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She is in India, 82 years and sliding into dementia, I think. She's constantly misplacing important documents, cannot remember conversation details etc. She is now in a retirment community and happy there but it's good only if the residents are mentally sharp. So I need to get her here. Mom will be completely dependent on me once she moves in with me - will not go anywhere unless I go with her. She has no hobbies, does not read etc and just sits and watches TV till the next meal is served there. I tried training her to use a computer but she wasn't interested. My life- as I know it now - will be over. Anyway, I know my problem is minor compared to what you all are going thru but I have no place else for a quick vent. Btw, are there places where I can leave mom for 10 days if we go on vacation at all (just curious)? I do plan on buying medical insurance when she gets here. Thank you

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Rosses003: OMG! you went through some incredibly trying times (still are) and I am glad you are finding mental stamina to go through the same grind daily. God bless you - your mom is so, so lucky to have a good kid despite her difficult personality. In our Hindu religion, we believe in karma and my granny will say that you will have a very nice life in your next birth!!

I am not sure if I can uproot my life for mom's happiness. My daughter is in college, son is in high school and a lazy fellow - I have to nag him for SAT prep etc etc, husband has BP etc..anyway, I will keep your advice in mind and I will pray for myself that I make the right decisions.

Many thanks for your reply.
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Oh Wren, the more I read your posts the more I see my mother’s ways in your mom. Very blunt (no filter), wanting to go back to India, very firm about what she wants (no live in aid, not liking being in the US, wanting things fixed and done ASAP)...I’m afraid you’re pretty close to being on my same boat very soon.

All those “ways” get worse with time and with age, so I’m afraid nothing will be easy for you nor for her.

About GC taking longer because of Trump I don’t think is very accurate, I know several people got their residency or citizenship in average time (eight months to a year), but wonder if for the elderly it works differently -may be easier and faster, as I don’t think they do the American History test or English test as a regular younger adult would, but I'm not sure-. Also, if I were you, specially because you mentioned that your mom wanted to go back to India when you’d her with you, I’d definitely try to adjust her situation in India while you start the GC process for her. It’ll be MUCH easier for you to go to India a couple of times while she waits for the GC process to be completed, than to have her in the US and have her feel as a prisoner not being able to go back to India. That can become exactly like my situation, and please believe me Wren, when I say it was a desperate situation for both of us. Don’t set yourself up for what I went through.

I completely feel for you, because obviously I’ve been in your shoes. Just imagine my struggle having to choose between my life as I knew it and what I thought was best for my mom.

I chose her wellbeing, because 1) I love her 2) my mom had been alone in Nicaragua for over 11 years during which time she faced cancer -that in itself is a lot for an elderly person- 3) I’m an only child, with absolutely no help from anybody 4) my mom has a tremendously difficult personality, I’m not exaggerating. I love my mom beyond words can express but the reality is no one else would last here other than me, and 5) I’m not married, therefore the only life sacrificed is mine.

Has it been worth it? Yes. Because my mom isn’t alone anymore, and I take care of her with as much love as I can.
Has it been easy? No. FAR from it. It’s actually the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through. Every day is an incredibly hard challenge, as my mom lives in a dark place, figuratively speaking of course because we do have a beautiful sunny weather almost year round, but she, herself, is constantly in the dark. All is bad according to her, any decision I make is highly criticized and mistakes are pointed out consistently, current and past mistakes, real or made up mistakes (a LOT of actions and thoughts that my mom attributes to me -again, present and past- are imagined by her and believed as the truth), its a terribly unhealthy environment, BUT I’m doing what my heart tells me is right.
My mom would feel literally abandoned if she was ever placed in a nursing home or anything like that; multiple live in aids failed with her, and she’s highly sharp, so other people’s her age normal activities are not even something she’d ever consider. My mom has a heavy load of physical illnesses aside from her deep depression that make it imperative for me to be with her.

You know that every person’s situation is an entire unique universe, so only you can foresee what your situation will be like having her in the US with you or having her in India. But I insist Wren, I encourage  you to give a good and fair try to having her adapt to a live in aid caring for her first...what if she fires them as soon as you turn your back around? Could happen (been there, done that) but to prevent that choose  wisely and carefully who you hire, and make sure the person has a personality that you think your mom would get alone with, and really explain to your mom the importance to give it an honest chance to the live in aid..she might understand.  I’m not saying that you should leave your mom in India forever, not at all, just adapt to the situation slowly.

