Feeling Guilty

regine_Z 10 Fl gwMay 7, 2009

My mother who is 97, sold her condo in the midwest last November and moved out to live with my sister who is out west. I am in the opposite end of the country in the southeast. My sister has a small ranch with a few horses, donkeys, dogs, and cats and my mother hates it out there. She feels isolated from people, hates the animals and the smells that come from having those kind of animals and is driving my sister nuts by expecting to be entertained all the time.Even though they take her out to eat and shop,she makes my sister and brother-in-law feel guilty when they take off by themselves.My sister says she can't even go horseback riding without Mom complaining! Mom wants to go back to where she came from, so we are going to move her back to the midwest to an assisted living facility which I found. I'm feeling guilty because I don't know how many of her old friends will come and visit, I won't be able to drop in and check up on her and feel like I'm dumping her off.It's the people I hope will come to visit that are telling me to bring her near me. She said she doesn't want to live near me because she won't know anybody here and besides that she doesn't want to intrude on my life ( she was okay on intruding on my sister's) My sister says that she has become a very high maintenance, emotionally draining,negative person who can't be pleased. I have a husband who had a stroke 5 years ago. Even though he is able to drive and gets around very well, his personality changed so he is not easy to live with either. There have been many days where I wished the day wouldn't start. Between my husband and my mother I am in "turmoil", wanting to do the right thing,yet not wanting to deal with both of them.My question is,how do I take her back home to the midwest without feeling like I'm dumping her off for other people to take care of? For a 97 year old woman, she is very alert, agile and is able to take care of herself.

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If she makes the effort to call them, I'm sure they will come to visit her. Besides there will be new people for her to meet & interact with at the assisted living place she's moving into.
Move her back, call often & visit when you can.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 7:07PM
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Don't tear yourself up over this. No child owes their parent the trashing of their own lives in order to take care them. Mom-at-home works in some families. It's working in mine. (My mom's 97, too) In others -- like yours apparently -- it doesn't. The reasons it doesn't are as varied as the life experiences of those involved. Perfection is not attainable in these decisions. Do what you can and don't clutter your conscience with what you can't.

Longwinded way of saying I agree with ogoopogo.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 7:18PM
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Yup! I agree with the other posters too. You've discovered one of the many problems with moving an elderly parent in with your family, even though it was your sister's family. Leaving friends, churches, organizations, even local area stores can be traumatic for the elderly loved one. They don't adjust well to completely brand new circumstances and feel isolated and useless.

If your mom wants to move back to where her friends are, let her and don't feel guilty. You're not dumping her because it is her choice. She'll be in a somewhat familiar environment and surrounded by other midwesterners from her generation. She will eventually make new friends at the AL, and, as ogoopogo said, if she makes the effort to call & keep in touch with her old friends, she'll feel content and less lost.

Moving a parent into an assisted living facility is hardly "dumping" them. You are taking care of her, but not necessarily in your home. She'll get social interaction, medical oversight, and care 24/7. How can that be considered neglect?

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 8:44PM
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Who comes first, your husband, you or your mother. I'm sorry, but you, then your husband, and the last is your mother, is the way I look at it.

You have to be at your best to take proper care of your husband. If you run yourself into the ground worrying and feeling guilty over your mother, you will not do the best for him. Remember that you probably promised when you married him to "forsake all others."

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 12:07PM
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regine_Z 10 Fl gw

Thank you for your comments and support. I am feeling less guilty now and I even posted a link to this web site for my sister so she can see that we are doing the right thing.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 12:25PM
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It is very difficult for a person from the Midwest to locate to a place like your sister's home. It has been and is very difficult for me, a person from the west coast to move to the midwest and try to adjust. I am not doing well. I love the state but am not a small town--everyone related to everyone--person. You mom probably will do much better back in the midwest in an assisted living place. Even if she does not know many people, it is a culture thing. I would like your sister's place, like animals and enjoy being by myself most of the time.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 2:14PM
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I have been a caregiver to my wife for almost two years. It can be very draining to never leave your home except to get grocery's and meds for them.

I admire my late father, as he took my mother's mother in his house for many years. Finally, after about 8-9 years, they had to put her in a nursing home, as my mother and father both had cancer.

It sounds like you are about where I am, and; in no way could I handle another person, especially a negative person.

I will not be around negative or verbally abusive people period. I hate yelling. I refuse to talk to people who yell, are negative, or are abusive in any way.

You have a husband to take of. Please watch out for your mental health, as you are not immune to depression.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 6:39PM
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regine_Z 10 Fl gw

You guys are the best support group a person could have! I should have posted here a long time ago. Thank you so much for your advice.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 9:55PM
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My MIL has lived with me for almost 2 years now and everyday of those two years she says she wants to go "home". If I get a break and get to go shopping with my daughter (my husband sits with her)she sits in the kitchen by the back door and waits for me. If I have a tooth ache, she suddenly wants all hers pulled. Whatever is going on with me, she had it too only 100 times worse. She demands my attention a great deal. I can certainly can relate with your sister. It's draining.
If she is able to take care care of herself, I think assisted living would be just the thing. Independence is a very big deal if they can handle it. Take her and visit when you can. Maybe she will be happy with her new surroundings and make friends. Don't feel guilty, you are not dumping her off.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 6:15PM
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Typical victim BS. My wife is dying and her sister visits telling her all her problems, plus all the negative news she has heard. I am so sick of negative poeple, I'd like to have a hunting license for them.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 3:35AM
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Don't feel guilty, although I know that's difficult. My MIL sold her house - we convinced her she really couldn't take care of it by herself - and moved in with us. We're a mere 25 miles across the Bay Bridge (San Francisco CA to Oakland CA) from where she lived for 40 years. She can still take the subway and visit her few remaining old friends.

But she's been living with us for three years, and has yet to make a single friend in our (very nice) neighborhood on her own. We have her going to exercise classes and brain classes at the local senior centers, but when on her own she makes absolutely no effort to interact with anyone but her old friends in San Francisco.

A lot of older people seem to be like her. I have to keep reminding myself that my idea of old age is one of my former bosses and his wife - both active, independent, mentally sharp, a great zest for life, who are always widening their circle of friends to include people younger than themselves.

What a world of difference attitude makes at any age, but especially as you get older!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 11:57AM
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lumper20, LOL I can't agree with you more. The reason I came to this forum is that we may be moving DH's aunt in with us. I have already told DH his mother IS NOT allowed in our house. PERIOD. End of discussion. She is the most evil, coniving, sneaky, thief I have ever met.
When I married DH 13 years ago every one of her 4 children, including DH, took me aside and said, " If Mama tells you anything, don't believe her until you check with one of us first".
Every one of them told me this. And yet they allow her to tell them stuff and believe her. Go figure.
Sounds like it may be time to have a talk with SIL and if she doesn't improve, restrict her visits.
You make me laugh with the hunting license statement. Amen Brother.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2009 at 10:39AM
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