Stressed out by mother's refusal to make decisions.

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My mother who is living independently in her own home with no obvious signs of dementia, refuses to make decisions regarding her present and future care. She has COPD and on oxygen with difficulty walking to far. I live an hours drive and work. She refuses to consider hiring outside help or using any form of public transportation even those that provide for the elderly and handicapped. My sister and I cannot always be available all the time to take her shopping and her never ending doctors appointments we have to work. She refuses to move closer or into a more senior friendly place. She relies on the next door neighbor to mow her lawn and shovel her driveway for which she does pay for, but the neighbor works and is not always available. I do have DPOA, but she is still considered competent by her doctors. I see she is slowly declining and wants to be a recluse and watch TV all day. She would so much benefit living in a senior community or assisted living. I have cannot make last minute changes to my work schedule if she needs to see a doctor immediately. Her neediness and inconsideration is a major stress in my life. It would be so much easier if she was willing to compromise in some of her care, but it is all or nothing with her. I live in fear each day for when the ball will drop and I will have to make decisions for her that she will not like. My sister in a contingent on the DPOA. I am seriously thinking of resigning as primary DPOA. Fed up with her living with her head stuck in the sand thinking she can continue living as she is until she dies.


Do you have medical POA as well? Has she prepared an advance health care directive?
Oh, she's making decisions all right - just not the ones you, as a loving daughter, would like her to make.

"Her neediness and inconsideration is a major stress in my life. It would be so much easier if she was willing to compromise..."

Sounds like she just wants to do what she is doing as long as she can, and does not see why that should upset you. She's the one sick and dying, and knows it, and wants as much control as she can have. You may have to set limits, be realistic and tell her you may not be able to get her to all her doctor's appointments; you might have to have a care manager and non-emergency medical transport if you can't take time off work, or reschedule. But if she is competent, her decisions on how to live out her life are in fact hers to make. You are just going to beating your head on the wall if you want her to be a different person than she is....unless there is a treatable depression or some other way of helping her feel more energized, and if she had more energy and well being she would be happy to socialize more despite dragging along the oxygen tank, etc.

When she reached the point of not being able to make her own decisions, which may or may not ever happen with your mom, then we did the best we could to make good things happen and occasionally succeeded, but again, she herself did not change very much. I wanted that caregiving time with Mom to be a lot more fun with a lot more positive experiences for the grandkids to remember, I wanted Mom to freely enjoy herself too instead of worrying, fussing, complaining, yelling and scolding most of the time. But a person can only change so much and come so far in this lifetime I guess! I used to pray my mom would open up and do stuff that would have enriched all of our lives. But the answer that came to me was that she was doing what she thought was right, and that should not be taken away from her. NOT the answer I wanted to hear...but it was would not necessarily have been good if Mom really went and did things she did not believe she was supposed to do.
Can you use flex time at work? When she calls with an appointment that you can't keep request a date/time change. make the change yourself and if you have to take time off work try and group as many appointments on the same day. Not too exhausting, Hearing aids, dentist, hairdresser Fit new shoes etc, break the day up and allow for potty stops in nice places . anchor the day with a couple of stops that can't be changed And
I agree with VStefans. You can't control your mom or her decisions since she's still competent to make them. You just have to set some boundaries that work in your life about what you do for your mom and let the rest go. Your mom is taking chances, but those are hers to take. You have to know that you've done everything you can to get her into a better (by your estimation) situation and she has decided she doesn't want to do that.

So let her do what she wants and be there when you can, but don't twist yourself into a pretzel to help her if it is going to jeopardize your mental health, happiness, or job. And work on letting the rest go. You're not Superwoman and you can't meet every need that your mom has. If and when things change, you can help your mom take the next steps to change her situation.
No decision is in fact a decision! Let her cope with her stuff until it is clear to her that she cannot anymore. I think that when you are not going crazy trying to make everything nice for her that she may become more compliant.
Thanks for all the feedback. I understand my mother wanting to remain in her own home and I respect her decision, but her doing nothing to help me to help her out is so frustrating. She has always had a wait and see attitude so this is not something new I have had to deal with. I pray she gets what she wants and goes peacefully in her sleep before shemay have to live somewhere else.
Yah, its frustrating. Life is overwhelming enough without extra work and demands that are not really necessary. Its all you can do to forgive and not let the resentment of all the inconveneinces and extra burdens we have to deal with take over our whole lives. I'm that way at work, and I have to try very hard to count blessings, keep my mood up and not let my sourpuss side show too much, but there are times I just can't help it.
I'v had a few days of the "GRUMBLES" myself. Mom is in assisted living and still she'd call 4 or 5 times in a row -weather I'm home or not---because she's changed her mind on this and that and the other---LOSING MY MIND HERE IN GOOD OLE MINNESOTA
Another resource for transportation to appointments etc is an "errand service". This is something that often a mature person with a good car will advertise -- like being her personal chauffer/assistant on call (for an hourly fee). This person will do a 'turn-key' job, coming into the house to help her dress and find her purse etc, help her out to the car, make stops when she needs to, help her into the appointment, etc etc. And put away groceries, help with household or yard chores if wanted. It's usually a one-woman operation, so it would be the same person every time, set up a friendship.
For a cheaper possibility for some on-call help, you might inquire around her neighborhood for one or more people who could use a little extra income. Add up how much it is costing you now for gasoline and missed work.

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