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My older sister (she is 76, I am 72, Mom is 108) and I share taking care of Mom in her home. Sister lives in the same town, I am 900 miles away, but come every 3 or so weeks, stay for 8-10 days so Sis gets a break. Been doing this for 5 years. But Mom wants me and my husband, plus married daughter with 2 kids (who needs me to help with child care), to pull up stakes and move to her neighbor hood so she can see us every day, and I can help care for her so my sister does not get worn out. I am unwilling to do that. Her reason: that's what a family does...stick close. For most of her life her family lived relatively near each other and now she expects the same.


Who's right? Am I truly that selfish to want to maintain my life, home and family (which I have built for 45 years)? Or is my obligation to live up to her expectations? We tried getting in a part-time caregiver to help Sister, but that was a "stranger", not family, and thus unacceptable.


My guilt and anger is reaching a breaking point. Because I won't do what Mom wants, she tells me I should not come back because it's too hard on her when I leave each time. But I can't leave the care burden entirely to my sister, who completely understands and supports my position.


Now Mom is (once again) angry that I am leaving, crying, "What will I do if your sister gets sick or hurt?" Well, we have tried to get additional help, but she rejected that option. For her there is only one solution: I should come and live with her.


What do I do? Give in and leave my family? Let my sister deal with it? I feel catatonic, unable to please everyone.

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She expects the burden to be solely on you and your sister? That's not fair.My dad is 95 with dementia and a plethora of complex health conditions.If aides weren't brought in I would have killed myself.Je doesn't want to accept the fact that he needs help.If you can't accept that reality at 95....your mom has lived 108 years.You and your sister deserve to enjoy your remaining good years.She can accept outside help or go into assisted living.I know it sounds harsh,but you need to put your oxygen mask on.The Boomer generation is always criticized but it's the previous generation that seems to be selfish and entitled.
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She won't accept outside help? She is okay with putting the burden solely on you and your sister? She's had 108 years of life.This is not fair to you.Sorry to sound harsh but my dad is 95 with dementia.Aides had to be brought in or I would have killed myself.Yes,he and his wife resent it,and don't want to admit they need help.When are you going to accept it if not at 95?! He has dementia,and dealing with that is beyond exhausting.She can go to assisted living or accept outside help.Are you and your sister supposed to sacrifice the rest of your good years? They criticize the baby boomers generation but IMO our parents are selfish and entitled.atleast mine are.
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You need to put your foot down! Get your mother into a full time care facility. You and your sister need to catch a break.
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Just go ahead and bring someone in to help your sister. Start small and explain that you are going to "try it out". Then extend the tryout deadline. Going through this with my father right now. I ask him to do it for my sake.
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I think what your mother expects from you is simply unreasonable, You sacrifice yourself enough already with your frecuent visits. You are doing a great job caring for her. You should discuss another way of supporting your sister without changing your whole life.
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Have to chime in here after pulling my jaw off the floor. Wow, 108? Good for her! The manipulative ones seem to last the longest, no? ;-)

She has lived a long life and done things her way. Now is YOUR time, to enjoy your own family. She wants you to help preserve her "illusion of independence". It's an illusion because it's not real - she is NOT independent. She needs others (right now, you and your sister) for this whole illusion to work. That is simply not your job or your sister's job. Bless you both for what you have already done for her.

When you are the one that needs help from others, you don't get to call the shots. You are no longer the one in charge. That is a bitter pill for self-centered people to take, so they refuse to do so. Your mother doesn't care what effect her care is having on you and sis. She is only seeing her own needs. Whether that is dementia or just a lifelong self-centered philosophy, doesn't really matter.

I would NOT try to reason with her. She will not, or is incapable, of seeing your point of view. So don't even try. Just state what you are willing to do. That's it. That's all she gets from you. Sis will need to do the same. Then, with those boundaries in place, you can outline to her what her choices are. They should NOT involve you or sis continuing to be her nearly full-time hands-on caregivers. Those days are over, and she has limited options. This isn't cruel, it's just a fact. You and sis have lives to live too, and she will never see your needs.

Many great suggestions here. I thought MargaretMcKen had some good ones about using the answering machine or voicemail and responding on YOUR schedule. If it's emergency and she can't reach either one of you? She should call 911. Groceries, medication can be ordered and delivered. Cleaning service can come and keep her place clean. Senior transportation can take her to doctor visits. These are not your and sis' duties. You can help set it up, but she is responsible if she is truly independent. If this is all too much for her, then she needs some sort of assisted living, whether in her home or a facility.

Also, having your own "injury" (real or fabricated) that prevents this hands on care is good. Let's face it, in your 70s, injuries that affect your physical capability aren't all that unusual, right? Back, hip, knee and heart issues are very common in the 70s. It's time to watch out for your own health, so YOU can be truly independent as long as possible.

