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My brother is executor and wants our parents to move near him, good hospitals, and the only grand kids which is great because I don’t want them to move near me and it’s too expensive, so we agree on that! They are indignant and stubborn about the question of moving but are slowly combing through a hugely hoarded household. they say they will not move or go to a nursing home if they can’t stay in the house. A nursing home where they currently live, I presume!


Neither my brother nor I will visit them in the winter any longer since it’s dangerous and driving is often white out conditions.


Now, I realize I don’t want to fly there in good weather since it takes so long to get to where they are and I didn’t like growing up there either. I may feel guilty about that but would visit if they moved to my brother’s. My mom just tried to get me to commit over the phone to visiting in the spring and I said “maybe”. It’s my life and money. This is what FaceTime was invented for. For her, I suspect half the fun is in telling people when I have visited and saving face if it’s been too long since I’ve visited. Not about me.


They may be able to drive to my brother in better health but will never be able to fly to see me and navigate flights. They are only mid 70s. We’d really like them to move near my brother and spend more time with family and make new friends in a retirement community in a warm place.


Where they live has epic snowfall each year (dad fell and broke his hip on black ice in time for Christmas last year, has a bad heart and multiple knee surgeries and is still recovering), the house cannot be made safe and comfortable for handicap and no close family live nearby (there are some relatives they see every few months). They like neighbors and church people but those have changed a lot over time and they have few social contacts. They can’t even see relatives 4 hours away who might be reason to stay since all of them are in too poor of health to travel!


So. I think it’s selfish of my parents to stay in a crappy house and expect me to visit it in the middle of nowhere when my brother and I have offered to buy them a house (not that they need money) near him and their grand kids in a safer climate and closer to hospitals (they currently drive 90 minutes and stay overnight to go to good hospitals!).


Have you chosen not to visit your far away parents because they stay in a situation you don’t like and think is unsafe? Convinced them to move? How did you feel about your efforts?


I want them to move because it’s silly to be so frail in such a poor setup without family nearby. They think their neighbors help is enough but I’m afraid they’ll use up their good will sooner than they think and they HATE paying for help and try to do everything themselves. It’s pathological.


My mom is frazzled trying to care for my dad, herself, and get help with the household upkeep for an old house in long, harsh winters. She’s the kind who would much rather kill herself keeping her beliefs and the house going than to recognize reality, change, and be happy. Thought?

The only difference between your parents' situation and mine is the climate. My mother hoards and my parents live in a house that is unsafe and definitely NOT handicap accessible. Their minds are still good, but they are beyond stubborn. My mom was LIVID when my spouse and I recently moved to a new house about 20 miles further away from them than we were living. (We are 1.5 hrs. away, drive time). I could tell that her reaction means that she wants and expects her children to upend their plans/lives and do what is convenient for HER to stay in her unsafe home.

I have no real advice for you. I recently went through a year of struggle with an elderly relative who wanted me and her granddaughters to "take care of her" so that she could stay in her house rather than go to assisted living. The social workers told me it always comes down to multiple falls, injuries or serious illnesses to convince an elderly person to give up living in their house. That is exactly what happened in this particular situation. Initially I was coming there a couple of days a week to sort her pills and go to the grocery store for her. Then it became daily. Then I was 2-4 hrs. with her daily. Drove her to doctor's appointments at least one a week. Then she started complaining that she really needed someone coming there at night to stay with her and get up and fix breakfast for her!

Too often (I see it here on this website and in my acquaintances), we fall prey to the manipulation of our parents wanting to stay put. We start by doing little things and we end up enabling their horrible decision to stay in their homes. It takes a VILLAGE (or one village idiot) to enable them to remain "independent." It starts by spending your vacation time to go spend at their home in the armpit of the state. Then, you are back a month later because one fell over the junk in the house and got injured. Then, you are taking time off to spend a couple of weeks there to help assist the parent in caring for the one who fell after he or she gets out of rehab. Then you are back a month later because the other parent slipped on a throw rug, fell and broke a hip. It becomes a blur and you realize you've been there for weeks with no end in sight and they are STILL REFUSING to relocate.
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Reply to XenaJada
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97yroldmom Nov 30, 2019
Xena you made me laugh. So true ... it takes a village or one village idiot ... indeed.
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You have "classic" elderly parents. They are not flexible. They don't see any reason to change even in the face of the dangers in their home and weather and how it is limiting them. They have a romanticized and deluded concept of being "independent". I live in MN and my 90-yr mom lives next door to me (and she grew up on the east coast, moved to FL then moved to MN when I had kids).

