My mom is almost 77, she lives alone. She’s independent but we do help her with big things like mowing the lawn ect. I have helped her with household chores and but not on a regular basis because she is physically able to do her own housework. And I think she should do it. She still drives. She recently had a fall which resulted in a broken arm. No surgery required. She will have physical therapy. She stayed at my house for the first few weeks after the fall and I was miserable. I feel terrible for saying that but she sat around wanting to be waited on and stayed in her pajamas all day just on her phone mostly. It drove me insane. That much time together under the same roof was not good for our relationship. I can see clearly it would not work for her to ever move in we us. I have one sibling who used to live with her for about 5 years. Never paid rent or helped with ANYTHING around the house. We eventually had to evict him due to alcohol and drug abuse. He no longer speaks to me but acts like all is good with my mom. Whenever she needs something she calls me and my husband. She knows my brother will not do anything. She can be very demanding and impatient about us doing things for her. And I often feel like it’s expected and not appreciated. Sometimes she makes hurtful comments like “I don’t want to burden you more than I have to....” or when I caution her about not doing things that aren’t safe she lashes out saying “stop treating me like I don’t know what I’m doing!” I realize she’s struggling with feeling like she’s losing some independence or control. But I would think the negative comments should be directed at my brother and not me considering my husband and I are the only ones who help her. I struggle with not reacting to her comments, it’s hard because she REALLY pushes my buttons. I have started saying no to her sometimes when her wants are not convenient for my husband and I. I’ve tried convincing her to sell her home (it’s too big) and downsize to a small apartment with no less responsibilities and little or no maintenance. She won’t agree. So here we are....her living “independently” but becoming more “dependent “ on us as we go along. No sure where we go from here.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
Yeah . .I'm in that place once again with my mom. She's in the hospital again at this time.

She lives alone, 89, in a large 2 story home. She refuses to downsize. She's extremely miserly (she's got some $$). She won't hire help through an agency - only under the table and only when she sees fit.

No POA, No Trust, no will.

Her hearing is shot. I can't even talk to her on the phone any more.

I've taken a 'stand back' quasi no contact approach since her last dance with her hospital/ rehab stint last year (broken hip, afib, ulcer, incontenance). She's called the police on me, (took her car keys away from her), tells horrible lies about me to others. I had no control. I couldn't even get her to a doctor for an evaluation. I spent two months traveling back and forth, $1500 of my own money for gas, supplies, and retained an elder attorney. My husband was furious at the way she treated me after I had done so much to get her to return to her own home. So we both decided it was best to just let her be and let the next crisis hit.

She had become a shut-in. Lost all her friends. She still manages to drive herself to the store for groceries - up until a few days ago. She never calls me, and rarely picks up the phone if I should call to check on her.

I'm her only child/daughter and family.

For the life of me, I can't understand why some elderly don't plan or put affairs in place before it's too late. I'm my husband dPOA, successor trustee - etc. Directives are in place should he become incapacitated or myself. My husband and I have LTC policies and even a plan to downsize and live in a home that is manageable (currently a rental property we own) . I realize that not all can afford certain things however, that still doesn't excuse for the lack of planning old age.

You don't live forever, and you can't take it with you. Not to decide is to decide.
My mother is afraid of me or anyone to take control. She's a mean ,nar·cis·sistic, delusional and accusatory to anyone that comes in her sphere. Always has been.
Now, I'm just waiting for a call from her doctor at the hospital to see if they will perform an psych evaluation. I won't step foot towards her until I get legal control. I don't want it that way - but it's my only option at this point. She won't love me any less or more whatever I do.

If no evaluation is performed - she's on her own. The state can have her. I don't care how much money she has or doesn't have. I refuse to be taken down by her.
Besides, I have my hands full with my husband - he comes first.

Fun ride. :(

Helpful Answer (17)
Katsmihur Jan 2020
I’m sorry for your hurt and the way Mom is towards you. I’m the only child, too, and understand how you feel.

Mom didn’t take her meds and ended up in the hospital. Hopefully she’s taking them NOW, but I know she’s not testing her blood sugar. Doesn’t want my help or be told ANYTHING . . .or even to suggest something to her. We live 10 minutes away and she lives by herself.

