Feel bad after argument with elderly parent

Just need a bit of safe space to let this all out.

Background - my partner and I bought a house together with my mum, where she has an annexe attached. Most days my mum loves this place, but sometimes everything is wrong. The location is dull, there is nothing to do to help her make friends and ease her loneliness. The rooms are too small. It could be anything.

She is in good health, at nearly 80. She does suffer from neck and shoulder issues due to several accidents but she can get around, drive etc. The problem is I think she is depressed. My father died over 20 years ago, and she is still grieving.

We live in a nice friendly village, and she has a dog she could take out regularly to meet people but she doesn’t. She has gone out and not seen people so rather than varying the time of day to walk or anything it’s all “I never see anyone”. She’s tried some volunteering but that hasn’t given her the social side she really needs.

I’ve tried to counsel her over the last 20 years, it’s been most weekends she’s been crying on the phone, and I’ve had to compartmentalise my feelings so I can help her. I’ve suffered from awful guilt, and has therapy off and on over that time to help me.

I thought us all sharing a house would help. Then when I get it all thrown back at me that the place is dull or the annexe is wrong etc I just wonder why I even bothered. I lost my head and shouted today, I don’t usually just blew a fuse as I am so burnt out trying to deal with the emotional side of it all. And now I feel guilty. Again. Maybe we were wrong to all move like this. I don’t know.

You are only human so don’t be too hard on yourself. Just make a plan that next time she starts moaning you will walk away.

Bowlingbun always points out tgat we are each responsible for our own happiness. You have tried your best and your Mum has options whether or not she decides to take them.

Perhaps your Mum would benefit from a chat with her GP or even some counselling herself - make the offer to help her arrange it - then it’s up to her.

Also worth exploring that the pain in her neck and shoulders is well controlled, if it isn’t that could be affecting her mood too.


Some elderly people, including my mum, could only complain about what wasn’t right, what needed doing, etc. etc. Like they lost the ability to lighten up, to laugh, enjoy life. Think back to when mum moved into her annexe.
Did your force her to move? No, I’m sure you didn’t!!
It was HER choice, and she has to live with that decision.
You are not there to entertain her, or in fact do anything for her.
What she does, or doesn’t do, is up to her!

Incidentally, who owns your home and annexe? Is mum on the deeds of the house, or is it solely yours?
Do you have Power of Attorney sorted? Don’t leave it until it’s too late.
Maybe you and your husband do yours now, and get mum to do hers at the same time.
The system has changed, you can’t write it one minute and it’s active the next. It takes months now.