ocean-316752_640My husband and I are both self-employed with  businesses in different states. He lives in the Bay Area, I'm in Seattle and my mother lives in the Central Valley of California. I fly down to visit, take her to doctor's appointments, shopping and church almost every weekend. If I can't make it down, my husband fills in for me. Our business demands are considerable and it is increasingly difficult to maintain this routine.

There is also the financial side of this. It's expensive! We concluded that something has to change but communicating this to Mother posed a challenge. Telling her that our business and travel demands make it difficult to continue with the ways things are may give the impression that our work was important than she is to us. Her life long concern of making ends meet would make her sympathetic to the  financial need to make a change and that's the course we decided to take.

We sat my mother down to tell her that money is running low and we cannot continue to maintain the household and support her, my three brothers and their friends. We presented her with the choice of assisted living or moving in with her caregiver and her family. She chose the latter. My mother is fond of her caregiver who has repeatedly offered to take my mother out of the less than desirable situation she's in with my brothers. Mother said she would speak with her about it to see if her offer still stood. It did.

She surprised us by laying out the necessary due diligence. We would first have to meet with the caregiver's husband and family to assess their character and to see if home and the bedroom where my mother would live are acceptable. If after that we felt comfortable in proceeding, we could then discuss fees, duties and responsibilities.  Nice job, Mom!

I just learned that she failed to mention her caregiver's conditions. Mother cannot give my brothers her address and she cannot bring her two little dogs with her. The first condition may sound extreme but I fully endorse it (the reason I say this is a topic for another day). My support of  this condition sent Mother's "mama brain" in to a tailspin. She cannot fathom not caring for her three sons. Her fear of "what will people say" if she "abandons" her children rules her. Ironically, I am less enthusiastic about the second condition. Mother's dogs are her  constant source of love and companionship--not my brothers.

The assisted living option is a long shot. My mother is mono-lingual Spanish speaking and her universe is very small. Her friends situations are similar. They don't speak English, don't drive, are in fragile health. She would seldom see them and it is doubtful that my brothers would ever visit her. If they did, it would only be to "borrow" money. I can't be there everyday. The loneliness and isolation would kill her.

I feel lost.

Like this article? Share on social


Sign in to comment


Dear Corvina, I am so sorry that your brothers and mother's relationship make this such a difficult situation! You are amazing to be so available to your mom. I live in the central valley and wonder if there are resources at the Center for aging in the area where your mom lives. Our city has Spanish language caregivers and even telephone buddies! I wish you well in this difficult situation! I will pray for your mom and caregiver as they sound like they would love to stay together!


How would this work the brothers can not come over but she is taken to see the brothers on a regular basis? This way she would not be abandoning them but can still keep her caregiver that she lives with happy.


Hi Peg,\r\n\r\nThanks for you message. \r\n\r\nAt this point, the Spanish speaking facility is our best bet. There are a lot of activities and Spanish-special health care professionals. It's a very special place. \r\n\r\nMoney talks and mom's caregiver listens. The biggest obstacle now are not the dogs, but my brothers. She doesn't want my brothers to come around (I don't blame her) but my mother won't accept that condition.


Thanks, Janet. I told mom that she could come live with us in the Bay Area, but I'm not there all the time since my business is in Seattle. She loves my husband, but isn't prepared to move in unless I'm there all the time. Glad that that proved to be a good solution for you.


Oh, I hope the pitch works. It's so stressful trying to put together a workable solution. Keep us posted along the way. :)

See more comments