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My mom is 78 and gets around pretty well. She still drives (although she’s had a couple of minor fender benders.) I do take her various doctors appointments most of the time but she does drive herself as well. Her mind is good except for being a little forgetful and mixing up her appointments sometimes. She lives alone in a large home with a big yard. The house is always needing repairs and the yard is never ending, the lawn needs mowing and due to all the trees there are tons of leaves to get up. My husband has been taking care of the yard work and usually fixes minor things around the house when he can. Every time we go to visit she has a list of things that she needs or WANTS done. She calls often to ask for us to do this or that and it’s always like an emergency to her. She loves to plant flowers, watch and feed the birds in her yard and is fantastic at making pound cakes. I’m thrilled she enjoys these hobbies. However, she lets all other chores go. She used to be so particular about how tidy her home was. Now it’s so messy and cluttered. She will say “I need someone to clean for me” or “I need someone to iron clothes for me” etc.... so I know she realizes that these things need to be done. It’s like she only wishes to do things that she enjoys and expects me to do the other things. I have tried talking to her several times about downsizing to a small apartment so that she won’t have the responsibilities that her large home requires. She won’t even discuss it. My feeling is if she’s able to bake cakes and plant flowers then she can clean her own house. Am I wrong? Where do my responsibilities end? I feel used and unappreciated. She has actually called crying and screaming that nobody will do anything for her and nobody cares about her. We’ve found a handyman who is reliable and honest and she’s hired him for a couple of odd jobs but I don’t think she wants to pay for any work, she expects us to do it for free. Any advice on how to handle this?

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My grandmother could take care of her bills, do her own taxes (former bookkeeper), drive, and grocery shop at 90, but she paid a handyman, a housekeeper, someone to do her laundry, and someone to do her yardwork. She finally got tired of writing checks and moved in with relatives at 92.

I'd say the difference between the activities she did and those she didn't do was that all with the exception of a weekly grocery trip, everything she did she could do sitting down. That's not the case with housekeeping.

Your mom plants flowers what, once or twice a year? Puttering around the kitchen baking cakes doesn't require a lot of walking, so I'm guessing that's a big part of why she isn't taking care of her house too much. It's a big job, as you know.

I think it's fair that you offer two options -- she pays a housekeeper to come weekly or biweekly, or she leaves her house to be less tidy than she's accustomed to. You can't always drop everything and be there to do it, nor should you be expected to.

Even if she moves to a smaller place, she'll still need her house cleaned, so that doesn't seem to be the main issue here. It's whether you are the one to do it.

Older people have a very hard time with change, so if she's otherwise able to stay in her house and there are no safety issues for her, I vote for hiring people, but I don't think it's realistic to expect her to be able to clean her own house just because she plants flowers and bakes cakes.
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AlmondJoy72468 Mar 26, 2021
i just don’t understand how ironing a stack of clothes or dusting furniture can be all that hard compared to baking a cake from scratch or digging holes in the yard to plant flowers. She could hire a housekeeper to help out but she doesn’t seem to want to pay for that. She just recently had a bathroom updated and expected my husband to do the work. We said no to this request and put her in touch with a good handyman who did the job. Now she wants the upstairs bedrooms and bathroom painted. She isn’t interested in hiring the handyman again for this job. She thinks she can do it herself. There’s no way she should be up in a ladder at her age. I feel like if her hime is too much for her to take care of then she needs to downsize so there isn’t as much to clean and take care of. It’s not fair for husband and I to maintain our house and hers as well.
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You and your dh should not be expected to prop your mother up and do everything for her so she can keep up the facade that shes living independently! She's not, when she's relying on you to do all the dirty work for her because all she WANTS to do is a bit of gardening once in awhile and bake a pound cake. She should not be cleaning or painting or climbing a ladder, obviously, which means the house is too much for her to handle. I'm 63 and cleaning my house is too much for ME, even though I cook. So I can hire someone to clean for me, or I can ask DH to help me, but what I won't ever do is expect my children to clean for me. Or paint or do anything else when I can call a handyman service to do it. Do I like paying someone? Nah, not really, but that's how the cookie crumbles in the real world.

Stop doing things for your mother, just tell her it's impossible for you or your husband to squeeze ONE more thing into your busy schedule. But you'd be happy to put her in touch with Merry Maids and a handyman service and whatever other services she requires. All she has to do is say the word and you'll be happy to help her sell the big house and downsize to a smaller and more manageable place that will be cheaper to maintain in the long run. If she moves to a senior living residence, they'll even include weekly housekeeping in the monthly rent.

