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I’m 68 and retired living by myself and considering the possibility of moving my 92 yr old mother into my home vs putting her into an AL facility. What are some pros and cons? She is needing help with bathing, dressing, and walking. Just recently she is forgetting some things and I’m concerned for her health and well being. I have looked at some AL facilities close to me and they average $5500 a month; most amenities she would not be able to participate in and I think it may be wise first to try to have her live with me. What do you advise?

The pro of having her live with you is you'd be in charge of all of her care, so you'd know how every single thing was being done. Her showers, her Depend changes (now or in the future), her laundry (clothing & bed linens), the preparation of all of her meals & snacks, all the entertainment, activities, movies, games, scenic drives she'd be taken on, all the meds she's taking and how they're doled out and if they're on time, the coordination of ordering them, picking them up, reordering them, getting them called into the pharmacy (including the med changes), coordinating her doctor's appointments & driving her back & forth to them, physical therapy (if applicable). You'd be in charge of all of those details and seeing to it that they were carried out to your satisfaction. You may also enjoy having your mom around for company, I don't know.

The cons are that you would be in charge of all of those details mentioned above and have little time for your own life. And that your privacy would vanish the day she moved in.

The pros of placing a loved one in Assisted Living is that they have autonomy; the right to do as they see fit, eat when and what they want; come & go as they please w/o having to answer to a son or daughter, the ability to socialize and mingle with peers their own age & have entertainment geared toward their their musical interests, etc. Card games with others, book clubs, happy hours on Fridays, outings on the mini bus every week, social events, etc. The ability to mingle and socialize isn't available in a home environment and I truly believe that is what's kept my mother alive at almost 95 years old with more health issues than I can mention in one sitting.

The cons of Assisted Living is the costs, the fact that her care would not be perfect and she'd have to wait more than 1 minute for her call light to be answered, she'd undoubtedly complain about The Food (it's the law in AL; they all complain about it as they gain weight!), and that some of her neighbors are too noisy or nosey or whatever.

That about wraps it up. Good luck deciding what works best for you & your mom!
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Jlaroche Oct 11, 2021
Thanks for enlightening me on the pros and cons. I like being in control and mom likes her independence and a social life. I've got a hard decision to make.
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Are you willing to give up your entire life to focus completely on her? It may not be like that at first but that is where it will end. You will not be able to work or visit friends. No more vacations. No simple pleasures like getting or nails done, going shopping, out to lunch, hobbies. You won't be able to leave home long enough for any of that. Are you strong enough to lift her out of the tub or when she falls? What happens if you get sick or need surgery, who will step in? Can you financially afford to take this on? Are you prepared to change diapers? Are you prepared to have your home smell like urine all the time? Are you prepared to get up two or three times every night because she fell out of bed or needed to use the bathroom, only to be too late so another hour of cleaning her and the floor? This isn't a job for only one person.
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I would advise you to put her into a care facility. You state here that she's at the point where she wouldn't even be able to participate in the amenities of an assisted living facility. Think about that. The AL facility will likely not keep her long and you'll be having to look for a nursing home or memory care facility.
At 68 years of age, I would strongly recommend you not take this on. Do not move your 92 year old mother into your home unless you are willing to also have full-time home caregivers that can transition into 24-hour round the clock care staff because you will need them to.
Are you willing to have your house turned into a nursing home? Ikdrymom mentions in the comments a home that stinks like urine (and also sh*t), changing diapers, and being available 24 hours a day. One person cannot do it. Also, what happens if you get sick or need care yourself? What then?
Moving a 92 year old into your home is a bad idea. Please don't do it.
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Jlaroche,

First, I think it is wonderful that you are willing to have her live with you and you are concerned about her welfare. God bless you for that.

My mother lived with me and my kids in our current home for 11 years. She was fairly independent at first, but 5 years in health challenges and surgeries gradually diminished her abilities and wellness dramatically.

In retrospect, once it became clear she needed help with meals, fall prevention, bathing, etc. I wish I had looked into Assisted Living or a Nursing Facility as a long term option.

Why do you ask?

1. The Conversation Won't Get Any Easier
No one wants to leave "home" or be away from familiar surroundings and loved ones. The sooner you get your mother somewhere she can receive extra attention, the easier it will be on everyone. If you decide later that it isn't working out, you can always bring her home after the fact. And you can do so with a plan and home health, etc. in place because you'll know her needs beforehand.

