I had to have my mom move in with me 6 years ago due to failing health and lack of money. She is mentally fine but physically frail and uses a walker 24/7. She has heart failure, low kidney function, colon cancer and many other on again, off again health issues. I take her to all her doctor appts, medical tests, etc. My adult son (who has Huntington's disease) takes her to her weekly hair appt and to get her nails done but I know his ability to do that will be coming to an end in a few years. I was widowed 5 years ago (from Huntington's disease) and am an only child so I have no one to help me. My son has mild cognitive impairment and I have to do all his paperwork for his medical and disability along with going with him to his doctor appointments. He had a heart attack in May so he's not healthy either.
My mom desperately needs companionship and I don't have anything left in me to do that for her. Yet, she refuses to even try to make friends and constantly pushes me to tag along when I do things with my friends. I have suggested hiring a helper who could take her out to lunch, come to the house to visit or make her lunch, take her to her beauty appts., etc. but she refuses. She believes she doesn't need this because she has me to do those things for her. I take her out to dinner once a week, just me and her. Yet she won't let it go and hounds me about bringing her with me when I go out. I have been firm about that boundary but then she is mean, says nasty things and refuses to help around the house doing what she still can.
I'm so burnt out I find myself hiding in my bedroom when I'm home to avoid having to "fix" something or listen to her. When I do have plans with my friends, I have to sneak out of my own house (that I own) to avoid her. She wants to know where I'm at constantly and gets mean when I don't tell her what I'm doing. Then she tells me it’s a common courtesy to let her know when I leave and when I arrive home along with giving her details of what I've been up to. I'm 64 years old, a retired teacher, and don't feel I should have to "check in" with anyone about what I'm doing, whom I'm doing it with, or where I'm going. Am I being overly sensitive because I've got caregiver burnout?

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You've been dealing with and caring for your mother for 6 years now, and you're understandably burned out. It's time for mom to move into Assisted Living now ( or Skilled Nursing) where she'll have plenty of entertainment and other people to schmooze with, and won't need to rely on YOU to be her entertainment committee. Enough is enough, you've done more than your fair share for a long time now. You definitely should NOT have to 'check in' with anyone about what you're doing, where you're going, or whom you're doing it with. Your mother has overstepped her boundaries and definitely overstayed her welcome. You're not being 'overly sensitive', you're suffering from caregiver burnout which you HAVE to address before it affects your health and destroys your well being (more than it already has). Being an only child (which I am also) is enough of a burden in and of itself, and to then have a son with issues that you're also caring for means you've got TOO MUCH on your plate and need to get something off of it before that plate collapses. And since it can't be your son, it's MOM that's got to make other living arrangements, which you can help her do.

Go and scope out the Assisted Living places in your area and see what you think. If mom can't afford to pay the rent in one of them, then look into Skilled Nursing with Medicaid footing the bill. She's got enough health issues to warrant placement in one, that's for sure.

Remember that your life matters too, not just your mother's. In order for this living arrangement to be successful, it has to be working for BOTH of you, and it's not. You're hiding out from your mother and feeling stressed out by her behavior. Meaning it's time she leaves your home, period. I could NEVER have cohabited with my mother again after doing it once as a kid. That was more than enough, let me tell you, so I vowed to never do it again. She lived in Assisted Living and Memory Care until she died, b/c by the grace of God she had the funds to do so from a part time job and profit sharing that paid off. Truly a miracle.

Wishing you the best of luck looking out for YOURSELF now, and finding other accommodations for your mother. You can go visit her in the SNF every day if you'd like, as long as you're no longer housing her in YOUR home.
Helpful Answer (14)
Reply to lealonnie1
eat-pray-love Oct 7, 2022
AMEN!!! "I could NEVER have cohabited with my mother again after doing it once as a kid. That was more than enough, let me tell you, so I vowed to never do it again. Your mother has overstepped her boundaries and definitely overstayed her welcome. You're not being 'overly sensitive', you're suffering from caregiver burnout which you HAVE to address before it affects your health and destroys your well being (more than it already has)."
Tell mom that this is your house, and this is how it’s going to go:

1. If she insists on 50 bucks or more of beauty service weekly, she can call an Uber, not her sick grandson.

1b. And from now on, she pays for all of it up through her whole ss, plus all of the Ensures and Depends and puppy pads and things only she would use. At least you’re cleaning it up.

2. You owe mom no timeframe other than roughly when you’ll be back.

2b. If she insists that she’s so unstable that she can’t be left alone, or if you yourself see this, you tell her that it’s time for a home.
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Reply to PeggySue2020

hoopsky, I see the parent/child concept in your situation. As soon as your Mom had moved in with you, she once again became the parent, and you are now back to being the child in her eyes. We are now kids, so what do we know. This happens so much that it is common place.

It is very difficult to break. You can try standing in front of a mirror and saying "No, I can't possibly do that" over and over until you feel comfortable saying it.

One idea is to hire a caregiver, but tell Mom it is not for her, but for you as you no longer have the energy to do everything that needs to be done.... cancel those dinners out, too. Hopefully later down the road your Mom will be comfortable with the caregiver that she will let the caregiver take her beauty shop and nail appointments. It's worth a try.

