89 years old. Lives alone. Multiple serious hospitalizations this past year.
Went to in patient rehab 2x after hospitalization then sent home. Uses rollator at home. Requires help but will deny it. After her firing a housekeeper many years ago I took over the roll. (Mistake)
During the ensuing years her condition deteriorated..chf.. mild stroke.. 2 serious surgeries. I am getting older. (65). I have been asking for the last year for help with cleaning her house. Sister said no..doesn't clean her own house. After last hospitalization..Mom and sister agreed to get help at home. Mom always refused any home health care..threw them out of house. Now she is doing the same with this housekeeper except she is saying she cant afford it. She can. She is trying to guilt me into taking on the cleaning again. I am saying no..too much for me now. Today she told me "then why are you here. I dont need you here."
Needless to say I am hurt..furious..I want to just cut her out of my life. She has a nasty demeanor to her personality and was very difficult during her hospital stays. So yes the life is being sucked out of me and I am feeling it in my own health.
I know I need to step back and tend to myself. But it's easier said than done. Just venting I guess. No one really understands here at home but I knew after reading everyone's story I am not alone. She refuses AL..cant afford it...I told her yes she can. Sell the house!
Thanks anyway.

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
Oh Mary, This is a lot to handle. I understand the stress. I don’t have any answers, but at one point...I had to tell my parent that I was “under the care of a doctor”... because I was on the brink of collapse and an emotional meltdown. Even after making that statement... my parent just looked at me (thinking back, the blank stare was probably more dementia related), but I had to make it clear that I was not “well” enough to keep up with constant demands. I did end up in the ER due to exhaustion and high stress. A sweet ER doctor that totally understood my situation told me to use that phrase...”under a doctor’s care” anytime. Please know this is a great place to vent and share. I’m praying for God’s wisdom, insight, peace and restoration to flood you. Warmly, Sunny

I'd follow up to say that I'm seeing a lot of advice here that suggests passive-aggression. It's true that you must set boundaries for yourself; but don't do it to punish your Mom or your sister. This time and your current challenges won't last forever; but the way you handle it could affect your other relationships, for better or worse, in the future; and not handling it could affect your well-being today and into the future. Good luck.

I'm so sorry. I would highly recommend getting a at a few sessions for yourself with a family therapist. Make a list of the problems you're having; what you want to change and your Mom's objections. A therapist can maybe help you with how to address her objections; like giving her a series of choices when she voices objections or complains about something; how to defend yourself against her manipulations. You're also going to need to enlist your sister in forcing your Mom to accept the changes that must happen. Your sister is obviously setting her boundaries; but I have a feeling that your Mom may be playing you off against each other and that's giving your Mom leverage over you. Hopefully, you can figure out a way to get your sibling/siblings to agree to a game plan and stick to it. When your Mom figures out her manipulations aren't working, she can start facing the choices you give her.

Ubsueg, I was wondering...

My Mum appears very stubborn/set in her ways/never moving etc. Before her stroke she had empathy & reasoning, discussed downsizing in the future, said she never wanted to be a burden. But since her stroke she is bossy, self-centred, has little understanding of others point of view. Just cannot see or plan into the future anymore. Empathy, reasoning & judgement all diminished.

Stroke & other vascular issues like lack of O2 to the brain can have effect on judgement.

Just something to consider?

If you have a chat, keep having chats, are getting nowhere you may already be in the club. Welcome! To the Awaiting a Crises Club. When the next crises hits, be ready to speak up to professionals to get real change.

Until then, hire another cleaner. Don't do anything for her that she can arrange (& pay for) herself. Check in for social visits & by phone for peace of mind. Tell her if she chooses a nice AL WITH you for 'one day' it will help you. Otherwise you will choose yourself - or a hospital social worker will.

"Multiple serious hospitalizations this past year".

Big sad sigh. I am sorry. This is life. Old age happens. Will happen to us all (well if lucky enough to live a long life).

Mother is no longer fully independent. You can see it - she either can't or won't.

I get where you are I think. I certainly offer my support.


Cut her off for a couple weeks!!

Let your sibling deal with her and see how well that goes.

I know it's easier said than done, however, as I have been learning to deal with my narcissistic mother, I have learned that taking a step back is very beneficial!

Take care of yourself!


You sound completely miserable and I don’t blame you.

Suddenly develop a severe allergy to dust! Sneeze your fool head off due to the dust.

You can’t possibly clean anymore!

Sorry for the sarcastic response. I really do have allergies and asthma.

Seriously, you are just going to be straight with her by saying that you are no longer available to care for her.

Start looking at assisted living facilities. Find a good real estate agent for an appraisal on the home.

What choice will your mom have after you have given notice?

Good luck.

