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Old 02-11-2016, 08:29 PM
 
576 posts, read 853,757 times
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If you have a mother that lives 1k miles away and her care is, for the most part, independent but waning and assisted by her son and family. How long should you plan your visit to come and help out?

Aging mother is 86, lives alone. Her care needs, however, are increasing. She no longer feels comfortable bathing alone (and won't accept a home health aide). She showers 3 and 4 x's weekly, and wants someone there, on the premises, in case she should fall. (she has a life alert device, but nevertheless).

Aging mother now needs help with house-cleaning, needs help with home repairs, needs help with grocery shopping, errands, doc visits, meals brought in (won't accept Meals on Wheels, meals are brought by family) etc. The bulk of that assistance falls on the son who lives in the same town, and his family.

If you are the daughter, and live 1K miles away (retired), how long should you plan to be on site, to help your mother, and also be a "break" for those who do live in the same city and aid the mother on a regular basis.
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Old 02-11-2016, 08:32 PM
 
Location: Dothan AL
1,450 posts, read 876,291 times
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I think she needs in-home care
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Old 02-11-2016, 08:49 PM
 
576 posts, read 853,757 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldDocKat View Post
I think she needs in-home care
I think she could benefit from the following:

1. A housekeeper, possibly every-other-week
2. Meals-On-Wheels, 2 or 3 x's weekly
3. A Home Health Aide to help with hygiene and med management, socialization

She will not allow any of the above. Son and family see to the above by visiting 3, 4 and 5 x's weekly.
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Old 02-11-2016, 10:01 PM
 
160 posts, read 89,118 times
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I'm sorry to hear about your mother.

My mother is also lives far. She's in south Florida and I'm in Pa. My brother is in the midwest. She lives in a retirement community (over 55) and I have been trying to get her to move into an independent place with some assistance. She's 89 and most of her friends have either passed away or moved into assisted living.

She was in an accident over a year ago where someone fell on top of her and broke her neck. Because of her age plus she has osteoporosis she has to wear a neck brace for the rest of her life. She now has two aides that take turns coming to help her 7 days a week from early in the morning till early evening. She needs help with showering, dressing, cleaning & meals. All of which she could get in independent living. Yet she wants to stay where she is.

It's frustrating to me that she's in this situation and I can't visit as often as I would like. I can only see her once or twice a year. My husband was forced into early retirement due to health issues so I don't like to leave him for long either. He has an autoimmune brain disease and I feel pulled between him and my mother.

A few years ago before the latest accident she fell and broke her hip. I went down there for a month but was able to at the time.

So how long should you go & visit? How long would you feel comfortable going? Could you go for several weeks? Maybe you can take her to visit some independent living places or an adult community center. Try to get her to see that it's not fair to your brother and his family to give up all of their free time. It's also extremely stressful for them to have to cater to her needs and worry about her all of the time. Stress like that isn't good for one's health.

Maybe if she sees that people can be happy in independent living it might change her mind. In any case if you go for a few weeks maybe your brother and his family can get in a much needed vacation of their own.
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Old 02-11-2016, 10:58 PM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
7,636 posts, read 4,693,202 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nnyl View Post
I think she could benefit from the following:

1. A housekeeper, possibly every-other-week
2. Meals-On-Wheels, 2 or 3 x's weekly
3. A Home Health Aide to help with hygiene and med management, socialization

She will not allow any of the above. Son and family see to the above by visiting 3, 4 and 5 x's weekly.
It's time for your brother to put his foot down.

My MIL had this fantasy about being in the bosom of her family and always having a family member there to take care of her. Then reality intruded: Other people have lives of their own. It took an extended convalescence from breaking a femur to get her to see that and agree to hire aides.
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Old 02-11-2016, 11:24 PM
 
Location: Stephenville, Texas
954 posts, read 1,442,653 times
Reputation: 1883
Quote:
Originally Posted by nnyl View Post
I think she could benefit from the following:

1. A housekeeper, possibly every-other-week
2. Meals-On-Wheels, 2 or 3 x's weekly
3. A Home Health Aide to help with hygiene and med management, socialization

She will not allow any of the above. Son and family see to the above by visiting 3, 4 and 5 x's weekly.
It sounds like she needs all of the above three. There comes a point in time where "it doesn't matter" what she will allow. She becomes the child and you become the parent. She shouldn't have any say in the matter. I'm sorry if it sounds harsh, but I speak from experience.

