Any ideas of how to approach the topic of assisted living with my 81-year-old mother with her without her flying off the handle?

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I have been caring for my 81 year old mother for several years now since her husband passed away. She has had both knees replaced but still has trouble getting around. She has macular degeneration which progressed to the point of her no longer being able to drive herself or do some daily tasks which involve seeing small things. She has high blood pressure, severe arthritis, had a small stroke, IBS, cannot hear worth a darn and various other aging related problems. After her 1st knee in 2009, we decided it would be best if she moved in with me so I could help her. The years she has been with me have been wrought with constant Dr appointments and taking her places she needs to go. I was trying to work a 40 hr week ( I am a single mother for 15 years), but it became impossible to take care of her and myself with never having any "me" time. I cut my hours to 30 weekly to help accomadate her. She is very passive agressive. She loves to give me the cold shoulder and will ignore me for very long periods of time if something makes her mad. She blew up at Christmas a couple of years ago over the fact that I had to raise my voice so she could hear what I was explaining.. she refuses to wear hearing aids. She had asked me a question, I told her the answer, she didn't understand, so in a louder voice, I repeated myself as I was hanging lights on the tree. Five minutes later, she came out of her room crying and telling me she was going to live somewhere else because I "treated her like a dog". She refused to talk to me for about 4 days even as I chased her down the hall asking for a hug. I hugged her and she just stood like a statue. I finally was able to reason with her and let her know I wasn't yelling, just trying to be heard. Still refusing the hearing aids because as she put it, "It would just cause extra strain on you to have to help me with them since I cannot see to change batteries". Well, there have been many episodes such as this one and through the years, she is very intrusive into my life and my daughters lives. Constant questions about who, what, when, where and why don't they do this and why don't they do that and you should do this and that. I have let it go for a while now... pushing it down because if I approach her criticisms, I know I will get the cold shoulder and she will take it personally. I feel as if I am rambling, but there is so much I need to get out to get some advice. I will get to the latest episode. My youngest daughter, 22 went to Spain 1 year ago to study. She was supposed to be there a month, and in the first week, she was sexually assaulted by 4 men and had to return home. My Mom was so loving and understanding then. We held each other, prayed and consoled each other. This past week, I found out that my daughter has become addicted to pain killers as a result of never dealing with the pain she endured from her attack. All along, she had told me she was getting help and I believed her. When I told my mother, she attacked me and my parenting skills and even attacked my daughter by saying things like if we were better christians this would have happened, if I hadn't babied her so much this wouldn't happen, ect. She is a very conservative christian and believes that being in a church makes you one. We are spiritual and believe in God, but don't attend church regularly. Needless to say, I set a boundary that if she was not going to be supportive during this time, we needed to find other living arrangements. This was Monday.... she finally spoke to me Friday and told me she was going to live somewhere else, I wasn't going to know where, and she would never speak to me again. She accused me of never loving her and giving her bad care and I was only interested in her money, which she does help out finanacially with the house since we had to get one big enough to accomadate us all. I have tried to reason with her and she has become irrational and hateful. She refuses to discuss it with me. She has always held all of her bad feelings inside until one day they just explode...and it's always directed at me. She never even lets her friends know when bad things are going on unless they are related to her health, like if she is hurting badly. I have given up alot of my own privacy and social life for her and never have complained about it. I think however, it is time to look into assisted living for her. I simply cannot tolerate this behavior any longer. Any ideas of how to approach this topic with her without her flying off the handle? As an aside, she took care of my dad who had emphysema while also caring for her father after her mother died. I was not allowed to leave home for college because I was expected to stay home and help her. She told me then that she would never put me in that position of having to care for her... I have dropped subtle hints in the past, but she says that she doesn't feel like it's as stressful on me as it was her. Any ideas would be welcome.... PLEASE!

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Sounds like your heart is telling you what needs to be done.. Your daughter needs you and that is your first priority.Doesn't sound like there will be a way to approach her that you come out unscathed . My suggestion is for you to start checking out AL facilities, and then let her know she gets her wish. It will be hard on you because you are going to have to remain strong, or "act as if" you are and not let her see you waiver....and follow thru. And yes you will feel guilt, but that will pass as you are being present for your daughter.. for me the guilt of not having time for my daughter would be far worse than having mom mad at me...Please let us know how things are going.. You are in a very hard position here, but it does sound like you already know what needs to be done... hugs and prayers for you, let us know how you are...
Jabintn, when she said she was going to move out and not tell you where, were you tempted to offer to help her pack? :)

You need to be there for your daughers. You need to be there for your mother. You need to live your own life. It sounds to me like you could do all of these things better if mother lived elsewhere. You would still be her advocate. You might still need to accompany her to some of her medical appointmnts. You could visit her daily or talk on the phone daily and visit her on some other schedule. This might give you more patience with her irrational behavior (because you won't have to deal with it every waking moment) and also gives you the option of saying, "I'm sorry you feel that way, Mother. But I don't want to hear about it any more today, so I'll leave (or hang up) now and we'll visit again tomorrow."

If you could go back to work full time, would that enable you to stay in your house without mother's financial contribution? I don't know what the market is like in your area. Could you sell the house and get something smaller/more affordable if mother moves out?

I think you need to start researching the options available, get a social worker involved, and put some distance between you and your mother. Continue to love her and care for her in a new and healthier way.
Jabintn, my first thought when I read your post was, why would you chase your mother down the hall like a puppy and then insist on a hug? That in an of itself is worrisome to me. She is the one that has the bad behavior, but you seem to be the one that's trying WAY too hard for her to like you. Instead of calling her bluff when she threatens to live somewhere else, it seems like you're begging her to stay. She has exactly what she wants. Someone to berate and abuse, and still get to call the shots. Time to take back the control. Maybe you should start going to the counseling sessions with your daughter to make sure she's actually going, and get the negativity out of YOUR house in the form of your mother. And your mother has made a choice in not getting hearing aids, so no more screaming. Let her hear what she's missing for a change. There is no way you'd treat your daughter the way you're being treated, so enough.
@naheaton- I know i try way too hard... I am in therapy myself trying to learn how to cope with my co-dependency issues and my grief from y daughter's attack. And you are absolutely right... she does have me to berate and abuse. I appreciate that insight. Thanks to the others that have responded as well. I know it is going to be very difficult to approach this with her and I have already checked into some facilities. It's nice to know that there are people out there that understand and have been through it as well. Many thanks to all and I will keep you posted as it unfolds.. I know i will need the support!
You have had a horrific few years. I am so sorry about your daughter. She needs you now and you need to heal too. You cannot do this in a toxic environment.

Many people come her to vent (we all do) but never want to make a change. I am encouraged that you are looking into other living arrangements for your mom. You are taking a big, positive step and you will feel better for it. Speak to her as if you were her paid "care manager." Keep emotion out of it and let her passive/aggressive barbs bounce off your "Wonder Woman" wrist bands. If you do not become emotional or defensive, she will eventually give up and see that you are serious.
Do one small thing each day that will lead you to your goal. You can't keep living like this.
(Btw, I do not believe in a "punishing God" who only loves church goers. You and your daughter are loved in every way. Don't let your Mom's narrow definition turn you away from your faith.)
You go, Jabintn! I'm glad to hear that you are starting the research process. Taking action and knowing there is an end (or at least an improvement) in sight may help you get through the days ahead. Good luck! Come back and post about your progress. We care.

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