Mom and Dad relocated to KS from Chicago area 7 years ago after 40+ years in the house I grew up in (ages 82 and 81 respectively) I am 57 and have been on my own and happily married to the same man since the age of 20. Their new home is just across the street from me. Dad passed away 2 years ago due to complications of Parkinson's. Mom is now 89 and physically healthy for a woman of her age!
Mom was officially diagnosed with dementia shortly after dad passed (dad saw it all coming) and insists on staying in her home, which thankfully she can afford. We have employed caregivers to come and keep her company and to assist with household tasks/shopping. Mom says she is lonely still and wants to be at my house as soon as caregivers leave for the night. With COIVD this has escalated. Every time I leave my house (I only go grocery shopping or to run errands for my husband who is a self employed construction worker) I get "the call". "Where are you going?" "Will you be sleeping at home tonight?" "If you're doing something fun, I'll come with". We include mom in every outdoor activity with our close friends which occurs almost once a week here at our place. We don't take her shopping or to other's homes.
Let me back up a bit; I traveled for a living up to 6 months per year, until COVID. Mom had a massive heart attack one night 7 months after dad passed. I just happened to be home at the time. One helicopter flight, surgery and 3 nights in the hospital later, she's fine. I totally understand her fears/anxiety, but she was never a call every day/week/or even month kind of mom so as an independent self employed empty nester living so far from my parents for so long, I struggle with this new neediness.
We've made all sorts of suggestions, including overnight caregivers and get the "I don't want a stranger sleeping in my house" answer every time. Remember, she's the one who doesn't want to live in a nursing home or assisted living. She doesn't seem to want to even try to engage with caregivers. She only wants me and my husband to fill her loneliness. God heal my selfishness!
I will eventually go back to traveling and my husband has already been down this road with his mother who passed the same year as Dad and I don't want the burden him with the added stress once I start traveling again. What can I do once I'm gone for weeks at a time? Siblings live in CA and OH and both have jobs they cannot just walk away from to come stay with Mom while I do my job. If I could afford to stay home, I would. I'm sure we'll need to increase caregiver hours from just 4 hours a day to possibly 8 but will that really satisfy her needs?
Meanwhile what are some suggestions/insights to deal with my new role and how to kindly tell mom that we need at least some evenings to ourselves for our own personal and marital preservation?
I know that I need more understanding and compassion for her situation. As someone who's been self-employed in sales for almost 20 years my superpower is being the health advocate/coordinator, not the nurse.....help?