My 95 year old moved in with me after she fractured her hip. Previously she was living with my sister. I work full time outside of the house. I have some flexibility and work one day from home to shower and spend time with mom. I have a boyfriend who lives separately and not being able to come and go as I previously did is stressful on our relationship. Mom is very “with it” and alert mentally, physically her body is failing and she suffers from constant worry of what will happen to her and where she should live. She feels like a burden. It’s sad. Much to be thankful for and yet she can’t seem to accept that at 95 things happen and even with her strong faith she is so worried all the time. She won’t take meds to help and she does not share her feelings. I find myself not spending much down time with her as my time with her is very task-driven with treatments, discussing medical appointments, bathing, washing clothes, etc. I get a feel for how she’s feeling. I know her time is limited and I feel guilty. She’s pretty much confined to her bedroom on the second floor. I have an aide coming in two times a week for two hour shifts, of course she feels it’s not necessary. She was fairly independent prior to hip fracture albeit still a home body. Any suggestions or similar experiences welcomed. Thank you.

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What I tell my Mom is that I can never do enough for her to make up for all the years she spent bringing up us kids. I remind her of the many special things she did and precious family memories that we all carry with us. I remind her of her many accomplishments in life and of the strong love that she and my Dad shared.

Because you're voicing a sense of guilt, maybe try to make some of your time with her non-transactional, no talk of tasks or duties, make more of it simply time spent together.

It's an honor and a huge burden to care for one so old; let her know how honored you are to have her for your mother. Step outside of your comfort zone and express your deep emotions, even if she's not usually comfortable with emotions. You can keep up your side of those conversations and know that she's hearing you and processing. Say everything to her that you may regret not having said once she's gone.

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Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Luta65

Karen, is it possible to hire a housekeeper/companion/aide so that your time with her isn't so task driven? Maybe someone that can bath her and do other tasks around the house to free up more of your time. Get someone to spend an evening so you can have date night.

Finding ways to spend some quality time now will help you when she dies. You already struggle with feeling guilty, please mitigate issues that you know are going to be an issue for you.

Tell her these helpers are for you so you can have more free time. Reassure her that she isn't a burden and find ways to occupy her so she doesn't have sooooooo much time to dwell on negative feelings. Help her feel helpful.

Can she use a phone? If yes, find a local charity that needs friendly callers. She can brighten the day of someone else by calling and caring about them, by sharing herself her anxiety should improve.

Best luck, these are such challenging situations.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Isthisrealyreal

I would not go straight to AL with what’s being described in the original post. Senior centers or senior classes may well fill her need to be useful. That and integrating her into chore life. Try taking a mini basket of her laundry up unfolded. Or coins, towels, whatever needs to be sorted. She is looking to feel productive, and this will help her.

Should it come to an AL ever, an Atria or Brookdale, Sunrise too, would be my VERY LAST OPTION. The Atria nearest me is being investigated for poisoning three residents. There’s a fourth at an Atria further away. The state of California almost pulled Brookdales ability to operate snf because they were so negligent, What do you think they do in the relatively lax environment of als? Oh, and Sunrise has a record about as long as this Atria.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to PeggySue2020
Isthisrealyreal Nov 17, 2022
Peggy, I think that the name of a facility doesn't make it bad.

Brookdale in Tucson has the best rehabilitation facility in the city, barring true full-time rehab centers. They have good patient to aide ratios throughout and have high ratings. People we met have been transferred from around the states to be here. It is about management as much as corporate rules.

No facility provides the one on one care a person receives in home care. That is just the reality and quite frankly, more people would be able to stay home if they didn't expect to have their caregiver ask how high when they say jump. My dad had telepathic connections with my chair, as soon as my bum was headed for the seat, he hollered. He learned that I don't have very good hearing and my response time is not so great either :-) so he didn't expect the facility to jump because he called and it helped him adjust.
Karen22: Perhaps your mother should opt for residence in an assisted living facility.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Llamalover47

Reassure her, as many times as you have to, that she is not a burden. If there is a way to move her downstairs to where primary home 'action' takes place, do it. It will be easier for both of you to stop the stair climbing. Instead of being secluded to a room, she will be more a part of your family unit.

