As most of the regular posters know by now, My mom with Parkinson’s, 93 has lived with us since 2005. In the beginning she could be left alone for a few hours, not anymore.

She can no longer bathe herself, dress herself, cut up her own food, etc. I am worn out. I catch myself wondering how much further her disease will progress. She has mobility issues and it’s becoming very hard for her to lift her legs over the tub to get to her shower chair. Getting out of tub is hard for her too. I purchased the car cane for her to have help getting in and out of car for doctor appointments and she said it was a help. Now she won’t even try to use it. She now asks me to scoot her walker up close and she struggles very hard to stand up.

Anyway, the nursing homes in Louisiana are not rated well at all. They are at the bottom of the list. I went to visit and they are horrible.

There are nice assisted living facilities. They have inquired about her health and at this point they will accept her. They say hospice will be available when she needs it. They say if I wait until she has another fall that causes severe damage that she will have to do a nursing home which I don’t want.

She has funds in CDs. Not an enormous amount but she has it divided between her children. I have two brothers. I need to convince her to free that money up for her care. She told me years ago if she gets to be too much to handle to place her somewhere. I absolutely know she would hate the nursing home l went to. I hated it. Assisted living is not cheap, will look into veteran funds too. She has social security, so we should come close and my husband and I will have to pay the rest. I guarantee my brothers won’t pay a dime, but that’s another story.

Best suggestions for bringing up topic? Will she freak out when I tell her that I toured them on Saturdays when my husband was able to be with her. I’m counting on your advice, experience and wisdom. Thanks.

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My dad was born in 1921 but he had no sons so he's stuck with me. Actually it is a family pseudo-joke that he loves my husband more than me. (Started out as funny but after close to 50 years later the joke has worn thin.)

So from your answer I'm assuming your brother has Power of Attorney? If yes, then try to get that changed. If you can't get it moved to you make him attend every event where paperwork might potentially be signed, even the smallest things. That's what my friend had to do. He brother was constantly having to travel from GA to FL to deal with paperwork, insurance, banks, etc. Finally, even he realized this was insane.

Also know that you will get through this. Keep your eye on the prize which is getting your mom into a safe environment where she has the care she needs and you can go back to being a daughter.
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Thanks so much for the advice. Wow, your dad is older than mom! I’m going to see what I can do. I hope my conversation with mom goes well. Sad thing, this is all about her. So she will be safe. If all of this works out well and I can place her in assisted living I plan on visiting her very often.

I get concerned about her not having any type of relationship with anyone but me. All of her friends are dead. Majority of relatives are dead too. She won’t go to a senior center.

Okay, another question please if you don’t mind. The assisted living facilities said that they encourage socializing with others. Do you feel that is true or just hype?
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I just noticed in your write-up that your brother is executor of her will, which kicks in at her death, but I wondered if you had a power of attorney to make financial/medical, etc decisions right now. You'll need both a medical power of attorney and a general power of attorney. If not you need to get that ASAP. I found it was essential when getting all the paperwork organized, financial stuff arranged for payment, etc that I be able to sign for him. Having a power of attorney for someone doesn't mean that they are incompetent to make decisions but it does allow you to execute the decisions (and make them, too.) I carried a copy of the general power of attorney in my car I needed so often, even for getting the telephone and cable hook-up activated for his apartment.

My friend was the caregiver and her brother who lived at a distance had the power of attorney and it was a nightmare getting things organized and signed. Her brother finally acknowledged that the hassle of him having to travel to sign paperwork was just to much to deal with and had their dad change the power of attorney to her.
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I only have medical power of attorney. It’s a bit strange or shall I say that my mom is a product of that generation (sexist). She was born in 1925! Do you know what I mean? Women are the nurturers and men hold important roles. Yeah, it stinks.

I only have 2 daughters but if I had sons, I would not view my daughters as not capable of doing what sons can do. Especially if it were my daughter doing everything in the world for me like I do for my mom. Thanks for reaching out. Means a lot to me.
The fact that your brother will be executor doesn't come into this AT ALL, who has POA?

Its easy for people who aren't doing any of the heavy lifting to think more help isn't needed, but when they are told you can't bear it alone anymore the only reason to discount your pleas for help would be self centred indifference. Tell your brothers to put up or shut up, as simple as that.

