My mother is going to be 85 in January. She's currently living in the family home alone, because my father, who is almost 89 and requires 24/7 care, is in a nursing home nearby.
I won't go into the saga that was finally getting my father out of the house and into a place where he could get the care he requires, but suffice it to say, my mother was stubborn about her ability to care for him, and she's even more stubborn about her ability to care for herself. The fact of the matter is: she wasn't capable then, and she's even less so now.
If you look at the check list of "Signs an elder may need assistance", my mother can tick off most of them. She hasn't done laundry since my father left. She'll just sink wash some underwear and pjs and call it a day. The mail piles up in the box until I come over and sort through it all. She sponge bathes. Never washes her hair. Won't cook. Refuses to learn how a microwave works. She subsists on cereal and canned soup. She's supposed to take blood pressure medication, but she either forgets to take it at all or takes too much because she forgets she took it.
As a result of all this she's malnourished and the toll it's taking on her cognizant and physical abilities is obvious, even to her, but still she refuses to see a doctor or accept care. I need an intervention.
She won't even discuss going into a home, even when I say I could find her and my dad a nice place to stay together (there are some lovely places nearby with well decorated rooms that allow personal items and have beautiful grounds, etc).
I'm only 40. I'm an only child and trying to manage a career and family. I work long hours and also live an hour away. I come up every weekend to visit them both and take her to lunch, I pay her bills through internet banking (I have DPOA for both parents, but not guardianship - another battle getting that was), and manage her household as best I can, but it's draining me.
I'm terrified to relax. When I try to take a weekend off from things I get the guilt trip and the reminder that 'we won't be around much longer to bother you.'
I have tried contacting the town's council on aging and the senior services at the local hospital. My mother won't even meet with them. I tried setting up meals on wheels and she refused to even open the door for them. Then, later the same day, she calls to tell me she has no food in the house, could I do a delivery order. I may have had a meltdown over that...
I can't move in with her and I cannot move her in with me. Bless those of you who are able to provide that for your relatives, but that's just not going to work for me. If for no other reason than I have 2 large dogs who would knock her right over and likely break something.
There is little extended family, and those that are nearby are not reliable, nor would my mother allow THEM to visit, either... because she 'doesn't want anyone to see [her] like this'. Her neighbours are helpful, but stay at arm's length and I don't blame them. It's not their problem. I appreciate what they DO do for her.
I'm at the point where I'm waiting to either walk in to find her dead on the floor, or for her neighbour to call me and tell me they're taking her away in an ambulance for whatever reason. In some (terrible) ways, I'm almost hoping something will happen to make it out of her hands whether she's placed in a facility or not, because I can't force her to go, and she's like trying to reason with a toddler.
Calgon, take me away!