So confused and feeling guilty.

Started by

My mother is 68, this summer after a hospitalization to run some tests, I realized that my brothers weren't willing to keep an eye on her and make sure she was taking care of herself, so I moved her to the state I live in, into my home. BIG MISTAKE. My mother is a very needy and dependent person and all that has gotten worse since my father died 4 years ago. She has some health issues that as long as she takes her meds are easily controlled. She is driving me crazy and with each day that passes I like her less and less. I love my mother but I haven't like her for a very long time, my childhood was not a good one due to my parents and their issues. I feel so resentful towards her, she is to young to be living with her children considering she had her own home and doesn't have any issues besides normal memory loss associate with aging. She doesn't want to take care of herself and when she was left alone in her house, stopped leaving the house, didn't eat right, gained a lot of weight and went a week or so without showers, I know she is depressed, her new doctor put her on zoloft this last week to try and treat the depression. She doesn't want to leave our house, I have tried to get her to go to the local senior center, volunteer, go to church all to no avail, she wants me to fill her emotional needs and I can't or maybe I just won't, because of my childhood. She has always depended on someone else for her happiness but the majority of it was on my father until he died. I don't know what to do, I don't want to live with her, she doesn't have anything other than her SS and over the last two years got herself into so much debt, that I am not sure how she was surviving while she lived alone.


What is happening with her house? Does she own it? I think I would explain to her that it's important for her to get her life in order including her health and fiances. Then I would see to it that it happens. It's your house. You make the rules. If she is depressed, getting her act together may seem like a huge mountain to climb. Treating that may be the key. I would help provide her the resources she needs to make the change.

It may take a little while to get her medication adjusted, but that may make a big difference. I've read it takes depression medication at least a month to kick in. Have her medically evaluated to see what other issues she may have and address them. This is includes exercise, if she up to it. And explain it's not optional. She has to address her health so she can live independently. If she can't, then that can be dealt with too.

I would then help her consult with a financial/debt expert. Gather all her bills and see what they advise. Ask about payment plans, debt forgiveness, etc. Can she sell her house? Since she may need Medicaid down the road, I would also consult with an Elder Law attorney who knows Medicaid regulations to get advice on how to handle any assets she owns, such as a house. And get necessary documents like Durable Power of Attorney, Healthcare POA, Living Will, etc. if she hasn't already signed them. If you are not interested in doing it, suggest she list another sibling instead.

After her medications are straight and her finances are in order, then look for her a place she can afford, such as Independent living or other government subsidized apt. in your city that has transportation or is on a bus route. Maybe, seeing her on a limited basis would help the relationship. You can't force her to socialize, but if she is in a facility where things are going on every day, maybe she would be more likely to join it. Plus, if her meds are helping the depression, that might work in her favor too.

I don't see any reason to feel guilty. It seems like you have been more than generous under the circumstances. I can see you being annoyed and frustrated, but there is definitely something you can do about this situation. To me, having a plan would help relieve some of the resentment and frustration. I hope improvements will be made so you can get her home back and your mom can get back her independence.
Correction to post above. So you can get YOUR home back and mom can get her independence back.
It normally takes 2 weeks for any antidepressant to begin working.

I think I'd get that straitened out before taking on the POAs and living will issues.

How did she get herself in so much debt?

She didn't inherit anything from your dad like part of his own retirement money from work?
She doesn't own a home, my father was the sole owner of the property on which they lived and he never had a will, so according to what my mother was told, the property reverts to my brothers and I, with her having the right to live there until she dies.

I am not sure how or why she got herself into so much debt. I am hoping she is taking advantage of living with us to pay off that debt since she is only contributing $150 a month towards living with us.

My parents pretty much lived paycheck to paycheck my whole life and as far as I know had no savings or retirement.

I am hoping her meds work and maybe motivate her to seek her own friends and life outside the house. She wants me to meet her emotional needs and fill that void in her life but after the childhood I had with her, I can't be what she needs and if I was brutally honest I don't want to be what she needs. You give her an inch and she takes a mile. I refuse to allow her to cause issues with my marriage, so far my husband as dealt with her being here relatively well, and our sons are pretty much indifferent to her. I know she is unhappy here but I can't be responsible for her happiness, I honestly don't know if she has ever been happy but I don't want her to negatively affect my life anyone than she already has. I sometimes think i would deal with this so much better if she was older and really couldn't live on her own. I can't imagine at 68 living with any of my kids and really feel like it is selfish on her part to want be so dependent on others. She told my mother in law last night that she felt like our relationship was becoming like hers was with her mother and she wished she hadn't been so mean to her mother. .

As far as power of attorney, I am probably the best person for it but I don't want to do it. I just want her to get her debt paid off, her knee surgery done and then I want her to move out. If she wants to live in the same city as I do that is fine, if she wants to move back so she can be close to the youngest child, since he is her favorite, then she can do that to.
That is a mess. It would be better for you and your whole family for her to get out. You are so right that you can't be responsible for her happiness. If she stays there too long, it will not be healthy for your family. I hope the meds help and that she can go somewhere else. If she has a truly dependent personality, then she's not going to change for that has been her means of getting her needs met.
There is nothing wrong with getting her out of your house and even out of your life, if that is what you want. You don't owe her anything, however, I think that just hoping she'll feel better and then maybe she'll see the light and get out is rather impractical and wishful thinking. I wouldn't leave it up to her suddenly get better and then do the right thing. I would lay out what is going to happen and have a plan for how it is to occur. If she's prepared to go, the likely that she will do it peacefully is much higher, IMO. If you are not in control of the process, then how can you ensure she leaves, unless you evict her, which is also a possibility.
Sunnygirl1, I understand what you are saying and know that her behavior probably will never change because that is what she has used my whole life. She is supposed to have knee replacement the end of November and after hearing from her how she was after the first one and how she treated my father, I have already told her that I won't be treated like that by her. If she would just respect the boundaries and understand the sacrifice my family has made having her here and just back off the emotional games she is playing, I would probably be dealing with this better. It is so nice to be able to have a place to voice my issues and get others perspectives. So thank you all for your input, there has been such good advice.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

Please enter your Comment

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support