May 13, 2012

Life's Harsh Realities

So, here we are on Mother's Day. My husband's mom is in an assisted living facility in NJ, and he's here in Atlanta. When he was a kid they lived in a really big house and both elderly grandmothers lived with them. Because of that both my husband and his mother believe that family should always take care of the elderly members. She is very upset that neither of her children have her living with them.

My husband left home in his early twenties, rarely visited, and doesn't understand why his mom isn't still living at her daughter's house, either. Keep in mind, he's 900 miles away and has been happy to let life in NJ go on with just the occasional phone call. Nor has he ever seriously considered returning and moving in with his mom to take care of her as she got older.

Now for the realities. His mom cannot sleep through the night and either wanders or stays in bed screaming. She cannot properly clean herself. She cannot walk without assistance. She can't prepare a meal for herself.

Hubby's moms overnight behavior makes it all but impossible for an adult child who has to work full-time.
Hubby's sister is in a townhome with stairs. Not safe for his mom.
The townhome does not have the space for live-in help.
Neither does our house.
Do you know how expensive a live-in helper would be? If one could even be found?

This woman is extremely well taken care of at this place and the staff is SO caring. It costs a bajillion dollars a month, but she's getting what she (and Medicare) pays for. I wish we had the money for a bigger house with an in-law suite. I wish I didn't have MS and could properly take care of her. But reality is, neither my husband, nor his sister, are able to provide the quality of care their mom is currently receiving.

Some realities just have to be accepted.


Webster said...

Does your sister-in-law live in NJ, near her Mom? If so, I just hope that she visits her as often as she can. If there is no dementia, her Mom should be able to understand the realities of the situation. I was lucky that both of my parents were able to remain in their home until the end, with the help of their family.

Anne P said...

Webster, you are really sweet to ask that question. I believe her daughter lives 30-45 minutes away and visits her at least 3 times a week. This girl single-handedly took their mom to doctor's appointments, made sure bills got paid, took her grocery shopping, etc. for 15+ years after their father died. I can find no fault with her.

My husband and his sister have a palpable hatred for each other and it's really a shame. Both of them would need major counseling to heal the relationship but neither is interested. This outsider blames their parents; I believe they manipulated their kids, turning them ultimately against one another. Breaks my heart, really.

Anne P said...

Oh, there is some dementia. The woman is like 87 years old.

Muffie said...

Anne, I understand what you're going through. We had my mother living with us for ten years. Then my MS got so bad I had to stop working. At the same time my mother's dementia got so bad that she was in danger living here. We placed her in a nursing facility nearby (also in NJ) and she's doing well.
It's a mindset of that generation that believes being in a home equates to not being loved. But we visit my mother every day, despite the fact that she hardly recognizes us.