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My mother lives in an assisted living facility 200 miles away. I go to visit her once a month. Since her condo sold, I have to make the trip down and back in one day. My mother gets upset when I am not able to attend all of the events at the assisted living facility. She calls to tell me about the other daughters who come to visit their mothers all the time. I try to explain that I don't live close by but she gets very upset and says well if that's all you care about me and hangs up the phone. She refuses to move closer to me because she says it is to cold where I live. I am an only child and have to travel by myself to visit her. I am the only one who goes to visit her. I feel very guilty about only visiting her once a month but I'm not a spring chicken.

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We do not like to think we were born selfish, especially when you look at those sweet baby faces, sweet little things that you think would never become unbalanced in life. But the first thing we do when we open our mouths at birth is to usually let someone know we are ready to be cared for. It might be a strong whimper, or a shrill crying out. Their way is usually cry out for attention. So someone must be ready to comfort them. Yes, here I am, says the little one, I I need attention and care, Now! Sometimes that may be constant care until the adult is in full bloom. So it goes with individuals through life, we thrive on me-ism. It is either producing things, working and keeping busy at things we like to do or working to purchase things we'd like to have., or sometimes just controlling others thinking they know best. Many try to make life meaningful through their children, then when the children grow up and leave the nest, there is the empty nest syndrome. If one builds their life around a child or children, nurturing and caring for it, which is good as long as needed, but then they find it a very big re-adjustment to turn their life into other directions when things change. When one becomes old or disabled in some way,they are more or less forced to face the fact they cannot have and or do what they once may have been in position to do and have. Many times one reverts back to children ways, of course depending on the personality and circumstances of ones life, which may produce a form of temper tantrum, if one does not get their way every time they want. (refusing to be reasonable) especially If one has been in charge controlling others and wanting to do everything their way, thinking it is best way of all their way, will have to come to a rude awaking when things change and do not go the way they wish and possibly have been used to doing for years. It is hard to turn loose, let go of others, and realize others have a life to live and must choose what is the most reasonable way to be a responsible person doing what they feel is necessary to carry their assignments in life well. It is difficult for some older persons to face the end of life with dignity , and respect for others well being. It is a time pointing to less activity . As with a child, it takes patience and work to train them to re-adjust being considerate of others and function in a productive form of life. So when one sees through the elderly eyes, that they are telling themselves they do not have anyone who cares about them, and if they do care, it is not enough! They may become frustrated and try any form of tantrum in order to get their way. So it is a whole new ball game to work with an older person who is starting to display childish thinking. Sometimes they are just not aware of the real situation and will need to be patiently directed to be as constructive in the limited life they have, in order to be happy. To have some kind of mental or physical activity that they can become happy with, may be a partial solution to help fill the emotional thought patterns to be re-adjusted to live and let others live their lives. Making the best of a changing situation. I had a young child once that had to be worked through with due to temper tantrums. The doctor told my husband and I that one thing we must learn to do is be consistent. We had to set balanced rules, and stick with them. His example was, if you tell him it is to be one way or the other, stick with it. It is frustrating for the child to have you give in, to his frustration. Why is he frustrated?
He indicated, you cannot tell him to do things one way one time and expect it, then turn around and say do it another way. Example: It is time to eat a well balanced meal, the kid wants to eat a bowl of candy 30 minutes before the meal is served.
You say, no son, you must wait until after our meal then you can have some candy.
You are the one expected to be the decision maker at that time. So you follow through. Next time a meal is ready to prepare and son comes up and says he is going to eat the candy ahead of time, he is hungry now. So you think, well maybe it won't hurt this time. So he indulges. Next time around same scenario, Son wants candy before the meal. No you say, it is not good for you. Then the tantrum. Frustration! He Does not understand why he cannot demand and have the candy. He had it once before the meal, why not any time he wants. So it goes, we must set boundaries and stick to them, or no one understands why not.
One has to have lots of patience with young children coupled with love, and on the other side of the line, even more patience and love while making major necessary decisions for our elderly ones. For in many cases, the old body is regressing while a young body is progressing. We do what is best for the issues involved to help things run as smooth as possible, while continuing to look for ways to coop to the best of everyone's abilities to be balanced and reasonable and in turn happy. Here is a Hug your way. joylee
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You can look at the available assisted living options closer to you and present your mother with other options. It may be difficult for her as she has adjusted to her current home, however stress how much more often you would be able to visit and/or participate in facility activities. Change is difficult, put a positive spin on homes closer to you, discuss it with her and let her know you would love to spend more time with her but the 200 miles is a big barrier.
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Indeed Pam. There are 60 residents in my mother's nursing home and any time I visit, no matter what day or time of day, there might be one or two cars in the visitors' lot and often none at all.
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Both stay where you are. Once a month is good, and you can check with the head nurse too during the visit. Don't believe the fairy tale about all the other daughters. If it was true, you couldn't find a parking spot when you got there. YES take a look at that parking lot next time. No cars? Nobody on the porch? Nobody in the common areas? Where did they go?
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My mother refused to move as well. For the ten years after my father passed I made the 400 mile round trip once a month, shopping, cooking and hauling along all the food for the weekend too as she didn't "like" cooking :(
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starshine14, great idea about the greeting cards. I use to do that on a regular basis for my elderly aunts who still lived out-of-state at their own homes [my cousins could never get their moms to move into any type of retirement home]. I know they enjoyed getting the cards, and it let the aunts know I was thinking about them.
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Definitely explore staying over at the facility. Also, ymcas, inexpensive motels, families of other residents might have a room to let on an occasional basis. Airbnb? Driving 400 miles in one day? Probably not the best prescription for a pleasant visit.
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Hi Caregiver99, I am thinking should her mother eventually become mentally unable to make decisions or she has a surgery or something that keeps her from managing her finances, someone needs to take over. And as an only child, she would be "it". Without the POA, she can't do that. It's always wise to have that in place when a parent is elderly.
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If your Mother will not move closer to you, then she will have to stay where she it.

