Mom is 91, very limited mobility with walker and has been living with Sis and I ( 6 months in each state) for over 10 years. She moved herself in gradually after Dad went into the nursing home because she hated being alone. Instead of creating her own new life, she co-opted ours and our friends. Our kids are now grown, my BIL passed in Dec, and Sis is not wanting to care for Mom any longer. Sis has her own health issues. Mom is spoiled, emotionally demanding and expects everyone else to take care of her and the major issues. The world has revolved around her and still does in her mind. I'm 54 and am expected to spend all my free time with Mom. She's bored and unhappy and we have decided that she'd do best in AL. We're scouting facilities now and Sis is flying out next week so we can tell her. I expect anger, nastiness like never seen, but then she may just lose it and go sullen. All she'll hear is that we don't want her. What we want is for her to have a life, and for us to be able to have a life as well. We're exhausted and she's still using the guilt trips and manipulation on us she's always used to get her way. We're resentful that once again, she's refused to be responsible for her life and we have to be the bad guys. Any advice you all can give would be so appreciated.
This is between you, your sister, and your mother. Family members have no idea what really happens behind closed doors. And you do not need to explain yourself to family members just because they have an (uninformed) opinion about your mother's living arrangements.
We toured places and found only one that had the highest priority resources my inlaws needed: meals, safety features, and activities. My FIL can't cook so healthy meals were a top priority. Every room as well as next to the toilet and in the shower is a big red HELP button in the event of an emergency. And like your mom, my inlaws were become clingy, wanting us to fill their social calendar. I love my inlaws but I don't want to spend all my free time with them. They needed to spend time with people their own age.
I would advise you and your sister to tour places separately at first so that each of you can form your own opinions. Talk to residents. To narrow down your choices, go back for another tour together with your sister. You will see things you didn't the first time. You will see things from your sister's perspective, and she from yours.
Once you have finalists, go over AL brochures/videos with your mother together with your sister. Expect to have the assisted living conversation many times, framing it as this is what is necessary for her health and safety *and* for the peace of mind of you and your sister.
You are letting your mother manipulate/guilt you. She's not doing it to you.
By the time you take your mom on a tour of any assisted living, you will be armed with lots of information so that you can help your mom make an informed choice.
And assure your mom that you will help her get ready to move. And ask family members to help on moving day and help her settle into her new life.
Finally, the way my inlaws talked about it in the first weeks after moving into indy living you would think we'd put them in the Hunger Games. The transition was stressful and unpleasant but it needed to be done because my inlaws were deteriorating rapidly. Now they are safe and have dignity. Feel free to message me if you want more details. I wish you lots of luck!
Ringo1, hang in there - we're on an unfamiliar path here and it's an emotionally charged one at that. But we're good children to our parents, we've taken care of them well. But we are the only mother/father our kids have and they need us to take care of ourselves, to spend time with them. We think and people make us think we must spend the precious time with our parents as they are aging. But there are no guarantees on how long any of our loved ones will be with us. When I take a Saturday with my daughter, I no longer feel any guilt about leaving Mom at home. Why? Because two years ago, my daughter was diagnosed with cancer (she's clean and healthy now, thank God) and I was smacked in the face with the realization that I could lose my daughter just as easily as Mom, and I needed to take time with her.
You are right about everything; I'm trying hard to restore my father to what he once was. I should know we are not in control; I learned it when my mother died of colon cancer; when my brother was killed in an accident.
We are not in control. But somewhere I got this idea that I could make my father's last years ' happy years'. As if I could shield him from growing old; or dealing with everyday life. The 'golden years' myth. But, I can't. And he isn't willing to do much for himself. And, truthfully, he wasn't really a really happy person 20 years ago.
So I am going to enjoy my son while I still have him here and try not to look too far into the future with my father. I will have another chat with his caregiver; I do appreciate SOME of her advice but she and I have vastly different ideas about what constitutes a good life and how I should be spending my time. I do resent the fact that she steered him away from AL; but I will revisit that with my father another time. We seem to be walking on eggshells around each other. Perhaps he feels that I am trying to push him out. There are days when I would love to put this responsibility onto someone else; but there is no one else. AND there are days when I would like to see some appreciation from him; I bought the house and gave him the master bedroom; while my son and I are upstairs in the 'kids' room. He just acts like it is all his due.
I hope that your husband is doing well; he certainly has a smart and insightful caregiver.
I look forward to reading your story. Thank you for your insight.
Yes, the shock of moving may have triggered a decline that was about to happen anyway. We like to think that we are in control -- that if we only do this or only do that or had consulted a specialist earlier or had hired a personal trainer or hadn't pushed so hard for more physical activity, etc. etc. etc. then the decline wouldn't happen. Here is the truth that is very, very hard to accept (believe me, I know!): we are not in control. As hard as we try, as much as we love our parents or our spouses, as many books as we read, and professionals and fellow-caregivers we consult, we are still not in control. What a hard truth! But accepting that truth freed up my energies to use on smaller things. I can't control how fast my husband's mobility erodes, but I can see to it that he can golf once a week as long as he is able. I can't control how much his cognitition fluctuates day to day, but I can adjust my interactions with him as we play board games.
You cannot do what you'd really like to do: restore your father to how he functioned in his prime. You cannot do what you think you should do: Support yourself and your son, have a satisfying and nurturing relationship with your son, and spend lots of quality, stitumlating time with your father.
Don't dwell on what you cannot do. Don't let others imply or state that you should be able to do it all. Don't feel guilty for being human. Concentrate on what you can do. Look into alternate living arrangements for your father. Check into benefits he may be entitled to. Make the best decisions you can, in love, and don't beat yourself up with the "what ifs".
