Moving in with Mom. Any advice? - AgingCare.com

Moving in with Mom. Any advice?

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I am a 57 year old women who has been the primary caregiver to my mother, who is 82 COPD on oxygen 24/7. I have decided to to move in to be able to assist her more. I am aware of the transition that it will be tough, she is ready for help. I bought a 30 ' trailer to put on her property to allow for some space. I am nervous and scared all at the same time. I have decided to sell all my belongings and settle that the house is her space , she has agreed the yard and outside will be mine.
What suggestions and ideas does your experience suggest, I do to make this easier.
My mom is still strong mentally but not physically. She know that this is what is best as she would never give up or move out of her home.
I really appreciate any and all feed back.
Thanks Diana

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What's even worse about my story...to this day, my husband feels like he is the one who made sacrifices to follow me to where my career led after that, and had exactly zero understanding that his decision to quit the history program was like throwing my sacrifice in the garbage, and it was a huge emotional ton of bricks. He did not even talk about it with me first. He just came home one day and said I'm quitting - I feel out of place with the younger students. That was it. No struggle, no "I know you came here so I could do this and now I'm realizing it wasn't for me after all, gosh maybe we should have..." no opening to even discuss some way he could feel better about being a 27 year old student instead of a 20 year old. And, being tainted with that experience, that's the sort of thing I smell brewing here.

Now if you tell me you had no income, no other caregiving help, no substance abuse issues, turf issues, or general ingratitude - but would still advise anyone else to make the same choice, and you fully recovered your own life when it was all said and done, I will eat every word and will have to do penance for the selfishness of my own decisions forever.
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Doug, I immediately marked your answer helpful because it is. There are caregivers like you for whom it worked. And it IS commendable. But, campyone's mom is an active alcoholic, lays on the guilt, feels the house is hers and has not even offered campyone a spare room or a spare couch, she is giving up everything she has all at once and her mom apparently has a real sense of entitlement about it. To top that off, campyone is writing because she has misgivings. I think you did not need us and I think we (at least "I") would not have had the same gut reaction to your situation.

I personally made a sacrificial decision many years ago that this post roused the memories and emotions behind. It was not an unredeemable disaster but it is one of my life's biggest regrets. I remember the feeling of relief, the vanishing of the guilt feelings I had for considering putting my career ahead of what hubby thought we should do at the time. When I finished med school my husband had actually asked me to just go into private practice and start making more money instead of being a resident, which even then would have been a huge mistake...my mom even thought he deserved that...so I felt guilty for saying no at the time. So after residency, I thought to myself, "yes I will make this sacrifice and hubby will have his chance to do something he really wants to, yes that's the right thing and I will do it." We moved to a city I did not like living in, to my first faculty job instead of a research fellowship that I really wanted to do, and he was going to be a history major at the university there. He dropped out after one semester. He took an airline job and was gone all the hours I was off work. I was lonely as hell. The faculty job did not pan out. Others in the department used my time and effort and my patient referrals to publish studies that would have helped me get tenure but did not bother to even include me. I learned a fair amount from the experience and moved on to what I do now, after three mostly miserable years, but came out lacking in what was needed to pursuing any kind of a research career, and that deficiency in my training has dogged me to this day. Have I ended up in the right place doing the right thing? Maybe I have. But my point is that a decision like campyone has apparently already made, if it is made out of guilt and without the foundations that you had with your family, has got all kinds of potential to bring about life-altering, non-recoverable losses.
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DougSeubert,

To quote your post:

"So my last piece of advice to campyone is go out and meet real caregivers, those who are making it work."

I guess we're all just cybercargivers, not real. Only 'real' ones can make it work. Okay, Doug. Thanks for the heaping, helping of guilt on real people who can't MAKE it work because of 24/7 care with no sleep, no finances, no community resources you seem to have an abundance of in your world and no support.

When you can't leave your elder's care for more than a half hour or not at all, do you summon the Skittles pooping unicorn to your side? Do they get up every hour with your mom and let you sleep? Must be wonderful to live in your world.

I guess that only happens for 'real' caregivers. Geesh!
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I did not "tell everyone not to help their parents". I am helping my mother, after all. All of us on here are helping someone, in most cases a parent. But again the idea that "there is no higher calling than helping your mom when she needs you the most" is your experience, not everyone's. I have a higher calling than helping my mother - I'm just not free to pursue it and perhaps I never will be. That reality has to be acknowledged as well.
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CarlaCB -- my mom passed away last December and I have no regrets doing what I did. I am back in the job market, but making half the pay I did when I quit my job five years ago... and the job I have has no benefits. I did spend all of my savings and just over half of my retirement. Yet I still have no regrets. I don't think its fair to tell everyone not to help their parents. If campyone wants to do this, and if her mom wants to stay living in her home, I would hope more people would support that. I moved in with my mom in 2001, took over her finances shortly after (she was having trouble remembering to pay bills and she couldn't take care of the house and yard by herself anymore). She wasn't diagnosed with dementia until 2007. I left my job in stages, coming in later so I could get her up and showered and dressed for the day, and taking longer lunches so I could go home and check on mom during the day. It finally came to the point where Mom could no longer be left alone for more than a couple hours at a time. That's when I quit my job, in 2010. For the next 4 years I was her main caregiver and i was there for her 24/7. When i got her a hospital bed there was room to bring in a twin bed for me to sleep as she often was awake and agitated in the night. I still have no regrets and given the chance I would do it all over again. I'd still be doing it today except mom passed suddenly one night. She died in her home, in her bed where she wanted to be. 20 years earlier she and I did the same for my dad who had cancer. He was sick for three years. i moved home after college to help my mom take care of him. He went into home hos[ice and lived for another three months. He died at home in his bed which is what he wanted, and before he died he told me to take care of mom. I was able to honor both of my parents wishes. I never worried about what would happen to me. I am glad I wasn't aware of this discussion board and came here looking for advice because you all would have told me to use tough love and put my mom in a nursing home. and that's sad.

