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My mother thinks I should uproot my life and move to her town. I work for a school district and her response was they have schools here. I also have 2 big dogs that I don’t want near her in fear of an accident (they don’t know how big they are). It doesn’t make financial sense for me to do this with the housing market like it is in our area. I feel like a horrible daughter but I don’t want to move. I’ve been on my own for two years since losing my spouse and am already stressed and depressed. Please help me navigate a response to her. Thank you.

Many elders do not have children, as both you and your Mom know.
I do have children, one living several states away and one living half the country away; the last thing I would consider is their disrupting their lives to care for me. Your mother's expectations are UNREALISTIC, and they should not be considered. PERIOD. FULL STOP.
Mom is--I am sorry--selfish. Given that this is a part of her personality, the results even IF you disrupt your life for her care will not be good. Nothing will be enough.
I think you full well know that you should not/cannot do this. If you negate everything you already know to do this the results will be disastrous.
Your mother has HAD her life. And now you have yours. You are at a time of life where you are working, have family and friends, and are likely now in your last years of ability to save for your own safe retirement. Giving that up for what could be a decade will leave you angry and embittered at the last, to say nothing of penniless. The possibility that your Mom will STILL have to go into care is huge.
It is time now for you to make a visit to explain to your mother that you WILL NOT be moving, and that this is not open to argument. As someone resently posted on Forum it is time to OWN being the BAD GUY. Embrace it. because you are going to be labeled with it.
Then discuss her options with Mom. Many of them depend on how well prepared she is for these last years. Has she savings? A home the sale of which would give her the remaining years in a decent ALF? Or is she down to doing at home with help, and spending down until the time she enters a nursing home in her area or yours?
You can throw yourself on the altar of sacrifice. Many do. I would not personally be up to that. I was raised to be independent and to live my own life, to understand my limitations and work within them well as I am able. Raised with love by two parents who planned not to be a burden to their children in future.
Apologize that you have shortcomings if that makes you feel better, but you aren't god and you don't have all the answers. I doubt your mother made everything "right" for you; you can't make that so for her, either. Not everything has a good answer. Not everything can be fixed.
Know that the torment of wishy-washy uncertainty and back and forth and argument will only add to the angst here.
So here goes. Response. Use what you wish. Throw the rest.
"Dear Mom:
Mom, I will be unable to disrupt my entire life now to come and care for you. There are many reasons for this, and I can discuss them with you if you wish, but there is really no argument; this is my decision and it is final. My life is here; my job and my friends, and this is where I will stay. If that makes me the worst-daughter-ever, I am sorry for it. But sorry changes nothing.
Should you wish to move your OWN life here we can discuss the possibility of this, but I suspect you feel the same as I do about where you wish to live your life. And I need to make it clear that even were you to move nearby me, I would not live with you now or in future, nor could I tie my entire life to your needs. While I could perhaps help you more than I can now, I think it would not be enough to make you happy with such a move.
As soon as I am able, and we may be talking summer vacation here, I will come and help you arrange ways to move forward with what is best for you, and what are possible options for your needs now and in future. We can visit Board and Cares, ALFs, Nursing Homes, and the possibility of home support if you can afford that.
I understand that this makes me the "bad daughter", Mom. I can shoulder that as I have shouldered so much else of late. I have decided that, with all I have been through, I have a right now to my own life; I am claiming that right, and am willing to pay the price.
Know that I care for you, and I will do my best to help you given my own limitations and inadequacies.
Love, BigDogs"
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bundleofjoy Dec 14, 2021
i really liked your answer! :)

and this:
“I have a right now to my own life”
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You are not ever going to be the only one left to assist your mom. Get rid of that idea now or it will torment you.

It sounds like your mom is still on her toes, so what kind of assistance does she realistically need? Housekeeper? Meals? Rides? Advocate? Can you come back and let us know?

Assisting an aging parent should NEVER mean having to completely forsake your own life, so please ignore the ignorance being spewed about doing just that. You deserve to do what is best for you while helping her with what she needs.

Remember that your helping doesn't mean that you are the one scrubbing the toilet or preparing the meals, it can mean getting services in place to ensure it's getting done. There is always more then one solution to a problem, clarify the true needs and move forward with them, not moms guilt tripping and wants.
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bundleofjoy Dec 17, 2021
"Assisting an aging parent should NEVER mean having to completely forsake your own life, so please ignore the ignorance being spewed about doing just that. You deserve to do what is best for you while helping her with what she needs."

totally agree.
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Do NOT move to her. If your mother needs assistance with daily living, present options in her and your communities.

My mother has dementia but has always been demanding of my time and attention. While stating that neither she, nor anyone else, should be expected to provide daily care of an elder, my husband’s young death was her “Golden Girls” dream come true. Until I ruined it by remarrying and having children. We were neighbours... I managed her affairs, cleaned, shopped, cooked... but it was never enough and she became very bitter and combative that I would not leave my family and move into her house.

