Becoming Mom's sole caretaker, stepdad just passed away, scared I'm not up to the task.

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I've only been dealing with caretaking for about a year, prior to that my parents were fairly self sufficient and my stepdad handled my Mom's dementia. Six months ago I helped them move into AL, even though they aren't actually using any of the AL services, instead they had a separate caregiver company helping out. Stepdad's congestive heart failure won the battle and he passed away three days ago (peacefully, in his sleep while my Mom was sitting by his side). Her dementia has progressed with all the changes, and recently I posted a question about her new symptom, aggression and anger. I am going to pack up her things and bring her home with me (they never would move to my town and live over 1400 miles away). Hubby and I are going to try having her live at home with us at first because I believe she has the best chance to be content and regain some equalibrium surrounded by family. (she hates the AL community she is in right now) There are only a handful of people she remains calm around, sometimes a caretaker is OK, but mainly it's me and a few long-time friends....and I'm getting ready to move her away from her long-time friends. I am terrified that I won't have the patience needed. I want to get her set up on a schedule so she can do the things she enjoys, and I hope that she will accept care givers as part of our routine because I will need to have some time away. There are no siblings. Now I'm rambling...I guess I just need some words of encouragement. I'm NOT going to give up my life completely and I still have kids at home, work etc..., but I AM going to do what I can within reason to take good care of Mom.


Use the site search bar and type in "elderly parent coming to live with us".

I don't have any words of encouragement
hit "send" too soon.

I don't have any words of encouragement, what you're doing is a huge life change for you and for your mom.
Why does my response keep getting posted before I'm ready to post it????

ANYWAY......a huge life change for you and your mom. The move itself is going to be very difficult on her and will affect her dementia. She'll need a considerable amount of time to get acclimated, if she ever does, and while I think you're a very devoted daughter to want to try this please don't set your expectations too high.

OK....I'm going to push send now!
Kids at home, work, don't want to give up your life. Think very long and hard about moving mom in with your family. At this stage in her dementia she is going to have some confusion and anger no matter what you do.

There are folks that do this successfully but for so many people it quickly becomes a nightmare. Hopefully you'll get some more comments from folks that have done this.
JJ, I am very concerned that you are taking on something that you will not be able to accomplish.
The fact that Mum is exhibiting anger and violence indicated that her dementia is fairly advanced and her next move should be to memory care.
The death of your stepdad will make a huge difference in her symptoms and behavior This does not relate to the normal grieving process but to the fact that he has been keeping the household running smoothly.
You also have children still at home and mum's presence will cause a lot of disruption in their lives. If she is becoming violent she may also pose a physical threat to young children. However loving a grandma she may have been in the past she may not recognize them as her own and just lash out in any direction.
Because she has been unhappy in her AL does not mean that taking her into a loving but strange (to her) home probably won't satisfy her and increase her confusion. In the AL she has had familiar belongings but in your home even if you bring some things for her room ,everything down to the bathroom will be strange.
To me and this is just my opinion would be to leave in in the AL as long as possible with time to grieve her loss and when she becomes unmanageable move her to memory care. If she does not settle there that will be theme to find a facility closer to your home and move her there. Sorry to be so negative but i have no encouragement for your plans
JJ, if you have doubts on your ability to care for her, then listen to your gut reaction! Aren't they usually right?

