My mom is 78 years old, she is basically blind and simply will not listen to me when I tell her she needs to use her walker or ask her to stop doing something for her own safety. My husband and I bought property in the mountains with two homes so my parents could still feel like they had some independence. Their house is 25 steps away from my front door to their front door. Today, I caught her outside, standing on a flimsy little wood side table they use outside, hammering in screws, not nails, for the flag pole I told them I would instal for them tomorrow. She keeps telling me she won’t fall, but before we moved she fell on concrete and luckily she didn’t break anything! She couldn’t even get off this side table today when I helped her down. She didn’t even have her walker with her outside, she hardly keeps her balance and almost falls backwards when getting out of a vehicle. My husband and I are in our late 30s, and I feel it’s unfair for my husband to constantly worry about them and seeing them do dangerous things, and it’s not for lack of me trying to get them to just stop these things. We have a toddler with seizure issues and autistic along with 10 year old daughter and an 11 year old autistic son. We already have enough stress during the day along with all the issues we have to handle with this property. I just barely got her to stop watering plants outside that don’t need to be watered because of mice and snakes up here that we have never dealt with before. Mice are finally under control, but it took months of me trying to get her to stop watering, and now that the mice are gone, I fear she will start watering again! We don’t want to send them to a home. How do I get her to listen? Do I take their tools away from them? Because with my dads recent stroke, he’s changed and now I’m worried he will go and try to fix something in their house and get hurt. I already took away the step ladder out of their home since my dad can’t stand up straight and my mom cannot see. My mom has always been so stubborn when it comes to anything I ask of her, my whole life. I feel like I’m dealing with teenagers with the comprehension of a toddler. Sorry if this seems more like I am venting than asking for suggestions. This is hard on me and sometimes I feel like it’s unfair to me since my sister who is in her 50s won’t help and I shouldn’t be dealing with this at the age I’m at. If this was my husband's parents I’d be getting onto him a lot too if they did this. What do we do?!!!

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Just wanted to tell everyone thank you for all your answers. With taking each and every answer with me when I went to speak with them, it turned into a crying session but I finally got through to both of them! Well, mostly my mom cause my father has always been one to just go with the flow. Ha. I had actually called her doctor and asked what the best solution would be and she said she would call her the day after our convo to let her know she will be keeping in contact with me. All is well and I feel for now, I can breath. Of course my husband and kids come before anything, but my husband and I do equal work for them. We dont always get to everything we need to that day, unless it’s an emergency. We even changed their diet after my dads last stroke. Something they took easily thank goodness. And we know as time goes on they will need more and more help but we have that point figured out. It was just the here and now I needed some help with. Again, thank you all!
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Cris123

Sometimes, experience is not only the best teacher, it is the only teacher.
Your mom may not listen to you for several reasons.
I work with elders and find that it is generally:
1) they do not listen because they cannot due to dementia / brain changes.
2) people want to fiercely maintain their independence, unfortunately, often resulting in accidents (falling, etc.)
1+2) a combination of both of the above.
3) Perhaps, the best you could do is 'take sharp objects' away although this doesn't seen practical. If you need to do this, she likely needs a caregiver or be in assisted living.
4) I don't view the situation as 'being stubborn' although I understand your comparison (teenagers). Perhaps the behavior is similar although the outcome could be deadly.
5) Often personal / family relationships result in a person not listening to the same message that is delivered / expressed / communicated by another person - a 3rd party, much like a therapist. Family is 'too close' - and whatever you say is filtered through the mother-daughter relationship over the decades.
6) Unfortunately, she may have an accident before heeding your advice and even then, she may repeat the behavior.
As an aside, I would be very careful though if she is still driving - take action.
7) The more you push the more she or both your parents may retaliate. It sounds like it may be time for them to go into assisted living. Depends perhaps on if you want to continue waiting until something (more) serious happens.