Now that such a large portion of the population is living many years past their retirement age, more and more have special caregiving needs. Few people who are not independently wealthy can count on being able to leave a significant estate to their heirs. Many people can't even count on paying for their own care. If your father can do that, he is way ahead of the game. This is a new world we live in -- not the one your father expected and prepared for.
Another professional you might want to consult is an elder law attorney, to see what the realities are regarding protecting some of your father's assets, since that is what he wants.
Hang in there! As you fully know, infants don't come with user manuals so we know how to deal with them as they grow up. Now it turns out that we should have been wishing for operator manuals for dealing with our parents, too! Do the best you can, in love, and take one decision at a time!
But, you are right, I would feel badly if he declined further in the AL. I just have this picture in my mind of how happy he seemed that day - interacting with the woman who took us around. Happy Hour! New Pals! Trips to Lunch and Dinner!
So I picture him there being happy. But I know he could go there and refuse to participate in anything or become confused and be very unhappy.
I hate watching him waste away and his mind turning to swiss cheese. It seems like it all happened when he moved here. I feel so guilty but my job moved here and so did my son and I.
Thank you for telling me his decline could continue even in AL - that takes away some of my guilt - him just staying in his room with his door shut. I picture him in there, alone, day after day with the TV . . but I don't know what to do.
I am checking on possible VA Benefits and am going alone, tomorrow, to a different facility that has more levels of care.
His caregiver thinks I spend too much time with my son and that he needs to hurry up and get his drivers license so that I don't have to run him everywhere. I'm starting to resent the fact that my father and his caretaker feel I should spend LESS time with my son.
I'm rambling. I thank you for listening. I feel like I am falling apart a little bit. Trying to work and figure all this out and keep both of them happy and fed.
What did you discover about your father's finances? Can he afford the AL? Could he afford it and also continue to have his home health aid visit him at the AL several hours a week?
He may be declining cognitively because he has fewer and fewer social interactions. Or he may want fewer social interactions because he is declining cognitively. Cause and effect is pretty hard to determine sometimes.
You can give your dad some of your time. You can do that whether he is in your home or an AL. Whatever you do you are going to have second thoughts. If he stays home and declines you'll wonder if he would have done better if he had more stimulation in the AL. If he goes to the AL and declines, you'll wish you had kept him home. All you can do is use your best judgment and encourage him to do what you think is best for him. Don't beat yourself up about it afterwards.
Does the AL you are looking at also have more intensive care options? If he needs skilled nursing in the future, could he stay within that facility? Do they have memory care units? That might be a factor in the decision. Now it may be optional whether he stays home or moves to AL. In the future the options might be much narrower.
We found a lovely AL home that is within walking distance of OUR home and he was ready to move in! He loved the rooms, the dining room, the excursions to lunch and dinner, happy hour, etc. He was ready to write them a check. I suggested we look at his finances and make sure this was doable for him.
I went away for the week-end to a swim meet; came back - and he is no longer interested in evening going to lunch at the AL place. He's not ready. I do think his caregiver probably has not encouraged this because she is not a fan of AL.
How do I know what is best? He is well-cared for at home - but he has no life. I love my Dad - but I can't be his whole life. My primary responsibility is to my son and to earn a living and I can give my Dad some of my time - but not all.
Could AL slow down his mental decline? Or would the change confuse him further? He's actually fairly 'withit' for his age and is a retired Col. in the army so he doesn't like people telling him what to do!
It took me a long time to figure out what was best for Mom. At first, I thought I could do it all - and I did for a long while. In the meantime, Mom became more isolated and felt her independence slipping away. The one thing I could not provide her was her own life with friends and activities of her own. That is the biggest hazzard about having a parent live in your home. The second is losing your life in the process. Neither party is happy.
I highly recommend introducing this move in increments. Start with a few conversations where you say, "Mom we can no longer provide all the things that you need at home and it isn't fair to either of us." Do not let the conversation deteriorate into an argument or pity party - both are manipulative. Then gather brochures and info. (most places have DVDs too) and give them to her to look at in her own time. Do not force the issue. Next, ask her which ones seem the most inviting to her. If she says, "none." Then say you found a few that you loved and you are going to visit them first (which is a good idea. you can speak freely with the director. I highly recommend bringing a list of things that your mother will need and ask if they offer those services. If they say yes, have them put it in writing. Also, ask what is included in the basic rent and which things are extra.) Then make an appt. for your Mom to visit. It will be up to her to make the final choice. The best thing is to ask the ALF to call you when there is an opening. That way it is their timeline...not yours.
Basically, you always want to include your parent in this decision. It is the respectful thing to do.
Sorry, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do.
Other people can't really send you on a guilt trip. They can buy the tickets, but you can refuse to travel. :)
Give her a choice. Fair Meadow Manor is a newer and very cheery place. Sunshine Acres is not as spiffy looking but they seem to have very good activities and I think you'd like their social director. Let's set up appointments for you to look at them both and make a decision. (Notice the choice isn't between your home and an AL. It is between AL 1 and AL 2)
If she "refuses" to go, I don't suppose you can make her. But you can enforce the decision that she can't continue to live with either of her daughters. So what does she have in mind?
My cousins don't know how lucky they were that their mom, my dear aunt, one day waked the several blocks from her home to the local Care Center, said it was about time she signed up, registered, and then asked her kids to help her move! Holy cow, wouldn't that be a treat? She recently died at age 100 and she deserved every good day she had!