to be terrified that my mum may have to come and live with us?

(99 Posts)
tactum Tue 17-May-16 15:54:20

Ugh. Feel horrible even posting this. Thankfully still theoretical at the moment. I know she raised me and you should pay back what you get and all that, but can't really help having all these really negative thoughts about it.

OK. My mum is in her early eighties, lives on her own (dad died 15 yrs ago) about 100 miles from me. Have DB who has wife n 3 kids and DSis who is single and works FT - we all live in different cities. I work PT from home and have 2 pre-teen kids and DH. Mum's memory is deteriorating quite quickly. She is going to have a memory test in the next few weeks. Dr has already questionned if she should be living on her own.

I just know that if she can't cope on her own I am going to be the obvious choice - we have the room, I have the time. I just feel terrified of it happening though.

My DH doesn't really get on with her - nothing overwhelmingly negative, just has nothing in common, not interested in the same things etc, When she stays we can't all find things to watch on the tv, he finds her conversation boring. So when she stays he basically retreats from the lounge and does his own thing.

She asks so many inane bloody questions - clearly this will increase if she is having memory problems - which get on my nerves. She doesn't like the same food as us so I have to change what I cook when she is here. She has increasingly little to do with the kids as they aren't really at the playing games stage anymore.

I just am panicking about having to absorb her into the house on a permenant basis and what it will mean for our family. I just feel like everyone would leave me to it and our nice little family unit would splinter. It would put a huge strain on my and DH relationship. She wouldn't drive and we have no local amenities so would be reliant on me for everything. She doesn't really know anyone here apart from us, and is not very outgoing.

I like my life. I like having time to myself. I am also scared about watching her get worse and the impact that will have on us, let alone just the moving in aspect. She tried to get me to promise years ago that I would make sure she never ended up in a home and I very gently said that wasn't a promise I could make - I wasn't going to potentially ruin 4 lives for the sake of 1.

Anyone?

hellsbellsmelons Tue 17-May-16 15:58:34

I'm dreading something like this too.
My dad is great and will hopefully be around to look after her for many years yet, but he's had 2 bouts of different cancer and you just never know.

I would have to consider a home for her.
I've no doubt she would be happier there than at home with me out all day at work etc...

I'm not the obvious choice though. One of my older Dsis is and I'm not sure she could do it either.

You do what is best for everyone! Not just one person.
Harsh as that sounds, you are not trained to look after her.
Nurses in a home are!

RubbleBubble00 Tue 17-May-16 15:58:51

Could u look at a set up of assisted living. Would sheltered housing be suitable at the moment perhaps with attached nursing home?

misskatamari Tue 17-May-16 16:00:00

It's a tough situation and I don't have much advice, apart from don't do something you don't want to, just because it is "expected" if you.

Could you look into the options of care homes near where you are? So you could see your mum frequently, but she wouldn't be living with you?

misskatamari Tue 17-May-16 16:03:57

As an aside, my mum was in a care home for the last few years, before she passed away recently. We found a lovely one, and she was happy there. She couldn't manage living independently any more due to mobility issues, and whilst it made me sad to see her "in a home", she was well looked after and made good friends there. You do have to do what's best for everyone involved

boopsy Tue 17-May-16 16:07:30

I wouldnt have her if it would have a negative impact on your family. Her needs are not more important than theirs and it could be for a long time. A miserable home environment will not benefit anybody including your Mum. She can have carers dropping by and you could visit and help lots, maybe stay the odd night if u work part time. She was quite selfish to ask this of you albeit hypothetically at the time. You are doing the right thing if u put your hubby and kids first x

juneau Tue 17-May-16 16:09:02

Why would she have to come and live with you? There are many other options out there - assisted living, nursing home, sheltered housing with warden, etc. If the idea horrifies you and your DH doesn't even particularly like her you'd be mad to consider asking her to move in. I suspect she'd jump at the chance and you'd then be stuck being her carer until either your marriage falls apart and your DH moves out, or you could no longer cope and put her in a home anyway. Please look at ALL the options. I couldn't cope with either of my parents or ILs living with us and DH and I are in agreement on this. Not all of us are cut out to be carers. Some do it willingly, others grudgingly and some with resentment. Don't do it if you fall into either of the latter camps. Do it gladly or not at all or therein lies disaster.

tactum Tue 17-May-16 16:10:15

Sorry had to rush off quickly then. Meant to add if and when she got to the stage where her awareness or cognitive ability was such she wasn't aware, then a home would be the solution. It's this in-between stage, which could go on for many years.

