Tag Archive | parent

Caring For An Elderly Parent: Days and Confused

“This is supposed to be the time of my life – the nest is empty; but now Mom needs me.”

Today was crazy! Even I was confused. It actually started yesterday – here’s a rundown of tBlog - Pic 88he events:

Yesterday, Mom wanted to go for dinner but my husband and I were not really in the mood for that, so I mentioned to Mom that we’d see how our day went and let her know later. So later, when we got home, I went over to Mom’s to let her know that we would not be doing dinner – she was asleep on her sofa. So I called her name trying to wake her up (she always wants me to wake her up if she’s sleeping when I come in) and she mumbles something. I asked her if she wanted to keep sleeping and she said “yes”.

So a couple hours later I went back over and she was still asleep so I left. Again, a couple hours later I went back and she’s STILL sleeping (yes…. I checked – she was breathing!) So I left her a note that I was there a few times, put the time on the note and mentioned I’d see her tomorrow. I left the note on top of her cell phone so she wouldn’t miss it (the first thing she does when she wakes up is call me), and off I went to bed.

Today was busy for me and my husband – we had some meetings and travelling to do, so we were gone all day. Mom called me while we were on the road wondering if I was OK because I told her I’d be over and we’d maybe go for dinner. I explained to Mom where we were and she was wondering why I hadn’t been over to see her. I asked her if she got my note – she had not. [But I placed it on top of her cell phone – she would have had to move the note to call me…. hmmm].

So I gave her the run down of me stopping by yesterday but she wouldn’t believe me that she slept all that time. For some reason Mom doesn’t want anyone to know that she sleeps a lot – maybe sleeping is a sign of old age and “winding down” for her. So I told her I’d stop in when we got home even though it would be late – she seemed fine with that.

We got home earlier than expected – around 8 PM – and I stopped in to see Mom, even though I was tired from our long day. Mom was so confused about where the days went – she had no idea that she slept most of yesterday away and she wasn’t even sure if it was 8 o’clock in the morning or night. So after a long discussion of explaining what day it was and her arguing with me about sleeping yesterday away, I said my goodnights (there’s always a few because she tries to keep me as long as possible) and left – I think more confused than when I arrived!

What I Learned: My mom doesn’t want to accept the fact that she’s ageing – and I don’t blame her.



Caring For An Elderly Parent: Creative Caring (and maybe a lie or 2)

Blog - Pic 85“This is supposed to be the time of my life – the nest is empty; but now Mom needs me.”

So Mom has been living with us for about 3 months now and I have to admit that it has been a little stressful. My husband and I are having a tough time adjusting to our new living arrangement and we’ve had more “discussions” about Mom than anything else. One good thing is that my husband and I have always been open and honest with each other and always tell each other what is on our minds. Maybe some of what was on our minds should have stayed there.

When I look back, I realize we truly didn’t understand what we were getting into. Everyone we talked to said “Don’t do it!”, and now I understand that those are the people that DID do it. They know how much of a strain it can have on a relationship and how much stress can come from caring for an elderly parent.

This is all so new to us and I can’t stress enough how important it is to talk with your significant other about how you feel, but most importantly about how they feel. When it all comes down to it, who is going to be there for you – not your ageing parent. So my theory – find the needs of my ageing parent without losing the needs of my spouse.

One of the hardest things I find to deal with is the fact that if I tell my mom the truth she turns it against me and makes me feel guilty. For example, one evening I told her my husband and I were going to go for a drive and have dinner. Well… wasn’t I a selfish person for not wanting to include her and why wouldn’t I think about taking her with us. That made me feel bad even though I really didn’t want to include her – I just wanted a nice outing with my husband – that made me feel guilty.  How do you explain to your mom that you don’t want to be with her without hurting her feelings?

So from here on in, my husband and I decided to handle situations so they worked for us. Yes, sometimes it involved not quite telling the truth, and some of the things we do may seem juvenile to some, but it works for us. I don’t feel guilty about doing it either because I am taking control of my life and this is the only way it will work having Mom live with us.