As for your mom's reaction - when I first started to help my mom she had something happen that made it impossible for her to get out of bed, and since I was new to caregiving I thought a nursing home was the only option (I worked out a way to keep her home but that came later). I cried, and mom cried and told me she understood, a loving parent should understand if there is no other option.
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I can see how much you cared. I do too. I love my mom. I only have medical power of attorney and that is only because my mom’s primary care doctor told my mother and myself I needed that.

My mom falls and the doctor was concerned that if she was unable to speak because she was unconscious, it would become a nightmare so she encouraged my mom to allow me to become medical power of attorney.

Plus, I am the only one that brings my mom back and forth to doctors and hospital.
From your description you've already reached the point where you can no longer care for her and it's soon going to be impossible. At the impossible point you'll have no options and will need to have her move to a nursing home, which neither of you want. It's best to get her into Assisted Living now while they will still accept her rather than waiting til the last moment to discover she won't be accepted.

She's not going to like the idea even if she does understand the need. Not knowing your mother I don't know if it will be hurt feelings, tears, disappointment or anger that you are touring Assisted Living Facilities without her consent but she probably won't like it because it means that change is coming. My experience was that "tough love" was the only real option. For three years my father kept making excuses why the move to assisted living was unnecessary, why it was the wrong time, why the available unit was unacceptable, etc. and I struggled to meet his needs. Finally, I had to just tell him that it was no longer his decision and that I had to insist that I also deserved a life and that he was being selfish and that if he actually loved me he'd make the move. (Actually, finally moving to assisted living was the first loving thing he'd done for me in my entire life.) After a year in his assisted living apartment I can honestly say that it has been good for both of us. I can enjoy visiting or taking him to breakfast or out for a haircut without it being just one more chore. He admits that moving when we first discussed it would have been better because now due to more physical and sight limitations he isn't as able to make friends and participate in activities as he would have been earlier.

In the decision making process I was lucky because as an only-child I didn't have any siblings to second guess me or for my dad to appeal to. Make certain that they know that you, as the caregiver, hold all the cards here and that they can't side with your mom if she doesn't want to make the move unless they are willing to take her into their homes for her care.

At my dad's assisted living facility they check your finances to assure that you can afford the first year, just like any apartment lease. They also have someone that will help you look into veteran's benefits.

It's not easy to have the discussion with your parent and have to be the disciplinarian but sometimes we have to make hard, but loving, decisions.
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Thanks, yes you were lucky that it was only you and your dad deciding. My brothers don’t think caring for mom is a big deal because they don’t deal with it. One does have health issues but even before his medical situation he never helped. The other one always did his own thing too.

I just hope it’s feasible. Of course I want her to be happy and at peace but seems like some older people become miserable for a variety of reasons. She was not a miserable person earlier in life. She was a warm and loving mom. I miss that person that she once was. I do hold those memories close to my heart.
"Mom, remember how you saved up some of your retirement money so when the time came, you woudn't be a burden to the family? It's time we start using that money now so you will be able to be in a better place before you get to the point where you need a nursing home, cause then you don't have choices. I've been looking at assisted living places, and there is a really great one I want you to see. I talked to the owner, and she understands you don't really need full time care yet but want to get established early on while you can chose your place. She's real nice and I want to set us up to move you in on the 1st of next month. Won't this be grand!"

Any objections can be redirected to how great it will be to have an established place so she won't need to go to a nursing home. Hopefully, if she does need a nursing home in the future, she won't remember this conversation - and if she does, you tell her that the requirements changed. Shrug.
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Thanks, I like the way the worded that. Helps. Sometimes we feel lost, confused and just plain overwhelmed being a caregiver and need people with experience to step in and point out what is best.
Can you not just lay it all out for her?
Mom, I'm sorry but I just can't do it anymore, you need more help than I can give you. I've been looking around at the options and I found a nice looking place that I think you will like, but it's expensive. I know you were hoping to leave something behind for the family some day but we're going to have to tap into your savings to make this work.
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Thanks, I’m going to try. As I said, I am nervous about mom’s reaction because she has grown so dependent on me but even more so about my brothers because all their lives they have mismanaged their finances and they are looking forward to mom’s cash. Here’s the thing as well, she made my younger brother the executor to the will. Please help me figure this out.
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