I recently realized my dream of moving to the south from Wisconsin.
I had no choice but to bring my 88 year old mother with me. She would have been completely alone otherwise. We lived in different homes before the move.
We now live together, due to the fact that I stupidly thought it would work out just fine. But living with her is the most soul-sucking, spirit crushing thing I've ever experienced.
All she does is complain about EVERYTHING. I get home from a long day at work to find the furnace on 84 degrees, all the windows shut tight (and she gets mad if I attempt to let in any fresh air) and nothing but demands and negativity coming out of her mouth. Every light in the place is constantly burning also. My life has to now revolve around her every want and need, and God help me if I disagree with her about anything.
She is legally blind and can barely walk. She really should be in either a nursing home or at least an assisted living facility.
How do I go about making that happen with the least drama possible?
She can be a nasty, mean person when presented with any idea that she disagrees with. I simply cannot do this much longer. I'm almost afraid I'd rather be dead that living like this.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Ah, the black hole of negativity - and you're getting slowly, slowly sucked through it. No fun at all, I sympathise.

I do not for a second disagree with those who are firmly for getting her placed in long term care. Not at all. But in case you can't quite face that - and I fear the reason that made you bring her with you might also stop you placing her - I thought I might give you the perspective of someone who's been through that hole and is now about to pop out on the other side.

It's - unbelievably - over six years since I sold my house and moved in with my mother, before we sold her house and moved with my partner (now my ex-partner, n.b.) to where we are now. We too had a complete change of location, although of course geographical distances in the UK barely count in American eyes. I too expected to carry on my life and provide my mother with company, security and care; and I wildly underestimated how powerful the destructive emotional drag of her unhappiness and frailty would be.

Why didn't I call the whole deal off? I wish I had a straightforward answer to that question. Sheer stubbornness possibly; perhaps a little suspicion, too, that if I had placed her in residential care I'd still have had all the emotional stress but with the added anxieties and inconveniences of not being in control of her care or its quality. Not to mention guilt, which I don't mention for myself because I have the great good fortune not to be very sensitive to it. Whatever - I dug my heels in, nearly went nuts, certainly got extremely depressed, have been close to murdering or at least physically attacking siblings, have lost my long-term relationship and am looking at starting again, broke and single, at the age of 51. Not clever, really.

So, what about the "however." My mother is now, almost certainly, actively dying. She is here at home. She is calm, not in pain, seems to be suffering no distress. I feel I will have brought her in safely for a soft landing. And that is, sort of, the one main goal I set out to achieve.

Without this forum, our excellent local health and care services, good friends, kind neighbours - and, to be fair, a painful but worthwhile semi-rapprochement with a sister I've never been close to - I do not believe I would be typing this now: it is possible to get through it. It is in some ways worth it. If you decide for yourself that you cannot accept alternative arrangements, be comforted - and shout loudly for help from every conceivable source.

This is not a recommendation that you keep going, it's a consolation just in case you feel you have to.
Helpful Answer (13)

EMac, when I hear the different suggestions for your situation, what I'm wondering is what sounds right to you? I think usually the answer to these questions is inside ourselves and we just have to listen for it. My therapist is always trying to suggest "scripts" that I could use in talking to my mother (and my siblings), but I can't work from a script. I have to figure out what approach feels honest for me and true to the relationships that exist between us.

Like I said to my Mom once as we were driving down a country road near her home: "Mom, there's a nice assisted living place right down the road here. Sis and I went to look at it and they gave us a tour." My mother didn't say "I'm not going." She said "Well, I'm not ready for that yet." At least the idea is out in the open, then.

For your immediate circumstances, you need to figure out ways to make yourself less miserable while you work out a longer term plan. First you have to take control of the thermostat. Keep the heat on in one room and put all Mom's stuff (tv, etc.) in there. You can tell her (if you want) that since you are the one who's up and doing the cooking, cleaning, etc., the house temp in the rest of the house has to work for you. Don't let her bully you into backing down.

