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My mom was living in Florida until just the first of this month. Social workers were involved and wanted to put her in a nursing home in Florida because her ability to take care of herself and clean her home was non existing. She was falling all the time, and her home was so horribly dirty, in my opinion it should have been condemned. Anyways, I am her only option to take her in, or it would have been a nursing home, which she refused to go. I didnt want her to live with me because my home is a tri-level and I still need to work, and I don't want her to fall when I am not there. I knew that taking on this task would not be easy, but I couldn't just leave her high and dry in Florida, because she is my mom.

Anyways, to make a long story short, she is now living with me in Wisconsin, and we've done the best to set up the downstairs for her so it is safe. She has already been mouthy and stubborn and expects everything right away, and has yelled at me for leaving her home one night and not coming home for 6 hrs which my husband gave her the option to come along, but she didn't want to. We were out looking for a bed and couch for her and bought them with no thanks. She came to my home with a 6x12 trailer that was only partially full, because 90% had to be left behind because it was so dirty and smelled like cat pee. She is messy and has no respect for our home and it has only been 4 days that she has been here. She has thrown her walker down our steps and it smashed on the hardwood floors....which my husband did not appreciate. There are other things she has done as well, and I don't really want her here anymore. I know that sounds horrible, but the original plan was for me to stay home and take care of her and quit my job. She is a handful. I feel like I need to walk behind her constantly and catch everything she drops...food, drink, pills....she pulls poop out her butt, then touches other things in the bathroom....I cant handle all that. I have a big heart and love helping people, but I feel like I am going to be trapped and my life is being changed to drastically too quickly. She is incontinent, and everywhere she sits needs to be protected....I really want her to move into the senior apts up the road, but unfortunately there is an 18 mth waiting list. What can I do....am I trapped??? She is on SSI, so not much money, and no assets. I want my home back and my life. What do you do if you realize you've taken on more than you can handle??? Please help with any suggestions. I love her, but my sanity is at stake. I am a clean person and she is not. She says she is 81 and too old to change.

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Monica, you're doing good, Lady! Keep it up! The groundwork you are so laboriously laying will serve your mother well as long as she stays with you and also later if you decide she needs out-of-home placement.

Your mother means all of her attacks personally. I don't think we can dismiss them as out of her control. If you can manage not to take them personally, and you seem to be on the path to acheiving that, you will have won a great victory.

Keep in mind that you have choices. Having her in your home is a decision you can make, and you can change that decision at any point. I think that helps to know. Mother may feel like a prisoner (and in a way she truly is imprisoned by her impairments), but you are not a prisoner. You have choices.

Good luck!
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Hi Monica: Congratulations on making all the calls. That is always a big job; very time consuming and tedious. Just to make sure I understand, your mom is now on Medicaid in your state? You didn't have to do any paperwork or you had already submitting the paperwork? Will this qualify her for in home help without charge? In the state Washington there is a COPES program that will provide 5 hours of in home care per day for Medicaid patients.

Sorry to hear that your mom is so angry. I'm sure the rent and utilities came as a shock to her. If she pays you rent, you may have to claim that on your income tax.

I admire your fortitude and wish your mom could be more appreciative of your efforts. How are things going in general? Any better?

Stay in touch. Sending you lots of hugs and encouragement. Cattails
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Thank you everybody again for taking the time to share your thoughts and or experiences.

I am continuing on and trying to give her the best care I can, even though we have had two more arguements since I last posted.

The two arguements were pretty similar....except todays was ridiculous. I was on the phone again for at least 4 1/2 hrs getting her state medicaid and ssi figured out which actually took quite a few different calls to a few different people. I found out that she is in the system now, and will be recieving her money starting in august. She doesn't understand how long these things take, so she just expects it to be done already. I tried to explain to her it takes a couple of weeks. Anyhow, I then had to call social security and make sure she was good to go there, and we found out how much she has to pay us for her rent and utilities or else if she doesn't pay us her share, then they consider her receiving "money in kind" and she would lose quite a bit of money. I told her how much, and she couldn't believe it. So I said I had a few more calls to make, and I would figure this out so I understood it better myself...get more info. Well, lets say her patience level is somewhere around...oh I don't know....ZERO! She started yelling for me from downstairs....MONICA....WHAT DID YOU FIND OUT.....IT CAN'T POSSIBLY TAKE THIS LONG. I NEED TO KNOW NOW.....so I calmly said to her that I still had calls to make, and when I knew more, then she would. O.k.....to make a long story short, she continued yelling for me at intervals even though I was in the midlle of talking to people to get this info for her...and might i add she is very loud....so finally, I got into her line of sight from upstairs and pointed to the fact i was still on the phone, and I said I was still talking, and she said"SO...i DON'T CARE....I WANT TO KNOW NOW". So I ignored her, and finished finally with all my calls. I had made calls to get her extra money if she qualifies for the program, which would be a GOOD thing for her. I went downstairs, and all I could hear is"Come on Monica....it doesn't take that long....blah ....blah...blah" So I said to her" you need to respect the fact that when I am on the phone that you need to wait untill I am done...I can't hear or talk to both of you at the same time....." then she basically said that I didn't still need to be on the phone, but I should be giving her her answer when she wants it because it involves her, so she should know....blah blah blah. And then she was having a fit about paying us the rent, because she is used to not paying anything because of her reverse mortgage she had in Florida. Then she said it wasn't fair that she had to pay so much to be a prisoner and how would I like it....etc. No matter what i said, she had an answer even if it didn't make sense...especially how it's always my way, and I know it all, and I am selfish, and I planned all this before I went to get her to get even with her, and she just knew I was going to be this way, and she cant believe how much I've changed, I'm not her daughter, etc...so after arguing I told her she is rude, disrespectful, and nuts...she pushed me to my limit. She doesn't care about anything but herself and how it affects her and everyone should just be jumping off there chairs to assist her or answer her, or what ever the situation is.