Also, Meals on Wheels delivers 5 days a week, at least to my mom in our area.

Last edited by Backintheville2; 02-11-2016 at 11:27 PM.. Reason: to add info
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Old 02-11-2016, 11:26 PM
 
9,678 posts, read 15,858,885 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Backintheville2 View Post
It sounds like she needs all of the above three. There comes a point in time where "it doesn't matter" what she will allow. She becomes the child and you become the parent. She shouldn't have any say in the matter. I'm sorry if it sounds harsh, but I speak from experience.


Yes, but legally you would have to get control over her, which wouldn't be easy if she's not cooperative.
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Old 02-12-2016, 04:22 AM
 
576 posts, read 853,757 times
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I am the original poster, and daughter in law in this situation. I love my mother in law, and she has been, through our 36 years of marriage, the best mother in law one could ever hope for.

My husband is her son, we live here, where aged mother lives. She also has a daughter. Daughter and her husband (both retired) live 1K miles from here. Daughter does manage to come every 3 or 4 months and typically stays maybe 10 days or so.

I feel like the need is increasing, mil's condition deteriorating (see above, no longer comfortable showering alone in her home). I have suggested to the daughter (she is my sil) that she consider staying longer this time when she comes and/or consider that she should approach her mom that there needs to be the allowance for outside help.

Mil is lonely. Most of her friends have either passed or are so incapacitated themselves that it's impossible to socialize anymore. Mil has mobility issues as a result of a minor stroke some years back and as such, she struggles herself with mobility.

I wish the situation were one that we could spend more time with mil, enjoying her, as opposed to seeing to her many myriad of needs. I think the above would help to resolve some of that. Get her out some and enjoy lunch out for instance and just visit. She loves to talk, she can talk for hours.

The reality however, we (her son's family that reside here in the same city) are not retired, and only have so much time at our disposal. When that time needs to be spent seeing to her various needs, a presence, so she can shower, *grocery shopping, and she typically wants to go, since she's all but a shut-in*, going to the Hardware store for some need, the pet store for some need, a doctor's visit, attending to broken items in her home .. i.e., light bulbs that have burned out, privacy fencing that needs repair, a sprinkler head that has stayed in a stuck on position and won't turn off, the needs are many. Cooking and making sure that food gets brought to her, so she will eat somewhat nutritious (she is quite content to live off of cheese and crackers, and fruit). Cheese and crackers and fruit, are fine, occasionally, but not as a staple of a nutritious diet. So I also make sure that what I cook, some gets set to the side and taken to her.

The above, leaves little time to actually enjoy mil. And her enjoy us. She is lonely. When one of us goes for the various needs, she always wants whoever goes there, to sit and visit with her. See above, she can talk, a lot.

I understand that she's lonely.

However, I feel like if she would allow some outside assistance, that would free up more of our time, to be able to enjoy her, and her us.

She will not though. It has been approached numerous times. She doesn't want "strangers" coming to her home. Even though we've all offered, countless times, that we will meet with her and new service, to make sure she is comfortable.

Still, she refuses outside help of any sort.

I have a great relationship with my mil and her daughter. I have tried to stress to sil, that when she comes next, she should stay longer, or do her best to do so, if possible. And/or she should maybe consider approaching her mother that she needs to now take seriously, the use of outside help.

I'm not getting very far with the above. Sil, when she comes here, she stays typically about 10 days or so, and she lives and breathes for her mother. She is extremely helpful when she does come. To the point that mil dreads seeing her daughter come. Her daughter, so very hyper-vigilant, and seeing to every possible need and then some. It wears mil out when her daughter comes. Her daughter is so busy cleaning gutters, clearing out flower beds, repainting garage door, calling docs, and scheduling appts., seeing about every single solitary thing. It sounds wonderful, unless you are the 86 yo who just wants someone to sit and visit with her.