Oh, pay for the caregiver out of your Mother's funds. I assume your Mom gets Social Security.
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Reply to freqflyer

Hoopsky, you have a lot on your plate. The tragic loss of your husband and now your son’s illness and conditions as well. . . I am so sorry.

I feel that with everything you’ve been through you definitely *need* time with your friends, time for yourself. Also, you are anticipating your son’s medical needs but are also expecting yourself to care for mom (who sounds like a difficult person) as well.

More than burnout, is continuing this situation sustainable and realistic for you?
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Reply to SnoopyLove

It’s time to look after yourself now before it’s too late be firmer and tell her you are burnt out and if the situation does not improve tell her you may need to look at putting her in full time care that might make her look at things differently other than that I would just hire help and tell her it’s either that or she goes into care tough love is what it’s called
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Reply to Taylorb1

Here’s another ‘small step’ suggestion. Go out (shopping?) with mother and a ‘friend of yours’ – actually a carer. Part-way through, you have to leave them together while you do something, and be gone for at least an hour. You’ve been held up. Carer/friend has your phone number, mock-phones and says it’s going to be an hour. Carer takes M for a coffee or whatever, and they have to chat. Repeat until M ‘knows’ carer.
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Reply to MargaretMcKen

No, you’re not being overly sensitive! The same thing happened to me. It was stressful for me to have to be with my Mom because she treated me like a child, wanted to know where I was all of the time, followed me, and needed me to bring her along every time I went anywhere. If I told her I was seeing a friend she wanted to come too, and if I said no, would talk badly about that friend and me, and then try to convince me not to go. I had to lie to protect myself from her controlling behavior, and get away from her so that I could breathe.
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Reply to ermini
BurntCaregiver Oct 7, 2022

This happens all the time to so many of us. My mother's favorite pastime is ruining special ocassions. I remember some time ago I was leaving for a friend's wedding. It was a 4-Day wedding (my friend is Indian) and I had a part in the ceremonies. This was a great honor to me because I love my friend and her huge family. The preparation took months. I had to get beautiful special clothes (her family paid for it) and learn all kinds of cultural things.
Anyway, when the car arrived to take me to the airport for what was going to be a very long flight, my mother started having chest pains. She turned on the pathetic senior act of needing to go to the ER. I told her I'd call an ambulance and my sister. Then the begging could I just take her because she was going to die.
No. I cannot and did not. This was one more of her staged "performances". She wanted me to miss the wedding because she enjoys disappointment and ruining special times.
After I got settled, I called home to check up on things. She answered the phone and hung up on me. I didn't call again and was gone for three weeks. My sister and father knew how to reach me.
My mother talked horrifically about my friend after the wedding and she actually liked her very much. I just ignore her.
I don't lie to her about anything. If something isn't her business, I don't tell her.
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Are you sure she is "mentally fine"? My mom would do things similar to this - needing socialization and not doing anything to help herself even with many suggestions from me. This was a few years before she was diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment and now dementia. She just could NOT do it. Could be the same for your mom.

If I could go back in time, I would do it differently. I would MAKE her go to the senior center - I had thought of going there with her and being a volunteer so that she would go and then I'd back out once she was involved. I would invite ladies over for cards. I wish I had made her a circle of friends when it was still possible. It would have been much better for both of us.

I do the same things as you! Nice to know I'm not the only one! I basically "hide" in my room, to avoid dealing with her. I also don't feel like I should have to check in and keep my mom updated on what I'm doing, where, why and with who! Geeeez I NEVER gave her this kind of detail. She got pissed off when my hubby and I were out working in the yard and barn and she "didn't know where anybody was".

Good luck!
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Reply to againx100
Catskie62 Oct 1, 2022
I literally hide from my mother sometimes!!
I’m sorry for all that you’ve been managing, hat’s off to you for your commitment.

I’m wondering if it’s not time for AL or a SNF for your Mom? I would discuss the options with an elder law attorney. I’m concerned about how much longer you can manage this unilaterally.

Sending support.
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Reply to Kristen2037

The irony of your situation is that your mother is right on one level: it IS common courtesy to let someone you live with know that you are leaving and when you'll be back. Especially when that someone is frail and dependent. But I completely sympathize with you; that level of clinginess in an adult is smothering. Her behavior is creating an intolerable situation of overload for you, which makes you want to run away.

Since running away hasn't worked, I think you are going to have to lay it out for her: no two people can be each other's "everything". Your son needs you, you have friends that you need to spend time with, and you alone aren't enough to fill her world either. Get ready because she will fight, cry, scream, etc. (but isn't she doing that already)?

What I would do is determine what the options are given her financial situation. Perhaps it's (1) paid caregiver/companion in the home, (2) adult day care during the week, (3) assisted living facility. Whatever is available and affordable in your area. Then give her a choice. Current situation of her demanding to follow you everywhere is not an option. If she won't choose you will, and it may not be what she wants. She will think you're mean and accuse you of everything in the book, but your only way out is to be firm. I think you can do it! She's afraid of life going on without her, so she needs to get a life of her own.
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Reply to iameli

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