How do I deal with my husband insisting Mom live with us when I don't want her too?

23 answers | Last updated: Oct 26, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My husband feels that we need to move my mother in with us. I know that she can't stay by herself much longer and I worry about her, but yet...I'm not sure I want her living with us, as I know it'll all be on me. We have small girls too to consider. As it is right now my husband works 40+ hours a week, and I'm the one taking care of our house, our 2 girls, and my mom (who lives 1-mile from us, no longer can drive). My brother lives in another state, is of no help, and is in his own world with his family, working, and going on vacations (which we can't because of mom). So much of our/my life is centered around mom now, I can't imagine what it will be like if she is living with us. I've told my husband that I don't know if I can handle her living with us...which he just doesn't listen to me about. We would have to sell both houses in order to find something that would work for all of us, we just got our house paid off last year and have started doing some remodeling ourselves on the house, but we can't add on to it, and mom's house isn't any bigger than ours. I've told my husband that we are going to have to talk to mom about this to see what she wants to do too, he can approach this and deal with her on things like this alot better than I can. I've been dealing with some anger/aggravation towards my mom for stealing so much of my time from myself and my girls and husband. I have 1 neighbor that can/does help me with the girls when my husband isn't home, that's really all the help I have. I just don't know what to do...

Expert Answers

Kay Paggi, GCM, LPC, CGC, MA, is in private practice as a geriatric care manager and is on the advisory board for the Emeritus Program at Richland College. She has worked with seniors for nearly 20 years as a licensed professional counselor, certified gerontological counselor, and certified geriatric care manager.

Conflicts between spouses about caregiving arrangements are common; I call ElderCare a 'marital problem'. Caring for an older parent takes time from children, careers, and together time. It can be rewarding but it is also exhausting.

Moving an older parent into your home is generally not a workable solution, and rarely is it a comfortable one. Most people, including older adults, prefer to have their own space. Conflicts about guests, meals, chores, television, child care and countless other issues will present ongoing problems. Resentment will build in each person in the household. It may leave you with angry, regretful memories of your mother's last years. She does not want that any more than you do.

The ideal solution is to move your mother from her home, where she is dependent on you to provide care, into an assisted living community. If this is not financially feasible, consider a reverse mortgage on your mother's house. This would give her a monthly sum to spend on hiring someone to do some of the tasks that are overwhelming you now. If that does not work, then consider putting her in a nursing home and applying for a Medicaid bed there.

Your task is not just providing the best care for your mother; it is to provide the best solution for your marriage, your children, your financial situation, and your mental health. Eldercare requires a complex balancing of everyone's needs.

Community Answers

Rdhdcwgrl answered...

Thank you for your insight on this situation. I've just got a feeling in my stomach that this isn't going to be a good situation. Now to get my husband to really listen to me on this. I've already said it to him several times, but I'm just going to have to show him this answer you have provided me. Thank you again.

A fellow caregiver answered...

Dear rdhdcwgrl, Please tell your hubby from me that I have always wanted my mom here at the end of her life and have no young girls anymore yet .....there is an amount of role reversal that goes on between mom and daughter that is very very stressful plus we tend to go back to what was first and that is LOTS of stress right there....unless you are really ready for this you will resent your husband for pushing this on you! Don't do it without lots of prayer and YOU being ready...don't do it for the neighbors, the family or anyone until your okay with it! I love my mother dearly and am a professional with elderly yet it is still alot and I feel it is due to Mother /daughter relatedness! I did this with my father-in-law and didn't have the same problems at all! Hugs!

Rdhdcwgrl answered...

thank you...we've had a long discussion on this and I think he is realizing what a stressful situation this could be. I pointed out to him about the stress that is already occurring, and asked him to imagine what it would be if she was living with us 24/7 and what it would be like if she got to the point of 24/7 care...that we would have to have someone come stay (help) with her 24/7, as I couldn't do it 24/7 and take care of our own family. I really don't think that it would be a good situation, I love my mom dearly, but I can't imagine what it would be like to have her living with us, well yet I you said, about the relatedness of mother/daughter. Thank you again. Hugs to you too.

Lisbeth answered...

"Moving an older parent into your home is generally not a workable solution, and rarely is it a comfortable one."

Seeing this surprises me - I know of many instances, my own situation included, where moving a parent in has worked out fine. In many cultures, family members of several generations live together as a matter of course. Americans tend to be very attached to having their own space, but might miss out a bit on developing and deepening family relationships (and gaining the accompanying interpersonal skills, which is a must when living in relatively close quarters.)

Not being judgmental here - if someone does not want a parent to live with him or her, then they should not do it. Period. Just saying that it can be a very wonderful experience, even if not necessarily an easy one.

A fellow caregiver answered...

