How to find a balance while caregiving.

Follow
Share

My brother rented my Mom's home from her because she could not afford the mortgage when my father passed away several years ago. So she was staying with another family member. Recently he moved out, so me and my fiance decided to take over the mortgage and the bills and move her back home where she belongs. My mom and I were excited. We have always been close. It has barely been two weeks and we are butting heads. She is 70yrs old and of sound mind although we (her children) can see the normal aging process. A little slower and a lot more stubborn. From the beginning she stated that she wants to come and go as she pleases, do not worry about her for dinner and she is not cooking every day for us. No problem there. I told her I don't want her to feel obligated to do anything that myself and my fiance would take care of everything. Her and my dad busted their humps their whole lives and all she has is her social security check. I understand she feels like she has to contribute to be a part of the family which is fine, but now we are butting heads. Like two alpha dogs trying to be in control. She is involved with a seniors group and goes out with her friends which is awesome I want her to do things that make her happy. Her and my dad didn't have a lot a money to go on trips and I want her to instead of buying 10 cans of soup just because it was on sale to save it and go on a trip. I love her dearly but I need to know how to set up boundries with her without anyones feelings getting hurt. My fiance has been hiding up in our room because it bothers him to hear how she talks to me like I am still a 10 year old little girl. I need help figuring out a balance. How can we coexist in a house when as we all know when you have a certain way of doing things or a routine it is hard to be open minded about change. I am struggling making sure she is content and that he is content. I am not this spoiled daughter. I am her caregiver and I will always be there for her. I just need some helpful advice on how to make this work. To find a balance emotionally and physically. How to set up expectations of one another without stepping on toes. It pains me to see how frail she is getting. In my heart she is always this young vibrant strong independent woman. I don't want her to feel like the child and I don't want her treating me like one either. Any suggestions please! I know this will work out eventually but could use some sound advice getting there. Thank you

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
Find Care & Housing
6

Comments

Show:
Everyone is right the three of you need to sit down and talk openly about where your roles stand within the house hold and all be willing to compromise.

As for shopping why don't you jointly do that and if you want her to go on trips /holidays why don't you suggest that you open a saving account and she can put ina small regular amount tilll she has enough money to pay for those which enables her to keep her sense of independance or suggest that she gives you the money to pay into that account .

As a long term precaution I would talk about a independant power of attorney for when or if you would fell more comfortable for them to deal with your mothers finacial issues.

Hope this has helped.
sexykitten
(0)
Report

Sounds like she is still going laundry -- is that correct. That might be a good place to start. Your room is off limits to her. She doesn't go in when you are not there, and she knocks before entering when you are there. You will place your hamper out in the hall on Wednesday and Saturday mornings (or whenever) or thank you, Mom, but we'll do our own laundry. Politely and firmly work on these small boundaries, and maybe other bigger boundaries will fall into place more easily. "Mom I know you are so used to taking care of others you probably don't even think about this, and I know I'll always be a kid to you, but now that I'm an adult I need my privacy. It is nice that you want to include our things when you are doing laundry, but I feel like a little kid when you just walk into my room. How about this? Could we handle laundry this way ..."

I think that there may be some hurt feelings on both sides and you work at establishing boundaries, but it shouldn't be anything you can't get over and work out.

You are very wise to be addressing this now. The posts that start out "I've been living with my mother for four years and she treats me like a child ..." are the really challenging ones!
(3)
Report

I should add about her health sorry I didn't think about it until after I read your post. She is a diabetic with heart disease, chronic back pain that makes walking 10ft exhausting, asthma and recently had foot surgery. So she does rely on me to run up and down the stairs for her and get things for her too. I am not complaining about that at all...I would do anything for her.
(1)
Report

That is where we are running into problems. She is still young and does not want the responsibility of doing things which I am fine with because I can see physically how exhausting it is to her. To give more detail she is the oldest of 13 and grew up having to buy everything in bulk and never throw anything away because you never know when you will need it. Which I agree to some extent but there are medications and food that have expired and it is a battle to keep common areas straightened up. I know she is still independent but I am nearly 40 years old and walking into mine and my fiance's room without knocking and digging in our laundry basket looking to start a load of laundry is not ok. I don't want her to be my housekeeper. I would never intentionally hurt her feelings so my problem lies with boundries how do we set them without hurting one another. We do anything for each other but just like when I was a child I NEVER would walk in their room without knocking. Even now her bedroom is her bedroom and without her permission I will not disrespect her and go in there. No problem letting her do certain things but there needs to be a mutual respect for one anothers privacy and dignity. I don't mean to sound petty. Thank you for your advice always appreciated!
(1)
Report

First of all you say, " I am not this spoiled daughter. I am her caregiver." Your profile doesn't give a lot of detail. Why does this 70 year old woman need a caregiver? I understand why she needs financial help. But is she handicapped? Impaired? Can she dress herself, feed herself, handle her toileting alone? If you weren't there, would you be calling social services to get her a caregiver?

Unless she really needs a caregiver, back off on that role or on that description of your role. You may be at this another quarter of a century and over that time she may indeed need help. But don't insist on giving her more help than she needs or thinking of yourself of as her caregiver, until/unless that really happens.

Next, I think you are right to establish appropriate roles. You are not her ten-year-old daughter and she should not treat you that way. Just as she wants to set boundaries about not cooking for you every day and you not "taking care of" her, you need to set boundaries and establish adult-to-adult relations. You are neither her caregiver nor her under-age daughter. You are roommates. Establishing boundaries will take time and effort, but you aren't going to survive living together 25 weeks, let alone 25 years, if you can't successfully do this.

You said you would take care of everything. Why? Why don't you share at least some of the tasks of running a household? If bending down is hard for her, you'll do the dusting and your sweetie will do the vacuuming and she can launder and fold the towels and sheets. You'll change the bedding. Etc. If she is only 70 and in good health, why would you treat her as if she's helpless?

And you are you to tell her how many cans of soup to buy?

After you've re-established good healthy adult-to-adult relations, then is soon enough to talk to her about taking trips, etc. First things first, though. Don't let her treat you like a child. Don't treat her like a doddering helpless old lady.

You are making the mortgage payments. Does that mean you are buying the house? Are you considering this rent money, and the house is still hers? In the event that her health does some day fail her and she needs more assistance than you can provide, and she needs to apply for Medicaid, it will be good to have the home ownership and other financial matters on solid ground. No rush -- solve the boundary issues first -- but at some point a consultation with an attorney specializing in Elder Law might be a good idea.
(2)
Report

If she is the stubborn, independent woman you are describing, it could be that she doesn't want you to do everything for her. 70 years old is still pretty young, and if she's still getting out and about with her friends, she's probably still capable of doing a lot of things around the house. Don't make her feel less than able by not letting her do them. She needs some control, so give it to her. Yes, you will do things differently, but the key to two strong willed women living together is compromise and love. Learn to work together. Find out which things she would like to do, and let her do them.
(1)
Report

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
Related
Questions