My mother wants to move in with us. Any advice? (long)


Make a miracle!
Aug 18, 1999
My 70 yr. old mother lives in Florida alone. I'm an only child and live in Utah. We talk every week and usually visit her once a year. But she's getting older and even though she's always said she can't understand why anyone (me) would ever leave Florida, she doesn't want to be alone so she wants to move here.

Pros: I could take care of her as she gets older and she wouldn't be alone.

Cons: Just about everything else!!! We are so different! She can't stand cold weather and has never been to Utah in the winter. She keeps her furnace in FL on 78 during the winter. We keep ours on 68 during a Utah winter. She visited us once in October and it was a little cool. We thought we'd die when she kept turning the heat up to 80. DH and mom had thermostat wars that weren't pretty.

Also she has problems with her nerves. She has lived alone for years. I don't think she realizes what it would be like to live with 4 other people (2 of which are teenagers not to mention their friends) and 4 animals (she's not an animal in the house person and we are).

She wants us to "pool our money", sell both our houses and buy a bigger one with a MIL apartment. I think an ideal situation would be for her to live here in town but have her own place. But I'm not sure financially she could do that plus she doesn't want to. She said she won't live in an apt. or anywhere else someone else has a key to her door. Neither of us are well off financially so that limits our choices. We have an unfinished basement here that we could finish and move into and she could live upstairs I guess (too cold for her in the basement).

I just can't imagine going back to living with my mom again and being made to feel like a child. During my DD's recent illness and hospital stay my mom said she wished she was here and although she wouldn't really be able to help she'd be able to tell me what to do.

Any ideas or suggestions? We've got to do something but I'm afraid we'd all be miserable living together. My BIL/SIL and MIL/FIL all moved in together. It lasted about 18 months before MIL/FIL moved out. A great relationship was almost ruined by living together. I told my mom that and she said she's easy to get along with and they aren't (not true).

Sorry so long!
Oh Liz, what a problem! :(

My two cents: I'd find an "assisted living" community in Florida where she could move in and be with other seniors and with the support of a nursing staff and social staff. They are not nursing homes, far from it, but a great option for those who are getting on in years yet who do not need full-time nursing home care.

I think you all would be miserable if your mom moved in with you, based on what you have described.

Good luck to you!!!
Sounds to me like you already know the answer to your question. My grandfather moved in with us when I was a teen. He had his own attached apartment with a living room, bedroom and bathroom. We all shared the kitchen. He had a sliding window, when it was open you could come over and watch TV or talk, when it was closed -- don't come knocking!! It worked pretty well, although in the end when he got sick he turned on my Mom which is fairly common and it wasn't pleasant.

My MIL moved in with my SIL and her DH six months ago. My Mom predicted they would split up and sure enough a divorce is in the works. MIL is the type who thinks her kids do no wrong and jumps on her kid's spouses for everything.

I think if you are going to do this you need to lay some ground rules. She will need her own space and own thermostat. Remember your spouse comes first and tell your Mom to keep her nose out of your relationship. If you can talk up front with her it just might work. Good luck.
Tell her..."no, this will not work out" (politely).

Your cons are too numerous. Let me put it to you this is HARD for families to get along in a house together that have everything agreed upon.
That's exactly what we did about 4 years ago. We both sold our houses and moved in together. She has her own room and bath off of the kitchen. We laid out the ground rules before hand.

It may work wonderfully for you. It has been a nightmare for us. She ignores everything we so carefully worked out beforehand. We can't reason with her. If we try to talk to her about anything, she goes to her room and slams the door. She constantly criticizes all of us. We can't do anything to please her. She wants to control everything and tell everyone what to do. It is slowly destroying our relationship. :(

We've considered selling the house and moving but we would lose a lot of money. I feel like I'm stuck with this now and I regret it almost every single day. :(
I second the assisted living facility. Some of them are REALLY nice. There are some Sunrise assisted living center by us and I keep say I want to move in! LOL!! It sounds like you and your Mom are like chalk and cheese and living together would be a disaster. For the sake of everyone's sanity, I suggest trying to find someplace she feels comfortable, but not with you!