And please don't you or sis feel guilty. I can assure you, your mother doesn't feel one ounce of guilt about what she is doing to you. Good luck, and please let us know how things go.
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It sounds to me as if your mom has reached a stage in her dementia when reasoning is no longer possible. There are only her viewpoint and her needs; nothing else need register.

The best you can do right now is what is best for you and your immediate family. What you feel from your mother now is pressing and urgent; I predict that she will not long remember the present moment.

Bear in mind that you are not just upholding your own life. You are also upholding the lives chosen by your husband, daughter and son-in-law. Your mother's current cognitive level is not capable of understanding multiple viewpoints, nor will you be able to convince er of the validity of other's viewpoints.

Please give yourself credit. Not every 72-year-old would travel 900 miles to help her mother and give her sister a break. Your mother may not be able to take in what it means to travel 900 miles out of your way to care for her, but I do. I will bet everyone who participates in this forum can appreciate what you do. Stick with your family; your mother's troubles will straighten out as her dementia progresses.

Please don't feel that you have to please everyone. The people who should come first are the husband you pledged to love for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health. You're doing something wonderful for your daughter when you care for her children. Don't let your mother guilt you into doing something you would ultimately regret.
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Twillie..hire somene to stay with her while you are gone if she’s living alone. Enjoy the holidays with your granddaughter!!
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I spent one night with my 82 YO mother and the next night she took too much insulin. I called EMS cause I couldn’t get her on the phone - they found her unresponsive - blood sugar 27. Now I have her at my house for a few days, she has admitted she was upset because my brother will be working the Christmas holiday and I’m Out of town to be with my granddaughter. Talk about emotional blackmail. I’m going to be enslaved to her. Sorry for what you are going through - build boundaries.
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You'll have to tell your mother that this is just not feasible. You cannot let her run your life, as difficult a thing as that is.
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Your mother is bullying you with propaganda and guilt trips. She should have made some provisions for her own care. If she hasn't, she can go into a nursing home. Sounds like your mother bred you to become her slave. Its perfectly reasonable not wanting to be one.
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You have a right to save yourself and your family. She will be just fine. There are lots of resources out there for this type of situation. Life is short but long when you get pulled into this type of situation. It can be long and painful. I did this and am now in year number 7. My Mom does not have a word to say to me unless I am serving her. Put yourself first. If i had done this she would be happier in an assisted living facility and I would be a lot healthier.
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Sympathy, and some ideas to try. 1) Get an answering machine on the phone, and make a time of day to return all the calls at once. It drops down one of the ways that your mother feels she can control things. 2) Fake an injury, both you and your sister, and chose an injury or ailment that means you simply cannot do what you have been doing. The help then has to be for you, not her, because you can no longer do what she wants. This undercuts ‘guilt’ manipulation., and faking it may actually save you from it becoming real! Use ‘your’ help to get her used to someone else being there. 3) Most elderly people are kept alive by medication – a GP of our acquaintance says that he has few patients over 85 who would survive for long without heart and blood pressure drugs. Many other elderly people lose the wish to eat, as their bodies close down, and (particularly in ‘good’ care) they are kept alive by high protein fluids that are non-negotiable and carefully monitored. We’ve been there with mother-in-law at 97plus, in spite of her repeatedly telling the facility and all the family that she was ready to go. If your mother does not wish to take drugs and food, you are under no moral pressure to force them on her. Ask if she wants them, and accept the answer. At 108, there is no light at the end of the tunnel, and drugs, not God, are prolonging her life.
Know that you love her and are trying to do the best for her, and as well for the other people in your life who need you (including your sister). Once again, my sympathy.
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No, you're not selfish at all. Your mom isn't either, she's just scared. But just because she's scared doesn't mean you caused it or you can fix it. Speak in her language (fear) in that the stress to move your entire family is literally known to be one of the top 10 stresses in the world and could cause you to be the one who wears out too soon, and you wouldn't be any good then to her well-being. It's very common for the elderly to not want strangers in their homes, and there are professionals who know this and work with it, bit by bit working their way into the elder's heart. I'd insist on bringing someone in whether she likes it or not (making darn sure the person is a good one), and letting her know that person will help make you and your sister more available to her for longer. Just expect her to argue and put up a fight until there's the eventual change in her heart, which usually does finally happen if everyone can put up with the initial getting used to.
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You have been giving up your life for 5 years, travelling huge distances and disrupting your own family. Your Mum is sucking the life out of her daughters, who care for her. Elderly people are very manipulative, using ways to get their families to do what they want. Short answer - don't do it. If your mother threatens you verbally, cries, makes you feel guilty, walk away. You and your sister have given her so much by caring for her. Don't allow yourself to feel guilty, that is what your mother wants.
I hope this helps, all the best, Arlene
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I am the sole caregiver for my mom and she has gotten very good at manipulation. In the beginning, I gave in to her calling me on any day and asking me to bring her something. These were unmportant things. I finally had to set scheduled days to visit (3) per week to take care of grocery shopping, laundry, etc. Then she would start calling on the weekend and I had to let her know that unless it was an emergency, the weekend was for me and my husband. He already helps me with her 1 acre property. She finally understood that I wasn’t going to drop everything and come running everytime she thought of something she wanted.

