Need tough love. Mom needs NH but my son cares for her and doesn't work and refuses to let me do it.

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My son has been my mom's caregiver for approximately 10 years and hasn't worked. She pays all his expenses. The time has come for mom to be in NH however for years my son has fought me over this. I have given up my apartment in senior citizen high rise twice to live with them and help only because I felt guilty. This is a miserable life for all of us. I now see a psychiatrist and it helps but I still can't make myself do the tough love thing and move back to the living I was content with (nothing elaborate). I am poa and medical poa. How do I go about doing tough love? I don't how or who to talk to. I will end up being hated by mom and my son and that will be hard to adjust to. Mom has dementia and it is 99% worse. She falls alot and cannot do a lot of things for herself and now expects us to do everything. My mom is also very coniving, always negative, it is unbearable. She is exactly as her mother was and she placed her mom in a NH because she could not deal with her. I need HELP. I am losing my mind over all of this. I am totally miserable.

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Jritchey, if you can find a unit in an affordable senior high rise, that is where you should be. It is often difficult to find a unit like that and you need to think of your financial well-being and health as you go forward. If your mom owns her place (I wasn't sure if she is renting her unit or owns the duplex and rents out the other unit?) maybe it's ok for her to stay there for now, as long as your son is good with her and can help her maintain her home.

If you want to stay involved but just start to distance yourself, I would get your unit back at the senior apartments and make plans for that. Get a list together of any resources in your community that can be of help to your mom. One place to start is your Area Agency on Aging. There might be some community assistance available for your mom -- it will help ensure that your son gets a break and also that there are additional people looking out for your mom. Get your mom on some waitlists at nursing homes in your area, just in case. It might make you feel better to know there's a Plan B in place.

The situation with your son is tough. Is he helping her as a means of avoiding being on his own, or is he helping because of his bond with her? If your son is capable of the responsibility, maybe it is ok for him to continue to care for her. But they should put together a contract so that at least he has something to put on his resume when it's time for him to get out. I feel like a lot of elderly people take a sharp decline at about 82-83 and another at 86-87 (I don't know if it's just the people we know or what) but if your son has difficulty coping with change he needs to brace himself. It is tough if he has temper issues, but the stress of dealing with a needy person in decline will not help him in that department. It sounds like he might be in denial. Does he mind reading? There are some good books out there about caring for aging family. Maybe he could read up on it so that at least he will have some of these things on his radar.

It is difficult when you see things for what they are and your loved ones in the same boat will not. Just keep telling yourself that you are looking out for you and your family a few years down the road. That is a good thing. I hope you can start taking steps for your own well-being.

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