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I moved my mother into my house with me about five yrs ago. The goal was to keep her out of a nursing home or assisted living as she has very little in the way of funds to spend on such a thing. I have worked hard to make sure that she doesn't lose her independence by insisting that she do for herself everything that she can so she doesn't lose the ability to do so. She doesn't really like to do for herself but does so because I insist. I've explained to her why this is important....for her and for me. No one should burn out their care giver when it doesn't have to occur.
Lately, she is getting more and more critical when I, age 63, go off to do my own things. I have retired now and have a life to live as well. She makes comments in an attempt to produce guilt when I go off in the evening to a concert or to play trivia, etc. she is capable of taking care of herself for many hours on her own. I've gotten her an alert button that calls me as well.
I've spoken to her about this over and over again.,, and yet, she can't seem to stop the comments, scowling, sighing or frowning. I've told her that that is quite enough. If she wants someone to come over to stay with her, she needs to request it. She never seems to do that.
I cheer my adult children on in their ventures. She thinks a woman should stay home and live in the box that is the house. I'm becoming resentful and have told her this. This will not end the way she wants it to if she doesn't stop with the guilt trips.

I’d suggest that you ask Mother if what she wants is for everything to be done for her, and for her to have around the clock company. If she says yes, tell her that means going into care with 24/7 employed carers, and it may mean a NH on Medicaid. Does she want you to start the wheels in motion for that?

Make it clear that she can only keep where she is if she does what she can for herself and lets you have your own life. You can repeat this as often as you need until it sinks in.
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Reply to MargaretMcKen
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Beatty Nov 3, 2021
Spot on.

My rellie wants company & care 24/7 but says she does NOT want a NH. Of course not!

She wants what she's got - a personalised NH for one!

Trouble is - the 'burden of care' grows too high for a *staff* of one.
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You said it all in your last sentence, "This will not end the way she wants it to if she doesn't stop with the guilt trips." Have you let HER know this? If not, do so right away. It's a privilege to live in your home and if she 'can't' stop her rude comments, scowling, sighing & frowning' when you go about living your own life, then she will have to make other arrangements elsewhere to live, outside of your home. That choice is up to HER.

You may want to get her into her PCP for a check up to make sure she hasn't developed dementia. If she has, then everything changes with the behaviors.

The best thing about Assisted Living for my mother was the socialization, and the fact that she had autonomy and her own life, separate from mine. Friends, activities, meals, outings on the mini bus, shopping trips, gossip-fests galore, etc. People who attach stigma's to ALFs really don't understand they're like nice hotels for the elderly! Nowadays she's in Memory Care AL which is a whole different ball of wax, but she still thrives on socialization and activities.

Wishing you the best of luck getting the message across to your mother; that you don't have to put up with her guilt trips anymore if she chooses to continue living in your home!
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Reply to lealonnie1
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JackieBlue Nov 6, 2021
I believe Aubnopain said her Mom does not have sufficient funds for “a nice hotel” assisted living situation.
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Does your mother have a social life of her own? Does she attend an Adult Day Care or Senior Center to socialize? Did she once attend concerts and may want to join you occasionally or is she criticizing something you enjoy that she did not? Did she stay at home in her box?

I think some people just want "their" people to stay at home and be waiting for them whenever they return. My father often displayed this attitude with my mother. He didn't want Mom to help my grandmother when she grew old and needed some help with her heavy housework. He also didn't like it when she attended church circles and other ladies clubs, even when she attended during the day while he was at work! It made no sense and my mother told him so and went her own way for the most part. I admired her ability to continue doing the things that matter to her with or without anyone else's approval.

I would encourage your mother to attend an ADC or a Senior Center program to expand her horizons. By age 85, most people find themselves in the 1% of survivors; 99% of the peer group has died. We need to find new "friends" or interests (like the great-grandkids). In her later years, my mother enjoyed talking on the phone with her cousins, many of whom had diminished contact during their "active" years and had more time to just talk and visit after age 70 or so.
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Pressurized Nov 6, 2021
I'm dealing with this situation with my husband with early Lewy Body dementia. He has informed me that his "solution" is for me to retire (I'm 62) and provide all his care and social life 24/7. He often ignores family members I invite over specifically for him to have fun with. He wants me to take him to Home Depot and the grocery store daily for amusement. He gets angry when I work the one day per week in the office (I'm home the other 4 days) or go to my recently resumed bookclub. He feels entitled to all my attention all the time. I don't mind the real care part, but the selfish taking over every minute part is a problem. It's clear to me that this is unsustainable now and will be impossible later, so I'm signing him up for adult day care twice a week. He staged a huge meltdown because I went to work last Wednesday. Well, this is my solution. Day care or an aide with him when I'm not. Not what he was aiming for, but it provides what he needs. And will keep me alive to take care of him.
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My mother (96) lived next door to us for about 18 years. She went from having a social life to refusing to go anywhere, demanding to do everything with us (including crashing any social events we hosted - even for our young kids). The local senior centre caters to “old people” and she wants nothing to do with them. Nothing. Hired a wonderful, chatty PSW but my mother refused to interact with her, other than to order her to fetch me, if she’d even let her in the door. Eventually she told me to leave my family and move into her house because she expected 24/7 attention. When I refused, the suicide threats started. Which turned into attempts. Long story not much shorter... ambulance, evaluation, diagnosed with advanced dementia, so I am blowing through her savings quickly paying for respite care. And she has no recollection of ever having seen where we live, let alone living here herself.