In the meantime, she can retire that iron and use permanent press clothing and sheets, like everyone else!

The only way she'll see the light is when you stop doing for her and she's faced with the truth. Let her get angry and scream.....the calls can go to voicemail. She's being unreasonable and unwilling to separate needs from wants, which is imperative now. Getting old means many things must change, whether we want them to or not. Even though I WANT to sit cross legged on the floor and play with my grandchild, I can't. I accept that fact and make the necessary adjustments, like it or not.

Stick to your guns and don't falter. Let mom see and FEEL that the house is too much and she can't handle it anymore, and understand it's not YOUR job to run HER household.

Good luck!
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Riverdale Mar 27, 2021
I don't cook much. I do work out. I would have the cleaners more if I didn't have to work so hard to prepare the house for them to clean!
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Be diplomatically honest with her that you are burnt out trying to take care of 2 homes, one in which you do not even live. You can give her a written list of what you are willing to do and how often (and in your time schedule, not hers) and also help her vet handy-people to outsource the work for which she should pay. She won't like it one bit. She doesn't have enough to do in the course of a day so she creates these home maintenance projects and they seem urgent. My 91-yr old mother lives next to me and was a very busy person all her life. Now she can't do as much but her mind keeps going and several times a day, even though my DH and I are working from home (and she knows this) she will come over with an urgent need. Today it was to look at a corn on her toe. One that's been there for a while. She has bags of clothes to donate and "needs to get them out of her basement. Today. And she wants to bake bread and insists we carry over our Kitchenaid mixer to her house. Now. I smiled and said no to every request and told her I'll do it when I'm not in the middle of my work day and when if have time. She grumbled with disappointment but I know she'll be back tomorrow. With our senior LOs we can't allow ourselves to be controlled by the tyranny of the "urgent". Also, I don't think your mom is being lazy or spoiled. I think she may be sliding into either memory loss or cognitive decline. I'd go with her to the doctor and have her given a cognitive exam and checked for a UTI. Hopefully you have PoA for her. If not, this should happen soon.
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Riverdale Mar 27, 2021
I would take those bags of clothes out. That is the easiest fix. God forbid those bags go back into the mix because they have become necessary. It took my husband and I six months to clear out my mother's 1 bedroom apartment. She promised me she would never do to us what my MIL had done with her house. She broke that promise. We are both only children. Clearing out their homes was beyond exhausting. At least you are next door. We had to travel to do both. One night when my mother's toilet overflowed at 2 in the morning after having been there for hours I truly felt ready for the physch ward.

I am sure you are making your best choices. I just recommend doing what is easiest sooner than later.
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Just stop and make it clear if she wants to continue to stay she needs to pay for some help or eventually she will be taken out never to return. That is what happened with both our mothers and it was medically necessary.

Although you mean well you are enabling her. My late MIL was fine with
having my husband go onto her roof. When he nearly electrocuted himself trying to fix something he shouldn't I blew a fuse telling her he was not going to die doing repairs on her house.

Sone time later he drove her away to AL and she never saw the house again as she lived 7 hours away. We felt sad at times for her but there was nothing else we could do. The next door neighbor and her bank had become inadvertently her babysitters. We hired help and she alienated them.

We have been through the wringer with both our mothers. I literally felt that life was pointless at times clearing their stuff. It was short lived. They just exhausted me so. My MIL was much older so we were still raising teenagers. I remember the time we came back from VA to NY after "a" dealing with my MIL's house and my clueless mother had been unaware that my then oldest wiild child had a beer party downstairs. That was the last time I was able to help my husband so he brought way too much stuff home and I then had to sort through it.

It was also painful to have to throw out so much vintage clothing that had mold. Years earlier she had refused to let me have these items.
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Riverdale Mar 27, 2021
I should report that my now almost 40 year old daughter has apologized for her teen years and fears she doesn't go through this with her 2 daughters. I hope so too. I love my children and grandchildren and want the best for them as they navigate raising children,working hard at their jobs and dealing with Covid.
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Hmm sounds like a teen. I'll do my hobbies but not clean my room 🤔

"facade that shes living independently" as Lealonnie said so well.

