My mom is 84 and having trouble caring for my dad (85) at home. His dementia is growing worse, he often refuses to eat or bathe and he no longer cares to socialize with their friends. He's also incontinent and she has difficulty keeping him clean. He hurt his shoulder and it bothers him so he wanders all night and screams in pain most mornings till around noon. That means she gets little rest and the doctors say there's nothing they can do for his pain. (He has no stomach due to stomach cancer so he can only take Tylenol which doesn't help.) Mom thinks an assisted living facility with a private room near her house would be a great option. She could spend time with him every day there and participate in activities with him but still maintain her own health and independence at home. My sister is infuriated and wants mom to hire round the clock care at home instead. Mom doesn't want to have to live with a third party in her small ranch style home and feels she'd be giving up any freedom she may have in the few remaining years of her own life. I see both sides. Each wants my support. Both my sister and I live too far away to be a daily or weekly relief system for our parents so I feel my mom should have the final word, I guess, but if mom makes this choice, I think my sister will completely cut her off. My mom is a higher strung person who doesn't deal well with stress and I know she's doing her best but truthfully, it might be better for my dad to be away from her for periods during the day because she gets frustrated and has meltdowns. But I can't convince sis. She's aghast that mom would even consider putting dad in assisted living and thinks it's cruel and cold. Needless to say, dad also doesn't want to leave his home or his wife. I do feel bad that my mom doesn't want to try home health first but with no kids nearby, I understand that she'd have to always have another person in her home and she's just not the type to be comfortable with that scenario.

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Who is going to take care of dad when mom dies from the stress of this situation?

Support your mother; she's making the only sensible decision there is.
Helpful Answer (28)
Reply to BarbBrooklyn

Your mother is 84. I repeat 84. You support your mother. Not hard to do. If your sis is so against it tell her to look after him. Can’t believe your mother has been doing it all this time on her own. She has a life beyond your father
SUPPORT your mother and help her out. She wants some peace
Helpful Answer (26)
Reply to PandabearAUS

If your sister is infuriated, she should move Dad in with her. Your Mom is 84 years old, both of you are very lucky that she’s managed him at home this long without injuring or giving HERSELF a heart attack. If you can’t support your Mom, I’m glad you’re remaining neutral.
Helpful Answer (24)
Reply to mollymoose

I haven’t read the other responses yet.

Gently, why do you want to remain neutral?

This is not your sister’s choice. Not even a little bit. Your mom has been the one being worn into the ground. She is the one who knows your dad far more intimately. This is her husband. This is her home.

What your sister thinks/feels is irrelevant.

Your mom actually has a thoughtful, caring plan worked out. She is getting him adequate care. She is not abandoning him. She is keeping her own well-being in mind. She is setting her own very healthy boundaries on who comes in and out of her home. This is more than most people on this board have seen in this type of situation. Her kids should be making this awful decision EASIER for her, not harder.

Having caregivers into a home can feel very invasive. It can be necessary sometimes, certainly. However, in this case, it is not necessary. And she still matters too. This isn’t all about one person, it is what is best for both parties.

I would be very surprised if sis would get this upset if the roles were reversed... if Dad was exhausted caring for Mom.

Your mom isn't doing anything TO your father. The age, dementia and bodily decline are the culprits. This isn’t his fault either. And of course someone with dementia doesn’t want to leave what they know. But, your dad’s illness means those choices aren’t ones he can make objectively. It also means he isn’t able to be a partner in the hardships (i.e., she has the extra stress of being the vigilant one as strangers come into her home. Dad can’t help. Sis isn’t there every day. And Mom probably doesn’t feel all that strong.)

It sounds like she is trying to forge a path for both of them, as best she can considering what she has already been through. I am sure her caregiving time and the process of coming to this decision has been no cakewalk.

It seems pretty arrogant of your sister to make any of this about her own feelings. Sorry, but we see so many parents on these boards that refuse to make responsible choices. Your mom seems to be doing just that. I am sure she would appreciate any support you can give her.
Helpful Answer (24)
Reply to 499HopeFloats
JesusLove1976 Jun 6, 2019
I do not know the answer to neutral, maybe she wants to stay out of it and not be the middle person and end up with one or both angry with her and she loses her relationship with one or both?
It’s not your decision and not your sister’s. Your mother is the one who does the work and makes the choices. Sister gets a say if she moves there and takes over the job. If sister will cut your mother off because of this, it will say something very unpleasant about sister. However the chances are that she will sulk for a while and then come round. Let your mother decide, and give her your support in what ever decision she makes.
Helpful Answer (22)
Reply to MargaretMcKen
PandabearAUS Jun 4, 2019
Perhaps sister is worried costs will eat into future inheritance
Agree with Margaret and Stephanie. It's mom's decision. It's her finances, her husband, her home and her life. Unless mom is somehow mentally incapacitated, she trumps everyone.
Helpful Answer (22)
Reply to Miranova

It's your mom's decision. I hate to say this but your sister may not have mom's best care at heart. She may be concerned about the money that is going to be spent if you get my drift.
Helpful Answer (21)
Reply to cmagnum

Why do you need to remain neutral? This is your family and it’s ok to have an opinion. Your mom is 84 and elderly herself! She can’t do this anymore and she’s telling you. Believe her. Help her. Support her with her decision and tell Sis to take dad if she thinks it’s so easy. If she’s worried about inheritance money, let her know that I’m home caregivers may be more expensive than assisted living.
Helpful Answer (20)
Reply to rocketjcat

I was going to put in my two cents worth, but you all beat me to it. Step out from the zone of neutrality and support your mother. She needs your help.
Helpful Answer (20)
Reply to Treeartist

I always try to mind my p's and q's on the forum, but your sister is being a - silly person.

Don't stay neutral. Back your mother, and educate your sister.

Unless, of course, you think there is an argument for an 84 year old lady to be on duty 24/7 in a small house with an incontinent dementia patient who's in constant pain. Does your sister suppose that your mother no longer needs sleep or rest or privacy?

For the shoulder pain, there are effective pain relief gels on the market - common brand names in the USA are Voltaren, Cataflam and Zipsor, apparently. Your mother should always check with your father's doctor first, but gels containing diclofenac and ibuprofen are available over the counter. And I do stress that she must check before she tries this on him. The drug is absorbed through the skin but it's none the less potent for that.
Helpful Answer (19)
Reply to Countrymouse
JoAnn29 Jun 4, 2019
There r pain management doctors too. I must say though, that people with Dementia are like children and make a big thing out of a little pain. Is it really that bad? Or is he exaggerating it.
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