What is best, should I have my mom live with my family and me or move her to an assisted living facility?

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Having a parent move in is a huge decision and depends entirely on your family situation and physical privacy issues. If there is any doubt at all that this will work well, I'd suggest starting with a good assisted living center where you can be a large part of your mother's life and be her advocate. She will have peers to interact with, which is often an advantage. Often, when an elder moves in with family, they end up feeling left out of many things, as they can't physically keep up with the younger people, yet they don't have friends to do things with.

Naturally, there is no one right answer. For some, with everything in place, having a parent move in works wonderfully. But it's not easy, once you've done it, to move the person out. So, think it through, talk it through, and look at all the options.
Carol
As a gerontologist and administrator of assisted living communities for 15 years I can tell you what I have seen:
1. Moving into an A.L. is at first frightening and strange, and few people ever want to do it, but after a couple of months, it becomes "the best thing I ever done", because they have made new friends (in their age group), they get used to having their bed made, their apt. cleaned, their meals prepared, the dishes washed, the free rides to doctors, banks, and stores, the activities, and it some cases having their pills managed and handed to them, the refills being handled, etc. etc.
2. We are all aging and with aging comes physical decline, we are able to do less and less. People that move into A.L. when they are barely functioning will be too late to make new friends, will not be known as anything more than that really needy person in room 314. Whereas, people that move in while still high functioning, make friends and when they decline, are loved by the staff, and have close friends in the A.L.
3. Here's one for you. Price. Whatever the price it is now its going up! But when you move into A.L. your "rent increases" are much less than the market rate, so that in a couple of years, your parent's rate is many hundreds less than if she were to be moving in at that later date.
4. Socialization, no matter how much you expect your parent to be a part of the family, they are often left alone all day long when you have them in your home, they get needed and cranky, it puts a strain on your marriage, and when the inevitable decline come, you will be working hard at your parents physical needs and eventually hiring people to come into your home (incidentally, at a higher price than the A.L. would have been)

You may think I am biased, and I am. But these are my observations of what happens. I see the wornout adult children with strained marriages coming into my office, and their parent with heels dug that they don't want to do it, all of the time. It may be hard, but you are not dumping them, you are giving them a second life of sorts.

p.s. Yes, no one can love or know your parent like you do, but we are professional and we are people with our own parents and you will see a lot of compassion in how we care for your parent.
Yvonne,

While I am not an expert on this subject, I can tell you that my thought is that it depends on several factors. First, what is your mothers condition, what level of support does she need, and do you have the support structure to deal with her issues on a 24/7 basis (assuming that her condition necessitates it)? The second issue is the one of your home and whether you have room for your Mom and her equipment, and still leave room for her to have a little privacy, without her overtaking the entire house. The third issue is the one of the relationship that your Mom and the rest of your family enjoy (or suffer). This new level of intimacy (two families in one home) can become very claustrophobic, especially for your husband and your Mom. Lastly, and perhaps the most pressing issue, is the one of the level of need that your Mom needs in her care. does she need a level of care that would require you to be medically trained (feeding tubes, cleaning respiratory tubes, etc), or is she pretty independent, but needing some support? Also, does she need supervision 24/7? If so, you and your family will eventually need to "take care of the caregivers", by arranging respite care by hiring someone, asking for help from your church, or using the services of a home health organization. I took casual care of both of my parents for several yaers until Dad required nursing home services and Mom moved in with us and almost immediately her health deteriorated to the point that she needed hospitalization (she died in the hospital).

Whatever your decision, there is no need for, nor reason for you to feel guilty, because only a loving daughter would consider to take on this level of responsibility and accept the intrusion that would result from her living with you.

Good Luck,

Steve Shetter
If your parent can function in an assisted living facility, do it. My mom gets so lonely and depends on her caregivers for her socialization. I can't do it all by myself. I wish I had moved her into one when I had the chance. Now it is too late.
Linda
Hi Yvonne,

It all depends on the circumstances. Is she able to care for herself at all? Does she have dementia? Is she demanding or does she find things to occupy herself? Do you have children at home that you have to consider? From my own experience, the best thing I did was move my aunt to an assisted living facility after caring for her 24/7 for over two years. She was able to walk well and get out but the dementia got so bad it was almost an impossible situation to continue caring for her. There are so many factors to consider when deciding to do this. If she has been in rehab for any reason, it would be better for her to go straight to assisted living rather than coming to your home, as once they are home it is very difficult to make the change to assisted living. Hope this helps. It is not easy, that's for sure.
From reading posts for well over a year I have seen that most families that have brought their eldery parents into their homes are very sorry that they did do it, if it is possible I would try assisted living first instead of bringing them to your home I have seen few if any that are happy with having them in their homes. Having said that the laddies at my voleenter group who are alert and have their own appartment in their childrens home do well and it helps both the adult children and grandchildren as well as the eldery adults-but they all have their own space and maybe share one meal a day. They usually go to the senior center 2-3 days a week and have transportation provided by the center.
I guess the best solution is to reflect on your own question and consider the reasons why are you "torn". Those reasons should guide you to the answer that is right for you and your mom.

My mother has lived with me for six years. She has dementia and heart disease - and it is not always easy as I am the sole caregiver. I did not listen to people telling me 'not to do it' because of our relationship and understanding my motivations. It has not been easy, but she is doing very well in my home. There have been significant trade-offs, but no regrets. I re-directed my career into a flexible one as a business manager for a SNF, and am pursing a certification in gerontology so I have seen many people who have felt torn but made the right decison based on need for care. I chose to add my opinion to add a bit of balance and more options - it just depends.

It can be very intimidating to try to make the decision that you are now facing. Each persons family & situation is unique. There is no right answer. A few general questions to think about:

1. what is your relationship - past & now
2. what are your expectations - what are your mom's expectations
3. what type of care does your mom need - can you do it
4. what is your living situation
5. how is your life right now - what would make it better
6. how comfortable are you with ambiguity?

I wish you luck. Austin, who shared her story with you was very truthful - we have both been on this board for a long time and I do not think if I was in her shoes that I could have handled her life for more than a day - so if you have a difficult relationship, her opinion may save your sanity. The AL administrator may very well be right on for your situation. Carol, the moderator has cared for 7 elders over her life. Whatever you decide, we will all pull for you and someone will be able to listen and understand.

good luck, remember you can always change your mind.

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