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Elderly parents

Mum living with us is ruining my mental health

101 replies

LedgeHovering · 13/07/2023 11:48

Desperately need some tips for living with my DM (71) as I feel like I am slowly going mad.
After my dad died four years ago, DM decided to move in with me and my two DCs (15 & 11) when we moved to a different town.
Over the two years since, she has systematically taken over the household - is very territorial about cleaning and other household jobs, doesn’t take any responsibility for bills, shopping, issues with the house itself, etc.
She interferes with my relationship with my children, giving them her permission to things I’ve said no to (or vice Verda) and has no sense of boundaries - wandering freely into all our bedrooms, etc.
She is dirty - doesn’t check that the bathroom / toilet / kitchen is clean after she’s used it, for example - and doesn’t respect my attempts to live more thoughtfully in terms of the environment (scoffs at reusable products and buys various duplicates of plastic heavy products, has no concept of saving energy)
All sorts of other small, perhaps some would see as petty differences, but the truth is, I hate her living here and it is making me ill.
What on Earth do I do? My two siblings take no care or responsibility for her, and I feel so alone with it all.

OP posts:
ArcticSkewer · 13/07/2023 11:51

She's 71 so you are looking at another 15-20 years or so of this. How are you going to plan for that longer term? Do you want her to stay living with you? If so could you move again and get an annex, or divide the current house? Or simply tell her it isn't working out and she needs to move out.

Continued passivity will give you another 15 years of the same, but you could vent on here if it helps?

userxx · 13/07/2023 11:51

What a horrible situation, why have your siblings taken a back seat? Does she still have a property?

LedgeHovering · 13/07/2023 11:57

@ArcticSkewer that thought depresses me terribly. My Nan is still alive at almost 97 and my aunt is her full time carer. I can’t bear the thought of being in the same situation as her - literally living for my Nan, she never goes anywhere or gets any type of respite - and she’s one of seven siblings!
@userxx my parents’ property was tied to my father’s job, so when he died, my mum had a grace period to stay there but no equity or savings enough to buy her own property. My brother moved 3 hours away with his wife and my niece during Covid. My sister lives just far enough away (45minutes to an hour) so that it’s not a question of her being able to pop round - she has to make the effort to visit, but rarely does.

OP posts:
ShippingNews · 13/07/2023 11:58

It doesn't sound as if she needs to live with anyone, unless she has some disability that you haven't mentioned. At 71 she could be dominating your life for another 20 years. You need to toughen up and find her somewhere else to live.

Meeting · 13/07/2023 12:00

There's no easy way around this. Tell her it's not working and you will help her to explore her other options.

PTSDBarbiegirl · 13/07/2023 12:01

Speak to your local housing officer, she may qualify for a home in sheltered accommodation near to you. A social worker maybe able to help. In the meantime could you talk to her about financial contribution and some boundaries.

userxx · 13/07/2023 12:03

Meeting · 13/07/2023 12:00

There's no easy way around this. Tell her it's not working and you will help her to explore her other options.

I agree. You get one shot at life - you can’t carry on living this miserable existence for the next god knows how long.

LedgeHovering · 13/07/2023 12:07

@ShippingNews she does have some physical limitations, and I’ve done my best to help her with those (bought a mobility scooter, lift to help her in and out of the bath, digital heating aids) - all of those I can understand and sympathise with. I don’t even mind helping her with shopping, hospital appointments, etc. but her complete refusal to pitch in with the mental load, or to make any kind of decision - feels too much.
I tried to introduce a rota for making dinner, for example, as I felt overwhelmed trying to think of different meals for everyone every day. She won’t choose.
She’s really careless around the house - breaking doors / handles / crockery and has ruined items that my children have bought me for birthdays / Mother’s Day more than once. It all feels so disrespectful and dismissive of my feelings, and I feel like a visitor in my own home.

OP posts:
ArcticSkewer · 13/07/2023 12:10

Nothing will change unless you make it happen so it's entirely up to you to change the status quo.

