Mom expects me to entertain her and take her to get "out" of the facility. She wants to go shopping for clothes. She's 98 and uses a walker. It's becoming difficult and I have trouble saying no. Please help me!

we probably need more information although for you to say "expects to be entertained" sounds like she puts her happiness onto others to give her, which is exhausting.
If this is assisted living, do they have a dining room or recreation room that residents can use? Can she be taken there by a staff or perhaps contact a youth group/girl scouts to take her over. I would think there are activates for seniors in your community- and senior transport if that can be afforded.
Also think of hobbies she can do. Get her photo albums, or craft projects.
Trouble saying no is your area to work on. If you know she is in a safe place, then
allow yourself to have time for your life. Don't answer your phone. Tell her later you were in a dentist appt or an appt where phones were not allowed.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to DJ9876543

Enjoy your mother while you can. Most people have difficulty making in life beyond 100. Stay with her. Talk to her. Cherish those moments because very soon you will enjoy only her memories. I am not wishing bad on anyone. I am just saying that people over 100 are delicate. Some people go beyond 105 and those are very special. You need to be at their feet, like I did with my mother and grandmother, 24/7 and forget about raising a family. There is no time for anything else. So, if you love your mom enjoy those moments with her, hug her, kiss her, and tell her you love her a lot. There are people out there who have lost their entire families, including their parents and grandparents and they dont have anyone to hug. Just remember my words. Pray with her together. There are lot of selfish people out there in nursing home, hospices and even hospitals who would not be able to give your mom the kind of love and attention that only you as her daughter could give her, only you can so don't complain. Love her. That is why I regret that I trusted a nursing home to help me with my grandmother and they ended up killing her. God bless you and your mom.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to ROBERT123123
ZippyZee Jun 16, 2021
Abandon your own family and life to entertain an elder who doesn't really need it?

Worst advice ever.

Ignore this poster please Mamasmurf, their entire posting history is whinging and making false complaints about nursing homes and ALs.
Your mom may want to be entertained and go shopping and taken out, but, to quote Mick Jagger, "You DON'T always gET what you want."

Your mother, as are the LO's of some of the others who have responded, is safe and being cared for in her facility. Outings and time with you are bonuses if they can be arranged but they are not required.

For those who fret that their LO's will be mad at them if they do not get to do what they want to, sometimes people will just have to be mad at you.

Understand and accept the limits of what you are willing and able to do. Don't turn yourself inside out trying to prevent someone from having negative reactions.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to RedVanAnnie

My mother will be 96 in November. She is frail, petite and moves slower than a snail. I have been her full time caregiver for going on 8 yrs. I will be 71 in November. With my own health problems.
She uses a walker. She still has problems walking. One very bad knee, one has been replaced. She has macular degeneration in 1 eye, almost blind in that eye. She has dementia and is VERY HARDHEADED. She has
Explosive IBS. Will not wear her hearing aids and you have to yell every time you talk to her.
She wants to go to the grocery store all the time. The last trip to the store took 3 hours!!! She wants to go shopping for shoes. For clothes. I just can’t do it anymore. Getting her in and out of the car. After the long journey to get to the car, which is approx. 6-8 feet from the back door. Actually it feels like 50 feet! And I will save you about the explosive IBS that has happened in the stores, restaurants, or in the car taking her anywhere.
Her problem is, she has no idea how tiring it is to take her anywhere. Lifting the walker in the car, out of the car. She wants to buy everything to cook large meals everyday. But she can no longer cook. She really can’t complete anything she starts. I just follow her around and clean up her messes. Or if she tries to cook, I have to just stand there because she walks away from the stove and forgets the fire is on, or loses track of time and says she just turned for a second. Meanwhile we have flames on the stove. More than once! So I do the cooking now and I do not want to cook a huge meal every night.
WHEW, I went off subject.
Anyway, carrying in all of the groceries, putting them away. It is just getting to be too much.
I go to the store by myself NOW, for the majority of things.
She wants to go, and is mad at me most of the time because I will stop to get what she needs while I am running an errand. Or I lie to her and tell her I have things to take care of and then while I’m out, I will do the shopping.
I have found that I should have set up boundaries years ago. And stuck to it! It is horrible to have to lie to her, but I really do not want to hurt her feelings by telling her she is too much to take anywhere.
You need to make rules. Stick to them. Do things on your time. When YOU have time. See is there are “groups” at her facility that she could attend. Book club, music, cards, puzzles, exercise class, sewing. Anything. Try to get her involved and to make friends there.
Caregiver life is hard. VERY HARD! Mentally and physically. Do not listen to people who say it is your duty because she took care of you when you were little and needed something. Those people have NO clue what it takes to care for someone24/7/365. Or to be at their beckoned call. You literally give up your life.
Just do what you can do for her. If you can’t, tell her it will have to wait, that you are busy and will let her know when you get some free time. After a couple times hopefully she will learn to live with the new rules.
My mother was the most caring person in the world. Always helping people. Cooking meals for sick friends, or, just because she wanted to. That mother is gone. She left about 7 yrs ago. This woman who used to be my mother is now, selfish, always whining that she can’t do anything she use to because of me telling her no (wanting to fly to visit her son 4 states away by herself!!). Complaining all the time. I can’t get her to go to any senior activities.
Well, now that I have gone off on my rant, I feel a little bit better 😂
I truly hope you can set some rules about how much time you spend with her, that it can not be at her calling.
Good Luck. Breathe. Nice deep breath’s. No guilt!!
By the way, this site is a lifesaver when things get real tough. Or for support. For information.
Do not hesitate to use it!
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to moms2nddaughter

