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One DOES feel terrible for a good long time, and that's primarily because, as a loving family member, you feel that you are somehow responsible for what is happening.'
You aren't.
And you can't fix it.

To throw away your own life by jumping on the funeral pyre of a parent will NOT help that parent, will not lead to better care or any relief of the sad facts, and will waste your own life.

Be honest with your parent. Tell him/her that you are too limited to be able to live with them as a caregiver. That you will visit and will always love them, but that you are UNWILLING and unable to take them into your home.

Your parent is grieving. You cannot fix that and this is WORTH grieving.
Grieve along with your parent but be certain not to assume the mantle of guilt. You are not a Saint. You are not God. This isn't the first time your parent, who has lived a long life, has sustained unhappiness. You didn't cause it. You can't fix it.

The end of life is about losses. I am 81, and I assure you that is the case.
This is the normal sad progression in life. No normal, healthy, decent parent would wish their child sacrifice their own lives with decades of service they are not equipped for and cannot handle alone.
Get psychological counseling if you need it, but do not attempt a "fix" on what cannot be fixed.
Helpful Answer (30)
Reply to AlvaDeer
XenaJada Apr 12, 2024
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Since you say mom is STILL very sharp, it leads me to think mom does have some dementia but is still functional. This is why filling out your profile is useful; so we're not guessing about anything.

Mom may be depressed and in need of antidepressants. My mother did very well will Wellbutrin for 7 years, which kept her OUT of her apartment and engaged with others socially. It also helped that her AL charged $6 for meal deliveries to the residents. She ate in the dining room daily as a result.

We all "want" things that we cannot have. Coming to live with you sounds like utopia to mom but is something else in reality. A boring lifestyle for her, and no privacy again for you. I would tell my mother that it was not possible for her to come live with me because her medical issues were more than I was capable of handling. To which she'd argue that she HAD no medical conditions. Rinse and repeat.
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to lealonnie1

Oh it is sooooo hard to hear that! Been there, heard it, hate it! However, we need to be the parent now and what is best! Talk to one of the admins and see if you can get her a job. Something that makes her feel useful. Like watering the plants, distributing/collecting the game cards, helping Mrs. Smith to the dining area. I did this with my daddy and he looked forward to getting out of his room daily - because "they needed him". Prayers for you and your situation.
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Reply to Ohwow323

Sometimes we have to admit a person is their happiest when unhappy. My brother has said that about our mom for 20 years {she is 90}…he is right. Some elderly would still complain even if living in your home with everything they think they want. Getting old is tough. So many losses and possibly believing life had been better than it actually had been. Have staff encourage her and let it be. We eventually gave up and went to activities.
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Reply to Sadinroanokeva
NeedHelpWithMom Apr 20, 2024
Oh my gosh, this is so true! You described my husband’s grandmother to a “t.” She wasn’t happy unless she was complaining about everything!
Remind yourself that you are not responsible for the fact that your parent gets old. You can not fix old . Accept that age is what is ailing your parent and unhappiness is a symptom .
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Reply to waytomisery

Since you say Mom is "still very sharp" that makes me think that there is no Dementia involved.

How old is Mom? Why the need of an AL? Does she have an illness where living on her own was not possible?

Are you paying this SW? What is she/he suppose to be doing for Mom? Really, its up to the Activities director to try and get Mom involved in activities. No they can't force her but they should be trying. Some ALs require residents to eat in the dining room and charge to have it delivered to the room.

"I know she will be unhappy wherever she lives, bc life is not what it used to be." This is what you need to tell her. First, u have reasons why you know Mom living with u is not a good thing. You don't need to tell her what those things are just say "Mom, living with me is not doable for so many reasons. I really don't think you would be happy anywhere you lived because your life is not what it used to be and sorry it never will be. I cannot make u happy. Thats up to you. You have the ability to join in activities, enjoy the entertainment, go down to dinner and sit with others instead of being in your room alone. Make friends. I cannot be all these things for you. You need to do it yourself."
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to JoAnn29

A friend of mine's Mother was living alone. For years kept up a compaign of "I am unhappy. Let me come & live with you".

He worked fulltime. He had stairs. Wife said no. So many reasons he could not. Suffered from guilt but just could not house her.

Had a sibling that reportedly had the funds to build an apartment suite for Mother, but didn't. Saw this as futile. The Mother was not asking for an apartment suite, a smaller space she could be independant in. She was directly asking to be 'taken home & be looked after'. Wanted company with her all day. Family tried getting home help but she didn't want home help people for company or assist with chores. Wanted meals cooked & to be served. So family though AL may be a better fit. But she didn't want to be cooked for & served by the staff in AL. Wanted to be housed, cooked for served only by her adult children.

