Quick vent about getting a green card for mom...


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.

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.

Wren, my friend volunteers for a lot of out-of-state work assignments :)) She let's her husband deal with his Mom.

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...

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.

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.

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.


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!

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.

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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