How do you respond to people who tell you that you must honor your mother and not place her in assisted living indefinitely?

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My mother has always been hypercritical of me, and we have never really had a good relationship. It's exceptionally difficult to take of someone who is verbally abusive, but expects me to drop everything to meet her needs. Who likes hearing how fat you are, your arms are too big, you are too loud, comparing me to peers, especially those who are "successful?" I am an only child. I am working on a becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor, was accepted into two doctor of counseling programs, and trying to find steady full time employment in the counseling field. She always reminds me that I don't have a job, and refuses to understand the process of becoming an LPC. I have explained this to her many times. She has been helping me financially, and I am appreciative of it. My mother is a diabetic, stage IV kidney disease, arthritis, and other medical issues. In mid April, something happened where she couldn't get herself out of bed, so she would call me and I would come and place her in the chair, feed her, and make sure she had water to drink. I told her that I couldn't do this anymore, and she would have to get some help. She finally contacted a wonderful caregiver, and he has been a wonderful caregiver. This was the break I needed. I was still going to house to check on her. I decided to begin staying overnight to assist her, and we had a conversation about what her options were as far as long term care. I knew that she wanted to stay at home, but I didn't think it was a viable option. I told her she could stay at home with help coming to her house, or she could move in with me, or go to assisted living. She told me that she wanted to stay at home. She missed a couple of her doctor's appointments, and she told the caregiver that she could walk and prepare herself for the appointments, and he believed her. After tax day, I went home, and she had called 911 because of her rapid heartbeat, and she wasn't doing well at all. She was supposed to go to the doctor on that particular day. The caregiver and I waited for the ambulance, attempted to clean her (she really soiled her clothes and power lift chair), and the family room, but she told me not to clean her, and kept pushing my hands away. The ambulance came, and the paramedics didn't know how to properly put her on the gerny, and the caregiver had to tell them the best way to place her on the gerny. While they were loading her, her leg got a huge scratch, and there were sores on her legs. They asked us how did she get those, and we explained that we hadn't seen those before now. After cleaning the family room, I went to the ER, and the wound care team grilled me about her wounds, and scratches on her body, which they didn't let me see. I understand about them doing their job, but they were exceptionally rude and unprofessional, never asked me about any of her medications (two of which were injections, one was a blood thinner), wound care history, or anything. Then, Adult Protective Services called me and asked if I would call them back. First, I went to the offices, but the woman handling my case would be out for a few days. I was petrified, but God is still good. I eventually overcame my fear to talk to this woman, and my caregiver knew her; they grew up together in the same town. They knew the neighbor because she taught school in their community, and this neighbor calls my mom two to three times a day anyway. He explained the situation to her, and the case was closed. My mom spent over a week in ICU, and then the hospital transferred her to a rehab where she spent two months in a hospital bed. She asked me to take over her house, and I am living in this home; it is mine. I am paying the bills, and keep her abreast of her financial and business matters. I have yet to move my things out of my house, and clean it, but I've already started cleaning it last week. I am really trying to rest. Now, she is in a wonderful skilled nursing facility, and we both like it. She gets wound care and rehab. Everyone at the facility thinks she is "so sweet", but I know better. People think I am the problem, and have vilified me in our small community. I feel guilty because I would love for her to stay there. Now, I really like being at home, and arranging things the way that I prefer (as long as she has her bedroom), and she can write her name, but her cursive is illegible. I am so lonely, and I am afraid to answer my phone because I know it's her calling me, or someone else calling about her or my aunt in the Alzheimer's Care Unit. I believe in the bible, and I know it says to honor your parents so your days will be long. I have one friend who criticized me because she thought I wasn't physically present enough in April, and I told her I wanted to stay in the skilled nursing facility. She thought that was an abomination. I never want to be placed in the previous situation, and we don;t get along. I need support. PLEASE HELP ME!