Imho, at her age, the mentality of wanting to shop for new clothing is endearing. Perhaps you could say that you're "available at XX days."
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Llamalover47

Sounds so easy to the client or relative at the facility..."Just come get me out for a bit". Yet i have personally assisted when i could donate of time & with the proper borrowed car to get anyone out for a meal or shopping. Many times never paid of course because they don't have any cash or very little money since they don't get to use the ATM but the meal is charged. This could be fun at times or near disastrous if one is not readily prepared. I took clients out who were dangerous to themselves just for the heavier pain medication schedule they were keeping. Even clean public restrooms that were deemed safe to enter are rough enough just from wet floor areas. Meaning nobody in the bathroom urinals either since that can be embarrasing for both me a female bringing in a gentleman or the person already using the facilities. Oh my goodness!! It does take much effort to hurry someone who is wheelchair bound in from the rain to the car or all that comes with needing a change too of their disposable garments for bladder or bowel incontinence. I know better now when to say No about taking people from the facility. It would be much wiser not to take any patients away from the facility. Maybe offer to follow along with the shuttle & allow the staff to handle the patients needs. Even if your own relative needs assistance to walk etc. it takes patience & kindness in waiting for them too. Not always skills we already know we have but learn to adjust with. Caregiving is one of the most challenging jobs ever. I have made good senior friends too. Just depends on how much effort you care to give & know how to be firm about boundaries of, "No I cannot possibly do that".
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to DoWright

Can you enlist the help of someone else you trust to take her out once a week? Might you try adult day care or a church group so she gets out? My dad went to bingo sometimes & altho he couldn’t keep up, he liked being around people. We’d pick him up an hour later. Motorized chairs are great, but only if she’s very with it and can control one- they go fast!
Can also be tricky navigating inside a store. Some elderly use them masterfully though!
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to DadsGurl

In the Assisted living is there things that the have classes to help. I s she asked to go to the classes. She is at the age when she may feel she wants you to be there. If something happens. Is there a Chaplain or minister that can visit.. you need to take certain times away to let her understand and then when you come she will be happier I hope. Is there some one that can go shopping with you. If physically okay take her. This may show or satisfy her. I would expect sh would get tired and want to go back to her room. Do not let her smother you. Think of some one that can go to her so she would feel visited when your gone.
you are a good child to her. bless you.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to sanejane

How long has mom been in AL. If she is new to AL, then she needs to adjust to the routine and make friends and join some of the activities.

Your mom needs to learn to rely on the caregivers at her facility. Try and limit visits to once a week and don't take all her phone calls, let them go to V/M and call her back at your convenience. Try and wean her off so much phone time with you - maybe once a day. This isn't hard and fast - things come up maybe a family celebration. If she calls in a panic, call the facility and talk to them - if there is a problem, they will handle and call you back if there is a problem - you can always ask them to call you back after they've checked on her.

You are not her fulltime caregiver. Being in AL your duties change from fulltime caregiver to being her advocate and son. You make sure she is getting the care she needs, hiccups are smoothed over and problems with the facility are resolved.

