My mother lives next door but is declining and we’re afraid to leave her alone, what can my family and I do?

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My 86 yr old mother lives next door, but is declining. Afraid to leave her alone - stove, thermostat, etc. Looking at larger home to move into and she can live downstairs separate but together with my husband and 13 yr old. Will have to get a 30 yr mortgage. We both work full time. I am 50, husband 45. Don't know if it is the right thing, but she does not want to go to supportive living. I grew up with my grandma living with us. She lived to be 103. I do not know what to do! Any suggestions would be appreciated. Am extremely stressed. No siblings. She is not the easiest to live with, at that "me"stage, but that is ok. Thoughts?

Thank you!

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These two links are articles you may want to read. My grandma lived with us, too, but those were different days. My mom didn't work outside the home. What you propose can work, but you need to move carefully and make sure, because it will be hard to back out if it doesn't work well. Don't let guilt be the deciding factor. Think carefully and good luck. It can work very well for some people.
Have you considered a home health aid, or companion service for your Mom before you take on the challenge of a larger home? I would cheer you on if your sharing clearly showed that you are really wanting to consolidate and bring your Mom to live with you and your family, but it doesn't sound like you really want to do that. I may be wrong, but your post sounds more like you will do it just because it is the right thing to do. That is commendable, but may not be the best thing for your mental health and/or marriage. Until you really know what you want to do, respite or companion care or adult day care may buy you some time to better think through what is best for all involved. Whatever you do, I wish you the best.
I never thought of it before, but Carol is right about it being a different era, when the mom stayed home and the dad worked. It would've been a lot easier to take care of the aging parent if one didn't also have to worry about a full time job. Unless you can clone yourself, I'd think long and hard about this. Good luck.
As people live longer the greater the length of time that they will have debilitating medical issues. It is unrealistic to think that a family member, who has no medical training, can be everything that the senior will need - you would need to be 5 people. In fact, it may be dangerous.
It is difficult to combine two adult households under any circumstances. Even if everyone is "easy to get along with" there is a loss of privacy and freedom.
It really would be better for everyone if your Mom can maintain her own "space" separate from you. That way you all have your privacy. Of course, this may mean increasing the in-home care for your Mom; but you live next door so I think it is manageable.
There may be a time in the future when a new placement may be necessary for your Mom - this should not be ruled out as it may be the best thing for her care.
Do not sacrifice you financial well-being. Moving to a larger home and taking on a new mortgage, especially in this volatile climate, is probably not the right decision for now. Also, it is likely that you will need to remodel or add handicap access. You and your hub need to be planning for your future.
Maybe taking more time to think about your options is best for now.
Thank you Isabel and Carol for the advice. I am looking into a bath-aide for now at mom's house. I grew up believing that family should remain with family, know that is not always possible, but still hold on to that hope. We will all face this together, and in the future, be at the other end of this discussion! In the meantime, it is nice to have a place to share.

I'd recommend a home health aide until she declines to the point of no longer being able to care for herself. Then you can make room for her where you live instead of getting yourself into debt by acquiring a bigger house that you won't need after she's gone.

Most elderly don't want to be a burden to anyone, plus living in her own place gives her a sense of independence that people her age no longer have. ... Just picture yourself in her shoes. What would you do? Probably ask people to keep their distance and let you be, or mind their own business.

-- ED
What do you do when the person your fathers angry with is your mother and she is the only one who has the time to take care of him?
I agree with the previous posters; keep her in her own home as long as you can - with the use of caregivers, etc.

Living together is going to be a LOT different. It doesn't seem like it will be - but it will.

We made this mistake when we moved to another state. We bought a larger home to accomodate my 90 year old Father and . . it's been hard. And . . he's not so sure he wants to be here either all the time! But, we would all have to extricate from each other's finances . . .

Just think about it. My father's dementia has progressed in the last 3-4 days to the point where it scares me. I do work outside the home and am trying to juggle the needs of a self-absorbed teenager and a self-absorbed 90 year old. They are just both at that stage of their life.

Not easy. Not sure I would do it again. We are taking it one day at a time now.
There is a great service out there called Elder Helpers that provides volunteers to people in your situation. The service is about a year old and would deserve to be publicized more. The site is Good luck!
mookee, it sounds like you should perhaps start a new thread, and provide more details about the situation. The answers here are focussed on jellen's question which is more than a year old. Your current situation deserves its own space.

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