My 92 year old mother is in the hospital and will be sent to a nursing home on hospice. She drinks ensure only and has lost 12 lbs.
She has been independent her whole life and wants to go home to her condo. She fractured a hip 8 months ago and has had 2 falls since.
We have never gotten along great due to her thinking she knows it all. I do a short visit 2x a year.
I have always told her that I will not not move back to where she lives but she could live with me where I live which is very nice.
Now that she needs me to take care of her, she will not talk to me because I will not move to take care of her in her condo. My brother who is in the same town does not want her in his home, but will visit with her often.
She lives in a condo with no car and watches tv all day. It is dark and depressing.
I feel guilty that she is not talking to me and she could die in a nursing home as a resentful old woman.
She says she is a Christian.
What to do?

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Do not move her in with you. Do not move in with her. It would be hell - but try to find local resources to help her (Area Agency on Aging can do a needs assessment) for what she needs now. The also start looking for assisted living when she needs more care. Read this forum to see what hell people are living when they live with an elderly parent - it sucks the life out of them unless they have significant help coming in.
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Onhold1 Oct 2019
She will be discharge to the nursing home this next week and most likely on pallative or hospice care. She will not eat the food and will drink a few cans of ensure.
I can’t tell you how many times I have told that I will not move back to her state but the option was open to move in with me. Like I said she will take my calls at the hospital and told the nurse to talk to my brother who is the POA, who visits her, but will not her move in with him.
I feel bad that she has to go to a nursing home, but can’t imagine living with her under her roof.
I am sorry, but Mom is blackmailing you. So whatever end she meets, she is still capable of that, and capable still of withdrawing her love from you.
Likely she has spent a lifetime training you and it is why you sit now feeling guilty and inadequate. She did a great job. She has insured that you will do her bidding or you will suffer. Either way, to be frank, you would suffer, but doing her bidding you would suffer MORE, I assure you. It is my opinion that, sadly, not everyone is deserving of our caring sacrifice.
Write Mom lovely notes. Tell your brother to say "Mom, Onhold knows you don't wish to speak to him now, but he loves you and he sends you his best, and should you ever want to speak with him, let me know; meanwhile I give you the love he sends you".
Send a pretty card every day. She can open it or refuse it. Send flowers once a week. And hope that your mother puts her Christian faith to work in her last days to ease the mind of a son she leaves behind. If not, well, she has done her work, hasn't she. Now it is up TO YOU.
We have two shots at good family. One is the family we were born to. One is to make our own family, either a "real" family, or a loving trusting family of friends. So make that for yourself, because "real" didn't work great.
You know all this. I KNOW you know all this. If you want to feel guilty and inadequate and helpless and depressed sometimes, go head and do it. Because it is part of life, isn't it, from the time our brains can even think. Then get on with your day. Do good works. Do kind things. Tell someone who looks down that you like their dress, their hair, their anything. You can MAKE a person's day that way.
And let me assure you of THIS. The good of this world are the ones who feel guilty and inadequare and imperfect. The narcissists and psychotic personalities out there? They don't worry about such things for a single second of their sorry lives. So that makes YOU the lucky one. Because you are a decent person. My partner's Mom was so wicked all his life, that when she died he was HAPPY. No more gruesome Sunday calls. Free of her. He was honest about that. I admire him for it.
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MountainMoose Oct 2019
Alva: What an insightful post.

"Either way, to be frank, you would suffer" is perfect. "The good of this world are the ones who feel guilty and inadequare and imperfect." So true!

Thank you.
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Accept that she needs to go to a nursing home on hospice. Accepting that your mother needs professional care is the best thing you can do for you and for her. Her inability to accept things is not your problem; it's hers. If you make it your problem you will regret it. Continue visiting her; perhaps even increase the visits if you can afford the time and expense.
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You stay home, allow her to be put into the nursing home on hospice and continue to live your life.

Why allow her to make your life a misery, because she decides to be miserable if she is in a nursing home? If she is a resentful old woman, she will be no matter where she is living.
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Can you up the frequency of short visits? Say to once every three months or so? - you could even add a seasonal theme to them, maybe.

What you DON'T do is move back to where she lives and try to squeeze your life into her condo. Do not do that. It is not a reasonable proposition by anybody's standards.

Have you talked it through with your brother? Are you, also, making allowances for her being pretty cheesed off with life in general (and thus you in particular, since you're a convenient target) at this particular point?

Here is the bottom line: say you did exactly as she says she wants and moved into her spare room (if there even is one) and gave up every role in life except staring at her for most of the time and waiting on her hand and foot for the rest. Would she then be a chirpy happy person, content with her life? Would she be young, fit and pain free, and making the most of her sunset years?

She would not.

Give her time to adjust to the NH, use that time to build good communications with the key staff there, and then - when do you next expect to visit?
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Being manipulative and cantankerous doesn't have anything to do with being a Christian. That should be left out of the equation, because quite frankly, we need a Saviour because our carnal nature is dreadful. Being sick and old creates a multitude of different emotions that none of us can understand until we walk in those shoes.