I can't picture a scenario in which her living here would be a positive experience for my family, and I worry that I would be resentful, mean, snappy and feel martyred.

However, I also can't imagine a scenario where i sit down with her and say 'sorry, I'm not up for it'. Damned if I do and damned if I don't. I just feel really really scared, panicky and like my life could be whipped out from under me.

ILostItInTheEarlyNineties Tue 17-May-16 16:12:02

I understand your anxiety over this and I too would advise a home or sheltered housing.
Realistically, your DM will deteriorate and will require full time care or nursing so that would be a huge undertaking for you and your family. You need to consider your dc and Dh too and how they would cope, especially if she became physically or mentally incapacitated.

Your mum could be involved in choosing where she goes or you could take her to visit some and obviously you will still be a big part of her life.

I know some people consider it their duty as a daughter to care for elderly parents but please don't take her in because you feel guilty. I don't think either of you would be happy.
It's worth discussing it with her. She maybe horrified that you are considering this and would feel a burden.

Sorry you are going through a horrible situation flowers

Stardust160 Tue 17-May-16 16:12:54

Caring for a loved one isn't easy it's 24/7 7 days a week. Physically and mentally challenging not to meantion further declining health especially if she's diagnosed with dementia. Depends on her level of memory loss if assisted living would be apporiate. There's plenty of nice care homes with adequate staff and facilities which could cater to your DM. Looking after an elderly person is extremely hard do what's right for your family OP.

juneau Tue 17-May-16 16:14:39

OP this 'in-between' stage can be managed with visiting carers/assisted living/sheltered housing - that's what those services are there for. Then, when things have deteriorated she can go into FT care.

CMOTDibbler Tue 17-May-16 16:14:52

You don't have to do it though. If your mum is declining rapidly, it could well be that she'll need more than someone gently reminding her to do things, and a lovely dotty grandma is not what you always get tbh. My mum for instance has been very shouty and unpleasant along her path of dementia, and ds hasn't been able to spend time with her since she was in the very early stages.

Look at what is available locally to you - ideally somewhere with scaleable care so she can buy in what is needed as things progress.

P1nkP0ppy Tue 17-May-16 16:15:54

Would having a care package or live-in carer be a better option to consider? Moving someone from their familiar surroundings when they have dementia can be catastrophic.
Don't have her to live with you unless there's absolutely no other option; I'm a nurse yet I couldn't have either of my DPs to live with us!

tactum Tue 17-May-16 16:17:40

Thank you to everyone for posting and sharing your thoughts - I really do appreciate it and it is opening my eyes to that fact that there are alternatives and I'm also very grateful everyone isn't berating me for not rolling out the red carpet immediately!
Thank you

meddie Tue 17-May-16 16:31:21

You have to do whats right for your family. An elderly relative doesn't become less demanding the longer they are with you, they become more demanding. I couldn't have my mother either although I am the logical choice (HCP) now single and lives the closest, but shes just not a nice person, we have nothing in common. Caring for someone is a huge ask of anyone and if you don't desperately want to do it, then doing it through guilt or obligation is just going to lead to resentment.
Is potentially losing your marriage over it a price you would be willing to pay?

Leopard12 Tue 17-May-16 16:33:49

From experience elderly people's health can get worse very quickly.
If their memory goes it will become like looking after a 3 year old, can't leave alone for any amount of time except even worse as they can get angry with you for telling them what to do and can forget you and your family are which would be awful for pre-teens. My dad started trying to put the plastic kettle on the stove then tried to light it with a match and they had to ring the police several times after he'd gone walkabout, he then also weed on DB carpet after he got confused and couldn't find the loo in the night. If you think the questions are bad now imagine being asked if it's christmas and where their dead partner is literally every 2 minutes during dinner., it's equally heartbreaking and annoying at the same time. Not all elderly care is bad, perhaps assisted living or an old peoples home would be good, note an old peoples home is different to a nursing home, nursing homes provides much more care and has younger people too, so perhaps a more friendly freedom giving old peoples home which runs plenty of evening activities and day trips could be really good for letting her have some help and stay active and sociable.