What I Learned: Get creative in the way you handle situations with an ageing, elderly parent.

Caring For An Elderly Parent: Moving In!

Blog - Pic33“This is supposed to be the time of my life – the nest is empty; but now Mom needs me.”

“What do you mean you’re at the front door!? You said you’d be here after the new year!” Crap! The movers arrived New Year’s Eve at 8 AM. Mom was down the street at the hotel and we hadn’t finished figuring out where things were going because we thought we had a few more days! Arrhhhh! OK, let’s get this done. My husband dealt with the movers while I’ll ran and got Mom.

Once we got the day going everything fell into place. We got all Mom’s things moved in and situated where she wanted them. For some reason Mom was obsessed with her dining table – when it was brought in it was apart (obviously) and Mom couldn’t wait to tell the movers to make sure they put it together. Every time they came and went Mom would mention about putting the dining table together. We told her not to worry, they’d put it together when they were finished bringing everything in, which they did – with Mom (of course) instructing them every step of the way.

The day was somewhat stressful, but we got through it. Mom was tired, which was probably a good thing since it was her first night alone in the house. My husband and I didn’t know what to expect with having our new neighbor all moved in. You may recall from my February 10 post Choices, Challenges and California that our houses are attached. The only bad thing about being attached is that our bedroom is attached to my mom’s bedroom – not so sure how that’s going to work out.

Let’s just hope we don’t get any knocking on our wall tonight!

What I Learned: Be Patient – Mom will adjust (and hopefully so will we!).


Caring For An Elderly Parent: Acclimating Mom

Blog - Pic 56“This is supposed to be the time of my life – the nest is empty; but now Mom needs me.”

Christmas Day!  We picked Mom up from the hotel and took her to her new home. We didn’t know what to expect – would she love it? Would she hate it? Of course she saw pictures, but this is the real deal. She’s going from her quiet country club setting to city life in Los Angeles – will she adapt?

Well her first impression was a good one. She thought the house was charming and loved the wood floors and nice new kitchen. She honestly didn’t seem to have a problems with her new living arrangement. Wait…. maybe this is the calm before the storm. Maybe she hasn’t realized her situation yet. Well let’s keep her mind focused on the present.

We spent a lot of time driving around with Mom so she could see the area she’ll be living in and hopefully find her barrings. We hit up a few restaurants – did I mention Mom loves to eat out? And we had some finishing touches to do at her house before the movers arrived, so that took up a lot of time.

We wanted Mom to spend as much time as possible at her new home so that she would get familiar with everything. We would give her little tasks to keep her busy so that my husband and I could have some time to ourselves – I can’t stress how important it is to have time for yourselves.

The next few days were long and tiring for Mom (us too) but that was a good thing – she basically got to her hotel room at the end of the day and slept. Each morning we would pick her up at the hotel, take her to the house, and figure things out. It was definitely starting to feel a little weird for my husband and me – we’ve never spent this much time with my Mom. We’ve always spent the time between Christmas and New Year’s just the two of us on a nice road trip to a nice hotel for a few days – not this year.

This is either going to be a great beginning for Mom or the end of life as we know it for us.


What I Learned: This is a huge undertaking – don’t take it lightly.



Caring For An Elderly Parent: The First Boundary

Blog - Pic 55“This is supposed to be the time of my life – the nest is empty; but now Mom needs me.”

We arrived in California Christmas Eve just like we planned. We were all so tired and fit to be tied and I just wanted to sleep in my own bed for a change. Mom’s movers were scheduled to arrive 4 or 5 days after the new year so she would be spending about a week or so in a hotel just down the street from our new house. She wanted to stay with us and sleep on our floor (remember, my husband and I have the small house with only 1 bedroom) but we were not going to start that situation – we knew if we did she’d want to be at our place all the time. Also, how uncomfortable would that be for Mom.

