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My husband and I have moved my mom twice in two months, once across town in the city where she lived, to an independent living facility Mom had picked out, and then almost three weeks ago to an ILF in the same state as me, about 30 minutes from where we live, 500 miles away from her previous home. Even though Mom picked out the ILF in the city where she previously lived, once she got there, there were a couple things she didn't like and wanted to leave. She asked that I check out the ILF where my dad had lived near me, which I did, then I checked another and then a very nice ILF where she is now. Mom also asked that I check apartments too, which I did, but found it very difficult to find one with everything she wanted, so she said to never mind about the apartments. When I toured where Mom is now, before the move, I sent her information and took lots of pictures and sent them to her. Mom said she trusted my judgement, didn't love the cabinet color, and didn't want to pay more than what she was then paying. So my husband and I are paying the difference, which is fine with us, but Mom doesn't like not completely paying her own way. I'm happy to be able to help out more and have some time since I'm retired. Mom is 85, unsteady on her feet and in my opinion, a trip here to look at places would have been difficult and it never came up anyway. Now, as of yesterday, Mom's extremely unhappy and white-hot angry and feels she's been "dumped" where she is now, even though we tried to have everything ready for her, including a new bed and groceries to get her started. She feels we should have invited her to stay with us while we looked at places, but she did stay with us about a dozen years ago when she was recovering from cancer and my husband said no more and I can't blame him. I've been over several times to help get things arranged and do errands together. I reminded her that we talked over every step of the way of the move, which she denies. This ILF is a fairly new, beautiful place, with everything she wanted, but Mom doesn't like the carpet color and unfortunately then says different things different days. Like, she'll give it a year, or I dumped her, or she likes most things about her new place, or hates the view and the weather, or likes the view and weather, or wants to go on a trip, which I turned down due to the pandemic. I don't know what she thinks anymore, or she really does change her mind a lot. She does have some intermittent short term memory issues and now says she was never given a choice about where to live, that I'm a %&#$ control freak and now wants to move back to her former city and live in an apartment. My husband and I are done moving her after two moves in two months. Previously, I told her that over the last couple of years, she had often told me that felt like she needed to move to an ILF because she was having a hard time with cooking and really didn't want to do that anymore and she didn't remember ever saying that. Sometimes I think this boils down to she wants to live much more independently like she did years ago, but is no longer capable of that and is extremely frustrated and obviously unhappy. Mom doesn't leave her room where she is now and didn't much in the previous ILF. She was in the hospital in the spring and one of the nurses talked to her about moving to assisted living and Mom wasn't having any of that. I've had problems setting boundaries with her in the past and have had many clashes over the years whenever I have disagreed in the past. Mom chose to have one meal per day in her new ILF and she does have groceries to last probably a week, but doesn't seem to feel like food prep. At this point, I think I should just leave her alone for a few days; I wrote partly to vent and partly to see if I'm looking at this all wrong or ??, and for any advice. I'm not up for another move and Mom even told me when moving here to tell her that she can't move again. Thanks for reading and any advice you have.

Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries... You've done everything you can to please your mother and there is no pleasing her, and never will be. Your last comment that "I think I should just leave her alone for a few days" is exactly spot on. Let her have some space, and give yourself some space. She's not going to be happy, she's not going to starve to death, and she needs to know that Independent Living means that you are not going to be taking care of her. Hopefully she can settle in at this ILF before she needs to to move to Assisted Living (which I think was the right suggestion by the nurse) but it sounds like this ILF does have meals available so it may work for a long while. But you need to back off and let her be unhappy until she decides to be happy, or at least not unhappy. It's hard giving up your home and making a move and new friends and new schedules but she's blaming you for all of it. Don't let her do that. You don't need to say anything in your defense but just don't accept the blame or try to make it better or respond to all of her complaints. Once you develop some scripted answers to her complaints it gets easier - kind of like with children when they whine and complain and you ask them what they think they might do to make the situation better - NOT what can YOU do to make the situation better. Nothing you do will help because she has to come to terms with her age and her limitations.
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DILKimba Oct 23, 2020
Great answer! scripted answers, empathy answer turning it back on her is a good strategy!
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Going to be blunt so I can drive home the point. Just think how miserable you would be if she was living with you right now. There would be no escaping her complaints. Consider yourself lucky you aren’t trapped under the same roof as here! While it’s true she needs to adjust to her new environment, it’s also true she wasn’t happy where she was before she moved and she won’t be happy anywhere. This is why you need to put up boundaries. You’ve gone above and beyond for her and it appears all you get in return are complaints? Where is her appreciation for all you have done and all you are doing? You don’t have to sacrifice your emotional well being in order to be empathetic toward her.
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Tell her if she wants to move again she's responsible for every aspect of the move. Arranging and paying for movers, paperwork, EVERYTHING.

Chances are she'll change her mind.
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This is a big transition for anyone. It's loss of independance from living in your own home - like a kind of a grief.

I was talking to a friend today actually about this sort of transition. Her Mother was struggling with an injury, eyesight & keeping house. Rather than be a burden on her adult children, she moved into an ALF. She mourned the loss of her house & took several months to really settle in. But now she is relieved the cooking & cleaning has been lifted from her, is content to make a cuppa instead. Yes it is expensive but she says she is no longer worried about fixing the roof, cleaning the gutters etc. It took time to adjust & see what she was gaining. At first it just felt like things were being taken away.

I thought she described it very well.

