This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
Find Care & Housing
If your parents can still take care of themselves, then you need to take care of yourself. move out, take care of yourself. I made a huge mistake by moving into my parent's house a couple years ago, thinking I was being a good daughter and helping out my parents. Wow was I ever wrong. 6 months was excruciating. He kicked and beat my poor old dog on a daily basis. He told me how much he hated me and my mother and he hoped that we would both die a miserable death. I moved out as fast as I could. He turned 89 years old the other day. I don't interact with him at all unless my mother needs something. Do yourself a favor, save yourself. Move out and save your sanity.

I moved in with my mother at one point and had to move out within about a year. It was the lack of privacy, my mother's attitude that it's her house so everything should be under their control, and her insistence on reverting to a parent/child relationship where she feels free to tell me what to do every minute. I couldn't cook fish or chop onions in the house because she didn't like the smell, I couldn't have anybody over because she didn't want them there, etc. It caused endless conflicts and constant agitation and frustration for me. The one advantage to moving in with a parent over moving them in with you though - it's easier to leave!

I don't agree with the idea of paying a share of the utilities and buying your own food though. I did that but I wouldn't do it again, especially since in my case there were many siblings who were contributing nothing and not helping at all. To be a live-in caregiver again, I'd expect at a minimum room and board, although it's moot in my case since I'll never do it again.

A lot probably depends on the type of people your parents are, and the type of living situation. I had my own room and bathroom, but my mother was camped out in the living room all day long and you had to pass through there to get to the kitchen, the front door or the back door. And I could never pass by without her asking me what I was doing, where I was going, what I was carrying in my hand, why I was going out to the porch, what I was looking for in the closet, etc. Also trying to rope me into doing something for her "while I was up." Drove me crazy. Never again. I try to see her once or twice a week now. Also I moved an hour away so she can't call me constantly to come over change a light bulb or close a window or whatever. (I tried living a few doors down from her for a while and that was a nightmare too). Never again.

nowwhatdoido, too many times a grown child finds themselves enabling their parents to remain in their own home.... thus that grown child has to give up their own lifestyle so that their parents can continue on their own.

That was my mistake. Even though I was under my own roof and my parents were under their own [in their 90's], it became very exhausting. I never knew I could set boundaries so I would say "yes" way too many times. Plus I was employed full-time back then. Seven years later, I crashed and burned from the overwhelming stress.

So start setting boundaries now. Like when my folks stopped driving, I never knew they liked going out of the 2 or 3 times A DAY. Mom wanted to visit all the groceries stores in the area as each one had specials. Let's go to Walmart, and spend 2 hours, mainly me trying to locate them within the store.   So nip that in the bud quickly.

My parents refused to move to senior living where they would have had MORE independence. No, nada, never. Why should they move, they had me.

So moving out is a great idea, but your parents will eventually run you ragged. So plan ahead for that day. And cwillie, above, is right. Our parents tend to forget we are our own successful adults, they still view us as being in our 20's with the same energy level !!

I can certainly relate. I did the same thing a couple of years ago and it can be very challenging. It requires a lot of patience.

A lot depends on your parents' conditions. Dealing with cognitive matters may be more challenging than physical ones. I did have the option of maintaining my own house. So, I can relocate there if and when I need to. I realize it's not practical for some people. I'll share a couple of things that I learned that might help.

Try to compliment your parents on a regular basis. Make sure it's genuine, though. If funds are available, treat them to meals, flowers or just a little card occasionally. And show appreciation for them. Do these things, even if they don't reciprocate.

If they are competent, let them make their own decisions about diet, medication, routine, etc. I pick my battles and let most things alone. I will step in if daddy tries to get on the roof to clean the gutters. lol I'm not kidding.

Volunteer to help them with things, but don't be pushy.

Maintain your own interests and get out of the house overnight, for at least once a month, so they can have their own privacy, if possible.

Pay your share of utility bills and buy your own food.

Prepare good meals for them weekly, if they like that kind of thing.

Make sure to do household chores. They may need more help as they get older and lose mobility.

Keep a sense of humor and don't take yourself too seriously. Don't nag them about things. It's not likely to help.

Volunteer occasionally to help some of their senior friends, if it's feasible and time allows. It makes them proud for their adult child to help out their friends.

If things aren't working out, make an exit strategy and leave on good terms.

I think moving back into a parent's home tends to throw us back into a their house, their rules pattern we outgrew in our teens. Are you even stuck in your childhood bedroom? Without any of your own personal furniture? With nowhere to call your own if you have friends over or just want to do your own thing? The stress of caregiving is hard enough when it is done on our terms, doubly so when you have given up your autonomy. Find your own place and care give at arms length.
And read, read, read on this forum about caregiving contracts, sibling conflicts and POAs, and make note of all the people who have given their everything in caring for a parent and without proper planning are left destitute 10, 15 or 20 years down the road.

I think it is a good idea to have a backup plan. Relocation back closer to the parents is a great first step and often needed. I would think it can take awhile to assimilate into new residence and keep track of what is going on with each parent, as mentioned. Sounds like keeping a guest room always available is advisable. And it can be good to come and go when necessary, in order to keep tabs on parent's health and any special house maintenance that may be required.

Relocation can sometimes mean paying extra to keep some of your items in storage. It can also mean moving your items in the house that require climate-controlled protection. And, it can also just mean being only 10+ miles away from responding rather than 300 miles away to and fro.

Relocation is easier when it is your place you are moving from and then it is your place you are moving to. But, when relocating for family either by your choice or their request, it just depends. Are you the only option for primary caregiving? Is it financially possible after relocation for you to be able to afford your own place as well as help out? Often the question gets posed, are you paying rent, helping out with utilities, costs, for example?

I think it is sound advice to keep your items separate from parents, considering secondary plan, in case you have to move again for some unplanned reason. Consider a future residence your home away from home in the same town. It takes a bit of time and money. I would think you don't have to leave 100% by having your own place. Two places are better than one, which it sounds like that is what you had before, so keep that in mind. Enjoy the experience!

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