The thing is....what she said didn't hurt me....I walked away annoyed with her selfishness and stupidity....but even though I have done nothing wrong to her....everything I have done has been to help her, it will never make her change her mind about me....she keeps bringing up that i want to get even with her, so she must be silently hating me???? I will never do good by her I guess, especially when she does't get her way! So now my husband can deal with her!!!!!
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Wisdom, I think you have given a good suggestion for Monica to spend some quality time alone with her mother, and to ask her how tough was for her taking care of her disabled sibling, and to empathize with her. That may be the beginning of some healing, and be a very good thing for both of them.

I'd point out that these conversations could occur whether mother remains in Monica's home or lives in a care facility. In fact, I think they are more likely to be productive when Monica is not cleaning up her mother's poop messes.

I'd also suggest that understanding the basis of abuse and being empathetic about its origins does not obligate us to continue to accept abuse. Monica is entitled to make decisions in her own best interest, no matter how understanding of her mother's life she may become.

Monica has already demonstrated that she is not going to "get rid of" her mother. But there are multiple ways to care for a parent. Having her live in your home is only one way ... and it isn't always the best way.
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Your father essentially abandoned you. Definitely Not Your Fault.

You mother was physically and emotionally abusive. Also Not Your Fault. (That your Down Syndrome sister couldn't learn to talk was your fault because you didn't spend enough time with her???!!! OMG. Is this the kind of crap you had to endure since childhood?)

You got out of that toxic situation as soon as you could and took responsibility for your own life. Good for you!

Fast forward a few decades. Mother is unable to care for herself hundreds of miles from you. (Not your fault.) And you decided, "I couldn't just leave her high and dry in Florida, because she is my mom." OK, I get that. She is your mom -- or at least your mother (she doesn't sound like much of mom to me) and you feel some responsibility and some compassion. Again, good for you.

But here is the part I don't get. You say "she does NOT want to go to a nursing home, which she has been clear about." The social workers in Florida said she could not live independently. Your own experiences to date show that she can not live independently. So how on earth do you come to the conclusion that your only options are to wait 18 months for an opening in independent living (which she cannot handle in any case) or to live with you? How did the mere fact that Mother doesn't want to be in a Nursing Home completely rule that option off the table? If you took a poll in an NH, how many residents do you think asked, please can I go to a nursing home? (Some did -- I personally know one, but that is not typical.) People go to nursing homes because other people decided it is best for them, because there are no other options, or of the options available it is the least stressful for all concerned. Why can't these reasons apply to your mother?

Your mother did NOT want your sister to be removed from her care. It happened anyway, didn't it? And presumably for good reasons. What your mother wants is not the driving factor of the universe. That is the a truth I think you need to embrace.

Being abandoned was not your fault.
Being abused in childhood was not your fault.
Being abused in adulthood -- whoa, you have some control over that! If you continue to accept it, it really isn't all Mother's fault, is it?

I am not saying that you shouldn't give this a few more weeks. I am not saying that it couldn't possibly work out. I am saying that you have CHOICES here. You are NOT trapped. Independent living is NOT the only other alternative. If your mother continues to live with you, you need to acknowledge that it is because you DECIDED to allow that.

Here is the advice of a well-respected therapist, Pauline Boss, from her book "Loving Someone Who Has Dementia":

"Taking care of someone who years before was abusive or neglectful of you is beyond what is epxected of you. Caring for a family member who was or is physically or psychologically abusive is dangerous. Feeling as if you want to retaliate is also dangerous. These are justifiable reasons for NOT being a caregiver. Talk with someone about your options. Other people can do the hands-on work. .. talk with the county social worker to find out about alternatives. Each case is different, but with most, I encourage some kind of continued management -- often through a social worker -- to make sure that the caregiving team or the nusring home professionals are treating your family member well. This may be the best you can do given your history together. Such minimal attention, however, eases ambivalence, anger, and guilt, and, overall, fosters your emotional growth."