It is sad that she will die in a nursing home, but it is okay that she has to go. You shouldn't feel guilty that you can not be what she wants you to be. Caregiving is difficult, caregiving for someone that is not our friend is near impossible and I personally believe that we should not even try. It is a disaster that is waiting to happen and should be avoided.

If she doesn't want to talk to you, send it in a letter. Tell her that you are not going to be manipulated and you are sorry that she won't let you be there for her the best way you can, say goodbye and tell her to call anytime.

She is making choices that have consequences for her, don't own her consequences or feel bad. It is sad that she is not looking at anything but her wants and desires and it is even sadder that she is trying to hurt you in a way that she will regret, manipulation is just awful. Love her the best you can and stick to your boundaries. Go visit after she has settled in to the nursing home if you feel like you need to.

Remember that she is dying and none of us can really prepare for facing the reality of that. I think that we are created to survive and even though we know where we are going, we still fight to survive. It is more complicated than I can fully understand. I am sure that she just wants you there and she is using every tool in her control box to get what she wants. To bad she can't just ask and accept what you can give her.

Do and be what you can for her and let the rest go. Love her the best way you can. Don't let her expectations cause you guilt.

Hugs! It is hard enough without the added drama she is creating.
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Onhold1 Oct 2019
Thank you.
You have made a less guilty of not moving across state and I will be visiting her soon at the hospital and afraid of what guilt she and my brother lay in me because I did not move in to take care of her. The invitation is always open to her if she decides to move in with me but do not want to be controlled in her environment.
Hope she gets over her silent treatment. She doesn’t just hurt me but herself.
I knew a woman who lived with hospice care for 3 years. 3 years. So, like everyone else is advising you, allow your mother to live in a nursing home because she can bounce back from this and go on to live another 3 years or more, who knows? I've seen many people make 'end of life' decisions thinking Well It's Only For A Few Months and then it turns into A Few Years or more. This is not to say I wish your mother a speedy passing; just to say that she MAY live a lot longer than expected. Only God has that particular answer.

All the best to you!
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I truly feel for you.

I was the one in my family who took mom in. I was the one who saw to her needs long before she lived with me. My brothers knew her only for a ‘hot meal or money or a check in their hands from her.’

I took after my dad who had an extremely hard work ethic. I did without when needed or I worked two jobs if I had to. To this day I consider that the best gift my father ever gave to me.

He taught me to be independent. He taught me to never quit a job until I had another one. He taught me to care about myself. He taught me to value what I had and not take it for granted. He taught me too many things to list on this post.

He was my calming force whenever I was lost and confused. I loved him with all my heart. He was a humble man and a joy to be around.

Sure, there were times that we butted heads but he always showed me respect which allowed me to respect him.

I wanted to care for him after his heart surgery and a following stroke. Was it hard? Indeed it was but my father showed gratitude and love for me. He recognized my sacrifices and truly appreciated my help. Trust me, that makes a big difference when caring for someone.

My dad adored my mother but there was conflict in their relationship. My mother and father were quite different. I do believe she loved my dad as well. Relationships have challenges.

My mother babied her sons, undoing any hard work that my father put into his parenting his sons. It angered me horribly. What could I do? I was a kid who witnessed the dysfunction but had no control over it. Mom’s parents were not like she was. So it was odd.

For some reason she never babied me. It was confusing to me. In the end though, she did me a favor even if I didn’t understand then or was incredibly hurt by it.

It took me awhile before I realized it was a generational issue for her believing that women should care for men, serving them. Sexist attitude? Absolutely, was common then.

She wanted me to be like her. Someone who grew up, married, cared for her man and children. In turn, a man provided a home and worked hard, just what she believed.

Well, daddy kept talking to me about me, not about getting a good husband like she did. I worked hard in school because he encouraged that. I felt good when I left home because he taught me how to be independent. He genuinely cared.

After completing my education, (first to graduate my brothers dropped out) getting a job, an apartment I remained close to my dad. I so wanted to be close with my mom. I really did but I don’t think I ever completely satisfied her as a daughter.

I was very different than she was. I wanted to know who I was before I married someone. I wanted a job. I wanted my own life and independence.

I did end up meeting the love of my life. We married and have two daughters. We didn’t live far away from mom and dad. We saw each other regularly. My relationship improved with mom.

Then daddy got sick. When he was dying he asked me to care for mom. I wanted to care for my mom. I was blind about caregiving.

I don’t think he meant for me to give up my entire life for her but that is what I thought he meant. She remained in her home. I went back and forth to her home.

Then Hurricane Katrina came and in an emotional time after mom lost her home, I moved her in. She stayed for nearly 15 years and slowly my life became a living hell. She recently moved in with my brother and sister in law until she is placed somewhere. I burned out! Mom was always stirring up crap, pitting siblings against each other.

I am not close to my brothers. I don’t speak to any of them or mom. Let go of the guilt.

My husband and I have our lives back. A fairytale ending would have been great but that wasn’t my reality.

Please trust your instincts and do not move your mom in. People rarely change their behaviors. I would hate to see you complicating your life like I did. Hugs!
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