How do I convince a refusing parent that they need to move to a HUD Independent Living facility when they refuse?

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Mom description - Irrational, manic depressant, manipulative, recluse, alcohol issues, major vanity/pride issues, self-pity (the world has screwed her over), feels entitled, OCD, in and out of counseling for most of her adult life. She is within 12 months of having only SS as income (currently works part time 10 - 20 hours a week), has no assets, car has 1 - 2 yrs left, and she lives week to week by choice and ALWAYS looks at the glass as half empty (extremely negative). I (and my sisters) have counseled/encouraged her for most of her adult life in areas of finance, making friends, exercising, job searches (basically living like a normal responsible adult). She has made other choices and now they have caught up to her. I walked her through BK due to extreme credit card debt, she had a heart valve replaced (heart is better than before), yet always seems to find something wrong with her which of course handi caps her in life. Yet, right after she sings "woe is me" looking for simpathy and help, she refuses to consider rational solutions to the behavior she has just displayed. Mom is ONLY 70 yrs old (I know, you would have guessed 85 - 90) and despite all the mental and health damage she has done to herself over the yrs, really is in reasonably good health and had parents that lived in their mid 90's!! Other insight so you dont think I am a cold SOB, my parents divorced when I was 11 and I lived with my dad with only occassional visitation with my mom. I love my mom, but my relationship is differrent than most and if I am honest, I am driven to help her more out of sense of duty (I am 48). I would like her to be happy but she chooses otherwise. So, I have presented 3 options to my sisters 1) Mom moves in with one of us, 2) we put mom in an apt nearby and subsidize her needs with 3rd party services, 3) mom moves into a HUD Independent Living Facility with onsite services (i.e. transportation, cafeteria, 24 hour attendant). 1) will not work as mom is a destructive force in just 1 evening and would destroy our marriges...just not an option, 2) is a bandaid and candidly just plays to her vanity/entitlement attitude plus her needs will probably grow very soon (time & $$) and with the potential of another 20 - 25 yrs of life, just not a responsible choice on our part with her potential life expendency nor do I think she is entitled just because she thinks she is a certain social class and above those who just have SS (remember, her circumstances are not her fault). My sisters and I are in the thrust of raising families, sending kids to college, and planning for our own futures in a tough economy and while we will always attempt to do what we are responsible to do for our mother (we have been subsidizing certain expenses for her already over the last 18 months), we need to be prudent and I refuse to be manipulated, enable her, or feed her entitlement attitude. There is no way financially we could subsidize her the way she wants to live for 20 - 25 yrs anyways. It's a vicious circle we have experienced for many years and despite the advice/help/resources provided to her, she makes her own choices and is now experiencing the results, yet refuses to aknowledge she is at all responsible. At this point, I see no ther choice but the "tough love" approach telling my mom we will support option 3) only. She will kick and scream and tell us she would rather go live on the street or die than go to an "old folks home" (manipulation technique), but I see no other choice after all these yrs of trying other options and I personally have made peace with whatever the results are of this ultimatum. To some, this may sound cold, but after most of my adult life couseling my mother, then seeing her do the opposite, and now having to pay the piper, my compassion is very challenged. I am always open to other ideas, but these HUD facilities often have waiting lists and we are running out of time to avoid managing her life in panic mode. If you read this far... thanks for listening. Ideas????

Answers 1 to 10 of 13
It might we worth the cost of engaging a certified Senior Advisor or Geriatric Care Manager. That will make the recommendations from an outsider and take some of the pressure off you. You also might meet with her physician to present your concerns and ask if the physician would tell her that she needs to make a change that will help her situation. Most seniors have a lot of respect for their physicians and are willing to listen to their recommendations.
Your mother is only 70 years old. The average age in an Independent Living Facility, HUD, or not, is 80 years old. Most residents that I've observed are about 77- 89. Perhaps you should choose Option Number 2. Definitely seek advice from others and especially a professional senior counselor, one who does not try to sell you Long-Term Care Insurance. Good Luck, Bulldog.
Bulldog, my mom lived in subsidized senior housing for twenty years. She enjoyed her independence and the interaction with the other seniors. Your mother should be grateful that such a service exists, but even if she isn't, you can be. Now that Mama can no longer live alone and must live with me, she is miserably unhappy and so I am I. I can't say that you won't face this one day, but for now and probably the next twenty years, I say HUD Independent Living is the way to go. Also, one word of advice, don't help her financially. She needs to live within her means. Put that money in savings for later. You may very well need it then to help keep her in assisted living. Believe me, you do not want to ever live with her. I spent my past, present, and future on Mama, now all gone, so we are stuck with each other now. My mother had a grand time on money that I sent her, I thinking she was such a poor little thing. Now that she lives with me I understand her gambling addiction/immediate gratification need/narcissistic self. I just didn't want to believe it, not my mom. This is life experience from the daughter of a woman who manipulated me financially, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually for all my adult life, heck, my childhood, too. Get her settled, cut the cord, and get on with your life. Best wishes, Only1of3
Bulldog: You will never change your mom or her behavior. She will always make bad choices because that is who she is and what she does. You understand that and I think you are very wise to insist that she find housing that SHE can afford. If HUD senior living fits her budget then that's where she needs to go. If she would rather live on a park bench, so be it. That's her problem not yours.