Its good to vent here and you have our listening open ears.
Perhaps have someone else talk to them - are any social services involved?
Would or could there be a family therapy session with a social worker or some social service agency?

Do what you need to do. Perhaps letting go (of them living next to you) is the first step - a very difficult one. Perhaps this is why you wrote here - to hear it is time they move and that is (one of) the hard part(s) for you.

I wish you the best and keep writing us here. Venting is therapy
Gena / Touch Matters
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to TouchMatters

My grandmother had a saying that she wanted to wear out, not rust out. She worked harder than most men. As she got older, in to her 80's, I think she continued to do things (unsafe) because everyone had always commented on how much she could lift, carry, work outside all day, etc. The neighbors called us when they caught her on her roof sweeping pine needles. I got there one time to find her scooting on her butt up a steep hill - out of the creek bed - with two 5gal buckets of gravel to put in her driveway. We had a talk.

I knew how independent she was, so I asked her if she still wanted to wear our instead of rust out. I told her that climbing on the ladder onto the roof would eventually be the fall that put her in a bed to rust out - or worse if she hit her head. I reminded her that it was no longer necessary to crawl on her hands and knees to handwash the kitchen floors - we could do those things when we visited. She was mad, but she thought about it a good long while and I let her stew over it. Finally, she said I was right. She definitely did not want to end her life laying in a bed for months or years. She let me take the ladder. I told her to make a list of things she wanted done. If we couldn't get there soon enough, we would get someone in her lake area to come sooner.

It's time to have that chat with your parents. When they ignore safety and finally take the big fall, are they going to be happy in a nursing home where they have to wait on someone to wipe their rear or rearrange a pillow behind their head. Paint the worst case scenario for them and see if they get it. Don't leave any tools over there. Ask mom to make a list of chores that would overdo her abilities. Just a jar with a note pad tied to it. When she thinks of something, write it down and drop it in.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to my2cents


You certainly have your hands full. You may have bitten off more than you can chew.

Your first priority is to your husband and children. You have children with special needs, so you have challenges that require even more attention than usual.

It’s clear that you love your parents. It’s wonderful that they appreciate your kindness and love their grandchildren.

It is difficult to see the larger picture when you are smack dab in the middle of a situation. You’re too close to this situation to be objective about your circumstances.

It would be nice if you could prevent a serious accident by speaking to them about their limitations. You have tried speaking to them. They haven’t taken your warnings seriously.

Sadly, your parents are delusional in their thinking about what they can do. They don’t feel as if they are aging. Who wants to feel like a senior citizen? Everyone wants to be 21 in their mind but that isn’t their reality!

Fortunately, they have a daughter that knows better and realizes that they do have limitations and you are right to be concerned about their well being. You can’t possibly watch over them continually because you have your own lives to contend with.

I really like disgustedtoo’s suggestion, if they have money allocated for a facility then use a portion of that money to pay for caregivers to be with them. She also made a good suggestion about this person being a ‘fix it’ type of person for minor projects. Let them hire people to do other major repairs.

Look past your immediate emotional responses to this situation. Look at what is best overall, for now and in the future. They will continue to depend on you more and more. You children will require and deserve your full attention. How will you realistically balance all of this?

Don’t place your parents needs ahead of your own family. Choose what is best for you. Your parents will adapt. Just because some people have had negative experiences in facilities, doesn’t mean that they will.

I was extremely close to my grandparents but I didn’t see them on a daily basis. We had Sunday dinner together and sometimes visits during the week. My grandparents didn’t expect to see us every single day. They do not have to see your children on a daily basis in order to be close to them. They can call to speak to them daily on the phone if they like and you can visit as often as it is convenient for you.

Wishing you and your family all the best.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to NeedHelpWithMom

She doesn't want to believe that she is old, lol. You can agree and tell her that she isn't old but, the body she is living in is. As with all old homes we need to use more tlc and be gentler than we would with a brand new, solidly built one.

