My Mom hates assisted living and expects to go home in the Spring. Any advice?

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My brother and I are at wits end with my mother and her constant complaining about everything at AL. Gosh, that first sentence sounded cold. We are loving and caring siblings who just want the best for Mom. After a fall that put her in the hospital and then rehab, she is in AL "until the Spring". Awful to say, but she is tremendously controlling and is a mean spirited person who gets joy out of barking at the health care workers until they are afraid to come into her room. She expects to go home in the Spring, but I don't know how to tell her that I won't be her health care coordinator. I want to be her daughter. She won't listen to anything I say, and once told me to stop talking to her like a nurse (I am one) When I tried to have a discussion with her about this she just snarled, "I'll call 911". My brother has said that if she comes up with a plan, he'll take her home. She refuses a medical alert device, stair rails,and a health care agency. We both know she will hate whoever comes to assist her and will be calling us when she fires them. She is unstable and fell 5 times last year and continues to tell us that she can fall anywhere so she might as well be home. She has no signs of dementia to speak of and knows exactly what she is doing. She recently hurt my feelings to a tremendous degree by her nasty words and I stayed away for 3 days, all the time feeling guilty. I have to say that it did my heart good for the first time since Dad died 7 years ago to know that I COULD stay away and be assured that she was safe and sound and not on the floor in a dire state. My questions are many, but here are the main ones.
1) Am I making it worse by visiting constantly?
2) If she were to go home, how can I not be the person with the main responsibility.
3) How can I stop being so resentful when she talks about her wonderful yearly stays in Florida with my dad. I am the age she was when she began her trips with no family responsibility. My life is consumed with her wishes/wants/complaints.

Thank you,
Amy

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Amy, I am Amy also. :) My mother became very jealous of me. I was born when she was 35. She was always a beauty and when she aged, she liked to rag on me, for some reason. My hair was too short. I was too skinny. My legs were too tan.

Look for signs that she is manipulating you and let it slide off your back. I hope things get better for you soon.
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Amy, you said, " I would love to go away with the family and not worry about her safety." What you don't yet understand is that with her in AL, you CAN go away with the family and not worry about her safety! She's got professionals taking care of her now and your brother is there as a back-up. You've got her set up in the perfect situation for you and your brother. Don't undo it by letting her go back home (with you as her caregiver). She'll just use and manipulate you until your life is as miserable as hers is.

I agree with the other posters on here, limit your visits and drop the guilt. Get some counseling if you need it to understand that you've been a good daughter to your mom and you don't need to sacrifice your life and happiness to make her happy. Given where she is in her life, she'll never be happy anyway. So don't lose your shot at a good life too.
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No I didn't fix any titles, because I am not a moderator, just a blogger like so many of us. The shredding incident made me laugh, my MIL said she doesn't want 911 calls, she just wants to die, but when I asked her to sign a statement to that effect and a DNR she was madder than a wet hen. So, no I am not going to call them. If she's flat out I will give her a pillow and blanket so she can die in comfort.
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The tears rolled down my cheeks when I read your message, Chicago. I am so very sorry for your loss.

Cher, you have a point. Her life is hers and mine is mine; I suppose jealousy is more how I should have stated it. My choices were made for me. I would never abandon her. She had the good fortune to have a mother who lived with her aunt. Yes, at times I get jealous. I would love to go away with the family and not worry about her safety.

Nansacola, Thank you, and I'm glad I found this site too. People who actually understand are a priceless group.

Pinkroses, Thank you for your long reply. Yes, I am her health care proxy as well as my brother. Mom refused to sign any directives and only got angry with the doctor when he gave the paper to her. She ripped it to shreds when she got back to her place. We will keep faith in God that we will do the right thing for her.

pstgman, Are you the lovely person who fixed my title? Silly me; won't get any answers if I don't ask a question. The antidepressant/ anxiety issue has come up. Oy! Do NOT mention those to Mom. I was a small child when she dumped a bottle of those down the toilet... hmmm way back then they were offered by he doctors. Me? I told her current doc that I'd be happy to take them for her.
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You are in the situation that my sister was in, before the stress killed her. She wouldn't take anyone's advice about "staying away" "going on vacation" or "not answering mother's phone calls." Now, that Chris is gone (she died suddenly) Mother is better. I know it is difficult not to be at your mother's beckon call. But you need to take care of you.

I would tell her "I am not taking you home. Get on the phone and arrange whatever you need, but I will not contribute to it." She is using you big time.

The book Coping with Your Difficult Older Parent helped me.
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Its hard to do nut just say no to the things you know you can't do. You don't have anything to feel guilty about. No one is required to put their life on hold to care for elderly parents.

In answer to your questions
1 I would only do once a week for about an hour and if she starts up just tell her you love her dearly but I think my visit is upsetting you so I'm going to leave.
2 just don't take her. You are not required to do this and choosing not to do so doesn't make you an awful person or an uncaring daughter
3 why resentful that was her life and you have yours you made your choices that brought you to where are now. You can wish you could do the same but what would give up so you could do that? drop the guilt your life shouldn't be consumed with her wishes etc its ok to put mom 2nd and your life first. I am assuming she hasn't been declared incompetent so she my just need to be responsible for herself until she can see for herself that she does need some help.
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pstegman is right on. My mother lived with me and my husband for 25 years. She started falling all the time and having other issues. We both worked and were being woken up two or three times a night by her medical alert service. Doctor told me that she had to go to a facility for her protection and mine.

Yes, I felt guilty at first. Found this site, and I realized that there was nothing to feel guilty about. I visit twice a week on Wednesday on my lunch hour to just say hello. Then on Saturdays for about an hour.

Do I wish I could take care of my mother--yes. Can I take care of my mother--no. I now have my life and freedom back and have been able to get off of Lexapro.

My suggestion, keep her where she is safe. Get her anti-anxiety meds. Limit your visitations.
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I can relate to your situation on many levels. From my experience, all of the situations and personality traits exhibited by your mother, will only get worse as time goes on. Dealing and caring for the difficult parent is a tremendous undertaking both physically and emotionally. First, I would try to eliminate any feelings of "guilt" you have. Or feelings of guilt imposed on you by your mother.
After working at it, I lost a lifetime of feeling guilt - and it is so freeing.

I do think visiting constantly can make the situation worse; especially if she refuses to stay in assisted living. It can enable her dependency on you. If she wants to live at home, then she is choosing to not be around others as it is in AL where there are always people to be with if you choose to. In my opinion, it is a far better environment for those who fall a lot as it is not so isolating as home and there are ways to contact people for emergencies.

If she does go home,hire a home health aide to come in if you can and that can take the load off you. If she doesn't like that, that is her choice. You have to be firm and tell her you cannot do it. If she wants to remain at home, these are the adjustments she has to agree to in order to keep her safe.

When she goes on about her wonderful yearly stays with no responsibilities, just say " well you were very fortunate to have had that luxury" and change the subject. Don't allow your life to be consumed by her wishes/wants/complaints. You can do this by keeping a distance - by calling on the phone instead of going over there or by convincing her to stay in assisted living. If she continues to fall, something will have to be done. Does she have a health care proxy in order with you or your brother in charge? That way, you could have the doctor invoke the health care proxy stating she needs someone else to make her medical decisions, etc. It's one step at a time. Blessings to you and take care of yourself as well.
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1. Visit once a week for an hour, longer if she stays pleasant.
2. She cannot go home unless the discharge planner and the MD agree to it.
3. Get her some anti-anxiety medications. If she won't take them, I would.
4. Throw away the guilt card every time she plays it. If she sees you weaken she will go in for the kill every time. Get your coat and go when it starts.
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