(Hey, emotional growth is a good thing, right?)

My sincere best wishes to you as you make choices in the weeks and months ahead.
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Wisdom: I appreciate your empathy for a parent who has a down syndrome child and the weight they carry on their shoulders. And I would imagine you see me as one of the people who is advising Monica to "get rid of her mother."

I've taken care of my parents for some years now. My mom passed away in 2008 and my dad is now under our roof due to a stroke he suffered a year ago. I'm really not cold hearted, but I do support Monica's right to have a life and I don't feel she MUST keep her mom in her home. She can see to it that her mom is well cared for even if she is living in a nursing home.

Monica's mom has some dysfunction and mental issues. She wants to be independent so she refuses to wear depends even if she is incontinent. If someone feels that not wearing protective under clothing and soiling themselves and the furniture is a sign of independence, then they are not thinking clearly. Monica is the one cleaning up after her mom, because her mom is not interested in being clean and doesn't much care that she is making her daughter's home a mess.

I feel deeply for Monica's mom and all she has been through in her life, but my guess is that her mom had mental issues before she had a down syndrome child.

You will meet many caregivers on this site. We all do our best. Monica's mom would be in a nursing home in Florida right now if Monica had not intervened on her behalf. If she can find a way to make this work, she will. If it's too much for her, I'm not going to beat her up over it. Monica needs support and a chance to talk about her life and her struggles. She needs a place to vent and talk honestly about the current situation she finds herself in, namely taking care of a mother who was never there for her and with whom she has been estranged from for many years. She doesn't need to be shamed or handed a guilt trip.

Monica's mom did one thing right, she gave up a younger daughter to adoption. Ironically, that child is now taking care of the down syndrome child and Monica is trying to take care of her mom.

I know you mean well and maybe you have experienced raising a special needs child. Please also consider how heavy your comments can weigh on the heart of someone you don't know.
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Dear Monica, having a child with that is mental challenge will have a great impact on your life, unless you don't care about him/her and send it to an institution for the mental challenge, your mother's life after the birth of your sibling with down syndrome was a complete meltdown, some people can coupe better than others in this situation, but your mom looks like she didn't, by experience I can tell you that it is pretty hard dealing with something like this, as a parent your life stops right there, you will became depress, thinking what will happen to him/her if you are gone, and other thoughts like these will consume you for life, as a sibling you will continue moving forward in life, going to school, getting a job, leaving home, getting married, because the mental load of having a disable sibling is not that heavy, I see another people giving you advice to get rid of you mom, what about giving her love, why don't spend some quality time with her (just you and her), ask her how tough was for her taking care of your disabled sibling, empathize with her, and just remember that we are going to be at the same position when we get to that age, so, let's try not to make the same mistakes that our parents did so our children will love us instead of despise us.
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Monica: I love cats, just love them. but I don't have one. I have 2 dogs and that's enough for me. I have had cats in the past and, as much as I love them, they do have a way of getting even if you make them angry. One cat with no reason to be angry is ok, but who knows what will piss them off. They have their own way of seeing the world so I do understand your feelings. No cats in your house. I hear you.

That's amazing how Michelle ended up living with your younger sister who was put up for adoption. Really, who would have ever thought that would come about. It sounds like Michelle is in a very good place and I guess I have to say that God does work in some very mysterious ways.

Back to your situation; You do what is best for you. This is a needed journey in your life. If it wasn't needed, you would not have taken it on. Find your way, do your best, but never feel like you have no choice. You didn't have a choice when you were a child, but you do now, so don't forget that.

There is no shame in acknowledging that you are not capable of doing certain things. If your mom's care is too much for you to handle, then don't be ashamed of that. I've come to understand that I can still love myself and not do everything perfectly for my parents. That is a huge change in the way I see and accept myself. If I can't keep my dad living under my roof until the day he dies, it just means I'm not able/willing to take that on. It's ok if I have limits and it's ok if they fall short of perfection.

I think sometimes that those of us who grew up alone feel that we have to prove that we are worthy. We find our way and do our best and somewhere under all that we do is a need to prove that we can do it right. Doing it right can be an unending quest. There are not enough lifetimes to do everything right. It's just not achievable. So for those of us who feel less than, because we can't be the answer to everyone else's problems, it can be a God send to just accept that we can't make the world right and we can't solve everyone's problems and we can't make it up to a parent who has never been able to see the truth, as painful as their past has been. It's ok to let go.