Because you’d like help navigating a response, I suspect you’re dealing with someone who does not take no for an answer. Please be careful not to provide ammunition. You are not a horrible daughter. Your dogs are not the excuse. Your life is where you are and you do not wish to move. YOUR circumstances do not warrant a move.

I have daughters. They’re just teens but I cannot imagine asking them to give up their lives to serve me. Perhaps one day my own dementia will lead me to make selfish demands. I have advised them not to cave as I won’t be speaking from my right mind.

My mother’s increasing demands snuck up on me. Now that she is in a care facility I am better able to see things as they were and how unreasonable she had become. Incidentally, now she is happy with my weekly visits. In fact she says she’s thrilled that I visit that often. (trying to recall how often we visited my grandparents - same distance - maybe every 4-8 weeks) I was on the verge of a breakdown when she moved into the facility. I hated to have to chose between keeping her safe and making her happy. But making her happy would have entirely consumed me.

Your mother will not like whether you refuse to move for financial, canine or personal preference reasons. And what YOU want is perfectly legitimate. You are just as entitled to keep the life you’ve made for yourself as anyone else. “I’m happy to help you move there or here to address your concerns, but I will not be relocating. Let’s list your wants and needs to see how we can make things better for you.”
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Smile1 Dec 17, 2021
Absolutely! Follow the experience!
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Why do women always need to "justify" everything with super human responses or other - when we need our own lives? Dear Bigdogs, there will sadly never be any reason you can give to satisfy. This forum is the perfect place for you to see how others have handled this. You are not alone.
Is there a reason she cannot move to your area or assisted living? There is great comfort in your own home & routine especially after losing your own spouse. Please think carefully about all your options. Be careful and think of you first. You are no good to anyone else including your Mother or your job if you are over the edge more stressed and more depressed. Take good care of you and your own mental health. All the best ahead with this difficult choice.
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bundleofjoy Dec 14, 2021
i really liked this:

“Why do women always need to "justify" everything with super human responses or other - when we need our own lives?”
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Bigdogs,

You are in Redmond and your mother perhaps on one of the San Juan Islands. I know the challenges of living in a Ferry dependent community, but that is Mum's choice.

Mum does not get to dictate where you live. You have the right to your own life, to live to the fullest.

"Mum, thank you for the invitation to move closer to you. That is not an option for me. Do you want to investigate housing options closer to me, or look into assisted living where you are now?"
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PeggySue2020 Dec 14, 2021
I'd also be clear that should Mom come out, Mom absolutely will not be living with her. I would not bring up the dogs at all given the optics of mom thinking she's being put into senior housing because daughter is picking animals over her. I don't think that's happening really, but it's not an issue to be fighting over.
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Sorry mom, I have my life here and have no intentions of moving.

You are NOT a horrible daughter. If anyone is being horrible, it would be more likely be your mom for trying to guilt you into this. She should want you to be independent and happy.

Is she capable of caring for herself? Of deciding what to do next? If not really, do you have POA? If not, strongly suggest that she do what you think she should do. Move to assisted living or whatever is appropriate for her level of function. Lead her to do it where you think is best - near you or in her area. Just make sure that if she does move your way that does not mean that you are going to be at her room every day or every other day. You determine how much time you want to spend visiting, etc.
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Try this --

"Hey Mom, you're right -- they have schools where you are. We also have old people here, so how about you move closer to me instead?"

Sometimes coming right back at them on equal terms wakes people up. ;-)
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Do not move. It’s clear you do not want to move and you are entitled to your own life and happiness. Look for other solutions if your mother needs help but do not uproot yourself. You will come to resent being there and resent her. Don’t be guilt tripped you are not a horrible daughter. Tell her you will do everything you can to ensure any needs she has are met but you will not be moving. Sorry if that sounds harsh but I speak with hindsight.
good luck
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I can only describe to you what we did.

Mom lived north of NYC. I live/d in the city, one brother in CT, one in the wilds of south NJ.

When mom needed more, she moved to an IL facility in Westchester.

When she had a massive stroke, we moved her close to one brother, to Connecticut.

There was never any discussion of us uprooting and moving close to her. We were all mid-career and had mortgages.

Why would your mother assume that you would move?
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The thing is, she gets a pension when working for a school district. In my State, the pension is figured on the last 3 yrs you worked.

Why are you the only one left? We have lots of members who gave up everything to move where the parent is. A recent post, a member did this thinking the rest of the family would be there to help. Guess what? They are doing their own thing while she cares for a parent 24/7. She doesn't see her siblings. She is in an area she knows nothing about.

I assume your close to 60. At this point I would not uproot myself. If Mom needs care suggest a nice Assisted Living.
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