It's been a long saga with my parents. Dad had been in a memory care home for 3 years and died a few weeks ago. In his absence from their house, mom has done nothing but sit in self-pity and drink and pop pills, while her health keeps deteriorating. We are at the point where falls are frequent and she's had multiple broken bones in the past year. Oh, and lucky me, her house is 3 doors down from me.

Mom's drinking & falling have resulted in multiple 911 calls, hospital stays, and now 5 stays in a mental health hospital since mid-2018. She recently spent 3 weeks in the mental hospital, had two severe falls, lots of confusion, etc. The hospital directors called me in for a meeting and we all agreed she is no longer safe at home and they said they would only discharge her somewhere safe with their own direct transport. I was 100% in agreement.

Off I go to tour ALs. I found the absolute Taj Mahal, $6,000/month, in a wing where she will get more structure than regular AL but not rising to the level of MC. I picked a beautiful little apartment with a view of a city dog park. Spent a day decorating and getting it all ready.

Now she says I've dumped her there to die and she wants to be released. She is in a wheelchair and needs medication management. I am an only child, work 6-7 days a week. There is no other family and my mom has no friends. I told her she has destroyed my life but she does not believe it. My parents' decline has been an ongoing saga for 8-9 years now, continually getting worse, and I am left as a shell of a person, trying to hang on to what I have left. I start seeing a therapist next month to deal with my issues.

Anybody have any thoughts on her rights to demand to come back to her home? I am in new territory. When I placed dad in MC, of course he did not want to stay, but his cognitive situation overrode his ability to make his own decisions. If my mom comes home I'm afraid it's going to be the end of me.

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I am the original poster. I want to thank you all for your supportive and well thought-out comments. You are giving me strength and helping to keep my head together. I did lay some stuff on the line, via phone, with my mother yesterday afternoon. Now that she is not in her house threatening suicide on a regular basis, I can express what her behavior has done to me. She called me this morning and told me to "take care of myself, not worry about her, and she is in good hands". I believe it was heartfelt but I also know she may be manipulating me because she is an alcoholic and did say yesterday that if she were at home, she would be heading to the convenience store for wine.

Anyway, I just want to say thank you all very much, it's been horrible doing this all alone and dealing with the emotional sh*t-storm that has come along with it. This forum has been my sounding board and voice of reason since 2014 and I really appreciate you all.
Helpful Answer (36)
BarbBrooklyn Dec 2019
Upstream; I'm hoping that mom has turned a corner. MAYBE this time, getting off the alcohol and being in a controlled and stimulating environment is starting to do her some good. Continued good thoughts to both you and her as you heal from the torment.
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I would tell her not gonna happen and block her number.

She will never stop tearing you down, you have to step back and let her cope with her new reality.

Don't engage or listen to the garbage she is spewing to guilt you into giving her what she wants. She is missing her highs right now and that makes her mad. When she starts in, you hang up, walk away and live to fight another day.

You know that she is in the best place possible for her needs. Her wants no longer concern you.

I would honestly take a month break and regain the balance that you lost when your dad passed and she started all her crap. She will be okay, she will be mad but what is new.

Upstream you have given her so much and she has taken all she can, you matter in this and it doesn't matter that she doesn't have any other children to spew her venom on, that doesn't mean that you just have to buck up and take it. Great big hug! Step back before you die from the stress. She is fine with only the staff to chew on.
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NeedHelpWithMom Dec 2019
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Mom is not enjoying Assisted Living but YOU sure are! She stays put and gets used to her new life, translation RULES, and you get to live YOUR new life, translation NO MORE CHAOS, as you see fit.

Practice some new language to start using:
Gee mom, that's unfortunate.
I'm sorry to hear you feel that way.
How do you plan to handle that situation, mom?

There are plenty of other seniors in her ALF that she can talk and complain with every day, plenty of activities to enjoy, lots of meals and snacks to complain about, if she so chooses. Otherwise, she may choose to sit in her apartment and sulk all day. It's up to her.

In any event, she's no longer your problem, so figure out how to cut down your interactions with her and allow her to form her OWN life over there.

Best of luck!
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Upstream Dec 2019
She was always a huge dog lover, I was able to select an apartment with two windows overlooking a city dog park. There is a lot of activity there including police K9 exercising. So far she's sitting in her room with the blinds closed sulking. I was hoping the dog park would draw her out, as I see residents of the ALF strolling over to the park and some even have their own dogs. She could get her own dog if she got better. She keeps saying that's the one thing she would enjoy, a dog.
She is where she needs to be. Stop answering calls from her. Visit maybe once a week. If you're visiting and she starts whinging, get up and leave.