I had to tell both of my parents that they were free to do as they choose. Goes both ways and I would not be paying the consequences for their bad choices. I also made it very clear that they could do something without thinking and they would lose all of their choices, because being dead isn't the worse thing that could happen. Did it help? Maybe, they still take risks, at least my mom does, I lost my dad in December and I think that his bad choices contributed to his demise but, he was happy and that was really all I cared about.

Give them the reality of what could happen and then let them make their choices. It is the best you can do.

If they have the room, it might be a good idea to get someone on board now so they can stay in their home as long as possible. I think that you have a good grasp of the situation and I agree that they would not do well not seeing the grandchildren daily. A broken heart truly can cause death.

They are very blessed to be a part of your family. It speaks well of them as parents and they surely raised a darling in you.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Isthisrealyreal

At some point there may be no choice but to find a safe caring place for them. In the meantime, you wish to keep them close by and watch over them. However, trying to watch over them 24/7 is tough, especially when you are raising several young children.

Not sure what kind of "home" others were in, but as several have posted here, most are not what they were even 10-20 years ago. Granted those you have mentioned are a hike for you to visit, but again, as things progress, it will suck up more and more of your time, energy and patience! The older they get, the more help they will need.

They (mom in particular) clearly aren't listening to you. Could she have some early signs of dementia? My mother didn't think she had a problem - in the early stages it is very hard to realize dementia is creeping in. If it wasn't for mom's repetition of statements or questions over and over, it would have been even longer before I realized there was a problem afoot. While she was still living in her own place, her take on being forgetful was that she was old and entitled to forget! Problem there was she was not aware how much she was forgetting. Perhaps your mother isn't really ignoring you or being petulant, but rather forgets what you said (along with their sense of being younger than they really are - this was evident with my mother also. Her self-image changed over time, esp since she was "living" her life about 40+ years ago. For that matter, I don't really feel my age either - I do know my limitations, but still feel like I did long ago otherwise!)

You indicate they have sufficient funds for a "home", so why not use some of that to hire a companion, perhaps one with a little bit of tinkering know-how (to tackle mom's fix-its)? It wouldn't need to be 24/7, assuming they stay in at night and sleep all night. It might not even need to be all day every day, since you will have time to chip in. If mom balks, just say you've hired this person to help YOU (which on some level IS true) because you are so busy with house and kids, and they offer to lend a hand to help mom and dad too.

Check with several agencies to see what they have to offer. Be specific about what kind of companion you are seeking. It may take trying several before you find the one that "clicks" best with them, probably mom is the one to focus on as she sounds like she would be the one who might throw the monkey wrench in. If you are that far off the beaten path, it might be more difficult to find someone, but you won't know until you try. Agencies might also know of independent assistants (be sure they are vetted and take care of all taxes, withholding, etc. Agency hires cover these already. If not, you would be responsible for all the tax, liability ins, workman's comp, SS, etc - not something I would want to take on!) You really don't need, yet, a CNA, just a companion who might be able to wield a hammer or a screwdriver,
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to disgustedtoo
disgustedtoo May 28, 2021
The early signs of dementia aren't always obvious. I only just thought of these.

In retrospect, mom actually had some very subtle signs, but know nothing about dementia at that time, I didn't "see" it. Since she lived alone and the "thought" didn't pop into her head all the time, it wasn't that repetitive, but she did accuse one person (painter, either son or grandson of a friend) of taking broken jewelry she had set aside to "cash in." It's more likely that she already tried that (if not gold, not worth anything) or misplaced/tossed them.

The other was OB - he was there for a few days with family. When he went home, she insisted her took her tweezers, several times. Seriously mom? Tweezers? They're like $2!! I bought another to quiet her.

After we moved her to MC, during clearing I found THREE in the bathroom drawer and about 5-6 in a plastic container in a dresser drawer!