So that's the first step. Looking clearly at the picture here. Mom may be living alone, but is not completely independent.

Why? Well that's what I'd look at next.

What health issues are going on. Are mobility, depression issues? Diabetes, heart? Is there a some cognitive decline?

It appears she would benefit from some home help services, as you can't do it all. That's common sense. If you have a chat & point this out - what's her reply?
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Downsize to where?

You could try it from the other end - find the more suitable, easier to maintain place that might be ideal for her first, and then say "wow look at this!"

You've already begun the list of must-haves, including somewhere for her to garden and a proper working kitchen. Now for the research into retirement communities that don't expect older people to sit in a chair all day and do nothing for themselves - I think and hope you'll be pleasantly surprised :)

Meanwhile, for you and DH, boundary building; and I'd suggest the list approach. Start writing down each task she asks you to help with for the next couple of weeks or month, and then when you have the conversation with her about the amount of support she needs and the effort that keeping up her house demands of both her and you, you'll be able to show her in black and white. The bottom line is "this is too much." She can save her energy for a more enjoyable and more productive later life.
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Beatty Mar 27, 2021
I love how you can advocate for quality of life for elders. I so agree. Eg If at X yrs I love painting & old movies, but hate gardening then why not move so I can do just that?

Why cause resentment in my kids keeping this old place & the garden going. For what?
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"Now she wants the upstairs bedrooms and bathroom painted. She isn’t interested in hiring the handyman again for this job. She thinks she can do it herself."

She WILL use the threat of climbing on a ladder and falling to manipulate your husband into coming and doing the painting for her. Don't allow him to get sucked into that trick or she will start using it weekly. I've had more than one relative pull that stunt. Don't allow him to think that if he just goes over and takes care of X, she won't climb. Elderly people LOOOOVE to climb on chairs stools and ladders! It is crazy, but they damned sure do it.
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Beatty Mar 27, 2021
Wow! My MIL pulled that one last year!

When you can, when you next come over I need a light bulb changed, it's not urgent. Actually I might just do it myself... I have a ladder here. I'll do it later this evening.

DH yelled at her on the phone not to do that. But, you guess it - then he rushed over there to change that bulb.

First round to MIL. He is a little wised up now but does not believe she would be so manipulative on purpose.

Interesting.
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I made it clear to my parents, then Mom, that I wasn’t going to do their housework or yard work. I hire people to do that for me so why should I wear myself out doing it for them? I know they didn’t do any of that for their own parents!

At that time I was in my early 60's and most of their chores were things I wasn’t physically able to do anyway like scrubbing the kitchen floor on my hands and knees. I found them house cleaners, their church mowed the grass and when Dad had a stroke I found a home care service. I would find them repair services when needed. After Dad died I was able to prove to Mom that she couldn’t afford to stay in the house, it was costing her more than her income!

We toured several Assisted Living facilities until she found one she liked, near lots of family and friends. We sold her house and invested the money to fund her fees. She enjoyed the last few years of her life socializing, playing bingo, and making new friends.
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AlmondJoy, you want to know what is happening? Our parent(s) still view us as 25 or 35 years old with a lot of energy, so they are in total shock when we say "no" we can't do something. Like, hello, I am NOT climbing up a ladder at 65 years old to change the lightbulb on the ceiling fan on a vaulted ceiling. I would need a zip line !!

My folks also didn't want to blow the dust off their wallets except for major fix-ups.

Make up a list of everything, and I mean everything, you do for your Mom. Cross off half the things, now cross off a few more items. Tell Mom these are the things you have time to help her with. Unless Hubby truly loves mowing the yard and his yard, too, then that goes off the list. And stick to the list, no exceptions.

As we age, I am now in my mid-70's, I have put off so many routine things. My excuse is "I'll do it tomorrow", rinse/repeat. My energy ship had sailed. Even taking a shower and washing my hair feels like a workout at the gym [I use to be a gym rat]. It's all part of aging.
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Time for a discussion:
1 - Talk with your spouse about what each of you - willing, able, and have time - will do for mom. Decide on how often each of you can "visit" to complete these "chores."

2 - Ask family, friends, members of your faith community the same questions: what chores willing to help with and how often.

3 - Make a list of ALL people willing to help for free. ADD, names and phone numbers of plumbers, electricians, handymen/women that are trusted for all other work.