Live your life. Her fate is her own.
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Long time lurker here. If it helps to keep this in mind... it doesn't sound as if your mother was happy at home so does it make that much difference if she isn't happy in her new place? At least she is taken care of and you can focus on gaining your self back. In time, I am sure your mom will adjust. She may eventually be happier there and if she never is, so what. You are doing what is best for her and in turn, yourself. Stress can kill you. If it does, then what happens to her? You are doing the right thing. Never doubt that for one second!
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Upstream Dec 2019
Tiredandweary, Thank you! Yes I am feeling the affects of the stress, for sure. I feel backed into a corner, that it's now her or me, and it's my decision not to let her take me down. She has been miserable for the past 8 years or so, she has done nothing meaningful, constructive or joyful in a decade.
If your mother is mentally competent (officially) she is free to leave at any time.

She is not free to move into your house without your invitation.
She is not free to insist that you do the work of moving her.
You have no legal or moral duty to carry out any preparations for her to move back home.

So... I'd say "let her try it." How far do you think she'd get without your active co-operation?
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Upstream, Mum can demand as much as she wants, you do not have to do anything about her demands.

Remind her that the doctor is the one who said she has to be in the AL. You cannot go against the doctor's wishes.

I am glad you are seeking therapy, it does help, but it also takes time.

You are allowed to hung up the phone or leave if you are visiting the moment she starts into you. She will never understand or accept that she has caused you any harm. So it is your job to protect yourself against any further harm.
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Normal behavior, they all want out. Cut back on your visits, let her settle in. If she starts on you when you do visit leave, restrict your phone calls with her, if she starts say goodbye, later.

This is all a game with her, manipulation, to get what she wants, don't fall for it. She hasn't been there long enough to settle in and you are her go to complaint department.

It is no longer about her wants, it is about her needs...she needs to be where she is. You can tell her when you get a letter from her doctor(s) saying she can be sent home, you will take it under consideration. It won't happen.
Helpful Answer (16)
Upstream Dec 2019
oooo, I like the letter idea! I told one of the high-ups at the AL yesterday that I will in no way accept responsibility for her, I will not sign anything accepting responsibility for her care, I will not take her home, etc. I told her if Mom moves out of there, it will be with someone else accepting to be responsible for her.

You have done more than most kids would do and put up with more than most also--and done it w/o support, it sounds like.

Block your mom's number from your phone. At least for now, and for as long as you and your therapist agree is appropriate.

This is called going 'grey rock' where you don't cut them off completely, but rather control the amount of time and energy you give them.

As an only child, you don't have the support of sibs--but believe me, they are not always "supportive' and can actually be a blockade to doing the right thing for an aging parent.

I have not spoken to my mother since I told her I had cancer, 8+ months ago. Her response was "Oh, your daddy will be so glad to see you" (daddy's been dead 15 years.) What kind of mother DOES that? It crushed me, but also made me realize she TRULY does not care about me, so I cut ties with her---and haven't spoken to her for 8 months. She is getting a group Christmas gift that I organized but I am not taking it to her nor do I have any desire to ever see her again.

Maybe in time the broken heart will heal. The cancer did. But I had to preserve myself, and dealing with her (she has not been dxed with any kind of cognitive disorder)….really made me sicker.

Believe me, although I was sick as a dog for months, NOT talking to or dealing with her has been so peaceful.
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Upstream Dec 2019
Midkid58, wow, good for you in standing up for yourself! What a terrible thing to have said to you! My mom was horribly verbally abusive to my dad when he was in the memory care facility - she said things that will haunt me forever.
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My very blunt reply is meant kindly. Irrespective of whether dementia is involved or not, it is all downhill from here for your mother. And if you want some sort of satisfying life you would do best to get out of the way, otherwise you will be run over in the process. The fact that you are booked to see a therapist tells me you recognise your own fragile state and a determination to survive what your mother is throwing at you.
Most elderly people want to remain in their own homes and will do anything in their power to guilt their carers into allowing it. That is understandable, and sounds like your mother is super-successful in that department. Even when they no longer remember what home is, or where it is, they still want to go there. You call it the Taj Mahal that your mother is not satisfied with. With my mother, we say it would be Buckingham Palace and she still would not change her mind about the lovely facility she now lives in.
It is what it is. Steel yourself to ignore it. Come to think of it, steel yourself to ignore all her jibes, accusations, and any other negativity she can use to manipulate you. A therapist will help you to find the strength, and the pathway to negotiate this minefield you find yourself inhabiting. Your mother's carers and medical professionals have responsibility for her welfare from here on in. You are 'just' family and not responsible for your mother's happiness.
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anonymous912123 Dec 2019
My brother & I called our mother's home "The Mansion On The Hill", we fought her for over 10 years to sell it and move into AL. The answer was always the No, No, No, finally she had a stroke and we sprung, she is now in AL by us in Florida. House will be cleaned out and sold.
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