Not a fun ride.
See 1 more reply
I see a couple of issues here 1) the situation when your mother lived with you after her fall and 2) her on-going need to "live independently". For the first situation, having your mother live with you, you now know that that can NEVER, NEVER happen. That is a very good lesson that people don't often learn until it's too late. That lesson is behind you and if she ever brings up the possibility just say "No, that wouldn't work for me." Don't try to explain why it wouldn't work, or bring up any of the problems you had while she was there. Just a simple "No, that won't work." is the final answer.

For her on-going need to live "independently" you need to let her live independently. Set more boundaries. I like the earlier idea of having a list you keep of what you will and won't do. Don't get involved in on-going help like yard work, she can plan and hire people for that. Don't get involved in cleaning, she can do her own or hire someone to clean. Do be available to do a special chore that is within your time constraints and skill set. Her needs are only going to increase with time so you need to keep your list of things you are willing to help with very short. Until she is inconvenienced by her home and "independent living" situation she's not going to see any reason to make a move to an apartment. Recognize that she doesn't see any of her requests of you as problems and won't understand that you don't want to take care of her and her house in addition to your family and your own home. Her perspective is that when she asks you, you do it, so it must be fine. Lovingly firm boundaries are your friend.
Helpful Answer (15)
AlmondJoy72468 Jan 2020
Thank you. What you said makes so much sense.
It is difficult when they haven’t planned. You essentially become the adult and have to make hard decisions for them. They want the impossible, but it’s just not their reality.!
i had to move my Mom from an independent senior apartment, because she would call me every time something broke, and I was expected to call the front desk.
i finally realized she just couldn’t function normally on her own.
even laundry was an issue as her Alzheimer’s had her confused on how every day things work.
she is now in Assisted Living and the facility deals with her day to day needs.
her happiness within this living situation is all up to her. I finally had to release the guilt over putting her in there. It was killing me..
Helpful Answer (14)

Your mother is not 'independent' if she's dependent upon YOU to do all sorts of things for her, let's face it. It's a charade lots of elders love to play; the I'm Independent But Relying On My Children for Everything game, which you're getting quite familiar with yourself. Tell your mother you are only available on thus-and-such a day for thus-and-such hour(s) to do thus-and-such things for her. The rest, I'm afraid, is up to YOU mother. Let me know when you are ready to sell the house and downsize to a more manageable apartment in Independent Living. Find her an IL community with a continuum of care so she can segue from IL into AL when the need arises.

It seems to me that the child that does the most for the parent is one that gets the most hostility and the least credit. The golden child, which is usually the son, no matter HOW much of a good-for-nothing he may be, is the one who's applauded loudly and carried around on chairs.

Wishing you the best of luck!
Helpful Answer (13)
AlmondJoy72468 Jan 2020
Good advice. Thank you
See 1 more reply
If she doesn't have health problems I see no reason for you to be waiting on her hand and foot. Stop. I see too many seniors acting like your Mom. I'ma older than your mom and I'm the one waiting on everyone else.
Helpful Answer (12)

Someone told me once that if I felt resentment, it was a warning: that I was giving too much. Time to re-assess.

You are doing a great job of re-assessing & have already highlighted some big issues lurking
1. the independence charade
2. resistance to change
3. refusal/reluctance to use non-family labour
4. lack of insight or concern how this affects you
5. pressure to be at beck & call

As Barb said, critical thinking skills (executive functioning) are a part of this picture.
Helpful Answer (12)

Parents! Tired of being ignored by your children? ACT NOW. Downsize, organise your own services, pay for your own care before entering your dotage.

(No offence intended - my own are... auggghhhh).
Helpful Answer (11)

Not nearly as "independent" as she thinks she is.

And you do not have to give up YOUR independence to make it look like she is independent.

Maybe push back on her to hire her OWN people to do the work that needs to be done. If she wants to be on her own, she needs to do things for herself. Once she realizes the reality that she can not handle all this on her own she will become more realistic and see that she can not really do this on her own.

She is likely not able to handle this on her own. She needs to come face to face with her aging and that she can't do the things she used to be able to do. It is not your responsibility to do more and more and more while she does less and less and less.

Tell her when she's ready to sell and move into an apartment, you'll be there to help her but that you can't help her stay in a house she can't handle.

