My mum (now aged 91 years) lives in my house. I converted my teaching studio into a Wing 12 years ago, and she has her own front door and separate living and sleeping areas......but a shared inside staircase.

According to her - we live completely separately, in fact (in her words) she 'never sees me'.

In reality, I go in to her every morning before work. She checks what time I come home every evening, 'pops' in to my lounge, my kitchen, my bedroom looking for me most evenings, I often cook enough for her when I am cooking my son's meals etc etc.

She has no overheads or added expenses as she is living under my roof.

My sister lives 20 minutes away and phones my mother every night, but 'hasn't got time' to come and see her during the week. She does come every weekend for an hour or so, and sometimes takes her out.

My brother lives abroad and has no interraction with me, but phones my mother about once a week.

Neither sibling has ever checked on how I'm doing or offered to take mum away, or have her to stay with them.......I am not strictly a 'Carer' but I do so many things for my mum on a daily basis.

Don't get me wrong - this situation was not forced on me 12 years ago, but to be honest, I never thought that having my mother living in my house would cause me to have to make so many alterations and sacrifices in my life, and I never considered that my siblings would literally pull right back and leave me to it. In fact - neither of them contact me any more - all news etc is passed between us by my mother. I have tried to re-open the communication between us all, to no avail.

My son is now about to go to Australia to live, and unlikely to return very often, and my partner and I would like to travel more and spend more time together (we currently do not live together because of my mother) and to that end I have decided that I would like to move house, and to ask my sister to take on the responsibility of my mother.

It sounds quite callous as I write it all down, but my mother is a domineering, quietly controlling woman who is an expert in emotional blackmail.

Am I selfish to want to change my living situation without including my mother?

My partner and I are on the wrong side of 50, and I worry that our quality time together is being jeopardized.

I would be grateful for some outsider views.

Thanks in advance.

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Move your partner in with you or vice versa so that the two of you can start living under the same roof. It sounds like you want to sell your house. You need to figure out how long that will take and where you want to live. Enlist a realtor.

Since your mother has had a zero cost of living for 12 years, then she must have lots of money saved to pay for a pensioner flat in your area. You also need to prepare financially for your own golden years.

Do not ask your sister to take your mother. I think you would be setting yourself up for disappointment. Rather, once you and you partner make a decision about where you are going, and you have toured some pensioner communities for your mother, I would reach out to your brother and sister. The power dynamic is completely different when you tell them something like:
"Dearest sibs - partner and I are moving to Timbuktu in December. I have found several pensioner flat options for mother around Plymouth. Personally I like XYZ the best for her. Hope you both are well and I await your thoughts."

If they give you thoughts that are helpful, great! If they ignore your efforts, that's their problem. If your sister offers to take your mother, great! If she doesn't, you have a pensioner flat plan in place.
Helpful Answer (27)

You dont live with your life partner because of your mom?

And you think that YOU are selfish?

You are an adult who is deserving of your own life and life choices. Others will chime in with how to sort the details, but no dear, YOU are not the selfish one in this picture.
Helpful Answer (26)

You are not selfish to want to change your living situation and live separately from your mother.

You would be completely unreasonable to spring this on her - let alone on your sister - suddenly and without full discussion.

Don't get me wrong: you need *nobody* else's permission to live as you please. But twelve years in to this current arrangement, you want to go about the separation in an orderly way, building consensus as you go. Don't bulldoze it. With firm but careful handling and patience you should be able to avoid too much damage to relationships.

I just had a quick look and there seems to be quite a fair selection of retirement communities and sheltered housing developments in your area. The idea would be to do your initial research online, shortlist (say) three that you think are a good match for your mother's background and preferences, go and have a look at them, and see what you think.

You then need to email your siblings together and tell them that the time for proper care planning has come. You have some ideas, and you'd welcome any they might like to contribute too, and naturally mother will take the leading part in making decisions for *herself* - but the status quo will not be an option indefinitely because there are changes ahead.

Your siblings may not be much use, but I doubt if they have the first idea of how your sense of unfairness and frustration has been building up. "No news good news" tends to be the rule for those who aren't in the front line, and up until now they have been allowed to keep their heads down. Do not wish your mother on your sister, just like that, without first finding out how they might feel about the idea.

