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Dr. Keane
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Experience:  PHD LPC
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I have an elderly mother who is living at her house in Ohio

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I have an elderly mother who is living at her house in Ohio by herself. She is also virtually deaf but has a TTY phone and her house is set up so she knows if someone is at the door. She is on medication which helps her dementia and her psychosis. She is much more relaxed when she takes it. A couple of neighbors also help her by picking up her groceries (when they do their own shopping) and help her with maintenance when need be. Another neighbor clears her driveway and walkway to her front door when there is a lot of snow. In short she is still able to be on her own but I am starting to feel anxious as she gets older and would like for her to settle down and be taken care of before she passes.

My mother and my siblings have had conflicting ideas and that is why, after years of talking about what to do for mom, nothing has been resolved. And it seems like I am the only one who is anxious about this and I do feel bad for her. My sister and I do visit with her during the summer and check to see what needs to be maintained or handled around the house. It's all we can do since we have not yet got her to move and we feel guilty because of it.

Here are our conflicing ideas:

My mother wants to move in with my sister or me but before she would think of doing this, she wants to give to us or sell her personal items and items she bought around the world and then sell her house. It seems like my brother and his wife are the only ones interested in obtaining her personal items. My sister and I do not have the space for them and the cost of shipping them would be outrageously expensive. So we thought to get it auctioned and then put her house up on the market. Then the money can be split 3 ways.

My sister tries to appease her husband, so although she could have my mother move in her house, her husband would object and would have her move into a senior apt. or in their guest house, once they decide to build it, once he finds a job (he is in between jobs). His idea is that he thinks by doing this she should save her money.

If my mother lived with me, I would rather she moved into an assised living facility. Though it may be more expensive, she would be taken cared of 24/7, she would not be so isolated and she would be better in group setting. I do not agree with my sister and brother-in-law for her to move into an senior apt. because it would not be any different as it is now and it would not work out with her deafness. she worries about fires set by other elderly folks. She would not have any knowledge. Also she wants to be with people. If she decide to move in with her sister, when would that be? Another year? They would still need time to build the guest home and to do all the prep work beforehand.

My sister-in-law and brother were flabbergasted upon learning we were thinking of auctioning her things and selling her house. She said that I should discuss with my sister and brother about what we should do. It looks like they already had their mind made up. My brother never called me. He does not go to visit my mother and my sister-in-law would come instead to visit instead or they would do the minimum and stay for only 1 day. She mentioned that once we take our mom out of the house and that they would handle the personal items and the selling of the house. I talked this over with my husband and he thought instead to have an auctioneer or someone else to assest the items so we would know the overall value of her things. I still have not done this as I was leary of my sister-in-law and brother's reaction. Though it's my mother's decision on what to do with the money. What advise can you give on this?

Please give me some advice on this.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dr. Keane replied 6 years ago.

Dr. Keane :

I can help you with this question

Dr. Keane :

After reading your post it sounds as though the first thing you would want to do is make sure your mother is safe. If she has dementia and is psychotic she may become a danger to herself even if right now she seems fine . I agree that she needs to be in an assisted living facility. Getting her an apartment isn't the best idea since she will still be alone. As far as her belongings are concerned you would be best served to have them appraised and then if your brother wants them your mother can give them to him. I would not worry about your brother's reaction. If there is a chance this house sale would cause problems with your brother it would be a good idea to have your mother hire someone to handle the entire move, appraisal and anything else. This is a pretty common problem in families when each sibling has different thoughts on what to do. Right now you should talk to your mother when she is clear and tell her your ideas on how to go about this situation and then do what she is most comfortable doing but tell her she would be most comfortable in assisted living. That point you should remain firm on.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

With her psychosis, she is not a danger to herself. If anything she was always paranoid and besides calling everyone 12 - 24 times daily, she would suspect the neighbors and others to be doing something bad to her ( like stealing). All this had stopped with the medication (Aricept) that she has been taking. She will sometimes display some of this when she get a little anxious about money, etc. and she is not comprehending the problem. Does not help that she is deaf.


My dilemma is that I feel that I am the most anxious among my siblings. My sister is a nurse and she does not see the urgency to move her. We both also have teenagers (she has a third kid who is 11) who keep us on our toes, so we have not been very diligent with helping her towards a move in the near future. Guess I will have to have an appraiser at my mother's house soon - that means my sister or I having to schedule a trip there. My mother will only get anxious wondering why the appraisers are there.

She is adamant about how she plans to move and I am thinking to move her soon. But do think it would be ok to move her then get her things appraised afterwards and sell her house afterwards?


Expert:  Dr. Keane replied 6 years ago.

Hi, If you plan on moving her soon it would be fine to wait until she moves to have everything appraised and sold. You may have to convince your brother and sister in law that assisted living is what she needs.

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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Another concern I have is leaving her house unattended. Although she lives in a good neighborhood, there have been occasional break-ins. I hear that realestate people can put a padlock to keep the house safe.
Expert:  Dr. Keane replied 6 years ago.
As far as I know real estate people put lock boxes on the doors which are electronic and they know who goes in and out. If you have timers on some of the lights that may add some security. You will always have some concerns about this entire situation so try not to do the "what if" dialogue. Please click accept and leave feedback.
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