My heart aches for anyone in a situation similar to mine because it’s unbelievably difficult, and whichever choice you make, there’s not a win-win situation for anyone. I’ll pray for you and hope you get clarity to make the best decision possible, and whatever that decision is, just make sure that it matches what your heart tells you to do.
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Wren, my friend volunteers for a lot of out-of-state work assignments :)) She let's her husband deal with his Mom.
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Freqfyer: Mom will get along ok with my MIL, but mom is very blunt and will point out that I cook horribly, etc whereas MIL (after staying so long with me) is more diplomatic. I will go mad if I have all 3 of them at the same time because I keep thinking 6 pairs of eyes are watching me!! We live in 1800 soft ranch house and sometimes I feel it is so !)#(#)@ crowded with my kids, ILS, mom...

Hope your poor friend is still sane....rofl...
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Wren, how does your Mom get along with your husband's parents? I just worry that having all 3 in the home at the same time may become the battle of the wits. Oh, I hope that isn't the case.

My friend says that when her own Mom visited with her mother-in-law in India, there was a lot of one-upmanship. Her Mom is very easy going, but Mom-in-law is all drama and gossip.
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How do I reply to each one of you individually??

Cwillie: My husband was also saying what you just said, that accepting the aide now will make it much easier later. I will probably need to have a BIG FIGHT with mom now to get her to have an aide.I worry that she will fire the aide the minute I come back here.

BarbBrooklyn: she calls her BIL (my cousin's dad) whenever she needs errands done.e.g, she has no clue how to use ATM machines and will ask her BIL to get money, the hot water not coming into the taps etc (even tho' this the management's responsibility). In India, you have to call the plumber, mechanic 10 times before they come. If I insist that an aide will help my peace of mind, mom gets emotional that I'm making her weak and feeble.

Rosses003: yesterday night I was also thinking about the using the GC as a trial. I've to find out from a lawyer how long does it now take for GC for parents.
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Rosses003: Thank you so much for sharing your story - I am glad that you found a solution that worked for you.Btw, how happy are you now (if I may ask)? Does the relief of mom being comfy in Nicaragua outweigh your sacrifice in giving up America?
Any chance of you moving back to USA later?

A person can apply for GC both here and in India. As you can imagine, it will be easier here since I will do the application. I also worry that mom will lose all the paperwork there.

I know I bring this up late in this conversation: my inlaws are already living with us 6 months of the year. They are citizens, now having started their immigration journey 20 years ago. Most Indian parents- who are living here - seem to be doing fine. They tag along with their son/daughter wherever they go or get the senior center bus for activities. Mom is not interested in the senior centers here.

As I said earlier, my mom also is not thrilled to be here and will keep pestering me when she's going back. I got so fed up that in her last visit, I sent her back after just one month. So I totally understand how miserable both and your mom were in those 5 months.

You are right that I have to professionalize the care-giving arrangements there and not hope for favors from relatives.

The big problem now will be: once I mail the GC application, mom cannot travel to India on a whim. She has to stay back here with me till she gets the GC. Im hearing that GC nowadays take a long time due to Trump.

Thank you again.
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Wren,

Just want to add that although your mom refuses the idea of a live in aid, this is your golden opportunity to try it out, because you’ve a perfect excuse. Tell her that there’s no other choice since you have to wait for the green card, and the place she is in is not working quite well. Ask her to please help you trying the help while you wait!

Then like suggested before leave her well situated, probably stay some time while the aid is already there so you can tell her what and how to do things. Also so  your mom is left somewhat comfortable with the situation.

Use the green card as a door opener not only to get her into the US but to try the llive in help option. If it works relatively well you could then have your mom stay there most of the year and bring her to be with you for extended periods of time when it’s not winter in the US (3, 4 months at the time). That’s the other trial I think you should do now, not when she’s 90. Now that she can actually travel and help you understand what’s really going to be the adaptation process for her.

That’s my suggestion, TRIAL of both situations before a permanent decision!
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If part of the issue is that she gets " scared and nervous", please have her seen by a geriatric psychiatrist. Often, antidepressants can worked wonders in keeping a person with dementia calm. Can you find out when it is she calls the cousins? If it's a particular time of day, maybe you can arrange for a caregiver to come for a few hours, starting before that time.