Its hard to step back when you feel you mother needs you, but think of like when you first took your child to daycare; while it's very scary for them the experience teaches them the beginnings of independence from their parents. Your mom needs to be as independent as her condition allows and relying on her PAID caregivers.

While the caregivers can't take her shopping, her outings should be declining. Maybe bring her little gifts occasionally when you visit mom. Save outings for special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, holidays.

My father was in AL and I took him to his medical appointments - however as he declined he started using a wheelchair. Getting him in and out of my car was really hard. At some point I'd have the facility drop him off and I'd take him back - until it was too difficult to get him in my car and the facility took him both ways.

Blessings to your and your family for peace, grace and love.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to cweissp

My grandmother wants me to entertain her at all times 24 / 8 .
I'll stay with her more often than not but when I can't I put soothing music or movies on for her , give her magazines and books or something nice to eat then I say " I'm sorry mama, I love you but I can't stay any longer I have a lot of things to do now " then I walk away .
You can't wring yourself out being entertainment all the time. Sometimes yes , other times , state your case and bounce.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Lanfen74

I know exactly how you feel. My mom is 92 and moved to a retirement home 8 months ago. I am fortunate that she is not a complainer. I know that she would move in with me in a heartbeat. As much as I love my mother I know that wouldn't work. I visit her every couple of days right now because they have curtailed most of the activities at the home because of Covid. I recently took her shopping for clothes. She also uses a walker and I agree with you that it isn't easy taking them out but I do it anyway. My mother was a wonderful mom to me and was always there for me when I needed her. I know how hard it is for her to lose her independence and struggle with constant pain and loss of mobility. If I think about it too much it saddens me to see how feeble she has become, knowing that I can't change it. I'm lucky that my mother is a very sociable person and I know she will join in activities when they resume. I am not an only child, I have one sibling, but due to his health issues, I have taken on most of the responsibility. My mother appreciates all I do for her and knows that I can't be there every day. It is essential that you set reasonable boundaries with your mom so you don't burn out. My mother is in a great facility where she is well cared for. It's our responsibility to ensure our parents are looked after but we are not responsible for their happiness. You have to make sure her needs are being made but you also are entitled to have a life of your own. In the end I know that I am doing the best I can and won't have any regrets when she's gone. Remember, set boundaries and don't feel guilty. I am sure you are also doing your best and you have to take care of yourself. Good luck!
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to Impossible

My husband, 55 years old (15 years with brain cancer, 8 months ago 2 strokes) is in AL and goes through phases of this as well.  As I still work full time and do not live in AL, entertaining him and being essentially 'on call' for his whims are not realistic.  At first I was there every day, sometimes twice a day.  Over time, I have reduced my visits to two / week as staff advised me my constant presence was preventing him from acclimating/getting involved in facility activities and frankly, I was exhausted.  They were right...not to say he doesn't still get demanding or try to guilt me into more.   Boundaries are a must.  Set up a schedule.  Do some on line shopping with her letting her choose clothes then be there for her to try on at her place knowing you will likely have some things to return.  Stress her safety and that on line selection is phenomenal.    You deserve a life too!
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to onholdinmidwest

Don't answer all of her calls. Let some of them go to voicemail. Does the AL she lives in offer different activities and socialization? If they do, your mom might need a little encouragement to join in. Maybe she can go to adult day care a couple days a week? Many of them even provide transportation. How about a hired companion a few hours a week to take her out? Sometimes even when an AL has activities going on, some folks aren't interested. The same thing with adult day care. A hired companion might help take some of the responsibility of entertaining her off of you. They will be able to actually take her to do things away from the AL. Like shopping, out to lunch, etc... Years ago I was a hired companion to an old lady who lived in a very nice AL. She got along with everyone who lived there and had friends in the AL that she hung out with, but needed to get away from the place a few times a week. Her daughter had asked me to tell people I was her granddaughter because the lady didn't want the other residents knowing she had hired help for some reason. This worked great for years. Just because a person is very elderly it doesn't always mean they don't ever want to leave the house again. The fact that your mom at 98 is still interested in the outside world and still aware that a world even exists outside of her AL facility is remarkable in of itself. She sounds pretty lively.
Try getting her a hired companion. I don't think you'll regret it.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to BurntCaregiver

My mom is a addicted catalog shopper.