In the same vein, you and brother are romanticizing things if they move near him. How would you like to be told to leave _everything_ familiar to you at an age that makes it difficult even if willing? There is NO guarantee that brother's family will be singing Kumbaya with them in a AL community. Most likely they will be engrossed in their school, athletic, cultural activities like my kids were. If my mom didn't live next to me I'm not sure how much interaction we would have had.

You say your brother is "executor". This is for the will or trust. Do you mean Power of Attorney? He cannot exercise any of that authority unless your parents have dementia and are endangering themselves. My recommendation is to change your tactics with them. Maybe you and brother can pay to have them come visit him and his family for a week or more during their winter. They will enjoy it. This is the best way to possibly change their minds. Also, this will tell your brother if this is really what he wants, as he will be very busy tending to them unless they are in a great AL. So: convincing them to move; then convincing them to go into AL. Two big challenges. You and brother will exhaust yourselves wanting something for them that they themselves don't want. Your mom may be the key in it all, as she becomes more desperate to change the situation she may be able to sway your dad. I am not trivializing having to stand back helplessly and watch the train wreck, but your are not alone in this scenario. Whatever you do, don't do anything to give them the impression that they are "independent". Unless they are tipping into dementia do not enable this illusion. As long as they seem "reasonable/rational" keep making the case that it makes much more sense for them to come to brother than visa versa. Don't fight over it, have conversations. It will test your patience but may pay off in the end. Good luck!
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Reply to Geaton777
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I was the last man standing for both parents 3 states away. I dealt with dementia, mobility issues, surgeries, falling down house and on and on.......for six years. I’ve lost count of how many 12 hour drives I made through the years. At one point I was considering just walking away and letting the state deal with them. Easier said than down however.

I, like others, had to wait for the big crisis as my folks refused to discuss even getting outside help, much less moving. So when mom ended up in the hospital after a brutal fall I moved her directly to assisted living with dad following a few days later. Mom died about 2 years ago and I finally moved dad to a nursing home near me about a month ago. But I was a long distance caregiver for years. It can be done but it’s tough. You have to get boots on the ground on a regular basis or hire a care supervisor in the area.



My advice would be for you and brother to start laying track for the inevitable crisis. Check out care facilities near your folks or near your brother. Get a handle on their finances, medical, insurance, real estate etc. When the .....hit the fan I had spent 4 years getting everything mom and dad rounded up and in order. And luckily an assited living place I had visited and liked had an opening after mom’s fall.
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OutandAbout Nov 30, 2019
Thanks. We convinced them to set up a will or trust years ago and I home the cheap company they used isn’t a total scam - some legal paperwork with a company they researched so their estate won’t go to probate, we know their funeral wishes, and it puts all important financial info together for my brother to handle - he’s a lot older and has the details. they refer to him as “in charge”.

when my dad barely avoided a nursing home stay two years ago after near death infection post surgery and I was there to visit, I found skilled nursing to supplement the Medicaid (or whatever they call it). The stress on my mom was huge so I wanted to help.

My mom refused the extra help even my brother and I would pay for it. She said she didn’t want strangers in the home (is not that hoarded in main area but is uncomfortable/embarrassing to me?). More strangers, I guess?

I felt deflated because it’s not easy to find care to dress wounds and administer IV drugs / mom has been been doing that including using a wound vac for months after different surgeries including a recent one dad is recovering from.

you make a great point about the assisted living facility...I was surprised my mom proudly told me last year that they planned their funerals and she wasn’t having one. Hmm. But, they’ve never mentioned many options between living independently and death. My dad said his only other choice was a nursing home - it was house or nothing, basically. Mom has liked certain ones better than others when we’ve visited friends.

Ill start asking about if they’d like an independent to dependent facility if dad needs one again. What will they do? and maybe plant a seed that similar ones are near my brother. It’s mostly my dad who has been in poor health and required at home nursing and out of home rehab for the past two years. If he gets and stays better, this can gets kicked down the road. Uneven aging and health between parents seems tricky and might make them want to stay in place...I just don’t know.
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My 95 year old Mother is a hoarder, gambling addict, and an alcoholic. I gave up trying to get her to go to assisted living or have a home health aid come in the house. She REFUSES!!! There is nothing I can do about it until something happens to her such as a stroke or she falls and breaks her hip or something like that. Nothing can be done. Don’t help them. Let them do it themselves. Don’t move in with them either.
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My mother lived in a home in the mtns of NC. Her house was not elder friendly, up 13 stairs to get inside. For 10 years my brother and I tried to get her to put the place up for sale and move into AL, nope, everything we suggested was met with a NO.