4 - Then, talk to mom about what you have already decided to do. Give her the list of all people who are willing to help. Keep one for yourself. If you can't find enough "helpers" for mom, then it's time to change her living situation.
So, YES - she needs to downsize to something that is easier for her to manage.
AND, YES - it may mean moving to assisted living or senior apartment.
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KatKat124 Mar 30, 2021
Your post is very smart . And all of the suggestions you gave can be possible. By reading most of the posts here , I believe that people are FORGETTING that thier Mothers never stepped away when thier child need a diaper change or babies bedding washed. We all need to be there for are elderly parent. And when they are anrgy it is most likely that they have pain. Getting old really sucks.!
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While your mother doesn't want to do chores anymore and who can blame her, she does not have the right to expect you and your husband to step in for her. You can calmly tell her you have your own chores to do and you can't take hers on on a regular basis; that she will need to hire to have the work done or she can sell the house and move to a smaller place. It sounds as if your mother may not need AL living at this time, maybe independent living with space to do her favorite hobbies. No matter where she goes she'll need to hire someone to iron. In independent living she'll be able to continue to bake, but probably not when she's in AL, though some have like a "community kitchen" where they can do some things.

My parents' apartment in independent living included cleaning 1X/week, no upkeep or repairs to be done. They had a kitchenette, but a continental breakfast was available and they purchased a meal plan that provided one hot meal/day. My parents then moved on to AL living when my father kept falling.
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Yes, you tell her what you will do and then she can hire the rest. The elderly who are independent are often frustratingly stubborn. Went through this with my dad about hiring someone to clean the home. You have got to have boundaries and stick to them, do not clean her home when she is perfectly able to do it herself or hire it to be done. When you allow people to use you, they will only continue to do so. You say you feel used and unappreciated...well you hit the nail in the head...you are.
Tell her what you will do and then no capitulating. When she hands over the list only do what you already told her you two were willing to help out with. The healthy behavior is to know and accept that having boundaries doesn’t mean you are a bad person. It’s your mother who doesn’t have healthy boundaries. Seventy eight is not all that old. And believe me it will get worse not better.
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KatKat124 Mar 30, 2021
I am sorry but 78 is hell, when you are 78 I am sure it will be Hard to do your floors, toilets, bathtub & shower and dont forget the Refrigerator!
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She can hire people that can do the work that needs to be done that you or your husband can not or will not do.

You can start by charging her to do some of the work you have been doing. Tell her that if your husband spends a weekend doing her yard work you need to hire someone to do yours so in order to pay for that she can pay your husband.

You could also tackle a project as a "gift" to her. In place of a Brunch, basket of flowers for Mothers day tell her to pick a project that need to be done and within reason that will be her gift. (I would much rather have my SIL, Daughter and I rebuild my little front deck than have a breakfast, plant or other "thing" that will be gone in no time. )

The fear of spending the money to have work done is maybe 2 fold. the fear that she will not have enough to last. And if her husband did a lot of work you get used to having someone around that does things so you really are not used to paying to get stuff done. (When someone tells you that the little 6X8 front deck will cost $10000. it hits hard!)