I’ve been accused of it all - having held her hostage (doesn’t recall her own refusal to leave her house), poisoning her (how else do you explain her advanced age when the past 20 years are forgotten) and the list goes on. Criticized, insulted... the works.

We’d kept her physically active and in great health, but, eventually she refused to walk anywhere unnecessary just to show us. The rapid loss of muscle mass is awful. Such behaviour out of spite.

Meanwhile I lost so much time with my growing children. Fortunately, as teens they now understand. My husband has incredible patience and helped me stay sane.

Save yourself. You cannot make her happy. Arrange what you can to keep her safe.
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Reply to Anabanana
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Have you tried getting her involved with an Adult Day Care or the local Senior Center. Sounds like some activity and socialization of her own would do her good.
If she resists this then that is on her.
Continue to do the things you want to do.
Please do make time for her. A Mom Day every week if you want or every other week just to make her feel special.
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JackieBlue Nov 6, 2021
Thank you. This sounds like practical advice, I’m in what sounds like an identical situation as Aubnopain.
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It sounds like to me that you need to arrange for someone to watch over her, and she seems rather toxic to your wellbeing. I would try to keep your distance from her while she is being watched over. I think that maybe you should put her into other full time care since she sounds rather narcissistic.
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Your mother is bored and lonely and overly reliant on you for company and entertainment. As some are suggesting, it would be nice if you could include your mother in some social activities or outings, but you do not need to keep her entertained 24/7. If she complains too much about having nothing to do and being left by herself, remind her that their would be company and entertainment available at an AL facility.
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Reply to RedVanAnnie
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To me, it seems like pure jealousy. That you have a life, have friends, have somewhere to go and something to do. She’s also maybe resentful that you don’t want to spend all your extra time with her.

Trying to change her mind is like trying to make a teenager unselfish. They are the center of the universe - everything revolves around them, and it’s like their brains are small - there’s only room enough for their own concerns and their own problems. Trying to make someone who is not empathetic, empathetic will be nearly impossible.

Personally, I’d go on the offensive. If you know you’re going to be out, don’t ask, set her up with a visitor, someone to entertain her while you’re off having a life. Having a PSW on a routine basis may be good as well. We have one who’s main role is companionship. Having another person around to chat with, play cards, or look through photo albums with can make a world of difference.
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Pressurized Nov 6, 2021
That's my experience with my husband. Don't suggest companions while you are gone, she's just batting that aside to guilt you into staying home. Just do it. Just sign her up for a home aide. Sign her up for senior center stuff and go with her the first time, then have an aide take her later. My response is "you said you couldn't be alone. This is the solution." There will never be any real understanding of your point of view. There is, thank God, the power of deflection of her attention.
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I know I am going to get slammed , but just moving your mom in with you will not fulfill all her needs for stimulation. Is it possible you take her out once a week for some "fun" time ? My friend who is ,,, Whiney,,, recently brought her mom along to a visit with me,,, I thought it would be a nice break for my friend,,, but we all ended up enjoying it. I have a close group of friends, andthey all welcomed my mom once in awhile.Its a good memory I have
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Beatty Nov 3, 2021
Golden Girls?? 🤣
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You are being very generous and caring to take care of your mother in your home. It's sad, but when people age, they become less able to do for themselves, or even to understand what they need to do, including asking for help. She may feel some anxiety when she's left alone now. Make plans for when your mother requires even more care. You will have to have a conversation with her about this. There may come a point when you'll need aides to assist if you can't do it all yourself. Everyone should make plans for when they might be incapacitated, although we all hope that it won't happen to us. Make sure your mother's paperwork is in order. She needs to set up powers of attorney for medical and fianancial matters, she needs a living will (advance medical directives) in case she becomes unable to speak for herself, most financial institutions have their own POA forms (banks, credit card companies, etc.). I'm assuming you will be her POA (if you are not already). You also need to be on file with Social Security and Medicare to speak on her behalf. You can do this with a phone call with her sitting beside you to agree to it. Get connected with a local social worker or senior care advisor to help you navigate what benefits your mother is entitled to. You also may be entitled to benefits as her caregiver. Be sure to set boundaries and take care of yourself, too! You need breaks and you need to feel that you are living a fulfilling life. Try not to take your mother's comments personally. She may be getting to a stage in her life where she is losing her former capabilities.
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Anabanana Nov 6, 2021
To add to NancyIS's advice: Once the papers are in order, YOU hang on to them. As my mother's dementia worsened (she insisted she was fine) she hid and tried to destroy critical documents. With complete disregard for the stress it put on me to fix.
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