My mom is 93, lives independently with me calling during the day and stopping over there almost every pm after work. I prepare meals and she eats. To be honest, she does quite well for 93.... Here's my dilemma... Our whole family is going on a cruise vacaiton and I can barely be excited because I am afraid she'll flip out, swear she's sick or something to make me feel bad. This is the first time ALL of us and my close friends (who back me up) will be gone. I ask some relatives out of town, can't help...I don't blame them, everyone has a life. My gf's mom said she would come over (in her 70s but still drives and does everything)... which is great. My mom knows her but forgets unless she sees folks on a regular. FYI, the trip is August 19 for a week. I was happy with that until my gf mentioned I should start looking for a group home. What? She's not that bad off... It just made me so sad... I hate to think of her in a place like that, or maybe she'll like it. She's not trusting of folks coming in her apt other than my immediate family. UGH....I have tried 2x to get like a visiting angel type or senior care giver to come in. We invited them over to chat, seemed nice, then she says, oh no, they could steal something, I don't have a good feeling about them. Oh Lord. What to do? I'm trying to set her up to go to a senior medical day care at least 2x a week (she LOVES to get out, ride around, etc...) but its so costly... and she's no millionare but she has some $$ in the bank but doesnt want to spend it. Anyone know of anyway to get some exemptions or discounts? What if I got a doctor's prescription? Not sure where to turn.... Its just me. I look forward to reading this column every day just to know I'm not by myself. Thanx God. It means the world to me... Thanx to all of you - your words encourage me... I'm all she's got, I've got to be here for her. She deserves that.... Any advice? Not even sure what I'm asking, just wanted to say something. God bless all the caregivers. :)

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Andrea, Jeangibbs has such insight. Let yourself have fun. I wish I was going with you on the cruise. Sounds fun. Make sure it is fun and tell us all about it when you get back but in the mean time keep us informed on how this goes.

You're all she's got, and she is very lucky to have you! You sound like a very loving, caring daughter.

With luck and continued excellent care, Mom may have another 5 to 10 years ahead of her. You cannot put your life on hold that long! Taking a vacation is perfectly appropriate, and in fact is in keeping with all the expert advice for caregiver respite.

If necessary, there are places you can take her for respite care. They are typically fairly expensive, but you say she has some savings, so that might work. (And, by the way, why is she reluctant to spend her money on her care? If she's saving it for her old age, maybe you ought to give her a wakeup call. This is it, Mom!) She might be "bad enough off" for a group home yet, but it could be a suitable solution for a week or two.

It sounds to me, though, like you have an ideal solution available: your gf's mom can come over. Excellent! Have her over a few times while you are there, to let Mom get reaquainted with her. Do not present this as a choice. It is not a "see if you'd like to have her come Mom" situation. It is a "this is what is going to happen in August" situation. Mom might not like it and she may even get mad. I'm sure you've made your mom mad a time or two in the past and you all survived. This too shall pass.

You are not really getting your money's worth out of that expensive cruise if you aren't spending a few weeks all excited about it. You have a challenge. You are solving it. Don't let it get in the way of the fun anticipation of your trip.

And I suggest you defer any consideration of longer-term issues until you get back. September is soon enough to think about group homes or other options.

Where are you going?

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