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My elderly mother with Copd is currently living independently in her own home. My sister and I help her when we can with shopping and housekeeping. She will eventually need more help as time goes on. She is financially stable, but has done nothing to get outside help to come in. She is totally complacent and assumes when the time comes, she will automatically move in with me leaving my husband and I the responsibility of selling her home, packing, moving and so forth. I don't want her moving in with me nor the responsibilities of moving her. In the meantime she refuses to move closer and assumes her daughters will take her to where she needs to go. She is not a bad person, but we are so different and I want to keep my freedom as I enter my senior years. I am so apprehensive about what the future may be. I try to talk to her about assisted lving, but she is too concerned about the costs and what it will do to the inheritence she wants to leave. All this codependency issues are a constant source of worry for me. To add to it this, she has told me she needs a bathroom with a window added to her living space in my home, due to selective claustrophobia. It is all about the I want I need of her life. I just want to runaway and hide from this potential nightmare. I have so many plans and goals for my retirement, but it will all be gone if I have to take over responsibility for her. Sometimes I feel life would not be worth living. How to I get out of this mess dealing with a sweet but inconsiderate mother without added guilt?

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Debralee: I am doing what you DO NOT WANT TO DO! It is killing me. I hate to use the word "killing" but it has changed me and I fear I will not find myself again. I have always looked after my mom since my father died 10 years ago and she started to become frail and then one day, she had a stroke and it brought on a fierce bout of dementia of which is better but only some of the time. I have no idea why I let this happen (her moving in with me), but I did. She was in a horrible nursing home and my sister threatened me and said, "If you don't get her out of there, I will."

So I went first, and I did it in agreement to share the responsibility with my retired sister (I am still working full time) who backed out on us a month ago...but recently, my sister noticed my sudden weight loss and I think the guilt got to her so she called to say she would take mom back, but, Mom does not want to go back. She has it too good with me because I cater to her constantly.

You say you want to run away and I am telling you to run away if you can. I love my mom, but I cry inside every day. I mourn for some space and a day without worry. I think I am just totally exhausted. I need to tell you that it is so hard to do this alone without help.

Mom began to manipulate me last night (when we were discussing her going to visit my sister) by saying "I want to change my will and will you my home...you are the only one who has done anything for me...you are the only one who cares," but she is trying to guilt me out of letting my sister take a turn.

Even though my sister and I do not agree, she is still the best place for mom to go for now because she will care for her and my worry will be less. But, there is no winning in this situation. No one wins. Mom will get worse and I will have to face what you are facing now--sooner or later. Once you get your mom in your home, it is so hard to turn back. I am talking about you, and what is best for you. This is not about what is best for mom, according to mom, but if you take your time to find the right place with the right people, you will be so much better off. You both will be better off because you are second guessing yourself now...which means, listen to your gut. I have no idea why I fell into this. I am the baby, the fixer, the one who does for everyone...and now, I am so sad because mom is not mom (dementia has robbed some of her) and every day I face it and I constantly feel trapped because I think I am supposed to entertain her on top of caring for her which leaves nothing left for anyone...especially me. Sorry for being so dramatic, but it is true.

I pity my mom and I feel sorry for myself. If mom were in a home (a good home), I could go see her, laugh with her, take her cookies, talk abut memories, go to Dr. appointments, take her for a ride, and not resent her. No matter how much you love someone, exhaustion and guilt leads to resentment. Mom sits all day and waits for me to bring her food, her medication, her ice cold water, her coffee, her late night snacks, and the big one...tell her where the bathroom is. Yes, that happens all day long. I bather her and she hates me for it. I humiliate her when I ask her to wash herself in between baths and she lies to me all of the time...she comes out of the bathroom (of which she has no idea how she got there) and tells me she just took a bath. Ha ha. Sometimes you just have to laugh. I am starting to sound like a nut job. I hope some of this hits home with you.
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you dont have to be responsible for her well being but dont complain when she leaves a half a million bucks to her cat..
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((((debralee)))) - my mother had ideas of moving in with me too. Once, many, many years ago, when I was in my 20s, she moved in with me and a girlfriend when she had to be in the city for a year. It was supposed to be temporary until she found somewhere for herself, but she made no effort to find a place, and expected us to give up our social lives (she slept on the sofa) and wait on her. I "gave in" to her demand for me to look after her because she pressured, and pressured me, and expected it. Big mistake. When it became apparent that she had no intention of finding her own place, I sat down with her each evening with the newspaper, and showed her ads for places she could live, After a few evenings of this she blew her stack (she has Borderline Personality Disorder), said some nasty things, packed her bags and moved to the YWCA and stayed there, which suited her well. I learned my lesson. As she got older she made various suggestions about moving in with me, to which I turned a deaf ear.
Your mum can only move in with your permission. Don't even think about it. I have read a numnber of your posts, and you have very good reason to protect yourself. As sharyn suggested - show her ALF pamphlets.
My mother disagrees with me too. Tough! She gets angry, or "hurt" if I don't go along with what she wants, and blames me for her troubles, and, I am sure, bad mouths me to who ever will listen - my sister for one. Too bad.
You have to develop a bit of a tough skin against her use of fear, obligation and guilt - FOG.
Make your own decision about your own life, You are not obliged to take your mother in. Let her use her resources to look after herself, and after that there is medicaid. Let her know kindly, but clearly, that moving in with you is not an option,
She can disagree all she wants, but that is your decision. Will she get mad, manipulative or etc - probably. You don't have to argue with her, or justify your decision. One question - does your husband back you up in this - to have your mum NOT move in? If so, you could tell her it is your (you and your husband's) decision. That may carry a little more weight, and show her it is not her decision. You do not own her any explanations. You could, for example, simply tell her it doesn't work for you, and that you won't discuss it any further. Nor do you have to stay around if she gets angry or pushes the issue.

