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i (and all my other siblings) have given up trying to talk some sense into my mother and father who refuse to give up the enormous house that they cannot take care of. It WAS a beautiful five bedroom 31/2 bathroom stone colonial home, in a very expensive (tax wise) town in Delaware county.
My mother is the problem. she refuses to leave the house and move to an assisted living apartment that even I would love to move into. meals cooked for you, no maintenance to worry about, hair salon onsite, theater, bridge club (mom loves to play bridge), shuttle to go shopping and on outings (mom can barely walk much less drive), and the biggest thing, SOMEONE TO CLEAN THE APARTMENT ONCE A WEEK!
the house right now would take forever to clean out and repair. It is in such bad shape, but my parents don't seem to get it. they think it is still worth a fortune (look around, are you serious!). My mother has never ever cleaned (we used to have a cleaning lady come once a week, but that was eons ago) the house smells of urine, dirt, cat litter, and god only knows what else. I will not go into this house unless there is an emergency (mom or dad falling or sick) even then, i pay dearly as it makes me sick from just being inside there (really i am allergic to dust and mold). I have tried for over ten years to get them to move, but they will not. I would love to call someone and just have them go inside. I am sure the house would be declared unsafe, or unsanitary, but then I would be the bad guy here. At this point in time, I only mention it once in a while as it stresses me out so bad, i get terrible headaches. Why don't they get this? All I want is for them to be somewhere clean and safe where I can come to visit them.
Somehow Mom thinks that is the wrong thing to do. It would even be cheaper than what they are paying now to stay in this huge pit of a house.
so what happens (God forbid) if Dad gets sick, or dies? No way Mom can take care of herself. I can't take care of her either. I already have my mother in law living with us (she had enough sense to sell her house and move into an apartment, but they abused her so she moved in with us)
so there it is. I need some real solutions here as I seem to be the only sibling on a mission to get them somewhere safe. If they move into assisted living together, it will be a lot easier if one of them get sick or dies. harsh but who said reality wasn't harsh. I need real solutions for a very selfish stubborn woman to let go of this " money pit" of a house. PLEASE help!