Wondering if the question of consolidating and having both parents live together has come up? Would your mom be open to selling her house or could your mom-in law move in with your mom and would they be able to afford to hire a full or part time caregiver. You would need to manage the caregiver but it may be less burdensome. That way you would all be close by each other but you would not be the only one providing care?

Rdhdcwgrl answered...

My mom is the only parent either my husband or I have. My husband did have a talk with her today about her being alone, that we are worried about her, and have been considering having her move in with us, finding a bigger home. She seemed relieved, like she didn't want to be alone, and that she was scared to be alone, but didn't want to impose on us. I'm still not sure about it.

Galowa answered...

Dear rdhdcwgrl,

From what you have said, it is not clear WHY your mother can't live alone much longer. Is it simply "aging," or is she demonstrating symptoms of dementia? Or is there some other illness in the picture?

NO MATTER! You are A SUPER SMART cookie! You don't need any advice! You have the WHOLE scene very clearly drawn in your mind:

1) You know that it's ALL going to be "on you," so you definitely have the "big picture."

2) You've considered your children.

3) You've considered your love for your mother.

4) You've considered the practical issues like living accommodations and expenses, and the hassles of "moving."

5) You've assessed your support system.

After your own thorough evaluation, YOU ARE VERY CLEAR THAT YOU ARE AT YOUR PERSONAL LIMIT FOR CARE-TAKING. This is nothing to be ashamed of, nor is it something for which you should apologize or feel guilty.

You already KNOW the ANSWER to YOUR OWN QUESTION. You simply need to FOLLOW YOUR OWN INSTINCTS... (good instincts, by the way, as it WILL be "all on you.")

HAVING MADE a well considered decision, all you have to do is INFORM your husband of YOUR DECISION regarding YOUR MOTHER and the commitment of YOUR TIME, ENERGY and LIFE." (Feel free to show him THIS letter...)

Any resistance on his part would indicate it's time for him to get a WAKEUP CALL. Try something along the line of:

"You can live with with ME, or you can live with MY MOTHER... but you CAN'T HAVE US BOTH!"

I would consider that CLEAR communication of your position.

Next, ask your husband for HELP COMING UP WITH AN ALTERNATE PLAN. When forming your plan consider the following two facts:

1) As long as they are "able," most seniors want to be independent and remain at "home." Only rarely does a parent choose to "move in" when they themselves are still capable of OFFERING help, as opposed to NEEDING help themselves. Most often seniors move in with an adult child because they need help, or because they fear being alone/lonely.

2) With respect to companionship, loving and being loved by someone does not automatically make you "good companions" for one another.

Seniors choosing to live with their children MAY BE an ideal solution for some families, but ONLY if both PARENT AND CHILD want it. Clearly this is NOT the case with you, even if it seems "ideal" to "certain other people."

As part of your search for an ALTERNATE LIVING ARRANGEMENT check out nearby Assisted Living Facilities, Private Group Homes, Shared Senior Housing and nursing homes. Another option is to find an able-bodied and able-minded senior to share your mother's house with her. This might be a temporary solution, until your mother requires night-time supervision, (unless her "roomie" ALSO needs "night-time supervision, in which case they could share the cost.) If you can find someone a bit younger than your mother, though still another senior, this too, could work out nicely for both of them. What makes this option possible is your proximity to your mother's house, and your ability to check up on the whole setup.

One benefit of the LIVING ARRANGEMENTS above is that ALL would offer your mother the opportunity to be with, socialize with, live with PEOPLE HER OWN AGE.

Family is nice, but SOMEONE WHO SHARES THE MEMORIES OF YOUR YOUTH is much nicer! My mother lives with me and my family, and frankly, she is bored to death with us! She wants to prattle on endlessly about things in which we have ZERO interest. So HERE, at home - she is an annoyance. At her DAY PROGRAM she is considered "most popular!" There is no doubt in my mind which environment she enjoys most...

Meanwhile, if your mother needs supervision and companionship IMMEDIATELY and cannot be left alone, only as a "stop-gap," ask your husband (who loves your mother as if she were his own) - to take your mother to work with him every day just for a couple of weeks. This way he could supervise her while he is working and chat with her so she isn't lonely. She may even be able to HELP HIM with his work! It would kill two birds with one stone. AND, as a bonus, if they spent all day together at his job, they'd have PLENTY to talk about when they got home ... to her house. Who knows? Maybe HE'S the care-taker you're looking for?

This may also help HIM "get the message."

Hope this helps even a little bit.


; )


Rdhdcwgrl answered...