Good luck.
Helpful Answer (10)
Katsmihur Jan 2020
And hopefully Mom won’t be ‘taken’ by repair people, as my Mom was. She’s 79, extremely independent and used the yellow pages (she’s not on the computer) to find a garage door installer. They installed it incorrectly and she cannot open the door all the way now.

All this while not asking my husband, a retired carpenter, to either find someone or do the job himself.
AlmondJoy72468, I remember a few years ago when I broke my upper arm, talk about terrible pain. All I could do was just sit around as everything was an ouch, ouch, ouch moment, so I can understand what your Mom was going through. Even sleeping was terrible as I had to prop up pillows and had to lay in one position all night. The pain pills didn't help much.

I couldn't comb my hair.... my eating was like that of a 2 year old..... my handwriting with my other hand was like that of a 4 year old. I couldn't drive for months because I couldn't shift gears or even turn the key to start the engine. It was a mess. Taking a shower was extremely painful. And pain is exhausting, I have no energy.

Then I had physical therapy as the muscles in the arm all tighten up to a point where I could not straighten my arm out. That wasn't a walk in the park, either going 3 x a week and enduring muscle aches.

So please give your Mom a better understanding of what she was going through with that broken arm.

Now, this is one thing grown children need to understand.... when Mom comes to stay with you or you with her, the adult/child dynamics change. Once again you are the child, and Mom is the adult in the household. It's just the way it is.

As for helping your Mom at her house, write out a list of everything, and I mean everything you and your husband do for her. Now, take that list can cross off half the items, then cross off a couple more. Don't show Mom the list. When Mom calls for you to do something that is crossed off that list, just say "sorry, I can't possibly do that". If Mom insists, politely tell her you have a name of a person to hire to help her, such as a lawn mowing service.

If Mom grumbles, tell her you and hubby can't keep up with your own chores at your house, much less another house. I had to start saying "no" to my parents [who were in their 90's] and it wasn't easy. But I had to draw a line as I was in my 70's. But in their eyes, they still saw me as being 35 years old.
Helpful Answer (9)

I'm from the school of thought that you lead your mom to the conclusion that she is not really independent (but in a diplomatic way) and how does she envision this increasing care/help need to unfold as she ages? At 77 she is young enough still for this conversation.

What is the definition of "independent" for any senior? In your first sentence you say she is independent but then go on to list all the ways she is not. This means you yourself need to rethink reality and change how you see your mom in her current and future state.

I agree with the other commenters that your mom is, at best, semi-independent or mostly dependent. How much help / time / money is required to keep her in her own home which she clearly can't maintain on her own in any realistic capacity? Even if she has a full recovery from her broken arm, you know her needs will only increase as she ages and changes. I would sit down with her (and any willing and trustworthy siblings of yours) and just have a calm discussion about reality and expectations:

- for your mom to be safe, kept as healthy as possible, and do what she enjoys in life without family providing the majority of care to make this happen.

- for someone (your mom's assigned durable PoA) to manage her care in her best interests and that of the PoA.

- for family to not have the financial and physical stress to maintain 2 homes (each of their own plus mom's).

- that mom will be realistic and wise about aging and her future.

You can create a list of things that she used to do when she was actually independent. Then put check marks next to those that now require others to do (or pay) for her. If it's about half the list, then mom is semi-independent. If it's more than 50%, well then she is mostly dependent. How does she wish to move forward knowing what the stated expectations are?

Unless your mom has cognitive decline she should be able to participate in this exercise and it will be healthy for her adult children to all be there for this discussion. Your mom should have a say in how things unfold, but only in the context of the others' expectations.
Helpful Answer (8)
AlmondJoy72468 Jan 2020
Thanks I totally agree with your advice. I did have that conversation with her about downsizing her home and pointed out to her that as she ages she will become less independent and not be able to maintain her large home by herself. She said “I’m not ready to do that yet” . End of conversation. She just won’t talk about it. Very stubborn. I have decided that I will say no to her requests sometimes when it’s not a convenient time for me or my husband and she’ll just have to get over it. I don’t mind helping her with tasks that are too much for her to do but at my convenience not just because she thinks it’s got to be done immediately. Thanks for your help
See All Answers
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter