Overwhelmed by the future.

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In an outburst this past weekend my mom screamed at us, "I don't care WHAT you think, I will NEVER go into a nursing home!"

She's quite secretive about the status of her health, but based on this outburst I take it that her COPD is progressing. And it got me thinking about what the future may hold when her lungs really start to fall apart.

I have absolutely no idea how we're going to manage her care. Mom had me late in life. She's 85, but I just turned 40. I've got a toddler at home. A fairly new mortgage. A full time job I can't afford to walk away from. A husband. A life. And it's all 2 hours away from her.

How am I going to be in two places at once when the time comes (out with her and home with my child)? Yes, I have an obligation to her care. But I also have an obligation to taking care of my child. I feel like I need to choose one or the other.

So I started thinking about moving her out to be with us....

Our house layout is not designed for a sick person. For starters, you've gotta climb 20 stairs to get to our front door. A wheel chair would never fit through the bathroom doorway. We have a 5 room home: kitchen, sunken living room (3 steps down to the living room), 2 bedrooms. That's it.

And the only people out near us, is us. The rest of mom's friends and family are back where she lives - which is why she refused to move out to live with us when we started house shopping.

I can't afford to hire a caregiver for her. She won't sell her house and has no money of her own for hiring help.



Disaster. Yes.

My heart goes out to you. Your obligation to your mother is to see that she is well cared for, is clean, well-fed, and safe. In my philosophy you have no obligation to personally provide that care. It doesn't sound like it would be feasible to bring your mother to live with you, for all the logistic reasons you mentioned, and for emotional and psychological reasons you probably haven't thought about yet.

So that leaves either getting care for her in her house (which may be feasible for a while at least) or for arranging care for her in some type of care center. Either way you will be honoring your mother.

It is also not your obligation to pay for her care. Your responsibility is to raising your child, providing for future education, and then providing for your own old age. For most people, that is plenty!

If your mother has assets, this is the time to use them for her own care. If she has little besides her home and perhaps a car, she is probably eligible for Medicaid. Start looking into that sooner rather than later. There is a program within Medicaid (Elderly Waiver) that pays for things that will help the person stay in their own home. This is seldom 24/7 care, because once the expense starts to match what a nursing home would cost, then by policy nursing home care is covered instead. Elderly Waiver even pays for some modifications to a house, such as grab bars, wheel chair ramps, etc.

In other words, it is your mother's attitude that is the biggest factor in the potential disaster. I have no magic wand to fix that! But at least know that you can start the ball rolling at least on the financial side.

Good luck!
Wubba, I don't have an answer for you, just compassion for your situation. I too, have a mother who is refusing to cooperate. She does not need to be in a nursing home at this point, but does need assistance and refuses EVERYTHING!! Right down to wearing the life alert necklace. Every day is a day of worry for me. I am now becomming angry at her stubborn attitude. It's very hard when you have a family and are pulled in so many different directions. Believe me, I get it! Sorry I don't havean answer or suggestion... but I am thinking about you and your situation.
It sounds hard and cold but if Mom doesn't want your help so be it! Your only reponsibility is to yourself, your husband and child.

Your Mom is scared and striking out at the only person she can hurt - YOU! When MIL went that route, I just told her it was her decision. She is an adult and if she doesn't need us that is fine. I did call her doctor and let her know of the outburst. The doctor sent a home health care agency for an evaluation and we went from there getting her into assisted living.
This outburst sounds so much like fear on your Mom's part. There are times I've had to admit to my Mom that I felt overwhelmed and afraid too. Call the Area Aging group in your area. If your Mom doesn't have very many assets, she will qualify for more help.

Don't think about the whole future, just yet. If your parent is still somewhat functional at home, can still cook and do dishes - one of the last summers my Mom was home, we paid a neighbor a little to just peek in the fridge and make sure there was food... and I paid for them to clean house as a 'treat' to my Mom. After a while I think she was on to me, but I was comforted knowing that someone was checking in - in person. And I called the neighbor often to see how it was going. She would take her sister to my Mom's and they would play cards as a cover for the house cleaning too.

Be creative and take advantage of the things your Mom loves. If she has friends at church or the senior center, involve them. You'll be very surprised at how much they know about your Mom's health and are relieved when you ask. Most of the folks in your Mom's generation still have a small town attitude and will help you.

Your journey is starting - and you are stronger than you ever dreamed. Your baby is lucky to have a Mom like you, who cares for her Mom too. you are a great example!
Your first responsibility is to your child. Your mother's wishes are her responsibility. When the time comes, she may have no choice as to where she lives, but do not move her into your home. I am in a somewhat similiar situation and realize I could not live harmoniously with her. My home is my sancuary from the stresses of everyday life. She has the financial means for assisted living or hire a caregiver. Let your mother use her own assets for her care. Your finances are for you and your families care.
As a couple of others have said - your first responsibility is to yourself, your husband and your child. - your own life. There are community/state resources for care for your mother. Get in touch with those e.g.Local Agency for Aging, Social Services, get your mother evaluated and find out the options. It may well be better for a professional to present the options to her as she likely will scream at you again. It is not a question of what you think, but of what care she needs, and what is available. Obviously, for several very good reasons, you cannot take her into your home, nor can you provide all the care she needs in her home. Decide what you can do, and what you can't do and tell her that clearly, and also advise her that you will ( if you decide you can do that) help her find resources for her care. You are not obliged to care for her directly - only to see that she has the care she needs. If she refuses that, then she lives with the consequences. I know that is a hard line, but otherwise she will use her condition to manipulate you - Good luck and come back and let us know how you are doing. (((((((hugs)))))) Joan

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