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She lives in an independent, safe, small apartment community of people who look out for each other. She recently had a major surgery and I stayed for a month. Made sure she has sources for handyman, cleaner, groceries, meals, dog walker and transportation help if she would ask. She smokes and has a small dog that is a companion to her but has issues.

You sound like you are in a Catch 22 situation. She needs to move closer to you where you have established supports. I see a crisis looming. When she gets sick or injured because she is by herself, you will get called out to take care of her.
I recommend that you become proactive to stay ahead of this crisis and I hope she has the funding for this because if not and she needs Medicaid, it will be for the state she lives in. Try to search independent living or ALs in your area. If she does get injured, you should insist that the only option is for her to move closer to you. My mom asked brother and I about aging in place. Now all of her friends and relatives are gone. By staying ahead of the game, I manage her care on my terms. She has no choice nor does she have decision making capacity. By planning ahead in small chunks of preparation, it was less stressful.
Try not to make her issues your issues. Let her find out herself when she has no more options
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Islandgarden3 May 17, 2019
Thank you.
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She's been where she lives for four years. She recently had major surgery. So, up until the surgery she was quite content where she was living, had already made friends and settled in nicely?

What are your mother's health and care issues? She's seen off three caregivers, and you don't want to be next on her hit list, that's for certain. But you don't have major surgery for nothing; and even prior to that, you say she moved in with your younger brother because she couldn't look after her house any more. Why not?

If it should turn out that she actually is not thriving in this community - sounds perfect to me! But all the same - have you considered finding her a facility with a higher level of care?
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Islandgarden3 May 16, 2019
I'd say she was content there until her brother died. She is reclusive, or "private " as her neighbors tactfully say and prefers reading and watching tv. She is happy to take others' kindnesses but will not reciprocate.

The house required maintenance. My brother lived an hour away and worked 60 hours a week. Mom felt he should be there more and she shouldn't have to pay someone for small repairs. He did some.

Her surgery was for a benign ovarian tumor found while repairing a perforated ulcer. She's had IBD for a couple of years now. Otherwise she takes care of herself and drives safely for now. Is on an anti depressant that works well.

I believe she can choose to cultivate a friendship or two and give back in some way. She says she's just not a "joiner" and will not consider assisted living.
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I have seen quite a few threads now with similar situations. Mum (or Dad) wants to either move in or you move in.

What is right for your situation? Sounds like you already know and am testing it out here and yes, it is perfectly OK to stay a caring daughter instead of a full-time caregiver.

That is my choice too.

I have a friend who's Mother begged & begged to move in. He works fulltime as does his wife. There is a cultural expectation too but his wife being a different culture did not share this view & did not want to be a caregiver at all, in any way. He had the guilts sooo bad.

They took in Mother for a few weekend visits. She sat like a Queen, with expectation that Dil attended her every need. Lonely, unhappy, complaining (? depressed).

They quickly realised moving her in would be just a little 'bandaid' fix - to the problem - which seemed to be loneliness. Wouldn't actually SOLVE the problem. (On questioning, she had been slowly withdrawing from activities). She wanted company but didn't seem any happier when with them anyway. They decided on advice (for depression), AL near them & visited often.

My Aunt on the other hand, moved herself to AL & is staying social. She said she didn't want to rattle around the big house alone once she became a widow & has pushed herself to join in & make new friends. I hope I can be like that.
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Islandgarden3 May 16, 2019
Yes, this is the living arrangement we will stick with for now. The Queen and band aid fix is where we would be frankly! She is realizing she can make different choices. Not be reclusive and go ahead and say yes to a lunch invitation. Or pick up an item for someone in need while she's out. Or be friendly and say "Hi" first.

I keep up on her Dr's, financial stuff and visit her 3-4 times a year. It is enough.

Thank you for your perspective, it helped.
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Invite her to come for occasional visits instead.

