I'm 24, my mom is 55. When I moved 3 years ago with my now fiance, my mom's marriage was ending so she moved with me. We were doing fine financially so we told her we didn't expect her to financially help at all so she ended up not getting a job. When she moved with us she left her car behind (it was broken anyway) so she doesn't have a vehicle. We're having to drive her everywhere she has to go (doctors quite often) or if she just wants to get out the house. She has really bad direction and isn't a great driver anyway so with her getting a car, I know I'd be expected to go with her still to insure she doesn't end up lost or in a wreck. Even things 5 minutes down the road are very difficult for her to remember. She hasn't tried to make any friends so she's confined to the house everyday all day. After much persuasion, she finally downloaded a dating app. The fellow she's been talking to cannot drive due to a aneurysm and the damage it caused. I'm extremely worried that as they're getting serious nothing will change because he's also living with others on a very fixed income. I'm worried I'll end up having to look after both of them eventually. I've 2nd guessed having kids of my own because I'm already overwhelmed with the responsibilities I have due to the current situation. Me and my fiance aren't able to go out overnight without her because she frequently leaves the oven on or a burner on and I'm worried she'll get hurt. We don't have any privacy in the house currently. She knocks once and opens the door right away before we can say anything to my bedroom while me and my fiance are in there and even while I'm in the bathroom. Both situations have led to awkward situations but nothing has changed. I don't mean to sound overly negatively. Don't get me wrong, I love my mom and will never leave her to struggle. We're in the process of buying another house on a bigger property so that we can put a in law building somewhere on the property, but she doesn't want to live in it alone which brings me back to the fellow she's currently dating who would also need assistance such as doctor visits, grocery shopping, etc. Can anyone help me with a way to politely set better boundaries with her and to push her to be more independent? I've tried getting her to go to church or join the local zumba group and ymca but she'll say she'll think about it and brushes it off. Is there a way to politely let her know she'll be expected to be more independent especially once we move and she's in her own space on the property? What ways can I help push her? Thanks in advance
Things to note:
We live in a rural area in the south
My only sibling recently moved out of the country

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OMG!!! Your mom is ONLY 55 years old and you describe her like she's 90. Please STOP! Just stop!
She is using and abusing you and your fiancé, and if you don't change things soon the new boyfriend will using and abusing you too.
First, mom should NOT be living with you. PERIOD. Not in your house or a building on your property. It's time your mom grows up and starts taking responsibility for her own life.
She needs to get a job, a car, and her own place. There is low income housing available in all cities, so she can start there.
And you my dear, need to put your big girl panties on and let mom know that she has until the end of June to find her own place, and a job, as you won't be supporting her any longer. I mean really? Don't you think you've done enough up to this point? And wouldn't you and your fiancé like to be able to start your life together without mom hanging around and walking in on you?
It's mind boggling to me what some people put up with. You don't owe your mom a thing. You know that right?
And again, your mom is ONLY 55 years old. That's not old for your information. She has at least 10 more years that she should be working, and being a productive member of society.
So time to tell her that it's time to fly the nest and start spreading her wings on her own.
Helpful Answer (14)
Reply to funkygrandma59
DrBenshir May 23, 2023
Can I second this? I am much older than Mom and still doing anything I need to and most of what I want to.

MOM has to get her big girl panties on and get a life. Your mother is not an old lady. She isn't even a senior citizen - she is middle aged and should be helping you get started in life!

If she can't take care of herself, she needs to go into assisted living. Make a plan to move her out as soon as she can be placed. If she doesn't like this plan she can get a job and make her own arrangements.
Your mother is not that old! She's been sponging off you all this time when she could have been working, saving money, making friends and traveling with them. This did not need to happen. You know that now, right?

You're only 24 with your whole life ahead of you. If you continue with this, your mother will drag you down and ruin all your prospects, your hope, your happiness.

