Mom is 82 with peripheral neuropathy, frequent fractures and falls. She moved to Florida 2 years ago as she felt the warm weather more comfortable. None of our family live there. I am single, not too well off financially, not retired and cannot afford to drop everything to go take of her. She used to live nearby until 2 years ago. I do not have a home equipped for the handicapped. She left her own comfortable affordable home to move 1,000 miles away.

My issue is she is very angry, feels abandoned and is in a lot of physical pain. She feels no one cares about her and says mean things when I call. I had asked her not to move so far away and told her I would not abandon my own well being to take care of her. She said not to worry about it.

I am trying to be supportive. She is my mother. There is really nothing I can do for her. When I call her on the phone she is very unhappy and distraught. I feel so bad, but I know there is nothing I can do for her. She is vey angry that she is disabled.

I know I am doing my best. I have 5 siblings who are also supportive of her. They also have personal economic problems to care of themselves and cannot drop what is going on on their own lives to care for her.

I advise any older person to stay near their family and be grateful for the life they have lived. I was extremely ill in my 40's. I took care of myself. I cannot mortgage my future to care for anyone, especially if they are 1,000 miles away.

I wish she had never moved away. But that would not have made her happy either. She simply seems very angry that she has become old and is not able to do things as independently as she was once accustomed to.

Nothing for me to do except be as supportive as possible. I will be old one day too. I have no kids, no husband, no property. I really don't expect anyone to take care of me but myself. While I empathize with my Mom, I am not in the position to "drop everything" to wait in her hand and foot.

There were other elderly members of my family who were not well. They got the household help they needed and I was as supportive as I could be. None of them expected me to forgo my own welfare to care for them. I helped them, supported them and comforted them. I was there for them in their final days. It is too much to ask a child to forsake their own welfare to be a handmaiden.

Again, advice to elders - stay near your children if you want companionship and help. It is too much to ask a child to uproot their own life and sacrifice their own economic future to take care of a far away parent. I really feel her expectations are unreasonable. But I cannot change the fact that she is so angry and hurt. She will not go to a counsellor and she is not religious. She is simply angry every single day, which I don't think I can do anything about.

Anybody else with this going on? Angry parent that is inconsolable?

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Kidnumber2, you can be the best logistic caregiver ever even from 1000 miles away. Logistics meaning you are helping your Mom doing the leg work or computer searching to find ways that she can help herself.

Contact your Mom's county agency on aging for programs such as Case Management, Meals on Wheels, Adult Day Care, housing, care referrals, etc,... go to the website link below.... click on your State.... now click on the city/county.

I don't know what is the draw to Florida for seniors... it's almost like a Stepford Wive's horn being sounded and they all are drawn there. I assume your Mom is in a senior community. Has she made any friends there? One would think once she started making friends she would be too busy to think of negative things. Maybe she realized she made a mistake moving and doesn't know how to get out of it.

Since it was your Mom's choice to move 1000 miles away, she has to take on the responsibility of her choice.... not you. Think twice before you move down to Florida to help her. I don't have any children, either, so we both need to think of our own future and plan ahead.
Helpful Answer (8)

You seem to have a very healthy attitude about your situation. You shouldn't feel guilty for a minute. She moved 1000 miles away so you and sibs will do what you can from afar.

In my case I'm the one that moved, 30 years ago, 600 miles from my folks. When you're 30 and get a good job offer out of state the last thing you're thinking about is elder care 30 years down the road. I go home as needed and will see my folks through old age but I'm not moving back home. I used to feel guilty but I didn't have much choice 30 years ago . I had to take the job to survive.

Thanks for your insightful post.
Helpful Answer (6)

The things that your mom is so unhappy about are things that cannot be changed - she's old and in failing health. Whether she lives near you or 1000 miles away, those facts are not going to change. And her reaction to her situation kind of tells me that she's probably going to be miserable wherever she is and with whatever amount of support she gets.

So I think you're making a wise choice to care for yourself and be supportive of mom within limits. You're not her only support -- she has other children to turn to for their help as well. She's made her choices, which have not made her happy in the long run, but I'm not sure she'd be happy living near you (or even with you) and with all the support you could give her.

So do what you can to listen and be supportive, but take care of yourself emotionally. Only your mom can make herself happy. That's not your job.
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"Mom, let's get you moved back here close to family. We worry about you, miss you, and would love to get your little self back here."
Helpful Answer (5)