Give your Mom time. Be empathetic, but be careful about taking on her emotions. They are hers.
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I am sorry that you are dealing with this.

You don’t know what she feels. She may not know herself. Just acknowledge that she is upset.

It’s annoying, even hurtful after all you’ve done to help. She may or may not get over it. Who knows?

I think you and your husband are pretty smart knowing your limitations. Don’t take what she says to heart. She’s adjusting and trying to find her place in this world as a senior.

Remember this. Do you have every single thing that you desire in life? Nope! No one does. So it’s fine if certain minor things don’t measure up to her taste.

Go ahead, vent all you want! Take a brisk walk. Do whatever makes you feel better and know that we care.

Ask any questions. There are many participants on this forum. Stick around for feedback.
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csoward Oct 23, 2020
Thank you; you’re right, I really don’t know how she feels, other than upset. Brisk walk is a great idea - with all the planning and moving, I’d gotten out of the habit of regular walks.
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Cackle guffaw - !

"She feels we should have invited her to stay with us while we looked at places, but..."

Yeah, I bet she does.

You'd of been looking an awwwwful long time, don't you think?

I can't decide if you're perhaps being disingenuous, but it does genuinely seem that you dodged a bullet by accident, in all innocence.

You are not looking at anything the wrong way, but do try to stop solving your mother - it can't be done. On the other hand, I wouldn't stop visiting her as you normally would choose to, because that will hurt her feelings (briefly) and confuse her but won't otherwise have any effect.

The way she is behaving and the feelings she expresses are NOT CONNECTED with what you have done or not done. They are connected with the loss of familiar home, independence, way of life... with age and frailty. I sympathise with her, truly. But I can't change it any more than you can.

You have moved your mother to a very nice apartment within sensible visiting distance. She is fine. Her welfare is assured. Her contentment, alas, is another matter but - see above - not one you can realistically expect to win on.
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mally1 Oct 23, 2020
I must be slowing down; didn't get the humor in bringing her home "temporarily". Dodged a bullet indeed!
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Oh, by the way, sounds as if you won't be able to please her no matter what, so don't let her engage you in arguments. When she complains, say you have to go, and get up and leave, or hang up the phone. She will back off eventually; also, she may very well need several months to settle in; that seems to be the case for most people I've talked to.
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csoward Oct 23, 2020
Yes, I did leave her place yesterday after more fury from her. She said she’s not going to pay her rent and hopes they evict her.
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Whatever you do, do NOT move her again!

She is displaying some typical behavior of an elderly person with some cognitive decline. I dealt with this very same behavior from a relative with whom I was very close and did a lot for. This relative would complain that she was "unable and too weak to cook for herself" yet I'd go to her house and there would be evidence she had been climbing on a step stool and cleaning out her kitchen cabinets! She would complain that she was lonely living alone and wanted to go to assisted living, then once I'd start trying to make that happen, she'd refuse to go. When she finally got to assisted living, she complained about the people there, saying she wanted to live alone! (she had a private room) She drove me nuts.

Leave her alone for a few days. She needs to adjust.
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Sounds like your mother has dementia and this obstinate behavior is part of it. She needs an evaluation by a doctor and a diagnosis, asap. Independent Living is probably NOT the answer for her, no matter what the dx turns out to be, since she can't make decisions and doesn't want to cook, etc.

I feel your pain with all of this b/c my husband & I have moved my folks 9x since they moved here to be near us in 2011. Since dad died in 2015, we've moved my mother from one apartment to another in her Assisted Living Facility, and then to a Memory Care room in the same AL. She's never happy, never satisifed, always complaining and carrying on, and always blaming ME for all of it. The one smart move I DID make was to NEVER have her move in with me, for even ONE day during all of the upheavals we've been through over the past 9 years. She even had a small flood in her ALF apt and the ED wanted me to take her home with me while they dried it out and I said HELL NO. So they found her another room while they took care of her place! LOL.

Have a chat with your mom and let her know that things don't have to perfect in order for her to TRY to be content with her new place (at least for NOW). The carpet is clean, so the color is irrelevant. The cabinet doors work, so their color is irrelevant as well. While I'd like you to be happy, mother, my main concern is that you are COMFORTABLE and SAFE, both of which you ARE in your new place. Period.

Leave her alone for a few days & see what happens. She may not be capable of living alone and may require another move to Assisted Living, but you'll have to play it by ear & wait and see.

As far as 'not paying rent & hopes to be evicted goes', let her know your place is NOT AN OPTION. So, if you get evicted, mother, WHERE will you be going? Let her know YOU are not going to do ANYMORE groundwork for her flights of fancy. She stays put or she finds a new home herself. Tough love. You mention getting her a bedspread, 'assuming she stays there'. Again, she has to stay there, unless it's to move into Assisted Living where she likely BELONGS. That's her next step, if/when another move takes place. Make no bones about it. One crack in the armor and it's all over. She'll slither in like a snake with 1000 reasons why she HAS to move to a NEW ILF. Not happenin'. Enough is enough.

GOOD LUCK! Wishing you Godspeed and patience and sending you a hug!
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I laughed out loud with your comment "She said she’s not going to pay her rent and hopes they evict her." She really is just throwing a temper tantrum like a toddler. I often find that the best way of dealing with my dad's unrealistic demands is to use the strategies I used when my kids were little - ignore and refuse to engage. Usually the outburst loses steam when there is no reaction. I really encourage you to practice "scripts" that you use with your mom when responding to her outbursts and demands. If you have responses ready it's much easier to not react to her behavior.
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