Next time she asks that you do something tell her NO. Please note that NO is a complete sentence. Tell her to call the handyman.
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To stay in her home, she will have to hire people to do the things she is not able or willing to do herself. It's the price of staying in place.
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I truly appreciate this post, because I know that I am not alone. My mother had a stroke about 3 years ago....she does not drive and I pick up her groceries for her, wash her clothes and was doing her yard work and I am now paying her bills. She has quickly declined, as when her physical therapy ended...she stopped trying not long after that. The wants for the yard kept coming (she has a yard with a lot of trees)coming and I am a full time working mom with three boys, so we stay on the go all the time. I have had to learn to start saying no, otherwise she kept trying to take and take. It reached a climax where I just couldn't do it anymore. I am firm now and am learning how to get better each and every day. She gets mad at me when I try to tell her that I'm sorry, I just can't take that on and don't have time. I believe she truly expects that I devote all of my time to her and I have told her numerous times, that I am not able to be a full time caregiver to her, nor do I want to. Our relationship has never been a good one. I deal with guilt constantly, because she tries to make me feel guilty by telling me "don't you understand, I just can't do these things anymore". I feel like telling her neither can I. They push and try to make you feel guilty about not helping, when you know that you are doing all that you can....never receiving any thanks for it, just more demands. Stay firm in saying no and don't keep giving in to her, because the demands will just increase. We can't run ourselves into the ground, because she can't run her home. Taking some of that burden off of yourselves is essential. I am still trying to figure out what to do about assisted living or a smaller home.
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KatKat124 Mar 30, 2021
Sounds like mom should be in a nursing home. But you said you have 3 boys , I think it would be so good for you and your boys to help mom with the yard once a week or once a month. Healthy and Loving , something there is not enough of in this world .
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I'm sorry,, but Yes you are wrong. I dont know your age but mom is 78, When she was younger I'll bet she planted flowers, made cakes and cleaned her whole house. As we get older to clean a home is 100% harder then it use to be, so mom is doing the things that make her feel good ! not put her down for 3 days in pain after cleaning. You should make an effort to clean the house once a week or hire help. And make sure to clean that Refrigerator! That is hell for the elderly. Life is to short, my mom passed this last week. A month ago I made her a cake and cleaned her refrigerator that day and she was so happy.
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LittleOrchid Mar 30, 2021
No. OP is not wrong. You are. I am 70, living in my home with my husband with no assistance from my children. Mom, 96, can either clean her own house, hire a housekeeper, or move into a home with housekeeping and other required assistance. Yes. It is a lot harder for me to do my housework and gardening than it used to be. I often wish I could be 50 again for a few weeks to get ahead of the weeding and cleaning. That is not the way it is. If an elder feels that housework and gardening have become "hell" it is their responsibility to figure out which option they want to resolve that problem. No. The daughter should not clean her mother's house every week and she should not hire help. The mother needs to be able to do those things for herself or choose to move to an easier place for herself. My life is not hell. I have my aches and pains, but I also take control of my life and make my own decisions. Right now, my husband and I are enjoying our home and our gardens. When we cannot care for them we will move into a place where there will be less to do. And we will enjoy that. Happiness, like so much else is in the eye of the beholder. We will be happy because we will choose to find things to be happy about.
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Sounds like mom is seeking, and being rewarded with getting, attention from those she loves most...you. And if you think assisted living is going take care of it, it will not. She will for starters mourn the loss of her beautiful back yard and all it offers. She will still have issues, maybe slightly different. Who takes care of her bill paying and financial stuff? If you, can she afford some outside help. Sounds like she very well might be able to. It seems like there is only one option, to sit down and convey YOU can only do so much. And her needs are getting to be TOO much. So either she just keeps a list and you and hubby will get to the tasks as able on the specified times you will be over, or assisted living will be the other option. And, as I mentioned, do not expect that to be the answer. You will get calls or otherwise hear about the dreadful food (and it very well may be), she can still have falls which you will be notified of regardless of the hour by staff. My aunt is in an assisted living. She generates constant neediness as well. The food so lousy she needs groceries and other necessities including Rx pick ups or getting to MD appts which her only daughter in town provides. They consistently try to please her. Got her a mattress pad that was thick foam because she complained about her bed/mattress. Didn't like it. Sort of lost her balance and grabbed/hit the nearby TV. Ruined it and now needs to be replaced as her handprint is on the screen and she gets only half a picture....Look up your local office on aging or area agency on aging for her area and see what they offer. Services may be low cost or no cost. BTW, in my own circumstances many have suggested that my parents may be better off, my burden reduced if they were in assisted living or even a nursing home as my mother has dementia and my father can be very demanding which all led to my own critical illness...they didn't exactly cause it but for sure were a contributing factor. But I am involved in the field enough (and our neighbors dad talks to and who observe him agree) that making such a move would be deadly. Dad thrives on the outdoor exercise involved with taking care of the lawn and yard, talking with the neighbors etc. and for mom a change in environment could cause a dramatic set back and confusion. So we are staying put.
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WOW!! This is your Mother you are talking about! Why not plan on helping her on a regular basis? Or get her some paid help? Sounds like she shouldnt be driving either. Get her some part time in home care for now. If you think assisted living is affordable the a part time caregiver and gardener should be as well.
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LittleOrchid Mar 30, 2021
No need to start guilt-tripping here in this forum. We all get enough of that elsewhere. Mothers are not owed anything from their daughters or sons. We choose to help them to the extent that we are able. Mothers and fathers are adults. They made their plans or failed to make plans, saved money or failed to do so, all on their own. Their life in old age is their own to figure out, not their children's. We, as children, are legally prevented from keeping our parents from making financial and housing decisions for them as long as they are competent. We cannot be held responsible for making up the difference between the way our parents would like to live and they means they have provided themselves. All we can do is make suggestions to them. We are not bound to be their slaves, nor are we required to make their fantasies come true. Sometimes the best thing adult children can do for their parents is to require them to face reality. That can be hard on everyone, but we each must preserve and protect our own lives first, then assist our parents in whatever way makes the most sense for all of us.
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If she can afford the possibility of AL, she has some money. Hire a lawn service to do the big part - mowing, blowing leaves and putting in trash or hauling off. The other chores she thinks up within the house are just chores she tells you about as she thinks of them. As you age, you say what's on your mind when you think of it. Not necessarily because it's urgent, but it is said when it is thought of. Get her a white board or notebook and tell her to write down the chores each time she thinks of one. Or, when she calls you and tells you about something tell her you are adding it to the list. Another note, telling someone you need something gets a visitor in the home. I see my mom tell others about something that I do for her - I'm sure it's in hopes of having them come visit.

