It's not safe for mom to stay alone in her house anymore, how can I start this discussion with her?

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My mother is very independent and always has been. Unfortunately she has had many back surgeries, this past summer (where a facility broke her back). She was in the hospital and rehab for almost two months. Of course, I was here to help her out. Honestly it is a miracle she can walk as the doctors said she may never walk. Just as she was getting better, we found out she had to have double bypass open heart surgery (Dec 14). My husband and I were notified via Life Alert that she had fallen in her house; my husband purchased a home close to my mom for the main reason of caring for her. She had fallen and hit her head, having to go to the ER. She had a concussion, but would not listen to doctors orders when she arrived back home.
I had come to South Carolina back in 2007 to be close to my mom for any help she may need. I do not regret that decision for a second. I am looking for a support group to help with the burn out and frustration I am beginning to feel. In addition, knowing some things are simply not safe in her house for her to stay her alone. I have no idea how to start that discussion. Any advise is greatly appreciated!

Answers 1 to 10 of 10
I am facing the same situation with my husband. He really can't stay alone because of his inability to manage his meds and meals. We moved to FL a year ago because he wanted to be in the nice weather all year long. I was against it because I knew it would be hard for me to find a job. I was right...and my COBRA will be running out in a few months. In the meantime, my husband has become very ill with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. I'm home now caring for him, but I MUST go back to work. He thinks he's fine...he can take care of himself....NO HE CAN'T but I, too, cannot explain this to him...a lot because he is a man who thinks he can and always will be able to take care of himself and because of the Alzheimer's. He either won't acknowledge/denies or can't reason well enough to understand he can't take care of himself. He can still bathe, shave, use the toilet and feed himself, but when it comes to making decisions, following directions and doing what he should be doing when he should be doing it, he is lost. The OT-ist and I have tried to talk to him; he doesn't/won't/can't agree. I would suggest talking to her doctor, PT-ist, whatever medical person you can find, and explain exactly what you observe. Be specific, keep a journal of incidents. You will need all the evidence you can get to even begin to get help. Good luck and God bless.
Each situation is so unique and there are no blueprints for starting the difficult conversation of moving a loved one into a facility. A search on the internet will bring up many resources for beginning the talk, including this article on Assisted Living Today: The article is a game plan, in a way, for bringing beginning the conversation. Best of luck to you--
Maybe a move is not what your loved one wants. Why not consider hiring outside help to come in to offer assistance. Many companies are out there who specialize in this type of non medical assistance. Some have very minimal requirements as little as one hour and up to 24 hours should the need arise.
Companion and homemaker agencies can also offer transportation to doctor appointments as well as shopping, cooking and home management.

Start the discussion as wanting to help prolong your loved ones independence for as long as possible. When they agree, you can also discuss with them that now is the time to make a decision because should something happen with their health, they may not have a choice. Do it ASAP!
Given a choice, most would prefer to remain in their home around their family and belongings. Much history there as well as a feeling of well being and connection that they cannot easily develop elsewhere.

Top Answer
Please allow me to play devil's advocate here. Often children are faced with the question of what to do with a parent when they can no longer safely stay alone. There are many options. If a parent doesn't mind help coming into the house, the children can arrange for 24/7 in-home care with different caregivers and service people. They can arrange for transportation or take them everywhere they need to go.

If the parent doesn't want strangers in the house, the adult child can assume the responsibility. He/she can quit their job and move to be closer to the parent. Maybe the spouse can even come along and hopefully find a new job. Hopefully the strain on the family won't be too difficult as the parent becomes more ill and requires more time.

The third option is the parent can be the one to move into a facility that will care for him/her. The children can continue on with their lives and visit when possible.

I have a question that puzzles me. Why does the want of a parent to remain in their home outweigh the needs of the rest of the family. If we think about it, it really makes no sense except to say that we give such heavy weigh to the desires of the parents. Usually the need assistance because staying in the house alone doesn't make sense anymore. Quitting jobs, leaving spouses, stressing families -- is it just enabling someone to continue a lifestyle that doesn't work anymore? And is it keeping them from making new friends in a retirement community?