If you're not seeing a therapist, now would be a good time to start. You need support and a sounding board and help in staying sane while all this is working out. Good luck and trust me, a lot of us on here know exactly how you feel. Vent away.
Helpful Answer (8)

Well if she's in a facility, she'll be around other people and you won't be bearing the brunt of her unhappiness alone. I'd visit some different places, decide which one is best for her and then place her. She won't be happy, but it sounds like she's not happy now and will never be happy because of her personality. You can still visit her on a regular basis and also have a life of your own in your new location.

My mom is 95 and she and my dad moved 160 miles north to me near me. My mom lives alone in independent living and at her age, she's happy to be by herself most of the time. So she has no one but me around who knows her. It's too bad, but her friends and siblings are all either dead or in the nursing home where she used to live. So she wouldn't be any better off staying where she was. It's sad, but it's just the reality of the situation.

So find a place for your mom and work with their professionals to make the transition as easy as possible for both of you. Please keep us posted on how things go.
Helpful Answer (7)

Answer: crush your spirit? Not a moment longer! Don't allow it.
Helpful Answer (7)

We tend to forget that when people get older their habits can change due to health issues. Bet back in Wisconsin your Mom had kept her home quite warm and most of the lights on, but you may not have noticed. My parents [in their 90's] keep the heat up to 85 to 87 as Mom always cold, its a side affect of having a thyroid condition for her.

For a few seconds put yourself in your Mom's shoes, she is 88, she can no longer do the things she use to do because of age decline, she is legally blind, thus she had lost much of her independence. She can't hop into a car and drive out to the mall to go shopping. Forget movies, or sightseeing. You probably would be grumpy, too.

Talk to your Mom, ask her to think about living in a place where she is around people of her own age group, where she could make new best friends, dine every meal in a common dining room, and join in activities.... if Mom had gone to college, make it sound like dorm living once again or make it sound like a resort. If she shows a spark of interest, set up appointments for the both of you to enjoy a free lunch at an independent or assisted living facility. Who knows, maybe Mom might really like the place... or she could totally shut down to the thought. You don't know until you ask.
Helpful Answer (6)

Emac, do not let her crush your emotional well being any longer.

Has she always been this way? If so, she's the one being cruel. Even if she has not been this way before, it is not cruel to place her in a nursing home or in assisted living. Enough is enough and it is now time for change.

I like pamstegma's idea. There is nothing wrong or evil about protecting oneself and one's health.
Helpful Answer (6)

Emac, I just read your dilemma and can absolutely relate to a lot of it - the negativity, the heat and the aversion to fresh air...intolerable! But most of all I can relate to the soul crushing. I guess the only perspective I have to add is that you might have to accept that there will inevitably be some drama. But it's up to you to change the dynamic, because your mother never will. You're the agent of change here. Don't let your anticipation of her negative reaction prevent you from doing what you know is best for both of you. This is advice I'm still reminding myself of, by the way, as I'm still in the midst of a bad living situation myself. You're a smart woman, and ultimately what you're recommending is not only good for you, but good for your mother as well. Believe that, and convey it to your mother. You can make it happen.
Helpful Answer (6)

I agree, it's time to let her play with people her own age. Call:
Milwaukee County Department on Aging in Milwaukee, WI
1220 W Vliet Street Suite 302
Milwaukee, WI 53205
They will help you
Helpful Answer (5)

"Mom, I sure thought we'd enjoy living together, because we love each other. But I can see that it just isn't working out. I do love you, but I think we'd get along a lot better if we lived separately, and if you had some company while I work all day. I'm going to start looking at places for retired folks and when I find some that seem good I'll take you to see them."

I'm afraid that unless you are her guardian you cannot legally insist on where she lives. But you do have a legal right to determine who lives with you. If you have to, you can resort to evicting her ... or is she on the lease with you?

Tell us a little more about your living arrangements and among us we'll probably be able to give you practical advice.

Pam's advice on who to contact is good -- simply apply it to your new state. Let us know if you need help finding information for your new location.

The objective is clear -- the two of you need to live apart.
Helpful Answer (4)

JohnJoe, I find I like you and your answer very very much...and yet I feel a need to caution that some of other poor mothers did not respond to kindness and love, at least not from us. Some blame us for their problems because they think they have to be perfect and bad things should not be happening to them, unless it is someone's fault.

I hope and pray your caregiving journey has stayed as sweet as it was when you posted!!
Helpful Answer (4)

See All Answers
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter