A little back story: My mom (now 72) was a very distant mother, would call me stupid, lazy, a brat, told me my father didn't love me and would move back to his home country if he could (he was actually extremely loving to me, we were close until he passed away when I was a teenager.) When I was sick in my late teens with a then undiagnosed autoimmune disorder she told me she didn't want to help me because she had already gone through my dad being sick. She was cold, mean, would tell me how she had a hard life and gave up her happiness to be married and have kids. She was and is a functioning alcoholic, starting to drink in the evening and staying up all hours just smoking and drinking alone after everyone else was in bed.

Very shortly after my dad died, (they were still married at the time) she met a man who moved in with her. This was fine as he was nice and she had a companion. After 25 years of living together he passed away this week. She has never had friends or any community life outside of her husband and then her boyfriend.

She now wants to move near me. My brother and sister and I suggested she look into a ccrc, but she says no way. She wants a condo near me. She said she'll give up her car and I can do her errands and help care for her, that she can't be alone and needs help. I have 2 young children and work full time, my husband works about 60+ hours a week, we are already really strapped for time.

I think if we had had a loving relationship I would be more eager to step up to the plate, but all of this is bringing up all the cruel interactions I had with her as a kid. My brother and sister have flat out said they don't want her near them because she is so toxic. Because I am the "nice" one it makes sense I should care for her.

Should I try to persuade her into a CCRC? Should I get counseling and move past our past and help? I feel very overwhelmed. In addition to drinking, she hasn't been to the Dr. is 42 years (when I was born) smokes 2 packs a day, and my sister (who is in the health field) thinks she has suffered a stroke due to slurred/ lispy speech. She also clearly has broken a wrist and it rehealed incorrectly. We have begged her to go the doctor, tried to set up appointments and bring when we visit, but she refuses. I am worried her health will go further south and she won't accept professional help, and I will need to stop working to care for her.

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The nice one or the weak one?

Who has had what conversations with whom about what exactly? You, your brother and your sister need to huddle, fast.

Your quasi-stepfather is not cold in his grave. This *shouldn't* be an immediate problem for you - presumably there are various admin. points to be sorted out yet, yes?

It actually makes most sense of all for the healthcare-qualified person to assume leadership of family policy towards your mother's care plan. It makes no sense at all for a person with compromised health, a job she likes, a hard-pressed husband and two young children of her own to take it on.

Do not be the wide-eyed innocent dozy little baby antelope David Attenborough urges us all to root for. Run for your life!
Helpful Answer (16)

"No, mom, that won't work for me".

That's the ONLY answer you have to give to her. If she moves (on her own dime, doing the heavy lifting herself) you visit if you feel like you want to.

Adults have a responsibility to plan for their own old age. It it NOT the responsibility of their adult children.
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What Barb said.
It seems pretty obvious she isn't considering a ccrc because she has the idea that you will become her caretaker when she moves closer to you. The sooner you quash that concept the better.
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Lila, this is your mother and you love her. I am keeping that uppermost in my mind so as to be very careful what I say.

So I'll just quote back what you yourself said:

"as her boyfriend was moved into hospice, my Mom had me go with her to buy lots of new furniture so she could sell her house and have it look good."

Suppose that sentence were your first impression of a person you hadn't met before. Her boyfriend of 25 years is dying. She's picking out new furniture. What would you think she was like?

Then there's this:

"the one in health care, also is the only one without children but she is the most adamant about not helping out with this."

Do you think the experienced professional might know something you don't know about the realities of caregiving? Isn't this a bit of a heads-up for you?

I am sorry that your mother is alone. I am sorry that she needs a new life-support system and doesn't know where to find one. But how long do you think it would take her to bleed you dry emotionally? You do not have to be her next host.

She is fortunate to have money. I imagine her as a very elegant, interesting person. She would thrive in a facility with staff to wait on her and other people from her own social stratum for company. FIND HER ONE. Fast as you can. As far away from you as possible.
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In your original post you outlined what it would be like if she moved closer to you and you became her caregiver/gofur. Yet in your post you also seemed to give in. Why? You are an adult with a job, husband, children - you can say No. You should say NO right now. I've had to do this with my INLAWS and my mom who assumed they would move in with us or close to us and we would take care of them.