2. Elder Care is 24/7
My mom used to say "it only takes a few minutes" to heat up leftovers, crush and mix her meds, etc., etc. In one sense she was right, but there's so much more to it than that. She got to the point she couldn't administer her meds herself (she had a PEG tube) so I was on a 6HR shift for that. Then there was the meals three times a day. Then time for emptying her trash (which had to be done twice a day due to her health issues), checking/changing her dressing, helping her change clothes, etc. Having all those tasks throughout the day really cuts into your day! You never really are at rest for more than a couple of hours.

3. Your mom *might* stay healthier in a facility.
Each situation is different, but I noticed with my mother when she was in a good facility with professional, trained people on a schedule making sure she actually took her medicine on time, had meals in her room regularly, had a bath, etc. she tended to look better and seemed to feel better also. She wasn't in pain from skipping her medicine, she wasn't worn out from trying to do things herself that she wasn't able to do, and she wasn't arguing with me about myriad matters as I tried to handle things for her. :-)

4. You may be better company for her if she's in a facility.
Again, each situation is different, but I had far more energy when I was not caring for my mother in the home by myself. Part of it was not having all those tasks to complete, but another part was having "space" to be myself and live my life.

You say you're retired. That means you can visit your mom frequently and then relax in your own home knowing she is safe.


5. In Home Care/Help May Not Solve Your Problem
I don't know if your mother has or is eligible for Medicaid or not. They pay for ongoing caregiving. Medicare will pay for a nurse and PT if there is a "qualifying event" like significant change in health, discharge from a facility, etc.

That being said, to get the true relief/assistance you need with her, you will need someone coming in 4 hours a day for several days. Even if that is cheaper than the AL facility, you have to coordinate schedules, let someone in your home, and you're still on the hook for the majority of the time.

6. Burnout is Real (and Dangerous).
Over time my mom became less and less able to do things and I went from being laser focused super-caregiver to barely getting by with the necessities and feeling drained all the time. I lost weight and energy and unknowingly began self-soothing with food and treats. I also developed high blood pressure and at one point leg pains and chest pains that sent me to the ER a few times.

In Conclusion...

If you become burned out, you won't give good care to your mother and you won't maintain your current health very long.

If the AL facility is affordable w/ the money your mother has coming in, I say go for it. It is good and right to help her find the best option for everyone involved. It has to work for you too, not j
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chiyochan Oct 14, 2021
Very well-written and helpful post. I brought my mom to live with us. She has been with us for the past 9 months, and all you mentioned I have experienced.

The trial period surfaced the impacts to various aspects of my life and made it easier to decide whether it is a feasible long term arrangement (it is not).
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Tough one indeed..My brother let mom in his home and regretted it..No privacy and yes they can be demanding, critical and we saw bad behavior increase. It was very childlike behavior. Then moving her out out caused anger by her..”my kids are dead”. My mom is a loving Christian mother who became difficult to deal with. The money spent on Assisted has been a relief to us..Mom adjusted but it took quite awhile.. We visit 3x weekly..take her out and she has friends her own age. Think twice before you do this! I vote…..RUN SAVE YOURSELF!”
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I am 60 years old and my health is not that great but my mother comes first. I quit my job so that I could care for my mother after the passing of my father 9 years ago. The sad news is that I have 4 other brothers and sister and only one tries to help me with mom. I could sometimes just cry and stop the drama, but I think of my mother. Nursing homes/assisted living is not an option for my mother. Thank God that I have a very dependent and understanding spouse that is very helpful with my mom. Getting support from siblings is awful, so stop trying. I can only speak from my experience. My mother has dementia and needs help with almost everything. But I pray to God every morning and continue my duties as joyful as I can. No one can take care of your loved one like you but it's very hard. Just remember that God is not going to put more on you than you can bear.
Thanks for asking!
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I wanted to answer your question with asking yourself, "Am I insane?" but I hated to be flip. Ask yourself if you are being realistic about what 24/7 care of your mother would require of you. Her care needs will increase just as your own energy and physical abilities may decrease. Your life will become totally about taking care of your mother. You will probably need to hire additional help at home as time goes on.

