most recent was my coming home after going out one night with one of my daughters for dinner and drinks and enjoying the night and coming straight into my room and closed and locked doors and wanted to continue the night out feeling by not talking to her and instead using earplugs and watching movies on my computer. Well, guess who started knocking loudly on my door to see if I was home and was alright (my car was in the driveway... why wouldn't I. be all alright?). But I didn't answer. It was like I wanted to be left alone. Well, next comes banging on my door, followed by calling my phone and leaving voicemail and then walking outside to my sliding glass door, with curtains, trying to peer in and pounding on that door, and then going back to the other door and pounding. My daughter came home about that time and told her I was fine and wanted privacy. Well ever since then, she has sneered, and episodes of running to her room and slamming the door, and just last night, came hanging over the side of my recliner in the living room, asking if I wanted another French fry, I said no, and she tried to insist I take it, and when I said "No, I said I didn't want it", got mad and went to her room and slammed the door.

Yes, I regret taking her in, and this is not over yet. If this acting out continues on, I will take her back to her home and let her live on her own. But, I told her I will not be coming to visit. I do not want to go through her things with her and listen to a story for each and every item that I have heard a thousand times. She is 92, I am 63. It is time for me to have a life, and if she cannot stop living in the past every second, then I am sorry for her, really truly sorry. But now that I have lived with her and understand how sinister narcissism is, I do not choose to live my life with her attempting to manipulate and control me as in the past.

Oh and yes, I would like to date again, but as with my daughter's boyfriend here, Mom made it clear she would not stay with anyone else in the house. She is not interested in my happiness. She thinks she is my everything... omg!
Good.... goodbye, Mom. I have loved you my entire life, but I do not like you in the least and I would never have chosen to be friends with you. So the next time you choose to act out, you will be out.... out back to your own house 3 hours away with hired help. No, I will not miss my mother when she dies. Not at all.... how could I ????? She has never left me alone one minute of my life. When my mother passes away, I will be able to stop my anxiety medication and enjoy the rest of my life.

NO WAY IN HELL, do I regret being there for my parents. I took care of them for two years and the third year I moved in with them. Honestly it did create a few issues with the husband at first, but he knew it was what I wanted to do for them and he accepted it. I got to know my parents as an adult on adult relationship and I learned things I never knew. we spoke about everything under the sun. yes, there were times mom got under my skin but at the end of the night I went to bed with the memories of the positive not the negatives. my dad was so perfect, and had a great sense of humor. we were laughing all of the time. He talked and talked to me until the dementia took complete control of his mind. mom was a tough cookie but the love shined right thru that and I loved her back.. I lost my parents a short time ago, dad the end of oct and mom three weeks later. I truly understand the negative issues the care taker has to deal with daily but now I also understand how it is to loose someone you love forever. I would give anything to have them back. I miss them so much. I never harped on the negative , I learned to live, love, and learn from them to the very end. to this day I go to bed and thank god every night that he gave the strength to take care of the two of them to the very end.

I guess my parents did me a favor by dying before they needed long term care (Dad, heart attack at 64, Mom, gall bladder cancer at 80). Then my second husband had a major stroke and died 3 weeks later in free standing hospice at age 72. My first husband, with whom I have no relationship anymore, has Lewy Body Dementia and is in a nursing home as neither of the children were able to quit their jobs and care for him. He has enough savings to last 5 years at the place he is. I am pretty sure my children don't want to care for me, and I could not take my daughters' 2 cats and 5 dogs and the smell. Right now my son has a teenager at home and his wife has A-fib, so that wouldn't work. I am actually in good physical health, but I worry about dementia as I have one ApoE4 gene and am now 80 years old. I have LTC insurance (two policies) and a reasonable income plus savings so my children, who probably wouldn't and couldn't, won't have to do anything but visit as long as I recognize them. My daughter is a nurse, but overweight and not physically strong with a bad knee. She wants full POA if she is going to be medical POA. I am thinking of a trust administered by an attorney so they will not fight over how to spend my money.

My mom has end stage Alzheimer's and I've been dealing with this stage for nearly 5 years. While a challenge, I truly love my mom and I thank God she is still with me. When she dies, I would not know what to do or how to cope. I cannot imagine my life without my mom. She is a lot of work but she's still my mom and you only have one mom for all eternity. I don't ever want to lose her. NOT EVER.

Life happens. If not for the support of my parents, I wouldn't be able to have a roof over my head with my part-time income...the years have passed, we all got older...and now I am in the caregiving role. They are doing far better than many, but the demands on ME are increasing and my mother with dementia is clueless as to how much is done on her behalf, and my with my father, it's more or less an expectation..but I feel responsible for and keeping track of THREE lives, and there are days it is just exhausting. My relationship with them is acceptable, but with mom it has always been antagonistic. Still, my plan is to do all I can for her, to keep her out of an institutional setting. And to try not to be pissed off at my sibling who has never ever done anything for them that involved actual physical labor beyond picking them up at the airport and cleaning her place before they arrived for a visit:-)

Most valuable piece of advice I received before we moved my MIL in with us: Have an exit plan. Decide exactly when you will know that you have had enough. Be specific about which behaviors will necessitate a change of circumstances. Otherwise, you will make every adaptation, decide each new demand "is not so much" and will not really understand that you are stretched too thin, emotionally, physically, financially. My husband and I decided before we moved his mother in with us that we would not longer keep her in our home when she could no longer manage her colostomy, which she had taken care of independently for forty years, and/or when she needed nighttime care which would prevent our getting our own sleep. We had her with us for five years. The first three were quite good. Fortunately, we had all three always had a healthy and affectionate relationship, we had a large home so that we could all get away from one another (my husband and I are retired), and my MIL is usually considerate and grateful. Year four began to be more stressful as her dementia and OCD behaviors became more challenging and we had to begin hiring in-home help--all at our expense, as she had long since run out of savings and only had a small social security income. Year five found us feeling trapped and increasingly resentful. We had new grandchildren we rarely had time to see. MIL fell and broke her arm and needed extensive care and rehab and then paid home care for quite a while as she couldn't feed, dress or toilet herself if we were not home. Shortly after she recovered from that event and our lives returned to a new normal, she fell and broke her hip, and the subsequent surgery, hospitalization with complications, and rehab took a dramatic toll on her cognitive functioning. She came home pretty much unable to manage her own toileting and in danger of falling when she went to the bathroom at night. We were paying for 18 hours of care a day and were still stretched to oversee her care for the other six hours. It became increasingly obvious to us that she was unlikely to make a full recovery from this event--her cognitive decline seemed pretty permanent. Fortunately, we looked at one another and said, "I think we're there" because we had already promised ourselves to change course when her limitations became that limiting to us. It took us four months to find a placement for her--because of her colostomy, most AL places would not take her, and we wanted to avoid a nursing home for as long as we could. We have been paying for additional levels of care for her at an AL near us ($3,200 base plus $1,900 supervised care) for a year. It's not ideal and I fear the facility will soon want to move her to memory care, which will double our costs, but our home life is our own once again. We still see her three or four times a week, but we can go out to dinner and visit our children and grandchildren without extensive planning. We're both glad we were able to have her with us for five years, but it was very hard and was only going to get harder. We're fortunate that we had the resources to have a back-up plan, but I think we might still be trying to make having her here work (We feel guilty every day.) if we hadn't built in an exit plan.

On another note, my younger sister is the primary care provider for my own mother in another state. My mother "lives alone" in her own home, which really means my divorced sister is there six days a week; she often spends nights there after leaving her "real" job. Sometimes my sister thinks of selling her house and moving in with my mother (Mom would love that but won't consider selling her house and moving in with my sister) so she won't have two houses to maintain, but I keep talking her out of it. Even if she only spends a couple of days or nights in her own home, it's a psychological break and she needs that. Every now and then, she and my mother have a blow-up and need a couple of days apart. We're all human. I go down often to give them a week's break from one another. We're all trying to make it work.

Yes in some ways I do. After being diagnosed with cancer, I thought their demands would subside somewhat. Instead, nothing has changed and the expectations are increasing. My financial position is tenuous at the moment or I’d be gone.

My parents had been married for 65 years. I am 7, of 10 children. 5 boys, 5 girls. We never thought, in a million years, that my Mom would go first (cancer). Leaving my Dad a broken mess. It wasn't until after Mom was gone, did we realize how much, he depended on her. Sometimes, circumstances like these, rip a family apart, but it only brought us closer. After seeing that our Dad could not live on his own (he was 89, at the time) We moved in, into a Assisted Living. He was there about 6 months (moved to 3 different apts, in that time because he didn't like each one), after his 51st fall, he finally broke something....his ankle. From the hospital, he went to an adjacent building of the Assisted Living, thinking he'd get better care (Memory Care) but after 3 days, we knew we had make a mistake & we got him the heck outta there & moved him into a nice Rehab Facilty. He also moved 3 times, in there, not liking each room. The care there, was subpar, so my sister found a "Care Calendar" that each could log into, to visit him. I HIGHLY recommend this "Care Calendar". After my Dad, started refusing physical therapy, out he goes, leaving scrambling to find him a place to live. You'd think with 10 of us, one of us would take him in, but we knew he needed more care, than we could provide. Out of heaven, drops this wonderful Adult Family Home. This was it, all of us were in agreement. It took Dad about 6 months to 'settle in' but I think we've found his 'final resting place'. He's 91 now & he's happy & WELL taken care of. Fortunately, he planned well, for his future, and his insurance pays 100% of his care ($7000,00/mo worth). We continue with the care calendar & we all still get along! :)
I'm sorry to see so many stories of bitterness & regret, in some of these stories. I am an into home caregiver & I highly recommend, those of you who have their parent living with them, to bring in some outside care, so YOU can get the care YOU need. Many agencies to pick from. One I recommend is called "Home Care Assistance". They communicate well, both with their clients & their caregivers. Tina

Yes, I very much regret moving my mother in law in with us. She lies, is sneaky, and has terrible hygiene. Whenever I approach her to discuss anything, she is very defensive and argumentative. My husband and I only argue about her since she has moved in.
I feel like my home is no longer mine since she moved in and she is little by little taking over. She puts things in the living room like she wants them and is now doing that in the bathroom and the breakfast room.
I didn't expect it to be this bad. I feel like I am dealing with a 5 year old much of the time.

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I never planned to move in with my elderly parents because I still had a teenager living at home, and would never have moved away from my husband, who was employed near our home. Now, nearing 87, I don't expect my children to move in with me. I now live in an independent living facility that I found on my own.