The 'Teflon' idea [see above] sounds like the best proposition for you. You can only do what you can do.

Re what harpcat saus: It is doubtful that you can 'take over' after your Mum's death if you have a POA. A POA gives the grantee the right to make decisions for a living person, not for a dead one. However, I see you didn't raise that issue, so I wonder what prompted harpcat to raise it.

Just do your best. It seems that you are. Your Mom might never understand that, but it will not change them fact that you are.

:)




:)
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Also, be sure you have POA, because if something were to happen to mom, you need to be able to take over as the only child.
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WTDAM1stbook, great ideas! I think you might want to stock up on inexpensive cards and mail them to her weekly as a treat. It's always nice to get a card/post card in the mail! Or maybe send a bouquet on occasion so she knows she being thought about. I realize she may not even appreciate that, and nothing may help, except that YOU may feel better for having done something kind. Blessings!
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This is about having reasonable expectations--on both sides of the issue. Set clear boundary lines that take both your needs into account and express yourself clearly in a way that acknowledges her feelings as well as yours.

"Mom, I understand that you would like me to attend more of the lovely events at your new community. I am so glad you like your new home, and enjoy going to the events I am able to attend. However, when you complain that I do not come often enough, it takes the pleasure out of visiting. Therefore, I suggest that you let me know which event on your monthly calendar you would most like me to attend. We can also do another activity or two so that my monthly visit is truly a special day that we will both enjoy."

Some facilities have a room where visitors can stay. Have you explored the option of an overnight visit so you can spend two days instead of one? That would be a nice compromise and a meaningful gesture.

If you do convince your mother to move closer to you, you can count on the fact that she will be even more needy and demanding. When your mother's condition declines (which it will), the demands on you will increase. I would wait until that stage is upon you before moving your mother closer. It might be a good idea to start exploring living options ahead of time so that you will be better-prepared when that time comes.

Barbara Matthews, author
What to Do about Mama?
http://bgmatthewsblog.wordpress.com
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Yes I know about this situation. My Mom moved to Arkansas about 30 years ago. She is alone out there since her most recent husband passed away. She has friends and is very active, she's 83 lives on her own. She would like it if I left my husband and moved out to live with her, our marriage isn't the best, but that hasn't happened yet. My brother gave it a go and moved to Ark. but that ended miserably so back to Ca. he did go. I try to get out there at least once a year and feel so guilty that I can't get there more often. I dread the thought of when she can't do what she's doing now but like some one else said she has made her choice. Try not to let this get you down, do what you can and leave the rest to God. Blessings.
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Loose the guilt. She made her choices,you are equally free to make yours. She is either manipulative or has some degree of dementia. You have no power over her choices.
It is not free to travel 400 miles once a month.
I have had the reverse experience with my younger daughter. Always strong willed she would call ask advice then argue and finally slam the phone down. I never called back and in a couple of weeks she would call again as if nothing had happened. So I absolutely agree with Sodonewithsal wait for her to call you and don't sit around feeling guilty.
If she moved closer it would not satisfy her and she would have you running round in circles all the time. Do you really want that every day?
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It's a four hundred mile round trip for you to see your mother. I doubt "all the other daughters" who are there all the time have to drive four hundred miles.
When she hangs up on you in a snit, don't call back. Let her call you, and when she starts up on the "all the other daughters" again, tell her you've got to go -- someone's at the door, the sink is overflowing, you have an appointment, whatever. Lather, rinse, repeat. She'll eventually get the message,
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You know moving her near you might not be the best thing for you. Because when that happens you will see her probably once or twice a week. So at least this way it's only once a month. Can you not spend the night when you go? Either a local hotel or at the ALF, some have guest rooms. Charge it to your mother,s account.
My dad would say those same things to us when he was in Independent Living place that everyone has family coming for brunch except him. Of course EVERYONE didn't, but no matter, it seemed that way to him. It is more acutely evident when living in a communal facility.
You are doing your best. I liked the comeback Maggie posted above. Your mom chose to live there but she is manipulating you. Why feel guilty? She should feel guilty!
My dad did finally move here near me, and now that he is on proper meds, he is happier that he did. But he had to be the one to ask to move here and he did. We knew we couldn't force him which is why he stayed in his own city at first. Wish you the best and please take off the guilt...not worth it. She's using manipulation strategies on you.
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want2know, sounds like your Mom really enjoys where she lives, so chances are she won't want to move.

I really believe as one gets older their concept of time and distance disappears.

I still cannot convince my Dad that I can't drive more than a certain distance because I don't like driving, yet he will ask if I could take him here or there.... it's like what part of "I hate to drive" doesn't he understand... [sigh]
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Become Teflon. Just let it rollllll right off. Or! Better! Become a ping-pong ball: "If you loved me, mom, you'd move closer." ;)
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