How do I have the conversation with my mom about her going into assisted living?

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I have been caring for her for over 6 years in her home. Mom is almost 91 and in the later part of moderate stage dementia - she can dress herself and only needs a little help with showering and gets around okay with a cane. Has a low back issue which hurts if she stands for more than 10-15 mins. I have not worked for 2 years and have been taking care of her and helping her for over 6 years. I have some help that comes in weekly and take occasional 1 or 2 night respites and have a couple 5 day trips planned. I also started weekly counseling just to have someone to talk with about it all. My health has declined quite a bit in the past 2 years and I'm doing my best to maintain it. It has become increasingly difficult for me to deal with the situation and I'm starting to feel like I just do not want to do it anymore. I don't want to be my mothers caregiver, I want to be her daughter again and visit her like my other siblings do. My mother is still very aware and knows her mind is going. She has always been a worrier and a "glass half" kind of person. She is very sweet and loving and thanks me every night when we go to bed. I feel fortunate to have such a sweet mom. Her physical care is easy but the mental/emotional part is wearing me out. I feel like I just want to get away from her which is not a good feeling. She has some money but not a lot, enough for a decent AL with memory care for about 3 years in this area.

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Top Answer
You are not your mother's end all and be all. You were not born for that impossible job. You are not responsible for making her life all better, or making up for her lousy childhood. You can't do it. You think you can 'try', but all the two of you are doing is marinating together in exhaustion, depression, and inertia. Take the advice being offered here and find her a nice place. She might very well be better off for it, and with new distractions and activities she won't be ruminating on her miserable childhood. (you can go visit her 6 hours a day if you want, but then you can go home and sleep soundly later, and maybe your depression will lift, and allow you to feel optimistic and enjoy life again). Otherwise, you will lose out on living the rest of your life and probably die before she does from stress and overwork. Enough is enough, you have to know it and do something about it, just like millions of other people have.
angelsiwel, my heart goes out to you...I just went through basically the exact same thing, but I was taking care of my mother for over 10 years with her living with me and she is only 74 now. It just came to the point that I couldn't do it anymore and I had to put her in a assisted living memory care. After, I was glad I did...she is doing much better physically and mentally. Yes, she complains that she wants to come home, but it has released me from part of a responsibility that was killing me. Mother doesn't have enough money to pay the facility and it's costing me $500 out of pocket, but it's either that or my sanity. I had to choose my sanity.
I wouldn't want my daughter changing my diaper or any of the thousand other things. I would be absolutely FINE with a paid 'stranger' coming in to wipe my butt, make me jello, do my laundry, grocery shop, ferry me to doctors. Etc. etc. etc. I didn't have a child to make them my indentured servant in my old age. And the more senile I was, I am certain the less I would fret about a 'stranger' coming in, I would welcome them and they would become my 'friends' just as my mothers caregivers ended up being as close and dear as any family could be.
What would our parents do if they should outlive us, or we have a serious medical issues where we just can't help them anymore? I remember asking my parents that, and their answer was "we will manage". Yeah right, in their dreams.

My parents [in their 90's] wouldn't budge from their house, never, nada, nope. It wasn't until my Mom passed, that two weeks later that my Dad said he was ready to move into a senior type housing, he couldn't do all the stairs anymore, even with the help of paid caregivers. What was ironic, I had just toured a senior housing facility just the day before and the place looked really nice. Kept my fingers crossed when Dad wheeled into the lobby that he would like the place.... he said "where do I sign up?".... and that was before he had a tour of the building and the free lunch :)

Therefore, I think there need to be a major reason or need before one's parents will move into Assisted Living. The more I think back, the more I realized I was enabling my parents to keep up their life style in their own home. And in the mean time my house was being neglected and my health was declining big time. I was afraid my parents would outlive me.
For the back pain, get her an adjustable bed. We got one for mom and no more pain.
For Assisted Living, go on tours, usually they include a free lunch. Or go to their Holiday parties, Like Mothers Day, Memorial Day or 4th of July. It is not for now, it is for "when the time comes" and "you can decide which place you like". We got a one month trial at half price. Mom stayed.
Thank you all for your responses and support. I was up all night, sun was starting to rise, half the time in tears, thinking about this and just allowing myself to feel it......and it feels terrible. My mom had such a terrible childhood during the Depression in the Dust Bowl of Texas and was always being left here and there with relatives, drunken father, mother never said she loved her her entire life, sexual assault, moving all the time and hungry a lot. When I think about that little girl, which I've seen, and how hurt she was I feel like I just can't abandon her to strangers again. The thought of doing that just makes my heart ache.
I think about getting a job, outside the home, so I can have some time away from her and maybe meet some new friends but with as tired as I already feel this seems daunting and not doable. I just keep trying to think of ways to make it work but the only way it would work would be if someone came to live with us to help. No one in the family is available, capable or willing to do such a thing. Thank you for your prayers, I need them.
Thank you all for sharing your ideas and experiences. I appreciate this community and it's wealth of information and experience. I will keep these ideas in mind as I make my way towards my own self-care and my mom's care. I am grateful to be with her especially on Mother's Day. When I hugged and wished her a happy Mother's Day she said everyday was like Mother's Day for her because I am with her and she is very fortunate to have me here. So sweet. I feel fortunate too.
Hi Angelsiwel,
It seems like we're all in the same "dementia boat". You're an amazing women! Caring for a parent for 10 years is a very long time. I think the hardiest part is when we have to make the decision to get our parents into a Care facility. My situation is basically the same as yours but only for 2 yrs (seems like 10) and I have my sister to help me. We care for mom in her home and just like your mom (with help) bathes and clothes herself and walk around with a cane but her brain is not good. Even with help I feel drained, especially mentally and it breaks my heart when I leave my beautiful home and husband. They never want to leave their home but unfortunately it will happen. We have made it very clear to mom (several times) that one day we're going to have to find a good care facility for her because we will not be able to give her the care she needs. I've also told my sister once this disease starts affecting us physically, we're not doing it anymore. If we were to have to place mom in a care facility my heart would be at piece because we've done everything possible to keep her content. Angelaiwil, listen to your heart and body. Go visit care facilities schedule appointments for tours and meet with the coordinators to see what financial programs she qualifies for. Your mom has lives 91 wonderful years, you deserve to live yours. Please keep us posted, god bless.
I'm not sure why you think that Assisted Living is akin to abandonment; you're still going to visit, yes?

Either your mom has sold you a bill of goods, making you feel responsible for her happiness, or you've come up with this idea of making it all up to her on your own. Either way, it's not a clear-headed way to think.

You are not responsible for fixing your mom's past.

After a week of my mom having daily "emergencies" that caused me to have to leave work while she was living "independently" at home I said "Mom, I can't do this anymore". That was the conversation. And yes, my mother had a terrible childhood.

I agree with pamstegma - since this is not a "urgent" move - take mom to tour some places and see how she likes 'em. It will help BOTH of you feel better about transitioning.

Let me caution you, though.....My sister & I toured 6 facilities and chose 2 of the 6 to take Dad to tour (mom couldn't go due to immobility issues).. We immediately turned down those 4 because they were awful. Urine stench,,,ratty looking surroundings, unacceptable cleanliness...we actually cried when we left one of them. I didn't want to scare my folks. Check with your local area on aging office or online and see what types of situations are available in your area & start collecting info now.

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