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I’m 52 years old. I’m married for 29 years. I have 4 kids - ages 14-24. My 24 yo recently bought a house and moved out. My 22 yo grad college early and is looking for a job out of state. My 19 yo has been saving up, is a dog groomer and is planning to move out within a year. I have my freshman daughter right now who is my priority. I built a house 15 years ago and put an in-law quarter for my mom and my grandfather. He has passed on. Mom is 72, very healthy, works full time and is very active physically. She is financially independent. When my dad divorced her when I was 14 and brother 6 she clung to me and my brother. She’s never desired to date or remarry or carry on socially. She lives with me and works for my brother. My hubby would like to find a new job and relocate but I’ve got the daughter guilt. “What will Mom do”. I think she may have thought we would all live together forever but at 52/54 my hubby and our teen are ready to leave this large house and property to downsize and shift to a different life stage. We’ve got the land, pool, etc. and loved everything while raising our large family. But now it’s alllll wayyyy too much for us. We do not need all this. Mentally and physically we are ready to minimize our physical “stuff”. I need advice and opinions on the mental and emotional side. Mom is very sensitive, takes everything personal and cries easy/often. We do not need legal or financial advice. Is it right to ask Mom to find her own living space? Leave her alone after living with me and my large family for 15 years?

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Have you thought about your 14 year old daughter and how she may react to such a change? At that age many children have started on the path of becoming an adult. Their friends are the most important thing in their lives. Starting over again for a child at that age is very hard. Is the daughter doing well in school? That may all change if relocated to a new place, city, state. Be prepared, anything could happen.
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What was your intent when you built your house, to build an in-law quarter for your mom?
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Now would be a great time for your mom to move into an apartment in a senior community. It would give her the opportunity to make friends and get involved in a community which will be important for her when she is no longer working.
When my dad passed my mom moved in with us for a year and a half while she waited for her apartment in a senior community to be completed. After she moved in my husband was offered a job on the other side of the country. It was too good to pass up.I was filled with guilt for leaving. I flew home to see my mom every two months. After a year I asked my mom if she'd like to move closer to us. I'd already researched possibilities for her.Everything worked out and she's now in a continuing care community close to us.
I think it was harder on me than my mom. I worried and stressed about telling her, but the whole experience helped make her more independent.
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This may sound off the wall.. but would your brother like to buy your sweet house, and take on Mom? Would his family like to live there? Maybe looking down the road when his ILs may need some help too?
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I agree with Sendhelp, you need to be upfront with your mom that you are planning to downsize so that she can make her own plans, just because something is hard doesn't mean we mustn't do it, life is full of hard choices.
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Gather enough information:
Mom works for your brother. Start a conversation with him about her skill set, can she be employed by another company at her age, or is he "carrying her"? Has she recently declined? Maybe she could move closer to "work".

What are her real expectations, say, after she "retires" from work. Are her social needs now being met by you and your family, and if you move away, she might need senior retirement housing just to be near people and activities? Do you eat together as a family?

Nothing wrong with assisting her to transition to a retired senior community now, nearer work and your brother. Breaching the subject based more on her future needs, rather than your perceived abandonment of her. You could start by looking with her for you and your husband's retirement home.

Or, you could take the open, honest route, and tell her upfront you are making plans, that you will assist her with the transition.

And/or, you could lease out the main house ( as an investment), leaving your Mom in the in-law unit. Renting to a family who would not mind this arrangement. How separate are the spaces?

Hope this was helpful. And BTW, I don't think you are abandoning her, just living your life. How well do you think she will do on her own? Because doing it now, rather than after her retirement may be harder. Maybe Independent Living could work. You just cannot take her with you because she works.

She has many choices. Don't even try to get through this change without tears, from both sides. Did you cry when your children left home? Maybe a little bit?

You will do well, because it appears you have always taken her needs into account, and it will never be just about you. Your Mom will likely survive this change as part of life.
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"Takes everything personal and cries easily/often". Those are symptoms of depression. Is she getting treatment?

You should make you plans and as you say, make your daughter your priority.
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Totally agree with Midkid58. Your mother should leave the nest. She can learn to be self-sufficient and be her own woman.
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It's ABSOLUTELY Ok to tell mom about your change of plans. She sounds like an independent person and maybe she'd like the chance to move to her own place and have her own life. You won't know unless you ask her!
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