As for safety, listening and understanding, that goes out the window as well. Again, she lived alone, so I never saw all the things she might have done that would make me cringe. While trying to discuss AL with her (it had been in her own plans before dementia got in the way), she was dismissive. You'd think it was a dirt hovel the way she talked (she'd gone to MANY of the free tours and dinners they would have, so no, they weren't like that!) Anyway, when I asked what she would do if she fell and couldn't get to the phone. Her reply was "I don't go downstairs." I pushed further by saying I never mentioned the stairs. She waved me off. That said, she did INDEED go down those stairs! The place isn't that old, but for a 55+ community, those stairs are awful! I hated going down them! YB had installed a few cameras, so we could keep track, mainly on who came/went. Once she was rummaging through some jewelry stored down there (finished basement) and saw the camera. She picked it up, looked at it, rotated it around, couldn't figure out what it was! But, she WAS downstairs. The other incident involved her small Xmas tree. During one visit, I saw it in pieces on the LR floor. So, she went down there, brought it up, but couldn't set it up. Later there is video showing the pieces at the bottom of the stairs.

So, despite saying she wouldn't go down the stairs, she DID! Admonitions to not do things, to be safe, aren't going to be retained. In addition, as noted, their self-image isn't what they are today, but some time in the past, when they were younger and more capable, so they DO try these "risky" things.
Cris, is this 'Crisis waiting to happen?'

Your parents have landed on your doorstep like little birds with broken wings, needing a lot of care & a whole lot of supervision. My HUGE huge sympathies.

What to do?

Go mad trying to watch them 24/7 keeping them safe?
Go mad trying to meet all their increasing needs?
Go mad trying to make them understand reason?
Go mad moving them to a new location?

Which to choose?

I will have some suggestions, but definately read up on Anosognosia. Very common after stroke & with start of cognitive impairment too.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Beatty

Cris, read this:,symptoms%20or%20a%20formal%20diagnosis.

Some folks don't have the ability to see their own decline.

Understand what you are dealing with. Perhaps if you framed it that DAD woukd be safer, she mighten be more willing
Many folks here are in the position of "waiting for a fall" that sends their parent to the hospital, then rehab, theen long term care.

Folks with insight into their own aging understand that if they listen to folks who have their best interests at heart, they may get to avoid the pain and disablement of a broken hip or head and be able to spend some pleasant time in an Independent or Assisted Living place with good companions and great meals.

Those "feisty" or "fiercely independent" types don't fare so well.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to BarbBrooklyn
Cris123 May 25, 2021
I just realized commenting on another answer that my mom gets onto my dad badly when he isn’t being safe, but she is doing the same thing to me as my dad does to her. Something to point out to her tomorrow when I do speak with them about this matter. Thank you for the article. Made me realize a lot about this whole time that she hasn’t been able to see well for 3 years. Makes sense now.
Well, basically, you don't get them to stop doing whatever the heck they want to do. Then something bad happens, they go to the hospital, then rehab, and rehab determines they can't live alone anymore. Then you decide what to do next: get in home caregivers for them or send them off to Assisted Living or Skilled Nursing if they're too far gone with health/mobility issues for Assisted Living (AL). As much as you don't want to 'send them to a 'home'', sometimes it's the only rational answer.

If you take away the step stools and ladders, then your mother stands on the flimsy wood table instead. If you take away the flimsy wood table, she'll stand on a kitchen chair. I know, b/c my parents did the same thing. In fact, my 85 year old at the time mother would cross the HUGE and busy intersection to get to Walgreens to pick up a prescription when I specifically told her I'd do it for her that day. When I went into Walgreens and found her standing at the pharmacy counter, I tapped her on the shoulder. She nearly jumped out of her skin when she saw it was me & she said, "What are YOU doing here?" I said, "Let me ask YOU the same question mother." It only went downhill from there, with dad refusing to use his walker, falling & breaking a hip, and me having to move heaven & earth to get them both placed in AL.