Mom is 80 yrs old, type 2 diabetic, hypertension, heart problems resulting in atrial fibrillation and having to have a pacemaker put in this past year. She has started falling, 2 times since mid Novemember and was unable to get up, I wasn't able to get her up either. She almost passed out in the grocery store the first part of October with me and my girls with her, with the assistance of the store manager we was able to get her seated and called for an ambulance. I don't think she is taking her medicines properly. She is unstable in her walking, has to use a walker (one of those rolling ones with a seat). She sleeps alot, practically all day. She is hard of hearing and hearing aids are not helping her, I fear for her that she won't hear if someone comes in on her or if the smoke alarm goes off. She sometimes seems confused and mixed up. I've asked the doctor on this, she was okay at the time, we are keeping an eye on it per the doctor. My husband brought up to her yesterday about moving in with us and she seemed relieved, like she has been scared to be alone.

Rdhdcwgrl answered...

If we could figure out another way for my husband to spend some time with mom so he would know how it is with her. He works in another town, 45-minutes away, gets up around 4-5 a.m. and doesn't get home usually until 3:30-6 p.m., plus one day he leaves at 10:30 a.m. and gets home around 8 p.m. or so. He works as a meat cutter in a grocery store. So that wouldn't work. He does usually have 2 days off a week and they vary.

I'm the one who knows about her medical history, etc. I have a binder I carry. He knows hardly any, he actually knows a bit more than my brother does. My brother lives in another state and has shown really no concern about mom.

She does have some friends around that can still drive, but they have totally ignored her since she has become to the point of where she can no longer drive, about 2+ yrs now. There is a senior citizen center that has daily activities, I've tried to get her to go to them, but she refuses.

There are no reputable assisted living areas in our area that we/she can afford...all the really good ones are several miles away (50+).

Dtellie answered...

I've been in your shoes and moved my mother in with me. That lasted six weeks before she fell and ended up in rehab and since then a nursing home. Can you speak to her doctor and tell him/her your concerns. Could she have dementia? The falling is also another problem. My mom had that too. In my experience my mom had to have enough ADL (activities of daily living) issues to qualify for a nursing home. Assisted living or an adult home is another option but they can be costly if paying on your own for it. Check your county listings for an 'office of the aging' and call them. The more you research the more you will find out. Maybe your mom would welcome to live elsewhere. Its difficult to take care of an aging parent. I know it first hand. Good luck and feel free to email me if you need to talk. D

A fellow caregiver answered...

Kudos to whoever put the original anonymous poster in her place. Maybe if she gets stuck being a nurse by herself, she'll think twice about posting rude responses.

Rdhdcwgrl answered...

our two girls are little, ages 5 and 8. So I'm trying to maintain as much normalcy as I can for them.

We have since I originally posted the question above - sold mom's house, sold our house, and bought a bigger house with a master suite area that is perfect for mom, she has her own big bathroom, and a sitting room. When the weather is better we will be adding on a small deck with a ramp to it outside of her room (there is already french doors there, but no steps or anything out of it). Everything is wide enough or big enough throughout the house that mom has easy access with her walker, the bathroom in her room is big enough that it has been easy to set up as a handicap bathroom for her.

Rdhdcwgrl answered...

thank you for what you did. Yes I agree, if he can afford vacations, etc. he can help with expenses and all with mom. As for the funeral got that took care of after dad died in '01, she saw what it was to all of a sudden deal with funeral expenses and she didn't want us to deal with that when she died. Thank you for your encouragement and Bless you too!! HUGS!! :)

Rdhdcwgrl answered...

sometimes just getting some support is all the answers we need. When I first wrote the post about how to deal with my husband wanting to move my mom in with us, I was panicking, stressing, and completely overwhelmed. I'm still all of those, but I'm still going on through dealing with everything and that's all I can do, that's all anyone can really do. We have sold her house, sold our house, bought a bigger house, one that will be great for our little girls to grow up in and also with the right area for my mom to have her own space, with the rest of the house being ours. We are right there for her if she needs anything, I can keep better track of her medicines, which has been an issue in the past, and I'm also able to make sure she is eating properly (even though I was buying her groceries, I still wasn't sure if she was eating when she should, etc.). Adjusting to combining our family and her has been an issue, will probably be until we get used to the whole thing. We are still trying to get everything moved over into the new house, out of our house, mom is completely moved in over there, I'm in the house every day doing work, putting stuff away, etc.

Caring community answered...

Hello everyone,

As you may have noticed, several comments have been removed from this question as they violated our Code of Conduct, which can be found at

Please remember that we are here to support one another. While we never discourage disagreement, personal attacks are unacceptable.

Thank you for your cooperation.

The Community Team

Rdhdcwgrl answered...

thank you for your support and attention to this situation. The comment that was the attack on me hurt alot, it kept going around and around in my head after I read it. I can't believe that someone did that without truly knowing the whole situation, I was just trying to get some advice, some support about what I was about to face. Trying to get some insight as to how others have dealt with moving someone into their home or into someone's home to take care of them.

Amynj answered...