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I know of two cases where the parents were "taken out to lunch", and afterwards taken to the Assisted Living facility. It sounds horrible and cruel, but it was more cruel to leave the mother in the house. Most of us did not grow up openly "disobeying" our parents or going against their wishes. Part of we have to learn as caretakers is knowing when and how to make decisions for our parents that they are not capable of making anymore. In normal circumstances, we would ask for their opinion/wishes. There are times in our caretaking when we can no longer do that. You have to keep in mind that it is that you are after: your parents' safety, health and well being. If you have to "kidnap" them to a facility for their well being, that's what you do. Get help from a caretaking group that will understand and guide you in this process. People that are not going through this will not understand; even siblings that are not directly involve often don't understand either. You are not being a bad daughter/son- you are being a responsible person whose primary intent is the well being of your parents. Especially when they are no longer capable of making these decisions.
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Have you called Adult Protective Services? They will show up, see their living conditions, and changes will have to be made. My cramp head brother called them on me (he had assaulted me and I had him removed from the home), so he was very vindictive. They saw through his bs, and the Adult Protective Services Caseworker and I have kept in touch.
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I have recently gone through this same issue. I also have both my mom and dad. They also insisted they would never go into a facility and would "take care of each other". Last year around this time, my mom fell and broke two ribs. She was admitted to the hospital and from there transferred to a nursing home/rehab center. I knew they couldn't stay home alone any longer. A very helpful, caring social worker at the rehab told them that they couldn't go home and would have to go live someplace else. From her they accepted this advice. They have been there almost a year now and while they aren't crazy about it, they no longer talk about going home. This is good because they no longer have a home. I sold it to pay for their care. Their house was also a disaster. Smells, scarred walls, holes in doors, etc. I fixed it up as best I could. Sold it for a slight loss and am glad to be rid of it. Now I'm in the process of getting them ready to move to another state. I'll need all the luck I can get for this to go right.
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Sue. I do not know much about this particular situation except that when my mom was in the hospital last time, if there was nobody for her to come home to, to be with her and help her 24/7 they WOULD NOT have released her. I am a no nonsense person. I take care of my mom now. She lives with me. I do not cater to her, coddle her, nor do I take orders from anyone. It is MY way or I will put her in assisted living. I have to protect my sanity, spirit and emotional health FIRST!! Hope this helped. Good luck
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sue1952, can I ever relate to your situation! My mother thinks her house is "worth a lot of money". The truth is, it is old and in need of a great deal of repair. Just thinking about the ancient electrical wiring gives me the willies. But in my mother's case, she has a diagnosis of moderate dementia. In her world she thinks the house is great and she still does the vacuuming, dusting, laundry, etc, none of which is true. My sister and I had to do a little "tough love" a year ago and hire some help for her. We gave her an ultimatum of either you accept this help, or it's time to move to assisted living. These were the doctor's orders and we told her so. Now she should really be in assisted living, but we have no idea how to get her there.
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Here is a bit of ironic food for thought - it is the most 'pack rat'-ty people that a) you want to get out of that situation and b) are the most traumatized by it! The more stuff means, the harder it is to blast someone away from it. My parents live in a house that they built 36 years ago which was their dream house. I was 22 at the time, oldest of five and married with a brand new baby. The house is on acreage and is over 5500 square feet. My dad was the developer of the subdivision and so he was (to quote Ron Burgundy) 'kind of a big deal' around the neighborhood. They entertained on an epic proportion for years, my dad carefully manicured the grass and cut down enough trees to have tons of yard to cut (still heavily wooded so there are the leaves in the fall too that have to be dealt with), and within eight years of moving in, all the rest of my siblings were moved out. My dad has had knee and hip replacements, hand surgery for terrible arthritic issues, two back fusion surgeries and recently, at 82, his carotid artery had to be unblocked. ALL of these surgeries had complications resulting in either another surgery or a life threatening condition because he is also a type 2 diabetic. He is generally though in good health. He has always loved his yard and keeping it gorgeous was his pride and joy. He retired at 50 too; he's had a lot of years to make it perfect and keep it that way. My mother is mentally ill but there is a lot of dispute about what is really wrong with her. She is most definitely compulsive (shops every day and buys multiples of everything), she is mean as a snake (surely NPD) and his a hoarder whose habits have been 'managed' because my dad is also OCD, puts everything away, and they have TONS of room (a giant full basement with extra freezers, fridges, a stove, virtually another kitchen!) for storage. She still buys food as if she's expecting 50 people for dinner or as if all seven of us still lived at home and ate a LOT. They waste so much it is sickening.
Their home is not dirty, but repeatedly they have battled about staying there vs moving. They want someone in the family to buy their home but they don't want to part with it NOW. And there have been several 'nows'. And I am sure if anyone remodeled or changed anything they'd have a fit. My dad does not want to leave. My mother gets histrionic about wanting to leave, move, etc. but if you try to pin her down and suggest she get rid of stuff you hit a brick wall. And she gets hateful. A few years ago she bought 150 place settings of china because she found a close out sale and it was too good to pass up! She already had 12 place setting of her wedding china, had purchased twelve more and has inherited her mothers as well. But since she has gotten older, washing all those dishes is so much work, so she uses disposable plastic plates. And the washes them. And reuses them. And buys more if they are on sale. You get the picture.
Out of five of us you can imagine all the personalities. My one sister is just like my mother - drama, crying, lying, attention needing, can't make a decision but likes to bitch about everything that's wrong. One brother (like me) lives out of town, one is close by and does well; he would hire help for chores like leaf blowing for them, but they insist (basically 'if you really loved us you would...") you go over there on a Saturday to 'help' 'daddy' since he loves working in the yard. And my dad walks around his several acres with a gas powered leaf blower strapped to his fused back and can barely walk when he comes in. My one sister was poised to sell her house and buy my parents' at one point, but then they wanted my sister and her family to sell off, come live with them, and buy when they were ready to let it go. Which would be never. Is anyone getting the picture here?
My mother drags my dad out to look at 'patio homes' but they end up looking at something less than 2000 square feet with 'no yard' (that is the idea, right?) and then they get yet another appraisal on their home, which needs serious updating, and end up saying 'we just don't want to trade a ham for a weinnie". If I hear that one more time I am going to go out and go postal, I think! My dad still climbs up on the roof to clean gutters, my mother continues to buy more stuff and my dad continues to put it away. Once my whiny sister was having a garage sale to move and my mother had given her some things that she compulsively bought and they ended up in the sale. My mother went to the sale, saw her stuff and BOUGHT IT BACK. I am not kidding.
Here is my take away. My mother used to say "God looks after drunks and little kids". I am adding another category to that with a prayer. "Old crazy people". My parents by legal standards are 'sane'. They are not 'incompetent' so there is nothing I can do. We will all have a huge mess on our hands when that house has to be emptied out. And the way we all are so different, I am sure we will have WWIII. I accept that I cannot change this. When something happens to one of them, probably my father first, then we will have to revisit the situation. For now, I stay away. I refuse to drive myself crazy. My husband and I are in our late 50's-early 60's. He still works. We have grandchildren. We are of 'heart attack' age. If I let this get to me, they would easily out live both of us. My advice is to have your own life and wait till you can actually do something to effect a positive change. Be happy. Tomorrow will come and will have to be dealt with then.
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I read an excellent book "My Mother Your Mother" by Dr. Dennis Mc Coullough, a geriatic Doctor. It's wonderful, packed with advice on how to deal with just a situation you are in right now. I feel it could help you
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You've had some good suggestions here.

