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Looking for anyone in a similar situation. Long Story short. My mom is 71 and has never taken care of herself. She relies on my step dad for everything. He is 80, and over the last year has become almost unable to care for her. She is mean and abusive, refusing even letting him check her blood sugar or put the blood pressure cuff on her. She lives by her own rules and does whatever the Hell she wants. She is always right and will not accept any opinions. Fast forward to December, she had a stroke (because she doesn’t take her blood pressure consistently) and spend almost three weeks in hospital/skilled nursing. Like most places, she left there in bad terms because of her attitude and my step dad's weakness and enabling behavior. I told her in December if she didn’t take her medicine and caused this again, my sisters and I would be putting her in assisted living. She said she turned over a new leaf. New mom. New plan. She wasn’t even home 24 hours before she refused medicines, eating right etc. two weeks ago she was back in the hospital. I had had enough. And my step dad said he had too. In the span on one week I had found them a really nice assisted living place. They moved in last Tuesday and are so enraged, they won’t speak to us. My step dad totally threw us under the bus. Even though it was his idea. They are saying they are being held against their will etc.


My question is: when if at all will they adjust? The nurses have already had to call us twice because of their attitude. We have no solutions but for them to go to their house and die (for lack of a better word). We are so scared they will get kicked out, we aren’t even selling or touching their house for three months in case they have to go back.


Anyone out there have any words of encouragement???

I would definitely NOT let them know the house is still available for them to go back to!! You know that AL is where they need to be Back off and hopefully with time, they will adjust. There will be others with much more experience in this that will weigh in shortly.
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Well, my parents called movers and are leaving against all of our wishes. As this time, I have cut off contact with them. I feel like I’ve been slapped in the face. I do not see things going well for them but I could be wrong. I’ll update with hopefully good news in the days to come but for now, I need to take care of me and my mental health.
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anonymous912123 Feb 11, 2020
Yes, let them be and do not do anything for them. They made the decision so let them figure everything out. Take care of you!
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I am so sorry... I know how hard this is.

One thing to add. They called the mover, but that doesn’t mean all is done for.

Make a pact with your sisters now... you guys do NOTHING to facilitate the move home. They may pull it off, or not. But the point is, you guys will not make ONE phone call, pack ONE box, help write ONE check, arrange any mail/post office changes, utilities, etc. NOTHING. You won’t discuss the matter with the ALF or help them give proper notice. You won’t be at either site for the move. You won’t rearrange furniture. You won’t drive them ANYWHERE. Make sure they know NOW you will not to any of these things. Make sure they know NOW that you will not help with anything if they make this choice now. You will still love them and visit. But you will sit and talk and leave... no grocery trips, no cleaning, no laundry, no med assistance, no food prep, no doctor appts.

If they truly believe they are independent, then that shouldn’t be a problem. You can say those exact words to them in a very even and respectful tone. The more overwhelming you all can make the process sound right now, the better.

Do not get emotional.

Tell them all of this right now... hearing it in living color may put the kabosh on the whole plan. But, don’t engage in arguing. Don’t be defensive. Don’t explain why other than to say you have already helped so much and won’t help them to hurt themselves because you all love them too much. Just rinse and repeat. If ALL of you keep saying the same thing, you stand a strong chance of having a positive outcome.

Will they be mad? Sure. Will they use every guilt-inducing line they can think of? Yup. But if you and your clan stand united to the cause of their safety and well-being, you will make them less likely to succeed at this very unreasonable project.

I know that sounds harsh. I don’t recommend this lightly, it will be hard. I have a very difficult, disabled and cognitively-challenged sibling who I am responsible for and have spent the last year and a half getting caregivers arranged and when that didn’t work, getting Medicaid set up and moving him to a group home. It was a nightmare.

He now is constantly telling me he is going to move. I have PoA. He has not yet been declared incapacitated. So I told him he can do what he wants, but that I will NOT be helping him move or providing any other assistance. He is currently in an appropriate situation for his needs. If he chooses to change that, it is on him.

I cared for 2 people with different dementias in our home for almost a decade. That experience helped me develop what I like to call my “dementia skin”. I have learned to be very matter of fact about this stuff to those I was caring for. I learned to handle their anger and to pull myself out of “fixing” everything. With cognitive dysfunction, “fixing” is an illusion. You can’t fix their broken brains. You end up chasing your tail, as you already know.

I know my sibling is likely too compromised to really execute a move and all that it entails. It sounds like you may have the same situation. You may want to keep mentioning - in a rapid fire way - all of the things they need to do.

As I said, they may pull it off, but I would not do one.single.thing to make it easy for them. You put in the time to get them into a good situation. You can, in good conscience, be done.

Print this and the other good advice out for your sibs and them you all turn into broken records. Do keep us posted... I, for one, am interested to see where this goes.
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mally1 Feb 13, 2020
Really, really good, HopeFloats! You obviously know your stuff - from the school of hard knocks.
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((((((hugs))))) You are getting them the care they need. This transition is hard for many and many take it out on their children.

