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I have been getting mounting pressure from my mom and siblings to take my mother in my home and care for her. She lives alone now and does ok. I care for her as much as possible as I live an hour away and work full time. But I am seeing signs of mild dementia on and off. Her personality changes and incontinence issues are the biggest things. She has been pressuring me for some time but now my brother and sister are doing and saying little things that make me think they want me to take her. Mom is 93 and I am in my sixties. My brother is in his mid seventies and my sister has a disabled son. So they cannot do it. How can I say no and have them understand that I just don’t want to be tied down to a 93 year old person with dementia just when I can start living my life. I have sacrificed for a long time. Working to put my kids through college. It was tough for years. Now I am finally on my feet and close to retirement. I’d like to have some leisure time for myself. I could still care for mom but just don’t want her in my house 24/7. She’s a handful. But it just doesn’t go down well with them.

It's hard to say "No" when you are the, perhaps, obvious choice, but you still need to.

I think meeting with your siblings to put the subject of mum's increasing needs and care on the table is a good idea, so the hints can be openly voiced, options discussed and duties shared, as appropriate. I made it clear for years that I would not take my mother into my home. I did agree to be POA financial and medical which is something that needs to be discussed with your mum and sibs. If she is in early dementia she can still appoint a POA. That needs to be done asap.

When mum pressures you about moving to your home, gently answer that you love her and will always see that she is looked after. She is probably sensing her own decline and needs reassurance that her offspring will care for her.

You and your sibs need to discuss and look into suitable facilities, financial resources (medicaid application if there aren't any), and evaluation of your mum's dementia. She needs to have a needs assessment so you know what type of facility she would fit into.

"How can I say no and have them understand that I just don’t want to be tied down to a 93 year old person with dementia just when I can start living my life."

You can say no even if they don't understand. That they understand is not necessary. It would be nice and might help cooperation, but it is not necessary. You say it will not go down well with your sibs. You are not alone. Many here have critical sibs, who, on the other hand will not lift a finger to help. We get a tougher skin, look after ourselves and look after our parent as works for us. Having POA and being a supportive daughter is still a lot of work.

Stay firm, don't explain, state what you are prepared and not prepared to do, don't expect understanding. If you get it great. If not, oh well.

I was POA from a distance - physically and emotionally. Both my mother was and my sister is a handful, to say the least. Mother finally passed in 2018 aged 106 in a nursing home, having been first in assisted living. I was 80 at the time. You are wise to plan for some enjoyment in your retirement. I managed to have some trips and new experiences even though I was POA and aging myself.

Please come back and let us know how you are and how things are going. ((((((hugs))))))
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Momsgoto May 4, 2020
God bless you for your well stated reply. I will take your wise advice. It means a great deal that you have walked in my shoes.
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One of the best things I ever learned was that I don’t owe others an explanation for my decisions. As a fully formed grown up I have a right to my decisions and don’t have to justify, explain, or defend. Please give yourself this freedom. Ignore all talk of your mother living with you and when you’re directly asked, say it won’t be possible. No discussions of why, but you can offer to help her find a suitable place to go or help in her own home. It’s one of the joys of being an adult, we get to decide! I wish you the best
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disgustedtoo May 5, 2020
Yup. NO excuses needed or required. We don't answer to anyone but ourselves. Doesn't matter if it is family, friends or people on this site (there are a few) who think it would be better for you to take this on. It is NONE of their business and we don't owe them ANY explanation.

As Daughterof1930 says, the discussion should be focused on WE need to get EVERYTHING in order to ensure mom is cared for properly. If she has a home and/or savings, these need to be handled in a way that the funds will cover her care. Elder Care attorney can assist with this prep, and can also help if mom has no assets (Medicaid.) naela.org can help find EC attys in your area using your zip code. Research places with available space. Draw up all questions for EC atty and the facilities you call to inquire about. They all, including the attys, have different rates, different services covered by those rates, extra charges for services beyond the "basics", and TOUR the ones that interest you, when you can of course. Ask questions - facilities will talk their places up, so you'll want to see it for yourself. Usually EC attys will allow a first limited consult for free. Go with the one that makes the best impression, not just the best price!

By getting prepared NOW, hopefully when the time comes (soon enough!) everything will be ready to go. If moving is delayed because of the virus, you could explore hiring help - you might have to accompany them initially, until she becomes used to having them there.

Any assets mom has should be used to cover costs (aides, facility, EC atty.)
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Hello - it seems like you feel guilty a little for not wanting your mom in your house. Understandable. But you aren't obligated. It also seems like you might have difficulty being direct "no".

