How do I deal with having to live with elderly parents who are always arguing?


I am in my late 50's and living with my parents who are in their 80's. I work full time. My Mom has Alzheimer's, glaucoma and chronic fatigue. Consequently, the house is a mess to the point that there's nowhere to sit down because any chairs, couches and tables are full of "stuff" she won't throw out. I do what housework I can on the weekends (laundry, sweeping the floor, cooking meals, etc.). My Dad is frustrated and angry and says he's tired of living in a "garbage dump". They yell and scream at each other, call each other names and it's getting to the point where furniture is being overturned in anger. I suggested in-home assistance with meals, etc. but they don't want strangers in the house. I'm tired of having to listen to all the fighting and would love to get my own apartment, but I would feel guilty leaving my Mom with all her health issues. Help!

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Living in a dump is not healthy physically or mentally. Sometimes it is difficult to be the adult in a situation but sounds like it is time for you to take charge. If you able to move out, then do so. You don't have to sacrifice your own wellbeing for your parents. The yelling alone would drive me to live out of town.

Take two chairs a week and let your Mother know it is clean up time. Get a couple of boxes or bags (1 throw away and 1 small one keep). If the "stuff" not being kept can be donated then let your Mother feel she is helping someone else.

Perhaps your Mother's doctor could recommend in-home health care. Sometimes our elders are more receptive to advice from non-family members.

Unfortunately, I have a sister that is a hoarder and she barely has one room left to live in. There will soon be a trail between the front door and sofa. She gets hysterical if you say anything. She has now started the same thing at my Mother's house....hauls stuff over she doesn't have room for at home. Just makes me sick.

Good luck!
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ThirdCoastGirl, plenty of people manage their parents finances without living with them. Who does she borrow from? Can you talk to them?

Why do you think you have to save mother from her own behavior even at the expense of your own happiness and sanity?
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I'm living a similar hell. I just moved in with my parents (mom has financial problems - keeps borrowing money and sending it to Jamaican sweepstakes scams) so I moved in with them. She's 76 and dad's 88. They have fought like cats and dogs my entire life. I couldn't get out of this house fast enough to get away from their negative behavior. Now at 40 I'm back and I hate every single minute. I'm bitter and starting to fall into their traps which end up with all of us yelling at each other. I hate it here. I don't have a job and the prospects in this town are slim. I was only planning to get a part-time job since I take them to their doctors appointments. My mother's tone and my dad's yelling is horrible is enough to break a monk's silence. I know if I left she'd be right back on her sweepstakes racket. All I keep thinking is, "How many more years do I have to do this?" I feel like I'm going to waste some pretty important years of my life and be miserable the entire time.
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Get your own apartment. Learn to live with the guilt.

Your parents need to get in-home care. Presumably your father is healthy enough to do this, if he wants to. If he values his privacy more than he values his wife's care, so be it.

A compromise would be to get an apartment close enough to them to be able to continue to offer frequent help, but to be able to go home to your own sanctuary after dinner.

Get an apartment.
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