If she has dementia, she needs to be in a place where she has 24/7 care, so you must find that out. IN NO WAY SHOULD YOU OFFER TO TAKE CARE OF HER UNTIL SHE DIES IN YOUR HOME! That could be 40 more years and it's hell taking care of a dementia patient at home. And there's no reasoning with dementia patients, so stop trying if that's the case. I mean, stop. You are wasting your breath.

As for the in-law apartment, no way. She already doesn't like the idea of living alone, and it would create more problems than you have now.

I'm very sorry for your predicament, but what I see here is that you worry too much about mom and not enough about you. She's put you in a miserable position, she's manipulated, used you, financially abused you and - well, you think you love each other a lot, but people who love their children don't take advantage of them. The whole point of raising kids is to help them to get to the point where they are independent and can live their best lives. Sad to say, but your mom didn't do that.
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Reply to Fawnby

Because ur young I am going to explain Social Security to you. Your Mom will be able to collect 100% when she is 67. SS only goes back 35 yrs from when u apply for SS. So at 67 SS only looks at Moms earnings from 32 up. Lets say that Mom does not work the next 12 yrs. Her SS will be based on 23 yrs of earnings. Now, if she was married to ex over 10 yrs she will be entitled to half of her Exs SS but may not be enough for her to live on.

You should have never allowed her to live off you. She should be supporting herself. Paying u rent. Even if you don't feel you need the rent, you could set up and acct for her (without her knowledge) for something she may need in the future.

I agree that you need to get Mom to the doctor and get her a good physical. Mom should not be like this at 55. You are so disabling her. And her friend, he is not your problem. Your Mom and he need to understand you will not be allowing them to live with you and not to look to you for any financial help if they plan on living together. They will be on their own.

Why do you not have locks on your bedroom door and the bathroom? Where was Mom raised where it was OK to walk into a couples bedroom and into a bathroom someone is using.

Your Mom is really young but there is early onset Dementia and ur Mom is displaying some symptoms. She should have a Neurological work up to. Print off what you have written and make sure tge doctors she sees get a copy, Once Mom gets a physical, you can then make plans on getting her independent.
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to JoAnn29

You have created and/or allowed for a situation where a young woman of 55 years old is 100% reliant on you for all of her needs and now want to know how to "politely" ask her to become independent? I don't know, is the answer to that question, since she's been treated like a small child up until now! Furthermore, she's hooked up with another dysfunctional adult male who requires care and maintenance as she does. This is a recipe for disaster for YOU if you're not very careful!

The last thing I'd do is move her or the bf onto my property, but away from it and into her own place where she can live however she sees fit. As an adult. And where you can live as as a 24 year old should be from the burden of such a needy mother weighing so heavily on you!

Help her find low cost housing, a car and then get set up in the new place with food, supplies, etc. Get her an appointment with her PCP for a full medical workup to see if there's a reason for her memory issues. If she refuses all of this, see a lawyer about issuing her an eviction notice. My half sister had to do that very thing w her 38 year old deadbeat daughter who won't lift a finger to help out and has lived free of charge w her, jobless, all these years. She created the situation and had to hire a lawyer to get her OUT of it.

Enabling a person to this degree actually winds up disabling them, my friend. Once you allow your mom independence, she will discover what she's capable of. Until then, she's capable of nothing that's not done FOR her by YOU.

Best of luck to you.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to lealonnie1

Hi Kalicat - actually lealonnie and funkygrandma just elaborated all great points and feedback - and I agree with it all !! I hope you read over their messages - over and over to really sink in!

I think the only thing I can add is.....OMG, I understand you had the best intentions to help your mother at the time, but in essence, it enabled her to become totally dependent on've literally removed any reason for her to have purpose in her life - to have a livelihood and earn a living - and handle her life as the adult...because you have allowed her to sit back and be taken care of! It's just about the worst thing you could do for her own future! So, in knowing that, just understand that flipping this around and "undoing" all of this is for her own benefit.

