Struggling with decision to move out of 81 year mom's house
Hi everyone, this is going to be the hardest thing I've done in my entire life. I'm 50 and met up with someone from my past 20 years ago, we are in love and eventually want to live together. I've been back in my parent's house to help my mom out with a variety of things, she has copd and is on ox 24/7. She still drives and goes to the grocery store, dr appts, etc. but has little stamina and can't bring up groceries from the garage etc. I am an only child and there are no friends or family that can help out. She is very stubborn and "independent" and I'm completely burned out from living with her and putting my life on hold, not being in my own place with my own decor and being berated here and there and judged etc. I cannot do it anymore and I know it will devastate her when I tell her in the next few weeks I'm moving out and getting a place with my boyfriend. She expects me to be with her until she dies. I get it, she has gotten frail and scared in her old age but still stubborn and pig headed about getting any kind of in home help because the has me and she doesn't want to spend the money. She paid off her house last year so I get her wanting to live out her days here but it's too big and just too much for us let alone just her. I am actually meeting with an old therapist to help me feel strong enough to do this and how to talk to her. She is going to be heartbroken, terrified and so angry she may shut me out of her life. I'm tired of feeling like I am just existing though and resenting her, but I do love her. Just needed to vent to a group of others who caregive. Thank you so much for listening.
After you let your Mom know your plans, maybe you could get a place not far away – far enough to give you both space and near enough that you could drop over and help out with things she can’t keep up with on her own.
My Dad had a similar situation, except he was more independent and didn’t require supplemental oxygen. Also, his wife, our step-Mom, lived there, so he certainly had company. Even so, the last couple years they needed more help. She had suffered a mild stroke and couldn’t be trusted with things like the stove, and she knew it.
At first, my brother, who lived about 5 miles away, went nearly every day to help, but then asked me to help. I dislike the drive because of traffic, so instead of my driving 30 miles each way down and back every other day, he and I settled on alternating for 2 days at a time. So, I started driving down to stay with them and help out for 2 days at a time. Many times, I'd even take the bus to avoid having to drive that route. I'd go down in the mid to late morning and return in the afternoon of the second day after I’d spent the night in their basement.
Dad was still more independent and we eventually quit the constant care for a while. In the meantime, they had started to have help with household chores as part of my step-Mom’s rehabilitation and had meals on wheels deliver lunches most days of the week.
Dad still worked a few days a week and drove himself right up until about 3 months before he turned 100, when he set his tray down after his cafeteria lunch where he worked and turned to walk away, but his leg gave out on him.
His need for us ramped up and we helped out as we could. He could get by with a walker, at first, but my brother found a mobility scooter and we all chipped in to get it for Dad. He was still mentally capable, but his body was starting to fail him.
Your situation is different, but I believe Dad and our step-Mom managed rather well for the way things were and did not begrudge our not attending to them 24 hours a day. For the last 2 or 3 months of Dad's life, we did have one or more of us siblings helping out pretty much all the time and he passed about 6 months after his leg mishap. Our step-Mom moved back to her hometown in the next valley over and her children took care of her until she passed a few months after Dad did. One daughter actually lived with her and would leave to run her own errands each day as she needed to.
Assess your Mom’s needs and weigh her needs against your time. If you spend a lot of time in separate rooms or even in the same room doing your own thing, and she only needs you for a few things each day, then maybe living apart is what you both need.
I hope you can find the best way to deal with your situation.
I read your message & agree it's a hard decision. In all fairness you should let her know your future plans so she has time to think. Springing it on her at the last minute won't allow her the time to process something she assumed wouldn't happen. She will feel angry & scared, but also alone. Try to put yourself in her shoes. I know it's hard to be sympathetic when an aging parent doesn't seem to appreciate all you try to do for them. When the roles of parent & child are reversed, & you have your own life you want to live, it's hard not to feel guilty. I don't know her financial situation but if she can afford to have someone assist her during the day, or when needed, that could work temporarily. Or, depending on how serious you & your boyfriend are, you could rent or buy a small house with a MIL unit in the back. You never know what tomorrow holds but think how you will feel when your mother is permanently gone.