This may be more about how you see yourself than anything else. I know you have compassion for your mom and I totally understand that you w?ant her to have a safe place in her last years, but you don't have to do this to make yourself feel good about who you are. You are a good person. You don't have the same handicaps as your mom had and you don't have to carry that burden.

I am especially fond of you and I think of you as my friend. I'm happy to hear all of your thoughts and feelings and I will be here for you.

Love and Hugs, Cattails.
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OMG ! I think we are sisters,I have the same mom history as you do.When it is the end of the day ,it just comes down to she is board,doesn't know wha to do with herself even if she had all the answers and is stuck going over her life in her head. Sometimes when we are mad at ourselves we yell at the person who is kindest to us. If all you do is make her laugh once a day,you did good. Hang in there.
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Yes cattails....you are spot on! As I was reading your post it made me smile because you understand perfectly!

I did leave at 18 without looking back. After about 10 yrs of physical and verbal abuse, I knew I needed to leave if I was ever going to live my life happy. It devastated her when I did, because it was unknowingly the same day when either my dad left her or my brother....not sure which. It was always about Michelle. Her health, safety, love, etc...was given to her first. My childhood was horrible, but when I left, I left that all behind. I visited her maybe two yrs or so later, but she still played her head games with me and treated me like it was my fault michelle never learned to talk....I didn't spend the time with her...I realized then that I would never visit her again.

My dad left before I was born. That was a weird situation anyway. I believe he was either 13 or 16 yrs younger than my mom...so basically he was looking for a mother figure, and ended up marrying her because he was obsessed with her....I've seen some of the letters he wrote her. I think it failed because of his age, and she was too controlling( funny how she is complaining I am controlling her now) and my sister was downsyndrome and he could not handle that. So she was left raising me and Michelle all alone on welfare. She never worked once my sister was born. We went without for most things, because she saved money instead of spending it on clothes or newer things. But I understand the era she was born in, and I know of all her abuse all her life...I heard all the stories of what happened to her, and her bad choices as well. Her life sucked, but in turn, it made her the type of person she is, so my life growing up sucked....for lack of a better word. I would see my dad only once a yr....it was always a surprise visit, but he didn't want to put up with my mom anymore. Later on in life, about 10 yrs ago she found the lord, and apologized for the way she treated me, but in the same breath still blamed me for things....but I was only trying to grow up.....nothing more....but she thought I was being a horrible teenager.....couldn't handle me. I never did anything that was off the wall...but she blamed it on me for being a teenager. I just wished I did even a small fraction of what my friends got to do....at least I could say I was normal.

I started visiting her when she moved to florida after she made ammends with me, and it was better, but yrs had passed as well, so we were like strangers to a point. Then her health changed, and the michelle thing, and through that time she had aquired 7 cats to fill the loneliness....and then she lost her ability to drive because of all her car accidents, which of course none of them were her fault!

My sister Michelle is living with my other sister in Connecticut. She has taken in or cared for disabled people before. I think it was the hand of the lord, because it just seemed too perfect who she was sent to live with. I don't know my other sister too well, because she was given up for adoption when she was a baby, and recently found my mom.

As for the cat thing, I don't think I can do that....we have a dog, but we kennel him when I work because she wouldn't be able to let him outside to go potty. I really don't like cats....cant stand the hair or the urine smell or poop smell from the litter box. I wouldn't even have a dog that sheds in my home....just can't stand it....but I understand your suggestion....i just don't want a cat in my home. Somebody else's cat in their home can be cute, but not in my home. I am not a cat person....

Well, I must go get ready for the day....thanks again, and lots of love, Monica
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dmwillis....thank you for your post. What you are saying does make sense, but alot of those things are being done. I work different hrs each day, so I let her know when I'll be home, but she has to stay down stairs when I am gone because going up and down the steps is out of the question unless I am home. Her balance or even her mobility is now always great, so I can't take the chance of her falling. If you have read my earlier posts, then you know she is not very clean....some because she never was or doesn't know better, some because she is 81, and her reaction time just isn't there. When I come home, I want to know where her mess is as opposed to coming home and trying to find where it might be. All in all, she feels like a prisoner because of these limitations, yet when I am home, she is still mostly downstairs doing the same thing she does when I'm not home. When I am home she is welcome upstairs or outside, or if she needs to go anywhere, she can. I feel bad, but when you ask her what she would do upstairs, she has no answer...theres only another couch and a tv....and my husband will not let her ruin our home like hers was.

