For those of us who are fortunate enough to have loving families and friends, we hope that we can do what we can to be there for them when they need us.
But sometimes there are instances when that is not possible, admitted the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor jamzthrowaway was asked specifically to take care of their mother after she began to display signs of dementia, but they questioned their ability to care for her properly.
Because of this, the Original Poster (OP) was uncertain what to do next.
They asked the sub:
“AITA for refusing my mother, who has early signs of dementia, and her request to live in my house?”
The OP was asked to care of their mother.
“I own a 3 [bedroom] and 3 [bathroom] house, and ever since my divorce, I’ve lived in there by myself.”
“My mother has early signs of dementia and can no longer work or live in her apartment.”
“She has requested to live in my house, because she can’t support herself anymore.”
But the OP refused.
“I refused her request because I feel like it would be a burden to handle her symptoms of dementia.”
“This also would be a distraction from my daily work routine.”
“For reference, I am 35 and she is 68. Growing up, she was very supportive and a loving mother, so yes, part of me feels terrible for refusing her request.”
“Am I the a**hole?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some said the OP was selfish for not taking their mother in.
“You don’t have to take care of your ailing mother because dementia is a demanding full-time care provider illness.”
“I know the current hive mind is, ‘You don’t owe your parents anything, you didn’t ask to be brought into the world, blah blah blah.’ But imma be honest, that’s just a trash way of thinking.”
“Some parents do deserve to be taken care of by their children and their children absolutely owe them. A supporting, loving mother who took care of you when you couldn’t wipe your own a** and would still, if she could, deserves and is owed a fraction of what she gave you, in her time of need.”
“If you had declined because you can’t do it, aren’t comfortable doing it, only able to do it until she can no longer feed and bathe herself, or you were bending over backwards to make other arrangements, I’d be on your side. H**l, if your mother was a monster who deserves to rot in a subpar underfunded state facility, I’d even be on your side.”
“But you’re really here saying, ‘I don’t wanna cuz my work routine is more important and it’d be such a burden,’ and that’s just outright morally bankrupt.”
“I’m just floored you’re calling your ailing, loving, supportive mother a burden that’s what really gets me. A loving, supportive mother should never be called a burden for having an illness she didn’t create and cannot control.” – FoxUniCarKilo
“I mean kind of, yeah YTA. She was a good mom and a good person and now she needs help but you’re not feeling it.”
“Yeah, being part of a family isn’t all sunshine and rainbows and sometimes it’s hard, but it sounds like now is a time when you CAN help her, before she’s losing control of her bodily functions and needs lots of hands on help.”
“Once it reaches that point, hopefully you’ll care enough to find someone who can take care of her physical needs and be present to help with her emotional needs.” – rngal3
“YTA. Not for not wanting her to live with you, but for what comes across as total disregard for her wellbeing.”
“She can’t support herself, so what are you doing to help support her? It doesn’t have to be giving her a place to live, or even monetary support. Could be something like discussing options with her doctor and arranging for her to live in a nursing home with a memory unit.”
“But since you don’t mention anything like that, we’re left to assume that you’re doing nothing at all to help someone whom you describe as a ‘very supportive and loving mother.'” – MultiFazed
Others disagreed and said patients with dementia need specialized care.
“NTA. Honestly, dementia patients should be in specialist care, they can become extremely violent and agitated and can be a danger to their families, and when they forget who you are and scream at you, it’s heartbreaking.”
“Looking after my mum in her last year with cancer was soul-crushing enough, but if she had forgotten who I was and attacked me, I know that would have broken me completely.”
“I wonder if some of the people calling you an AH have lived with someone terminal or with dementia.”
“Help her find a facility that caters to dementia patients who have a good reputation. Whilst it would be great for her to stay in her apartment, a lot of the time they just aren’t safe and secure enough when they truly go into it.”
“My dad (though retired), brother, sister-in-law, and cousin are all police, and they’ve all said having dementia patients that escape the home is one of the worst things, as they tend to leave without shoes or warm clothing and a lot of the times, it’s a bad outcome. You wouldn’t want that to happen to your mum.”
“So speak to her Dr with her and see if he can help recommend some places and what you can do to help in the meantime.”
“But moving in with you and wanting you to care when you work full-time won’t work, and a 24hr nurse care can be massively more expensive than a care facility at times, so she may have to sell her apartment if she owns it.” – RavenBlueEyes84
“There’s a lot of knee-jerk ‘But she’s your Mom!’ going on in this thread, that’s for sure.”
“You’re right, people have zero notion of how much work and expense is involved to try to keep someone with dementia in the family home. Even with multiple family members on-site and willing to help, it’s extremely difficult. It is simply not possible for one person to do it, because the patient needs constant monitoring.”
“People are trying to make OP look like a coldm uncaring daughter, when she’s actually making the only choice that will keep her mother safe, clean, fed, and protected.” – NoxWild
“NAH. She’s not an AH for asking you, and you’re not for not being able to handle it. Taking care of an elder at the start of the slow slide into dementia can be soul-crushing. Work with her to find a solution, be it assisted living or in-home nurses maybe?” – C0pper-an0de
A few said the OP was NTA if they helped their mom find alternate care.
“NTA if you are trying to find her options where she will be safe going forward as her dementia progresses.”
“However, YTA if you say no and won’t help her get into an assisted living area and refuse to help because it may affect your daily routine. She’s your parent, she took care of you and changed her regular routine while raising you.” – kingshwarma
“If she’s starting to have symptoms of dementia then it’s understandable that she would ask. Of course, it’s your choice whether you want her to move in or not. However, you should at least help her find a more suitable living arrangement if you chose to not let her stay.” – TheLoudCanadianGirl
“OP isn’t TA for not renting to be a caregiver. I can’t imagine it and I wouldn’t be up for that kind of responsibility either, especially since people with dementia often wander and can get themselves into dangerous situations.”
“But OP should be a kind son and help his mom with her next step. Maybe it’s an assisted living facility where she can have some support but OP doesn’t have to be a caregiver.”
“Of course, he doesn’t have to do anything, but it does make him an a**hole.” – aliciacary1
After receiving comments, the OP posted a short reply.
“Err… wow, this is awkward. I shouldn’t have let this post go unattended for 12 hours, but yeah I should’ve included this in the original post:”
“I WOULD be helping my mother find an assisted living home after refusing her request.”
“So I’m not just saying, ‘No, you can’t live here, get outta my life.’ I will be helping.”
The subReddit was as divided on this situation as the OP was. On the one hand, it’s the OP’s mother, who was kind, which would urge some people to help her. On the other hand, dementia patients are more difficult than some, and perhaps providing outside care would be more helpful to her.
The one thing the sub could agree on was that the OP should help in some way, whehter it was by opening their home to her, or at least helping her figure out her other options and financial future.