She says she needs someone to help her clean, so hire that sort of help, too. Once or twice a week to get things back in order. Then it will give her free time to do the things she likes to do. Gardening and baking will keep her busy, moving, and able to stay longer in her home. You don't have to assume all those responsibilities when you have the means to delegate to others. Lots of folks on this site will never have the luxury of hiring these kinds of help as they do their best to keep mom/dad at home.
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I'm in the process of looking for some help for my parents (85, 83) to help with their daily chores.

Mom has dementia. She's able to do some things, but things she isn't really interested in doing any longer (cooking, cleaning, laundry) are becoming an issue. My Dad broke his neck two years ago so his mobility is limited. Unfortunately, as of late, he's had some other health issues that have lead him to have a few hospital stays. So the burden of most of most things has fallen on my Mother, who just doesn't have those capabilities any longer.

While my husband and I help as much as we can, he does the lawncare and we do the weekly food shopping, take them to doctor appointments, etc, I do not have the ability to take on the responsibilities of two households. For those on this site that can do that, kudos. But for those of us that can't, I would suggest looking into something like Visiting Angels or something like that to see about helping your Mom out. Yes, she will have to pay for these services, but she can stay in her own home, have some help, and it will be so much cheaper than assisted living.

I'm doing what I can to keep my parents in their home, safely, for as long as I can. This is my first option, getting some help for them so that their daily lives are a little easier. When their needs change, then other decisions will need to be made.

I don't know what state you live in, but google Division of Senior Services or Department of Aging in your state. I've found some pretty helpful information on those sites in my state (NJ). Good luck traveling this new, bumpy road.
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Lots of good answers here. I think I can give you input from both perspectives. I am 70, my mother 96, soon to be 97. My mom would like to remain in her own home forever. She feels my sisters and I could "do a few things" for her now and again because we are so much younger. My answer, like that of others here, is "I hire someone to come in every month to do the heavy cleaning at my house because I can't do it; I will not clean your house." Other sisters have had a somewhat more difficult time telling her no, but we pretty much stick to the same script: she does it, she hires it done, or she moves to a place where there are others employed to do the work. As a daughter, I have some things I will do for Mom: I will take her for a drive in the country, I will take her to lunch (mostly drive-through pickup, then park in a beautiful place and eat in the car), I will visit with her every week and pick up her prescriptions and a few other errands. That is it. When she cannot manage any more, then she needs to go into nursing care. We are not kidding ourselves or her that assisted living would be an option. She is already far beyond that.

On the other hand, as an aging senior, I want to stay in my home as long as I can! I like preparing my own meals, baking my own bread, making jams and jellies from the fruit I grow in my own yard. I like doing things my own way. I love caring for and walking in my gardens. I already have some minimal assistance in maintaining the gardens (lawn service and someone who prunes the trees) and the home (monthly heavy cleaning). I do anticipate hiring more assistance in the future. However, if the time comes when I can no longer maintain the house or the 2/3 acre surrounding the house I do have plans to move. I do not wish to impose on my sons in the way Mom would like to impose on me and my sisters. On the other hand, I remind myself frequently that staying here and watching it all fall into decay would not be a good experience. I have asked my sons to remind me of this decision as well. I think part of my mother's resistance to moving is that she just doesn't want to have the bother of deciding what goes with her. I want to move before I get that tired--but wait as long as I can! It is a contradiction, and I know that. I hope to assert my more logical side when it is needed, not give in to the lazy non-action of staying put when it is no longer a good option.