You have children still at home this will be a huge disruption to their lives as well. If you want to move mom closer to make it easier for you to care for her, then find a memory care facility to move her to. Each move with someone with dementia often causes a sudden and drastic decline. What you see in her now is not what you will see after you move her. There will be more agitation and acting out. Do not bring her into you home, let the pros deal with her if you must have her move.
Please, for the love of God do NOT move her in with you.You have to think of the physical care she is going to need,and her needs will only INCREASE as time passes. Are you ready to clean urine, feces when she can't? These are some hard questions you need to ask yourself. It is also OKAY not to move her in but manage her care from a "distance". You are setting yourself up for a disaster by basing your decisions on emotions. But I understand where you are at, have been at this moment myself 4 yrs ago. Yes, I moved mine in with me, I am an only child, we did not have a close relationship as mother/daughter but I am literally the only family she has. The only reason I attempted this is because I and my husband are retired nurses,and we don't have kids to manage. You have to start thinking about things like POA,MPOA, DPOA, living wills, if you don't know what poa,mpoa, mean you are not ready to move her in with you and even if you don't move her in you still need these documents to manage her care. Please keep posting here and let us know how you are doing or to just blow off steam.
Taking good care of mom does not mean upending your home life and your sanity. It's common for a daughter to feel she is the golden ticket. Sometimes we do it to ourselves. ("No one can take care of mom like I can." "I'm all she has.") Sometimes bystanders hoodwink us with back-handed compliments. ("You're the only one she listens to/behaves for/whatever." "Well of course you'll take her in.")

Mom's not happy at her current AL, she won't be happy at AL near you, and she won't be happy in your home. She might be happy if you could make it 1985 again. Or reverse her dementia. But you can't.

Visit AL and memory care residences near you. Move mom within visiting distance, for sure. As for the best care possible -- that happens in a dedicated setting where a team of experts (three rotating shifts) do what they do best. Your role is to visit, to oversee, to partner with the staff & administration, to question and to care.

In short, you get to be mom's daughter. Not her lackey. Not her entertaimnent coordinator. Not her unlicensed nurse. Her daughter.

And you go home to a place that is separate from The World Of Mom. This is crucial. You need that delineation. Your husband and kids needs it, too.

Elder care is stressful and consuming. It can kill the caregiver's health....mental health. Even the most even-keel parents take on narcissistic and uncooperative tendencies in old age. Add the one-way slide of dementia, and the situation veers toward impossible.

Read people's stories on this forum. A million tales of parent care that started with good intentions. And slipped into an alternate universe of entrapment, frustration, financial instability and ruined marriages.

And I'll say this as nicely as I can, but your husband isn't as "into this" as you think he is. The day mom moves in, he becomes a third wheel. Give the poor guy the place in your life he deserves. Give your children your full attention. You can't get these years back.

You clearly love mom and want what's best for her. There are ways to do this without immolating yourself. If you become a stressed-out stranger to your husband and children, nobody wins. This forum is an excellent resource. Good luck to you.

You are a wonderful daughter who obviously wants what is best for your mother. I know my post will be discouraging but please think through this decision very carefully.

My dad died a year ago and I brought my mother to live with my husband and myself. It is now a decision that I regret every day. I didn't intend to give up my interests either but it happened. I had plans to keep her active and engaged with others her age but she refused or was so difficult that it couldn't continue. My husband is completely supportive but it is hard on him too. We have lost our privacy, our ability to eat what we want or go where we like. She inserts herself into all our plans and decision making. Since my mother refused to get involved in any other social activities, we spend most of our time entertaining her and trying to keep her engaged.

You of course, may have better skills than I so you may manage far better than I have. If you have any doubts now, however, it's your inner voice warning you to proceed carefully. I also had those doubts but pushed them away because I wanted my mother to be in a loving supportive environment. I couldn't imagine that it could be this difficult.

I apologize for being so negative but you are about to make a life changing decision for you and your family. Please consider what is good for you while you are considering what is best for your mother. Best of luck to you.
Thank you all for your words of encouragement? I think that's what they are. They don't feel very encouraging, but I hear the warning loud and clear and I appreciate the concern coming from people who have walked my path. There is an excellent memory care facility 5 minutes from my house, and that will be where she goes if this turns into a disaster and eventually when the dementia progresses to a level I can't handle with in home care helpers. I imagine I will be sensible enough to recognize when that happens.
I am not dead set on having her in my house, I am simply going to give it a try. All the paperwork and POA already in place, my stepdad saw that.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

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