From someone who had lots of therapy to say "no" - you can start the conversation politely "what options should we consider for mom's future care?" with your siblings. if they nominate you - politely decline "no, i am not able to do that, her care needs are beyond my ability and will only increase" and do not explain more. Any argument about wanting leisure time, etc will be railroaded by siblings. The explanation is that mom needs more care than you can provide - so the conversation needs to be around where will she get that care - what type of living arrangement. (assisted living, etc)

An arrangement that does not depend on you to spend 24/7 or significant time being hands on. You will have involvement in her care as will your siblings. But you will not be providing the hands on care.
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Supooh May 5, 2020
great response and healthy approach for “momsgoto”. She can still love her mom and help her while she gets the care she needs at a facility which will give her peace of mind as well. I know all to well how caring for a difficult parent can affect our mental and physical health.
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Well, I don't think you should have to explain the 'whys' to your siblings. It just won't work for you, PERIOD. You don't need justification, you don't need reasons or excuses.............you just can't do it. I would never in a million years care for my 93 y/o mother in my home! No two ways about it. She lives in Memory Care and it's always something over THERE. I can't even imagine what it would be like over HERE! On Monday she had a 'huge corn' on her pinkie toe that was KILLING HER. When the nurse came and saw absolutely nothing whatsoever on her toe, she suddenly let go of that story. On Wednesday, she was 'throwing up and throwing up and throwing up' and had to use a plastic 'puke bucket' all day, but meanwhile, she was REALLY having some acid reflux and regurgitating about a teaspoon of fluid. Her doctor comes into the ALF once a week which is a GODSEND. Being wheelchair bound, there's no way I could possibly get her back & forth to a doctor's office, especially for fabricated problems. And that is just ONE tiny detail out of 1,000 details to deal with on an ongoing basis at home. Let's face it.

My cousin who lives in Staten Island NY is fond of telling my mother she'd LOVE to have her come live with HER!! Um, then why hasn't she come to get her yet, after being in Assisted Living for 6 years now? You know why? Because talk is cheap, that's why. It sounds good for my cousin to make those noises but not mean a word of it. It's very very difficult to care for a demented elder inside of one's home. And, at your age (and my age), we should NOT have to be doing it! It's just too much, the incontinence issue alone.

Remember: it doesn't have to 'go down well' with your siblings that you are not taking your mother into your home. If they don't like it, too bad. See about getting her placed in Memory Care Assisted Living, or into Skilled Nursing with Medicaid. And if that doesn't work for your siblings, THEY can take her in their home, regardless of their reasons why they can't.

Best of luck!
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disgustedtoo May 5, 2020
LOVE the cheap talk! Both my brothers, after their "introduction" to facility costs, said "Gee for that kind of money, I'll take her in." Sure they will. Never happened. Which is a good thing. OB is clearly abusive and has ZERO patience for ANYTHING, never mind a person over 90 with dementia. YB is still working, no room in his GF's condo (and has done nothing about separating from his wife about FOUR years ago - bit scatter-brained.)

I had done some research, knew a bit about what to expect and had a rough idea of costs, and already knew BEFORE dementia that living with me wasn't going to work! Note that like lealonnie1 says, even living in a facility requires our time and effort to be advocate and ensure they are cared for, just without the struggle of hands-on. Thankfully mom and dad had saved, and there was enough still to ensure she could afford a nice place. Her money, not ours, so it *SHOULD* be used for her care, not for us to inherit!
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No. No. No.

I couldn't possibly do that. No

No.

No.

No.

Mom needs more care, there are some lovely facilities that provide 24/7 care for people that have that need. How about all 3 of us pick 2 that we really feel will meet mother's needs and work together to pick the best one.

Live with me? No.

Quite frankly they both could care for mom, you just have been chosen by them for this. It makes it easier for them. Don't buy into their wants. This is your life and you need to stand up for yourself and not be browbeat into doing something that you don't want to do.

It takes a village to care for an adult that can no longer care for themselves. You are not a village.
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jacobsonbob May 5, 2020
Yes. I was thinking that the brother, just because he is in his mid-70s, may be just as capable as "Momsgoto" and the sister is probably already at home with her disabled son (who, depending upon his disability, might not require as much hands-on care as their mother would). I'm just adding this because I think the siblings are simply assuming the OP, because of the age difference (but how old is the sister?), etc., is the logical candidate to take on this task.
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How do you say no?

