Sometimes I Feel Like a Piece of Bologna

Friday, February 23, 2007

What to do With Mom?

I’ve seen a lot of articles lately like the one in the Pittsburg Tribune-Review dealing with adapting a home to move aging parents in with one of their adult children. The issue is becoming more real to me as I watch my mom decline with each phone call and visit. I’m growing increasingly concerned that she won’t be able to live alone much longer. She gets more confused with numbers and banking, and has to send me more and more business items that she use to manage herself. And I expect that she won’t be able to drive much longer. I think it’s just sheer stubbornness that keeps her going now. And that’s not a bad thing—most of the time.

The dilemma is what to do when the time comes. I live four hours away from her in one of the most expensive housing markets in the US. Our little three-bedroom, one bath home is worth almost a million dollars. Or so they say. It’s barely adequate for hubby and I, let alone bringing Mom in.

But two brothers live about two hours from her and four hours from me. And although Sis lives the closest, she isn’t in a position to do much and in fact, does less now than those of us at a distance. The three of us distant ones all work. And the sad truth is that none of us feel we could handle more than a weekend at a time with Mom. Of course, as long as our step dad is living, she won’t be willing to move away anyway.

So I’m sitting here tonight after another phone call with no answers and a lot of questions.

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5 comment(s):

We were in exactly the same place. We sold our home. We sold Mom's home. We put the money together and bought a larger home that would accommodate all of us comfortably. And also we felt that if she put her share in, she would feel more like she owned it than she was living in "our" house. It's all of our house now. We were going to do a massive remodel of the house we lived in, but in the end we couldn't bear to deal with the stress of that, so we searched for (and found) one that was ready for us.

By Anonymous Susan, at 10:52 PM  

Susan - What a blessing that you were able to find a solution that worked for you.

Pat - Sounds like step dad is the one in charge of her care, at least for now. How is he doing?

By Anonymous LIsa Dunn, at 3:22 AM  

Susan, that sounds like a great solution if it's working. Do you have sibs who either cared if she moved away or are worried that you're getting their share of the inheritance? How have you handled that issue? Will you have to sell your home when she passes to pay them?

Lisa, actually, she' caring for him. That's what is wearing her down. He's in a board and care home because there's no way she could manage him at home--blind, can't walk, falls, getting pretty helpless--but she visits every day and carries a huge emotional burden because of her personality. She won't take care of herself because she feels guilty if she has fun and he can't... She intellectually understands that's not good, but can't find it within her to quell the guilt and do something just for her. Even getting new hearing aids because she thinks he should get them first. It's very sad.

By Blogger Pat, at 9:17 AM  

Pat - I'm an only child, for better or worse. That made things less complicated as far as that was concerned.

By Anonymous Susan, at 12:27 PM  

Trying to manage "tough choices" with aging parents is daunting. It is the most frequently asked question I receive from audiences members when I speak on "the secret mission of aging parents." Your parents are struggling to retain control in one of the last areas of their lives, their home. Yet events suggest they need to make a better choice. To do that they need to have their choices "reframed" based on control. If you go to my website, and click on the link in the top, upper, right, you can access the article I published last year on this topic: Reframing and Signaling: Communication Tough Choices to Aging Parents. It isn't a magic cure, but it may be "one good idea" that will help both you and your parents arrive at a better solution.


David Solie, MS, PA

By Anonymous David Solie, at 5:56 PM  

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