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Top Answer
The bible doesn't say don't put your mother in a skilled nursing facility. It says honor them. You are not expected to give up your life to her. You can visit her at the NH, making sure she is safe and healthy and not alone. You need to be aware of her needs but don't let anyone tell you what you have to do. You should ask her what she would do. Tell her to explain exactly what life would be like if someone was to do exactly as she says. Then you can explain how your situation doesn't fit into this wonderland scenario.
The bible does say not to judge let you be judged. Remind her that she needs to be cautious about what she says because she may have to eat her words. I'd also like to ask. How can you call someone friend and they don't even know what you're going through? You might have to rethink your definition of friend. You deserve tender loving care from friends and health care workers.
Don't let inconsiderate people define your opinion of yourself. Take care of yourself and know we care about you and you have a safe haven here on this site.
Odisay, my heart goes out to you. I'm an only child also, with no aunts, uncles, close cousins, etc. My mom lived with us for several years until she moved into an ALF 5 years ago. We moved Mom for two reasons. So that SHE could have a social life and activities of her own choosing with her peers. Also, her behavior (later diagnosed as vascular dementia) was straining our marriage and family. I would have loved to have been a happy, four generation family under one roof, taking care of each other and sharing our lives, but that was not the case. One of my adult stepdaughters expressed her disappointment in me in moving my mom. Ironically, that was the same daughter whose 6 y.o child we were guardians of. A couple of the other children didn't say anything to me but I could tell from their questions or comments that they weren't in agreement. Only my daughter who was 12 at the time, my husband, and two of Mom's longtime friends understood the need. None of the critics had any advice or help to offer. None of them called their grandmother or sent cards. Because they had no contact, I gave their comments no weight and no influence over me.

My Mom passed 2 months ago, 2 months shy of age 87. Two of the stepdaughters now say they SHOULD have called their grandmother. I know that I did all that I could to make her final years as comfortable and pleasant as they could be for her.

All this to say, do what is right for you and your mom. There will be naysayers whatever you do, and people who think you should sacrifice your life because that is what your parents did for you. That is really a flawed argument. Lots of folks with no solutions other than YOU take care of her 24/7. Nowhere do they involve themselves in the help process. A 15-minute visit every 2 months is not help. Your safety and well-being is number one. Your mom's safety and well-being is number two. If you're not healthy and clear-headed, then you can't adequately be a caregiver for your mom.

I'm praying for you and your mom.
Wow. Where to start?

Since your title is about "people", let's start with your so-called friend who criticized you. She was judgmental and hurtful. What to do about it? Get new friends. Seriously. Perhaps you have chosen "friends" like that because it is what you are used to, given how your mother treats you. But there is a whole wide world out there of people who respect each other, who comfort friends, and support them. Especially with your career goals, you need to meet some of those people! You need real friends.

One way to honor your mother is to see that she gets the best care that she can get. It sounds like right now that is the wonderful skilled nursing facility. If you encounter people who tell you that the ONLY way to honor a parent is to live with them, those people are just plain wrong.

Villified in your small town? Really? By how many people? Your "friend" and her circle of friends? A few other narrow-minded folks? Or the whole town? You need support. Find support. Stop hanging around with or paying attention to judgemental critics.

Pauline Boss, PhD, is emeritus professor ath the University of Minnesota, has been visiting professor at Harvard Medical School, and at the Hunter School of Social Work. She is well-respected for her research and for her clinical practice. She has this to say about people in your situation: "Taking care of someone who years before was abusive or neglectful of you is beyond what is expected of you. Caring for a family member who was or is physically or psychologically abusive is dangerous. ... Each case is different, but with most, I encourage some kind of continued management -- often through a social worker -- to make sure that the caregiving team or the nursing home professionals are treating your family member well. This may be the best you can do given your history together. Such minimal attention, however, eases ambivalence, agner, and guilt, and, overall, fosters your emotional growth."

odisay, you are honoring your abusive mother with more than "minimal" attention. You have nothing to be ashamed of or to feel guilty about.

Good luck to you!
Odisay: I don't understand one thing from your post. You said your mom wanted you to take over her house and that you are living in it and that "it is mine." "You are paying the bills." You also said that you love being home and arranging things the way you prefer. So here's my question, are you saying that your mom's house in now yours? Is this the house you grew up in?

My next question would be is your mom now a resident of the nursing home or is she still a rehab/skilled nursing patient? If she went there in late April, then by late July I would assume a decision has to be made as to where she will live. What does your mom want to do?

I assume that your mom has some financial assets, but I would wonder how long they will cover her care. Eventually, it could be that the house might be a recovery asset if her income and assets are used up for her ongoing care.

At some point, when the time is right, I would encourage you to move to a larger community where the job market has more potential and you can start making friends who come from a larger gene pool.