They don't sound like the most mentally healthy people. Have they had neuro-psych evaluations? If not I would ask for full assessments for both of them. They may need meds to help their attitudes?

Hang in there. Usually people do adjust.
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ARW0910 Feb 11, 2020
Yes I had them both put on pretty high doses of antidepressants first thing. ❤️
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Unfortunately, even when it's in their best interest, the same fierce independence that carried them through prevents many elderly from relinquishing one bit of control over their lives.

When they reached their eighties and the cracks began to show, my sister and I begged our parents to make crucial decisions regarding their future care while they still could. We showed up with brochures for specialized equipment, housecleaning, transportation, meals on wheels to allow them to age in their own home. Nope. We suggested they take a look at some lovely options for assisted living. No way. They acted like they thought they would live forever, when it was obvious their independent days were numbered. Sis and I were told in no uncertain terms to mind our own business.

Sis and I stepped back and waited for the inevitable train wreck: a fall, a stroke, a heart attack that would require big changes in Mom and Dad's life. It came, of course. When we got the call for help, both of us dropped our own lives and jobs to coordinate a support system to make them safe and comfortable. It took weeks to put things aright. Even then they fought all the way. Daddy passed, but Mom at 94 remains in memory care, convinced there is nothing wrong with her, that Sis and I hijacked her life, that we are controlling, cruel and heartless, and she could manage perfectly on her own if we would only let her. Sure Mom. Sure.

All too often this is the scenario children of elderly parents face: Wait for the trainwreck.
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ARW0910 Feb 11, 2020
Thank you for sharing your story. It’s so good to know I’m not alone.
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Look at the positive side, you don't have to clean out the house.

As hard as it is, you just have to step back and let them do what they will do.

While you are doing this, decide what you are willing to do when they have a crisis. I decided that I would be calling 911 and that was all I could do, my dad is doing the same thing and he is doing well, but I won't be dropping my life again to deal with the consequences of his life choices. It's liberating, I highly recommend doing it.
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mally1 Feb 13, 2020
Thank you for sharing; I'm not going to get started with my non complaint mom after all the posters who have this stuff happen with stubborn, "independent" parents. Mom, who is much sweeter these days (?), has already let me know she won't be doing anything I suggest, especially leaving her apt, so let the next shift (SW, PA, RN) take over.... I have enough stress and things to remember already! LOL
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Give it time, this is a lot of change for both of them.

Forgive him for throwing you all under the bus, he has to live with her and you don't.

I would enjoy the no contact while it lasts, sounds like mom is a bear to deal with under the best circumstances and those are a thing of the past.

Don't tell them that they have the house to go back to if things don't work out, that it a guarantee that they won't work.

Encourage step-dad to utilize the assistance available to make his life easier and encourage him to participate and get mom to participate in activities, this will help him want to stay when he sees how much less stressful it is for him.

I would send thank you cards to the staff, you want them to do everything possible to encourage them to stay. Thank you's and chocolate or fruit baskets are appreciated and they really do make a difference in how your folks will be helped.

This is one of the hardest things that I ever had to do. I promise it gets easier to bear as time goes by and you learn the ropes of dealing with being the adult in a parental relationship.

Great big warm hug! Welcome to the forum. I hope you find something to help make this journey easier.
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ARW0910 Feb 11, 2020
Thank you. Yes. My husband said the same. He has to live with her!
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So sorry. Two stubborn people. You are just going to let the chips fall where they may. Tell your stepdad you tried and sorry he didn't give it time. He really could have had some independence. ALs are not prisons. He could have come and gone as he wanted. Someone else would have dealt with her meds. Meals cooked, laundry done.

I would make them both aware that you will not physically care for them. If u and siblings don't have POA, you may not want it. Tell them that is there is a crisis that without a POA, you and siblings will not be able to help. Their future will be in the hands of the Courts. A guardian will be appointed and they will be in charge of their care. They will have no say.
If they say, whatever, then so be it. Remember, ur the child they are the parents. It will always be that way in their eyes.
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It takes a few months to acclimate themselves to their new home. Also, I have found that our elders are chronic complainers, it is like a hobby.

The homes that I have experience with asked that we stay away for a couple of weeks and don't constantly call them. This is so they can settle in.

Sounds like your step father has no backbone and cannot stand up to her, he is weak, and their dynamics will not change.

They will get over it, be patient, but do not expect them to stop complaining, one of the biggies is the food, they don't like it. Oh well, they will have to deal with it.

Good Luck, stick to your guns.
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ARW0910 Feb 11, 2020
Ha. Chronic complaining is their hobby for sure!
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It sounds like caring for them is very challenging. I might normally say to seek legal advice about how to intervene legally to gain control over where they live and get care, but, it sounds like a very contentious situation. If I didn't have to get pulled in, I might just let them do as they please. I hope you can avoid getting pulled back into the mire. I suppose that you could report to APS that your dad is a victim of her abuse. I hope that she won't harm him. I suppose worst case scenario is that she disregards her health care, declines, and either dies or returns to the hospital.
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