For several months, I have been telling my 72-year-old mother that she needs to hire some in-home help for laundry, light cleaning, and grocery shopping. She needs to have a backup plan, because quite frankly, I'm getting burned out and I need to take an occasional break. She lives 40 minutes away, so at least it's not that far. But the weekly visits take about a half day to accomplish everything.

But my requests to come up with a back up plan go in one ear and out the other. She has the money to hire someone, but she won't budge.

I had a social worker from Visiting Nurses (agency is now providing in-home PT and nursing services following her month-long hospital visit in June) talk to her about the same thing. The social worker told me today that my mom seems resistant to the idea, which was not news to me. However, in a few weeks, no one will be coming into her home every week. It'll just be me. And I'm not going to be able to provide the level of care/assistance she needs.

So I am at a loss. My mom has no incentive to do anything differently because I keep going over every week and doing all the laundry, grocery shopping, etc. And she does need assistance. Most times, I'm happy to help, but I feel like I can't take a break. So I've decided that she's not going to do anything differently unless she has to and until I force the issue. So I've decided I'm going to start going over there every other week. I feel guilty about doing this, but my mom is apparently not as concerned about my health and well-being as I am about hers. And I'm starting to feel very resentful and angry that she won't even meet me halfway. I've given her fair warning, though. So I figure this is the only way to force the issue. I feel like I'm being taken advantage of ...

I'm interested to hear how others have handled similar situations and whether you have any suggestions.

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Debralee, I think some of the old answers apply to your situation, too. You cannot control your mother's behavior, but you can control your own. Announce (kindly, politely) that you are no longer going to provide housekeeping services but you will be very happy to help her find somebody to do these tasks. If you weren't available (if you had an accident and were laid up for months) she'd have to find someone. Well, you are not available.

If your sister agrees with you and you have a united front, Mom's only choices are to live in a dirty place, do her own cleaning, or hire someone. However, if Sis wants to continue providing services then she may have to pick up what you were doing, or mother will have to get by with less, or mother will have to supplement Sis's work with a paid cleaner. None of this is your problem -- you are only in charge of your own behavior.

Mother has a dentist appointment next month? "Sorry, Mom, that time is not convenient for me but I'll call the medi-ride company now and arrange the rides for you."

I hope you'll continue visiting your mother, but just decline the work. When a social worker was interviewing my mother about what she needed she kept saying "oh, no, I don't need that. My daughters can do that." And a daughter in the room spoke up and declared, "Mother, when your daughters come we want to play scrabble with you or cards or look at scrapbooks. We don't want to spend all our time scrubbing toilets and mopping floors!" And that is kind of the point -- not that the daughters don't want to be bothered with mother, but that they want quality time with her.

Who are your mother's heirs that she is trying to save her assets for? You and your sister? Convince her that you would rather she spent the money on her own care now. Additional people? All the more reason that you shouldn't do all the work so that others can benefit.

Also, people who live long enough very often outlive their money, and regardless of their good intentions to leave something to heirs, it gets used up in medical costs, nursing homes, etc. That financial inheritance is nothing to count on!

Good luck!
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I know this is an old post, but I just came across it and am basically in the same position. My mother can well afford in home care for housekeeping and arrange free rides for her medical appointments and shopping. Yet, she would rather rely on my sister and I. We both live a distance from her and cannot always arrange our schedules around her needs. She has no problem paying the next door neighbor's son for odd jobs like trash, lawn mowing and snow shoveling. My sister and I do the best we can, but it would help if she would hire
someone to help alleviate some of the responsibilities she has placed upon us. My mother wants to hold on to her money and assets for her heirs. Just wondering how you have solved your problem since this post is 3 years old.
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Hi Jenny, try what I suggested, have a representative from a home-care agency stop by, believe me, they know how to suck up to the patient really well. The lady who came over to meet my mom, kept saying "Your'e so Beautiful". My mom is a penny pincher too, but she has gotten use to the care-giver coming over she likes the outtings which I don't like cause I want them to clean and etc. It is 20 bucks an hour for 8 hours a week (two days as I mentioned before). I was afraid to go through a newspaper too many horror stories I have heard of, at least in bigger cities, maybe small towns are less likely to have thieving people to respond. With my mom the trick was...we'll try it on a trial basis...but then they like it cause they get attention...etc.
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Thanks for the suggestions. My mom was in the hospital back in June (for about a month) for atrial fibrillation. While in the hospital she also had an episode of pulmonary edema. She is considered housebound at the moment, and is now receiving physical therapy, occupational therapy, bathing services, and nursing care in her home. But Medicare only pays for so long, and she only has about a month left, I'm told.