On a lower floor, perhaps she can rehab a little to do a few things around the house to feel more useful. Laundry folding is a good task (exercise for arms, too). Another task might be sorting the plastic storage bowls and matching lids (those always get out of control with me). You might give her a notebook to keep a grocery list going - when you're out, tell her to put on the list. Make her feel useful. Good for the body and the mind.

The aid is most useful to both of you. Allows her communication and social interaction with others and helps you with her needs. If her finances allow, increase the care to 3-4 or more times a week. Call her doctor and ask for in-home physical therapy as well. Medicare covers physical therapy (legs) and occupational therapy (upper body) for limited periods of time. If you do request therapy, ask the home health company to do one first and when it wraps up, start the other. It keeps the therapy ongoing longer. That means another person coming to the house (that you don't have to pay) to help get her stronger and outside social contact.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to my2cents

Assisted Living is a good option for BOTH of you now. Mom will get lots of socialization with people her own age, activities, meals, outings, and all sorts of fun things going on that are NOT going on in her bedroom in your home. That's the truth. Those who fight AL off like it's some kind of dungeon just don't understand that AL is more like a nice hotel day camp for seniors, complete with 24/7 caregivers on hand IF needed. Laundry is done, meals are cooked and served in a beautiful dining room, etc. The library is stocked with books, musicians come in to entertain the residents during happy hour........card games are played, bingo, games, all sorts of things. My parents loved life in AL and in IL before that. Check out Atria or Sunrise or any number of places in your area. Or ask Karen on the right hand side of your screen to help you find a few places to tour and see for yourself what I'm talking about.

If mom knows she's a burden and is suffering anxiety as a result, then offer her an alternative to being a burden: AUTONOMY in her own apartment. With care available IF she needs it, but not if she doesn't. And you going to visit her frequently. With doctors coming in to see HER on site or a mini bus to take her where she wants to go.

You have nothing to feel guilty about; you took the woman into your home, for petesake, what more can you do, carry her to work with you when you leave the house? What you can do is offer her a better lifeSTYLE than she's living now so the both of you can have a better life as a result. It's not 'insulting' to do so, and if it's interpreted as such, then she's not as mentally 'with it' as you think.

Best of luck finding a better way than what's currently not working for you.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to lealonnie1

I would first of all admit to myself and you your Mom that indeed, right now, she is an added concern and burden for you. But that is a burden born and bourn of love. That there were times when you were a kid that you must have been at the least a bit of a burden of concern when you were ill, and that being concerned for those we love is what we do because we DO love them. I would tell her that you will give what support you are able and when it is not doable you will let her know and help her arrange ways for the two of you to get help. As to guilt you are using the wrong g-word. What you are feeling is not guilt; guilt is for felons and wrong-doers. Guilt insinuates that you did this and you did it with malice aforethought. That is not the case. You didn't cause this and your can't fix it. What you feel is grief. For your Mom and all she is going through and for your own helplessness in all of it. Words matter. Use the right one. You are doing the best you can. No one has the answers that "fix everything" and some things are not easily fixable if fixable at all. I wish you both the best.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to AlvaDeer

Please take her to visit nearby assisted living facilities that offer stimulating activities and ask if they accept Medicaid in addition to private pay. When you find the right one, please ask them to file the Medicaid forms (if that's the way she needs to go). Have her meet with a Geriatric Psychiatrist who can offer medications for anxiety. You both can have your privacy and enjoy each other's company; it would be better for both of you if your visits were just for enjoyment and not task oriented (that's what care takers are for).

If either one of you has not finalized final wishes paper work, set that appointment with an Elder Law Attorney.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to ConnieCaretaker

I just signed a birthday card for dad... Last year in his 7's
Impulsively I wrote every year ur here is as bonus for me.

Dont know how that will be recieved yet... Maybe get her 'thinking of u card' to celebrate that every year ur here for is a bonus to me.

