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My 85 yr. old mom has never been very independent but rather depends on two of us brothers. Lost my wife 10/2016, and retired 1/2017. I bought a house one block from where I live, all on one level, spent 8 months remodeling with the intent to downsize and move there once my house is ready for the market. In the meantime mom got to where she could not traverse the stairs in her house or keep it going so with some remorse I moved her into the new house, either that or assisted living which she vehemently opposed & refers to as a nursing home.


Younger sister, after sponging off mom for years moved away 2yrs. ago so is of no help. I've offered to allow her to come live with mom as she struggles financially as well, she is younger and I feel she kind of owes it to mom but, she won't. I have an older brother nearby still working so cannot help much. So its pretty much me. Before I retired she knew I had work obligations. Now, knowing I'm close by I'm on speed dial sometimes 2-3 daily. Can't get the T.V. to work, computer issues, on and on repeatedly. If not that she finds things wrong with the house always needing address. It's like a new house for crying out loud. No time to work on my overwhelming issues to deal with without interruption. Most is for attention.


Called me last Sunday evening at 11:30pm saying the T.V. stopped working. I had been in bed asleep. She calls at the drop of a hat. We eat dinner together almost every evening. Sometimes I'm by there 1-2 times during the day prior to, ugh. I hate to be mean but have repeatedly asked her to use some judgement. Her mental faculties seem fine, more like being self-centered and it never changes.


I've been looking out after her for 35 yrs so burned out when the real work is just starting. She is still mobile with a walker & still drives although not very well. Part of the problem is she has never had any friends, lives her life vicariously through her children. What she is today is the summation of how she's lived over the last 40 yrs since divorcing my stepfather- wants to be independent but could never without our support.


Came to my house unannounced and ease dropped on a conversation I was having with my brother with my saying that if somehow she cannot find a way to be satisfied and content in the new house then she just may be looking at going into assisted living whereby she can get all the attention she wants. She butted in and said I'm not going into an nursing home! I repeated my stance. Six months later- still exactly the same. I'm soon to be 62, I've worked hard my entire life and want some peace and enjoyment in retirement. I have my own declining physical issues related to age to deal with.


I've tried to set up boundaries but it is hard when they go ignored. Me and older brother are wondering if she will outlive us. Longevity runs in the family and she could live to be 100. I will be in my late 70's by then if I'm lucky enough to still be alive as I've had a hard life working- her, not so much. I was a caregiver to my wife who had cancer for 3 years prior to her passing and now caregiver to my mother. I believe in looking out for our elderly but besides a vacation week here and there I never get much of a break & she consumes my thoughts. I myself would spend a little time exploring me moving on with my life and maybe finding a new mate- my plans to retire and spend my time with my wife did not work out.


When is it time to have a family meeting and tell her it's time to go to assisted living? There is an excellent place at the end of our street so close-by. Sometimes I feel like my personal life is over. Ugh. I feel like I'm burned out and just getting started with no relief on the horizon. I know this probably sounds familiar & repetative but thanks for allowing me a venue to sound off. Best wishes to all of you dealing with similar circumstances.

Timing judgment (along with financial) is one early cognitive declines with aging. I worked from home just down the street from my parents for a number of years. Following cataract surgery, my Mom's short term memory problems became much worse and began to impact daily living. About the same time, my mother started calling or dropping in to visit during my working hours for little things that could have easily waited until lunchtime or after work. Later that year Mom was diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). Today if my mother (who now lives with me) wakes up early in the morning, she calls for me instead of turning on the TV or reading a book for a few minutes like she did a year ago. It's possible your mother is not justing wanting attention but is now lacking the necessary judgment to delay calling you until a more appropriate time.

Find a couple of nice ALs in your area and take your mother on the tours, eat lunch or dinner (or both) there and then ask her which one she prefers. Remind her if she chooses the one at the end of the street you could share a meal with her most days. I would not consider providing her with the option to remain in the house. I suggest telling Mom about your own health concerns and that you are concerned about who would take care of her if you needed surgery and recovery time. Make her move to AL something you need for peace of mind more than she requires it. She may very well find a few friends there.

God bless you and Good Luck! I hope you find activities and maybe a new partner to enjoy in your retirement.
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hotrodgreg Mar 16, 2019
Well said, ty. Yes I agree with your assessment of your situation in the calling or dropping by, sounds very familiar. Best of luck.
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There comes a time when we don't get to decided. She has reached that time.

