My father (83) died on August 31, after nearly 30 years of severe, debilitating illness that got worse year after year. By the end neither he nor my mother had much of a life. The vast majority of their time was spent sleeping, eating, or hanging out on the Internet.
I should add that both parents had mental health issues (mostly untreated) throughout my life. I sometimes realize that I'm not grieving the loss of my Dad because in many ways I feel that I lost both of them back when I was a teenager.
Life has not been easy for Mom.
The first week without Dad seemed to go pretty well. Mom seemed to come alive, keeping busy, going through and trying to organize what has become a near hoarding situation. Now she's back to her old routine but without the need to at least minimally take care of Dad's (as a side-effect, some of her own) needs. She mostly sleeps. Mostly eats Taco Bell and Jack-in-the-Box tacos. She's bathed twice (that I'm aware of) both times at my urging. In short, nothing has improved for her, but nothing seems worse.
She lives in a nice home my husband and I own. Within the next several months we'll need for her to move out and on to the next place. The most practical thing would be for her to live with us -- but she is already 100% dependent on me for emotional support, and mostly dependent on us for financial support. I, also, would like to be able to live my own life without the constant, heartbreaking worry about my parents (now parent), though. For myself, as much as my mother, I so very much want her to have a happy ending to her life. She has SO much promise and any time at all on this Earth is a blessing, really. I know I can help distract her unhappiness. But that is different than knowing she is happy.
With the recent escalations in rent all over the country, she can no longer afford to live by herself on Dad's social security payment alone. If I am able to get back to work making even half of my previous salary I'd be happy to pay for an independent or assisted living place for her, if it meant she would actually socialize and create a life for herself. I am honestly uncertain if she can or should live alone without our support (even if she could afford it -- or we paid for it) in her own place.
She tells me she doesn't like to expose herself to new people because she doesn't want anybody to "need" her. She is actually a funny, sweet, loving and very artistic person who is just wasting away.
Any suggestions on how I can help her (she's also INCREDIBLY stubborn) out of her shell and nudge her (successfully) towards living her own life? I'm not working at the moment so money is tight for my husband and I just want to do what's best for Mom.