I have, for the last 30 years, kept photo diaries of the progress of my gardening and house projects. These are all digital. When I can no longer do the actual work I will be able to see my homes (3 of them) and their gardens as I took them from basic to the best I could get out of them. I have every intention of enjoying these repeatedly when I can no longer engage in them actively. My husband and I also took massive numbers of photos on our travels together and we enjoy "going to ..." again by way of these photos once in a while. Probably such extensive photo collections are not for everyone, but think about taking a good number of photos this spring and summer of the things that your mother enjoys the most and put them in either a nice album or a slide show in a lap top or a pad might help your mother a lot in adjusting to the idea of leaving the work behind and taking the memories with her.
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Reply to LittleOrchid
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So when she wants/needs something done offer to help find someone to assist her.  Before the mowing season starts this year let her know that it has become too much for hubby to continue the upkeep.  Find a lawn service or a teenage neighbor looking for a few $ spending money.  Check with local agencies to find her a housekeeper to help with the laundry and house cleaning.  Does the local Aging Service Access Point have a Money Management group that can help her with her monthly bills, usually manned by volunteers, maybe she could make an annual donation for their assistance. 

It's hard for them to leave what is familiar.  My Dad passed 11 years before Mom. Hubby and I had a few conversations about where she was living (over an hour from us) as I was her only child.  I knew that had it been Mom 1st Dad would have sold the house and found a senior apartment near us.  Mom on the other had lived all her life within sight of the house she was born in. Dad always joke the only was she would ever move was to bring a coffin full of dirt from there with her just like the vampires do.  She was good about keeping her house and laundry up.  She found a local handyman to do the big jobs and we did what we could when we were there.  It was a ranch style house so no upstairs to deal with and she stopped using the basement so no worries about those stairs either.  Every morning she put out the flag and took it in every evening, neighbors knew her routine and if the flag wasn't taken care of I got a call.  Once she was gone there was still a lot to go through and clean out and get rid of but she managed to stay there into her mid 80's and only spent 10 days in a SNF on comfort care before passing.

Maybe once she has to start paying to keep her lifestyle in he big house she may decide to downsize on her own.  We had a neighbor that remained in her home but stopped using the upstairs by converting a second sitting room into a bedroom for herself.  My grandparents did the same thing after my mother moved out way back in the 50's.

Does she have a friend that has moved into Independent or Assisted Living?  Go a visit see how the friend likes it.  Maybe that would put the bug in Mom's ear.  One of our local Supportive Housing units has a garden that is maintained by the residents.  Finding a place with outdoor space might help her transition considering her interests.
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Reply to EllensOnly
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I am 78 and rambling around in a bigger house than I need. I have no children or relatives who can help with cleaning or physical chores. I do what I can myself and hire help for what I cannot do. I do not feel at all ready for a nursing home and am not a fan of assisted living. I understand I will have to pay for what I need. It seems presumptuous, perhaps demanding, to expect friends or relatives to step up and accommodate us if we have made the choice to stay in the home.
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Reply to RedVanAnnie
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It is her problem not yours.
She has to learn to take responsibility for her own welfare.
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Reply to Christservant
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sazure Mar 30, 2021
Wow, as when our parents took care of us for decades, as babies then young adults until we went off on our own.
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Lots of good posts. Here's my 3 cents:

You and hubby sit down together and determine what yall want to do to help your mom around the house. Draw up boundaries for yourselves and discuss your "No" approach. Both of you need to be on the same page.

Also, you and hubby make a list of fun things to do with Mom. And when you do these things, it's no-chore time, even if she asks. I see 2 things possibly going in here. 1) like many elders, Mom has decided she's going to do what she enjoys and the hell with the rest; and 2) she's seeking attention and is lonely. Maybe she thinks yall won't come over if she doesn't need anything. So, plan social activities with her and give her show her yall enjoy her company.

I wouldn't go over my list of what you'll do with Mom. Just say yes when she asks for things that you and hubby decided you'd do (ON YOUR OWN TIME -NO EMERGENCIES). Then say No to the things that are not on the list. Suggest the cleaning crew, etc. Hopefully, she can afford it.

