Relocation blues, elderly Mom and guilt.

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I'm a 52 year old female. I had been living in the Bay Area with a fairly good paying job but still struggled with the cost of living. Had decided to move to Arizona where the cost of living is lower. I love the weather, beautiful sunsets and SW culture of AZ. Before going out to AZ I went to Oregon to visit my Mom for a week. Hadn't seen her in almost a year. I had everything arranged for my move to AZ. After spending a week visiting her I was very concerned about her. Her health has deteriorated and even though she has a carer come over 1-2 x a week, she still needs more help. The carers don't do all that needs to be done. My Mom can't afford assisted living housing nor would she go if she could.


A day before I was to leave to AZ I decided to give it a go in Oregon (find a job and room rental) to be near my Mom and offer what assistance I can with laundry, shopping, etc. If after several weeks I didn't get work/housing I would go to AZ.


I was able to get work and housing within a week. I felt very lucky to have attained this so quickly. Now that I've gotten this I have felt depressed. Not a day goes by I don't think of Arizona and the things I had planned to do there. I had previously lived in Oregon for 30 years and was so glad when I left. I don't do well where the sky is mostly gray and it rains 9 months a year. I don't judge the same interests of things I wanted to do in AZ being in OR. I also didn't feel depressed living in sunshine.


I have only been at my job a little over a week and I already feel miserable. I want to go to Arizona but feel tremendous guilt. No one in my family had expected me to live in Oregon and it was a huge surprise to everyone I had radically changed my plans, especially my Mom.


I feel if I leave that I'm abandoning her. I feel if I stay even though I love visiting with her and helping out I will feel trapped and miserable here in Oregon.
I am the only one in the family that can help her.


I know that someday I could move to AZ, but my job is part-time and doesn't cover all my living expenses, let alone be able to save once my savings I have now is gone. Staying I have to dip into my savings each month to cover living costs my job doesn't.


I love my Mom and want to help her. I feel torn and don't know where else to reach out for insight on all this.


12 Comments

No one in the family expected you to move, yet you did. And you also state that you're the only family member who can help your mother.

Why, as to both questions? I think the answers to those might offer some insight into your dilemma.
Get checked for SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and possible treatment.
Pardon me if this is a dumb question, but could YOU and MOM move to Az together?
Oregon to me is paradise because I live in Central Calif. and the over 100°F heat in the summer is a killer. The cold in winter, FOGGY, the TULY fog is unbearable....and temps. go down to the teens, ice on everything for a while. Anyway, visited Oregon and I thought of the gorgeous weather all the time. Begged hubby to move there, and he reminds me I am very prone to S.A.D., so I bought a "Happy Light", and it made 100% difference picking me up from depressive state. I completely recommend it and they make all kinds, with timers, with bla bla. Check them out.
Anyway, would you and mom move together to AZ?
I moved mom 3,000 miles because I am the ONLY caregiver alive. So... She adjusted............we are adjusting..............it is all an adjustment. Don´t feel "boxed in", just keep adjusting and tweaking things until you get comfortable.
What do you all think?
M88
I'm curious why you feel you are the only one in your family who can help mom. Mom's resources should be used to care for mom and this includes entitlements like Medicaid.

Call the local Area Agency on Aging and find out what's available in terms of support. With Mom, take a look at her finances and find out what her plan was for her old age. Does she qualify for Medicaid? Does Oregon have a Medicaid Waiver plan that keeps elders in their homes with supportive services?

Make this a short-term project--research and get mom set up with a higher level of care at home. then carry on with your plans.
《《《《♥》》》》
Any updates?
M88
April 17, 2016. Today it was a beautiful 80 degrees here in the Portland area - can't beat that! Okay - I admit it's a little on the unusual side, but lord, it was stunning!
Maybe rifinell is still out enjoying the balmy evening!
Weather here was in the 60s yesterday and it got to be 90 this afternoon. My potted plants looked like the microwave had gotten a hold of them.........aaaaaaaaarrrrrrrgggggghhhhhhhh! Water restrictions on full force (California drought). Watered. Hope they will bounce back.
Mom has geriatrics appointment tomorrow 6pm, follow up.
She'll do her showtiming, md will ask what refills are needed, and we'll be on our way.
Lab results were impeccable on last visit, so, we keep on trucking.
Me?
Exhausted, did my janitorial account today, market, put ointment on my doggie's ear (feral cat scratched her, it's not looking well), took all my socks out of the drawer because mom was mending an ancient pair, when I have too many to mention. She picked out the ones she likes, and the rest of the socks became an obsession, whose are they, why are they there, but why do I have some, they're not mine, are they ALL YOURS????
I was cooking and couldn't get the bag and hide it. It caused so much stress for mom. I don't understand why.
M88
Sorry for a late response. I've been busy with work and feeling kind of sick with stomach problems, either from stress or something I ate or both. Thanks for all the replies.

I'm thinking of hanging in here for at least 6 months. I told my Mom I'm not happy here and she suggests cutting my losses and going to Arizona. I feel guilty to do that so early after getting things going here. I'm hoping in 6 months she and I will be able to figure out something for continued care for her. She doesn't qualify for Medicaid. She had a house with severe mold she couldn't live in and was denied Medicaid due to that resource. Now that it sold and even though she didn't make any profit due to the low price she got and taxes she owed she still doesn't qualify.

Regarding having no one else to help out... My family is very small. My Dad died 15 years ago and I have one sister who's estranged from me who lives in Palm Springs. We have only talked once in the last 20 years and she shows no interest in contact. She has her life and does come to help my Mom every now and then but that's as far as that goes. I can't force someone to have contact if they don't want it.

Yes, it's been sunny recently here in Oregon, but better weather doesn't lift the depression I feel. I didn't feel depressed in California or when I was in AZ during several visits there. It's definitely I feel from being in Oregon. It happened pretty much as soon as I got here. It also occurred whenever I visited the state and lifted as soon as I was on my way out of Oregon. I know this is not a good place for me to be. Yes, it's beautiful here but it's not for everyone.
Get thee to Arizona! New beginnings should not be full of dread and ennui. Your mother even offered to cut you loose! Babalou's advice is a good outline. Start there, and don't stop til you reach your destination. Your bout of misplaced guilt is something a lot of us can relate to. Fight your way through it. You are too young to cripple your earning power. Go where you can thrive, and keep tabs on mom from a distance. It's OK to do that. Your sanity IS worth saving. Sift around this forum for posts from golden23 [distance caregiving] and freqflyer [boundaries and economic realities].....for starters. Lots of good support here. And lots of cautionary tales. Love yourself and find a way to do what YOU need to do.

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