She has a new outfit for EVERYTHING she attends--which in the last 3 months included ONE Bingo sessions (1 hour long) each week, and 1 wedding to which she wore 2 different outfits.

Yet every single day a pkg arrives for her with a skirt, blouse, or t shirt shows up.

With 2 closets so jampacked with clothes she can't even GET to...I refuse to help her shop. I told her to shop in her closets!

I bet she has 50 t shirts with kittens on them. She thinks that the GG daughters will be thrilled with these, once she passes. Well, they may wear them "ironically" but not for fashion, b/c these girls are 12-17 and don't wear bejewled skirts and housedresses.

Nobody gave her clothes for her birthday last week--I would have strangled them! Funny, on her actual B-day, when she knew she would have visitors all day, off and on, she dressed like a bag lady. She has tons of cute outfits and could have just as easily put on one of those and some makeup and combed her hair, but no, she sat in a ratty, ripped nightgown and rattier bathrobe. Dirty socks and unwashed hair and face. It was kind of ridiculous, really. She was 91 but looked 100, easily.

My 'guilt' never existed. She always had the top of the line clothes and we kids all had to pay for all our own clothes and activities from the age of 12 up. I had to pay for my own eye exams. I think early on, I felt no sympathy for her at all.

I am currently involved in 2 service projects. One is to make t-shirt dresses for little girls who cannot go to school because they literally have NOTHING to wear. Two of these inexpensive dresses is all these girls have. And they are thrilled with them.

The 2nd is a project which takes donated wedding dresses and we cut them down and turn them into burial clothes for babies-toddlers who die. Their mamas are literally burying their angel babies in newspaper--can't even afford and old towel to wrap around these babes.

My mom's incessant 1st world clothes shopping gets under my skin. I could make 50 dresses a month with what she blows on an outfit she probably won't wear.

So--absolutely no guilt here.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Midkid58
NeedHelpWithMom Jun 14, 2021
I had an aunt that had to have a new dress for church every week! She ran up credit card bills like crazy. My uncle told her to get a credit card in her name only because he was tired of paying for her shopping addiction.
I live in assisted living but am a fish out of water - I have NO family, just a kitty. I am here because I can't walk and in constant pain but there it ends. I will be 88, still work two jobs (15 years and 51 years). I drive and go out to eat by myself, take care of myself 99.9%, and am involved in all kinds of high functioning activities (by myself) largely using my computer. Most residents do activities that are suitable to grammar age kids and have dementia so I steer clear. Your mother knows the end is coming and wants your company which is wonderful but they do not and will not accept people have their own lives to live. They can't be here all the time. You should find time for your mother and visit and do what you can but you must put yourself first and live YOUR life or you won't have that chance. You can't have your cake and eat it too.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Riley2166

My mom is 96, uses a walker and lives at home with me ( 67 years ) and one of my daughters. I left my job last year with a very difficult boss, which coincided with full retirement age, and of course, the pandemic.

And of course for a long time and even now, pretty much enjoy it. We are both pretty much loners and enjoy being at home.

But later last year at one of the doctor's appts., dr. said how good mom is doing and she could live another 10-15 years. That kind of hit me.

While that is lovely, I had thought being totally "at home" and not working for a " couple of years" until mom would pass that that was ok for me to put a hold on my life.

But when I realize how much longer Mom may live, I am beginning to realize I need to find some kind of social outlets for myself NOW, rather than waiting until I am in my late 70's, maybe even early 80's. Who knows what shape I'll be in.

So I guess my answer to you is to lovingly "let go" some and "be there" less. Try to focus on the visits you do make, and fib/white lie for when you are unable to be there. And allow yourself to be happy when you are not there. Find some activities /hobbies for yourself to concentrate on, maybe some classes. This is what I am planning to do ( along with some kind of exercise :) )
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Myownlife
Sarah3 Jun 14, 2021
Another 10-15 years at 96? Are you sure wow that is unbelievable that would put her at 106-112 years old, I have never heard of doctors predicting that far into the future that a person at that age could live another 15 years. One thing I’ve heard and why this surprises me is that once someone is at a advanced age ( late 80’s and 90’s) they can seem to be doing ok and then suddenly go downhill or pass in their sleep. I’m sorry I don’t mean this to sound insensitive but rather to explain my surprise at a doctor making this type of claim. There was a lady in our area who stood out bc she lived alone at 102 and friends / family would periodically check in on her. She seemed to be doing astoundingly well, would go out to eat, went on short walks alone etc and suddenly one day past away I don’t know the details exactly what it was but that people said at that age issues can develop out of the blue. I’m not a doctor this is anectodal from what I’ve heard including an acquaintance of mine who works in the medical field
First, it's fabulous your Mom is so able. That's a blessing in itself. My Mom is 93 and in a wheelchair.
There are already great suggestions already given.
One additional thought, could you make a weekly or monthly calendar to indicate when certain events would occur? Shopping lunch at Mary's, bridge, etc. So Mom could mark off and have an activity to look forward to.
Best wishes!
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Chickie1

