Is this reasonable?

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Mom is late 80’s, frail but needs no help with ALD. I am with her, in her IL apartment, 9am to 6:30pm every weekday including sharing two meals, and on Sundays I am with her 4-5 hours to do church, shop, library, something—and share one or two meals. Saturdays I take completely to myself/partner, but call Mom twice even on Saturdays.


She is terribly depressed and lonely AND not sociable. Says she misses me even when I am there, but in the second bedroom working. Depression and anxiety we are working on with doctors. She fears loneliness and still grieves deeply the loss of my Dad a year ago, and having to move from her home town to be near me.


I want to do what is best for all concerned. She wants to move into my home. I am afraid to do this. My partner is supportive, but the level of emotional need is daunting.

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Why would your mother socialize at the IL if you are there all the time?

Next time you are there, take her to an activity. Participate yourself even if she won't--it's called modelling. Talk to the other residents and introduce your mom.

Cut your visits back to every other day and limit them to a time when there is an activity that you can take her to.

You are, in my opinion, enabling her loneliness and dependency.
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She won't be alone. She'll be living within a community which as things stand you are obstructing her from settling into.

A year, for a lady of your mother's age and her length of marriage, is not very long at all. And of course you want to console and support her. But think on: you HAVE been consoling and supporting her, and she is now more dependent and anxious than she was when you started.

Withdrawing your support - and *replacing* it with different, healthier support, is the thing - is not unkind. It's in your mother's best interests.

You don't vanish. But you don't work from her home, and you don't visit more than once or twice a week - say, a weekday supper and Sunday lunch, or whatever suits you.

I wouldn't make it too gradual a winding down, either - because it won't work fast enough and you'll get upset and stressed out. Talk to the co-ordinator at the facility and ask for help with rebooting her adjustment; then *trust* them to know their job.
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Don't take her into your home. Don't wait for HER to conclude. You can see that it would be a terrible idea.

My mother had a traumatic childhood. Her father died when she was 2. Her mother had to go out to work, and I've never really been sure who cared for her between 2 years and 6? The local nuns? Her abusive older brother?

My dad died when they were both in their 70s. Mom lived alone. She became frail physically and very anxious at 88. We didn't realize it, but she'd had a stroke and developed some cognitive impairment. She moved to an IL and very slowly found the people she could connect with.

We visited when we could. I set up her pill box once a week. My brother and SIL might stop by to bring her a treat. But oh my, none of us saw ourselves as the entertainment committee?! Why would we do that? She was paying 5k a month to live in a place with meals and activities.

Is your mother seeing a geriatric psychiatrist? It sounds as though her mental health issues may go beyond simple anxiety and depression. Is she seeing a grief counselor? Someone for talk thrapy?
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Is what reasonable? You spending so much time with your mother? Probably not. Is it helping her? Possibly, but not enough.

This poor woman has lost the love of her life, her familiar home, and therefore some of her independence. That is a lot to absorb in a short timeframe. It may take her quite a while to settle in at IL. Give her that time. Also give her some space. Cut back on how much time you spend with her. Let her regain some of her confidence and independence. Let her discover that doesn't need to be lonely -- there are other people she can relate to besides you.

What kind of doctors are work with you on the depression and anxiety? A referral to a geriatric psychiatrist might be appropriate.
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Wow. Even before reading the previous answers, I had the same idea. I thought I had problems establishing boundaries with my needy mother (and I do) but your are helping your mother so much it is hurting her. Keeping her from socializing and making friends in the community, helping her to get to grips with the fact she has lost your father (which I am sure is very sad for her) and basically ruining your and your partner's life in the meanwhile.
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Everyone here is on the same page. You seem to have your mom under a microscope, mostly because you’re with her so (too) much. It sounds like she doesn’t even blow her nose without you handing her a tissue. I understand her pain and loneliness are your’s. You are sharing your grief. But you are encouraging her behaviors by your constant presence. It’s a double-edged sword. I was always available to my mom, too. And when I tried to pull back, I could tell she was hurt and lonely. It was up to me to phone her. She seldom called me. She “didn’t want to bother” me. That just increased the guilt. It was up to me to draw the line.

It’s time to cut the “apron strings” and let the chips fall. Your mom may be like mine was. Not happy unless she’s unhappy. As long as she’s safe, you can’t be entirely responsible for her moods, her entertainment, her involvement and maintain your own happiness.
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Please don't get your Mom a pet. Even an old, declawed cat. Why? "she will absolutely loathe and reject the beast until it is damaged" Please.....don't get her a pet!

In fact, I totally disagree with getting any elderly person a pet. If they can't take care of themselves properly how do you think they are going to take care of a pet. Plus the pet may outlive them and then ends up at a shelter.
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Thank you.
We have started seeing ger psych, and has anti-depressant now that I can see is an improvement but it does not take care of her mood, of the “empty”. Has never accepted a grief counselor or any talk therapist, though it remains on the table. She can’t drive anymore, so as homebound, we may be able bring in a therapist, but in those conditions the selection of same will be small.

Thanks again. I am headed over there now to do lunch and library. Really appreciate getting a sanity check.
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When my parents moved to independent living they had folks who were their welcoming committee who would go with residents to events and introduce them around. You might ask if your mom's place has anything like that and suggest it if they don't. It can be hard for new residents to break into established cliques. But most places you eat with the same folks at meals so you can develop some friendships that way. But your mom has to make some effort too for that to work.

Your mom probably has some level of cognitive impairment with her memory loss. It could be from stress or medications or just brain deterioration. My mom had no short-term memory. After my dad died, she became very isolated (she was 92 at the time). I used to worry that she was so alone, but I finally realized I was putting my values on her experience. My mom was happy in her apartment. Your mom is kind of like a little kid who doesn't want to go to bed. You just have to wait her out and stick to your boundaries on visits.

DO NOT move her in with you. As others have said, she's hoping to move to "happiness" with you, but she won't find it there. On these boards, many, many parents ask to "go home" when they are already in their home. Once their brain starts to go, they want to go back to a happier time, sometimes even their childhood. As much as we love them, we don't have the power to turn back the clock. Your mom won't find the happiness she's seeking in your house.

Your mom is living in a good place, she has a daughter who loves her and she has what she needs. She's a very lucky woman in the overall scheme of things. So realize that you're doing a great job and you don't have to give up your life to try to make your mom happy, which is probably an impossible task, no matter what you do. She has to want to be happy and that's a job for her to work on. You can support her but you don't have to be with her 24/7 to do that. {{{Hugs}}}
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Oh, I agree, Gershun..... You said what I was thinking and should have said when I read the post; it would be cruel to subject any pet to the situation. One of my own is old and declawed, and it breaks my heart to think that she could end up with someone that didn't want her and might hurt her. No, a pet is not the answer, Plains.
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