"I'm physically and mentally unable to care for mom in my house 24/7."
"Mom's needs exceed my ability to care."
"If one of you (dear brother and sister) want to do it, go ahead."
"I work full-time. I can only help mom with xyz, for __ hours __ days a week. Someone else has to help her with the rest of her needs"
"Mom is incontinent, which of you wants to clean her lady parts, cuz I don't."
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cherokeegrrl54 May 2, 2020
Excellent response!!
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I have to agree. Undertaking caretaking when you are ready, willing and able is hard enough; going into it because you're being guilted into it is a recipe for disaster. Is there any reason why mom can't go into assisted living if she needs help? I think you should tell everyone, gently but firmly, no, this is not a job you are willing to do. You deserve to have a life, too.
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You are not saying no to helping your mom. You are saying no to shouldering the total complete burden of her care. That is what you need to tell your siblings. Of course, your siblings don't like your honesty but it is not their lives that will change if your mom moves in your home. Yes-they want you to take her. Caring for an aging parent will quickly consume your life. Incontinence and dementia are not easy to deal with and will get worse. I agree with FloridaDD look around your community for care options, consult an attorney for Medicare availability. Do these things before it reaches a crisis situation.
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disgustedtoo May 5, 2020
"You are not saying no to helping your mom. You are saying no to shouldering the total complete burden of her care."

I concur 100%!!! We moved our mother to MC, but despite what the brothers think, there is still a lot of time and effort put into ensuring her care, getting supplies not provided, visiting, etc. It just takes the heavier burden off and allows you to ADVOCATE for her and VISIT her, allows you to be her DAUGHTER, not her nurse maid.

Although I realize the siblings have issues and think this is okay because OP doesn't, that doesn't cut it. It is still a huge undertaking. Some might remain meek and mild-mannered, but in general that is not the case, and all the extra work, lack of sleep, etc WILL take a toll.
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To quote my sister in law (who loved my mom dearly) "well, I always thought mom would come live with us, but with this dementia thing and the delusions, no, not happening".

Dementia is a one way street. It does not get better. But it IS better to get someone with early dementia into a facility while they still have some skills that will allow them to adjust.

You are perfectly justified in saying that moving in with you is not the best care plan for mom. She needs professionals, not tired and retired children, caring for her.
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I have to agree with the comments suggesting that you just say no. Although a lot of people will disagree with your decision, and disagree with this post, we personally had to make this decision a long time ago and it was the right thing to do. The people who condemned us have moved on. My mother-in-law was fine mentally, but physically was giving out. We were under pressure to take her in by her friends and church. But, these people knew only the woman she wanted them to see, and not the woman we knew her to be. All of the children knew what would happen to their lives and their marriages if one of us decided to take her in. I knew this woman for over 40 years and I could go into detail about what problems she caused through our married life, but I'll let my husband's 3 other siblings multiple failed marriages speak for that. She was intrusive and manipulative, a thing my husband recognized around our third year of marriage, and he was the only one who was able to distance himself from her manipulations and handle her in a way that allowed us to remain part of the "family" but immune to her attacks. But, we also recognized that living with these attacks 24/7 would wear on us, and we know better than to invite this into our home when there are workable alternatives. Every family situation is different, and you have to decide for yourself. Making sure your mother is safe and cared for, in my opinion, is your responsibility, be it at her home with caregivers, in a nursing home, etc. Being pressured by outsiders who could never know your actual situation will always be an issue, but go with your gut and don't let other people guilt you into doing something you are going to regret. Yes, their comments and snubs will hurt and be hard to take, but you don't owe anybody any explanation for your decisions, you have to do what is right for you. We made this decision 8 years ago, and still get asked why we didn't you let her move in with us, but we just say "we made the decision that was right for Mom and the family." Good luck! Stay strong, and know there are those of us who completely understand and have made the same hard decisions and lived through it.
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jacobsonbob May 5, 2020
Good points. I wonder how many of the "guilt-trip travel agents" have spent years in hands-on caring for a parent or other elderly person. The condition of an elderly person having physical issues and dementia will get "worse, worser, and worserer" over time, perhaps driving the caretaker crazy or dead before reaching "worser-est"--a play-on-words that sums up what most of the hands-on caretakers posting here have described.

As I posted once before, I knew a widow who was taking care of a still-older person in her home (I believe she was earning some extra money this way). I mentioned that the older woman always seemed so pleasant when I visited. The caretaking woman said "Oh, you haven't seen what she's like when no one is visiting!" Some people spend their entire lives being "two-faced", and it certainly doesn't improve when they get older, especially if dementia creeps into the picture! (And some who WEREN'T normally two-faced become that way due to dementia which STILL causes problems even if the caretaker tries to overlook it.)

I hope the OP takes the warnings, posted by so many here from first-hand experience, seriously!
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