I am a single mom with only one child and have declining parents that have 6 hours away. What should we do if neither of us wants to move and we have no other family members or friends that will help out?

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Will they move to senior housing or assisted living in their town? What exactly do they need help with? Are they expecting you to move, as their only child?
I almost didn't answer this, but it would seem to me that if they don't want to move to assisted living or a nearby nursing home and the only suggestion you can come up with, if you'll be doing the caregiving--then they need to move where you are. For gosh sakes, you're the one who has the job.

I really don't recommend assisted living or nursing home (just for the fact that I have heard BAD things about them). If you were in the same town, then you could visit them at the assisted living facility or nursing home.
Also, my suggestion--don't let them know when you are coming for a visit.
If they know, the staff tends to act all nicey-nicey. Have unannounced visits. Also, you can see what things your parents are able to do by themselves.
Oh, do I understand. i am the only child and my mom lives a block away. I am just going back to work after a crisis and being on FMLA. I pray every day for the strength to keep up with this. Might as well get them closer. It really is the only choice. Sorry
Caregiving is very difficult and stressful - no matter how much we want to do it or how much we love our parents. Adding a long commute only adds to the stress and will diminish the care your parents will get. If you are going to provide care, then they really must move closer to you. Perhaps they do not need as much care now as you think. Seniors don't generally care for people coming into their homes, but when it is really necessary, they often accept the help. In short: evaluate if help is essential now and, if it is, get someone to stop in or work a plan so that they are closer to you. good luck!
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I have been in both situations: trying to help Mom long distance, and now that she lives near me, trying to help her stay independent in her own home. Both take an extensive commitment of time and dedication.
You really only have two choices: move to their area or find either in-home or institutional care for them.
As several mentioned above, carefully evaluate what their needs are right now. They may just need someone to come in once or twice a week for housekeeping etc. My belief is that it is healthier for them to stay in a familiar home setting for as long as possible. After that, you may need to visit a few facilities and maybe that will be a good time for them to move closer to you.
Visit this site often...it has been a life saver for most of us.
I'm an only child, on disability with a wife on disability plus a son in college and a son who is a rising senior in high school. My mother lives an hour away and is in a nursing home because it became unsafe and unreasonable for her to continue living at home with my step-dad who is in a wheel chair.

She gave me durable and medical POA back in 2002 and I went on disability in 2003. This led me to find a house to rent. When we decided to buy a house 5 years ago, my mother wanted us to move there for her medical problems were getting worse plus there was a housing depression and she thought we could get a house for less.

However, we declined for several reasons. 1. We did not want to take our boys out of their schools and away from their friends. 2. My wife and I had the medical people we both had found competent right here. My wife did not find anyone competent years ago where my mother lives when we were much closer buy. 3. Both I and my wife carry family of origin issues with our mothers and geographical distance from our mothers is healthier for us.

As a parent and the sole wage earner of income, I can see why you don't want to move in with them or to where they live. I today's economy and with the responsibilities of being a parent, I would not advice someone to move. I hope they are not dangling their will in front of you like my MIL does with my wife and her sister.

I can also see how they don't want to move for that is where their friends are and that would be tough. How bad is their health? Could they qualify for assisted living or extra help at home or they even open to these ideas? Is there a friend whom they trust and you trust that can see the big picture that might help ya'll with this impass?

I'm glad you found this site. Keep coming back. Tell us more of what is going on in more detail and vent all you want for we are here for that too.


I empathize with your situation and that of the other only children who have responded to your inquiry. I, too, am an only child. Relatives live far away and have, for inexplicable reasons, even distanced themselves emotionally from my parents when my mother became ill. In short, the three of us only have each other. I am a single (divorced) professional woman, without children, and have taken a different route than others who have provided you with their comments.

The way I see it is that my parents have done a lot for me over the years, including made sacrifices so I could get the education I desired, and I see this time in their lives as a time during which I can give something back to them. In short, I used to live almost seven-hours' drive from my parents; now I live four-hours' drive away. With the current job search that I've been conducting for the past 1-1/2 years, I am hoping to live within 30 minutes' drive from them. It is, no doubt, a difficult, time-consuming and, yes, costly endeavor (e.g., the house-sale part, the upcoming move), but it was my choice, and it came rather easily once I put things into perspective.

You see, my parents love their house, their community, their friends, and have all that is familiar to them where they live, including their doctors. And, although my parents and I have surely had our share of ups and downs in our relationship, I love my parents and want to do all I can to avoid causing them problems and stresses in addition to all that they're already enduring based on their declining health.

Here's what I did and what I suggest that you do, if you haven't already done so. Look deep and long within your heart and do some serious soul-searching. When I did my soul-searching that led to my decision to move near them, I took a very close look at myself and my life, my relationship with my parents from childhood to present, their relationship with me (albeit from my perspective), what it would mean and entail for me to move to them and what it would mean and entail for them to move to me, and I realized what I needed to do. It wasn't a one-time soul-searching; it took weeks/months of repeated alone time to think things through, sleep in it, wait a few days, and then repeat the process. When I knew that I had thought everything through, I told my parents my decision. My father said that he didn't want me to turn my life upside down for them, but I knew that he was as relieved as my mother.

I am aware each day that the day will come soon enough when I will be all alone in this world. I want to spend more time with them, help them, and have no feelings of guilt and regrets and, so, chose to inconvenience myself for the sake of my parents' comfort in their final years. There will be time later for me to decide where I want to live next and, who knows, perhaps by moving near them, I find the place where even I want to live out the rest of my life.

I wish you -- as well as the other only children who are faced with this dilemna -- all the best with your soul-searching and decision-making. There is no easy answer, that's for sure, and we must all do what is right and best under the difficult circumstances that each of us faces...and then live with our decisions without regrets.
if no one of you want to move, don't do it. your mom need an assisting living facility, home care services or a nursing home and you continue visiting her as you have done until now. nobody can force you to move. just if she get worst you as least maybe can visit her monthly or what ever is convenient for you? keep in contact with her and with her doctor.
TIPPING POINT - here's something you might think about, just prepare, prepare, prepare as much as you can for a time when they will live with you or you will move.

This means 2-years worth of income saved up, credit cards paid off, extra emergency cash, job skills for new area, etc. etc. Power of Attorneys signed, wills done, know where the bank account info is, you're beneficiary, etc. Set up some aides to visit them.

When the time is ready, the decision will work itself out. In essence I had done this, but I wish I had saved more, prepared documents better, etc. My own father was fine with his second wife at his home for 10 years. Then his body started to give out. At 85 he landed up in the hospital. After a 3-6 month recovery, we moved him in with us. It took that significant of an event to make the transition.
If your parents are able, sit down with them and have a conversation about what they need to stay in their home with help from the community and you being a long distance caregiver. See if there is a share the care program or go online to lotsa helping hands to try to schedule assistance they need. The Area Agency on Aging should be able to direct you to the local RSVP for volunteers and for any assistance with senior services Then agree on what circumstances will determine that they can no longer stay in their home and where they wish to be if assisted living or a nursing facility is needed. Have them and their home evaluated for activities of daily living and safety and accessibility. Sometimes adult services through the county can do this. Let them be in control, but guide them through the pros and cons. Write down their wishes. Hopefully this will help keep them at home a little longer and make it easier for you. Good luck.

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