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My mom has lived with me and my husband for quite some time (15 years). I've been very close to my mom my entire life. I'm the only daughter (middle child) with 2 brothers who really don't take much of an active role in her care. In their defense, for just a moment, I don't have any children and both of them do and in my older brother's case, grandchildren with whom they are very close and involved. Also, we live in Tampa and 1 of my brothers lives in Orlando (about 2 hours away) so that adds to the challenging situation.


My mom has struggled with depression/anxiety for decades but when she was younger and more active, i.e. working, she had more to do than to focus so much time during the day on her negative thinking. Now that she's home and mostly alone all day during the week and not feeling well, she's really getting worse. We've tried too many antidepressants to name over the years and NONE have helped her. I'm not a fan of those medications for an 82 year old anyway. She's had falls including a hip fracture as a result of a psychiatrist doubling her meds on the first visit. Generally I have found that physicians are quite dismissive of seniors. Personally, I think that my mom likes the attention of clinicians and thinks that if she's "fine" nobody would care about her. It's very sad because that's not true at all.


I feel very blessed to still have my mom with me but I'd like to enjoy her and it's hard to do that now that she's stopped wanting to do anything or as she describes it, "she's not feeling up to it". My mom has lived a life of loss and I can see how she was hurt as a result but holy moly. As a result of all this, my husband's relationship with my mom has really been damaged. He's resentful because he can rarely have my attention when we're home. I'm constantly in the middle and quite honestly I never know where to "stick myself" when my husband is in one room and my mom is in another. It STINKS and I hate it.


I know she's lonely and feels isolated since she doesn't really see anyone during the week during the day except for the 2 folks I have coming in. My work hours are a bit grueling and I'm no spring chicken (just turned 60), although I'm quite "youthful" in appearance (I'm told) and spirit. Most of the time I feel like I'm just banging my head against the wall.


We recently found a mental health therapist who has suggested that we create a schedule so there are guidelines as to when it's "family time", "couple time" and even a little bit of time for just me, which I rarely, if ever, get. We recently implemented that so its too soon to tell how helpful it will be.


I'm convinced that there is isn't anything anybody can recommend that I haven't thought of to help (senior center, YMCA Silver Sneakers program, in home care - which isn't cheap, the list goes on). Currently I have a personal trainer (so she can get a little exercise on a somewhat consistent basis) and a masseuse each coming in once a week.


If anybody has any other thoughts, insights, recommendations, etc. I'd love to hear about it.


Sorry for the lengthy post but as you can probably hear in my words, this weighs very heavily on my mind.


Thank you.
Laura

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Barb, I thought the same thing -- a masseuse and personal trainer? And you get no time to yourself? And I'm also curious -- who is paying for these services? And is your mother paying you for her keep (and how about for her care?)?

I think your husband's feelings are very valid. You have two brothers -- time for them to step up! Time for your mother to go live with one of them, or time for the three of you to put your heads together and decide on an alternative living arrangement for your mother.

What is your mother's financial situation?
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I'm going to sound very unsympathetic here.

You've got a masseuse and a personal trainer coming to visit mom each week? I hope SHE is the one paying for that.

She's being catered to. I wouldn't feel "up to" doing much if I thought folks would do this sort of thing for me.

Are you providing your husband with a similar level of service? And you? Do you get to have a personal trainer too?

Who was prescribing the antidepressants? What makes you think that's what caused mom's fall?

I'm wondering if your mom is quite manipulative and has orchestrated herself into a situation where she says "jump" and you say "how high?"

Feel free to ignore or tell me I'm totally off base. It is simply another way of looking at this situation.
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I empathize with your husband. Is there any way you can move to a home with a “MIL” suite or make a separate place in your home where mom can have her own area with space between them.Or even come to an agreement with your husband that you will have mom have her dinner and back in her room so your husband can have his house back? Maybe he is approaching retirement himself (hubby) and having his MIL live with him is not what he had planned for his retirement. Honestly, can you fault him? Work on a compromise with your husband and acknowledge his feelings.

My MIL stayed with us for 8 weeks post hip replacement and to tell you the truth, all three of us were ready for her to go home when the time came. My MIL as well. She wanted to go home.

Your spouse should come first. It’s his home too. He’s been very patient for 15 yrs and you’ve seen their relationship deteriorate. He has probably had enough.

It sounds like you two are in therapy to help you get through this rough patch. I don’t envy you being torn between the both of them. You may need to make a choice - your husband’s needs vs your mother’s.
You’ll never please them both under the same roof. Splitting your time isn’t working. It sounds like your marriage is in serious trouble & this has been building for years.

So many difficult decisions for you to make. Don’t forfeit your marriage over this. I won’t say your husband is heartless either; he has 15 years under his belt. That’s a long time. God willing your mother can live another 10 years. Are you planning for that? Have you discussed that with your husband & are you willing to place her in a AL or nursing home so you & husband can enjoy retirement? I would begin to explore facilities for her for a plan B.
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Wouldn't she be happier being with people her own age, doing activities? Have you considered placing her in a AL home. Your first obligation is to your husband and your marriage, not her. I don't blame him, 15 years, of this is too much for anyone to handle. Might be time to take control of your life.
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Geaton,

I need to take note of your answer too.

Thanks!
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I’m pretty much in the same boat. I’ve had mom living with us since 2005. She’s a worrier. It’s tough. Mom has Parkinson’s disease but no other major issues, labs come back fine. She doesn’t have diabetes.

My husband is 64. I will be 64 in October.

I do think we need to schedule time just for us. I’m guilty of always being there for mom.

Is she like my mom? A homebody? Mom won’t do any activities either. I’m trying to figure it out too but just wanted to let you know that I certainly empathize with you. Hugs!
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Laura, your first obligation is to your spouse. Second: you are not responsible for your mom's happiness. Not in the past, not now and not in the future. She is obviously not interested in helping herself so there's very little you can do for her in that regard.

What has worked well in my family is a Visiting Angels companion for my 2 aunties in FL, ages 97 and 100. They love their Angel Barbara. She drives them to appointments and takes them grocery shopping, plays cards with them and talks about current events, makes lunch for them and does some light housekeeping. $22 p/hr per person if your mom doesn't require any medical-type help or is a bad fall risk. At first they resisted getting any help but then they liked the company and the pampering. Do yourself and your husband a favor and separate yourself from your mom and then when you do have time together it won't be clouded by exhaustion and resentment. Good luck!
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FLGirl59 Aug 8, 2019
Thanks very much. I appreciate your response/advice. It is difficult to separate myself too much when she lives in my home but I do understand there are ways and with the help my mom's current therapist, we are working on that. :)
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