You might look into home care where she lives now, but it would still be expensive. As much as you love her and are concerned about her care, moving her into your home would totally take over your life and time, demand great physical and mental energy, and fray your last nerve. It is not something to be taken on lightly.
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Hi there! I can only give you a glimpse of the experience I’ve had. My mother is also 92. She has dementia with good days and bad days. She can remember memories from 60 years ago but not remember she already had breakfast. Putting her in AL was never really an option. I have two brothers who give me ZERO help. They can’t handle it. I’ve been taking care of my Mom to a fuller capacity the last 2 years. Bathing, feeding, clothing. There have been some adjustments I’ve had to make like putting up a baby gate at night so she doesn’t go wondering. There’s a strap lock on the fridge because she was drinking coffee creamer thinking it was coffee! I also removed the knobs from my stove. I bought a shower chair and a removable shower head to make things easier for bathing. There are days that I want to scream and run. Those days are far between. There are families who are not really close with their parents. I LOVE my Mother. She also helped raise multiple generations in her lifetime. She deserves for us to take care of her now. I respect my Mom immensely. The days that I don’t want to scream, I am so grateful to spend her last days with her. No one is going to treat her the way I do. I look at my caretaking as a privilege. To care for your parent is a gift. Mindset is EVERYTHING. Not always easy but very rewarding. And I know that she is grateful to be with me. I would say ask for help when you need it. You need to take time for yourself whether it’s daily or weekly. Hire someone to watch her while you take a day to go shopping, or to have a nice lunch. Those breaks have gotten me through so much! And I come back feeling refreshed and with a positive attitude. This forum is a blessing as well! So much support and caregivers with so much experience! I am at peace knowing that once it gets to a place that I can no longer provide the best care for her, I will put her in AL. In the meantime, I feel privileged to take care of the woman who took such good care of me. I’ve read so many horror stories about AL that it frightens me to think of her there.
Good Luck! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask! :)
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Isthisrealyreal Oct 14, 2021
You are very blessed to have a mom that was there for you and is appreciative now.

I honestly can not fathom how that would be.

Your mom is blessed to have you.
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I spent 10 yrs of my retirement time caring for my mother. Starting at age 59 and now I’m 70 yrs old. Mom passed in August of this year. My down time was totally limited and I was never able to get away - not once. As the years passed, I had to add more and more responsibility to the agenda because mom was declining. The final year she was in hospice, but they were not there 24/7. They depended on me as much as I depended on them. I would never advise one to take their parent in no matter how great the relationship. I was my mother’s indentured servant in ALL aspects and this was hard to take. Now that I am free, I’m not really free. I still live in a prison of sorts as the 10 yrs of caregiving was so intense for me. I gave up so much. It gets better everyday, but the adjustment is slow. Mom’s in a better place now as she suffered in the end and she is with everyone she missed so much. She was 95 yrs old when she passed. If I had to do it over, I would have insisted she go into a place where she could age within - according to her care needs.
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ArtistDaughter Oct 14, 2021
I understand what you say, "I am free, I'm not really free". My mom is still alive and I am only her advocate now, not her caregiver for the last 4 years. But my life for 10 years has been mostly about her, living with her, then taking her to assisted living, memory care, nursing care, and now to a Hospice home. I've known for a long time that I will be lost when she is gone, and not know any longer who I am. I'll have to make myself all over. I wish you the best in your adjustment.
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I’d suggest that you start with getting a needs assessment done on mom. This way you can have a realistic determination as to what mom can really do or more importantly cannot do, These tend to be done by a RN & SW duo. AL & NH should have names of whomever they use if there needs to be an outside assessment done.

Here’s the thing at 92 she has outlived all standards & charts for lifespan and ADLs. It may be that she actually would be just fine living with you and you could still still have an independent life. But maybe really she needs 24/7 oversight which means she needs a facility unless she had the $ to pay for caregivers to come in several hours per week. You cannot in any way shape or form be 24/7.

id be concerned abt her going into AL. She might be better fit at a NH. Perhaps a lively NH but nevertheless a NH. You do NOT want to move her into AL and then like 3 mos later get a “we just love your mom but she needs a higher level of care” letter AND have to move her again. Plus using her $ to private pay a few or even a couple of mos at a NH puts her at an advantage to staying in that bed but becoming a LTC Medicaid resident.

I’d get the assessment done and then you shop around to find 1 or 2 NH that are both private pay and Medicaid. Perhaps go at lunch and also when an activity is being done to see if it’s a good match for moms capabilities. Try not to think about the costs…. I say this because if they already are nonagenarian the likelihood is they are going to outlive their $ and end up applying for LTC Medicaid.

what 2 ask yourself….. if there was a fire at your home can you physically go from 1 end of your home to the other, pick up your mom (or have mom walk out)and have her & you outside on the street or middle of the yard within 5 minutes?
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Jlaroche Oct 11, 2021
Thank you ! Your advice makes a lot of sense…a reality check for sure. I never considered a NH but the more I learn from this forum the more I need to consider this option. The less I need to move her the better it will be for her and me. I’ll get the assessment and do more research. I never thought of it as a 24/7 job…I didn’t see the whole picture.
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