Mom certainly wasn’t happy about being alone in a hotel room but we have to have boundaries – the RV trip across the country taught us that! And really she’d only be sleeping there and spending the days with us getting her house prepared for the movers. I realized that if you don’t create boundaries immediately when a situation arises it can get ugly – and trying to back pedal just makes things more stressful. There is no easy way to say “No”, and although it may seem harsh at the time, boundaries absolutely need to be set right from the beginning.

So we got Mom settled in at the hotel and the three of us headed home for a much needed rest.

Tomorrow is Christmas Day – let’s relax and enjoy!


What I Learned: Boundaries – gotta have em!

Caring For An Elderly Parent: Moving Day!

“This is supposed to be the time of my life – the nest is empty; but now Mom needs me.”

The packers and movers are doing their thing while Mom sits in the living room watching her life change before her eyes. She is definitely aware of what’s going on but is still in the “I can always come back” mode. We all know she won’t be going back to her house but it’s better to  agree with her that she has that option – why upset her when she’s already out of sorts with tBlog - Pic 52he whole moving thing.

While the movers were loading the truck, my husband, son and I were getting the RV ready for the road trip. We were going to be on the road for about 4 days and we were travelling during the Christmas holidays. We’d be stopping along the way and spending the nights in hotels – no way were we going to sleep in the RV! We were hoping to be home Christmas Eve – as long as the traffic and weather were on our side.

My husband and I have driven the California/Florida route numerous times and, thank goodness, my husband loves driving. Of course, this drive was definitely going to be a whole lot different. We knew we’d have to stop more often with Mom mainly because of cabin fever, and we wouldn’t be able to go as fast being in an RV, but we all had a positive attitude and we were going to make the best of this trip.

The whole trip, Mom sat at the table seat belted in facing the front of the RV so she could see out the front window. She barely left her perch the whole time and would make a big fuss if one of us stepped in front of her view. She always had her two cents to say about my husband’s driving and all he could see in his rear view mirror was Mom. Bless his heart, he was so patient for such a stressful trip.

I have to admit it was a little nerve wracking driving all that way with Mom, but having the RV made things so much better – especially when we ran into the snow/ice storm in New Mexico! We were stopped on the highway for about 4 hours before the roads were cleared for us to continue – thank goodness for bathrooms in RV’s!!

My husband and I have a totally different routine when we road trip, but obviously we had to schedule most things around Mom’s routine. All in all we made it to California safely and, believe it or not, my husband and I are still married!

What I Learned: Bite Your Tongue! (and talk Mom into flying if there’s ever a next time)

Caring For An Elderly Parent: Much Needed Help

“This is supposed to be the best time of my life – the nest is empty; but now Mom needs me.”Blog - Pic 42

Moving Mom has been a lot of work, and trying to do everything from California has been difficult. We can tell from Mom’s actions that she is not doing well mentally – she is still seeing people in her house and truly believes they are living in her attic. Funny though, she doesn’t seem to be frightened by them. She is also hearing things – that is what seems to be frightening her the most because she thinks people are trying to break in. Mom is making more and more phone calls to her security department and they are spending a lot of time at her house. They have called me several times telling me that she needs to have some supervision and they can’t keep going to her house at all hours of the night for no reason. That was a little stressful!

Our plans to move her out here are still a month away and my husband and I just can’t get there any sooner. I talked with my sister and she and her husband agreed to go stay with her for a while to keep an eye on her before we move her – such a relief!  It’s difficult to imagine what my mom might be going through and it will certainly be interesting to see what my sister thinks when she arrives.

All I can think about is “what if Mom is in such bad shape she can’t move?”, “what if Mom doesn’t want to move?”, “what if everything falls apart?” And I thought planning the move was stressful – the next few weeks became my new stress.

What I Learned: Try not to do everything yourself – ask for help if you need it.


Caring For An Elderly Parent: Mentally Moving Mom

Blog - Mentally Moving Mom4“This is supposed to be the time of my life – the nest is empty; but now Mom needs me.”