You can't force your parents to move. Even if you moved for them, packed up all of their stuff and moved it to an ALF they could just dig in their heels more. And what about the sale of the house? Don't they have to be involved in that? If they're hanging onto their house by their fingernails I don't think you'd be able to sell it without their involvement.

If the house is in as bad of shape as you say it is you can call authorities. I'm not sure who but you could do a Google search. Have someone come out and take a look at how they're living. But once your parents get into 'the system', you can't unring that bell.

Or you could just let it go. Stop stressing out about it and let it go. You can't force them out by trying to convince them how wonderful it would be to live in an ALF. Do you want them living in dirty conditions? Of course not, but at this point you have no say in the matter. I know how very frustrating it can be when our parents refuse to do what's best for them but they've been doing what's best for their entire adult life and it's very difficult and scary when we, their adult children, threaten that. We want what's best for them because we love them, we don't want to see them living in filth, but trying to get them to move when they refuse might be a losing battle right now. You might need to wait for an emergency to arise to bring it up again.

Whatever you do, I'm in total favor of you not being stressed out over this. Put it on a shelf if you can and just wait for a more appropriate moment to bring it up again. I know you want what's best for your parents and you don't want to see them living that way but you may have to let it go for now.
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If one or both of your parents are competent, then it is their decision not yours. The sooner you acknowledge by your actions and words that you get this, the sooner they will listen to your sage advice. Right now they have shut their ears to you and your siblings.