When she was taken to her son's home for a family home-cooked meal, instead of being joyful she complained about not living there even more. Tears & tantrums when leaving each time.

Family took her to eat out in nice resturants for special occasions. Instead of enjoying herself, she complained about the price.

It took much time for my friend to see he could not make his Mother happy. Her feelings were up to her. She choose to be unhappy afresh every day until she died. Very sad.

Myself, I try to find 3 things I am grateful for everyday. (Even if they are very small things). I find this helps me a lot. There are many small joy spots in our day when we build up our skill to see them. Feeling cozy in bed on a cold morning, that first sip of coffee, wearing a favorite item of clothing.
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Reply to Beatty
CaringinVA May 13, 2024
"There are many small joy spots in our day when we build up our skill to see them." Love that, Beatty! ❤️
I have very close the same situation, the difference being, my 95 yr old Mom wants to go back to HER home. I have MS, so I cannot help her in my home. She is in a lovely AL, but rarely leaves her room and has no desire to make friends or be involved in activities.
Every time my brother or I go to visit ( which is now once a week) we never know what to expect. Most days she's very angry although she does have some days she's more subdued and even smile. BUT she brings up at every visit she wants to go home.

I have come to learn from all these wonderful people in here, to shorten my visits, change the subject, I never argue back with her, I just listen and try to offer comfort and speak of positive things. IF none of that works and I see her getting even more upset, I just tell her I love her and I need to get back home but will be back again to visit her soon. Period.

As others have mentioned, it is hard to watch them decline and I used to fell so guilty about having to place her there, but I know it's for the best and her safety. Prior to her going she averaged 5 falls a month and many ER trips. She's not had one ER trip or fall since being there.

I hope you feel some peace soon, we all know and have experienced this on some level. Hugs
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to Mary1159

When my mom asks why she can't go home with me, it kills me... I tell her it is not safe for her to be alone in a house and I remind her I still work and I am not home 10-12 hrs a day with commute, which is true.

I wish I could write a better end to my moms story, but I can't. If I had lots and lots of money so that i could quite my job, I would bring her home, build on a small apartment suite and hire 24/7 help to come in and care for all of her needs. I would install one of those walk in tubs so that she could take a nice warm bath which she hasn't had in years. I would watch a show with her before bed, I would sit in the yard with her and watch the birds and look at the flowers while we at breakfast, I would be able to spend more time with her unhurried and not stressed. People say money doesn't buy you happiness and it doesn't, but it sure can fix a lot of things...and it would sure allow me to make my moms last years on this earth more tolerable.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to Jamesj
Ronnyj Apr 19, 2024
And what if that wasn't enough.
Her safety and wellness is what's important. Try to except that you've done all you can. Pray 🙏 For peace of mind, heart, it's okay 👍
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Thank you for your responses. They will help me every time I think about taking my mom to live with us.I know she will be unhappy wherever she lives, bc life is not what it used to be. A big problem is that she doesn't go to activities or socialize with the other residents.Many days she eats in her room too.She is still very sharp, but very lonely ,negative and depressed.We have set her up with a socisl worker but she thinks it is a waste.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Lisatkc
Southernwaver Apr 16, 2024
This is my MIL who lives by herself.

I would ask if she:

wanted to go out to lunch? She replied no.

wanted a sitter to help with jobs or whatever she wanted to do? No.

wanted me to send my housekeeper over there once a week or once a month? No.

For me to pick her up and take her to the gym with me so she could walk on the indoor track while I worked out with my trainer? No.

For me to take her to the casino and we could do the buffet for lunch? No

For me to come over and we could take a walk in her neighborhood? No.

She is difficult and unhappy and apparently likes it there because she doesn’t want to leave that state of mind. There is nothing I can do to improve her situation.

She called me one day in tears saying she was lonely and unhappy and I simply responded that we are doing what she wanted and asked for, which is nothing. She didn’t know how to reply.

She grew up around her cousins and family where everyone was always home and people dropped in for coffee cake. Etc. I think that is what she longs for, this sense of family and community. What she got as an only child is my husband who is an only child and who is crazy busy in his career as a MD and who works easily 75 hours a week. She has two cousins left and they live hours away, and one didn’t have children and the other has one child. They are both depressed and disgusted.

I have my own health issues and my kids don’t live here and the one who does works full time.

A few days after she called crying, I called and asked her if she wanted to run errands with me or do something and she replied no. She also has her days and nights mixed up, so sometimes she doesn’t wake up until 2 in the afternoon. I can’t drive at night and I go to bed early.

They are just unhappy and there is nothing we can to do change it. My MIL is also urine incontinent and I’m sure that is a giant PITA to deal with.

Truthfully, she has the right to be disgusted.

I also hope I’m not this unhappy if I make it to 85. It’s just sad.
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