You are going to have to set some boundaries and not let her manipulate you and I hope your sisters will be supportive. If not, you need to let go and live your life.

I don't mean to sound cold, but your mom is her own worst enemy and I'm sure she suffers from some mental illness. No matter what you and your sisters have done for her, it is her poor judgement that keeps the problems coming. Consequently, you really can't get her on her feet and moving in the right direction because she refuses to go in the right direction.

Stand firm on the HUD housing. Maybe when she is living on Social Security alone she may qualify for other assistance.

Good luck to you and your family. Cattails

I'm very sorry for all you have been through. You do not sound cold to me, you sound like someone who has checked through many possibilities, found the only logical solution, and now needs support. Definitely try to get her doctor to see and recommend what the family has already seen. Perhaps they will even help to set the wheels in motion for you. There may be public social workers that can visit and help lay the groundwork, too. Your options 1 and 2 will not work long term and will drain you all emotionally, physically, and financially. You mom may be pleasantly surprised at how much she enjoys the independence of option 3, though you'll have to steel yourself for some rough days on the road to getting there (sounds like you are no stranger to that already). You may just have to lay it out for her, tell her that you love her but you also must care for your own families, and then make the move. Good luck to all of you; stay strong.
Top Answer
What a dutiful daughter you have been all these years! How hard you are trying to do the right thing for your mother. I award you three gold stars for the care and the effort you have shown.

Now stop it.

Adults are entitled to make their own decisions -- even bad decisions. Your mother at 70 is in no worse health (from your description) than she was at 50. Did you think you had to make decisions for her at 50? Are you prepared to run her life for the next quarter century? She is only a couple of years older than I am. Let me tell you how willing I am to have my children make decisions for me: Not At All.

Stop trying to protect your mother from the consequences of her own actions. It is futile and will only frustrate everyone concerned.

You can fully control your own actions. You can say "I will not have Mother move in with me." You can say "I will not financially subsidize Mother living beyond her means." Say it, mean it, enforce it. But you cannot control your mother's (or your sisters') actions. HUD housing sounds like an excellent choice. You can suggest it, explain it, and offer to help your mother with the paperwork to get on the waiting list. But that is it. You cannot make it happen unless your mother decides she is willing for it to happen.

Your mother has mental health issues. I suspect there is something wrong with her brain. That is very sad, and has caused her much unhappiness over the years. I am sympathetic. But unless you are a mental health expert and a brain specialist, this is not a sadness you are likely to be able to fix.

What you are doing isn't working. Stop it.

Bulldog, I think you are spot on, in your dealing with your mother. I commend you on NOT being manipulated by a woman that has been self-destructive all her life. I read on this website all the time, of men and women that feel responsible for a narcissistic parent, to the point that they drive themselves into therapy for the rest of their lives. You have dodged that bullet, and I think that whatever you and your sibling(s) decide, will be the right thing. Quite honestly, you are awesome!!
As my father says~~"If you're gonna dance, you gotta pay the fiddler". Well, your mom is dancing and you are paying the fiddler. As hard as it is you need to c,lamp that umbilical cord and quit enabling your mother to run your life. When you set boundaries, MEAN IT!! If your mother was an IV drug abuser, would you shoot up for her? Your mother will manipulate you as long as YOU allow it.
You don't sound like a cold SOB at all. You are trying your very best to help your mother and she sounds very difficult. No, you don't want her to move in. Oh goodness no. Nor do you want to abandon her. She is like a grown up child in many ways. She is an adult from a long lived family (my own usually live to be 100 or more) and in pretty good health. It is not for any of you to choose for her. She must be allowed to stand on her own two feet. If she gets in danger of being homeless or her medical needs change, then yes, you should intervene but for now, I would tell her that she is in charge of her own life.
Thanks all. I really appreciate the insight! Curious as to where you find a Senior Advisor (perhaps on this site, have not looked yet?)? You all have helped me confirm what I think is the right move in light of the big picture/long term exposure my sisters and I have. It truely is like dealing with a stubborn teenager. I am afraid the tuff love approach is the right approach with boundaries is really the only way to go here and let the chips fall where they fall, at least as it relates to consequences that come from her refusal to take any constructive/practical/responsible advice/decisions. I have played her life over and over in my head and unfortunately can see where 90% of where shi is today is function of decisions/choices SHE made along the way, despite having her own kids around to try and guide her differrently. Another question... what type of counselor would any of you recommend for my siters and I if we wanted to further get some piece in our decision? Is there a special type of family couselor out there?

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