I understand your long range thinking, but could you address the immediate problems, such as pay a cleaning crew to come in and do a spring housecleaning, wash windows, etc. Start hiring a carpenter or handyman to fix the upkeep problems. Just fixing one little problem at a time might start an avalanche of repair.
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I feel badly for you. My own Mom should go to assisted living, but she refuses to even visit one! What to do..hang in there and prayer for patience and strength. YOU are NOT alone with this problem
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It is a very difficult situation in which you find yourself. I know, I've been there.
My mother saw one Assisted living because the Doctor told her she needed to go with me and visit one. I ended up visiting 3 more by myself. She agreed with the Doctor but fought me on it. A few months later my mother was admitted to the hospital and then rehab. They told me she needed to go into Assisted Living and would not release her unless she had 24/7 assistance. It was hard to do but I know in my heart that I did the right thing. It seems that when you come to this fork in the road very few people think about the children and what you are feeling. This is hard on us too. We see our parents unable to care for themselves and things will never be the same. We are the ones who have to face the reality and then have to deal with a parent or parents who don't want to face what is coming.
You will have a struggle, it won't be easy, people will criticize, you may be quilted by your parents or siblings, but in the long run you are doing what is right and good. You are showing love and concern when it is needed and for that your parents are so blessed even though they don't appreciate it.
My mother agreed to go into Assisted Living and agreed to let me pack up her things but when she got there she said she never agreed to it although I have witnesses to say the contrary. She is still mad at me but in my heart I know the decision was a good one of her and me. I will be praying for you and your family as you begin this journey. Blessings to you
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Regarding my previous post - just a thought. If you or your siblings don't live near mom and dad - getting them into an assisted living closer to one of you could also be a positive point to mention to them - they will be closer to you (or your brother or sister) and it will be more convenient for you and you'll be able to visit them a lot more. Do they still drive/own a car? They may think they have to give that up if they move - remember old school "old folks home" thoughts. When you visit the assisted living facility with them, make mention that many of the cars in the parking lot belong to residents who can come and go. Just sending you suggestions as they come to me. Hope all helps.
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I agree with all above. Check out the assisted living facilities and decide on maybe 2 that you like and are comfortable with. Find out if any of their friends are at an assisted living that you could use the excuse to mom & dad that you want them to visit their friend - making no mention of them moving in there. When they see the facility, and it's amenities they may inquire more about living there. Remember years ago, the "old folks home" was a dark, dingy place where the older generation basically went to just sit and wait to die. This is the image they may have in their mind - so unless they see an "up-to-date" assisted living they may be quite surprised. They will be shocked to see the dining room, the apts., the activities and trips - may not be what they have in their head of what an assisted living is. And they may then ask you more about it - remember our parents don't like to be told what to do - but like to do things on their terms, so they may then look at this as THEIR idea of moving into this wonderful place. That's also why I suggest finding 2 places that you're comfortable with - once they see them both and hopefully are impressed you can ask them "which one THEY would like". You mentioned the house smells of cat litter - do they own a cat? They may be afraid that they wouldn't be able to take the cat with them - remember old school "old folks home" thoughts. Most facilities allow pets now - there's usually a small added fee, but the thought of leaving their pets may be in their mind also. Once you decide on 2 that you like, explain the situation to the person who gives the tours. They are usually very helpful and point out everything on the tours, but if you give them a heads up of the problem, they can really dwell on the positive points of the assisted living in a nice way when they visit. Bring them for lunch (always welcome) and maybe ask the director when there is going to be entertainment - and bring them that day. Hopefully they will get a whole different view of what an assisted living is and willingly want to move it. Also if either of them is a veteran and served during a declared war, check out www.veteranaid.org - on left under "navigation" click on "A&A Program. They provide monetary assistance - NOT based on their monthly income - but because they are a veteran who served during war. However, they can't have more than $80,000 in bank (I believe that is the cap now). The assisted livings also have more info regarding the program. There are some organizations - and the assisted living may recommend some that will assist you in filling out the paperwork for acceptance. These people are usually financial advisers who want your business. Just call your county and ask if they have a "veteran's dept" - these people will assist you for free. Or contact the Veterans Admin. directly. You should never have to pay a fee for filling out or filing that paperwork. Hopefully some of these things work and you don't have to go to drastic measures to make mom and dad move. Hope all works out. Please keep us updated. Good luck & God Bless!
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Your situation isn't uncommon. Some older people feel that their house, the very thing that is literally ruining their lives, IS their lives. Arguing, pleading, begging...none of it works because they all rely on them being able to see how their house is negatively impacting their lives and they just can't.
First, I'd try what others have suggested. Pick an AL (rather than trying to get them to tour several). Have your mom play bridge at the community you've chosen and have lunch with other residents. I'd also send a confidential letter to their doctor, explaining the conditions under which they live and asking him to talk to her - of course that's only an option if she sees a doctor regularly.
If you've already tried to do that and she's refused to even look, move right along to Plan B. It's time for an intervention. I'd avoid being the only bad guy. You could end up destroying your relationship with your parents if it's you alone who insists they move (even if they love it, they'll always resent you). If possible, have all the siblings meet first to lay the ground work and then meet with mom and dad and lay out the plan.
Keep in mind that all they want is for everything to stay the same. Your mom equates the house to the times in their lives (and your lives as a family) when they COULD take care of it and when it was a wonderful place to live. Avoid trying to deal with them logically. It will only cause circular arguments. Think about it...they're never going to say "Oh, now I get it. The house is destroying us and we should move to make our lives better." That's not their reality.
Just state the facts that you and your siblings can't bear seeing them live in what, to you, is an unhealthy environment. That you want to spend more time with them. And, that you don't want to be in the position of having only days (or even hours) to decide where they'll live in the event that something happens. Their options will be very few if they wait for an emergency to decide.
Good luck. It's tough.
I know one family of four sons who called us and said they were bringing their mom to dinner at our community and laying down the law. Not being in the house they were trying to get her to leave was a plus as was their united front.
They just laid down the law that they would be moving her whether she liked it or not so she may as well like it. They didn't use persuasion. They'd reached their limit on pleading. They just spelled out how they were going to proceed. It worked for them.
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Do the research on ALF's first before you take them to see the one you decide on. It's too stressful to take them from one to the other. Also seek help from the primary care physician. He may just insist that they are incapable of caring for themselves any longer. Maybe their lack of cleanliness is due to health issues of which you are unaware & perhaps, even they are unaware. If their doctor suggests it, they just might listen. It's worth a try. Best of luck. I feel your pain.
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Have your parents seen the assisted living facility? Maybe take them out to lunch and then go there to look at it. Do they have any friends that have moved to an assisted living facilities or other family members? Do they have any living siblings?

You said your mom likes to play bridge. I wonder if the facility would work with you and allow your mom to go there to play bridge and maybe makes friends in there.
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