Does she have savings? Does she qualify for pension credit? Would you be willing to pay towards her life if she moved out (just because it might help eg subsidise the rent).

But you'd need to tell her!

catsnhats11 · 13/07/2023 12:11

Sounds awful, you may have to make an ultimatum, change her ways (or at least make effort) or you will kick her out (and mean it). She will then be homeless and can present herself as such to the LA for housing.

It's very selfish/short-sighted that no provision was made by her/ your father for how or where they would live after he left his former job/ died, since they would have known at that point she/ they would have to find somewhere else to live.

Pansypotter123 · 13/07/2023 12:16

What is her financial situation?

Did she sell her own home when she moved in with you?

She didn't contribute financially to your home did she - I mean when you bought it?

Has she savings, pension, investments?

Isheabastard · 13/07/2023 12:17

I suppose you could start imposing your boundaries and house rules very forcefully. This will be uncomfortable for you, but may be a worthwhile tactic.

If it leads to arguments, what’s the worse that will happen? She’ll threaten to leave? Good.

At the same time you can start looking for other accommodation for her, and what benefits she might receive. You need to make living with you more uncomfortable, and find a better situation for her to move into.

You may worry that this will ruin your relationship long term, but I’d suggest you think of this as an opportunity to regain a more equal footing with your mother.

It may mean some months of a stormy time, but that must be better than 15 more years of the same.

AlyssaHasAChaaaaild · 13/07/2023 12:18

I am in almost exactly the same position and really sympathise with you. My mum has lived with us now for almost 10 years and each year things are getting worse.

As you said, I feel like a guest in my own home sometimes. I have picked her up on the worst of her behaviour over the years. Only a handful of big things eg telling DD she needed to lose weight. But on the whole I have to let it go as I can't live with her sulking permanently.

Like you, I can't just kick her out as she has nowhere to go and no money.

Can she go and stay with your siblings occasionally to at least give you a break? My mum stays with my brother for a fortnight 3 or 4 times a year and it means I can breathe a bit.

isthewashingdryyet · 13/07/2023 12:22

Get on to the Council, do it now, today.
there will be housing for older people in one bedroom bungalows or flats. Apply for pension credit to pay the rent, or pay it yourself just to get her out.
you can’t do this for another 20 years.

LadyGardenersQuestionTime · 13/07/2023 12:25

I'm guessing she's happy living with you? How do your children feel about having her there?

The obvious objective solution is for her to move out - the council will very likely be able to offer her somewhere in a sheltered housing block that's suitable for her needs, and presumably she will be entitled to benefits such as pension credit, attendance allowance etc if she doesn't have much pension income.

But I do realise that's going to be a very tough thing for you to make happen, emotionally.

Sunnydaysarentagiveneveninjuly · 13/07/2023 12:26

Cfery isn't age limited op. Write her a letter of eviction.. She can contact the council. They can find her a suitable place. She really isn't your responsibility.. One of the first conversations me and now dh had were stating no relatives would ever be moving in. At the end of the day your mh and your dc are your priority..

Familycourtdrama · 13/07/2023 12:29

What is her financial situation OP?
Personally, I feel this is going to destroy your relationship with her.
Your options are:

  1. Having a firm talk with her about boundaries in YOUR home and whilst you want her to be comfortable that ultimately this is your children's home and you do not feel by her current actions she is respecting this. I would establish some ground rules with the rota for cooking, cleaning rota, financial contributions towards shopping.

  2. TELL her she has to move out and you will assist her in finding alternative accommodation.

    Your life isn't just for existing OP, you have to be firmer with her, I know it will be uncomfortable but this situation won't change if she continues to be enabled.
Acornsoup · 13/07/2023 12:46

OP you have your own life to think about. What if you meet someone else? What if you want the opportunity to meet someone? Or what if you just want your own space? When she moved in was it 'until you find your feet' or a 'forever' deal.

I think you should set aside your views on siblings helping because they have their own boundaries and they are probably justified by the sound of things.