Iyou can't blame her for wanting out.
PUT yourself in her shoes and do what you would want done.
Talk to her and let her know the days you can visit and give her a Calendar to mark off.
Introduce her to others at the facility so she can make friends.
See what is offered in entertainment for the residents and go with your mom or ask them to be sure and take your mom.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to bevthegreat

I know exactly how you feel. Been there. The bottom line here is you have to grow a back bone. I say that with empathy because it took me a long time to do the same. If you are like me, you worked long and hard to get to retirement and although you love your mother, you deserve time for yourself without guilt. Make sure she is in the best situation possible and then put yourself first because no one else will......not even your mother!
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to SallyF

Wow, sounds like she is still getting around okay with walker, but it can be hard on you because I am sure you are over cautious with everything concerning her when you are out that it is tiring. Maybe tell her that you can only manage 1 time a month for a short period of time. Is she maybe ready to transition to a regular nursing home where she is around more people her own age and has other activities to keep her busy? does she have any dementia going on? Just let her know that you aren't available all the time as she would like you to be. wishing you luck
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to wolflover451

I, too, am an only child with a 90 year old mom with a walker, married with two sons. I am 53-mom had me later in life! As only children, we are their “everything” and those who aren’t only children might not get that one. My moms lives in AL and I go get her practically every night to have dinner with my family and me. She prefers my company over the AL community. Covid has limited any activities. My mom loves clothes, always has, and loves to shop. I take her once or twice a month shopping. When she comes over to our house while I make dinner, she can pet my dog, watch TV, cat nap, read the paper. After dinner, if I feel like it, we play scrabble or I take her back to her place. Bridge -her one social outlet-went away with covid and hasn’t been reinstated. I am working on seeing when they can all be in the same place less than 6 feet apart and play cards.

My advice to you is to do the best you can. You love her and she loves you. She doesn’t want you to be stressed. She just wants to be with you. It is hard to balance. And if she does complain, simply say, after a cleansing deep breath, you are doing “the best you can.”

Shorten your visits when you don’t have the time or patience. That is what I do. British TV series — something we both enjoy-so we watch them together. Is there something you both enjoy? Your spouse want to join in? Kids grown? My kids are 20 and 15 and they will watch sports with her. She doesn’t mind and seems to like their banter, boyish ways and hearing what they are up to. I am not “on” when she is here with us. She is just “here” with us and that is okay. It is good for her to be around all of us and good for us to understand life is fragile. We don’t feel the need to entertain her. She wants our company and that is enough. If I have friends over for dinner, she can be here if she chooses or she skips coming over that night. Family going out for sushi? She doesn’t like it. She can eat at her AL that night; I just do the best I can…
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Janine5432

Lots of great advice here. In Assisted Living it is a great treat just to eat some different/old favorite foods and see something other than the same walls. When my father had problems walking, I would get him into my vehicle with help from the AL and then drive to entertaining places where he didn’t need to get out. I parked at a construction site and we sat in the vehicle and watched the activity, or stopped at a fast food restaurant and ate in the vehicle, an outdoor movie, a drive through fall color in the country. It gave him time away from the Assisted Living and time together and I did not have the challenge of getting him out of the vehicle and walking. A realtor brother took him along to his house showings where he sat in the vehicle and napped while the showing took place. My brother said he learned more about our father and connected better during those times together as our father reminisced than any other time in their lives.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to Maureenbh
Jana37 Jun 14, 2021
That is a great idea! Places or just drives where they don't have to get out. Thanks!
See 1 more reply
At 98, it sounds as though your mother is acknowledging and grasping to her final days. She wants to make the most of each moment with you. She wants to live as each day is her last. Its natural to want a reprieve from her controlled environment and enjoy the normalcy of a drive, shopping. If a walker is inconvenient, get a lightweight, portable wheelchair. Contact her church to inquire whether they have members who visit seniors. You can hire a companion for her with a schedule to include activities she requests, within reason. Otherwise, you could set a structured schedule for yourself, specifying time you are available (and willing.)
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to SouthernSun

