How to care for an uncontrollable elderly parent.

Started by

My sister and I are caregivers to uncontrollable elderly parent. Mom is in fair to good health and does not have dementia. However, she fights us tooth and nail on health issues. She won't let us go into the doctor's office for her visits and recently when blood pressure shot up to 183 over 190, would not let us take her to doctor or emergency room. Had horrible scream out with her out of frustration and she still wouldn't go. It's like this for everything with her. Her judgment is out of whack. Afraid she could get stroke or worse. She is the type that wants to wait until something happens before going to doctor. We are trying to keep her healthy and to head things off at the pass before they happen. Not sure how to deal with her moving forward. She is forcing us to leave her alone more and then we'll have to deal with the probelms when the occur. We live in a mother daughter same home. She lives upstairs, we down. We are single. We have no life anymore. All we do is argue with her and feel depressed and disgusted all the time. She is forcing us to stay away from her more and more. You just can't talk to her or get her to do the right thing. Also, of late, she is wearing the same clothes for two days. When you tell her about it she yells that she is the mother and she only wore them for 2 hours and can wear again. She is just becomming more and more belligerent. We take her to the doctor once every 3 months for general health checkup and she won't let us in the office with him. We take her to eye doctor also every 3 months for general health checkup and same here. She is having serious problem in getting prescription for eye glasses and we've taken her to doctor so many times in last month. But she still won't let us in office with doctor. I think even the doctors are blowing her off. If we try to go into the doctor office with her she has a hissy fit in the office and causes a scene. We are at our wits end with her. We are feeling that if she wants to do all this on her own and wait until something happens, then she is in God's hands. Let her call 911 when she drops. Hard to explain this in words and please don't think we are harsh ... we just don't know how to deal with her anymore. She has been a hard and selfish woman most of her life and when our dad past 10 years ago, she just got worse. She feels like she has no control since she has to depend on us for everything. And instead of being grateful or working with us, she fights us tooth and nail. I work and my sister is the home caregive during the day, I in the evening and on weekends. We have no lives anymore, not that that matters. We just want to have normal lives and peace. But she is gettng more and more difficult. Not even sure why writing to you kind folks. Sometimes it just feels better to write about it. But I'm worried she could have something and because she is so obstinate, that her lack of taking care of an issue in a timely manner, can cause something really bad to happen, like stroke or heart attack.

How do we get our mom to understand that we must have control. She keeps saying she is the mother and what she says goes. I can't deal with this much longer.

It has been 10 years of this and it's getting worse. I'm 55 years old and single and have no life. I work all day and deal with this all nite and weekends. My sister deals with it all day. She is 50 and single and has no life. We are miserable and suffering. We don't know what to do anymore.

So as of now we are leaving mom on her own. We cook her meals and bring to her but pretty much are leaving her on her own. We hardly speak to her when she's like this. We take her to doctor when she has an appointment and then home. But we are trying to have two separate lives in one house. This is how we are trying to cope this month anyway.

I kjnow this is probably wrong, but we just can't take this much more.

Mom is mean and nasty and just plain difficult.

I have great sympathy for her. She lost her husband, doesn't drive and has no friends. But I can't let this overtake mine and my sister's life.

We need to find a way to cope and exist together.

I wish there was an easy answer, but I know there is not.

I want to run away. Sorry to be so long winded and thank you for listening.

