My siblings and I have been dealing with a very complicated situation for the past 2.5 yrs. It all kind of came to a head last weekend. My mother lives in independent living down in VA. My father is in memory care in the same facility. My sister lives in MA, I live in NY, my brother lives in Seattle. We have another brother who lives about 45 minutes from our parents. I will freely admit decisions were postponed and good decisions were not made to get us to this point.
My mother fell and broke her hip in the fall of 2020. At that point, she was the primary caregiver for our father and they were still living in their large home. It was decided at that point my father needed to go to memory care. He moved to the facility in Nov 2020. The house was sold in the spring of 2021 and then mom moved to the facility. My sister has taken over much of the bill paying and helping mom with things. My mother and father have been in and out of the hospital during all this time. This past weekend we all were down there visiting and my mother was experiencing shortness of breath. She has CGHF and has an implanted defibrillator. I called the ambulance last Monday night. She has been in the hospital ever since and is supposed to go home today. We will see.
We all know this situation is not working. So we had decided to move my parents up to MA to be closer to my sister. However, now after this weekend that option has been taken off the table. My sister believes the thought of moving was causing mom anxiety so she said ok we won't discuss it anymore. An apt had opened for my dad, so my husband and I had suggested that mom could move in with us while we wait for an apt for her--or if she wanted to stay indefinitely that would be ok too. I told this to my sister, but she went ahead and told the facility we weren't taking the apt and she told my mom we were no longer going to discuss moving. She wants us all to take everything off my mom's plate. But that's a lot harder to do from 300 miles away than if she was just in the next room. I really think she should move in with one of us. She really doesn't have much to worry about--just the bills (well and moving, which has now been nixed)--yet she is very anxious. They gave her an anti anxiety medication in the hospital and it did not go well. We also know part of the problem is she hasn't really fully accepted the situation with our dad. She keeps hoping he is going to get better. Does anyone have any ideas how we can make this situation better? I am very frustrated with my family bc I come up with ideas, but yet they get shot down or not even discussed. My brother in VA has a huge house with 2 extra bedrooms. I haven't come right out and said that maybe she could move in with him--but my sister and I kinda put a wig in his ear the other day by asking what the 2 extra bedrooms are used for. My husband and I have no problem having her move in here, but our dad would be in MA so she wouldn't get to see him that often (that's the hang up). But, as I told my sister, she already doesn't see him that much bc she doesn't go over to memory care that much bc of her health. I just feel if she lived with one of us we could take her to her appts and get her medicines and do the bills and it would be much easier than trying to make sure it gets done from afar. As well, it won't pile up bc this past weekend the last time we had been down there was in Nov, Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks for listening.
Your suggestion that your brother take in Mom isn't realistic, because you know his wife will be the one to do the caregiving. That's not fair, so drop that option.
Even if everyone lovey doveys 24/7, has a huge house with gold-plated fixtures (in order to honor mother and father most beatifically) and has a crew of doctors and nurses onsite. Even if they’re going to leave you $32M apiece, homes in 6 countries and you have live-in mental health counselors for each of you.
No one ever has a clue what it’s like to take care of aging parents in there own homes until they do it. And then most of them would rather colonize Mars than go on living like slaves in their own homes.
Guess you know I think it’s a bad idea. Find them suitable living quarters where they can have friends, enjoy their own lives, and be glad to see you when you show up. Looks like it’s not going to be together because it’s not realistic considering their very different medical problems.
As for mom visiting dad, don’t count on that happening as often as you think. Of course she misses him, that’s understandable, but what she misses is the way it used to be. There’s no bringing that back, and as she realizes that, she’ll be less interested in visiting because it only reminds her of what is no longer possible. Typically, as everyone gets sicker, visitation slacks off.
Very sorry you’re all going through this.
You are making decisions thinking that your siblings are willing to take Mom into their homes. You have no idea what that entails. You lose your life. Its now centered around a parent who needs care and yours suffers from anxiety. It all sounds so romantic till u need to do it. Its like caring for a child. If ur parents can afford care in a MC and AL, then place them near each other.
You cannot make decisions on behalf of your siblings about moving mom in! Get mom placed in the Assisted Living area of this facility, as she's obviously not in good enough health to live independently. They won't be separated that way and nobody has to take mom in. Always sounds so easy-peasy in thought, but turns out to be a totally different ballgame in real life.