As TNtechie said find 2 good AL facilities and tell her pick, don't buy into the drama that will ensue. She has manipulated you for your entire life and she knows how to work you, be prepared, get a friend to get in your face with everything you have ever been handed from her and flatten those guilt, obligation and fear buttons she will be stomping all over.

She needs more help and whether she acknowledges that or not is beside the point. She is not entitled to take over your life so she doesn't have to change anything. She needs someone monitoring her 24/7 her actions show that.

Buck up because she will make this as hard as possible.
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hotrodgreg Mar 16, 2019
Well said, exactly, confirms what I think.
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So sorry you’re going through this...there are so many on this forum who have looked forward to a pleasant retirement, to now feeling consumed by their elderly parent...almost like raising another child in our 60s! Ugh. You didn’t mention how your Mom does with her normal activites of daily living...she still drives...does she get her own meals? Get around her (your) house OK? Does she keep it and herself clean? Is she pretty healthy or needs medication and remembers to take them? If yes, she sounds pretty high functioning...she would be a pretty easy resident of an assisted living facility. She may be even a good candidate for an Independent Living apartment in a senior building. But the thing to look for is what situation would minimize her dependency on you to fix every little thing in her life. It’s for that reason that AL might be better...theres more staff there to deal with her needs/issues so you could step back. Tell her you need to put your retirement plan into action now, you want to start traveling or whatever and want to make sure she’s well taken care of when your not around. The current house has to be sold and you need to move into small one and you will support her and not abandon her...she’ll be just down the street. Impress that this place is far from being a nursing home...it’s really just a nice apartment. Make an appointment and take her there for lunch. And I also would suggest backing off the current visits a little to get her used to time without you.
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NeedHelpWithMom Mar 14, 2019
rocket,

It's actually worse than raising a child. On the flip side though, look at the grandparents who raise their grandchildren. I don't have grandchildren. I would enjoy them if I did but I certainly wouldn't want them full time.

Kids grow up and become more and more independent. Parents become more dependent. Gosh, I hope I don't live that long. I don't want to be a burden to my kids or anyone else. But as the OP has said, longevity in my family too. My cousin just turned 97! She is well enough for independent living. She is an exception, though. She drives, shops for herself, cooks, cleans, bathes herself. dresses herself, no walker, no cane, etc. If I could live like that, fine, but if I end up like my mom, 93 with Parkinson's I will be ready to go to a place with assisted suicide! Never thought I would feel that way but I do now or just peacefully die in my sleep.
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Every case is different, but, one thing that I have read consistently, since I've been a caregiver and on boards like this one, is that when you ask that question, if's past time to start exploring. I think it's because before you actually get that far, you have been dealing with a lot of stuff, working like crazy, straining your patience and really doing some soul searching for options. So, I hope you have luck finding the right options, like AL. I'd look into the details, costs, amenities, etc. to see what is available and what she can afford. You might consult with an Elder Law attorney as well. (If she still refuses to go, I'd find out what that means legally) You still have so much life left ahead to enjoy. And your mom too. There are a lot of opportunities for social interaction in AL. There is someone right there to help her with tv, radio, baths, laundry, medication, meals, entertainment, etc. It can be done. It's not without challenges, but, it can be done.
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I applaud you for all that you have done for your mother. It is sometimes quite rare to find a man taking care of his mother. Okay, having said that and getting it out of the way. You deserve to live your LIFE! She lived hers however way she did, it is your time to enjoy yours. I completely understand where you are coming from. My 86 year dad who was never there for my sister and I but was 100% there for our half sister who we do not have a relationship with expects to get what he wants all the time. I will offer him something and he will say do you have any fruit cocktail...I answer if I had fruit cocktail I would have offered it to you. He wants to eat well but he doesn't want to buy anything. He will eat me out of house if I allowed it, but I am getting selfish now. He loves Hagen Daz Rum Raisin ice cream so does everyone in the family. I don't usually but it cause it is too expensive but saw it at Walmart coming to his home this past Friday so I bought two pints. I gave him some last night. Today he says, "oh the ice cream hit the spot it is like you were reading my mind." Really this his way of telling me he wants more but I am not giving him anymore...he won't buy the stuff but he wants to eat ours.