One doesn't have to give up everything to take care of parents.
Sorry -- I didn't answer the question. I can think of no better way to start a conversation with a parent than to tell them the truth. She will, of course, have the right to refuse your suggestions. We can't make our parents do anything they do not want to unless they have been deemed legally incompetent. If she chooses to remain in her home, then you will have decide what you will do, babsie. Are you willing to continue like you are or will some adjustments have to be made to make your own life more livable? Sometimes it takes a crisis to make seniors change their minds about their lives. I hope that the crisis can be avoided. Your mother has been through so many of them already.

Does she have any specific reason that she wants to remain in her house? Is she friends with her neighbors and active in the community? Or is it just because it feels familiar? For many seniors who have owned a house for a long time, the community around them has changed so much that there is no one they even know. So they sit in the familiar house alone, watching TV and feeling unhappy. It seems like many elders would be much happier to be around people their own age that are doing enjoyable things. I guess, being a part of a more mobile generation, I have a hard time understanding such attachment to a living place.
As I wrote in response to another similar question,

My company builds microhome units for all purposes, one of which is to allow aging seniors to live independently. The home includes bedroom, bathroom shower (with seating) a kitchen and living room area.

The small confines of the unit encourages the feeling of security for an inactive senior, and eases accessibility. It even includes a wall that, when lowered, reveals a window to the world 20 feet long, enjoyable from inside, or out on the newly created deck through a sliding door!

For the active senior, it encourages outdoor activity on whatever level they are capable, from golf and tennis, to walks of any length, to interaction and play with grandchildren or great grandchildren.

While resellable later at or near the purchase price, the unit is, at $30,000 not for everyone. Other costs may include a concrete pad, preparation of utilities, and the necessary permits that may be required. Additionally, an urban lot may not have the space. The home is 40 feet long and 8 feet wide.

While not for every person, it is an option that helps an aging parent maintain an independent lifestyle while reducing the worry and stress of watching a loved parent age by keeping them close in case of emergency.

Other bonuses are that the unit is waterproof, (you can submerge it in a flood, and if it was closed up properly, it will remain bone dry inside) hurricane and tornado resistant, and perhaps best of all for aging care, almost burn proof. The only items inside that can burn are the cupboards and personal items.
All building materials are burn proof or burn resistant, and cork tiling is used on the floors for comfort and to minimize injury due to falls and broken dishes.

The unit ships simply, just put it on a semi or train.
Hi, pardon me but I didn't see any comment about a mental condition. Has your mother being diagnosed as suffering from Dementia or Alzheimer's? If that is the case, it is very difficult to convince her to move or change habits. Patients with these type of disease have lost a lot of their ability to reason. Falling is a typical sign of Dementia because their perception of height, distance is impaired to name a few. It is not your mom's fault, it is the progress of the diseases. From all the signs and symptoms that you mentioned, Dementia might be suspected. Please check with her Doctor then go from there. Good luck to you and admiration for all your love and concern about your mother. Also, a great support group would be a great idea for you.
I would tell her I want to spend more time with her and ask her to move in. I did that with my grandmother . She had Alzheimer's and Parkinson's and in addition a liver and heart problem. I was so glad to be there for her.
oh, sounds like she definatly shouldnt be alone, if you are ready to move her in with you, talk to hubby first, then tell mom 'this is what we need to do, this is why, whats your thoughts?' keep in mind, im no expert. but she sounds like my dad. or 'superman' as he sees himself.maybe she doesnt want to look weak in front of you, so can you get a nurse/caregiver to check in on her? have you talked to her doctor to see docs opinion? i think id start with the doctor.ask about programs
There are a lot of care giving agencies out there like us. You just need to investigate thoroughly which agency gives the best service. Its service is actually depending on the care giver they would be providing for your loved ones. Some agencies would say they have the best care givers in town but they do not pay their care givers right and with no benefits provided but other agencies are just too nice to provide these things to their care givers. A happy care giver will move heaven and earth to take good care of your loved ones.

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