In AL, your mother wont have to worry about meds and picking them up and going to doctors. That's all handled on the premises for her. Any one of you can pay what few bills she generates w/o having to move her in. That's the LEAST complicated way to handle this. Plus, she doesn't want to move away. That's the part to keep uppermost in your mind.
If you want to run an idea by your brother, don't use passive-aggressive hints asking what his 2 extra bedrooms are being used for.......just ask him outright if he's in the mood to have mother move in with him? Communication between family should be open and honest in such situations. Just bc brother has a large home does not automatically make him a suitable candidate to care for his mother. In fact, who among you IS qualified to take in a sick mother ? For what you THINK it will be, multiply that by 1000 and you may be getting close to the truth of what it's like to live with ones mother. Plus she'd be away from her husband which is likely causing her anxiety, regardless of how often she sees him. He's THERE. If she moves out of this facility, he won't be anymore.
Best of luck to you
To move her out of state where she has no access to her husband would be horrible for her.
Don’t move her in with your brother- its not a great long term solution as her needs will only intensify.
Sending love. Don’t overthink the situation, there’s a simple solution right in front of you.
I know you say that your dad would still be placed but that you're open to having mom live with you, but you must know that uprooting someone with dementia can be quite traumatic for the person, as they do much better with routine and I'm sure by now he has his routine down pretty well. Your mom too if the thought of moving is making her anxious is not wanting to change her routine either, so perhaps for now, it's best to leave things as they are, and see what the future holds for them both.
For your Dad he may be unable to answer? I don't know if he would miss your Mom but you say that your Mom would miss him. She would be near you if she moves in with you, but not nearer anyone else and actually moving AWAY from the son she is near to now. More importantly she would be leaving her husband as though he were dead. For me I would rather move into ALF near his memory care were it me. Rather than to face down a living death of my husband.
You have said you are willing and ready and would like to take her into your home and your husband agrees to that. You mention it is while looking for an apartment, but the thing is there is no certainty she would be able to well survive a move she doesn't really like. It would be a huge change, one that might cause a downward trajectory making her incapable of being alone every again in an apartment. She might need 24/7 care. Are you understanding that might occur in your home?
I just see so many things to be afraid of in all of this.
I think I might be limited in my answer by my own human limitations. I had marvelous parents. I never had to take them in, but I would not have been capable of doing so if I DID have to, so I start at that level.
You have a lot of supportive siblings, which is on the one hand a good thing, but on the other hand it is like a lot of GOOD doctors fighting over how to treat a patient, and differing in opinions. It somehow adds to the confusion.
I really would not, in the long run, make this move. If Mom had to go into placement I would make it near Dad. I would make certain the siblings divided best they could according to their own lives, the visits. That would just be me.
And now I bet I only added MORE confusion.
Some things at this time of life don't have a good answer. Don't have a fix. Just are a matter of facing down the uncertainties day by day by day.
I sure do wish you the very best and hope things work out for the best for all.
I would be very reluctant to move Mom away from her husband and moving him could cause his dementia to spiral downwards.
I had two parents in assisted living at one time and that alone was a handful. I was constantly over there because my parents were what I like to call “Extra” with everything from health issues to personality disorders and anxiety. Dad has passed and it is just now my Mom who is bedridden and cant even feed herself. I cant imagine her living here with oxygen etc. her needs are better met in the facility which is 1/2 mile away.
how often is your brother able to visit her? You definitely want a second pair of eyes. I am at my Moms constantly but I don't work due to health issues.
I have a sister who pops in every few months which is a help and one sister retired who is two hours away. She rarely comes and when she does she does a short visit and rents a cabin 1 1/2 hours away. Smart girl
i ended up getting a companion for Mom who goes to visit for 2 hours teice a week. She does no medical. I pay her $15.00 an hour to do puzzles, organize, play cards, whatever Mom wants her to do. This may be a less expensive option for your Mom. It relieves your stress over not being there and her anxiety will lessen.
dads needs are being met, the memory care at my parents facility is phenomenal and though I am thankful not to need it I know that my Mom would be ok if I had to move her to that floor.
I apologize for my long replies. I write like you are in my family room and we are having a chat.
They need to be in some sort of facility for the rest of their lives, not a family member's home, and certainly not their own apartment, under any circumstances. If they're already in the same facility, best to leave them where they are. Especially for Dad in MC, moving him could be a massive setback since they thrive on routine in that setting.
Asking your brother what he uses his 2 spare rooms for was a really passive-aggressive and crappy thing to do for what it's worth. Grow up.
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