She hates the idea. Sometimes, there are things we must put in place for our parents for our own peace of mind. For some saying " mom, I need you to do his for ME" works.
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I've often noticed that refusing to make sensible relatively small changes often results in the need to make huge ones..... perhaps your mother would love to uproot her life and move closer to you but I suspect that someone who won't even consider live in help wouldn't be thrilled at the prospect. Have you asked your mother about this plan? What if you made an aide a condition of her remaining at her own home?
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I actually have a semi-unrelated question, do you know if an elderly person has to go to the US and do the whole test (English and history, etc)? How does the green card process work for an elderly that’s out of the US?

Now about your dilemma. GardenArtist had a great point about talking to Indian families that have brought loved ones to live with them. They probably have LOTS of information about local resources, processes to follow, ideas and also pros and cons.

The convenience of bringing your mom to the US or not, depends entirely on her. I had my mom with me at my home in USA for 5 months the year before I decided to leave my life behind in the US and move in with her in Nicaragua where she lives. Those 5 months were literally unbearable. I worked long days, so she was by herself most of the day. Her depression and mental and emotional health went south deeply and quickly in ways that I thought I was going crazy. I’d to miss meetings, work from home many days out of the blue just because my mom was extremely stressed and depressed on that particular day, and on top I couldn’t travel, when in my line of work (Audit) traveling for work is almost a must. My job suffered but that was really the least of the issues. I was going nuts! And she was extremely unhappy. She got so paranoid that she told me one day she was going to call my aunt in Miami (going on 93 yo) so she could go rescue her from me! Even though I used to encourage her to get up and get dressed to go out with me, she’d stay in bed in her room, all curtains closed and in the dark..then later she told me I kept her in thatnroom thats like a dark box! 
In a nutshell, it was pure living hell.

Your moms situation might not be anything like mine, but keep in mind her ability to reason is already altered, and being out of her element and completely dependent upon you, might alter her even more, so you could find yourself facing my same predicament, and that’s is something I don’t wish for my worst enemy! 
Let the experience of others help you decide.

Now, I completely understand that you really are running out of relatives truly willing to help in India (same here), yet the idea of finding an in home caregiver sounds much easier in India than in the US. The US offers a wide pallet of resources, but nothing is easy, specially for a non US citizen with no retirement funds (hope your mom’s financial situation is stable enough to not also depend on you completely financially).

What I’d suggest in your case is to first try the live-in help idea in India. Go there in person and try your best to leave her well situated. Use the money you’d thought to use in health care in the US to pay for the live in aid, AND one of your relatives that could be in charge of keeping an eye on the live-in aid and be the contact should anything come up with your mom. It’s not the same to hope someone does you a favor, than to pay them for their assistance, even if relatives. I’ve a feeling someone would be glad to do it with some remuneration.

If you try that and doesn’t work, then move her to the US, but don’t stop the residency process! Keep it going as you try that out.

In other words, given that you’ll have to,wait a while for,the residency anyway, use the time to try that approach. The difference between the live-in aid and the place she is in right now is that all the attention and focus would be solely on her, and she’d be in her own home or a familiar home.

Also use your resources to go visit her as much as you can and call her frequently.

I KNOW it’s not ideal to be away from your mom, specially when their health is declining, but ironically, that might be the best for them, at least for,the time being.

Assess very carefully the situation, and again talk to the members of your local Indian community, that I think is a great first step as there are many of them that have been in your same shoes I’m sure!

God bless and best of luck in your journey!
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I am in NJ in the midst of a huge Indian community. So mom can eat her Indian food, will see relatives who speak the language and she does speak English, so language is not a barrier. But for cultural activities/trips to the store, I have to stay with her or she will get nervous.

I have brought up the topic of a relative/aide living with her RIGHT now but mom hated the idea and said no way.

Both she and I don't want her to live in America permanently but then I'd feel so guilty about not having her with me ( when all the other elderly relatives in my family are with their kids.)


There are 2 other women in mom's community who live with hired help but they are mentally sharp. They are widows with no kids and were happy to live with aides, unlike my mom.

Yes, the financial costs terrify me .....I have some savings but I now they will be vanish the minute mom needs serious care etc.


You all have given me lots to think about.....I will keep you posted.

Maybe I can postpone green card till she's 90???? Then bring her here once and for all??
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Wren,
I know the opinions of extended family are more important in some cultures than in others. Do you have any siblings in India that she could live with? If not, could you pay a relative to live with her? I'm sure it would be much cheaper than an assisted living facility here (when you can no longer handle her care).
Does she 'want' to come to the U.S.?
Do you have the ability to quit a job?
Do you have small children who also need your care?

She sounds like she's in the first stages now. Does she have a diagnosis of dementia from a doctor?