Here is the URL for the directory of Sunrise Locations.

Hope this helps!
Liz this is a difficult situation, but as webmaster michelle said before, I would consider assisted living comunity.
This kind of reminds me my inlaws, they moved to Florida years ago, they realized they couldn't live alone so they moved back to NY state, then they fought with my SIL and they moved back to florida, they got REALLY sick and they moved back to NY state, this time with BIL, my FIL had this thing where you can't use too much water or you will dry out the well or bust the septic , but the house had to be kept at 80 for him to be comfortable , costing BIL a fortune in heating bills. Finally he got himself a propane heating unit for his livingroom/bedroom and he paid for it and the cost of propane. He was imposible to live with , I knew we were next to take them in.....BIL was getting sick of them. We didn't get to that point because they got really sick and they passed this year but I know it wouldn't have been an easy to live with him. MIL was different, she was easy to live with, she was the one to pass first which was a shock to all of us and the poor woman was always dragged around when he decided he did not want to stay in one place anymore.
Good luck!!
The two years we spent living with DH's parents was the longest two years of my life. Good luck with whatever you decide. {{{HUGS}}}
If you are considering this at all I would have your Mom come visit for a couple of weeks in the WINTER. Once she realizes how cold it can get she will most likely change her mind. It sounds like assisted living is the way to go, whether in Utah or Florida.
If you are considering this at all I would have your Mom come visit for a couple of weeks in the WINTER. Once she realizes how cold it can get she will most likely change her mind. It sounds like assisted living is the way to go, whether in Utah or Florida.
Although it could be a tough adjustment for all, you may regret not encouraging her to move with you, especially after she is gone and you can't talk with her any more. I have lost a parent and have many regrets for what I should have/could have done for my father. I think the idea of her coming out and trying a month or so in the Utah winter and see how things work out. Remember, they are not around forever........
if it were me i would go ahead and let her move in because if you dont and something happens to her you will not ever forgive yourself.but ths is totally up tu you. things will be ok whatever you decide.
My DM lives with us. It's working out real well. She has the only bedroom that is downstairs. (She really can't climb up stairs anymore.) I do the cooking, she does the dishes, and she sometimes cooks. It works for us, but it sounds like your Mom is quite different. (Mine is almost 86 years old.) I like the idea of your Mom staying in Florida - she would be near her circle of friends. There are plenty of places to live - assisted & unassisted. Don't get roped into something that you'll regret. It sounds like she needs to come for an extended winter visit. She may change her mind! It's tough, though, especially if you think about the "taking care of your parents" thing. Good luck.
I also suggest a "trial run" without selling anything or
moving. While she's there with you, you could discuss
other options where she could control temps, still be in
control of her own life. Or-you could suggest she comes
to you in the summer and lives in Florida in the winter in a smaller/less expensive apartment or assisted living
set up. Put a lock on the thermostat -give her a 3 degree
bump to 71 and buy her some long johns and heated
socks. I can't stand more than a day at my parent's house
nor my in-laws, they keep it so hot!! Same age group.
Good luck-I'd be searchin' for all the options and getting
her involved. You might have to interject a tad bit of
honesty and explain that although she feels she'd be
easy to get along with-you might be the problem and
don't feel comfortable with the idea.;)
My FIL lived with us before he had his stroke. It worked out great. Though I have to admit he did drive my husband and I up the wall sometimes. We laid down the ground rules and he pretty much followed them to a T. He has been in a nursing home for 5 years and I still miss him.
There are people that you can live with and people that you can't. My parents were smart enough to know the difference when it came to my grandparents. My first DGF died in 1986. He only lived 8 houses from us, so it was easy (relative term, said in retrospect) for my parents to assist my DGM with his care. My other GM died in 1990. She lived 45 minutes from us and had 5 surviving children, one of whom lived with her. He couldn't take care of her because "it pained him too greatly to see her like that" so my parents and one aunt took turns staying at her house overnight when it neared her end.