You need to just tell mom she has to go period. I moved my dad into his own home, because enough was enough, he lived in my home for a year and pretty much ruined my relationship with my spouse. He even wanted me to divorce my spouse to take care of him. I have no children so I know that when I get old there won't be damn soul to care for me period. Mom needs to go...why the heck are they so selfish. None my parents took care of their parents. My cousins are saying "oh he is in the house by himself what if?" Yeah jerks what if? None of them took care of their parents and they all inherited the money my father gave their father so now my sister and I have NOTHING to get and this man who was never there for me expects me to care for him for free. I am sorry, but the love I once felt for him is gone...I do what I do because he is a human being but not because he deserves to be treated good!
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As others have already said, when you start asking these type of questions, it's time to make a change. So many of our parents feel they are still OK to be in their own home when we know they are not. I saw your answer to the question about cooking and you mentioned it was getting more difficult for your Mom. That's a sign of things to come and it doesn't get better. Now is the time to have a sit down with her (and your siblings if possible) and give her the options. We did this with my Mom, laying out various plans - all included 24/7 care - and the cost associated with each (my Mom is frugal so this was an area we thought she would grasp). Unfortunately, for us, she didn't remember even having this meeting and that was also a huge red flag. I realized we probably had waited too long for her to be a part of the solution. I wouldn't wish that on anyone - so do what you need to now while your Mom could still succeed in a new living arrangement. Best of luck to you and hopefully it helps some to know you are not alone!
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It's hard. It does become overwhelming. One thing people have told me, others will have to give their opinion on this because it's only what I have heard. They say assisted living ends up being cheaper than paying for home care. You say you are having dinner together daily now. Eating out or at home? Eating out is expensive on a daily basis. Are you taking your mom to dinner every evening?

Assisted living will provide her meals. She won't be eating alone unless she chooses to eat in her room.

I have been dragging me feet on this for awhile now. I started the process of looking. I actually found three AL facilities that I like. All more money than she will have. So, even with aid and assistance from veterans we will have to pay extra.

I have to get certain things in order. Just got the living will papers from her doctor so I need to fill that out, still trying to decide if I want an elder attorney to handle veterans aid and assistance to help with finances.

Scared of mom outliving the facility and money will run out. But meanwhile, I feel so stuck. I'm exhausted! I have been at this for a LONG time, since 2005 when mom lost her home in hurricane Katrina.

I wish you well. If you don't have the considerations that I have than don't drag your feet like me. The longer parents become more and more dependent on you the harder it will be to move her. I really feel like my mom and I have developed an unhealthy codependency. I need therapy! hahahaha and a good kick in the rear end!

There are wonderful people on this site who have encouraged me, also shared a wealth of knowledge and it's helpful and comforting.
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hotrodgreg Mar 16, 2019
Thank-you. We eat out 1-2 per week, she still cooks as well I although it is becoming a struggle for her to do so.
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Please take the ideas here to heart and move forward with your lives...hers in AL and yours wherever you wish. At 62 you are young enough to enjoy a retirement well deserved. You have been a dutiful husband and son. Whatever anger your mom exhibits about moving to an AL community will subside in time. Assuming you have POA, do what is best for her care and safety and for your mental and physical well being. Folks on this forum often suggest setting boundaries, and reading that advice to others has helped me tremendously.

Keep us posted on what's going on and know that the wonderful folks on this forum have felt like the wind beneath my wings many, many times.
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It is PAST time for this discussion.
Put your foot down now.
Take her for a visit to the AL place, which is what I did with my own father. I told him we were going for a visit "for future reference" in case he needed it. Then I talked up what a great place it was, how they had a coffee station 24/7 so he could have his coffee whenever he liked, etc. He finally warmed up to the idea - and I moved him.
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You need to set boundaries. Do not answer the phone at 11:30 at night. Get her a life alert that she can wear and press if she has any true emergencies.

She is unlikely to agree to Assisted Living, so you need to work with that in mind. Try taking her on the tours, but it sounds like both of you are used to a certain way of life. You would like her to be happy and live well, but without depending on you and calling you 3xs a day. She is unhappy and dependent on you and so she calls and makes up reasons why she can't be happy where she is and why she needs you to come over. One or both of you needs to break that cycle and I would bet it will not be her.

Think about going and talking with a professional counselor. They will be able to help you to see that your mother will not be happy no matter what you do and that it is not your job to make her happy. It is literally not within your power. The only person you can make happy is yourself.
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