And unfortunately, there were no times she stayed up with me when I was ill...I got yelled at for bringing home the cold or the flu, because now my sister was going to get it....also no driving me to school events....heck, i was never allowed to go to my prom. She was very strict. But I understand why she was the way she was, and have forgiven her. My heart is big, and I love her. But no matter all the choices I leave her....I am still being too bossy.....She has her coffee ready for her, she has numerous snacks and other drinks to choose from till I get home....she picks out her own clothes....but I do have to clean up the spills, crumbs, wash the bed sheets because her poise pad shfted, but she insists she was just sweating....unless she sweats pee....then she is wrong. If she spills I need to be the one to clean it up because she may wipe it up, but it remains sticky, and she thinks by me doing that, that she is not capable and I am making all her decisions. Her poopy habits are bad, but I can clean it up....she doesn't see all the things she touches BEFORE she washes her hands at the sink....which may include petting my puppy. I think twice about kissing him on the head like I use to.

She does most everything completely herself....but that doesn't say she is successful at it. She wants to be 41....she said in her mind she still is...and I get that, but unfortunately, she is not, and she needs the help. She can't admit it. The last week has been pretty good, but all the nice warming things I have done like you mentioned go down the crapper when she goes back to the prisoner thing....and then I am not her daughter and i've changed, and I don't love her. But that is classic her...she always could turn things around.
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If you had or have children ,you are going through the same things now ,It is not easy to be uprooted and brought somewhere you do not really want to be.It is not easy to have a parent take your time energy and privacy either. However unless you have paid her back for long nights when you were ill,school events she drove you to and the being tolerent when I am sure she just wanted to stuff you in a box..........suck it up dear........put on your mommie cap....overcome the terrible 2"s you are going through with her.She needs structure as close as possible. Make out a loose schedule and post it. That will give her a base to work from.A clock and a big calender helps alot too.When you go down in the morning offer a fresh warm wash cloth for her face....she will start looking forward to seeing you and the touch of a caring hand.After she does her face,gently take her hands while you are talking to her and wipe them off. I have a big table in my dads room with a lazy susan on it.I have plastic jars with crackers,cheese,nuts,candy,toothpicks anything he asks alot for lots a kleenex is sitting about.I try to give him as many independent choices as I can.We have started little photo albums to keep the brain in touch.I cut flowers out of the garden and put on the table to look at and touch. Anyway I know you want to pull your hair out...look at this challenge as a game . You can do this....get on the waiting list...laugh everytime you can and make her laugh too. Ask for her help ,even if you know how to do it.As far as the poop in the pants...baby wipe..decoratae a pottie chair.....give her a reason to put it somewhere.I had a patient that would make me a hamburger everyday and wrap it up in her breakfast napkin.....she lived ,to give me my lunch because she thoght she was taking care of me and wanted to make sure I ate. I would smile and take my lunch and thank her oh so much and she would smile widly because she thought she did good.
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Monica: You must have had some strong resentments about your mom to have left home at 18 and only started visiting her in the past 4 years. I'm guessing you may have talked to her by phone over the years, but maybe not.

It's ok, Monica. I so appreciate your honestly and it really touches my heart. More than you know. So you left home, went out into the world, didn't look back and made a life for yourself.

So Michelle was the first born and she was a Down Syndrome baby. Then you came along. Your mom must have been close to 38 years old when Michelle was born and then older when you were born. Where was dad in all of this. If your mom wasn't working after Michelle was born, how did you live financially? Was your dad in the picture?

I'm not sure what DCF is, some kind of department of child welfare I would guess, but it must have been devastating for your mom when they came and took Michelle away. Do you know where she is now or how she is doing?

I don't know what it is about some people. They can relate to animals better than people and in such a way that they don't care if their house is trashed. It's just not their priority. The affection they get from their pets fills their lives and everything else takes a back seat. I don't know if your mom was a good mother to Michelle. She may have just loved her because she could relate to her differently, like she did to her pets. I don't mean that in a negative way, just looking at the dependency issue and making the connection.

My parents loved animals. They would take in every dog within 10 miles of their home. If they saw a stray, they would rescue it. If a neighbor mistreated their dog, my parents would talk them in to giving it to them. One time they were leaving a restaurant after breakfast and saw a poor dog tied into the back of a truck. The dog was is bad shape. It couldn't move because of all the junk that was in the back of the truck. It had defecated where it was standing and could not move out of the mess. My dad untied the dog, took it out of the truck and gave it some water. It peed and peed and drank and drank. They took the dog home with them and named him Lucky.

My parents lived on some acreage and their mobile home was always full of dogs going in and out. I lived a few hours from them and would visit from time to time. I cared about them, but can relate to not being able to find a place to sit due to all the animals and the mess they made. It's hard to sit on a couch that a dog who has recently been skunked has been sleeping on. You just can't help but take it into your car and home with you.

I'm the oldest child of four and left home when I was 18. Like you, I went out into the world and made my way. My siblings have made their way too. My sister is the one who has more animals than she can truly care for and she struggles to make ends meet. My brothers have done ok.