I believe the exposure gradually to a person who would clean. Pick a person whom youd know she would like. For example a cleaning male. Males have a better "click" with narcissists with dementia. It's a different energy. It might work.
Let them come over 5 min first time. Then a couple days later about 20 mins and so forth, she will grow to like the person and you will get a much needed help.
Ggood luck.
You are doing your Mom a favor by letting her have her comforts at the end. It matters.

Reading your story hits close to home--

My MIL needs to be placed in a living environment that is safer for her. She refuses, and as she is able to (somehow!) pass the dementia test--she is allowed to live alone with SIL doing all the CG. SIL is 64 this year, has her own problems and doesn't need MIL sucking the very life out of her.

Last month, DH and his mother had a huge fight. She told him to go to H3ll and a lot of other really hurtful, damaging things. (I don't care if you are 7 or pushing 70, cutting words from a hateful parent HURT and leave scars.) She told DH to never, even darken her door again. He had been doing as much as he could to support her living at home, but now, he cannot as he's not allowed inside her home.

So he is respecting that, but it leaves 100% of the burden on SIL. She's had to take early retirement and care for her mom everyday.

DH and his older brother (who has also been kicked to the curb) want to move their mom to an ALF--she has enough money to live in the best of the best places for 3 years, and being a rough 90, she wouldn't last that long.

Idea was presented to SIL (whom it would benefit most!!) and she said "No, I can do this". So the idea was tabled and MIL just creeps along, deteriorating every day.

OF COURSE she doesn't want to move. She has SIL dancing to her every demand and is in her own home with her things around her. Never a social person, the lockdown has not affected her at all.

This is such a common problem. I feel for everyone in our scenario except for MIL who is making life a mess for everybody. She cannot or will not see that she is literally killing her daughter.

We are really just waiting for the next 'fall'....which is almost inevitably going to happen and then DH will invoke his POA and move his mother to a care center.

Sadly, if she'd CHOOSE this on her own, she would likely have a better chance of acclimating. As it is, she is going to be forced into it.

Why would she want to go into care? You are caring for her. By your own choice you are continuing to enable her to remain on her own.
You are correct. She can sell her home. Or she can go on medicaid and accept placement, and the government will recover the costs they are able on sale of her home after her death.
As long as you continue to show up this will not change.
Sit her down. Explain her age. Explain her needs. Explain her own age. Tell her you are UNWILLING now to continue to provide her care. Give her phone numbers to access care. Tell her she has a month until you go on vacation to set up safe care for herself. Or two months. Or whatever time frame you choose.
You say she guilted you. Others cannot guilt us. It is up to us whether we consider ourselves felons who do malice aforethought and take great joy in the resulting pain to others or whether we consider ourselves grieving adults who just got wholloped by our own limitations.

OMG! I so needed to read these comments. Your mum (sorry, mom) is as manipulative as my mum. I was searching for what to do if mum is in complete denial about her dementia. Thank you everyone, for saying it's okay to detach with love.

You are not your mother’s servant. It sounds as though she is a bully, and hopes to bully you into doing whatever she wants from you. It is hard work and unhealthy for you, helping someone who is like this and who is abusive to you in return. Echoing what others have said here, give yourself a break from this and stay away for a while. If she calls, tell her you’re not available at the moment. You don’t have to give a reason why. It’s very hard to break a lifetime’s habit of trying to help and appease people like this, but you really don’t need to feel guilty. Put yourself first for a change, you are worth it!

I agree with the others. Unless she changes in some ways your efforts are fruitless and not worth it givin her negativity and total lack of appreciation for what you have done.
You have tried seriously to help her and she has shown no appreciation so you should not continue unless there is some give to all she is taking.

What would happen if you weren’t there or had to quarantine for two weeks? Take a break. She wants her own way and you seem to have to jump to see that she gets it. Please just stop. You will never make her happy.

Hi Mary. Sorry to hear that your mother is being so difficult. Put your foot down and tell her, at 65 years old, I simply am NOT cleaning your house anymore, period. It's too much for me, I can't do it. If she responds in a nasty way, that she doesn't need you there, then leave and say goodbye. Wait for HER to call YOU to say she's sorry or ask you for a favor. THEN decide what you are and are not able to do for her.

I was cleaning the shower floor out myself the other day (I'm 63) and had trouble getting back up into a standing position again. I wound up cutting my ankle pretty badly on the chrome of the shower door and thought to myself, WHAT ARE YOU CRAZY FOR DOING THIS??? Hire someone.

Since your mother can afford to hire a cleaning service, that's what she needs to DO. Your cleaning days are behind you now!

Lay down some firm boundaries with your mother and then let HER make her decisions accordingly. And pay the consequences as well. We are all responsible for our own decisions, good and bad. And lots of folks will push their children as far as they possibly can until they hear the word No.

No is a complete sentence. Practice saying it until it rolls off your lips easily! :)
Good luck!

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
Start a Discussion
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter