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Adult Children of Aging Parents: A Daughter's Conversation With Her Mother

Updated on October 3, 2014
lrc7815 profile image

Linda lives in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in central Virginia. She writes about taking care of aging parents.

The Back Story

I am an adult child of aging parents. The time has come to make a difficult decision. Mom and Dad are no ;longer able to maintain their home. It's just too much for them. They know it and we, their children, know it, But how do you ask your parents to pack a bag and walk away from the place where so many memories live?

For weeks I have practiced (in my head) how the conversation might go. It is an emotional time for all of us. What you are about to read is fiction. It is a conversation that only exists in the tangled web between my heart and my head. It feels real.

Mom, I Thought of You Today

You were on my mind today. Could you feel it? I've never been able to keep secrets from you have I? The last few weeks have been hard and it's clear that things are getting harder for you at home. Even with someone cleaning the house and mowing the lawn, it's still hard, isn't it?

Do you know how I wish that I could just come and stay there with you; to make sure you're eating and taking your medicine on schedule? I would love to spend my days with you instead of worrying about you. I hope you know that.

We're doing all we can to keep you in your home. You've loved it so. It's more than a house to you, and me too. It holds so many memories for all of us. It holds a lot of stuff too, huh? Sometimes I wonder about the treasures I will find when you're not there anymore and we are packing up all those precious memories. You've kept them all and I know there are things hidden away that are going to tear my heart to shreds when we find them. I can barely breathe when I think of it.

If only you hadn't had the stroke. If only he didn't have Alzheimer's. If...

You'd like to stay there until the end, I know. I wish that for you too. But it won't be long before he won't be able to do the things for you that have kept you there. He's slipping Mom and we all see it. It just hurts too bad to talk about it. So, we don't.

Until now, it's been safe. His memory wasn't great but he still had enough rationale to turn off the stove. But lately we've all noticed the change. He's disconnecting and we can't stop it. Soon he will need to be watched like a toddler. We won't be able to trust his ability to keep you both safe. And then we'll have to make the decision.


Will you hate us for it, when we say you have to move? Sometimes I think it might be good for him, with fewer familiar things around to trigger those partial memories. He would have somebody else to talk to, to tell his stories to time after time. But what about you Mom? Will you hate it? Will you hate us for making you leave your home?

You taught me to be brave, both of you did. You even showed me how when you had the stroke and had to fight so hard to come back. And Dad, well, I remember the first night he had to come home without you. He was so sad and told us over and over that he didn't care if you ever talked again, he just wanted you to be at home with him. He couldn't bear being there without you. But he did it. He showed us how brave he was. You've both been so brave that I don't think I can tell you how scared I am right now. You would be so disappointed in me for being so scared. I can't tell you that the time is coming when we have to move you from the only home we've known as a family. I just can't find the words that will help me when I look into your eyes and try to speak it. And so, I write. I write so that I say what I can't say to you face to face. Will the anger fill you up and change our relationship forever? Will you hate your new home Mom? Will you hate me too?


Alzheimer's disease is stealing my Dad from us. If you haven't been touched by this disease, you will be. One is seven people over the age of 65 will be diagnosed with Alzheimer's. There is no cure and no real treatment. Medications can slow the progression of the disease but nothing stops it.

If someone you know has a loved one with Alzhemier's, reach out to them. It is a disease that is more painful for the caregivers than it is to the person with the disease. Learn about Alzhemier's before it strikes. Know what the warning signs are. Early treatment can buy families precious time.


Submit a Comment

  • lrc7815 profile imageAUTHOR

    Linda Crist 

    5 years ago from Central Virginia

    CrisSp - oh now, I didn't mean to make you cry. But, I am touched that you were so moved by this one. Mother/daughter relationships can be testy or wonderful. I am so happy to hear that yours is good with your daughter. My Mom and are very close now but it wasn't always that way. It makes me even more grateful for every day we have together. I hope your daughter will find the same appreciation for the time you spend together. It is so precious. Thanks for sharing your feelings and for sharing this one - wherever. Hugs to you!

  • CrisSp profile image


    5 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

    I am in tears..literally, while reading this. So touching and thank you for sharing it with us. I am sharing it as well in and out HP and most specially to my own daughter-my best friend.