Can I ask how old you are and how old your mom is. It sounds like she has lots of friends in her small town. Hopefully some will take the time to visit her. Based on what you have said, it sounds like a lonely place for you. Was this your home town?

I don't want to distress you over her house. I just want you to consider that it may not really be yours. If you can live there for a while and it works for you, that's great, but you might want to be sure that your mom will not be coming home before you move all your things there. I don't think it sounds healthy for you to be living with her. If it ends up that she does come home and you end up living together, be absolutely sure you continue to have the caregiver coming in. Did he help her bath or dress. Just wondering if he SHOULD have noticed her scratches and bruises.

I don't mean to sound negative, I am just concerned about you and what may come. I am praying for you and sending you lots of hugs. Please stay in touch and let us know what happens.

Sorry fat fingers struck again! What I thought of them, I'm pretty sure they'd keep their Jugemental selves away from me. Until they walk in your shoes, they may never know. Continue your studies, I too was working on Masters Degree in Counseling until my Parents health care took over my world. I'm not complaining, I honored them and did what I had to do while being a Wife, Mother, FT employee and a scared crazy care giver for 2 strong willed and stuck in their ways parents. I still honor them and I honor myself too. Best of life to you!
Odisay: I'm relieved that you are secure and have been living in a larger city and making friends. I can now understand more about the loneliness you are dealing with as you stay in your home town to help your mom.

It could be that your mom is dealing with some dementia or confusion due to her illness and hospitalization. She might have said she lives alone because, for that moment, she thought she did. If she continues to say things that are incorrect, you might want to talk to her doc about it. Probably you already have.

I agree that living at home and having daily leg wrappings, on an outpatient basis, is not a realistic option.

My heart goes out to you and I'm sorry you have been put through the ringer with all the APS business and the small town gossip.

Please stay in touch and let us know how things go.

Hugs, Cattails

Odisay, How do you respond to critical people? You don't. You consider the source, and drop the "friend" who was critical. You just go on doing what you feel you must do. With all due respect, being a counselor you "should" know these things. Just be confident in the things that are right for you and let the words of others just float away. The words of others, whether they are praise or criticism are no concern of yours. That's what I have had to do.
Odisay, when I saw the title I knew I had to tell you to follow your good head and heart, you are doing Gods will for your Mother and you. As long as your mothers health and welfare is being taken care of, you can manage it under your control... Not at the emotional control of others. If the church people, your "friend", the small minded community don't like it they can lump it! Make it so they don't have the opportunity to express their discontent to you. When I finished telling them wht
Cattails, let me clarify a few things to you. This is the home I grew up in, and her house is now mine. This is my hometown. First, she was in ICU at the hospital, then the hospital transferred her to rehab. Currently, she is a skilled nursing/rehab patient, she arrived at this facility a week ago. We have already discussed what she wants to do. She said she wanted to spend her last days at home, and she wanted to be an outpatient; getting her legs wrapped every day. At this point, this isn't a realistic option. I am preparing for a caregiver to move here, and it will take a lot of time to do that, and if she can't come home, then she'll stay in her current facility. I already have my own home in a larger city, and in the process of making better friends there. I am still keeping my home, and that is all I will say about that. Her friends from church visit her, and I don't associate with people here, I take care of business, and move forward. I will not have to use the house as a recovery asset; she's very secure financially. That's is all I will say about that. During the hospital stay, she told some of the nurses, she was by herself, and that set off a nasty chain of events. I had to assure them that she has a caregiver, and I was staying at the home with her. I told my mom to watch what she says to these people because they are very reaction-oriented. The last thing she would want is for the state to take full control over everything, and place her in a nursing home. I also mentioned to her that once they do that, she doesn't have a say about anything, and she can kiss it all goodbye. I never want to be contacted by APS or any other agency about this again; I never want to go through this experience again. I've already contacted her primary care physician about using home health care, and the equipment needed for home. This has been arranged. She is an 81 years old widow. He did help her bathe and dress, but he didn't notice any scratches or bruises on her, and neither did the policeman who helped him to move her. You are not distressing me over anything, because I know God has this under control, and I want to do His perfect will.
Odisay-sounds like you have taken on more than you can handle. Why not go back to your own home and friends and continue your studies. Student loans can help you get through your financial needs. Your mother is using her financial help as a means of manipulation to get you to do what she wants. Is her money and house really worth the belittlement toward you? Let her money and assets take care of her care and get your life back and take care of you.

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