Mom (94y/o) has been in the assisted living wing for about 2.5 years, it's a fantastic Christian based ALF with a caring staff that is amazing! Mom hates it! She has progressively declined, in particular in the last two months, both physically and mentally. I am her daughter (64 y/o), the only living family left, single and looking for work and financially unstable. She had lived with me 4 yrs. prior to moving into the ALF. It was hell! I am certain she has NPD. My brother (has passed) was the "Golden Child" leaving me to be the scapegoat. I've had counseling that was not productive. She has lied to me, can't trust her, pulled the rug out from under me when I have let my guard down and tried to trust her, threatened to call the police and tell them I was abusing her, etc. Today's discussion with the doctor and staff was she needs to be moved to the memory wing, lesser for memory care (although there is early dementia), but she is having difficulty with daily personal care, dressing, standing, etc. I help her with showers. She's refusing to go to meals, 100% incontinent so there are soiled clothes everywhere. She's experiencing chronic UTIs and severe dehydration. (these issues have contributed to some of the confusion/memory and inability issues, but it's more than that) She feels she's fine, everything is someone else's fault, certain she could actually live in her own home. She is constantly asking me to let her come live with me again. For my own sanity I can't and won't allow her to come back, it breaks my heart as a Christian, that I can't open my home to her, but boundaries to a narcissist are just a power struggle that winning is at any cost. The staff has said they would "take care" of moving her to memory care, I should stay away for about a week and let them handle it. I know they do this all the time, and sometimes taking the "family" element out of the situation helps. She says there are just crazy people in memory care and she's scared to death of that wing. When in fact, it's also for those that need more daily care like her. Somehow me staying away and letting the staff handle it is making me feel like they are "tricking" her into the move and here is this physically fragile 94 y/o that people are forcing her in to going somewhere that she refuses to go and I am abandoning her, when in fact I feel it would be in her best interest. I have many conflicting emotions, some I'm sure for the brutal "narcissistic training" my whole life. Past experience of talking or reasoning with my mother is useless, there are no discussions with a narcissist. I am just expecting holy hell to happen, both during and after. I can't explain my feelings for her as many years of mental and verbal abuse, my Christian beliefs, guilt, obligation...."muddy the waters," but nonetheless she is my mother. Any advice or situations that have worked best without WWII happening, would be appreciated.

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When she says she can live on her own and then begs to be moved to your house really says a lot about her lack of boundaries.

Honor thy father and mother is about respecting them, NOT laying down and being their doormat. God does not expect His children to stand around and be abused because they believe on Him.

I am a Christian with boundaries, they are in the bible, maybe not called boundaries but they are, ie separate yourself from unbelievers, if you go into a city and they won't listen, leave and shake the dust of that place off your shoes, I could go on and on. God gives us these as examples of what behaviors to accept, boundaries. My point is that you matter, not just your mom. She is safe, well cared for and has never been happy unless she is tearing someone to bits.

Let the doctors direct her level of care, you stay out of it. I would also recommend staying away longer than a week and not visit as often or stay long. She needs to learn to live in her new reality. Scripture talks about when we are old others will lead us where we don't want to go. This is a perfect example of that.

It will be hard but you can implement and enforce boundaries with her. Be consistent and take care of you. Write them down and write down the consequences of her crossing them ie I am not going to let her speak ugly, nasty words to me, when she does the 1st time I will say, mom I am not okay with you being ugly and nasty with me, please stop or I will leave, next nasty word I will get up and leave. It will take time, you have 64 years of habits to get through, but it is very doable.

If she needs MC, she needs MC you didn't do this to her and you can't fix it. Step back and let her needs be met in the best possible setting. You can do this, your life matters as well.

Best of wishes getting through this, may God grant you strength and wisdom as you need it.
Helpful Answer (21)

When my wife went into memory care, the staff at the facility basically told me the same thing-bring her and leave her, we will take care of her. stay away for about a week. I took a deep breath and trusted what they said. When I came back in a week, she was a life long resident.

She was definitely housed with a "different" cast of characters, but after time, I got used to the assembly and from time to time would interact with the other residents as best I could. I did notice that some residents received regular and loving visits ,and others had been warehoused.

I had been taking care of my wife at home and was basically ambushed by my kids one Sunday who told me I was no longer capable of taking care of her on my own and she needed a professional environment. They had already scouted out a couple of places.

Let them do it. It will work out
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shb1964 Feb 2019
It's nice that your children loved you and her enough to realize the toll it was taking on you. You raised good kids.
You have every confidence in this facility based on two and a half years' experience of their excellent care, yes?

Your mother is very unhappy. That is extremely sad for her. But whether living with you, living in the excellent ALF, facing this move to memory care - and it sounds as if it would be better described as stepped-up care - she has been very unhappy throughout; and sadly that will continue.

