Mom's dehydrated and there is nothing I can do.

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Today I took Mom to the doctor. Her bp was 94/44, weighs less than 97 pounds and she is so dehydrated they could not draw blood to even 1/4 fill a tube, and they tried several times. I'm sad because she is killing herself and we can't stop her. She is 99, physically healthy and still in an independent living facility. She has dementia which is pretty bad, but she refuses to accept it, won't move although she desperately needs oversight as she is her own worst enemy. She can still get herself up, make coffee, put on her makeup, heat some soup, get to the restaurant but little else. We do everything else for her, but we can't be there every minute, nor can we force her to eat or drink (or bathe, which she won't) even when we are there. She is urine incontinent (wears depends) and sometimes bowel incontinent from laxative abuse which she buys in the facility store - and hides from us. She has always been a bad eater (from her youth) and now is worse. She has passed out or has been weak from dehydration for the past 20 years because she barely drinks enough liquid to stay alive. I could tell that the doctor has given up because as long as she is not in assisted living, there is nothing he can do, no meds, no instructions because she won't follow them anyway (and never did even when she was younger and knew better). I know at her age she has lived her life and made her choices, but I feel like a bad daughter watching her do this to herself and unable to stop it. My sibling doesn't want to force her to move, just let her live the way she wants, so I can't make it happen alone. (Even if we tried to move her, she refuses and says she will kill herself, and no doubt she would make life h*ll for us. We forced her to move from her home 8 years ago and she is still complaining and bringing it up as the main topic of conversation. It may be wrong, but I pray she will just go to sleep one night soon and not wake up. I can't imagine how she will be if she falls and ends up bedridden or her dementia progresses until she is a vegetable hobbling around with no quality of life. Dementia is sad and so am I.

6 Comments

file a Baker Act petition with your local courthouse immediately, if you can't get the cops to pay any attention to this; that was the first thing i tried, got nowhere with them. they don't care. with a Baker Act the police will escort her to a psychiatric facility for evaluation. i was in the same situation, fortunately my mother checked herself in to a mental hospital, she was dehydrated to the point of delirium almost.
Baker act refers to involuntary commitment of someone who is in imminent danger of harming themselves or others. She sounds quite lucid, but extremely uncooperative. She will live and die by her own terms. My father was much the same, defied his doctors and dropped dead at 83. Leave it between her and God.
she must be doing something right to live to 99 .. thats an incredibly long life span..
Pam, that is what we have no choice but to do - leave it to her and God. Being with her for even a few hours takes everything out of me. I do her shopping, finances, laundry, decorate, clean out drawers and closets (she's a slob), minor repairs, anticipate and take care of her every need and errand. It kills me to see what she is doing to herself. She is now a very difficult stranger with my mom's face. Dealing with her 2 minute memory, deafness, paranoia and constantly repeating the same mantras, asking the same questions etc is wearing me out. I can't take on the fight of moving her until such time as the facility kicks her out when she starts wandering the halls, or falls again, or messes in the restaurant. She seriously needs oversight, but she is sly and very good at hiding it from others.
Even assisted living would not be able to make her drink, shower or anything else. She would have to be a willing participant. She knows what she needs to do. She is 99, I would be ready to be done too. If this sounds harsh, I apologize, sometimes they just need to finish living their lives, their way just as they have in the past.
They couldn't force her to eat or drink, but they told us they would get her and bring her to meals three times a day which would at least put food and drink in front of her. She would not be allowed to purchase several bottles of Milk of Magnesia per week which is 1/2 the reason she is so dehydrated. Somehow I know this is going to go on for many more years.

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