23 Comments

Are you sure that your mom doesn't have the beginnings of demetia? My mom was also initially unwilling to release any type of control over her medical/financial issues. It took her actually hearing that she had Alzheimers and that she would have to let her children assist her from several doctors for her to finally allow us to help her.
Is there anyway that you can show her that she can remain "in charge" of decisions being made but you and your sister need to be in on those decisions. This is what we did with mom, we would go to appointments with her and even though we knew she didn't understand much of what was being said, we asked what she thought.
I understand what you're going through. I have a similar problem with my father.
He's always been a controlling person and now at his advanced age it continues even more. I sold my home and moved in with him when my mother passed away. He was lonely, crying and did not want to be alone. It didn't take long for him to become nasty and insulting. I do all that you do with grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, doctors visits etc. He tells me it's my job to this. I have one brother who lives 3 hrs. away. He only comes to see him 2 times a year, sometimes 3. He usually calls once a week. The grandchildren are all adults, working with their own families. They rarely visit. My father all his life placed great importance on his friends and most of the time he prepferred being with them. Now that he is in his old age they also don't bother with him like they used to do. So I'm here doing everything for him plus having to deal with his nasty attitude. When I speak up and get upset he will get weepy and say he's sorry. I fall for the tears, but also know it will happen again and it does.
It's good you have each other to deal with your mother. I hesitate telling my children, friends and even my brother because I sense they really don't want to hear about it. Sometimes when we think were doing the right thing it back fires on us. For me, keeping active and being around up, happy people really helps. Then I can better deal with my situation.
Ask to see your mother's doctor. Tell them you aren't asking for information, you want to provide information. Tell them about her behavior and ask they screen her for dementia. Be forceful and don't take no for an answer. Alternatively contact your local Office for the Aging, explain the situation and ask for advice. Don't try and cope alone.
My dad was getting confused...and my mom already had alzheimers. For 5 years and 4 months I did thier errands, shopping, appointments,then I had to start to hire 24/7 care because dad could not be left alone. HE would get beligerant with the care, and also me when they could not come. He was quite scary...he would get right into your face and yell....(kinda like when I was a kid...so I have anxiety issues about this). He said he would never go into a nursinig home. He said he never wanted to lose mom. Since the round trip drive to thier place was 50 miles, and I still had 2 kids at home, husband worked second shift, it was getting unbearable. The stress was enormous. My uncle who shares POA but lives out of state said that if I did not get them into a nursing home next time a room for them together became available, he would no longer help with the accounting side of their care. That also caused me stress because dad was so beligerant about even discussing it. I had all the hands on grunt work. But, I did it. I moved both of them into a home. We still have problems...but at least I don't have to worry about not being able to make plans anymore with my own family. Or taking my kids to lessons, or band practice, appointments etc. I still am anxious because each time I go there he seems to play the guilt card. I limit my time there to save my mental health. I deserve to have a life, and my kids deserve to have their mom available to them while they grow up. My parents are both 78, and their youngest is 44. I am 54, hubby is 59. My youngest is 13. Who do you think I am going to chose? My dad would apologize also when he would get snotty. But it was the first time I ever heard him apologize to me for anything. But, I still had to do it. It is hard to do, but we all have choices. He will lose his house and all his assests, but I don't care. Money isn't everything. But my kids are everything to me. I need my turn to live my life, and watch my kids grow. Don't let anyone make you feel bad. You are doing the best you can. Make the best choices for yourself also. Good luck with your situation. You are not alone. Deb
It does sound like at least the beginnings of dementia. But high Blood Pressure,
clogged arteries can cause behavior problems as well. I agree to make appointment with Dr. for info session. Will go over better if he is "bad guy" telling your Mom to let you and Sis help. Sometimes having this coming from an authority figure (rather than from "young" children) really makes a difference.
"Obviously you don't know anything" but since he is authority figure elder is more apt to go along with treatment plan he writes out.