You were wise to consider all the implications bringing an elderly and infirm member of your family into your home could have, not only for you and your husband, but for your children, prior to making the commitment. We had my parents with us for just shy of eleven years, and though I loved them both dearly, even without having my own children, it was still a huge commitment of time on top of my full-time job, and it did rest 98% on me alone.

But, even though I am exhausted, and still rather numb from the very recent loss of my mother, for me, it was worth the effort, for the peace of mind that came from knowing that they were safely under my roof for as long as possible. In Dad's case, that was just a few days before he passed; in Mom's case, she did need a nursing home for hospice care for the last two months.

My best advice to you is to keep asking for help or suggestions, whether from here, or from your friends, social workers, medical professionals-you never know who has dealt with similar and may have a good idea to share.

Cjdoppler answered...

Seems you have more than enough advice from so many people here. What you need is strength to do what you know in your heart is right for everybody involved, including your mom. Seeking a place for her to reside with assistance isn't as bad as people have pictured in their heads for years. There are excellent facilities out there that will monitor her, care for her, help her and be constant watch dogs for the doctors on her behalf much better than you could ever do with so many other responsibilities. I'm not saying you're not capable, you've been given a gift of mercy and you want to help, but you already know it's too much of a sacrifice for your own family. What I sense is already a bit of guilt that you're spread yourself too thin with your girls and the lack of help from your husband is weighing on you as well. Many of us can relate wholeheartedly that you've abandoned yourself and your own needs while taking care of the needs of others first. When you board an airplane, they warn you that in the event of an emergency, place your oxygen mask on first and then help others around you. The reason is because you cannot help other effectively if you're not in full stride yourself. It's easy for your husband to be gone for so many hours a week and make suggestions for you to take on more because he doesn't see the full weight of your cross already. My advice: seek prayer for support from your husband to trust you when you say moving your mother into your home is not the best solution, prayer for the right words to come out when you approach him to discuss this matter and prayer that his heart be opened to the needs of his wife and to respect your own insight, needs and experience in all of this. And finally, prayer that the Lord will be with you when seeking a place that will suit mom the best and that God place people in her life that will remove the loneliness from her spirit and accept this decision with open arms. May God Bless you!

A fellow caregiver answered...

You need continuing support. Call your local Area Agency on Aging and find out what Family Caregiver Support Services are available in your area. Also find out if they offer a six week course for family caregivers called "Powerful Tools for Caregiver". This is a wonderfully empowering class for caregivers. Best wishes to you and your family!

A fellow caregiver answered...

DON'T DO IT!!!!!!!!!!

Galowa answered...

Dearest rdhdcwgrl,

Wishing you and your entire family EVERY


Best of luck... ;- )




Marly26 answered...

Hi there! I was placed in your shoes' with my father in law. The only thing different is the fact that I have already dealt with the elderly being a Healthcare Aide. Dont' get me wrong though, there are days that I could just walk out, PERIOD!! Yes I had help in the beginning with him but now 3 yrs. later everyone has kind of put the position in my hands. He is also good at saying well "how come you didnt' take me when you went out. I know he is not well, hes' in his 80's however he can push buttons. I dont' have children at home, my youngest is 23 who still lives at home. Your husband can say all he wants, but hes' not there. You already have to look after everything on your own. I think your husband is speaking from the heart but doesn't really realize just how much you do or you have been doing it for so long he just doesn't see it unfortunately. There are groups for seniors, this may help so that she can at least get out. If she is still living in her own home it sounds' like she can do much for herself. I live in Canada, and we have a place here that you can call so someone will go out and share time with your mom. They cant' drive her anywhere but they can put in valuable time with her. Helping with her cleaning, laundry etc. As well we have Homecare here, something that I have for him. If it is available in your area, ask your moms' Dr. to call your local Access Centre and set it up that she have Homecare a couple of days a wk. for around 2hrs. per day. As well, I would also think about having a Security necklace or band on her wrist that if something happened to her she can push the button, it will first go to your phone, if your not at home it will go to whoever else you know that could get to her. If not it would go directly to the Ambulance. There is a fee for this, however I do not think its alot per month. When it is actually time that your mom cannot live on her own, check around now for Nursing Homes' so that you are one step ahead. Dont' feel as though you are neglecting your mom, you are there when she needs you and there are those who have alot on their plates and just cant' handle more. It sounds to me that you already get stressed just keeping up with the pace with your children and husband as well as yourself. This is not something that everyone is able to do. I am happy after reading that you have sold both homes to buy one to accomodate all of you with your mom having her own area. Pls. keep in mind that there is always help, check with your Local Facilities even for homecare which will give you a time out for "me" time. I wish you luck and happiness. My prayers' are with you. Pls. dont' feel guilty about how you felt, as I said not everyone is able to do what some can. If anyone speaks' ill about your thoughts' pls. remember not everyone is in your shoes' and you need to ignore unpleasant responses. Good Luck!!