If you have the means to do it, I think it is very kind of you. My father who is close to 90 lives about a mile from me (in a house) and is very independent. When he needs hep with things I am close enough to help. Having his own home and being so close to relatives is what keeps him going. Independence is what life is about.
Baird and Warner
We are very close to the point where buying property may be more cost effective than renting. It wasn't long ago that this was not the case. There are many investment advantages with ownership if you can handle the long distance issues regarding property responsabilites, like up keep.
If for some reason your mother moves into assisted living, you have several choices with property ownership, one of them is renting out the property. Having said that, make sure that the by-laws (if you decide to go condo) allow that flexability. You can also sell the property. If you were renting, a lease can be difficult or costly to break, in such a circumstance.
The right answer for you has more to do with the answers to many questions about your mothers health, mobility, and the likelyhood of a change in the near future. From an investment stand point, you would certainly be creating equity and there is comfort in knowing that there is stability. Stability can be a big deal. Renters do not have the rights that they should when banks forclose. By renting, there is a risk of instability if the property owner falls on hard times and the bank forcloses. If that happens, you will be scrambling on short notice to find your mother another safe place to live. this has become an issue in the last 6 months and may continue for another 6 months to a year.
I hope this helps.