Most assisted living facilities have activities and also take residents out on excursions. You don't have to be the only one entertaining her. But she prefers your company and the personal relationship, so be happy that her mind is good and she can still be "herself." If she is getting frail with the walker, perhaps it's time for a wheel chair, if you are going places where there will be alot of walking. Would she agree to that, and would that make it easier for you? Medicare should pay for it. Talk to her doctor and the nurse or her case manager at her assisted living facility to get their advice. They can probably order it for her.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to NancyIS

You won't really be able to change what she "expects", but you can change how you deal with it. It isn't our jobs to ensure their happiness, just a safe place where they can find their happiness, should they choose to!

Is she in strictly AL or MC? AL tends to leave residents more on their own and leave attending activities up to the person. She may need more encouragement to join in. In MC there's often more actively trying to get the residents interested.

If you can get their activity calendar and visit when they have something going on that you think your mother might like, go and attend it with her. Get her engaged with others. There's no indication how long she's been in this place. If it was recently, she may need more time to acclimate. If it's been a while, then she needs a little prodding to maintain some kind of social activity, preferably something she enjoys doing.

One staff member told me how she tried to engage with my mother, who would just close her eyes and shut her out. She was persistent and finally won mom over! That staff person became mom's favorite.

Rather than saying no, defer it. Maybe next time mom. If she has short term memory loss, that might work. If she recalls it, then just defer it again, saying you don't have time. It's hard trying to do this, but it is sometimes easier than saying no. Also, try not to spend too much time there. Granted her time may be limited, given she's 98, but being there every day for too long is like her living with you! If she's still more competent than others, perhaps a part time aide to encourage activities, so she isn't alone? This would be if she's in just AL, not MC. A good MC facility will make attempts to get the residents engaged in activities. Even if she just observes, at least she isn't sitting alone in her room. I didn't set mom up with a TV, so she wouldn't sit in her room (although I don't think she was even watching it when still living in her own place.) I also didn't set her up with a phone. She couldn't hear well anyway, and any calls would just be to get her out, not really to chit chat. Smart phones would have been beyond her capability.

IF she can handle it, maybe once in a while take her shopping, but with the stipulation that any new items requires removing an older one, so she doesn't end up with too much. If she (or you) can't handle going out, maybe once in a while bring her a nice new outfit and remove an older one.

When you do visit, try to coordinate it with activities or meals, so that she will be with others. Encourage her meeting others and maybe making friends with some of the residents.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to disgustedtoo

It's your job to help mom adjust to the activities going on IN the ALF, not to waste the money being spent on rent at the ALF by taking her out of there for entertainment!

Call the Exec Director; make sure the Activities Director is knocking on your mother's door every day to encourage her to come OUT and join in the fun with the others playing bingo or doing whatever activity is going on at the moment. That's how they learn to mingle & make friends. Not by asking their son to take them out clothes shopping so they can look cuter than the other blue hairs! When my mother lived in AL, she was the ONLY resident out of 100 that had her hair dyed BLONDE every month! I kid you not! She had 15 pairs of shoes, about 40 tops and 20 pairs of slacks and a jewelry box SO overflowing it was ridiculous. She had to look better than the other ladies and had lipstick all over her teeth and eyebrows drawn in up to her hairline every day to prove it. She'd call me weekly saying she had NOTHING TO WEAR and especially needed NEW SHOES and I'd tell her she had way more than her 3 closets would even hold! The coat closet was being used for her extra outfits too!

So set down some boundaries right away. You will see her on X days for X amount of time. You will take her out to buy 'necessities' X times per month (or whatever YOU decide) and that's that. She will be forced to abide by YOUR schedule which, in turn, forces her to do something ELSE with her time which = mingling and making friends with the other residents. Then they can all hang out together and complain about the horrrrrrrrrrrrrible fooooooooood and gossip about the happenings at the ALF and who's drinking too much at happy hour and did you SEE Mildred flirting shamelessly with Ronald last night? How disgusting! :)

And don't let the Guilt Card weigh you down either listening to nonsense about how 'Do the best you can whenever you can because of her age your Mom’s time and ability could be short'............that will NOT help your stress level but add TO it. Your mother has lived a verrrrrry long life as it is at 98 and I'm quite sure you've done PLENTY for her already.

