My mom has been a widow for 5 years. She is active during the week, but weekends are hard. My sister is no help and I don't have any other family near by. My mom feels lonely since most of her family lives far away and all she has near by is me and my sister. I am still working and I have house chores and errands to do on weekends. How do I balance her needs with mine? She would fill my whole weekend if I let her. I love my mom, but I need some time to take care of my own stuff.

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My adult son is disabled and lives at home - he functions at the level of a two year old. I once had a friend who was having a very hard time with her son leaving for college. She said to me "You don't know how lucky you are - Rainman will never grow up and leave you". I was gut- punched. My reply: "If I could make a bargin with the Devil that Rainman could become "normal" and able to live his own life but the price I had to pay was to never see him again, I would do it in a minute". Rainman is my only child so I'm no expert, but I would think the goal of every parent would be that their children grow to have happy, healthy, independent lives. However, it seems to be in a lot of cases as the parent ages and becomes less independent themselves they forget this and become over reliant on their adult children to fulfill their every need and rescue them from their loneliness. Try as you might, filling your mothers weekend hours with your presence will never give her back the life she once had. Do what you can to suggest things she can do on her own over the weekends - get her books, movies, check the social calendar at her IL, look at the TV listings for programs she might like - whatever. But the best way to honor your mother and the work she did raising you is to have a happy, fulfilling, independent life.
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I have a slightly different take on the issue. I would establish priorities for both you and your mother for the weekends. I.e., she's your mother, she's in the later stages of life, and you're her only caregiver. What is important to your relationship now, and what's the most important aspect to both of your lives now? Is it cleaning, housework, mundane things like that? Or is it helping ease her transition and life in the IL place where she is?

Years ago I used to spend weekends not only gardening, but also the usual cleaning rigamarole. These days, cleaning gets spread out over time; I don't spend a whole day on it under any circumstances. If my father were to die tomorrow, I wouldn't want to think I wasted a day spending time with the dustcloth and the vacuum cleaner rather than him. I don't want to regret putting boring household chores above my relationship with my only living parent.

But I also feel the same way about my other relatives; they're more important than household chores, which are always going to be there.

It may be that time with your mother isn't necessarily just the two of you, but more of your helping her transition and find a place for herself in IL.

It may also be that you can arrange to have the nonparticipatory members call her on weekends. Or can you arrange with some of her friends, if they're physically able, to either go over to visit or at least call her?

You can facilitate activity without having to go to the IL place yourself.
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Thank you for the answers. She does volunteer at our local hospital and participates with activities at her apartment complex. Weekends really get her down. That is when she wants family companionship. I have her over for supper on Saturday and Sunday evening, but she wants more time on the weekend, when this is time for me to recharge, get stuff done and spend time with my family. She is great all week and I talk to her every day, so I feel guilty complaining about having my weekend time eaten up.
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I agree with Eyerishlass above, you Mom needs to find her own activities at Independent Living and not keep relying on you to be Julie McCoy, her cruise director.

My Dad recently moved to Independent Living and he's not use doing things on his own... my late Mom was always directing him to do this or that when they lived at home.... and my Dad would call me to see what were my plans for the afternoon.

Sorry, I just can't be Julie McCoy, Cruise Director.... so I tell Dad I have housework to do or I have to go back to work as we are busy. I want Dad to make his own entertainment. He doesn't mind being alone, and he does have one couple who he sits with at dinner time in the main dining room, so that's good.

In my Dad's Independent Living center, I see women sitting on their own with no one to talk to, so I tell Dad he might want to go out to the main living room and just sit and talk to someone. It doesn't have to be for long, just start with a hello and ask the person if they are from around here. You never know, they could be from his old home town or lived somewhere where he and Mom use to live.
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Your profile says your mom is living in an independent living facility. She doesn't like any of the activities? Does she go to any of the activities?

Of course you need time to do your own stuff whether it be errands, housework, or just doing nothing. You're allowed to have time to do your own stuff.

Encourage your mom to join in on the activities. Maybe go with her once or twice to help ease her into it.

What are your mom's needs? She's living independently so I'm thinking it's loneliness? You can't be responsible for meeting your mom's needs. It's not healthy for her and it wouldn't be healthy for you. During the time while your mom is still independent (because she won't be independent forever) take care of what you need to take care of. If you can stop by your mom's place for a brief visit then do so. If you can't tell her when you will be able to stop by.

Don't take on the responsibility of being your mom's entertainment. This board is full of adult children who have found themselves in that role and it's very difficult to live like that. It sets a precedent and then before you know it you have no life of your own anymore.

And don't feel guilty for tending to your own life.
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