OK, so we’ve figured out where we all will live; the next step was to figure out what Mom will need to bring with her for her new living arrangement. Her place is much smaller than what she’s used to so she definitely can’t bring everything. Maybe we should just rent what she needs until we figure out if this situation is going to work – for all of us.

Well looking into renting everything just didn’t make sense, so how much can she bring and how will we get it here. U-Haul? Long distance movers? POD? So much to think about while trying to work it out financially as well – any way we choose will be expensive since we are moving across the country.

After days of calling around we decided on using a long distance mover since they could handle all the packing, loading, moving, and unloading. Although expensive, this was the most convenient way for us to coordinate things from California. There were less expensive ways (like U-Haul, PODS) but that involved doing a lot of the packing, loading, moving and unloading ourselves, which was way too much work for us to handle.  

This was one of the most stressful times for me and my husband – we realized someone had to be in Florida to see it all come together.  Time to call in some relief!

What I Learned: With being such a stressful time, try to manage things to relieve stress.

Caring For An Elderly Parent: Choices, Challenges, and California

Blog - Pic29 Thinking about moving Mom to California has certainly been challenging. We knew once Mom was in Cali she wouldn’t be going back to her home [guilty]. Kinda sad really. So we had to prepare for her permanent stay and figure out how we were going to convince Mom that this was the way it had to be and the best move for her.

We looked into retirement living, assisted living (although we knew from Florida that this probably wasn’t an option), her own apartment, apartments next to each other (1 for her, 1 for us), even a house for all of us to share. We didn’t want her living too far from us because she doesn’t drive, and we didn’t want to spend all our time on the road back and forth, so it was difficult finding something that would work for all of us. My husband and I agreed that living in the same house with Mom was not going to work for us – we absolutely needed our own space.

After countless weeks of looking into our options, we finally found something we thought would work; but we went from our plan of buying a condo so we could have more “us time” to renting a triplex – I’m amazed that we actually found something that would work. The triplex is a 2 bedroom front house, 1 bedroom attached house and a studio apartment above the garage. The front house is the largest and has been recently updated – although old, it’s really quite charming and has all the conveniences one needs (like a refrigerator that beeps when the door is left open – which turns out to be a great feature for Mom).

This honestly works out well for Mom since she will live in the front house and will have the largest space for living. Although she is moving to a much smaller space, it definitely would not be as small as assisted living where you basically get a room.

Our son will live in the apartment above the garage so that will work out great for him. 

My husband and I will live in the 1 bedroom attached house, going from a 1200 square foot condo to 700 square feet of living space. It was going to be an adjustment but we are more used to smaller living quarters than Mom and this was our best (maybe only) option for our situation.

Hey, less cleaning, right? 

What I Learned: Only make sacrifices that you can live with – and don’t take them lightly.

Caring For An Elderly Parent: Deciding on Living Arrangements

Blog - Pic7“This is supposed to be the time of my life – the nest is empty; but now Mom needs me.”

So I talked with my siblings and my brother said he could arrange a senior living facility near him and his wife, but that would mean moving Mom to Canada. Mom is not opposed to that option, but again, she would be in a senior living situation and also a bit of a distance from where my brother lives. Part of me was thinking, great! – it would mean that my life would stay as it was [guilty], but the compassionate side of me was thinking that Mom would probably not adapt to the weather very well, and how often would she really be around family?

My sister was more than willing to have Mom close to her (which is in Canada as well) but also live in a senior living facility. Mom has plenty of family there to visit her on a regular basis but she just doesn’t want to live in that part of Canada.

Although having Mom live close to one of my siblings would have alleviated a lot of stress from my life [guilty], Mom doesn’t have the greatest history with either of them – I’m not so sure that would work out very well.

The next few months were certainly interesting. My husband and I focused all our attention on getting Mom to a safer environment where she’d have more interaction with people and be close to family. We decided that California was going to be the best option – now how do we convince Mom?

It was definitely going to be a challenge.

What I Learned: Don’t make rash decisions; think of all the options and keep Mom’s best interest in mind.