When my DGM got sick, my parents moved her into their house. It was hard sometimes since my DGM wanted her own way always, except when my DDad would tell her something. He was her SIL. My DM's only fear was that she would die in the house. My sister was only 7 at the time and we were all worried that having DGM die in her designated bedroom would spook her. She died in the hospice unit of a local hospital. We were all there by her side as my DM told her it was ok to go.

Last year my GF went downhill fast. My parents could have taken him in, as they had the room, but they knew that they'd have to kill him if they let him live with them. He'd have given them no choice, and he wasn't worth the prison time. ;) They put him into an assisted living facility at first and he loved it. It was a facility run by his church and they had a daily mass in Polish and the residents often spoke Polish to one another. He loved it there, but had to move to a nursing facility as his health failed more. He was 93 when he died last May.

I have a wonderful relationship with my parents and would take them in without hesitation. I'd never, even for millions of dollars, take in my MIL. The power struggle that would ensue between us, and my DH's apathy to the situation would ruin my marriage.

Another thing for you to consider very highly is your mother's social situation. She obviously has a network of friends setup in FL and would ONLY HAVE YOU in UT. Is she the type that would try to network herself to find friends? If NO is your answer, then turn off your lights and lock your doors and pretend your not home if your DM comes knocking.

I think shortbun has the right suggestion. To get yourself out of this one, blame it all on yourself and not on her.
I wouldnt do it. Find an assisted living facility or maybe even add an apartment over your garage if you can. That way she would be close but not actually in the same house. My grandma "lived" with us for a few months and it did not work out to well. We were actaully thinking of getting a house together. I didnt really want to get a new house--mine is paid for--but its not big enough for us and her. We would have ended up with a huge debt while she wanted only to put out a very small amount of her own cash after selling her house and property. She wanted to save the rest of her money. Plus she smoked, we dont. She would have smoked in the house, whether or not we didnt want our 4 kids breathing it in. Anyway list goes on and on.
Good luck with whatever you decide!
With the situation you described there is absolutely no way I would agree to let my DM move in if I were you. It sounds like a disaster in the making to me. I know you want to help her and be close to her but if she isn't willing to compromise by gettng a nearby apartment or go into assisted living near you then you know she doesn't want your help or closeness that badly.
My DM passed away in Oct 0f 00. I miss her greatly. I would do anything in the world to have her back (with one small exception). If the terms of her coming back to life were that she had to live with us, I think I would have to take a pass on the offer. Sometimes you just cannot live with certain people.

My DGM who will be 99 this Feb. lives in a wonderful retirement complex in Tampa (I think it is called Presbyterian Towers). She has lived there for more than 20 years and absolutely loves it. She has her own apartment (small but nice). Why don't you try to guide her into something like this? Either that or find you a doctor who is willing to write you prescriptions for Valium...

Most importantly, make sure your DH is on board with whatever you decide.

With what you described, I'd definitely look for either an assisted living community in Florida, or another living arrangement (even if it's build a MIL "apartment" in your back yard or something) there in town. I've rarely heard of it working out when a parent comes to live with a child for very long.

My grandma on my mom's side had to do that when she had a stroke. I don't remember how long it was for, but I do know it very nearly broke up my parents and was a *lot* of stress on my mom (not to mention the stress on my dad, whom MIL never liked that much).

If you want to try it, I agree with Catsrule's suggestion of having her come stay with you for a month or so in the WINTER so she can see what it's like, and with the idea of putting a lock on the thermostat (however you do that) so she understands she's living under *your* rules, just like you (theoretically anyway ;) ) lived under *her* rules when you were in her house.

Good luck in whatever you decide.


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