Best of luck to you setting down some boundaries for both of your sakes!
Helpful Answer (14)
Reply to lealonnie1
cweissp Jun 14, 2021
As always good advise with a huge dose of humor!
I see your the son. And at an age you are either retired or planning on being. You want and need some time to yourself. You probably have been caring for Mom for a while. Now you have been able to place her in a very nice place where she is cared for.

I lived right up the road from my Mom's AL. Not 5 min away. I did check in almost everyday but no longer than 1/2 hour. My Mom was pretty much into her dementia so there was no longer any conversation. I would take my 3 yr old grandson along sometimes.

You really do need to allow her to acclimate herself to the new place. Like said check the activity board. Maybe go with her to a few, sometimes its entertainment which I enjoyed, to show her there are things to do. Her sitting and being miserable is her doing not yours. Moms AL had birthday parties all the time. Holiday parties and parties just to have a party.

I would go when an activity was going on. Go with her, get her settled and then say "well looks like ur busy now so I will pop by another day". She needs to realize you cannot be there everyday all day. That's the whole purpose of an AL, to give her something to do.
I would not have dinner with her often as suggested. Dining is another way residents interact with each other. Get to know each other. If you are there then she does not have to interact. Moms facility had Holiday dinners where families could join in so you will be given that opportunity.

You are now the adult, she is the child. Yes, she is your Mom but Dementia has changed the way she thinks and perceives things. She no longer can make good choices. As the Dementia progresses they get more and more childlike. Think of a 4 yr old, they want it all their way. They can be taught, Mom can't be. No reasoning, no empathy.
So, you need to set your boundries. Sorry Mom, I can no longer spend all day with you. I have things I need to do and you have things you can do here. I will visit or call you everyday.

I found that staff does try to get them involved. The activities director went to every door (only 39 residents in Moms AL) knocked, identified herself and reminded the resident it was time for an activity.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to JoAnn29

The answer is "no". Full stop. Decide for yourself what outings on what day you can be there for Mom. Tell her you will give her plenty of notice and that every few weeks you can take her shopping. Also tell her to give you ideas of things she needs that you can order on Amazon or another site. I do this for my bro's ex. We do not live in the same area and I cannot EVER take him shopping. Do remember Beattie's advice here "There will be no solutions as long as you are all the solutions". You have your own life. Unless Mom had you very late in her fertility years then you are no longer a young thing yourself, and have your own limitations. So just say "Sorry, I can't possibly do that; let me think of other options" and that's that. Then the perhaps once a month, lunch and Target or something. Good luck. No matter what age you have reach the word "No" is very useful. You will, if you have ALWAYS been there, be met with anger. I learned to say no in my mid 30s with the help of a psychologist. The reaction was swift and angry "But YOU are the ONLY ONE I can COUNT ON to DO these things". When you are met with this you need to be able to gentle say "I am so sorry; what I am telling you is that I can NO LONGER be counted on to do these things".
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to AlvaDeer

Its called assisted living for a reason.
It is not only to assist her but also to assist you in being able to maintain a quality of life balance and reduce your stress.
If you are going in every time she wants or expect you to, because she wants or expects you to then the only person who can change things is you.
Cut down the number of visits you make - for example if going in every day then change to every other day or weekdays only or some pattern that suits YOUR life.
She will never get involved with other people in the facility whilst she has you to entertain her, which is bad for both of you. You are getting stressed, and she is being deprived of other company.
She is in assisted living to help her make the most of her life - give her time to do so (yes she'll complain - of course she will, she has you running around putting her first all the time at the moment) but be firm half your life being the entertainment is more than enough when you have your own life and health to look after - if you become so stressed it makes you ill then you won't be going in at all. Don't let guilt or feelings or responsibility control your life take some of it back.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to TaylorUK
MichelleWTX99 Jun 13, 2021
I needed this.
Do the best you can whenever you can because of her age your Mom’s time and ability could be short.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Ricky6

Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter