Elderly Parent Moving In - Changes in Lifestyle

by Lynne
(Ashevill, NC, USA)

My husband and I have just completed moving an elderly parent (my Mother) into our home permanently. It has been a difficult adjustment for all of us. She is no longer at 86 years capable of independently taking her medicines, driving, maintaining her home or eating proper meals. We moved from our large home three years ago and downsized thinking that we would be living alone. Now we have had to adjust our home to accommodate her rollator, potty chair, shower aids, among other things. I just spent two weeks closing out her home of 33 years. Half of the household that she insisted on keeping is now in expensive monthly storage because all involved feel that she cannot handle being told that she will never again live by herself. She thinks she is with us temporarily until her house is sold and her health improves. I love her and realize this is the only option for her financially other than a medicaid nursing home at this point, however, I can't from time to time feel resentment in the fact that my life is not my own anymore. By the time I get her up in the morning, make her meals, and provide things for her to do during the day I have trouble fitting into my day the things I have to do that she can't help with. I guess the comparison is trying to keep a home, and all activities that requires, when you have a very young child who requires constant care. A trip to the grocery store turns into a stroll while she gets her exercise slowly walking with the walker usually taking three times longer than it would have been if I was alone. Mealtime preparation has become a debate and compromise as her generations diet is not the same as ours. I am an only child so there is no one to help with this responsibility. The challenges are many.

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MIL Dilemna
by: Cali Girl

I wouldn't do it either. I am considering moving out and not marrying my fiance because he has hinted to the fact that he'd like his mother to move in. We worked hard to purchase our home and barely moved in 5 months ago.

It now has space so his brother, who has been keeping her in his home the past year, has started to "expect" we step up. We previously lived in a condo and I knew that moving in here would only be a matter of time before we'd start being "expected" to do more.

I have two jobs, we have a business and I have a teenage son. I cannot take on the responsibility of also taking care of an elderly person and am already maxed out with daily responsibilities. We also are not yet married and haven't even begun to enjoy life yet as an engaged/newly married couple.

I have some serious considerations to think over now and am seriously contemplating whether or not this is the life I'd like in my late 30's.

We all know the brunt of the responsibility is bared on the women of the household, not the man. Laundry, dinner, doing the dishes, etc.

We also know how challenging this can be and how relationships can suffer over this kind of life adjustment, especially a newlywed couple who are barely starting out. I think possibly a housewife may be a better option for a man who is just going to expect you to add taking care of his mother as part of the package. It just isn't me.

Don’t do it!
by: Anonymous

My mom and I have always gotten along. My dad passed about 12 years ago and she stayed in her house by herself u TIL 4 years ago. She moved in with us when she was 90. She didn’t want to be alone anymore. I have to say I was not 100 percent on board.

I just didnt think it was a good idea. I gave her so much of myself when she was still in her house. I would go over everyday for lunch, we would go shopping or just hang out together and then have dinner together and I would go home. So, I have plenty of alone time at night. Now she moved in and all she wants is ME!

She gets annoyed when I go out with friends. She knows everything I do all day. When the phone rings or I get a message on my iPad she wants to know who it is and what did they want .... I have to announce everything I am about to do or else she will constantly ask me" where are you going, what are you doing, where are you? Holy shit what have I done!

I was not really 100% on board with her moving in but my husband was. I wish I had stuck to my guns. Maybe tried an alternative living arrangement .
Now my husband is retired and we thought we were going to be foot loose and fancy free at this stage of our lives and we can’t go away, we can’t be spontaneous.

I feel like I am her mother at times and when I get a bit annoyed and she knows it she reminds me that she took care of me growing up and now it is my turn to take care of her. My husband is getting a bit tired of us not being able to be free.

He worked 44 years to get to this point in our lives to do what WE want and know I feel like I have a ball and change around my ankle at all time. I am an only child and have no other family. I love my mom but hate the situation.

I hate every second of every minute of every hour of every day. I would NEVER do this to my son, ever! I just feel so trapped, I hate getting up in the morning.

My day is all about making meals, cleaning up after meals, cleaning, laundry, doctors appt. hair appt. this list is endless. I can see myself and my husband getting older and I swear she is in better shape now then she was when she moved in.

She has NO stress and is being completely taken care of. It is all very intrusive and I am sorry I did t stand up for myself. I miss my house, now it looks like a nursing home, Walker, stair chair, special recliner, special toilet seat etc...

If you are thinking about doing this I must say DONT DO IT! It will rob you of your independence and put a strain on your relationships. I thought I told her that when she moved in I could not hold her hand, that I had a life. She agreed but now that she is here she seems to want me ALL THE Time!

She is 94 now and my biggest fear is she is going to outlive my husband. Then I will be left with the guilt of my poor husband who worked so hard for 44 years and I am afraid he will not enjoy the fruits of his labor!

My mom is in perfect shape, she does walk with a walker but that is about it, I would love to go to a therapist, just to have someone to vent to, but she would not understand why I would need to go.

If I did go she would want to know what we talked about. I can never just get in my car and go to the mall. She would want to go with me and going to the mall or any where with her is super hard.

I have the walker to put in my car, take out of my car, she walks extremely slow and we have to find elevators to get around the mall. I could go a lot quicker by myself but no, she has to go every where with me.

She doesn’t understand vacations as her and my dad never went on vacations, she doesn’t understand alone time.

She always wants to know what my husband and I are talking about and when I have friends stop over she wants to be part of our conversations and will stay right with us, so I can’t even have time with my friends when they stop over.
Sucks, sucks, sucks!!! And there is nothing I can do to turn this around

Moving in with my 80 yr old Mom
by: Vytjie

The blogs are scaring the daylights out of me. I am in a relationship with a wonderful man who lives 2.5 hours away. I am 55 still working a demanding job, and is an only child. Dad died in Sep. I just took Mom on a 2 day trip to see how it would be. She is less mobile than I expected and also needs more help I expected. The trip was great though and we had a lot of fun.

I am planning to move in with her by Sep...my partner who understands my need for alone time will be installing lights, and when your light is on, the other person may not knock unless it is an emergency. Mom also likes alone time and thank God we have very similar lifestyles.

I plan to change the house into 2 flats so that I'm there but with privacy. I felt guilty, when I got back today, I was ridiculously thankful to be on my own in my own house.

Any advice welcome...

My Mom and I Switched Roles
by: Anonymous

My elderly mother has just come to live with my husband and me. Why? Because she fell and was stuck in her bathroom for two days. The emergency alert button DID NOT WORK. She is blind, has renal failure and diabetes. For three months have gone to all the doctors with her, and what I learned was even more scary than the fall. She hates doctors and for years they have told her to take better care of her health. She didn't.

Now I am trying to make sure she stays on track with her diet. She actually sat in front of her plate and refused to eat her veggies. What ready, has anyone try to manage a renal diet along side a diabetic diet. There's nothing much left.

She managed to get to her feet without my help and with the smallest baby steps you can imagine, and her walker went to her room. Can I put her in a time out? I love her and will continue to prepare healthy meals but. O.M.G.

She will not walk, or go outside unless it is to the doctor, no, no she is not going to do anything he/she suggest to improve her health.

I took 2 weeks off of work to clear her house and found a form outlining what was wrong with her kidney's and a follow up appointment. She had written on it " NO Dr. NO". I cried. The hardest part of this situation is trying to force my mom to address her health issues before....... So every other day there is a small battle of wells. She still thinks when she is better I'll late her move back into her house 750 miles away, by herself. Not going to happen.

I need advice and some sleep, please help

My mother
by: Anonymous

I made the mistake of saying about 10 years ago that if my mother ever found living alone and managing her big house too much there would be a home for her. She moved in right away.

All ground rules went out the window from the start.

She is now 85 (I am 49) keeps well (apart from when my brother has plans to take her for a very rare weekend when she becomes ill so she doesn't ever go) and has taken over my home to the point that I now stay in my bedroom the majority of the time I'm home.

I have a 12 year old daughter who I know I am failing. She spends all her time in her room too. We can't go anywhere without my mother coming along too.

I used to go to South Africa for holidays but when she stared coming I stopped. I haven't been on holiday for 4 years. She tells people that we hope to go on holiday soon. Never again with her so I don't go anywhere.

I did not live with my mother properly until she moved in. I went to boarding school at 7 and never lived at home permanently after that. She is not tactile, I once asked her for a hug which lasted all of seconds.

I hate my life as it is and yet feel powerless to change it.

by: Anonymous

My mom has been living with us for, I don't know, a few years, she is easy to get along with and shares common interests.

We love her and I am often grateful she is here. Now, she is really ill and cannot eat solid food, she is almost 97 and there is nothing the Doctor can do short of a feeding tube, which she does not want. All I want is to make her comfortable and not have her hurt.

I only wish she could feel good again. I have been very blessed to have such a wonderful Mom.

I don't regret for a minute having her move in with us. Sometimes it is hard to see the person inside the body but please remember your parents are still the people you knew, they are still in there, they don't like the way things are anymore than you do.

If you just can't cope, then do what is best for them and for yourself. Really, we all just want our parents to be okay and happy. For us a nursing facility is not the answer, for some of you it might be best for your parent and yourself.

Honestly, when my Mom is gone I will be lost and this from a woman who has a job and children and a life of her own. My Mom made sure I have a good self concept, an education, spiritual believes and success in my own life. She is not a burden, she is a blessing.

God bless and help you all.

The Monster in Law
by: Anonymous

My mother in law moved in with us Thanksgiving 4 years ago. We didn't invite her to live with us, she came for a visit and refused to leave. I did take her home(she lived with her grand daughter) only to have her dumped with all her clothing on my door step 3 hours later.

I didn't even know she was here until she knocked on the door.I saw her grand daughter pulling out of my drive way like a bat out of hell. I called her an asked why she did it,she said she just couldn't take it any more she was my problem now.

I found out why she dumped her shortly after the Monster in law moved in. It was like she decided to let the insanity begin. She dumped all of her responsibilities on me. Her medical care, her bills, her bank account. She didn't want to be responsible for any thing. She wouldn't help with any house work or clean herself. She stunk so badly I didn't want to be in the same room with her, but she would follow me from room to room.

She started using my wash cloths as toilet tissue grosssss.She copied everything I did from eating to my mannerisms. It is like she has no personality of her own and had to adopt someone else s personality.

She wouldn't give me a moment of relaxation or room to breath.She started tormenting our children. I finally told her, I didn't need her special brand of help with my kids, and since she acted like a small child(temper tantrums, crying jags,throwing her self on the floor) she would be subject to the same rules as the children, I actually had to post a set of rules on the fridge. I am watched 24/7. There is nothing I get to do on my own. I do not have a life any more.

There are a hundred other things she does to torment me and the kids , but acts like a saint when my husband comes home. He is a long haul trucker so isn't home, his siblings will not come see her,call, or ask about her.

I am her only care giver and I don't have the patients for it any more.

I want to put her in a home but my husband will not make a decision.He doesn't have to deal with her even when he's home.

Glad to hear I'm not alone
by: Trish

Thanks for making this blog where I can vent! My Mother begged us to move in w/her so she wouldn't be alone after my wonderful step dad passed.

I had no idea how miserable I would become.I moved my family, 4 kids and husband) into my mother's because her house was larger. We spent all of our spare money renovating and are now strapped.

My mother is a demanding alcoholic and I had no idea the toxic environment I would be putting my family into. You are right-there is no price on your freedom! DON'T do it to yourself unless you're sure you can handle it.

This transition is stressing my own marriage, my sanity and making me resent my mother more than words can say. I don't know if I should give up everything again just for my freedom. Don't do it!

My 62-year Old Mother Moved in with Us
by: Anonymous

My situation is a bit different: my mom is not elderly by no means of imagination, but she moved in with us just because...Her "duty" to care for her mom is over, i.e. grandmother passed away recently.

See, my female predecessors dating back to 18th century were all single mothers, either by widowing early (world war II), or not getting married at all (go grandma!), or getting divorced early (my mom).

So my mom retired early (at 50, we are from Europe, and she had a high-health risk government job that allowed her to retire early), sold her house, then moved in with her mom and spent good 10+ years taking care of grandma.

Now that grandma has passed away, my mom showed up at my house ready to "join our family". See, she does not have a husband (has not had one since she divorced my father 30 years ago), and my sister and I are her only "family".

She does not understand that we need our independence and privacy. God help me survive this period in my life!

Compulsive bathing...
by: Dianne

My mother is 93, and is regressing mentally, although it's common dementia. Trouble is she has a false sense of "sticky" on her skin, goes into the bathroom, and bathes her arms and hands over and over and over again. It's very strange and she wets her gown and we have to change her several times in the daytime because of being in the water.

We've told her doc doesn't want her to do that because it's hard on her thin skin, but she comes up with brilliant, but lame, excuses. I dry her off and powder her hands and that "sense of sticky" does go away, but my gosh! She's ready to do it again if she eats or goes to the bathroom.

I've since allowed her to do it. Anyone else care giving going through this?

Mother Living with Us
by: Anonymous

My mother has been living with us for 2 years now, she is 83 years old and has Parkinson's disease, your right I've also lost my freedom!

She is a wonderful mother and has always been a wonderful grandmother and mother in law, but it is getting to the point where I don't think I can take care of her anymore like she needs, so we are thinking about putting her in a very nice assisted living facility near our home.

She wants to go there too, which is good, her old neighbor is there and a few ladies that we know, so I think it will be good for her and she will get the care she needs, and of course we will visit her all the time and bring her to our house often.

We are trying to get her the Veterans help where they pay for part of your fee for the assisted living, my dad was in the war and she might be entitled for this benefit. Lynn if you want to give me your email address we can vent to each other, it helps to talk to someone who is going through this too!

Don't do it
by: Anonymous

Don't do it......... I did it and now can't get away. You will become her child again. Freedom is priceless. I miss mine.

Don't Know What to Do
by: Anonymous

I am torn with the decision of living with my mother. I am 62 and married. I don't have much money and am renting. Mom has a house and has offered my husband and me to move in with her.

Yes, financially it would be wonderful. We would have our own space, the total top floor. She mentioned it to me the day saying, "Why don't we live together? You have nothing. You are only renting and it would be beneficial for both of us."

I resented the fact that she said, I have nothing. Whether I rent or not, right now, I have my freedom. What price can you put on that?

Mom is 89 and has osteoarthritis. She has always been a domineering mother and even though I do get along with her, I am frightened that once I move in, I will feel indebted to her and there will be now way out.

My mother has enough money to move to a senior's residence, but I always promised that I would not put her in one. She is living alone now, and I wait for the call that she has fallen or something of that nature. She is just too old.

Should I do this or not?

Going Well.....
by: Anonymous

Three months ago my mother had to be put into a nursing home due to severe dementia....she was making life a living hell for my poor father. She no longer knows any of our names, and usually calls my husband and I her mom and dad.

That left my 89 year old father in their home by himself. While he is fine mentally, of course at his age, arthritis has slowed him down. He was lonely, too. We had tried many years ago to move my parents out of that home into a nice senior apartment, but they wouldn't go for it. Mom asked why she should pay rent when she had a paid for home?

We gave my father the option of getting him into a nice senior apartment near our house...we would do all the housework and laundry. Or, he could move in with my brother or with us. He chose us.

Fortunately, we have a raised ranch, so he pretty much has his own apartment.....living room, bedroom, bathroom. We also got him a fridge, and a kitchen counter with shelves, so that he could putter in his own kitchen. He is welcome to come upstairs whenever he wishes, though the stairs are not his friend. It has only been a little over 2 weeks, but things are going pretty well.

He has his quirks, but frankly, I feel very fulfilled being able to do this for him....he did so much for us. My husband is so patient with him and he wanted to take him in, too, so that made the transition much easier. A few years back the thought of this made me cringe. Our main problem is trying to figure out how much privacy to give him without him thinking we don't want to be with him, or how much company to give him without intruding. Hope a few months from now, I can still say all is going well.

My Poor Mother
by: Stressed Out Daughter

No, she is not elderly. She is almost 60 and she has been taking care of her vampiric mother (my grandmother) since my mother was a teen.

Now my grandmother is 86, and refuses to leave her gigantic castle. My mother is so worn out from caring for that wench!! She does all the cooking, cleaning, and everything else, from 9AM to 10PM. I am so tired of how she spoils her.

My mother cannot have a regular job, because her mother is a full time job. And she can't get paid for it, because the wench makes too much $ from her husbands social security. That means my mother cannot end her marriage to her abusive husband, because she cannot support herself. Co-dependency sucks!!! Slipping through the cracks also sucks!!

Taking care of Elderly Mom
by: Anonymous

Nice to hear that others are going through what I am going through too!

My mother is 82 years old, and has been living with us for almost 2 years now, her mind is perfect, but her mobility is not, she fell in January and fractured her hip, so for that reason she is not walking like she was before, although she wasn't walking all that good before.

Five years ago they found a benign tumor in her ear, and the doctor did radiation on her to shrink the tumor, but this has effected her equilibrium.

It has been tiring, difficult and exhausting, I have to dress her in the morning, wash her, assist her to the bathroom, and she goes a lot during the day! Sometimes, I resent her for what I am going through.....she is a wonderful woman and mother, grandmother, but it is very hard.

I have lost my independence, thank god my husband is very good with her and patient, other husbands would not want their mother in law living with them.

I have 2 sons that live at home and are in their early 20's and help out too, but it takes a woman to have to take her to the bathroom and do those kind of things. Sometimes I feel like just running away by myself. I really need to get help at least a few days a week.

My daughter is having a baby in June, first grandchild for me, and I want to enjoy the moments with him and not have to worry about taking care of mom, so for that reason I need to seek help! I love my mom very much, but I vow I will never do this to my children! I do not want to be a burden to them, now I know how difficult this situation is!

Me too
by: Anonymous

I'm so happy to find a board where I can see other people going through the same thing as me.

My mom moved in with us three months ago. She has always been very opinionated and has a very different personality than I do. This has been fine when she would come to visit me and stay for short periods of time. We since moved to a different state and she would come for three to five weeks at a time and I realized that we just would not get along if she ever came to live with me.

She made me promise when I was younger that I would never put her in a nursing home and I promised. She is perfectly capable of living on her own but she is selfish and wants to live here with us. I love my mom but I'm so stressed out because she's always been critical of me and although she bites her tongue sometimes she can nag me to no end until I can't stand it anymore and I blow up at her. My blood pressure has also gone through the roof.

I would never do this to my kids. I love them too much. I feel she is very selfish. She has always thought of herself before anyone..even her grandchildren. I'm so sorry I didn't put my foot down and have her move into an apartment. I don't get any support from my husband. He lost his mother when he was young and seems to really enjoy having her here..I feel like the ogre because no one understands how horrible this is for me. Thank you so much for listening.

Elderly Parent Moving In - Help
by: Anonymous

Hey, I completely understand what you are going through. I am there with you. My mom and Dad moved in with us and less than a month my dad died. I moved them in to help my mother with my dad....so anyway one thing leads to another and now I am just taking care of my mom and I think that I am angry with her because I think that she is why my dad is dead....My husband wants me to look for a therapy group...I don't know any therapy groups that are for I think I hate/blame my mother....any advice???

Elderly Parent Moving In - Won't go There
by: Vicki

When my husband and I first got married we made the joint decision to NOT have any of our elderly parents move into our home. We are more certain than ever to stick by this.

My mother took both her elderly aunt and father into her home (simultneously for a period of time). This totally changed the dynamics of the home and NOT for the better. My father felt usurped as "King of his Castle" by having his FIL take over that role. My mother mortgaged all of her happiness of her middle-aged years catering to their needs. She is now, at 76, an embittered, depressed compulsive hoarder.

She expects me to justify and validate the mistake she made of giving her life and home over to her elderly relatives by having me do the same. I will not. Two wrongs don't make a right.

I am willing to provide assistance with her care, but not at the expense of my home, marriage, and future state of happiness that I owe to my young adult children. I don't wish them to be saddled with me becoming like my mother.

Reply to Elderly Parent moving in =====
by: Anonymous

Hang in there, It seems that all children (myself included) have one special parent. Do not feel guilty. It is not intentional but I admit I have always had a special place for one a little more than the other.

I think you are just realizing this more due to the loss of your special mother. Dad can not fill that loss. Only time and understanding can ease the pain. Try to not expect much from him. He sounds like he has had several mental and physical issues and challenges and is trying to heal.

He also probably can not accept that his wife is gone. How sad for him too. Take Dad and do some relaxing things together so that you both can just enjoy each other, and TALK. Listen to him.

Get him to tell you stories of his life and child hood, fond memories, special moments. Try to rekindle the Love that was there. It will never be your Mothers love, but it is still Very Special. Please do not lay blame on anyone or anything since it will never bring her back and can only cause hurt.

Also -get away as often as possible. You still need private time with other family and friends and your privacy. Just go for a walk, look at flowers, read a book, bible verse, or what ever you like to do. You need YOUR Time to unwind from the stress of so MANY CHANGES in your life. You are a Better person for taking on this challenge.

Even if DAD can not express it - HE LOVES YOU.
Best Wishes

Anger at argumentative/forgetful elderly parent
by: Anonymous

I remodeled my home for my mom and dad to move in. All seemed good and we were happy. They moved in in early February. Dad had had strokes and for all visible accounts, seemed veg-like, but functional. Mom was my life and fun. Mom had a minor stroke mid March. She was doing well. 3 weeks later, she had a massive heart attack which led to massive stroke(s) and died 3 days later. I am devastated.

Expecting a wonderful time with the "burden" of my dad being shared by us, now I have my dad. Here's what's weird. In my devastation, I have seen my dad have some "awakenings". His mentals have sharpened, he can complete his thought and initiate conversation, he is walking better.

These are very good things. I added some "brain food" and the chiropractor to his schedules. He loves things and also with my sister, we got him going to the senior center and added a M-F Scan caregiver - of which he doesn't need he needs. We don't think alzheimer's, but stroke damage has altered memory and thinking processes. He needs reminders to get things done. He remembers he did them, but not that he needed prompting. He's doing so much better.

My problem is feeling like he was a good part of my mother dying due to the stress and anger she felt at him being helpless. Now, my mother could nag with the best of them and she was impatient.

He just "dummied" down, I think. I keep feeling that "over my mother's dead body", he is having a grateful revival. I love(d) both my parents and this is so difficult to feel almost hatred for my dad. He is doing dumb things like closing the doors to "protect the cats" from my grandson, who does not chase the cats. He won't go to bed until the one cat comes in to bed or he gets angry and accusatory at "someone" who just chased him out or some reason. We spit last night over that. Today, he plugged the toilet AGAIN because he doesn't remember to flush a little more often. Then he's trying to plunge it and with one more flush, my whole floor would have been "sewerized".

I have to admit, I am getting angry at him and tell him to just go and sit down. The conversation afterward is that he never plugged up a toilet. Someone else was in there, etc. Well, you get the picture. I just found out my blood pressure was zooming. This is scary. I have good support from my close sister, my further sister is supportive as well. I need a few words or something that helps me behave better when I want to pop my dad in the head. This is not good for either of us. I just feel like I'm going to be the next casualty and I have a lot to live for.

I certainly didn't see this coming with him. He's always been a very placid, calm person, but with his new found "mentals", he feels he's totally competent and able. I need to fight my anger at him, the grief I feel for my mother, and manage to stay in the game myself. Please share any thoughts that might help me be a bigger self. Thanks for listening.

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