My story is long, as my mom is young (late 60’s) and I’ve been her caregiver already for at least 5 years (as you sometimes fall into this before you realize you’re in it), but she has had physical and mental/emotional issues for many years prior. Mom has lived with us for many years, and she has never wanted to be alone, even when she was completely physically capable, and had friends of her own, she resented being left at home— I have a husband, and children, and a job, but due a lot to her mental/emotional health issues, going out even for basic simple things (going to work, taking kids to lessons or park) would elicit long sighs, eye rolls, etc. Again, long story (I’ve read a lot about co-dependence, narcissistic personalities, and talked with counselors, it’s helped to know that I’m not crazy :). Over the past decade, but increasing exponentially in the last five years, her physical needs have increased. We’ve crossed the line from, “she’s completely fine, just angry about being home” (while I go to say, school with my kids), to “I don’t think she should be home alone for a long day, I’m very worried about a fall, or a need she can’t meet for herself.” The problem is, she refuses any kind of in-home care in the rare instance that I need to be gone. We’ve talked about it several times, and I just called in a visit from a social worker with the local home health that has been working with her (PT & OT), who tried to help her gently talk through this, and get her to accept in-home care, and again she refused (it was another really lovely counselor in a series of therapists and social workers over the last few years who leave my mom’s hospital room or bedroom, press their hands into mine, and tell me how much I need caregiver support, and to remember that I’m not responsible for the choices she makes, and I so appreciate that... but yet, I have to live with them).

My husband and I arrange everything so that one of us is home virtually all the time, other than a quick errand here or there. But it’s become so hard, so insanely stressful. And here’s my pressing question: this coming weekend, my older son is going to scout camp— he is 12, and it’s his first time having this experience. He’s so excited, but he really wants mom and dad to bring him. We need to leave at 5am, for a 4 hour ride, and then back in one day. Mom is being her typical self about this— out one side of her mouth, she’s saying she wants to come (basically insisting that she will), and hates to be left behind (which she never, ever is), and out the other, that it’s too long and too early for her, and just too much. And it is too long and too early, she will never get up for this, even with my assistance. But, she insists she will— until the last minute, when she inevitably won’t. This is a commitment that I can’t change, or back out of at the last minute, and my son deserves to not have me back out. But my mother refuses to have someone come and stay with her. I can’t plan ahead, I can’t have peace about anything involving planning for any event or even basic simple things. But, at this point, in addition to the years of worrying and tears about this mom of mine, who has really given me a run for my money, am I responsible, or neglectful if she insists on staying home alone, and then has a fall? I’ve never thought this way before, but as she keeps refusing people, and life sometimes needs me to physically leave the house, what do I do?

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I agree with others. Hire a person to be in the house that day while you are gone. Perhaps you can say this person is doing something for the house, but I would be honest and tell her she needs someone around just in case. Even if this person sits and reads all day you will have peace of mind that Mom is not alone. What could she possibly do about it? Just be sure the person you hire has experience with mental disorders and knows how to handle your mom. Have a lovely trip! And then as BarbBrooklyn says, continue going places and your mom will get used to it. Maybe.
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Hire a sitter and get on with your lives. When you return from your son's scout camp, make an appointment for a geriatric consult, which will include a psych evaluation. Your mother is running your lives because you let her; she's like a little dictator. Enabling is disabling, and she has learned helplessness.

You can't change her but you can change your own behavior. Learn to stand up to your mother and set healthy limits. It's time you put your husband's and son's needs ahead of hers. And if that means finding an assisted living community or Golden Girls situation, so be it.

Your mother needs to be around people her own age. Find a senior center for her; she needs something to do with her time that's productive. She's not even 70 years old. Are you prepared to live like this for another 15-20+ years???
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KetchupAdvisory, gosh your Mom is so very young to be going through all of this. But it is what it is.

As we age, some of us hate the thought of being home alone. All the "what ifs" start to jumble in our brain, and we tend to panic. Since your Mom is experiencing age related decline already, then that adds to her fear. It's not like you are going on a tour of the world and will be gone for months, your schedule is just for one day.

Time to purchase medical alert pendent system to help give Mom a sense of calm in case she finds she needs help, no ands, ifs, or buts, the system is coming into your house. And Mom needs to wear the pendent when no one is home. Yes, Mom will become stubborn about this, but it will be either the pendent or a caregiver to be there for the time you are away from the house.

Your Mom raised her child(ren), so she should allow you to raise yours and do what is best for the child, and that is for his parents to take him to Scout Camp.
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You are deserving of your own life and time and your son deserves a mom(at times) who is there just for him. You can not put your mom above everyone else, it's not healthy.
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Why can't you leave your mother alone?

Why are her preferences and poor choices and poor untreated (by her choice) mental health issues allowed to ruin your child's life?

Why do you feel responsible for her?

That being said, if she has physical needs that need tending while you're gone, you hire a sitter. This is not her choice, it's yours. YOU need the peace of mind.

In addition, I would start doing this on a regular basis. If she doesn't like, she can figure how someplace else to live. Don't let her drive the bus.
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NYDaughterInLaw Aug 2019
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