When we retired and moved to Washington state, we built a small house across the driveway for my parents who could no longer live on their own. I think I told you all about this, but to have had them living in our home would have been impossible. We have 2 dogs and we love the nature all around us, the birds, the elk and everything that comes our way. Nevertheless, I like my home too and it's not the way my parents lived. My dad could never understand why I would pull weeds or be vacuuming or keeping things up. It just didn't mean that much to him. My mom loved it, because she was handicapped and had limited use of her arms and finally someone was doing all the things she wanted done. Still, as I mentioned, she would throw those pancakes, dripping with syrup on the new carpet to her two remaining dogs and my dogs thought that was pretty cool. It's just how they lived.

I remember one time going to visit my parents. They were not home when we arrived so we got through all the dogs and went inside. My dad had built on a big room to the mobile home. The ceiling was leaking and plaster and drywall falling down. My husband asked me, "Do you feel embarrassed for me to be seeing this with you?" I don't think I felt embarrassed. I just felt sad. My dad had retired from his job and was a handy man for crying out loud. How could he live in such a hovel when he had the ability to fix the problems? That year they had a wedding anniversary and my brother and I gave them enough money to re-roof their home. My mom hired it out and the job got done.

All I can say, Monica, is that I can relate to some of the things you deal with. It's just who your mom is and how she has always lived. She has probably lived a life of deprivation and doesn't know any other way. She has had her losses and has limits as to what she can relate to. What you try to explain to her is like someone talking Chinese to someone who speaks French. It's just a totally different culture and language. If she could do better, she would.

My heart goes out to you, but I give you high marks for trying to reach your mom and guide her in her last years. You may not be successful in having her see things your way, but compassion is a language in itself. I don't suppose there is any chance that you could get her an altered cat that is litter box trained. Giving her something to love might mean the world to her. I know your are thinking I am nuts and that is out of the question, but it might just give her a focus and comfort that you can't provide. See how things go for a few months and then rule it out.

Don't stop talking to me. You don't have to do the pet cat. Love Cattails.
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Hi Cattails....She wasn't this way when I was growing up. I did do all the housework....it was left for me when I came home from school every day. I would brush and or wash all three dogs, dust, vaccuum, make all three beds, set the table for dinner, clear it, do the dishes, and then do my homework and go to bed. She did not do laundry but once every couple of months because she did not want the cess pool to overflow. I would wash my clothes out in the sink and hang them on the clothes line even in winter. It really sucked washing jeans. She never worked after my sister was born because she was down syndrome...then I was born. When I moved away at 18 yrs old, then the housework was up to her...how well she did it, I don't know. I just started visiting her in florida 4yrs ago, but she claims she stopped living when dcf took my downsyndrome sister away from her care. A neighbor called the police because she felt a violation was occurring, and dcf took my sister from her. My sister was her life...her reason to cook, to clean, to go anywhere...etc. So for the last 4 yrs, she didn't do much of anything....keeping in mind though that my mom was 77 when they took Michelle, and the 7 cats she had already had done most of the damage to her home by being in every nook and cranny there was and peeing, pooping, and puking anywhere they pleased. At her age I think it was not a good idea to be taking care of a 39 yr old downsyndrome and to have a home that was being coated in urine constantly. When my husband and I started visiting, the smell was bad, there was cat hair in the dish drainer, she kept the sponge in dirty reused soapy water to wash out her dishes, and the cats were all over the kitchen table. There was no way we were eating there. She had one very sick cat...don't know how it was still alive all the times we visited, but it had blood in its urine, would pick any spot to pee in, and she would just put paper down on the spot and let it....even if it was in the entrance way, so you had to watch where you stepped. That same cat would sit and sleep on the arm rest of the couch, and then I would watch my mom eat something, and lay it down on that same dirty arm rest and pick it up and continue to eat it. I don't think she has the capability to see all the mess....she tried to clean she said, and thought she was doing just fine at it by her comments to me, but it was definetly tunnel vision. She had a foreman grill and when we were there this last time, it was caked with at least a half inch of grease and old meat, and all she did was wipe a few of the channels out with paper toweling, and called that clean. I pointed it out to her, and she said so...when did you become so clean and sanitary...it was fine for her, but you or I would have cringed and thrown out anything made on that grill.

Any how, she recently has been diagnosed with PAD, and she has a pacemaker because she has congestive heart failure. She has osteoarthritis, osteoperosis, emphazema, lesions on her brain from when she used to get beat by her ex years ago, which the dr says will get worse in time. She has balance issues because of her high blood pressure, and constant pain down her leg probably from her spine.