I wouldn't push directly her about downsizing - sounds like she'll dig in her heels. So, drop that subject completely. Instead, I'd let nature take its course - she will either come to realize the house is too much OR she'll adjust to paid help and yalls limited assistance and become pleased with it.

Warning and look out for Manipulation. My mom would ask us to come do in thing, but give a list of 10 things when we got there. Once we realized this manipulation, we learned to lovingly say, "I only planned time to do X, and have other obligations. So, those/that will have to wait. I'm sorry."

If the visit becomes confrontational or Mom throws a tantrum, politely tell Mom yall have to leave and you'll be back another time.

Change will not come easy or quick. You're looking at behavior modification for all of you.

Off the chores that are making you resentful toward Mom. It's a terrible feeling when you're taken for granted. There's a way to say No and still be loving. But say Yes sometimes too. Good luck.
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Reply to babziellia
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I am 79 yrs old. I have a big house. 5 rms & 1&1/2 baths on first floor. A loft & 2 bedrooms a full bath & a game room on the second floor. The second is mainly for guests & so doesn't’ need constant care maybe once a month. Since I live alone and cleanup after myself, I am able to clean downstairs 1/2 at a time on a.ternate weeks. Doing touch ups if needed.
This system works out well.
I do, however, have a lawn person to care for my lawn. Occasionally I may ask my son in law to do something for me. I hire people to do big jobs, since he has his own house to care for.
You are a absolutely correct in your thinking that if your mom can bake a cake or plant flowers she can do her own chores & clean her own house or hire someone to clean for her. Sounds like she only wants todo the things she likes doing.
Doing housework doesn’t really excite me but it is good exercise.
Just make it clear that if she wants to stay in the house she will have to take care of it herself or hire someone to do it.
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Reply to JPC2842
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blueday5042 Mar 30, 2021
My mom is 81 and has a large home like yours, on a lake with a 3 acre yard that needs weekly upkeep. I live 2 miles down the road, in a subdivision that would be considered a “step down” in amenities from her home. She has asked my family (my husband and 2 older teens) to move in and take over her home. However, she has gotten rid of nothing and still tells me of her plans for the property (gardens, etc). My Dad died 3 years ago...this was their dream home and it is a beautiful place, so it’s tempting. The home is 30 years old and would need major reconfiguring of the space for us to have our own areas. I’m curious your perspective on this. (I have 3 older brothers who all live out of town.) We have always gotten along well, but I wonder how much this could change dynamics. Could you be happy living with one of your kids and seeing them be the new “master” of your property? Do you have friends who have done this? (We don’t...we only know of an elder moving in with their daughter/son.)
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Imho, she is no doubt embarrassed that she can no longer do all of the things that it takes to run a household. Perhaps she will need to move to a facility.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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I think the best way to evaluate a situation is by a pattern of behavior.

If something happens on a regular basis then you have your answer.

If there is an occasional request for assistance it is quite different. Everyone needs assistance occasionally.

Obviously, if there is a consistent pattern, it’s time for a change in lifestyle. Mom is in over her head and something has to give. She needs more help. Look into finding services for her needs.

You can’t help her continuously because you have your own life to live.

The time to make changes is now. You have already observed a pattern. Don’t wait until it becomes worse.

Have a discussion about upcoming changes and start working on a plan to incorporate the necessary arrangements to help her manage her life now and possibly discuss future needs.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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No “nursing home” for Mom! But do look into senior independent living apartments . There are many in every city and even small towns. Most have kitchens adequate for baking but also provide meals for those want them. Some have space for small individual gardens, patios etc. Best thing is all home maintenance including grounds upkeep and household repairs are included. Usually some regular cleaning and/ or laundry of linens is provided. She could probably hire personal laundry and ironing done if desired. There are social activities and transport to shopping and medical appointments if driving becomes difficult or unsafe for her. Shop around on your own. Don’t suggest it to her unless you visit one you think she might like. Then take her for “ free lunch” which they all provide. Present it as something for her to think about... to make life easier. Make a list beforehand of features that might appeal to her.
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Reply to Dosmo80
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Is this a cry out for companionship? If your mum agrees you could handle some of her finaces relating to reliable trades people coming to fix here and there -also an 'assistant/carer' that could come to do some light housework while providing companionship- and because the payments wont come physically out of her pocket she wont make innocent mistakes. Also, could you consider a granny annex in your backyard?
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Reply to TiaChichi
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