I don't often see posts where the adult child gave up their home to move in with their parents to help care for an ailing parent, yet this is what I did. I felt it would be easier to not uproot my mother, who is in the early stages of Alzheimers.

The problem is that my father, who is healthy and active, feels that I should "wait" and take over care for my mother after work and on weekends in exchange for free rent. I'm not exactly living free as I pay for their cable, groceries and storage fees for all my furniture from my own house. He doesn't allow my mother to do anything. I feel that it would be good for her to help prepare dinner, as much as she is capable of, such as stirring a pot or making a salad but he demands she sit down so I can "serve" her (his words).

This was not the arrangement I was expecting! I'm basically confined to my bedroom, expected to watch my mother whenever my father goes out after I come home from work and weekends and give up all social life. I have to justify every time I'm out of the house and say when i'm returning. I'm feeling alot like Cinderella! I hired a housekeeper that I paid for so I wouldn't spend my weekends cleaning but that idea was rejected after only one visit.

I can't go out, can't go to church and feel trapped. Yet, my father isn't capable of caring for my mother 24/7 and her health was in jeopardy because of that before I moved in. My dad is stubborn, demanding and is difficult. He will not consider live in help, visitng help or even talk about her future care needs.This is his home, his rules. I'd like to move out but even if I do, the situation of my mother not being able to be left alone still won't be solved so I'll still be expected to give up my free time. Any advice?

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I think you'll hear from several people who have moved in with their elderly parent(s). I know they're out there.

It sounds like you got more than you bargained for with this arrangement and your dad sounds very "stubborn, demanding, and difficult".

I know you know it's good for your mom to still participate in activities of daily living such as stirring food or tossing a salad. There's no need to serve her at this stage and she would probably feel better about herself in doing things for herself. But you know all of this already. The problem here is your dad.

If he's an "It's my way or the highway" type of guy I'd consider that highway. As the Alzheimer's progresses your life in this house will get smaller and smaller and smaller. You can't (and why are we saying that you "can't"?? you're an adult!) even go to church anymore. You are prohibited from doing things that you enjoy and the longer you stay there the worse it will get. Everyone here will attest to that. You and your mom are under your dad's thumb now and he's going to control this situation by God! (I think that's where all of this is coming from with him....lack of control.)

You mentioned in your post that you feel trapped? You are trapped. You look trapped from where I'm sitting.

You said your dad won't consider live-in help? Why should he when he has you? Same with visiting help. That's what you're there for. As far as your dad is concerned your responsibility is evenings and weekends. That's what you're there for and as far as he's concerned, that's what you signed up for.

Discussing the future in these situations is difficult, granted, but that's what adults do, they discuss things that are difficult. That your dad refuses to discuss the future tells me he's probably in shock and denial which feeds into his need to control everything and everyone around him. This won't get better in time, only worse.

You asked for advice? MOVE OUT. Then help your parents move into an assisted living facility. However, your father is going to have to put on his big boy pants and figure out how to get assistance in helping your mom.

NJCinderella, this situation has so many red flags. I'm actually scared for you. You have given up your life to do this and your dad won't even let you go to church? Who the hell is he?! You're a grownup, you're not a little kid anymore and you can go wherever you want whenever you want. And as your mom deteriorates your dad will become that much more overbearing and impossible, that I can promise you. What happens if your dad gets sick? You'll have both parents to care for.

Moving in with elderly parents to care for one is difficult under the best of circumstances. You haven't even gotten to the really ugly part yet and you're already questioning your decision to move in with your folks. If you stay the price is your life. If you leave you'll still be able to help your mom and since there's no one else willing to do it (like your dad) I'm sure your help will be greatly appreciated.

I hate the thought of you posting here 1 year from now about how depressed and lonely you are, how stressed out you feel and how you would give anything to get just 1 day away. That's where you're headed. And I'm afraid there's no handsome prince in your future if you continue down this road.

I wish you the best, NJCinderella.
Helpful Answer (12)

P.S. I should have written this in the beginning.

I think you're a wonderful daughter and your parents are very lucky to have you care about them so much.
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NJ Cinderella I was exactly in your position. My father passed 15 years ago. I came to Canada from the UK alone in 75 with a job, two suitcases, $100 and a roof over my head for a week so with hard work (often two jobs) to become established.

My mother has had Parkinsons for very many years and a number of strokes, along with increasing dementia. In 09 she could no longer manage alone and totally refused to move close to me "because I like it here and I have sooo many friends" - all lies as I later found out - but she's been a mean, manipulative spiteful narcissist life long and everything had to be all about her.

Stupidly I sold my high rise condo overlooking the lake, quit my well paid job and moved 200km to live in her freezing cold, gloomy basement. I had to get rid of pretty much all my furniture as well because there was no room for it. From that point on I was just a cook, housekeeper and servant, along with picking her up off the floor and running to hospitals, doctors and the ER.. Nothing was ever good enough and she was mentally and emotionally abusive on a daily basis. If I went anywhere I got the devil when I returned. In the evening I'd sit alone and cry, trying to fathom out a way to escape. When my beloved old dog died I had nothing left and considered suicide as the only way out.

In October 2012 she fell at 2 a.m., blood all over the place where she cracked her head and I couldn't get her up so an ambulance was called. It was obvious that she needed professional nursing care 24/7 so she spent a month in hospital while I raced around to find a place in a NH. She moved in there in November 2012 (broken a hip and had another stroke since) and, as POA, I cleared, had renovated and put her house up for sale (running back & forth 100km in winter with a broken foot), the proceeds from which pay for her care.

Even from the NH she continued to suck the life out of me until it was making me ill and I changed my phone number. I visit from time to time to ensure she has all she needs but she's declining rapidly. As I'd spent most of my life avoiding her nastiness I have no regret because I did my duty.

I bought a tiny dilapidated cottage on 2 acres in the country which I'm gradually fixing up. I love it out here but, close to 65, I'm having to start from scratch all over again. Based on my experiences I would say MOVE OUT ASAP! as it will only get worse. When your father finds he can't manage he'll have no choice but to get some outside help. If he's really mean and stubborn he may not and I would suggest you have a chat with a social worker to see what options there are.
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NJCinderella, I left everything I had and moved in with my parents over 4 years ago. My marriage had fallen apart, so it made sense. I realize there is no easy solution to your problem. We can think of ways to make it work, but if the ideas are shot down, we are left with where we are -- caregivers, housekeepers, yardmen. Everyone but us is happy with the arrangement.

It is easy to say to leave, but we know that we are the base of the fragile stack of cards. Without us, all the cards would tumble, leaving trouble for everyone. So what do we do? There are no easy answers. We just have to do one small thing at a time.

My mother thought my father should be waited on. She did that until he died two years ago. It was rather sad. He spent the last 20 years of his life looking out a window from his chair. It was so hard to watch him slowly decay while she waited on him.

I know she expects the same thing from me, but I've already let her know that is not going to happen. When she says little things, like she needs water to take her pills, I tell her that she will have to get up and get it. I know that if I start doing the little things, pretty soon she'll be sitting in front of the TV, getting up just long enough to use the bathroom.

I found a good place for my mother, but she is not interested in leaving her house. I can't make her go. I can only go myself, but already know the chain reaction that would cause. I know that it would be hard to advise you what to do other than saying do one small thing at a time and to reserve a lot of your time for yourself. Your dad is no longer the boss of you, even if you're under his roof. He is going to have to realize that, maybe one small step at a time. If your mother won't stand up to him, you're in the unfortunate position of 2 against 1. I know that situation so well. It's hard to do anything when you're the only person that is on your side.

Maybe the first bit of time you can go for is Sunday all day. That way you can attend church and meet people. Friends on the outside make it so much better. Some churches have caregiver support groups. That would also be a good way to pick yourself up. Little things you can do for yourself mean a lot.
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Dad may be having issues as well. It sounds like he is desperately trying to maintain control of her health, which is impossible. He may need some anxiolytic medication. Cinderella, you need to put money away so you can afford to move out. Work on the things you CAN fix, your anxiety for starters, and re-establishing your credit score in small increments. Talk to a credit counselor about how to do this. And keep your attendance at church, do not offer Dad the option of you not going. This is as much a refuge as your work, and you need the community of faith to sustain your spirit. Ask the pastor to visit mom if you can. And lastly, get mom's MD to encourage Dad to make Mom get up and move around, ambulation preserves health.
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I would suggest you rent an apartment closeby, KEEP your job, visit frequently, as you did offer to help, but do so within the boundaries of what you are willing to do.
Regardless of fairness, when you live in someone else's home, you live by their rules It is unfair to think that you can wait on someone all the time other than you work hours, but it will only get more demanding and she will eventually require 24 hour care.

Your dad is a different generation and mindset.

However, I do have to say one thing, you went through a short sale, a process that required approval from the bank, the alternative of which is typically foreclosure. I do not think your poor credit rating is a result of your mother's illness or your father"s controlling nature or your kind offer to help.