Again, it is absolutely not unreasonable, unkind, or un-anything for you to make the decision that you have done your bit and it is time for your mother's support to change hands; and it IS your decision to make. But there are ways and ways of going about things.

You have done much better than I did - you have spotted the caring "snowball" before it has engulfed you completely. Good catch!
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shb1964 Jul 2019
As per usual, Countrymouse nailed it (you really should be the new Dear Abby!). As a sibling who didn't really realize all the issues my sister was dealing with because, quite frankly, I didn't want to see it; it was being handled well and I was happy getting on with my life (the "it" being my mother). But it reached a boiling point in Oct 2016 when Mom broke a hip and "mild cognitive impairment" turned into a fairly advanced stage of Alzheimer's. Since then, both my brother and I are doing much more and Mom is now in a memory care facility. And we realized how late to the party we were, but can do nothing about years past now.

For all sorts of reasons - or "excuses" - siblings may not realize the full extent of a situation until they experience it up to their elbows. Then they may get it, as I and my brother (who has serious in-law family issues of his own, and who lives a few hours away) did. I regret not stepping in sooner, as does my sister, but I'm in there now and there's no going back. People get caught up in their own lives and time slips by.

I do agree with others who say it's undesirable and likely to backfire if you simply ask for their help or drop Mom off on your sister's doorstep with a suitcase. You certainly have the right to change your circumstances and get on with your life. I do hope they step up to the plate. Best of luck.
Another caring soul who, in trying to help an aging parent has lost privacy, quality time and life with a partner. Time is not on your side, and your siblings do not care. You need to make the change, place mum into a elder home, and sell. And dont look back. It does not get better from this point.
Yes, this is my stance with my own parent. I so regret letting mother move in many problems and I can’t go anywhere, and have to manage her life and do everything for her. I would not do it again, and I am forcing the issue on an independent living facility connected to a nursing home. We are going today. And if she drags her feet, I have no issue putting the house up for sale and moving on, because I deserve more, as do you. Good luck, no guilt ok? Hugs.
Helpful Answer (17)

Yes you need to live your own life, however it is not your sister's responsibility to take over looking after Mum. It is Mum's job to arrange and pay for the care she may need.

You will likely hear lots of complaints from Mum that you are abandoning her. Sister may complain too, but that is not your problem. They are adults and can sort it out.
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I am so grateful for all the replies I have received in answer to my question. I feel quite overwhelmed that so many people have taken the time to read my post and respond so sensitively.
I appreciate all points of view & I now do feel that the time is right for me to change direction in my life - I may well keep you posted as I continue...!
Thanks so much to all who made such an effort to respond to my post.
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NeedHelpWithMom Jul 2019
All the best to you. You’ve done a terrific job and should not feel any regrets or guilt. Hugs!
Spend a couple of hours reading posts on this site, discovering what it looks and feels like to be caring 24/7 for a very elderly parent with more issues than you thought were possible. Hospitalizations, ER visits, doctors, ambulance rides, rehab stays, specialists, wheelchairs, incontinence, wet beds, hiring in home aides, dementia, broken bones, bed sores, nursing homes.....the list is literally endless. This is YOUR default future if you do nothing. Honor YOURSELF and find other living arrangements for mother. This may be considered "selfish" by some, but hey, who cares what some people think? Life is short. Live it to the fullest.
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anonymous828521 Jul 2019
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Selfish, no way! You have done your part, time for someone else to take over! You are entitled to your own life, you have earned! As a side note, I never imagined that my mother would live to 94, and still going strong, I'll probably die before her! Do what is right for best!
Helpful Answer (13)

Sounds like time for a “quite frankly” talk with sister, with frequent mentions of the twelve years you’ve done. Come away with a new plan for mom. This isn’t you abandoning her, it’s choosing something different for the both of you
Helpful Answer (13)

If your siblings won't step up you could sell your home furnished, mom included. 😁

What does mom have to say about different living arrangements, since she never sees you it shouldn't make much difference for her.

I am sorry that she doesn't acknowledge all you do for her, that is so difficult to accept.

Follow your heart.

Edit: it's not like you won't ever see her again, this is about both of you having a life. She won't be happy, but that is not your problem.
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