I think we are all of the same thought-ANY move for a dementia victim makes the dementia worse. And it does not "reverse" once they get established in the new location. It just gets worse.
Have you thought about what you'll do when her dementia becomes too much to handle? A nursing home or memory care? Private pay runs about $5000./mo. +.

Does she speak English?

Private health insurance for an 82 year old can run over $1500./mo.

For now, are you near an Indian community where she could socialize with others of her culture? If you took her and picked her up, would she stay inside during the activities?

You said it, your life, as you know it, WILL be over, in more ways than one. With the exception of babies, caregivers are not programmed to be with their charges 24/7/365. It's not healthy. A 10 day vacation is not the cure. You WILL crash and burn and your health and the family you live with can/will suffer. You must plan for frequent breaks away from her (other family, board and care facility, etc.) or you will suffer. You will begin to resent her for tying you down.

I would sure try to find a solution in India first. Her coming here should be the last plan.

Good luck in whatever you decide.
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Wren, you’ve been given some very smart advice about the financial implications and in dealing with your still in the old country family. 

I’d suggest you give longer thought to cultural issues. If you do not live in a community with a large diverse existing Indian population, I’d totally forget ever moving her from India to live with you in the US. And it’s not just for finding restaurants, or ingredients or toiletries at the store but for her ability to participate in daily activities in both the the English & Indian speaking world around her.

I have no idea of this is an ancedote or an accurate, but for my mom and for both my grandmothers as they aged (maternals lived into late 90’s, paternal to backside of 80’s), they all reverted to primarily speaking their first language which was Spanish. Now they all lived in TX so never an issue. But to live in an environment where you cannot relate to what others are speaking would be awful. & for those with dementia who tend to get paranoid, not understanding could be very threatening. 

If your mom’s English is limited to start with and if reverting to your first language is what happens as we age........ will there be a lot of folks around who can & will communicate with her & easily where you live? Is the signage in your community done routinely in languages other than English that your mom can read if need be? 

And also for how “diversity” goes, if your community is all Hindu medical professionals and your Parsi, can your mom adjust nicely? 
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The reason for hiring an aide (actually, two or three) now rather than later is that it gives your mother a chance to develop a good working relationship with them while they can still get to know her real personality - well before she becomes just a confused old lady they have to treat like some kind of reckless infant.

You inveigle them into her daily life by finding them things to do; be it laundry, light housekeeping, some kind of "personal shopper" role, driving her to lectures or the library or whatever activities she enjoys. Then as time goes on they can shift through the gears, so to speak.
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I would think that the costs of having Mom here would exceed the costs of hiring a companion where she is, and that staying where she is with sufficient help would be preferable for her.

Have you checked into getting a green card? If it isn't likely to happen, you might as well know it before you agonize over the right thing to do.
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When, as I said earlier, if you let the extended family's approval guide these decisions, you'll go mad.

What happens to elderly widows who have no children in India? Do they go to live with relatives? Are there agencies who hire out trustworthy caregivers/companions?
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But isn't the extended family complaining about mom calling them now? An aide might be able to cut down those kinds of calls with regular support for mom. If mom is basically OK now, why are you thinking of moving her to the US?
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Also, mom refuses to get a companion/aide now since she's still mostly capable. Should I wait for some horrible incident and then hire an aide? The extended family also says why hire an aide now......
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My grandpa went through the phase of soiling himself, wandering out of the house, constantly asking for food and I was a caregiver for him, so I know how bad it can get.

Mom's current retirement home is not good if she loses her mind. Mom is the oldest resident there and most of the 90 year olds (who are still sharp) have gone to live with their kids.

Even if I reach out to cultural agencies, mom will not go anywhere alone and she will insist I go with her to cultural programs etc and be her companion.

Anyway, you all are the best sounding boards - I feel I can calmly think thru all this now.
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If you are committed to bringing her here, please, please, reach out to local Indian communities and network with them to find out what other resources might be available. There might even be a caregiving agency or AL with a focus on diversified cultural backgrounds.

And contact the state, county, Jewish and Catholic agencies for similar information. Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could find other Indian families caring for their elders?

My sister lived in a diversified community, which I later learned had strong ethnic groups and activities. My community used to be similarly diversified, primarily with WWII aged residents who escaped Europe either during or after WWII.

I often wondered which cultural agencies reached out to help them, and/or current Visa residents acclimate and adjust to life here, although I suspect most of them were bi if not multi-lingual. Still, the families would need some acclimation, and I'm thinking that the corporations that are bringing over employees on work Visas made plans to integrate their families as well.