So my last piece of advice to campyone is go out and meet real caregivers, those who are making it work. Get advice and guidance from people who are going through -- or who have been through -- a similar situation. Find a support group for care giving in your area (even if your Mom doesn't have Alzheimer's disease, go to the support groups anyway... you'll find lots of people who are caring for a spouse or a parent. You can learn from them and they will learn from you. Talk to people who work in home health and hospice programs. They can not only explain the benefits of family care giving, they can link you to awesome resources in your community. They will tell you resentment and resistance are common, and that there will be highs and lows in your relationship with your mom. But they can also provide experience-based advice on how to deal with it and other stresses that come with being a care giver. You will also learn that there is no higher calling and no greater joy than helping your mom when she needs you the most.
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Absolutely right (and very insightful), vstefans. "Helpful answer" is nowhere near enough to express my degree of agreement with what you've said.
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And the real red flag - "she will never give up or move out of her home." She needs oxygen 24/7 - she is physically frail - she may become totally bedbound and dependent on you - you may have no help - she may refuse all but family to care for her and you may have no help from them. She is "ready for help" but on HER terms in HER house only. Reality is harsh and she's not ready for it by a long shot. Chances are that she will come to resent your help because she will resent that she even needs to have help. Don't you go into this with rose-colored glasses on and no back-up plan just because you feel obligated to try to help her stay in her own home.

Do you even like her home, as a place you can be happy to live in?
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Campyone, my heart wants to answer your original question in one word. DON'T. I know I know, she needs care, she is "acknowledging the drinking problem" which may or may not even translate into promising to stop drinking or maybe just cut down. But it is up to her whether to really enter into recovery and sobriety or not, and if she does not, you are throwing your entire life into a rat hole for nothing.

Moving to take care of her could be the best thing you have ever done - OR the worst. Put it on hold for a minute. Go to some Alanon meetings. Listen, really listen. From what you are describing she will quickly be at a point where she cannot be without full time close supervision, and your trailer even if it is 20 feet away will sit empty if the other siblings decide to stay away and leave it all up to you. Worse still, you will be dependent on her income, she will feel like you owe her for living in her house, and she could flat out just turn on you if she does not like the way you are trying to keep her safe. If she is her own guardian and not incompetent, she is free to do whatever she wants and not do whatever she doesn't want. If you even have her POAs in order, she could revoke them. Plus, you have left her the weapon of guilt in her hands to use against you as well. Then you are homeless and jobless, while she is no better off and maybe worse off than when you decided to "help" her. Wanting to help is a wonderful thing. Being ABLE to help - not just a little but over the long haul - is not guaranteed. Nose around on here too for the stories of what can go wrong when you move in. Sure, the people for whom it all goes swimmingly well don't post as often. Maybe do it on a trial basis at first without burning all your bridges. What makes you feel like a good, caring, dutiful daughter now could turn into your worst nightmare.
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Maybe you could talk to her doctor and ask him/her to tell your mom that she is not allowed to drink with her current medication.
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My husband has dementia and my son, his wife, and their two children ( ages: 2 mos and 2 1/2 years) moved in with us so he could help out and finish his last year of college....It has been really rough! My husband resents him being there because it's his home and he doesn't want anyone else there...just me. I've tried to talk to him about the things he can no longer do and my son now takes care of those chores. But, because of the dementia, he thinks things will go back to the way they were and he'll be able to take care of chores around the house if my son moves out...you just can't reason with someone whose mind is so confused!
My husband also worries that my son is going to get his pick-up...even though he can't drive (he's partially blind from a stroke) and I have my own vehicle that I drive.
My husband is possessive with his tools...even though he can no longer use them and it is necessary for us to use them for repairs and jobs around the house...no one uses them properly...always a complaint!

He thinks someone is taking his things...even if he had the object last and he misplaced it! He thinks someone is stealing his money...even though I give him very little to carry in his pocket because he can't manage it!

He just can't understand that my son is helping me...and I don't think he can even understand that I am overloaded and need help. It is a really stressful situation for me and for my kids. I find myself trying to keep him away from the kids so I don't have to listen to his complaints.

Just things to ponder before moving in with parents that have dementia!
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