It's been four years now since we moved my now 85-year-old mother in with us. Thankfully she is still fairly mobile and shows no signs of dementia or anything like that. The difficulties with my mother have more to do with her very ingrained habit of denying reality and her unwillingness or inability to respect my home and how I want things to be.
This has been coming to a particular head as of late because of her pets. She has a small dog and a cat, both over 10 years old, who are becoming more of a headache each day. My mom's dog is a nightmare who would rather urinate on the couch than step on wet grass to go. After a recent bout with a bladder infection, we agreed that he would wear diapers in the house so as to avoid this kind of behavior. However, after a few weeks, my mom has grown tired of it and insists "he's fine now." So, she's lax with the diapers and, big surprise, today I come home for lunch and he's relieved himself all over the couch again. There is no other animal in the house who does this, yet she insists it couldn't have been him. Her sense of denial has been a problem throughout her life; this is just an extension of it. But now it affects me directly.
I plan to discuss all this with her this evening, but I feel like a jerk because I'm basically at the point of telling her that either her dog needs to go because she can't care for him, or she needs to go somewhere else. I don't think the latter is even possible at this stage, and the former is sure to start a fight and a ton of resentment. I've given my feelings a lot of thought and what it boils down to is that I often feel disrespected by her. That my wife and I have opened our home to her, given her a beautiful place to live, a relationship with her grandson, and all that I ask in return is for her to clean up after herself, make sure her dog goes outside and not on the couch, etc. It feels like these things aren't important enough to her to do. If she was anyone other than my elderly mother, I would have kicked her out long ago.
Any advice on how to approach this would be much appreciated. My brother tells me I shouldn't be so accommodating and basically tell her she needs to get rid of the dog. To take a "this is my house and this is how it's going to be" approach. I really don't like to put things like that but I'm starting to feel like he's right.