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

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 Answer

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.