The point is that *nothing* you can do will change the person your mother is. Accept that, and then accept the professional advice you know you can trust.

I am genuinely sorry for your mother's demons. They are horrible for you but they're at least as horrible for her: imagine having them in your head! If you could change her habits and beliefs of course you would, but you have to accept that this is beyond human power and still have compassion for her misery.

You feel the urge to participate in the move and to stand by her. The question you must ask yourself is whether this will help *her*. How will it help her to have someone to scream at and plead with, from whom she is guaranteed to get an emotional reaction? It won't change the reality, that she now needs enhanced care, it will just make the transition that much more traumatic. Don't get in the way any more than you would insist on holding her hand during surgery.
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Isthisrealyreal: "Honor thy father and mother is about respecting them, NOT laying down and being their doormat. God does not expect His children to stand around and be abused because they believe in Him."

This. THIS. And an add-on I've read here is that as long as the parent is safe, fed, and clean, that that is taking care of them (even if it's by someone else and somewhere else). Way too many people take the "Honor thy father and mother" as meaning taking them into your home, being their doormat, impoverishing oneself, etc.

I read an Advent reflections publication last year, and boy did it lay it on on the essay on honoring one's father and mother. There was NOTHING about establishing boundaries. The message was clear. Be a doormat. I'm guessing the author had NO idea what it meant to take care of elders.
Helpful Answer (11)
Or boundaries and how they are required.

Did it mention the parents part such as saving up for their future and their children or that a father shouldn't provoke his children to anger? Just curious because I see a lot of pick and choose and out of context to control people and that sounds like a good example. No offense intended but this person and I obviously believe differently.
I'm fortunate that I haven't been faced with this, as my mother has been very cooperative. However, there are a few things I keep in mind, and I believe they would be helpful to others, too:

1) O.P.E.D.--"Old People Eventually Die". We can be kind to them, do our best to take care of them and make them as comfortable and happy as possible, but eventually nature takes its course and we cannot prevent it or even prolong it very much. We are not guilty because our parents or other loved ones die. This is the natural order of things. We simply have to accept it and know we did what we could (assuming, of course, that we actually did, but that's probably not an issue with anyone on this forum).

2) We cannot "make" people happy if they choose to be unhappy. If dementia creeps it, it is even more difficult to make them happy. We shouldn't sacrifice our lives trying to do the impossible.

3) We don't deserve to be abused by people who willingly (i.e., not demented) choose to abuse us. If dementia arrives, we can make a certain allowance for it, but only up to a point. Then we have to protect our own health, sanity and our relationships with other family members and friends.

4) When we need help, there is no shame in asking for it or changing the circumstances to provide it even if the parent or other elderly person doesn't want to accept it.
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anilyn Feb 2019
Yes! Good answer
Amen to what is written by "Isthisreal"!!
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Seems to me that you have done everything possible for her. This is how miserable it feels to let go when the time is right.
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This is a very difficult situation, but you are neither alone, nor are you the only person going through this sort of thing at any given time.
My advice is to trust the facility. They have done a good job with your mother so far. I agree with them, let them take care of the move. That is their job. They do this all the time. They do not bear any of the emotional burdens. This is what they are getting paid to do. Take their advice, and step aside for the period of time they suggest, to allow your mother to be moved to the appropriate level of care. That would be the best thing you can do for her, and them for that matter. Let them do their job freely.
It is hard, I know. But you will learn much in the stepping aside, and so too your mom.
Please know, that just because you are her daughter, and just because you are Christian, does not mean that your home is the best placement. The best care you can provide just may be the facility she is in right now. It is what God has provided, and it is working. Praise Him for His Goodness, and trust.
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Since you are understandably unable to bring your mom back home, I would let the professionals make the decisions and follow their advice. Not easy, but will be better for everyone in the long run, I think.

When you do go back after the big move, I would not try to explain or rationalize the move. Keep the answer simple - the doctor said it's best for you. You needed too much care to stay in your old room, etc. I understand you don't like it here, but how can we make it better?

Good luck!
Helpful Answer (7)

Goodness, it is incredibilbly sad to keep hearing the same story over and over again. I’m a survivor of Huntington’s. I grew up going to care facilities. I work in a facility for mentally ill folks now. My mom and sis have Huntington’s. I run from one end of town to the other doing all I can do. Mental illness is hard to deal. It’s got be done with love. Keep the care facilities on their toes, but appreciate them for what they do. It ain’t easy.
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shb1964 Feb 2019
These stories are breaking my heart. Huntington's is beyond cruel - as is Alz, dementia in all its forms, etc. You are a survivor. You are inspirational. Best of luck to you.
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