When I stress to sil that she needs to consider staying longer, to ....A) give us a break, but also ....B) allow herself more time to complete all the tasks she feels she needs to see to, and not wear herself out, as well as her mother. The response that I get is typically along the lines of, "it's really hard to be away for much longer than that, we have our own home, and obligations here. As well as, sil has to bring her husband with her, who suffers from bi-polar disorder. She feels more comfortable bringing him along, as opposed to leaving him behind 1K miles away. When she brings husband along, mil doesn't like the husband. It's really unfounded that mil doesn't like him. He can't help it that he is all but a shell of a person at this point, because he stays so medicated to keep his bi-polar in check. Mil has, in the past, said cruel things to the husband, and so that makes it hard for sil to stay very long.

I don't know what the answers are here. Mil doesn't have the resources for an assisted living facility. Nor would she ever even entertain the notion of going to some sort of communal living arrangement.

The only thing I do know, is that we, her son's family are taxed. Something needs to give here.
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Old 02-12-2016, 05:42 AM
 
3,758 posts, read 10,634,955 times
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OP:

I understand you've suggested to your MIL various services for HER well being and she has denied them.

However, you say you have a good relationship with her, and that she is a good MIL/Mother, etc.. (i.e. none of the previous crazy family drama so many potential caregivers post about)

Have you thought of telling her that the services aren't only for *HER* but are for *YOU* (you and her son)??

It's possible that will make a difference.

My parents were also stubborn, but when they moved in with me, I told them - respectfully and sincerely - that the extra services were to allow me to spend more time with them as just their daughter, and to allow me to continue to work (which is 100% necessary) and maintain a roof over our head.

When put in those terms, that the services were a convenience for ME, rather than for them - they were all for them. Because of course they were great parents (mom is gone now) and only wanted the *best* for me.

But you have to be sincere in expressing that this is how she *helps* YOU.

This may or may not work, but I think most great parents always want to be great parents, even when they're much older. They always want to help their children.

Maybe you could make it so some of the "services" (housekeeping, etc..) occur while you're there visiting. That way she wouldn't be alone with a stranger, and you'd be able to actuall visit with her - alleviating some of her loneliness. In time if the housekeeper is pleasant, your MIL may enjoy her visits and compay while she's cleaning.

While Mom and Dad were still in their own house, they'd gotten a house keeper (1x per week) for the last few years. No idea where they found her, but mom *loved* her. My phone conversations with mom after her visits were filled with updates on the housekeeper's life, or if I called on "housekeeping" day, updates that today was "Elena's day", etc.. It was another point of human contact for them and she was very appreciated. So it's possible that over time, your MIL could build a relaitionship with someone like that.

I would ask around at churches/community centers/in the neighborhood - who has a reliable housekeeper/cleaning person - and are they taking new clients? Probably the best way to find someone trustworthy.

As far as your SIL visits - again, not a lot you can do other than to just tell her in a heartfelt manner - your mother *misses* talking with you. She doesn't need a personal assistant to swoop in and fix everything for 7 days and then leave. She misses having her daughter. If your SIL has a very type A personality, she may never really be able to slow down, but you can at least try to make her understand.

Best to you. Best to your MIL.
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Old 02-12-2016, 05:51 AM
 
293 posts, read 438,025 times
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I knew I'd read this story before, and when I got to the part about the sister-in-law's bipolar husband, it all came back to me.


I think your sil is doing as much as can be expected of her considering her circumstances. She's retired, but she has a disabled husband, and the MIL does not like the husband and doesn't want him around and is rude and rejecting of him. If I were the SIL, I would not visit my Mom at all if she treated my husband the way you've described your MIL treating your SIL's husband (in a prior post). Especially since she has to bring him and he is exposed to her nasty comments about him.


I really get and sympathize with your family's issues. I'm the adult child who does the errands, shopping, housekeeping, home repairs, paperwork, etc. for my mother, and it takes away all pleasure and companionship from the relationship with you're occupied doing chores the whole time you're together. Having said that:


Your issue is not with SIL It's with MIL. She has to accept what she doesn't want to accept. Your family needs to put its collective foot down. If she can get used to family members watching her shower, she can get used to aides doing it. She needs to accept that she can't have everything her way. She is very stubborn. You have to be more stubborn. It's the only way.
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