While you are at Dad"s save money, to get your own place. Stop paying storage consider selling items if you need to, or renegotiate with dad to store some items in another had siblings, so maybe there is an unpopulated room? Offer help on your terms and grab the reigns to get yourself to a stronger positon. This situation will not improve, you need to change it.

If credit is an issue you may be able to find a room to rent in a house.

You are not a bad daughter, this is just a very difficult situation and you can become consumed by it.

Good Luck.
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When my dad moved in with me we had a financial arrangement. I had to rent a house bigger than I could have afforded on my own but with a "roommate" (my dad) I was able to afford it. Overall I hitched my wagon to my dad financially and it was a huge mistake. After a few years in this situation and as my dad's health continued to decline I realized that my living situation, the roof over my head, was dependent upon my dad's health. One wrong move, one fall, one stroke, and I'd be out on the street. And this gnawed at me for several more years. Then came the day when I was told my dad would have to stay in the NH he had gone into for rehab and I knew the day had come. I had no money. I had a house full of my dad's stuff, and no job. Cinderella, keep your job NO MATTER WHAT. And put money away regularly. We lived on a shoe string and I never put money away much to my detriment later on.

Eventually I found an apartment complex that had "income guidelines". I thought this mean HUD or Section 8 and my mind snapped shut but out of desperation I looked into it (I didn't qualify for HUD or Section 8). When we went to the complex for a tour I saw lots of older folks coming and going. I asked the manager what exactly were "income guidelines" and she told me in order to be eligible I had to make at least X amount of money per month. And that the "income guidelines" were, like, elder-speak for a community with mostly elderly people. I am not elderly, I was 44 when this was going on.

There are places out there. I didn't trip over this one the first time I started looking for a place but I came across it eventually. People with bad credit get apartments all the time. They get houses. The manager of where I am now, the "income guidelines" place, was not allowed to discriminate against me based on age (as she told me later) but most people my age don't want to live where there are "income guidelines". As for me, this place suits me just fine. It's very quiet and peaceful and my neighbors are all lovely elders.

You can find a place. You're not stuck. Not yet.
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Move out, let the chips fall where they may, and pretty soon your dad will be open to hearing about options for visiting care, a housekeeper, etc. Don't let ANY of those options involve your moving back in or quitting your job.
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12, sorry for unclear timeline. The 2 months I referred to include the hospitalization and rehab. I only moved a couple of weeks before she was hospitalized. The dr orders are that she "get up and move" around the house. Prior to that she had been laying in bed up to 12-15 hours a day sleeping or resting and not eating much. PT, OC and VN come to the house now during the work day to help her get back into regular life. I was not being to the exact day specific 12, just giving round about time line. My father hasn't wanted her to do much of anything for a very long time prior to hospitalization which caused her muscles to atrophy to the point she could hardly stand or walk. Now, after PT she is doing very well and can walk unaided. It was probably also was just easier to let her sleep all day than deal with the hassle of trying to get her up to eat or dressed. Trust me, last weekend it took me over 2 hours to coax her to get out of bed so we could get to an appointment and another hour for her to get ready. I was mentally exhausted by the time we got to the appointment. All her tests are coming back that she is physically healthy again. IMHO if you treat someone like they are an invalid, they will become one. Why have her become one before her time?
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Yes Cinderella, you need to get out of there. The stress of this situation will take its toll on you and age you so fast YOU'LL need care too! Others have given ideas about how to get into your own apartment or with a roommate. In the meantime, you MUST start drawing your own boundaries and putting yourself FIRST. Yes, I said YOU, FIRST. So for example, tell your warden, I mean dad, that you are going to church. Period. Do not JADE (justify, argue, defend, explain). Just tell him you are going. And then go. Really, what will he do if he doesn't like it? Ground you? I iuld also give yourself a standing 'date' with a friend, is even just with yourself. Your dad doesn't need the details. Just say this is something you're giving to do and then go, every week, to your 'date'.. Even if it's just you and a good book on a park bench, it will be your own time and will be a lifesaver. And finally, make sure YOU are getting regular exercise every day. I walk at least a mile nearly every single day, sometimes 2. It only takes 20-30 minutes, but it's so helpful for my physical and even more importantly, my MENTAL health. Those that know me know that my walks are nonnegotiable. So you need some things in our life that are nonnegotiable too. You can put these small changes in place immediately. Again, ask yourself what is the worst that will happen. If they aren't able to survive without you there every spare minute, then they need professional care. This arrangement is unfairly taking advantage of you, but only you can change it.
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