She has fallen in the past and I will always bring her home with me for a couple of days. She never wants to go home. The morning she is to leave, she always says she doesn’t feel well or her leg hurts, yet she was walking and perfectly fine the night before.

Stand your ground about not moving and uprooting your life and family. It already appears you are going above and beyond with visiting as often as you do. Your sister also needs to set boundaries with your mom so she doesn’t get sucked into more demanding requests.

Your mother’s actions are her own.
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Hello. As said previously, you are ultra-generous to go see and help mom with the distance involved. I have two brothers within less than 15 miles, yet I am the one to handle 99.9 percent of all involved with our mother. It's a difficult situation, but I really would not change my entire life with moving, etc. Good luck and may God bless and direct you.

Nancy
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Wow so a 108-year-old woman is living alone and no one seems to have an issue with that all by itself. It is so unsafe on so many levels. Do you or your sister have POA for health for her, if not, get one drafted you can pull up from internet, only requires mom signature notarized or witnessed from each state. I remind my mom I'm aging with her and changes occur every day. So, is it possible to have someone move in with mom as free room and board in exchange for light housekeeping and companionship? Your sister is getting the most because she is everyday, she is older and no word of either of your health situation. You need to stay where you are. The decision is based on your mother live with your sister, continue routine because really at 108 do you really see this being another 5 years? Good luck.
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You and your sister are both seniors. You both deserve something good in YOUR lives too. It appears both of you have been very kind to your mother. Now is YOUR time. Sit down with your sister and draw up some guidelines that you both agree upon. Then sit down with your mother and tell her in no uncertain times, this is YOUR time - she lived her life. She gets a caretaker - end of problem - or goes into a facility. Then stand your ground and DO IT!
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I must say no, you're not selfish for wanting to keep your home life, so would I and actually did.

I had an elderly friend who tried to get me to give up my life and my home. I knew deep down not to give in especially knowing I had a better life than him I'm definitely a better home and also a better bed. I sleep best in my own bed, and I wasn't about to jeopardize my health or end up giving up everything to move in with him. I always maintained my home life and I usually went home after he fell asleep at night though I would sit with him until he was completely asleep and locked the door behind me when I left for home.

You can also firmly stand your ground especially if you know you have a better life than your mom does and especially more so if you happen to have a better home than she does. I personally would not want to give up my home life and everything I have just move in with someone who has a much smaller place and hardly anything. I just wouldn't give up everything and go down to nothing for someone else when I have it so good where I am now
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Sounds like your mom has had 108 years to hone her manipulation skills to the nth degree. It's amazing your mom has lived as long as she has; however, uprooting your life to accommodate unreasonable demands doesn't make sense. She isn't likely to live much longer. Even if you did uproot your entire life for her sake, I'm guessing she still wouldn't be satisfied. Yes, your mom wants "all" and more! Anything you sacrifice will not be enough! I'd suggest you and your sister work out a contingency plan for what remains of your mom's life and read everything you can find on this forum under the search term "boundaries." There are many here struggling with similar issues; you are not alone! Best wishes to you and your family!
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I think you know the answer (of course, it's not selfish!), but what's the solution? I'm impressed that, at 108, Mom is still able to manipulate her daughters so successfully. Here it is, stated harshly (I'm sorry). Mom cannot take care of herself. She, therefore, is reliant on your solution for her care – despite how cognitively intact she sounds, I'm guessing that she could not, on her own, organize and manage care. So, you and your sister should put your heads together and come up with a plan that doesn't involve you spending 30% of your time on these frequent long-distant trips and your sister sacrificing her own health and well-being. Any plan will involve setting boundaries. Right now, Mom is setting them and she has set them in a way that is incredibly inconsiderate (and even unhealthy) to her daughters. That you and your sisters have sustained this arrangement for so long is a testament to your devotion, but frankly, especially at your age, it is taking a toll on your health and happiness. Keep in mind that you are in charge. mom is simply asking (or demanding?) what she wants. It is up to you to set the boundaries.
As for what families should or 'used to' do...what a crock! In many areas, families do SO MUCH MORE than they ever did for each other. Not to mention that the idea of the incredibly cohesive and devoted families of the past is largely a myth.
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I think you must stay true to your own family and their needs. To me it sounds like you are going above and beyond and you must know that. Your mother's demands are unreasonable, but she cannot help how she feels. If your sister gets sick, or hurt, this will be the time to place mom in an assisted or skilled nursing facility. You have got to be strong against her trying to "guilt" you. Her amazing age is something that is affecting her ability to recognize your significant contributions. It sounds as though maybe sister might be influencing mom in her emotional outbursts and that she is feeling taken advantage of.0, but if the family can afford to have a caregiver come into the home for several hours a few days a week, that could help. Nothing about this is easy, I know, as I am a 24/7 caregiver for my husband and sometimes I want to run screaming into the night. But I am grateful for a resource group in our area. Good luck!
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Sister45, Wow Your Mom is amazing. Born in 1908 what a Life Span, and the history Your Mom has Lived through.
Every answer to Your Question is probably what You needed to hear but I see things differently. Your Mom is 108 years old, and the odds are She will not make it to 110 years. How difficult can it be for You to agree with Your Mother on this probably Her last request and come to assist Your Sister Who is 76 years. Suppose Your Sister suffers from severe burn out, or gets a break down, Who Cares for Mom then ? At the End You will have no guilt, and You would feel glad to have honoured Your Mothers Wish.
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I can't see uprooting your life and the lives of your family to care for your mother who will most probably not live very much longer. And she will never get better, as sad as that is. Do what you can for your Mom and take care of yourself and your family. Good luck.
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The reality is that your mom is very old. She isn't going to be around for that much longer. She may already be slowing down and sleeping a lot. She's going to need more help as her body declines, and it's going to get harder for you to be there for her if your not living with her.

But she's made a mistake. The roles are reversed. It's not the married children who typically move in with their parent(s). It's the parent(s) who sell their homes and move in with their married children. Boundaries are set by providing space for your parent(s) in your home and letting the parent(s) know what is their space, what is your space, and what is common space.

Yes, it's hard. It's very hard. Just remember that how you treat your mom is how your children will be expected to treat you.
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My goodness - 108!!! Well God bless her - but of course she wants your attention 24/7. They all do! DO NOT under any circumstances give up your home/friends etc. You are doing more than enough. She is just going to have to accept some additional caretaking. They are all stubborn, want their own way and you have to think of it as they are reverting back to acting like a child. Did you cave to all the desires of your children? No - probably not. FIRM boundaries are needed - if not they will literally play on your guilt, complain, be difficult to get their own way. It's a hard game to play and a delicate balance but if you want to maintain your sanity, the sake of your family, and not be completely drained emotionally, physically and mentally - set boundaries. You are only ONE person. My mom is only 91 but I've had to stand firm. She would literally have me doing everything for her. And my health started to suffer...nope I love myself too much and want to enjoy my later years if possible. Not suffer a heart attack or stroke due to stress! God Bless!!!
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What kind of help for your mother does your sister provide? Does she live with her?
What are your mother's ailments?

Is she very wealthy? Can she easily pay for help? Would she eventually be private-pay if she needed care in a facility?

Are there any other sibs?

Your mother is totally unreasonable. I feel especially bad for your sister...76 years old and the slave of a controlling 108 year-old on a daily basis? (Or is it not that bad?)
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lynina2 suggested what I would have - being 108 we here do not know what mom needs on a daily basis, but if it is mainly cooking and cleaning, yes, hire someone who comes in when one of you is there. Call this person a friend who is helping YOU or some other fib. Then your visit can focus on mom, not working your butts off! If she complains, simply explain that you/sister have health issues and you need the help. If she needs other help, such as personal care, perhaps if you can at least get the other help it reduces your load AND if eventually she accepts this person/people, maybe that can morph into helping her with her personal care.
No way on the move. Mom wants to be closer, tell her SHE needs to move closer to you! Guilt can only work if you let it. Sure, mom is way up there in years and may not have a long time left, but she has no business laying guilt on you. Wanting you there is one thing. Demanding is another. Tune it out and fluff her off, say what others suggested - house is up for sale, cannot move until it sells, looking for a new home, etc.
As for the will, whatever. If that's the way she feels, so be it. The hassle and stress is not worth anything she would leave. Sister also has the bulk of work, so I would be fine letting her get it all. HOWEVER, my former MIL always threatened to take my son off her will because she demanded more visits, etc from him (he was probably 20-something.) I cannot say for sure, but I think it was just a threat. Unless you've actually seen this will, you won't know for sure! You say you have been doing this for 5 years, which means she was 103 when you started - how would she get out to make that change? But again, is cowing to what she wants worth any monetary gain at her death? Probably not!
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I not only think you should not do this, I would love to see you and your sister go on a cruise while mom learns to deal with hired help. Your mother is absolutely in the wrong here.
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