You need a plan. It could be that you are worried about her safety and she needs time to get settled into somewhere new so she can get used to it while she is still mobile, because you will be downsizing when the DC go to university or any other reason you think you need to give her.

In the mean time please also talk to your doctor about how this is affecting you and making you ill. MH is one thing but there could also be physiological issues like hypertension caused by the stress. Not to mention isolation - I'm guessing you are not living the life you expected.

There have got to be housing options - talk to the local trust as others have said.

LedgeHovering · 13/07/2023 15:46

Gosh, thank you all so much for your replies - I’m so sorry for venting, I’m just really struggling with it all right now.
In terms of finances, mum gets very basic PIP, and a small private pension as a legacy of my dad’s job. She hadn’t worked for thirty five years before my dad died, and had no savings of her own. Dad left very little as he had used the majority of their savings to pay towards my sister’s and brother’s weddings. She won’t deal with anything financial, so has left me to look after her affairs. I take as little as I can possibly manage on from her in terms of bills and food, I get cash out for when she asks me to, and then I put the rest aside into a savings pot so that she has some provision for care as she gets older.
She won’t make arrangements to go and see my brother, my sister doesn’t invite her over ever, and mum seems to have no interest in anything.
I encourage her to do social activities and try to meet people, she is rude and dismissive of I suggest anything. She is just not interested. I think that’s another part of the problem - she is literally ALWAYS HERE! And had no thought or respect for trying to be quiet when I’m trying to work from home.
The children get very frustrated at her interference and interruptions, and don’t feel comfortable inviting friends over - I feel very guilty for that.

OP posts:
ArcticSkewer · 13/07/2023 16:08

Then I would ...
stop saving for future care - that's either going to be you, or spent in a week in care home fees of £2k a week.
Look into separating out your living space
Make her stay in her part of the house/annex

It's the best I think you will manage if she (probably?) isn't entitled to pension credit or housing allowance. Although you could still check the figures.

Or tell your brother and sister it's a rotation from now on and you will do 4 months only.

Tbh though, if you are not prepared to do anything then nothing will change. It's okay to just vent as well

Jammything8 · 13/07/2023 16:32

isthewashingdryyet · 13/07/2023 12:22

Get on to the Council, do it now, today.
there will be housing for older people in one bedroom bungalows or flats. Apply for pension credit to pay the rent, or pay it yourself just to get her out.
you can’t do this for another 20 years.


Coleslawclara · 13/07/2023 16:36

Why did you let her move in in the first place? You must have very low self esteem to allow yourself to be treated this way. Get angry, if not for your sake then for your children’s!


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LedgeHovering · 13/07/2023 16:38

Thanks again all, some good suggestions that I will think over.
In terms of the house, there is a bedroom downstairs that was intended for mum to have but when we moved in she refused to be ‘shoved away’ and now has the main bedroom, while I am the one ‘shoved away’ downstairs and feeling separate from my family. It has made me hate the house, and I just feel so low and trapped. I keep thinking of ways to improve things and do the house up nicely but then mum spills something or breaks something else and I just think ‘what’s the point’
I cannot say anything to her or raise issues as she then paints me as a bully to everyone who will listen.
I’ve looked into housing previously but have been advised that because mum has somewhere to be that she will not get priority, and there is limited stock of anything suitable for her nearby.

OP posts:
LedgeHovering · 13/07/2023 16:40

@Coleslawclara I guess it’s because I’ve grown up being told that mum’s health issues are essentially my fault - that if she hadn’t had me then she wouldn’t have her back problems, etc.
I’ve been her default cater since I was ten or eleven - my siblings were allowed to go off and pursue their hobbies / education whilst I was the one whose shoulders things fell on as my dad was working all the time.

OP posts:
Coleslawclara · 13/07/2023 16:40

OP, why are you bothered if she makes you out to be the bad guy?! Just why?! What hold does she have over you? There is no way I would be made to live in a worse bedroom, shoved out of the way, in my own home. Seriously! Get a grip and do something about this!

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