Maybe an Indian embassy could offer suggestions.
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Wren, I noticed you wrote that your Mom is already in a retirement community, which is great. But you said she would be happier around people who are more sharp in their thinking. If Mom is already forgetting conversations, etc. then in a few months she could be on the same level as many of the residents already in the community.

I agree with other writers above, please keep Mom in her retirement community in India. She already knows her way around, she has already made friends, she will get her Indian food, trips to the temple/church, etc.

Now if you think your Mom needs more care, there are plenty of people there who are willing to work being a companion to her, if the retirement community will allow.

A good friend of mine has her mother-in-law here from India, who is in her 80's, Mom-in-law is bored silly. Both my friend and her husband work, so Mom is left at home to watch her Indian shows, which they were able to set up on cable. Food is an issue, as Mom wants her Indian food, not American food.  And my friend feels like she is a "servant" to Mom.  Eventually down the road, the Mom may need to move to an Assisted Living facility, but she would feel so out of place.
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It is becoing increasingly difficult to obtain a green card for a relative to bring them to the US so look into this first.
health insurance will be extremely expensive and are you prepared for the $4-12KPper month for skilled nursing home care? i know you would never put your own mother in a NH but have you considered what you will do when she starts screming obscenities at passers by, painting the walls with poop, hiding her dirty depends, refusing to bath, wandering off or opening the car door and getting out at a busy intersection to name but a few. if as you suspect she does have dementia it is guarantied to get worse and possibly very fast in new surroundings.
In my opinion the best thing to do is hire her help in her own community which is comfortable and familiar.
Elders have a nasty habit of forgetting things when they are stressed. When it is just the occasional lost keys or glasses not usually abig deal but if they constantly repeat the same mistakes then it is tie to seek help.
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I expect that the costs associated with bringing her to you, paying for insurance and paying for caregivers in the USA would be considerable, wouldn't it be wiser to spend that money to pay for care - perhaps even a live in companion - where she now lives?
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Wren, honestly the best thing to do would be to authorise your cousins to look for local resources, then. Can't blame them for being both concerned about your mother and/but at the same time increasingly irritated by the interruptions, maybe sometimes for quite trivial reasons; but that doesn't mean that you've only got the two options of either leave it be, or ship her bag and baggage to the States.

Cost of living and of health care, familiarity of environment, her own established preferences - there are an awful lot of good reasons NOT to put her through this huge upheaval.

And siblings who won't talk, don't count and can't complain afterwards. Not your fault!
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Thank you all for understanding.

BarbBrooklyn, deep in my heart, I know the GC is not the best solution. But nobody will care for mom if she falls etc etc. Mom's family is just me and my sibling (S). S is overseas and will not talk about long-term plans for mom Already in my earlier trips, my cousins gave me an earful that mom keeps calling them for small problems and they are getting fed up.

I have to spend the money to buy medical insurance.

Anyway, a million thanks for letting me vent.
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I can't imagine trying to acclimate a person with dementia to as radical a cultural shift as this would be.

Your guilt producing relatives sound like a bunch of interfering aunties who love to stir the pot. Please base this decision on what will be best for your mom, not what quiets the chatter.

Be assured if you bring her here, Aunties will say that you've ripped her from the bosom of her family.
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I would think your mom would be better staying in India where she knows the language and culture than moving her to a totally new place, particularly if she has dementia. Could you look into hiring her a caregiver you trust who stays with her there or helps her there? I think the added stress for both of you will undo the benefit of having her closer to you in the US.
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Buying her medical insurance? Have you looked into that?
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Oh crumbs, Wren. Just quickly read your previous thread. Are you *sure* this is the right move?

I know your relatives are all chipping in their two cents' worth; but don't for Heaven's sake give their background noise more weight than you can help.

Thinking about how your mother always scoots off back to India like a scalded cat when she's given the choice, I just wonder if you're setting yourself up to fail.

My great aunt did finally move from London to Massachusetts to be near her only daughter. Not quite as huge a cultural shift - though my great aunt was actually German and very left-wing, so it was "interesting" enough! - and the logistics of the move itself, the medical insurance, the care facilities did all eventually get sorted out. But would my cousin do it again, if they had the time over? Not sure.

I rather suspect - and I feel guilty because there was nothing stopping me getting involved except not wanting to meddle and not realising that they needed more support - that my great aunt might have done better to be frail and miserable in London than frail, miserable and a fish out of water in Mass.
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