Mom lives alone and no family members live near here. How to help across the miles?

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My mom is 92, healthy in every way. She has been widowed since 1984. My brother lives in another country; I live 2200 miles from my mom. My mom lives alone in her home; still drives; runs all her own errands; cooks her meals from scratch; she is really doing well. But the fact remains, she is alone in her house with no family members near her. Within the last 6 months, she has fallen 3 times. She suffered a few bruises, but no broken bones or serious injury. This last fall; she had to wait a bit before she could feel the strength to get up off the floor. My brother and I are deeply concerned now. She is now getting a medical alert system in her home now. We visit her more often, but its not the same as being near her. I have asked her to move in with me, but she is very independent; and frankly, she wouldn't like all the hustle and bustle of my family life. She is very organized and my home is not so organized. That would drive her up the wall! Plus weather is a factor with our harsh winters. In spite of our different lifestyles, I still invited her to come; my family was/is ready to make adjustments. I even suggested for her to move into some very nice senior residences here so she could still maintain her privacy and independence and she would be close to me where I could visit her and be with her weekly. She won't leave her home. My brother says I should pack up my bags and leave my family, my work, my home and go live with my mother as she has done for us and sacrificed for us plenty throughout the years. Now it's our turn. He is trying to get back to the States to work and live; however he is pressing me, making me feel guilty because he says its easier for me and to think of Mom. She is at the end of her journey as she says, and time is of the essence. My brother is divorced. Sure he is working but so am I. He has no family ties where he's's just him. Is he right? Should I just pack up my things and move 2200 miles away from my husband, adult children, grandchildren, quit my job that I hoped to retire from in 5 years? My husband still works and my income is needed. Help!!! Need advice.


Of course you shouldn't pack up and move! You know that. Tell your brother that if he's so concerned maybe he should pack up and move. He's the one with no family and no kids to think about.

And he's using the old "she cared for us and sacrificed for us when we were growing up, now it's our turn" argument. Again I ask, if your brother is unencumbered why doesn't he go? Has he suggested that you two work together to figure this out or does he just tell you that it's all your responsibility.

I agree that your mom coming to live with you would be the best solution. At her age and with her falling there's going to come a time when it's an emergency and you'll have no choice but to fly back and forth to care for her or to make arrangements for her and at that point she may not be able to fly anymore and you'll be stuck.

But you can't make your mom move if she doesn't want to. All you can do is try to convince her to move now, while she still can. What happens when she falls, breaks a hip and hits her head and is in the hospital 2200 miles away and the hospital won't discharge her to go home alone? She wants to retain her independence and she doesn't want to be a burden but it will be a huge burden once something happens to her and her life and her lifestyle changes overnight. Then you and your brother are in the middle of a crisis trying to figure out what to do while the hospital is calling you and asking you, "Where can your mom live so she's not alone?"

Try to get her on board with living with you. And someone should be her POA and have her Advanced Care Directive in case she can't make decisions on her own.
You should probably start a dialogue with your mom about the realities of what she wants to do when she is unable to live at home alone. You need to discuss the real possibility of a sudden hospitalization and two days later, needing to be discharged to a rehab or AL or such. We've been having this dialogue slowly with my FIL, now that he's at home alone. What we're finding is that we plant seeds of information and what if's. I think he's slowly coming to thinking about moving before things happen rather than after a serious problem or injury.

E/lass makes a very good point that people don't always think about. My mom was with me, 1600 miles from her hometown, when she had some TIA's and we discovered a multitude of health problems previously unknown. There we were, scrambling to find a good NH in 3 days before her discharge. It's not possible for her to make the trip back. We were unfortunately put into total reactive mode.
Anytime someone suggests that "you" do something, clearly say "I couldn't possibly do that." Laugh and repeat, as if he hasn't heard you.
Chicago, I love when you say that! Inthemiddle, ask your brother who will provide income for YOUR retirement. Of course you shouldn't move in with mom. You have a serious talk with mom about financial and healthcare poss, advanced directives. You take her to the eldercare attorney to get her affairs in order. Tour assisted living facilities near her and near you to get an idea what is available and what it costs so that you know what her options are. You also start researching geriatric care managers, which is what you're going to need if mom continues to live far away.
The idea of a woman being expected to leave her husband to go care for her mother is puzzling to me. My husband would look at me like I'd taken leave of my senses. Even if you take the whole Biblical honor thy parents approach, there's also the whole leaving one's parents and bonding to one's spouse part.
I can understand your Mom not wanting to move away from where she is familiar with the surroundings, with her friends/neighbors [even if they are not close], with her doctors/dentist, with her hairdresser, the stores, where everything is in the grocery store, etc.

Wonder if she would accept moving to an independent senior facility in her hometown? She could still have her own apartment, make a lot of new BFF's, and feel a lot safer. Maybe find a facility where there is also the next step facility for assistant living/nursing home.

Your brother is just the typical backwards thinking guy that thinks anything to do with housekeeping and taking care of someone belongs on the shoulder of the female. If that was the case, all bachelors would have died out decades ago :P
I am so appreciative of everyone's comments. My brother is so black and white. He is stressed out about mom. I think that's why he pushes so hard. I know I can't leave my husband and family behind to care for my mom. But he believes I can; its not a thinker to him. Since I won't even consider his idea I'm afraid this will cause a riff between us. That's the last thing I want; the last thing my mom needs to see or hear. I hope to see my mom over Thanksgiving; stay at least a week or so. I call mom and Face Time with her often. I will talk to her more about our concerns of her living alone so she can give us her thoughts. Plants seeds of info and what ifs as suggested. Hopefully by Thanksgiving time mom will see the seriousness of our concerns. This won't be easy.
InTheMiddle2, I am afraid that if you do move in with your Mom, and be away from your husband/children, that it would cause a much LARGER riff between your brother and yourself because you will start to resent that he's not helping and Caregiving is very hard work... and there would be a riff between you and your husband.... and a riff between you and your children.

I would take the chance of having a riff with only the brother, if you don't move.

Since your Mom is doing really well health wise, if you move in, you could be there for 5-10 years.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

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