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a conundrum

Posted by citykitty21 (My Page) on
Wed, Apr 30, 08 at 6:59

My aging mother is living in Florida with my step-father at my step-sister's condo. SF had a fall, broke his hip and is now in the hospital rehab unit. My mother is 81.

Here's my conundrum...the situation with SS is not working out. They are trying to sell the condo, and having two elderly people there is not conducive to selling, as they have to leave when a showing occurs. Since SF is in the hospital (and previously) I have contacted an organization that helps elderly folks find retirement homes and assited living commnunities. They have sent my mother the numbers to several communities with different levels of care (which she says she has misplaced); I have contacted the VA to send them information on VA assistanceto help finacially. Still there are excuses as to why contact can't be made trying to find a place to live.

When I call her nightly, there are excuses out the wazoo. She is feeble, but for her -age fairly healthy. She won't drive because SF has taken that privilege away (yes, she allowed it) and depends on SS and her husband for transportation to the hospital and soon to be nursing unit.

I listen when my SS vents and tells her to let me know if I can do anything. We live about 900 miles apart, so all the assistance I can give is by phone. I have done the research and tried to enable them to have some choices.

I am so exasperated that my mother will not make the effort to find somewhere else to live. Last night, I told her that she really needs to get moving on this for when he is finally released and she replied," well Bert said that we might just have to rent something [like an apt]". I told her that was ridiculous that they needed to be somewhere that they could be helped if needed, such as an independent or assisted living community...she can't care for him, nor him for her.

I am SO frustrated over this situation. I have been to a therapist who agreed that I have done all I could, but still I feel the frustration and even anger from the mess even 900 miles away! I have not resorted to medication yet, but this is getting to me physically in that my body is expressing the frustration in the form of shingles.

Does some wise someone out there have any words of wisdom?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: a conundrum

Talk to HIS daughter.....she is closer and perhaps can talk him in to making a reasonable decision.
Linda C


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RE: a conundrum

This is a difficult situation and you must get down there and help. Your mother is not going to do this alone and will probably resist your help, but you have to get involved anyway. Very few people wake up one morning and decide it's time to move to Shady Acres, it's a wrenching decision, and you have to make it for her.

It's time to sit knee to knee with her and lay it out clearly - that she and her husband need to move, and that she has two choices, she can work with you and find a place that you all agree is suitable, or she can end up at a place of your choosing. You should enlist the help of your stepsister - since it's her father, and the three of you can visit places with your mom, but she will not do this alone, and expecting her to do this is unfair. She doesn't know what she needs, she'll be overwhelmed with the choices, and probably hate them all.

I speak from experience, both personal and professional. The tables have turned, and it's up to you and your stepsister to make these decisions now.

You'll need a couple of weeks down there, but you can gather lots of information before you go. Plan to spend some fun time with your mom, too, shopping or lunching or sightseeing, because this will be tough for all of you.

Good luck.


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RE: a conundrum

Perhaps the organization that helps people find retirement homes and assisted living facilities needs to work directly with your SS, and you. That your SS can get the list and go look at the choices available, and choose the best two options, and bring them to see which one would work out best for their needs.

As Dr. Phil says, insanity is to keep trying the same thing, and expecting different results. You both already know that your mom and step dad are not going to do this on their own initiative! Why are you waiting for them to do so? Change is hard for many, many people, and I imagine it is especially hard for elderly folks. Have your SS go and visit the options available. Then perhaps you can visit and help your SS show your mom and step dad these options, and go to lunch and talk about what is available, what they cost, any thoughts or fears your parents may have, etc. and the details of such a move, like helping them make decisions about their belongings, and what they want and don't want. Talk about the advantages of medical help, (both now and in the future) transportation, social contact with others, housekeeping? etc. Many of these places have come a long way from what many believe them to be.


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RE: a conundrum

Well, to follow up on both posts, I have had a 'knee to knee conversation'....more than once. They were with me for about two months this winter, and we had MANY conversations about the subject. (She won't make any decision without Bert, mainly because she has allowed herself to be controlled by him and is now co-dependent.) [Not being bitter here, just stating facts.]

Also, the organization about housing---I initiated that and have been working with them for about 6 months. I've done all that I can in that regard and now have turned it over to my mother. I have even had the representative call and talk with her as well as sending her packets of information. I have also spoken with VA representatives and told her what she needed in order to get that assistance. She keeps giving excuses. I am not privy to their financial status, only generalities. Some of the 'deciding' has to be done prior to looking at properties.

This is a case of delusion and denial. I gave her the choice of remaining with him in Florida or moving back up with me, and she chose the former, and I'm ok with that as long as she can be rational.

I like the part from momj47 that says she can choose or go to one of our choosing. I think it may get to that.

I also agree that to be there would be best...but my husband had a fall on 2-29 that resulted in knee surgery. I have had to take many days of FMLA leave to deal with this situation and still continue with that. Just today the doctor released him to begin driving again.

So, crippled hubby, dramatic adult children of my own, mother in denial and SS about to go insane....what a lovely all-American normal family.

Thanks for your thoughts.


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RE: a conundrum

Hi Kitty -

I totally agree with Momj47 about pushing the decision, and making it yourself if your mom won't. (I recently went through a very similar situation with my mom, though she was willing to help.) If your SS can and is willing to visit the various places, it should be fairly easy for her to short-list them down to a manageable few. (Perhaps you and SS and Mom can all agree on what the most important factors are for you/her and narrow down the list that way?)

Then once SS (or you if it comes to it) have visited the homes, plan to show Mom one or two places a day until you make it through the list of places you consider worth seeing. (I'd start from the bottom of your list first, saving the 'best' place for near the end so she'll be free to hate the first few.)

If she wants to defer to Bert (and I can see how she'd want to consult him), have her see the places first and narrow it down to two choices and present the options to Bert in the hospital. Let him choose between the options she has selected.

If Bert leaves the hospital for anywhere else, it'll be that much harder to get them to move later.


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RE: a conundrum

Well Citykitty these situations go on here, in Australia, as well. Its a tough time of your life, when you have aging parents, and adult children, really tough.

I think that's great thinking from Dr Phil, yes we get him on TV here!, it is time for you to look at the problem from a different perspective.

Excellent advice from everyone. I wish you well, take care.


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RE: a conundrum

Can she afford to buy Stepsister's condo?

Can family financial arrangements be made to help them buy it?


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RE: a conundrum

cindylou, no-they cannot purchase anything. They did own a home, but sold it and moved to an apt close to SS. My mom is in the process of calling some communities, as I had sent her an updated list just yesterday. At this point, they really need a community setting, possibly with assistance. After his fall, they will need someone around that can help.

Good news is, my mom drove yesterday for the first time in years. All was ok. It's about 15 miles to the rehab facility where SF is, and she did it! We are all proud of her. She said she felt really bad asking (SS SIL) to drive her when their car was just sitting there. I had urged her to take a taxi or the shuttle bus the community has available before this, as SS and BIL have demanding jobs. This is really good for her. She was also positive about calling some places today. We'll keep praying for the situation!


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