So, we just waited for something to happen and it finally did, she had a stroke. Three weeks ago we placed her in AL here in FL, we will put her house up for sale in Spring.

Over the last 10 years my brother visited her yearly, I stopped talking to her 8 years ago and no one else in the family speaks to her either, as she is an abuser, a thief and a drinker.

Me, I'd just sit back and wait, I certainly would not spend my money on them since they have adequate funds. They are only in their 70's, by todays standards that is young, they could live for 20 more years, don't strap yourself in for this ride. My mother is 94, now that is old.

Who ever has the Durable POA is empowered to make rational decisions for them if they are declared incompetent. Until then go about the business of living your life and let them live theirs, trust me, something will happen.

Also, don't think everything will be rosy and happy if they live closer, it won't be, not my rules, just how it works.
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OutandAbout Nov 30, 2019
I hear you. Sorry for your situation but happy you have some relief. My mother wasn’t abusive in the traditional sense but the emotional impact was similar - everything was about her needs and unresolved issues. That’s why I can’t believe my brother wants them closer to him! I don’t think he understands and is clouded by delusions of familial obligation and honor.

They had a different relationship. They’d still be thousands of miles from me but easier to visit.

I suppose I worry most for my dad. He has congestive heart failure, a fib and other issues, so I doubt he’ll live another 10 years. But I agree, old age is a money suck for most people. Trying to figure out a healthy boundary after a lifetime of few.
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The first thing that jumped out to me is that your parents hoard. I grew up in that environment and I would suggest that you keep yourself where you are comfortable - as far away as possible is fine. You can put them off about visiting as you did, or you can be honest which might serve your purposes better. "No, I really don't want to endanger my health by visiting your house. There's so much clutter I'm worried about you in a fire, and I won't visit because I'm not sure there are no mouse droppings to spread that Hanta Virus to me. You guys might be immune but I'm not risking it."

I refused to visit my mthr's house. It was out of the way as well and when we did get near that area we'd drive by her house to see how bad it looked. She'd forbidden us from visiting her town when I made my no-visit pronouncement, so we did not call her while we were there visiting other folks. Hubby talked to her frequently as part of work and knew her home insurance had been dropped. There was nothing we could do to make her move. (No heat, no hot water, no washer, no working major appliances, no usable tub). And plenty of money in the bank.

It was not until she had a major illness that caused APS to get involved that we were able to get her placed. She had a bleeding colon cancer that she had treated at home with hundreds of bottles of Pepto. When she'd lost enough blood to begin wandering, APS called us to rescue her. She went directly into a memory care home near my home 2 states away. We had guardianship proceedings that ended with her being declared competent (the bar is so low!) but she assigned POA to us so we could help her. Her cancer is cured but she's in the depths of dementia, unable to walk or talk or feed herself.

With two parents, you might be able to get the second one to come to an asst living in brother's town while the other is in the hospital and rehab. Since the other is already in that town, you will have an easier time to convince the hospitalized one that they have to move too. The house can wait until summer, "when we can come back and sort through it all."(Wink). You can always sell it/donate it as is after the If one of you does visit, so retrieve any photos asap "to make copies like Legacy box does." Dementia destroys more than brains.
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OutandAbout Nov 30, 2019
I’m so sorry you had to go through that. It took me a long time to admit that my mom had a problem and it’s impact on my life because she could give things away and was pretty hygienic (questionable food practices though, cutting mold off cheese and stuffing the fridge).

People could come in but it wasn’t a comfortable home - clutter on stairs, everywhere. The four car garage with attic held no cars, etc. my drawers, under bed and closet at times held mainly other peoples things so mine lived in a sea on the floor and I got yelled at for not putting them away! We garage-saled each summer weekend to buy more junk. I couldn’t have friends inside in high school. Like yours, the only tub now is used for storage.

Yet I’ve never stayed in a hotel when I’ve visited them - but it’s a new goal to create separation. Ugh!!!!