Things have seemed better the last couple of days, but as I was typing this to you, she spilled her juice that my husband gave her all over the floor and her feet, and was trying to clean it up with napkins, instead of telling me so I could do it properly. I go down there and ask her if she spilled it on herself and she said no, but it was on her feet, so I said i'd finish cleaning. Then she gets mad atme ans says she could do it herself, and she is capable , and I said I needed to clean it up, because it needs to be dried correctly....as she is walking through it with her bare feet tracking it further....but she wants to go upstairs and be free to do what she wants in my home when I'm not home, and I try to explain to her she can't for her safety, and also because of accidents like that....but she thinks she's still 40 and can still do it herself....but she can't. So she went to bed mad at me tonight because I am making her a prisoner, and when I ask her what she wants to do, she has no answer...then tells me if I love her, I should know what she wants to do. I try to tell her the truth about her furniture we had to leave behind, but I think she blames us for not taking it. I don't think she will be happy here, because no matter how much I do for her, it comes down to if she can't do what she wants in my home, I don't love her and she's a prisoner. I can't make her understand that what she thinks she can still do....she really cant...at least not safely. Her mind is pretty good, but yet there are things you tell her, and she acts like it's the first time she's hearing it.

I understand that she has lost everything, but that is not my fault, although I think that is who she is choosing to blame....not herself that could have stopped the over run of cats that ruined everything she had. When I tell her all the bad habits she has, she gets mad and says she might as well die....but that is her answer all the time. She does need the assistance, but thinks I am bossing her around. When I leave her be....she spills, or falls off the toilet...but forgets about that.

I just don't know....how do you make someone like that happy. She's always going to play the same pity card....no matter how great the day was, it always goes back to she's a prisoner and why can't she roam freely in my house.
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Monica: I think it would be wise for you to have DPOA and you should pursue that asap. Your mom could have a stroke tomorrow and your ability to speak on her behalf is important. Things can change very quickly, so be prepared to step in.

However, if your mom is of sound mind, she is entitled to make her own decisions. Even with DPOA, you can't overrule her decisions if she is mentally sound.

Has your mom always been this way? Did she always live with little care about her environment, like she was living in Florida? Can you tell us a little more about her health issues?

I am assuming that you have her set up with a local doctor now that she is living in Wisconsin and I hope that you are listed on the HIPPA form as one who is privy to her medical information. If not, have your mom tell the doc that he can discuss medical issues with you. Do you sit in on her doctor visits?

My hope is that you can talk to her doctor privately about a change in living arrangements. I doubt that he would feel she is safe to live on her own in a senior apartment. He may not feel that she is safe to spend hours alone in your home since you are working. (I hope you haven't quit your job) Ask him what the options are of placing her in a nursing home and talk to him about her mental state of mind. Could be be experiencing dementia, etc.?

At the end of the day, it is your home and you are not obligated to have someone living in your home if you don't want them there. The question then becomes, how do you get her out and where does she go. Check into the process for eviction in Wisconsin. I know this sounds harsh, but it educate yourself on the process. Also, if your mom has a medical emergency that requires her to be hospitalized for 72 hours, you can refuse to have her come back to your home by telling them that you are no longer able to care for her as your home is no longer safe for her, you can't be there with her, etc. She could then be transferred to a nursing home and it really wouldn't matter if she didn't want to go, the fact is she would not be able to live anywhere else because she is unable to live safely on her own.

Talk to her doctor and see what he thinks about her mental and physical abilities. You need to understand the potential options.

Stay in touch, Cattails
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Thank you cattails for sharing....you seem very kind and know exactly what I am going through. Things are a little better....so time might be the answer. I guess we'll have to see how things go. One question....if things don't work out with her living with me after all, and she does NOT want to go to a nursing home, which she has been clear about....then the only option would be for her to move by herself in a senior apt.....I am thinking of getting dpoa....if I can't handle her living with me, then if I have dpoa....then can I place her in one, or does she still have the right to say no....which is what I am assuming is the case. Then I guess that is why I was feeling like I would be "stuck" in this situaton forever....my luck, she will live well into her 90"s....even longer! (not that I don't want her to....just that if things go bad, that would be my luck). Anyways....thank you again!
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Monica: I know how upset you are. It is such a huge adjustment to have another person living in your home, especially someone who does not share your feelings about keeping things clean and undamaged. I am also having a little chuckle, by no means at your expense, but it reminds me in some ways of my parents.

When we moved my folks up here to live across the driveway from us into a sweet little new home that we had built for them (my brother was a major contributor to the house build), I bought them all new furniture, washer/dryer, fridge, sleep number bed, pull down murphy bed in second bdr., etc etc. My husband and I busted out butts putting up fencing and laying sod in the large yard so their 2 dogs would have grass and not be muddy when it rained. Everything was picture perfect for them when they arrived.