Being that your mother has been so stubborn your whole life, you can only expect things to worsen as she ages. With your dad having had a stroke, expect both of them to need more and more help as time progresses, and the possibility of dad developing dementia to boot. Have a plan, then a back up plan, and then another. Scope out the ALs in your area (if they have enough $$ to private pay) so you'll have a plan in place if/when they need to be placed. Some ALs have waiting lists and it's never a bad idea to get onto it NOW for possible use down the road. Connect with an in-home care Agency like Home Instead or Visiting Angels to see what services they provide and how much notice they need for you to enlist their help. Be prepared for them to ask to come into the home for an evaluation, however.........there's always rigmarole involved with these agencies. Always. Decide how much hands-on caring YOU plan to do for them when the time comes, and go from there. And how much $$$ they have to pay in-home caregivers vs. the monthly cost of AL, should their care needs become excessive. In home care can add up to very high numbers very quickly.

My point in all this is to say: Prepare yourself for the worst with the elders and have your ducks lined up.

It may be unfair to you to not have your sister involved, and for you to be dealing with this at all. I am an only child with no siblings to call on, and have been dealing with my parents for the past 10 years, alone, with only my DH to help me out. My dad passed in 2015 after breaking his hip, and my mother is now 94+ and living in Memory Care AL with advanced dementia & wheelchair bound. All she does is complain & treat me badly, too, and I'll be 64 in July. I surely don't feel like dealing with all of this, either, but someone has to. You'll read a whole lot of posts about that here on AgingCare. It's a great place to vent and know that we're not alone with all this.

Good luck.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to lealonnie1
Cris123 May 25, 2021
Thank you for your response. She is stubborn when it comes to the fact she is old. She almost refuses to believe she is old and can still do everything she used to be able to do. They can afford any home they would like to go to, but with that being said the closest places are an hour away and with all the apts I have for my boys, I simply won’t be able to find the time to visit them. So going from seeing the grandchildren everyday to maybe a couple times a month would be hard on them and I’m just trying to look at this from every angle. Constantly they tell my husband and I that they don’t know what they would do without us, I just wish she would listen more when it comes to safety cus right now, I can’t add more to my plate. My dad just a few months ago spent a week in the hospital from a stroke and three weeks in a rehabilitation center. I’m trying to get through to her that she wouldn’t be able to deal with being away from my dad that long, and she knows she would hate that, but still just doesn’t get it. Not sure if it’s stubbornness or her failing to believe she is old and can’t see. Lol. Thanks again. Much to think about.
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Cris123, your Mom isn't going to listen to you, mainly because Mom is still the adult, and you are still the child in her eyes, and what do we know? So just cringe when you see your parents doing something they really should be leaving to someone else to do. You wanted them to feel independent, but you probably didn't expect this.

When you think back, wasn't it your decision to have your parents move in next door, and your decision not to have them move to a "home"? Did you parents want to move to the mountains? What are your parents thought about moving to a senior facility which has Independent Living? They may have thought about it but didn't want to hurt your feelings by not moving to the mountains with your family. So much to think about.

You mentioned not moving to a "home". Have you visited any of the newer senior facilities? Many now are built like a hotel. My Dad couldn't wait to sell his house and move into a senior facility. He had a lovely 2 bedroom apartment, large living-room, and a full size kitchen. His rent included weekly housekeeping, weekly linen service, restaurant menu style meals in the main dining room, and there was always a nurse on duty 24 hours a day.

Yes, it can take a bite out of one's savings, but if your parents can budget for this, they may like being around people of their own age group. I was relieved when my Dad moved to facility, because he was still trying to clean gutters when he was in his 90's at his home.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to freqflyer
lealonnie1 May 25, 2021
The stigma so many attach to 'the home' just blows my mind! We should all be so lucky to be able to afford a senior AL or IL when the time comes and not burden our children down with our care & management! My mother's place is like a hotel for petesake!! :)
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