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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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Many elderly people (I am one) don't need "assisted living" as an option to living at home, and certainly don't need a "nursing home". There seems to be a frequent misunderstanding of these terms...especially the term "assisted living" often abbreviated AL.

I live in a FACILITY...independently...it's called "INDEPENDENT LIVING". I have an apartment for which I pay rent. I can have a car and am free to drive when and where I want. I have a full kitchen of my own. (but meals are furnished here so I don't need to cook) I do my own shopping, laundry, handle my own business affairs, manage my own medical needs (family or others can help me with these things if I need it) BUT I am free from home maintenance and lawn care. Some minimal housekeeping is furnished, but I can hire more household help if desired. Yes, I have had to downsize from the home I once had, but life is simpler and there are many social activities here.

ASSISTED LIVING provides help with bathing, dressing, medication management, basic everyday essentials... more help than many elders need.
So please do not suggest that the only option to living in one's own home is "ASSISTED LIVING".

A "NURSING HOME" provides nursing care for patients who are confined to bed at least part-time, with medical problems that require licensed nursing care around the clock. Unless a person suffers from Alzheimer's or other severely disabling illnesses, they usually don't need this kind of care.
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Reply to Dosmo13
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I have thought about the issue of being a pack rat. Is it a personality issue that has nothing to do with age or is it more common in older people for sentimental reasons?

My mom lost all of her belongings in Hurricane Katrina so I did not deal with downsizing.

It sounds like it’s a big problem for many people. People have so many emotions attached to their belongings and their homes.

As I watch my mother in her final home, a hospice house I realize more and more how we don’t really need any belongings. Mom values love and care from others more than any objects.

I am fascinated by different
cultural beliefs.

One of my favorite museum exhibitions was on the Egyptian lifestyle. They did take everything with them to their graves!
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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I appreciate your frustration and can validate that caring for an aging parent is hard work. If you cannot or do not want to do the work, be honest (with yourself and your mom) and plan accordingly. You have a glimmer of what is to come.

Here are the things I learned when my mom moved close to me so I could be her sole caregiver:
1. Moving is a LOT of work! Both you and your mom will struggle thru the emotional and physical challenges of her moving. Do your very best to only do it ONE TIME.

In my case, I was not up the the challenges of helping mom downsize. She moved to an equally large home that accommodated almost every single piece of furniture easily. We unpacked the vast majority of 300 boxes and stored in a closet what was unopened after 6 months. Five years later she still mourns items she hasn't "found." Tiny, replaceable things, but she remembers she "lost" them in the move. For me, I think I was absolutely right to keep her in a large home - it would have broken my heart to hear her mourn the big things she did have to give up.

2. There are costs for moving and costs for staying in place. My mom did not stay in the home where she had lived for 25 years. It was too far from me, and while well-maintained it needed regular maintenance, and those untimed big ticket expenses were on the horizon. It is for this reason that I do not like the concept of "aging in place." It is very difficult to keep someone in the same home - especially life takes you farther away from your parents.
Make a list of ALL the tasks that must be done for your mom, her home, yard and car. These are daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual things from cleaning the house to changing AC filters to paying taxes. Make an exhaustive list, then add in at least 2 unexpected things per month. If you are not able or willing to assume all of these responsibilities - either doing it yourself or overseeing someone to do it for you, changes have to be made.

BUT, realize moving to AL is VERY expensive! While my mom could have afforded a high quality continuum of care facility, she would have easily spent $250,000 at this point. I completely understand why AL is so expensive, because I do/oversee all the tasks as my mom's Geriatric Care Manager and $50k/year is a fair salary for that job.

3. In my experience, having watched grandparents age in their homes, and having moved my mom near me to age in her new home, you can never be too close. My mom and my aunt moved back to their hometown to care for my grandparents. That worked for where they were in their life. I am 20 years younger than my mom was when she moved to care for her parents, and fully invested in my career, so she moved to fit better into my life. It turned out that we live 5 houses apart and close is best. I have friends who live across town, and I know they won't be able to care for their mom the way I care for mine. You can never be too close, and your closeness will only increase as her care needs increase - if you are unable or unwilling to commit to that be honest and plan accordingly.

4. It takes time, technology, and tools to keep someone in their home. Plan that there will be a day when your mom needs a lot of care. That time may be short, or it may be long, but do plan that it will come. Make a list of your resources where your mom is living (or moves to) to know if you have, or can recruit, the help you will need.
When I agreed to moving my mom close to me it was because my town has an active senior community center with activities M-F, an adult daycare M-F, an excellent hospital, and a quality nursing home. I know I have the tools here to provide basic care for my mom. Across the last 5 years I have added a lot of technical knowledge and skills into our lives so I can offload my time to a smart device. Make a list of what you need and what is available right now.

5. Caring for an aging parent is transformative. It has been a WONDERUL experience for me! But, it is hard.
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Reply to MAP2013
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"She lives alone in a large home with a big yard. The house is always needing repairs and the yard is never ending..."

When she has calmed down, try to have another discussion with her, but back it up with information. This can include the regular cost of maintaining the home, but also estimates for major repairs. As you noted, houses ALWAYS need something! Even after renovation, something will rear it's ugly head and scream FIX ME! On top of that, your mother isn't getting any younger. If she can't keep up with regular cleaning chores, she has no business living in a big house.