It's a hard call to say it to her "politely" - but I understand it. When it came to my own parents years ago, I also had that problem of not directly saying things because I couldn't find a delicate or polite way, and believe me, they full took advantage, and it only hurt me in the long run. So, if it's easier to convey whatever you need, you can fib a little to be more comfortable in discussing...such as, you can tell her that you can't build the house for her on your property due to zoning laws, or city regulations, or financial constraints, or whatever you come up with! And you can spin it in a positive for her to gain employment...such as, she'll have independence, earn money, her days will be more fulfilling, her brain will keep active, etc - whatever it is, she should still be working at 55 yrs old and expanding her life. And she can't live in your house with you and your fiance - and you can "politely" explain that this arrangement was only temporary and it was never an option because you want her to enjoy her own space and her own life, separate of yours. Your fiance may have gone along with this arrangement, but it'll eventually negatively affect the relationship with him.

The incentive for you doing this - and quickly - is ask yourself if in 40 Plus Years, you want to be on this Aging Care Forum talking about your 95 year old mother who used you all these years and never moved out!
Wishing you all the very best in this!
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to Hopeforhelp22
bundleofjoy May 23, 2023
"ask yourself if in 40 Plus Years, you want to be on this Aging Care Forum talking about your 95 year old mother who used you all these years and never moved out!"

right! oh my goodness...imagine 40 years on AC forum...
Kalicat, welcome!

Did your mom have a normal life (school through at least H.S., job of some sort and family) prior to her divorce?

Or was she always "slow" or limited?

She does not sound like someone with normal intelligence as you describe her right now. The question is, is this a life long disability or is it a new development?

Do you attend her doctor visits with her?
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to BarbBrooklyn

I can't imagine how much harder your life as a wife (and potentially, a mother) will be with your mother's presence and dependence infusing every moment of every day.

Sounds like your mom has major depression. That's HER problem to fix, not yours.

You and your fiance should sit down with her and say, "So you've been here for 3 years and done nothing about being more independent. This is not how we want our married life to look like. You have 2 months to make a new plan, and we'll help you, but by August 1, know that you won't be here anymore."

You deserve better, honey. Don't let her suck you dry.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to TeethGrinder65

First take mom to the doctor since you said you thinks she’s dangerous alone with a stove , and driving.
Go from there to see an appropriate place for her to live BUT NOT WITH YOU .
Like the others said low income apartment , with access to public transportation to hopefully a job.
If the doc says she can’t live alone ask for help with a social worker for possibly a group home situation , where she could possibly take the bus to some sort of job for other adults with limitations .
If she has dementia , social worker can help with placement for that .
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to Way2tired

You and your mom are much too you g to be dealing with this! 55 is middle age.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to PatsyN

I was just a couple of years older than you when my parents got divorced. My mother had never lived alone before and relied on me for everything. Fortunately she was set financially and she bought an antique house to move into. It required a lot of work. I worked full time and had my own house (the family house which I stayed in when my parents moved out because of special needs animals) which needed work as well. It took six months before I could have dinner alone at my house. She kept finding excuses to have me come over then when I got there I’d find that she changed her mind about whatever work the house needed and had made dinner for two. I was doing all the household repairs at the beginning and I had to teach her how to find professionals to do the job. She finally started calling professionals instead of me. It took many months of both joint and individual counseling to help me reinforce limits. When she heard someone else repeat what I tried saying she got the message. Not only was she able to learn how to live on her own but she also eventually moved thousands of miles from me or my brother! Once she finally found her independence she was happier than she had ever been before in her life and a lot of people saw her as a role model! Now that she is in her 90s she still wants to live independently even though now she needs help, and I am now having to help her adjust to the idea of having someone in daily to do things for her!

There is hope and it can be done gently but effectively. Counseling is a very good place to start and you may need to teach your mother some skills but in the end you can regain your freedom and she may go on to find a new, very happy life! You do have to stand firm as everyone has said and a counselor can help with that, but it is worth it and it may make your relationship stronger when you are on equal grounds.
Best of luck!
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to Animallovers

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