Need Help Dealing with My Mom

Updated on July 15, 2008
S.H. asks from Houston, TX
5 answers

This request is for those of you who are in the "sandwich generation" like me. My 85-year-old Mom needs guidance and counsel in planning a move to a retirement community. She has been adamant in past years that she was NOT going to move out of her home, a single-family dwelling in a rapidly declining neighborhood. In the past six months her health has begun to worsen, and she now sees the wisdom in getting rid of the burdens that come with home ownership. My questions is this: How do my brother and I help her decide where to go? Every time we visit a place, she has petty little criticisms about them, i.e., "I don't like the walkways", or "the dishwasher is too small", or "there are too many old people there" (!!!???). I know this is probably her way of postponing the inevitable, but last week we found the perfect place. It had all the things she said she wanted and none of the things she objected to with the other places. When we left there, she was pleased that she had finally found a place. The next day that I talked with her, she said, "That place just won't work. It's too far from a shopping mall!"

You can probably guess that I'm getting SO frustrated with her. I am worried about her in her current living situation. A really good neighbor on whom we used to depend has moved away. She is absolutely alone except for an elderly couple that lives across the street.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to encourage her to put aside her "nit-picking" and make the commitment to move? (She's been really afraid of the moving process, but all of the family has agreed to help out. She won't have to lift a finger)

I'm especially interested in hearing from people who have had similar experiences with their parents. Thank you so much.

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So What Happened?

I can't believe it! My Mom finally chose a retirement apartment close to my house, and she's all moved in and her house sold in less than a week! We took two weeks to completely clean it out, and that process was really hard for her and for us, too! There were several flare-ups of temper on both sides, but we calmed down, apologized and went on with what had to be done.

Thanks so much to all you "Moms" who gave me some really good suggestions about how to approach my Mom with sensitivity and compassion. I am so thankful that the moving part is behind us. Now, she has a lot of adjusting to do, but I know she'll make some really nice friends and have a great time in her new place. Thanks again!

More Answers



answers from Austin on

My heart goes out to you.... I am one of 5 kids and we decided that one of us would be the leader and the rest would follow - without complaint.

We had to comb thru the options and my sister laid it out - you can go here or there. These are our only options.
We all backed her up. When there are too many options things get a little crazy.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Hi S.-

While I'm not in your shoes yet, I remember when my mother was going through this with my grandmother about 10 years ago. My mother and uncle did the same thing you are doing...they took her to all of the possible facilities and let her choose. Having lived in her home for 50+ years, nothing quite measured up. So once she found one that she seemed the most happy with, my mother and uncle went ahead and put a deposit down and started the process for her. Two things worked to their advantage with this, one my grandmother would NEVER let money go to waste so the idea of them losing their deposit if she changed her mind was out of the question. Also, once it was "a done deal" in my Grandmother's eyes she moved on to getting the house ready to move and never looked back.

Good luck I'm sure it will all work out in the end,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Most of those places are super expensive. I was a sitter for an older lady in one that was at the time 4500 a month, and is now 5300.

Why can she just come live with you? If it were me I would never let my mom live in a home. I would rather her live with me and have a nurse come to the house if that is what she needed.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I spent my entire childhood growing up with a mother who worked as an admin., at a nursing home. I also had the unpleasant task of getting both my Grandparents into a home when they turned 84. They, too, had the "I'm not ever leaving" attitude. The best advice I can give you is treat it like a band-aid. Just do it in one motion. You just cant pull it off a little at time. I would suggest giving her the choice of two or three places. Then give her a deadline. You might have to pull her kicking and screaming, but its in her best interests. I think that alot of elderly people dont like to lose their indepedence. Perhaps guiding her to a place where they have activities and such? Maybe looking foward to all the things that will be available to her may persuade her a little better.
Good Luck to you, I know how hard it can be.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

get her to write down everything she wants in a place, and everything she doesnt want.
then go through all the retirement places and choose the one that meets most of her likes and dislikes - it sounds like it will be narrowed down very quickly!

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