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My mother is 97 years old and currently still lives by herself. My sister and I think that is no longer an option and are trying to decide which one of us my mother should live with.

My sister (66 yrs old) is married, owns a 2 bedroom Ranch house, and is currently experiencing back problems. She is semi-retired and likes to get out of the house on a daily basis.

I am single (63), rent a 2 bedroom Ranch house, and had my right lung removed 5 years ago due to cancer. I have a full-time job, but I work from home. I am a true "home body" and usually only go out once a week for groceries.

How do we decide whose home is better for Mom? On one hand, my sister's husband would be able to help with anything physical if necessary. And although my life would probably be impacted the least, it is extremely hard for me to breathe, and my physical capability is very limited.

We have asked my Mom to choose, but she will not. She says that the daughter that she does not move in with will be hurt/mad. We have told her numerous times that this is not the case, but she doesn't believe us.

My sister and I never seem able to come up with a solution, and I haven't told her that I don't think I could physically handle/help my mother. I feel guilty not being able to do physical things, and I worry that I would not be able to handle whatever care will be needed. But it isn't fair that my sister assumes all the responsibility. So we tend to go back and forth about things (peacefully) and nothing gets solved.

My mother's dementia is getting worse and we think that all she does all day is sleep. The one thing we agree on is that she should not be on her own any longer. But who should she move in with?

Any advice?

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Fantastic that your Mom is 97 year old. Imagine all the great things that she has seen in her lifetime :) And how great that you and your sister both want to look out for her best interest.

As for your Mom sleeping all day it could be because she is quite bored, having no one of her own age group to chat with. I would highly recommend that she move into a continuing care facility so she can be around people of her own generation, that in itself could help stimulate her memory, and she could join in with the activities. Better for her to move now while she can still remember things. If cost is an issue, check with Medicaid.

I wouldn't recommend your Mom moving in with either of you. You both have your own age related health decline. And having cancer can zap the energy out of you and it is hard to replace. As for your sister's husband willing to help with the physical aspect, he could help with picking Mom up should she fall, but would he be comfortable when it came to bathing your Mom or when she needed to use the bathroom? Probably not. And your Mom, even with dementia, would feel very awkward.

This is all food for thought. Please do what would be in the best interest for your Mom, for you and your sister.
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She shouldn't move in with either of you.Neither of you are spring chickens yourself.You stated your mom has dementia.It won't get better and her needs will become more and more requiring more physical ability than either of you have. Look for ALF near you, please don't move her in, don't let guilt be your guide.Dementia gets worse,which means that soon she won't be able to go to the bathroom by herself,clean herself after urinating and defecating, or feeding herself.Be proactive, have her in a safe place before these things happen because they will happen as the dementia progresses.Ruining your own health will not help your mother.Are you prepared to take care of someone 24/7 that is bedbound,or doesn't sleep for days on end?Get her to a memory care facility that is close to you that you can visit her and then you can go home and have a life and take care of your own issues.Please rethink this.
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Ruth, you wrote

"I haven't told her that I don't think I could physically handle/help my mother.' The only way to have a healthy discussion is to tell your sister the truth about what you think. You really should tell her.

You wrote that your sister has a bad back and likes to get out every day. Her physical health and not being a homebody like yourself might preclude her really being able to care for your mother. Is she being honest with you about what she thinks and feels or is this unresolved conversation not resolved because each person is trying to be nice instead of being straightforward.

Anyhow, your mother has honestly told both of you how she feels about the idea of moving in with either of you. On the other hand, this might be her excuse for not being willing to move.

"I feel guilty not being able to do physical things, and I worry that I would not be able to handle whatever care will be needed. But it isn't fair that y sister assumes all the responsibility." You don't need to feel guilty about not being able to do physical things. That's just the reality of your situation.

Has she been to her doctor recently to have her dementia evaluated and here from the doctor what sort of care she needs now how soon she will need more intensive care? I think the doctor needs to evaluate your mom's dementia and be the one who tells her in his professional, third part, objective opinion what sort of care she needs in the future,.

No matter which sister she moves in with her dementia will worsen to the point where she will become impossible for one person to care for and will need 24/7 care, I suggest that you consider the bigger picture.

One alternative that you may have now if her doctor thinks it is a good idea is for you to hire some caregivers to come over part of the day and be with her. Does she have the financial assets to afford such care at home? Does she have the assets for an assisted living home or a nursing home or are her finances such that she would qualify for medicaid?

Evidently your sister works some since she is semi-retired and you sound as if in two years you might be retiring yourself from your full time job. I would be best for you to keep your full time job so that you get the most benefits for your own financial well being in retirement. Your sister is more of a get out of the house person and must find it enjoyable to be semi-retired which she likely would miss if she suddenly had to give it up. I say all that because I've read too many sad stories on here about people who do give up there work.

I wish you the best on your journey of taking care of your mother.
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