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Living with Elderly Parents: Do You Regret the Decision?

347 Comments

Yes I do regret it. I moved in with my mom after my husband walked out on us. My daughter was in 8th grade and my othet daughter was away in college. I tookcare of my dad when he was in renal failute. He was easier to handle. It was mostly his personality. A care freeman and acceptance of his illness Hewas always grateful for another day. My mom is a different story. She is angry bitter and nothing is good enough for her. She criticizes my daughter and I. Always tells me that I should be grateful for the roof that she gave me over my head. She always want everyone to feel sorry. When she hangs hangs with her friends she is a different person upbeat and friendlier. She is 88 years old and drives (it makes me nervous driving.) She is getting forhetful and she realizes that. She still working 4 days out of the week. I work full time. Any suggestions. I have been living like this for 5 years and walking on eggshells

There can be so many reasons to regret it, and then often we regret our regret, so that’s a downward spiral. It’s a very complex situation, and, like an octopus, it has a lot of ways to grab you. Some are the current changes and stresses everyone is dealing with. And let’s face it, some of that is loss: of independence or a home or health for them, and for us, lifestyle, jobs, freedom, plans…  As a not-live-in care-giver, I’m thankful for all the support, advice, and understanding out there, such as at homelight.com/blog/moving-in-with-elderly-parents/

Guys I agree with Carol. Also, don’t put so much focus on the past. We all did what we did, we can’t change it so we need to let it go. Maybe work on that first. As for trying to find a job-try on-line positions in your field to get you re-introduced to working. Caring for an adult parent is very hard and does drain motivation...so take it slow with clear direction and intention. I am still with my Dad, and the situation is not getting any better. My son and I have decided to go home, and I have been looking for work in my home state. Planning on having the discussion with Dad soon to let him know what our intentions are. Very very scared and still weighed down with guilt, but can’t do this anymore...

I'm glad, BJG and Passive Observer, that you could could vent. You've both given so much and understandably aren't sure about what is next. Sadly, that is the case with many family caregivers. I wish that I had actionable advice for you both, but I don't other than to seek counseling to help you plan a future. Best wishes to you both.
Carol

Financial problems can develop for the caregiver. Let me expand on that statement. I was 58 when my father passed. I took care of him for 8 years before that. I never regretted being there for him for a minute, but I realize, now, the sacrifice I was really making. Now at 62, I still haven't found a job. Frankly, it's hard to motivate myself. I could go on Social Security, but at the minimum amount, but that's not much. Being single also doesn't help. Sorry for the rant. Feeling a bit sorry for myself. It helps to get it out. Anyone got any ideas.

Thing is I've been caring for my parent since I myself was a child. She has schizophrenia and an OCD, which contributes to hoarding. She also has separation anxiety. She's an educated woman, intelligent, and loves her children--but the mental illness crippled her (both physically and mentally).

I've raised her (and my younger sister), but have nothing really to show for it personally (other than a college degree and massive student loan debt). I'm not married, have no children, and I can't see myself having either. Now that my mom is retired, and my sister and I are grown adults, I'd love to break away and find myself. Again, I don't see that happening either. Frankly, I haven't a clue as to why I'm writing this? I guess, talking to myself/venting is slightly cathartic (beats crying)...

Confusedzoz,

Often when an adult child moves back home with a parent, the parent switches things to an parent/child relationship like your dad has done. He is manipulating you with false guilt and with his will. Take care of yourself and your children with no guilt by putting your life together and having some boundaries to protect yourself from your dad who you didn't make how he is, not can you change or control. The only one you can change and control is yourself.

I have a really unique situation, and I am heavy with guilt. My mother passed away in August of 2015. I was across the country, my brother and I were not being given accurate information about the severity of her health. Dad is nearly deaf and minimizes tough situations. By the time my brother and I knew things were really bad, we only had about 4 days left with Mom before she passed in Hospice. Her diagnosis of AML was quick, and within 3 weeks she was gone. After that trauma I promised myself I wouldn't let the same thing happen to Dad. The health care system in the area is mediocore, but neither one seems/seemed to mind at all. The following year we worried about Dad's stability, depression issues, and how he was managing alone. In summer 2016 he flew my kids and I out for a visit. My daughter was 13 at the time and my son 15. My son has serious MH issues and had just come through a very rough year. My daughter is a free spirit who is excelling in school, social activities, sports, etc. I am divorced, and we have 50/50 joint legal/physical. While visiting I noticed the house was in poor condition, Dad had lost 20lbs, and seemed to need help(albeit he would never admit such a thing). I worked the entire visit cleaning and trying to get him back on track. I felt strongly that he needed to be near us (my brother and I) and tried to convince him to move across country with us. We explored senior and assisted living, and he flat out refused. I offered to share a home with him in our state..but no dice. When vacation was almost over My Dad and I were discussing the situation and he stated in front of both kids that he was giving me our family home via his will, leaving other assets to my brother. My son had expressed a great interest in moving here because it is small, quiet, and he desperately needed a change. My daughter immediately said she would never move, which I understood all too well. Because the kids heard what Dad said it opened up what normally would have been a topic that was not up for discussion. My son spoke to his Dad, and his Dad was ok with it. We mentally logged it as a possibility we would consider, but were not doing anything rash. No move for atleast a year or more...Then I lost my job right before returning home due to lay-off. Being single and divorced my financial situation was plain BAD. No savings, no way to pay the rent, and needed to find employment asap in order to support the kids and honor my end of the divorce decree. I was desperate. Dad said again, why don't you come out and live with me. It happened quickly and after discussing with therapists, attorney's and family, my son and I made the move-to my Dad's. My daughter chose to stay with her Dad and here we are a year later...miserable. My Dad has no diagnosis of Dementia or Alzheimers, he is age related cognitive decline, and his body is reflecting his age of almost 87 years. Dad was always the "fun" or happier parent, so I thought it would work. My goal...be here to keep him healthy, home clean, not alone, and out of a small community nursing home. All was ok, but I wasn't coping with Being away from my daughter very well. My son was doing ok, but struggling with the change. And Dad acted as if we were a burden one minute and a blessing the next. He never said he was glad to have us, and there was constant tension. Then the role changes started happening. He started inserting himself into parenting my son, made disparaging comments to him, and demanded our time constantly. When we tried to do our own thing he bacame rude, and sulked..like walking on eggshells around him always. He also got around to telling me in passing that the will has no directive stating the house is to be willed to me. There is also no living trust. There is a mountain of debt, and the situation is not at all how it was presented. He promised something that was not real. And how exactly do you bring that up with a parent? My goal was not to hang around long enough to gain a home, however, in a desperate situation it somehow made the move seem to be a good solution that would benefit all of us. I would care for him, help him, and when the time came I would be here in order to take posession of the home he intended me to have. The home is a bicentennial farmstead that has been in our family since it was built. He said he wanted to keep it in the family, and with no property of my own, he wanted me to have it. Now after a year the situation is not a happy one. I do have a job now, and he calls me a work aholic because I don't shut down precisely at 5:00pm and begin the home cooked dinner that is now an expectation (that I created). I have to travel at times, which he seems to despise. I have suggested having a home health aid come when I am not here to prepare meals, and he refuses...but when I get home from a trip I am verbally bombarded with everything I neglected to do to make it easier for he and my son while I was away. He belittles me in front of my son it makes both my son and I completely devastated! I have asked him if he would like us to go, return home, and he says "well I don't see how you can ever afford to do that now, and I certainly won't help". I have expressed to him that I don't want the house, he can sell or give it to whomever he chooses...I just want the situation to improve. He then says "Well I am working on updating my will, and I want you to have the house after I am gone". I honestly don't think my Dad is competent, and I don't trust anything he mentions about the will. I don't care at all about the house anymore.. I just want out and feel absolutely trapped and manipulated. My fear is leaving and the minute I am gone, having him fall and ending up in a bad nursing home. something is not right with him mentally. (Or is it us?) He isn't the man I remember. I think due to under represented facts a big mistake has been made, and I am at the end of my patience. It is not worth it...Good intentions on both sides have waned and now we have a lot of bad, quiet, uncomfortable days instead of enjoying the time we have left as a family. I know my true responsibility lies with my children. My daughter is quite content with her Father, but I miss her desperately....and she misses us. How do you divorce this type of situation without destroying what is left of the family? I want to leave, but if that happens we will move back across country, not down the street. The only thing that brought me here was to help Dad and keep the farm in the family. Dad doesn't seem to want us here, and the whole business with the house wasn't true. Anyway, this is so absolutely dysfunctional and I could go on for hours. I know what I want but I don't know what to do...if that makes any sense. And I do love my Dad, above any brick and mortar, but he managed to get full control over my life...inside looking out I can't quite seem to figure out the right thing to do. I am scared, I feel guilty, and like a major failure. Help!

I used to think that Sunshinelady, but after almost 14 yeas of giving the majority of my life to an ungreatful parent, I have become almost paralyzed with everything I have gone through. From birth, I never had anywhere near a 'normal' upbringing and when I would try to approach any parent, I would be pushed away or demeaned... At 15 my parents left me with an aunt as they were always off to find a 'better' living 'arrangement' (long story which still boggles my mind). At 18 my father died, and we were left to fend for ourselves, which I did for decades... I studied, over far away and made a good life foe myself... Then, after my stepfather died, I stepped in to help my mother.... She has fought me ever since being contancerous and belittling me, as if we are always in a competition and she has to always try to control me. I feel beaten down and have lost so much... it has also affected my health... I never looked for any 'reward'... my downfall has been my 'good' heart which has nearly destroyed me.

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I share my dad's home 5 of 7 days per week. I enjoy The 2 nights that I am at my own place, thoroughly. They're not consecutive nights so I barely have time for little more than collecting clothes for the week & checking the mail. Still, I am fortunate to care for a truly wonderful Dad who is unable to take care of any of his physically needs. This 85 year old was the most self-sacrificing man I have ever know. My heart is with those who have to go it alone, especially with cantankerous parents. God's grace will be extended to you as you love your family member through Christ.