Helpme~You didn't mention why you are all living in the same house. Is your mother no longer able to cook, clean, etc., for herself? My suggestion is that you change your approach toward her. Only offer assistance, let her make decisions with you and your sister instead of you and sister insisting she do it your way. Have you ever heard the expression that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again with the same results? Do you have POA on her medical? If so you can talk with her doctor privately. Make an appointment and tell him/her what your concerns are for mother, tell him/her about her behavior. If your mother has always been difficult as far back as you can remember, it may be best to make other living arrangements so that everyone can have some peace. I hope you find something that works for all of you.
I think with you and your sister working, it is best that you make sure she eats. So you are doing the best you can do. A dementia patient is the hardest to be with when it has taken hold and they know something is wrong, but they always try to blame others. It is just like that. My mom is past that phase and much easier to handle now, sometimes downright nice. I really don't mind being around her now. She talks a lot of gibberish, but isn't combative like she use to be. Good luck.
Helpme, first of all I wouldn't have asked her or told her you needed to take her to the doctor about her blood pressure, I would've just called 911 and let the paramedics make the decision. And I agree in that, you didn't say as to why you and your sister are living with her in the first place. Has this been a long standing arrangement, or something you did for your mother after your dad died? I understand her not wanting to go to the doctor whenever she has an ache or pain, but uncontrolled blood pressure is a silent killer and has to be dealt with. Sounds like your mother is and has always been a control freak, there's no changing that I'm afraid. Maybe it's time to sit her down and tell her that when she has a stroke or heart attack because of her unwillingness to address her health issues, you'll need to know what to do with her. What hospital does she prefer? What about a DNR? My point is, she needs a slap in the face (metaphorically speaking) to get her attention as to how serious you and your sister are. If she's wearing the same clothes day after day, it's probably because she can't remember that she is. And that, in and of itself, needs to be looked at too.
Your comment about their not wanting to wear clean clothes hit home. I had yet another "discussion" with my Alzheimer's mom yesterday about the need to wash clothes. It's been weeks since she put anything in the hamper. "I don't sweat," she says. She now firmly argues that wearing socks & underwear many days in a row is no problem. I've tried distracting her with the vacuuming & then running into her room and gathering every bit of socks and underwear and throwing them into the wash. It worked, sort of. But every time I bring up the laundry issue, no matter how carefully *& light-heartedly, she gets angry and says disgustedly "All right MOOOOMMMMM," and confirms that she doesn't think it's her daughter's business at all. I'm at wit's end; it does smell bad! I'd say that your mom may be depressed, but more likely has a vascular dementia coming on (given her high blood pressure). Definitely time to give info to the doctor; he'd never know otherwise, and listening to you give info doesn't violate her confidentiality.
I know how all of you feel. I recently put Mom in nursing home, but just told her she was going to doctor appt and I sneaked out. She pulls the GUILT card on me constantly. I cared for her at home for 14 months and my only helper was my son. She constantly bitched about tempature in house (Liked it about 90 degrees) fussed her blankets were not on her right - wanted house cleaned, BUT MOSTLY WANTED TO GO TO HER MOMMY's house (her home?) Many nights she cried and begged and demanded to be taken home or she would walk)

she is almost in last stage of dementia. So she raises cain saying we don't feed her, don't medicate her, waste her money, blah blah blah. I know she can't help it but I'm 63 retired to have a better life then got this. I need hip replacement and I'm in constant chronic pain.

I'm now calling and making several doc appt's for me and will start working on plans for my surgery. She's been there 11 days and I've not went to see her. AN UNKNOWING case aide called me today wanting me to talk to her to "calm" her down as she was begging for me and TO GO HOME !! Most of the others knew that would not calm her down at all but make her worse. I told her. JUST TELL HER I'LL BE THERE LATER.

Before the dementia - she always had little criticisms about my life, my son's and she nagged my Dad til the day he died - her whole family was like that - nag, fuss, complain. Yes she loved us all and would have laid down and died for us (not now). I'm the child that stayed close all these years to them. The rest took off. I have been taking care of them in some ways since I was a teenager - both were functionally illertate and I had to handle all their business transactions, etc. I took off work to take them to dr appts - the works when we were all young. Trips to the store for Mom and with her when Dad passed - the beauty parlor, everything she needed done or for her home I arranged. I'm worn out.

Nope I refuse to feel guilty and don't you guys feel guilty for normal resentment feelings either.

Brenda

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

Please enter your Comment

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support