    Here's sending you great energy for the week ahead.

    Love from the sky~

  • lrc7815 profile imageAUTHOR

    Linda Crist 

    5 years ago from Central Virginia

    Oh wildove5, you do know my heart, don't you? You have been there and I feel your heart in your beautiful comment. I am sorry that you have traveled this road but it seems you have found your peace with the decisions you have made. I remind myself constantly of the hard decisions my parents made for me as a child and now, the tables have turned. You are right. We do it out of love and that is all that really matters. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

  • wildove5 profile image


    5 years ago from Cumberland, R.I.

    Your personal story touched my heart. Your struggles were mine, same fears, same worries. My parents moved from R.I. to Florida in 2005 after my mother suffered a massive stroke at the age of 63. She became totally dependent on my father, she regained her ability to walk short distances yet never regained her speech. My mother lived for another 7 years. We visited often, but worried constantly about them aging and the level of care my father provided all by himself. My worse fear were the same, do I move to FLorida to take over for him when he no longer can or advise them to move to an assisted living center. Will they hate me? Unfortunately the worries I had for seven years were for nothing. God had his own plan. My mother passed in 2012, and 3 months later my father suffered a heart attach, he is well and still living in Florida, alone, We know have new worries and I am back to square one, right next to you. BUT, I believe that our parents know, or will know that all we have done to them/for them was out of undying love and concern. Because we want them here with us for as long as possible and if that means finding a safer place for them, then go ahead, hate me. Best wishes. Awesome write!

  • lrc7815 profile imageAUTHOR

    Linda Crist 

    6 years ago from Central Virginia

    Thank you for your beautiful comment Virginia Lynne. It is obvious that you understand. It is hard but I am always reminded that our parents made difficult decisions too, in our best interest. At the end of the day,we can only the best we can in the situation and trust that things will be okay. I appreciate your visit here.

  • VirginiaLynne profile image

    Virginia Kearney 

    6 years ago from United States

    Wonderful Hub--you've captured the experience and anguish of a child in the moment of having to take over making decisions for their parent. We've had this moment too, and like you, waited until it was actually past being safe. Actually, we were very surprised at how well the nursing home situation helped my husband's parents. They lived at least a year longer because of that decision and they did live a better life. Each person has to choose to be happy or not in each experience, and people with damaged brains are often like children who don't realize so many things that are dangerous and don't always realize and appreciate what the "adults" do for them. I finally had to come to peace with the fact that I knew we were doing the best thing, even if my husband's parents never thanked us or appreciated our care.

  • lrc7815 profile imageAUTHOR

    Linda Crist 

    6 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hi Jlava73 and teacherjoe52! You guys are the best. I appreciate your encouragement so very much. I had no idea when I started writing this piece that it was going to be so cathartic. I didn't intend for it to be so sad. I am ok, really. I remember after my Mom's stroke, when things were turned completely upside down, my brother and I talked about our grief and how we felt the stroke was part of the plan; to allow us to "pre-grieve" for lack of a better way of saying it, so that when the time came, the real grief would not overwhelm us. I think this piece was a part of that plan. I'm one of the lucky ones. Can you imagine going through this without feeling it? Some do I suppose and I feel sorry for them.

    You both have my undying gratitude for the gentle way in which you reached out to me. Blessings to each of you!

  • teacherjoe52 profile image


    6 years ago

    Hi Irc.

    It is always difficult putting a loved one in a retiremnt home whether it be a husband or wife or father or mother.

    Just take comfort that it is truly what is best for them.

    That is why it is important to have a support group help make the decision and help with the transistion.

    I have been through it a couple of times.

    God bless you.

  • Jlava73 profile image

    Jennifer Vasconcelos 

    6 years ago from Cyberspace and My Own World

    I shed a few tears along with you on this. I know the pain you are experiencing. It is so difficult to have to make decisions for our loved ones when they can no longer make them for themselves. We do what we feel is right but there is always that uncertainty. I hope however it works out for you, you will find peace. Being strong means having the courage to make the tough decisions, not that they don’t affect you.


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