After a week or so, she will be ready to return to her home.
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How long has she been living at her current address?
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Islandgarden3 May 16, 2019
About 4 years.
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I'm wondering if perhaps her fantasy about what it will be like living with or near you is unrealistic and she just hasn't given it serious thought. You mention her moving closer to you, is she wanting to find a place near you or is she wanting to move in with you? It is a big difference and while it sounds like she has a great place now with a network available to her it doesn't sound like she is taking advantage of that or feeling as connected as it seems she should. Did she move there because she has friends and family in the area or has she always kind of been a loaner? I ask because it will make a difference to her as she considers moving and realistically makes a difference in general, it seems like upon consideration she will think it a bad idea if she is connected to the area and you are her only connection to your area but not so much if there isn't really anything keeping her where she is now. If that's really the case and she isn't as connected as you might hope maybe moving closer to you but not in with you isn't the worst idea. I mean as she ages there are going to be more and more needs for you to make the trip to her and if she isn't so far away you wont have to take as much time out of your life just to get there and back and you wont have to stay with her. Which may have a lot to do with why she has become more dependent, she got used to having you living with her full time and has to get used to being on her own again. You staying with her however is very different from her living with you and she needs to realize that. Maybe setting mom and the dog up in a community like the one she's in but closer to you or better yet one that offers AL and or NH/care facilities so she can age in place isn't the worst idea but ultimately it's probably going to depend on just how linked in your mom is to the area she is in. As I said if she is attached she will probably see the drawbacks of moving and elect to stay where she is if not it might make it easier for you anyway. If she is pushing for moving in with you be very clear about your medical issues making that a bad idea for both of you and while moving closer is an option moving in with you just isn't. Even if you felt it was doable now she would need to move eventually anyway and it seems far more sensible to settle in to a place where she can remain the rest of her life rather than know she has more moves in her future. Make friends and connections now while she is still vibrant and fully capable...
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Islandgarden3 May 16, 2019
The original plan was to move her to an apartment close to me. My daughters' family is nearby. However, this daughter and her family are thinking of moving to another state. I will move too. Didn't want to move mom twice.
Still since I was there taking care of her recently I've discovered she will expect more than I can handle even living nearby. The suggestions about moving in with me (and my partner) started after her surgery.

After my dad died, then her mom six months later, she moved in with my younger brother because she couldn't take care of her house anymore. Five months after she moved in with him he died of a heart attack. So she moved out of state to live near her brother and his wife. He died the following year. His wife travels frequently. There is no other reason for her to stay. However, I think the community she's living in now is perfect for her situation now. She's lonely during the holidays but I've offered to get her here to spend holidays with us and she won't travel.
I feel guilty because she's been through so much.
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Thats how friend of mine's mother keeps busy. She helps another lady in her apartment complex.

The elderly have to keep busy as possible. Mom has to make a consious decision to push herself a little to do. Major operations take a while to come back from. The older we get more so. Your Mom would vegetate living with you.
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Islandgarden3 May 16, 2019
Thank you, I agree. I can see where she would start doing less and less.
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What are her issues?

You say she asks to live with you. If you mean, or if she means, that she wants to leave this very nice-sounding community, give up smoking, give up her dog, give up her independence, and cross state lines to live somewhere where she knows nobody except you - well, that's quite a change she's considering, yes? So what could be pushing her to want to do that?
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Islandgarden3 May 14, 2019
Loneliness. She gets around fine, takes care of herself and still drives safely. I’m encouraging her to go to lunch with friends when she is able and maybe offer to help others (in ways she can).
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Why can't you be honest and say what you have here.

Mom I think your best option is to stay here where you have friends, resources and your familiar with. You would lose all that living with me. I can't be everything to u and with my health problems, I just can't care for you like you should be cared for.

She recently had surgery so she probably is looking at her life differently. Also, u being there for the month was probably nice but she has to get back to her life. She may not realize that your health problems are such that just caring for yourself is hard.

Really, she is better where she is. She will be bored living with you. Then she will expect you to fill in the spaces.
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Islandgarden3 May 14, 2019
Thank you. This is spot on. She is lonely but has chosen to keep to herself much of the time and told her neighbors she would be living near me soon. She says she wants me to do things for her, not strangers. I came home realizing I would not live long (literally) having her near me. She has amped up the moving in together comments since I’ve been back home.
Thank you for your answer. This is how I will approach the conversation the next time it comes up.
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"Mom, for many reasons you and I cannot live together and I cannot be your caregiver. I like things the way they are with me visiting you."
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Islandgarden3 May 14, 2019
Thank you.
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Don’t do it. Your life will not be yours anymore...goodbye vacations, privacy, and relationships.
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Islandgarden3 May 14, 2019
Thank you, just needed to hear reinforcement!
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If she is able to care for herself just say, "Mom I am so happy you have your haven with your friends that you can visit anytime and I have my haven. I will be glad to visit you on this day and/or this day. Plus Fido is here with you to help keep you company until I get here next time."
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Islandgarden3 May 14, 2019
Thank you, this is the way it has to be!
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