The next day my mom is throwing her pancakes (with syrup) to the dogs and they are landing on the new carpet. Pretty soon my dogs wanted to go to their place too, because pieces of pancakes or sandwiches flying through the air was a dream come true. My mom did this til the day she died. My dad would walk in the house with gasoline on his boots, spilled from filling up our riding mower which he loved to use, and the whole place would smell for hours. Their nice matching recliners had coffee spills and food stains. I did their house cleaning so I would have to take care of stains and sticky carpet spots. It use to aggravate me no end, but I didn't complain to them about it because that is how they had always lived and it needed to be their space and their home.

I use to cook their dinner every night and deliver it to their home. After my mom passed, we had dad come to eat dinner with us so he wouldn't be alone. In the winter when we would get snow, he would just track it in with him. Didn't wipe his feet and the big wedges in the bottom of his soles would hold all that snow. I would lay down towels all the way to the dining room so the hardwood floors would not be covered with melting snow. Eventually, we ate in the breakfast nook as it was closer to the back door and the shorter route didn't require as many towels. I always had a towel under his chair. No, he never got the hint. One thing he did notice was that he far preferred eating in the breakfast nook. I think he felt the dining room was a bit like putting on airs. Once I realized that, I actually felt embarrassed as it was never my intention present myself in that manner. So for the last four years, we have eaten in the breakfast nook. You could always tell which chair my dad sat in at the breakfast nook. It was the one that had dog drool on the floor next to it. He still would toss them food.

Towards the end, my mom had incontinent issues, but she wore depends and was faithful about taking care of those matters.

My dad had a stroke last July. He now lives under our roof and needs 24/7 care. The only thing he can still do for himself is lift a fork to his mouth. Probably the happiest moment in his day is eating in the breakfast nook and seeing our two dogs staring at him while he eats. It makes him feel loved and he still can manage to through food to them.

None of these things, and I've only mentioned a few, made me laugh at the time. I've heard other people on this thread talk about after your parents are gone you will be happy you did what you did for them. When I'm in the middle of feeling a bit resentful or ticked that I have been doing this parent care thing for close to 7 years, I must say those comments DON'T help me.

For some reason your post did help me and as I started typing, all those irritating things started to make me laugh and I remembered them with a real fondness. I want to thank you for that.

I can only imagine your horror right now and it's not even been a week. And I know what you are thinking. There's no way you are going to do this for 7 years. And that's ok. You don't have to do it if it's intolerable to you.

My suggestion would be that you give it more time. I would also suggest that you check into Medicaid for your mom. She may very well qualify. Call your local Social Services and get the scoop on requirements in your state. It sounds like she would have qualified in Florida since they were planning on putting her in a nursing home, so she would hopefully qualify in Wisconsin. Get the application process going. It takes time so get on it.

Medicaid could cover the cost of her assisted living or a nursing home if falling continues to be a problem. It can also help with in-home care. In Washington, where I live, Medicaid will cover up to 5 hours a day of in home care Monday thru Friday. That might be helpful to your mom's attitude and give you a break knowing that she has company and someone to help with showering and lunch, etc. And in home caregivers can also do light housekeeping to ease the mess your mom makes.

I am hoping that she wears depends due to her incontinence. If not, that needs to change. In the meantime, do the paper work as it will have to be done eventually. As appealing as it sounds, you can't just put your mom on a box car to the next town. You do have a responsibility to see that she is cared for somewhere, so the Medicaid application process is the place to start.

My heart goes out to you. Your mom is right, she is not going to change at age 81. Please, for your sanity and hers, don't following around behind your mom, fussing over every thing she does wrong. You can't change who she is. Hire a housekeeper for her area and let them deal with the particulars. Did I mention depends?

I also want to mention that it took me at least two months to get to a point where I could deal with my dad living in our home. For me, it's the confinement of not being able to leave the house. I do have a caregiver that comes in MWF for 3 hours and I did go on an anti-depressant. It's been 8 months now and I am starting the medicaid application with the idea that we may place my dad in a NH. It is a difficult decision to make and there is no perfect answer. It's strictly a personal decision that no one else should judge.

Monica, you are not a bad daughter. You love your mom and you want to take care of her. You can do that in different ways, but you can't get her to be someone else.

Don't quit your job. Get some help and find out what the options are. Give you mom a hug and let her know you love her. Try to ease the tension. There is nothing that can't be replaced or repaired. I know it's hard but you need to lighten up a bit and take a breath. It won't last forever.

Love and Hugs to you. Please continue to post and let us know how you are doing. Cattails.
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What is her mental status like? Has she been like this all her life? If not, when did it start?

If she couldn't live on her own in Florida, what makes you think that she could in Wisconsin? Waiting for a senior apartment to open up doesn't sound like a viable option in any case. If you are this overwhelmed after 4 days, how could you survive 18 months?

Soooo...

Maybe you are back to considering a nursing home, but at least this time it would be one close to you, so you can keep an eye on things, advocate for her, and brighten her life with visits.
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