I have not been in your situation with a parent 1,000 miles away. However I feel the love and anguish in your post. You can only do so much from so far away and you did not encourage your mom to move. This is probably easier said then done but you need to stop beating yourself up over this. Your mom made the decision, probably a bad one, to move so far from her family. Is there any chance that you could talk your mom into moving back? I think some parents reach an age where there just don't know what to do and need someone to help them get out of the bad choices they have made. I am not suggesting that mom move in with you but perhaps if there are funds, can you help her move back and hire help or help her find assisted living or a nursing home by you. I know with my dad he was just so overwhelmed with a bad decision that he was unable to find ways to rectify the situation and needed someone to say ok this is how we can fix it and your choices are A and B. Some people are just fixers. They want to help. I don't know that there is anything you can do but I wish you the best. It is hard to watch/listen to your parent struggling. Good luck and Gid Bless.
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Elders often feel themselves failing and get the idea that "if I move to a warmer climate I'll feel better". When that doesn't fix the problem, they are angry. Of course they direct the anger at children very unfairly.
It's a good idea to ask her county office of the aging to check on her. If she throws them out you tell her "We sent help. You refused it."
My friend knew her parents were in trouble and sent a Social Worker. The father was in late Alzheimer's and would wander off. The mother would not answer the door. Ultimately the Father got a UTI, went septic and had to be taken to the ER. He died shortly thereafter.
You can't make choices for them. Old age is stubborn. All you can do is tell them "You got yourself in this mess, not me."
Helpful Answer (4)

Feeling guilty about not being willing to sacrifice yourself for your parent is a normal reaction that will probably never go away. No matter how much you rationalize it, no matter how many people tell you that you are right, you will always think in the back of your mind, long after they are gone, "Was I selfish? Did I abandon her? Was it unfeeling when she gave up so much for me as a child? Aren't there other countries and cultures where the elderly are revered for and cared for until their last day by their family?" I know I am bringing the painful side of this to light, rather than offering a balm of encouragement, but the truth is, nothing anyone tells you will make those feelings completely go away. It is a tough situation that is common in our culture, and you are one of millions (or tens of millions) who are feeling this.
In our country, we we do not have a village culture. We are encouraged to stand on our own two feet and go out and find our own lives. Keeping a job, a home, and our own lives means we cannot easily take on the burden of another adult. And we probably don't want to, even if it is our parent. It is the same with child-rearing. Many do not want to stay at home and give up their life and career to the daily task of raising children.
To solve this, our country has the childcare and eldercare industry. Is this the best choice? I don't know. But there are people and facilities out there who have chosen caring for children and the elderly as their career, and have the training, temperament and resources to do so. They are better equipped to take on this work than most of us.
Our parents want their family, rather than strangers, to help them. In truth, that is not the best solution for most of them because their family would be miserable, untrained, resentful assistance. Your mom needs the assistance of someone who has chosen this job. That person will be more patient and able to assist with her comfort. Then she will be more open to your reaching out to stay connected with her emotionally. And once that person, or facility, is familiar to her, she won't think of it as being cared for by strangers.
This is not coming from someone looking at this from the outside. My mother has Alzheimer's and is living in my home. My husband and I both have demanding jobs, are both in college full time, and neither of us have the patience for taking care of her. I am faced with needing to put her in a facility soon, and she does not want to go. We are currently paying our daughter to care for her for 6-8 hours a day, but she has four children to take care of already. Will we feel a little guilty when the time comes? Yes. Will my mother feel a little abandoned? Yes. Will she be well cared for and will we be able to go on with our lives? Yes. Not perfect, but the best case scenario for everyone.
Don't feel like there is a perfect way to make everyone happy that you are missing because you are selfish. That is not the case. You are human, your mom is human, and this is the human condition in our country. You are all good people who love each other. In the end, that is what matters.
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And by the way, the aching question of "what more could I have done " does longer with me in some instances. We can never predict when we will lose our loved one. However I do stand by my original premise. Please don't move far away. I cannot stop by once a week or even once a month to say hello.
Helpful Answer (3)

You could offer: Mom, send a round trip ticket to/from Florida, I will come for a few days to see if we can't find some help.
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Yes Barbara, I agree with GardenArtist
My Grandparents were old school people. My parents were divorced and sold our childhood home (6 kids) before any if us were even in High School. Talk about changing times! They blazed the trail!
I understand that it is not perfect and the society is different. And Barbara, my great cousin Frieda had a similarly loving family as yours. In the end, she did stay in a nursing facility because of the practical, medical and economic realities of her care. Her family was very tight knit, she and her late husband John were devoted to one another and their children. My cousin Louis visited her frequently. She often did not know who he was. She received very good care.
Even in the best of circumstances it is difficult caring for someone with exceptional medical and physical needs.
As for parents who leave their children in day care I cannot comment, as I, sadly, have no children myself. I would only say if a person is unsuited for parenthood, they should avoid producing children! I think that is a discussion for another forum.
This discussion is about caring for elders, who are OUR parents. An interesting caveat is that often the very parents who demand the most were absent or "not all there" for their own children in their formative years.
Be that as it may, the present discussion revolves around how much can a person do to help an elderly parent.
My feeling is I wish I were in a position to do more, but the reality is I can do no more than I am at present. There is no blame or shame, just reality.
My mother is recovering very good care where she is in Florida and she has a fairly supportive community of friends. I appreciate one of the commentators suggestion that she might want to come back here. The fact is we would have to find her a new home as she divested herself of her old one. That was my mission for quotes a while, but she insisted she did not want it so I handed it off to another sibling.
I also understand there is a certain point where the person becomes so weary, it may be time for the kids to make up their mind for them.
I thank all the people in this forum for their thoughtful, kind and helpful comments , advice and support.
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