"Mom, it seems you have some assumptions about what moving near me would entail. I am not able to XXXXX. The most i can do is have dinner with you once a month".

Get it out there and shut it down. NO ONE has the right to take away your life - do not allow them to. See a therapist if you need help navigating setting boundaries with your mom - but set them in concrete.
Helpful Answer (10)

Excellent advice above. Please, please protect your marriage and your children - they absolutely do not deserve any sort of contact with alcoholism or smoking for that matter. Spouse and kids always come first. That's what you promised, remember?
Do not assume that you will "have to" give in. You DO NOT! Make it entirely clear from the get go that you will not be her caretaker. Not, not, not. Do not ask for time to think about it or imply in any way that she might be able to change your mind. You are a stonewall here. Your decision is final. Perhaps once she begins to see you mean "no" she will undertake to help herself. If she has money she has options. So no need to feel you have to rescue her.
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"Because I am the 'nice' one it makes sense I should care for her."

No! Absolutely not! This does not make sense to me at all. You think you should be punished for being nice? What?

"No, mom, that won't work for me".

Nip this in the bud NOW.
Helpful Answer (8)

Keep your distance. If she moves near you, how.....interesting. she is NOT your responsibility. Do not accept becoming her POA for anything. Do not assist her in moving.

Your mother is mentally ill. Caring for a " normal" aging parent who loved and cared for you when you were young is hard, heartbreaking work. Caring for a mentally ill, resistant and alcoholic parent who mistreated you as a child is a job for professionals. Not.your.job.
Helpful Answer (8)

I agree with Golden - send a "for the avoidance of doubt" email to your brother and sister spelling out your absolute opposition to your mother's moving right across the country (bad idea #1) to an area where she knows nobody (BI #2), twice, yet (BI#3), on the flimsy basis that you have time (you don't) and are willing (you aren't) to become her protector, entertainer and advocate (Terrible Idea). And who even thinks she'd take to Los Angeles anyway? Even I'd guess it's culturally a foreign country for someone with your mother's background and I'm not even American.

Don't make any accusations, let us charitably assume that Sister misunderstood. The object of the email is to make sure she can't "misunderstand" a second time.
Helpful Answer (8)

Thank you again for the continued replies. I was waiting for a talk with my brother and sister before I updated.

My siblings and I spoke together on the phone last night, in depth. We all agreed there are two priorities, getting my mom to slow down and not make a decision now, her BF has only just been buried! Slowing down will give all of us to make an informed decision. We all want to get her into a CCRC at this point (or so we said... read on) Also we'd like to convince her to get her legal paperwork in order, (health care proxy, that sort of stuff).

So my sister talks with Mom today and.... does not stress to her she needs to slow the process down, rather she suggests my Mom rents an apartment near me soon so she can look into more permanent housing here in LA. As you would guess my Mom was delighted with this idea and said her goal of selling her place and being in an apartment near me is 3 months.


This makes no sense! Have my Mom move twice??? In a rush? What happened to making a group decision in a slow informed manner? I am seeing red right now.

Vent Over.

But thank you for your sound and unyielding voice, posters. My husband is with you and says a painful conversation of saying "no Mom I can't help you" is better than 10, 20 years of painful days with her in my daily life.

MountainMoose, I think I'm going to use this verbatim : "Mom, I have a husband and children who are my priority. I cannot take care of you."

Pisses me off that I got a crappy childhood. I absolutely can't let her make me be a lesser mom to my kids. Today my 8 year old and I went on an epic mountain bike ride. I would hate to give up moments like that so I can listen to a mean old lady complain while I schlep her around running errands.

Again I really appreciate your honest comments. When I talk with her tomorrow the thoughts you've all shared here will give me some strength and confidence that I have a hard time finding.
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