And my father perpetually remodeled and repaired the house for over 20 years so it was always unfinished and I was promised to have a space for friends in the basement that materialized about a decade too late. He wouldn’t hire help. My only satisfaction so far has been to see they’ve been forced to hire help to install a new fence and trim vines. No surprise, I’ve had to learn how to ask for help at work. ☺️

I hear you on the photos and dementia. My grandmother lived part time with us and had dementia. I worked on photos years ago and digitally archived what we wanted and gave copies to family - even film reels! Mom has also written little stories of our childhood for us (from her perspective) so they will be interesting to read someday. I might want to record my dad talking on a day when his voice is clear. I can tell they have both experienced cognitive decline from playing simple games with them we used to so you’re right to take advantage while things are good.

My brother recently asked what I thought we should do with all the stuff our parents likely won’t get rid of (even though they are slooooowly trying of their own choice) which surprised me since he never acknowledged the house being packed with stuff. We are both okay with letting relatives take stuff or an estate org to sell it or just donate it.
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Agree with PPs, but would add that if they will need Medicaid, you cannot transfer Medicaid from one state to another.  Someone needs to have  a talk with them about money,   Brother needs a POA, and start accumulating last 5 years financials.    GL
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Dude7844 you are more than welcome to come over and take care of my Mother.
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If your parents are mentally "competent", they can live how and wherever they choose.

Yes, it is frustrating. My MIL and FIL lived in Honolulu in the Waikiki area when they retired at 79 and 81. They never wanted to live anywhere but Hawaii. It is hard to visit the because they do not have anyplace to host guests and a "vacation" there is really expensive (not to mention time-consuming with the long flights from mainland USA). We don't make enough for a $3,000+ vacation yearly. My brother-in-law has POA and a little more leeway with his job to see them more often. Unfortunately, both developed dementia and mom wasn't feeding them. Dad succumbed to starvation and dehydration - even though I contacted Adult Services in Honolulu. She ended up with round-the-clock home health aides afterwards - paid for by Dad's life insurance. She now has a live-in full-time caregiver. We do not see her and phone calls are infrequent and unchanging in content. We asked them many time to come live with us, but that is not their wishes and my brother-in-law is managing their affairs.

So, you may not be able to arrange things to your liking. Call often and love them the best you can. Don't feel guilty that you can not do more.
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Reply to Taarna
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You think they are frail in their mid 70s? I am 70 and my DH is going on 73 and we r not frail. Slowing done though.

I agree, instead of bugging them plan for the future. Maybe you can start by helping them get rid of what they don't need. Your reason could be since they choose to stay in their home they need to make it safer. Especially since Dad already broke a hip. (I like the idea of telling Mom you won't visit until she gets rid of the junk) Make the bath handicap excessible. Make the house safer for a couple approaching 80. Your parents may look at their hoard and have no idea where to start. It can be overwhelming. I took a room at a time when I cleaned Moms house out.
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OutandAbout Nov 30, 2019
I agree that 70s can be a healthful and active time of life and one of my grand parents even managed independent living and cooking for herself until age 100 - totally sharp until that point in life.

That is NOT my parents sadly! And likely not me due to injuries, etc. They’ve struggled with multiple issues, disease, and surgeries with the past 2-4 years being intense. My dad said he felt like a prisoner in his home this year (4th revision of knee surgery). If it were accessible, he might wheel himself around! I offered to get them into a house that is fully accessible for wheelchair since their 1920s one just can’t fit a chair, everything too small and stairs.

I think what I find most difficult is that they don’t want my help and I have good ideas to help. The house needs regular work and they only want it done by family or low cost. For example, the gutters drip on the front step that doesn’t have a railing and creates ice and I worry about the mailman. So I suggest they put salt to melt the ice and fix the gutter and my mom worries instead about damaging the steps with salt rather than the safety of the mailman or visitors or being sued. I just feel like my opinion doesn’t matter to them and yet they keep wanting me to visit and sit and watch tv with them.

It’s two year later and my dad casually mentioned that they’re putting in a railing on the front steps... my idea! 🙂

anyway, thanks for listening.

the hoard is pretty manageable in the living room. When I’ve tried to help her with it she’s wanted me to sell things on eBay for her that weren’t worth the time to list them. So I had to let her figure out how to dispose of her collections since her fantasy is to make money and have made smart garage sale “finds” even though the junk just takes up space. The process of her getting rid of some old Madame Alexander dolls was an exercise in setting boundaries and letting go.
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