Please plan how you are going to deal with this. I would not try to convince her that an ALF is better - she has already decided that she wants to live with you. You need to decide that you will not let this happen, let her know, give her information about alternatives where she can get the help she will need eventually, tell her you are prepared to help her find what she needs ( to the extent that you have decided you will) and let her deal with it.

You mention codependency. Here is one description - "refers to the dependence on the needs of or control of another. It also often involves placing a lower priority on one's own needs, while being excessively preoccupied with the needs of others" Please place your needs high up in your priorities, make your decisions, say what you have to say to your mother, then focus on your life , and some positives. It appears that this is eating you up. I understand - my mother's expectations can do that to me too, and I have to detach and work at focussing on other things. ((((((((Hugs))))) let us know how you are doing. Joan
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invizanon - it's obvious you don't know what full time care is yet. Full time care of senior involves not being able to leave the senior alone for 10 minutes, because they might wander off, or fall and break something. It doesn't involve being able to visit them several times a week, and maintain and job and college and social life. Full time care of a senior is a 24/7 job. It's having a monitor in your room so you hear if the senior wakes at night. It's only taking a shower if your senior is sleeping. Want to go to a movie? Make sure your senior can go with you, or find someone to stay with your senior, because 2 hrs gone is WAY too long. Forget milk at the store? Let's see, that's only 10 minutes away, 10 minutes in the store, she just laid down for a nap.... I can probably get there and back before she wakes up.... THAT is full time caregiving.
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Everyone has to evaluate their own situation, level of care needed (now and in the future) and ability and skill set to provide that care, sacrifices needed. I can say that jeannegibbs has always provided great advice (i only wish I could meet her in person!) and nearly everyone on this board has kept me sane and helped me understand myself and my relationship with my parents and sib. One post from someone awhile ago summed it up for me and has become a mantra for me "we aren't obligated to care for our parents because they gave us life or raised us; that was their choice and a parents convenant with God; as parents going forward; it is my job to love and support my children and not have expectations that they will care for me -- it is my job to make sure that I have a plan, communicate that plan with my children for future care and assistance such that I don't burden my children". My hope is that my children and I will have lovely memories, quality time as I age and not wear them out/frustrate them with my day-to-day care (I'll leave that to the professionals).
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capnhardass, thanks for the kind and sensitive comment! I am not interested in the inheritence. I would prefer she use it for her care. Your profile name definately suits your comments. Usually I feel for the cargiver's dilemma on this site, but I pity your poor mother in the care of someone with such an insensitive and callous attitude.
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you dont want the burden of caring for an elderly parent but im an insensitive oaf. fair enough. i was just joking but the cat will trounce you in civil court..
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invizanon, it is especially easy to make assumptions when a poster has not filled out their profile form that provides basic information. Forgive me if that makes you feel good. Note, though, that I am not asking for forgiveness. I'd rather be given information. Do you like this little game of ah-ha, caught you at making assumptions, but, hey I forgive you? If not, you could fill out your profile.

And I was sincere in stating my admiration for what you are doing. Answers that say "I did this and you should too" always bug me, though.
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Debralee- i agree. Do NOT do it. My husband was in the same situation. Against all of our better judgement, we let her move in. She made demands of things she needed changed, and we did it. But, she has always been a nasty, miserable person and it did not take long before our home life was miserable. I am very nonconfrontational, but I finally had enough. I told my husband I will gladly be the bad cop if it helps him diplomatically get her out. Finger crossed, she moves next week. Signing her up for ALF information is a good idea. She can just think it is targeted to her because she is a senior. Start telling her about all the great, long trips you and hubby are planning in your retirement. Seriously, life is short. Do not sacrifice your golden years with your husband. You have worked hard for them. Taking care of mom does not mean you have to take her in your home.
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You will still be taking care of your Mother. Our responsibility (IMHO) is to see that they are safe, comfortable and well cared for. That does not mean our parents have to live with us, nor does it mean we should give up our lives, health and wellbeing. You are doing the right thing for both of you.

I know it will be hard but you just have to be honest with her. Maybe talking about this with her doctor present or a good friend will help. The guilt will be hard to get rid of, it is part of caregiving. Even the best of situations carries some guilt, fear and sense of obligation. We never feel we are doing all we should. You are a wonderful daughter and a responsible caregiver. We do the best we can and that is all anyone can expect.

Wish you all the best!
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