I'd suggest looking around places together now while she is semi ok so she can have say in this be clear its just impossible for you to take her in but you're happy to help her look over other options now and reassure her you won't just 'stick her in a home'.

RhodaBull Tue 17-May-16 16:33:52

There is another thread today where the poster is worried about having to take in her elderly father. Again the replies were overwhelmingly to steer the father in the direction of sheltered housing.

I find it is only those who have never had to care for elderly parents who trumpet, " I would never put my mother in a home." People with dementia lose sense of time and do not operate on the 24-hour clock. They could be wide awake and wandering around the house at 4am. They become incontinent. Doubly incontinent. They lose the "filter" that we have and will say anything they think, however rude and even obnoxious. Dementia does not mean that someone becomes a rather sweet dotty old lady. No, it means that your beloved parent can become a living - and long-living at that - nightmare.

Furthermore, having carers coming in means that your house is not your own. You will be tied to the house, only able to shoot out for a bit at a time, and you will on your knees with exhaustion.

potoftea Tue 17-May-16 16:39:02

I'm of the opinion that once you marry your first duty is to husband and children, and if your mother living with you is bad for their happiness, I think its too big a thing to take on.
The way I view it is how would I feel in old age if I was putting my dd's marriage at risk, I would much rather be in a nursing home and have her visit in love not count down the days till I die.

shovetheholly Tue 17-May-16 16:41:52

The happiest very old people I know are living in extracare/sheltered housing. They moved in before their health really gave way, and they have a community around them, into which they are settled. It's quite a laugh to go and visit, to be honest. If their health does get worse, they have lots of the support they need onsite. It does cost a lot of money, but there are few better ways of spending it, to be honest.

I've seen awful, awful things come of the 'I'll never put my family member in a home'. My grandmother was like this with my grandfather, and his final years were way less happy because she was always tired, stressed, snappy and angry with the effort of caring for him and refusing extra help, which was offered liberally. Because she was knackered, she'd park him in a chair for hours on end, whereas he liked to get out and walk about. It would have been better/happier for both of them to accept much more care and enjoy the time they had left together as a couple. I still feel sad when I think about it.

RhodaBull Tue 17-May-16 16:42:06

Oh, and second advice to OP to get a move on - people can deteriorate very quickly and it's very difficult to find a suitable home in a hurry.

Another horror story - one of our neighbours converted their garage into an annexe for the mil who had slight dementia at that point. The minute she moved in she decided she was scared of the annexe and wanted to sleep upstairs. A week later she was trying to get into bed with the husband and wife and then screaming at the wife that she was in bed with her dh. She thought her ds was her deceased dh. The mil was shipped off to a care home pronto.

Leopard12 Tue 17-May-16 16:42:09

Also if the she was in an old peoples home near you, they (at least my local one) are fine with them leaving with family members, an old man used to take his wife in her wheelchair around the block for a walk every day and several residents go to families houses for christmas day and things, so you could still take her shopping or to a cafe etc every week but you wouldn't have the pressure of being with her full time.

QuintessentialShadow Tue 17-May-16 16:45:43

At her age, a move may lead to a very rapid decline, in both her memory and her abilities.

If she at this stage lives with you, the gp, elderly social care etc, wont lift a finger as she is well looked after, whether YOU cope or not. Private nursing homes can be very expensive.

In your shoes I would look into care in the home, so she does not have to move away from her home, her community, a place that is familiar like the back of her own hand.

There are millions of reasons why her not moving 100 miles to live with you are not the best option. It is perhaps the best option for your siblings, but not for your mum, and certainly not for you!

P1nkP0ppy Tue 17-May-16 16:45:59

If her Gp thinks she shouldn't be living alone, what's triggered that? Ask for your mum to have a social care assessment of needs, that will highlight which areas of daily living she needs help with and what the options are - there shouldn't be an automatic assumption that she will move to live with you or your siblings.

RhodaBull Tue 17-May-16 16:47:37

Oh, yes, they're not prisoners! We have taken out mil and fil when it's fine and they have come to family events - the home provides a carer to accompany them.

IsItMeOr Tue 17-May-16 16:48:47

OP, I think you are very wise to think about this carefully, and agree with others that it sounds very unlikely that your DM moving in with you is likely to be the best option.

First Stop is an independent advice service about care and housing options for older people. Have a poke around on their website, and you might get a better idea of what is likely to work best for you.

flowers

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