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HORIZON BLOG

Should Mom Move In With Me?



Question

"I’m debating whether or not to encourage my mother to move in with me. Mom is having a harder time getting around lately, and I think she’s going to be in need of support for the rest of her life.  

I have two siblings, but I don’t think either of them is interested in taking her in. You see, she’s a cranky lady who can be hard to be around sometimes. She’s quite directive and demanding. It does create hard feelings once in a while, and I worry what it would be like to have her in my house around the clock.  

I do, though, have this sense of obligation to care for my mother. I’m wondering what I should consider as I make the decision to offer her a home or not. Please provide some advice."

 

Answer

You have quite the dilemma to navigate at this point in your life. The decision is potentially long term and should not be entered into lightly.

Unfortunately, this is not a decision anyone can make for you, or advise you definitively one way or the other. What I can do is give you things to consider while you contemplate this. 

Since your mother is “hard to be around at times,” consider the amount of space you have in your home. Would mom be sharing a bathroom with you? Would her room be a reasonable distance from the living space or other bedrooms to give her privacy, and you some space? Would she have space in her room to have a chair and reading lamp? Would she have her own television to allow her independence in viewing options?

Consider where you live in relation to where she lives now. What will she be leaving behind? Will she miss friends? Was she driving and getting out on a regular basis in her town or city? Will she be bringing a car and will it need a space to park? Basically, what networks are going to be disrupted?

What are your plans for lifelong supervision? Are you still working? Are you prepared for round-the-clock care? What is your backup plan?  

Next, take a look at your house in terms of accessibility. Do you have grab bars? Are your bathing facilities easy to access? Do you have a walk-in shower with a bench? How many steps are there to get into your home, and how many steps are there inside?  

In your planning, include the logistics of medical appointments, hair care, shopping and all other activities that one does to maintain themselves outside the home. What would be your plan to handle those events if you’re working or unable?

Discuss what you’re considering with your siblings. Whether or not they’re interested in taking your mother in, they may have opinions about what you do. Remember, they previously lived with your mother also. They may have insights you haven’t considered. Give them a chance to be part of the problem solving.

Lastly, take a long hard look at your ability to manage your mother’s behavior. Some people are easy to live with, and others are not. You have history in this situation. Are you going to be able to handle her moods and actions? Do know that she is going to behave the way she always has. What’s your plan for dealing with her on the tough days? How have you handled the behavior in the past? Has your mother responded positively to your reactions? Since this appears to be your primary area of concern, I recommend you seek counseling specific to your situation prior to making this decision. Tell your entire story to a professional and get specific advice on how to proceed. 

This is a tough situation and will not be easy for you, whichever way you decide to go. I’m sure you will make a thoughtful decision. I wish you the best.

 

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