Explain also that you are incredibly hurt that she screams at you to no one helps or cares. Along with that, list all the things you HAVE done for her, without expecting major thanks (a simple thank you would suffice!) In addition, you have found a good, honest reliable person who can do the work needed, but she doesn't want to pay. Your time is valuable, AND needed elsewhere, so your time isn't free either.

Remind her also, the definition of independent:

"...not depending on another for livelihood or subsistence."

EXAMPLE: "I wanted to remain independent in old age"

If she wants to remain in her own place and be "independent", then she has to take on ownership of getting things done. Period. Either hire someone or live with it as is. THAT is being independent.

While children are growing, they too want to be independent, but they aren't and they haven't learned all that needs to be done to BE independent! Growing older, sure, we will become more dependent on others, but WE need to manage and negotiate that! That is another way to remain in the home, but not be really independent.

As I noted in another thread, similar issue (big house, demanding physical and financial help), I didn't have kids so I would have a butler and a maid when I get older. Your mother has a few years on me, but if I can't manage something myself, I hire someone to do it. This included my son - I paid him to paint the outside of the house in areas I couldn't reach with a short ladder. Probably overpaid, but if I have to pay someone and he 1) could use the extra cash and 2) is willing, then so be it. If he isn't willing or doesn't need the money, someone else gets paid. As time rolls on, I will have to get more help, but I understand that and plan for it. Your mother thinks having kids means you are beholden to her and need to help or you don't love her! WRONG!

Ironing??? HAHAHAHAHA, I don't iron anything, haven't for years! I did find a travel iron in mom's stuff and just recently used it to patch some pants. That's it. If my mother had asked me to do that, I'd be like geez, I don't know how!

Clutter? Make a pile of stuff to get rid of mom. We'll pitch it next time we're here. If you don't make a pile, I won't know what you want to keep.

Cleaning the house, once the clutter is gone, shouldn't be that hard. It's a big place you say, so it may be one room one day, another room another day, but most rooms, once done, shouldn't need weekly touch ups. My place is pretty cluttered at the moment, partly because of having to move everything before the repairs were done, partly because OB brought crap here from mom's place, etc. and a lot of paperwork for the 6 years I managed everything for my mother. PAPERS! I don't do electronic, because if there are questions, I have it all here! Online doesn't store that much.

So, yes, I have work to be done, I have clutter, I need to clean more often, but I do NOT expect my kids to do this and certainly wouldn't ask them to do anything for free. Always a thank you as well! Truth be told, I actually help them more than they've helped me, but that's just because I like helping others.
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Reply to disgustedtoo
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'Where do my responsibilities end? I feel used and unappreciated... 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... I don’t think she wants to pay for any work, she expects us to do it for free.'

This is exactly my experience as well. Granted, my mum is 86 and has never driven, and lockdown or incipient dementia has reduced her mental capacity over this last year, but there is nothing physically that wrong with her and on the face of it she ought to be capable of doing a lot more than she does.

The trouble is, she has never been independent or self-reliant and both her parents gave up on life years before their bodies failed, and sadly this is happening with my mum. She is in sheltered accommodation with a care call system, but has to pay for almost all the services provided and resents this, thinking as you say that *we* should do it for nothing.

I have never got on well with my mother (NPD/personality problems, etc.) and am finding it incredibly stressful being in this position, which I never asked for as it was her decision to move near us - one she now seems to regret, although we don't know how she could have carried on in the old family home, relying on neighbours and friends for everything.

I accept some degree of duty to help the person who brought me up, however fraught our relationship, but I just don't know how to deal with her increasing negativity and refusal to help herself in any way, while expecting *us* to pick up the pieces. Trying to work out how far I *have* to help her and how far it is acceptable to say 'No, I can't do that; you need to pay for people to help you' is actually damaging my health. The situation is complicated by the fact that she prefers my husband to me and relies mostly on him, and so far he just accepts this and usually gives in to her 'for a quiet life', even though it causes strain in our marriage.

It's getting to the point at which Mum won't go to the on-site cafe to order food or even heat up meals that people bring her, and as she suffers from dizziness (but refuses to take the medication for it), she is in even more danger of falling because of weakness. We aren't sure how long it will be safe for her to live alone now, but I cannot have her living with me for mental-health reasons and neither can my brother for practical ones, though he doesn't want her to go 'into a home'.

I shall read the answers to your original post with interest...
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Reply to helenb63
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I remember the day that my 94 year old Dad said he wanted to downsize into senior living. It had gotten to a point where he was so tired of trying to maintain his home, and he was paying caregivers to watch over him, and help around the house.

Dad moved to Independent Living to a really nice apartment which had a full size kitchen. He was so happy there that he said if he knew such a place existed years ago, he would have moved back then :) Plus he was so happy being around people of his own generation.

Dad used the equity in his house to help pay for the rent and other things he needed.
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Reply to freqflyer
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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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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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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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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 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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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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It is her problem not yours.
She has to learn to take responsibility for her own welfare.
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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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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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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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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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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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Reply to imtheparentnow
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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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Reply to my2cents
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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"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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