Everything is relative, I suppose. I definitely would not be able to live next door to her or provide daily care. I want her to have the best care, and the care she needs, but I also know my limits as far as how much I'm able/willing to help.

I am an only child, and she has no other family. I'm it. I did recently get power of attorney, so that is taken care of. But we have an understanding that I would not exercise any POA actions unless she was unable to make her own decisions. And at this point, she's still capable of making her own decisions.

Due to finances, I also can't afford to hire someone to come in her home. She has the funds to do it, but won't budge. So we will be at an impasse until something happens, I guess. The social worker told me today that she and the nurse will continue to talk to her and stress the need for having additional help come in ... so I'm hoping that they are successful. If not, I will have a real problem on my hands. I live 40 minutes away. I need another set of eyes/ears, etc. checking in on her.
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Hi Jennygc. I've been through a similar route with my mom. A few questions. Why was your mom in the hospital? Why can't she do her own housekeeping? Is she physically disabled, unwilling, just what is the nature of her disability? Does she live alone and can she do her own cooking/bathing/etc? Why can't she do grocery shopping?

My mom lives in an apartment attached to my house, so she's "alone" but not really because I'm right here. When she got to the point where she was unsteady enough on her feet for me to be concerned about falling, and hence really not able to be left alone, I told her that I just couldn't do it all anymore, not everyday. So I hired a lady to stay with her one day/week as a companion/light housekeeping. I put an ad in the local paper, $50/day for 8 hrs, and had LOTS of response, and good people. She totally resisted it at first, but I didn't give her any choice, and the ladies (I'm up to 2 ladies, 2 days for "backup" in case one quits) have become her friends, very kind, very caring, and she looks forward to their visit. It took a while for her to accept it, but she finally did. You might try someone for just 4 hrs to get her used to the idea. That would take care of housekeeping and laundry. Many grocery stores will deliver to invalids or the homebound if you ask. Perhaps you could look into that.

I think most of our elderly parents are penny pinchers, they grew up that way because they lived through the depression and had to scrape and save. Are you an only child? Has your mom given you power of atty, do you have any legal basis to work with her finances and bills should she become incapacitated? If not, it's important that someone be appointed while she is still mentally able to convey her wishes.
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Thanks for this advice. I talked to the social worker today, and also to her nurse ... they are both going to focus on this issue with her, stressing that once they're no longer there to provide service in about a month, she'll have to have something else set up. I told the social worker in no uncertain terms that I will not do more than I'm already doing right now. I can't.

We'll see what happens. I think the only way for me to force the issue is to not be as available. I feel horrible going about it this way, but she's not going to budge otherwise. And appealing to the mother in her (e.g. I'm so exhausted from work, etc. etc. I really could use some extra help), isn't working either. I don't want to feel angry and resentful about this, but I do. She's concerned about spending $17 per hour for a home-healthcare agency to come for about three hours at a time, but apparently is perfectly willing to have me continue to wear myself into the ground. So MY health/well-being, etc. is not worth the roughly $60 she'd have to pay at least every other week to get some extra help.
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Hi Jenny, I know the feeling. I had to take off on the Family Leave plan due to my mom ended up in the Hospital due to onset Dementia, but there was already a history of her not being so right. Anyway I was going over there doing all that stuff you mentioned. I got burned out! I told her she should get homecare as well. She did not want anybody in her home plus she's a penny pincher. But here came the ultematum (sp?). I was going to go back to work, so she needed some help. She was reluctant as well, and she's 85 but declining this year I can see. So what I did is just have the owner of the Homecare service come over and meet us. They know how to suck up real well, your mom may give in. My mom agreed to having someone come on Tues/Thurs 4 hours each day. So far it has been okay. Stiff ify in my book 'cause I want them to do things that I feel is important, but that is a seperate issue. You may give that tactic a try. Find a reputable one in your area and have them come by. I go over there if something is amiss or normally every Sunday for grocery shopping.

You may be interested in checking out a post I generated and has several ladies and a gent with problems that we have had with our personality disorder parents dissussing our issues. You may glean some advice from that post as well. "mentally ill parent".
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