Or how about... I'm glad I'm not an orphan today.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to baileyif
baileyif Nov 17, 2022
Follow up: my plan didn't work. He yelled a lot... I thought it was good idea.. but he yelled alot when younger too... Now with dementia yelling is just more unpredictable.. in theory this would be a good idea depending on ur mom's personality. U and I both need a tin ear at times.. it's time for me to do something nice for myself as it is time for u to do something nice for urself too.
I was in a similar situation. My 98 year old mother lived with us for about 20 years. She was always very independent. Like your mom, she was “with it”. As she got older, spinal stenosis, bone on bone knee pain and arthritis made it difficult for her to walk. Last year she broke her hip and has been pretty much totally dependent on me. Even before breaking her hip she was always worried that if she has to go into a wheelchair someday she could no longer live here as our house was not compatible. We discussed and visited AL facilities as far back as 7-8 years ago, but she was not ready. I let her make the first move, which was this past summer. I think what finally convinced her to move to AL was the fact that I turned 70 this year and she realized that it was getting difficult for me to care for her. She decided she wanted to go before winter and so she moved the first week in November to a lovely facility 10 minutes from me. I must say that I’m sure she would rather be with me, but knew as time went on it wouldn’t be feasible.
Could you have a discussion about AL with your mom? My mother also felt the same way - that she didn’t want to be a burden. I was honest with her and told her I was afraid that if anything happened to me, she had no one to take care of her. I don’t know how old you are, but take that into consideration, too.
Good luck, I know it’s a tough situation to be in. Your mom sounds like she has a good head on her shoulders and you would be able to have a frank, reasonable discussion with her. I hope you can work something out.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Justsotired

Since you wrote that your Mom is "very with it and alert mentally" you can try doing what I have been doing with my own 90+ yr old mother: have a gentle, calm discussion (or more than 1 discussiion) about the reality of the situation.

"Aging and decline are normal. It only goes in one direction. It's not your fault, and it can't be changed, everyone who makes it to your age experiences it. Together we can plan and make what comes next as good as possible. Here is what I think will work for the both of us. I will help you every step of the way..."

You may wish to ease into a different arrangement by having her go to an adult day care. This gets her accustomed to being out of the house and interacting with other people. Then you can research some reputable local facilities and ask to visit while it's having activites or an event. People your Mom's age only have horrible perceptions about facilities. Still, no one her age looks forward to this sort of change. Just move it along as best you can, understanding that you don't need to have her full acceptance. You need your life back and she will gain from the 24/7 care and social exposure in a good place, if that's a solution you choose.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Geaton777
Justsotired Nov 16, 2022
Totally agree with everything you said. I forgot to mention in my reply that the 24/7 medical care in the facility is worth the price alone. It eased my mind and my mother’s too. No more schlepping her to doctor’s offices which was very difficult for her (and me). I’m hoping also that she will get involved in the social activities. She has only been there a little over a week so it is still overwhelming for her as she led a very quiet life at home. Right now she is content just going to the dining room for meals, chatting with people her own age, then relaxing in her apartment.
Try not to feel guilty because you have a boyfriend and are still working. You have a life, nothing to feel guilty about, As heartless as it sounds, she had her time. Her situation is not going to change by beating yourself up. It sounds like you are doing what you can for her. You are taking care of her needs. And you are spending time with her, even if it is task driven time. If she is a homebody like you describe she might be perfectly content with the solitude of being alone in your home. Maybe it would be helpful to have a conversation with your mom about how to make this living arrangement work for the two of you.

These are tough years to get through. Try not to be too hard on yourself. Good luck to you .
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to Hothouseflower

She really needs meds for anxiety. Could you present the argument that you need her to take meds because it would help you? What is her reason not to take them? When my dad was very old and sick, doctor prescribed Ativan for his anxiety, as I recall. If he wouldn’t take it, we could put the very tiny tablet in his mouth and it dissolved immediately. He didn’t even know we’d given it. Maybe that would work. It helped him so much.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Fawnby

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