My Mother hasn't left the house in years. My Dad can not take care of her anymore. Need Help!

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My mother, who is in her late 60's, has had severe depression/anxiety issues as far as I can remember. She never leaves the house, unless its for a Dr. appt. I am 37 years old, and have never been anywhere with my mom, not to a store, a restaurant, school functions, you name it. She also doesn't drive.

It's hard to put into words everything that has been going on all these years, but my main issue now is that my Mom wont take care of herself and my father doesn't know what to do with her anymore. He's in his mid 70's.

She has become severely overweight, hunched over and walks with a cane, I cant tell you the last time she combed her hair (years...not an exaggeration), she smokes, stays up all night on the computer and sleeps all day. She isn't keeping any of her Dr appt's anymore and refuses to get treatment for her psoriasis, which has gotten really bad. She never calls or visits her family, which is literally right next door. Sometimes, if I go visit my dad, she wont even come out of her room, unless my dad forces her.

She hoards everything in her room. My dad said its disgusting and cant even walk in there without tripping over piles of stuff. It's almost like her room is her own world.

She sees a psychiatrist every 6 weeks, which does no good. It has not helped at all.

Years ago we had an "intervention" because she was on a lot of pain medicines and wouldn't even get off the couch. She went into a rehab facility for a few weeks and had a little improvement after that. She was taken off some of her meds and was leaving the house to shop, eat out, etc. Shortly after, my sister passed away and she has regressed back to her old ways. Though shes not on all the meds, she still takes some. I know she takes sleeping pills.

I don't know what the next step is. My dad doesn't know what to do anymore and us children do not know how to help him. He never tells us the whole story either, so I know things are far worse than I'm describing here. Can I have someone come into the home to see how she lives, to evaluate her? My dad has left a message for her psychiatrist, but he never returned his call. The receptionist mentioned he may not be able to because of confidentiality laws. Its frustrating because that Dr is not helping her at all and will not (or can not) give us advice. Any advice on how to deal with this will be greatly appreciated.


Contact your local mental health department and/or office of aging. They can connect you to a care manager who can visit the home and assess what help is needed and coordinate getting that help for you. I hope you find the help your dad needs - he has done his best and now he needs the help of professionals to care for your mother.
What state are you located in? Contact your adult protective services office. They could go out and evaluate the situation. If that doesn't help, contact a local Care Manager and ask them to go out and do an evaluation of the situation at hand. As a guardian and care manager myself, I do these all the time. Good luck!
We're in NY. I spoke to my dad this weekend about having someone come in to evaluate her, and his response was "she'll probably lock herself in her room and not come out".
jennylew: Why are you involved in her "care?" She is desperately ILL and no one is taking action. Your Dad needs to be more aggressive to INSIST on getting her help. What's the deal with the good for nothing psychiatrist? Make some noise, jenny.
@Christina - I agree with everything you're saying. The only option I see is having someone come to the home because she will not willingly leave it. She barely makes it to doctor appts anymore. The psychiatrist is a JOKE and its so frustrating.
What does her medical doctor say? She must have a rheumatologist for her immune deficiencies? Do YOU know what happened to her to cause this? Some extreme trauma in childhood? Doesn't sound like she is willing to divulge the secrets and it's "eating her up." She is very young to be this far gone. Is Dad capable of taking charge? Really, she needs to be in a hospital for treatment.
If the psychiatrist won't/can't talk to you, you can write a letter to him and let him know just how serious your mother's situation is. I agree with most that your mother needs some serious help. I know it's hard to get the mentally ill "on board" sometimes but this sounds as though she needs professional evaluation. There's a great book "I Am Not Sick I Don't Need Help!" by Xavier Amador which may help you and your dad. Good luck and please keep us posted. Blessings to you and your family.
What about Adult Protective Services or the Department of Health? Can you get her committed? If government can record all the metadata on our phone calls, can't they intervene when it's really needed?
This is your answer. Good luck!

Adult Protective Services (APS) is a state-mandated case management program that arranges for services and support for physically and/or mentally impaired adults who are at risk of harm. APS seeks to promptly resolve the risks faced by eligible clients with service plans that will enable these individuals to live independently and safely within their homes and For assistance or more information call 311 or the APS Central Intake Unit at 1-212-630-1853. communities. Prospective clients may be referred by anyone.

APS is available to persons 18 years of age and older without regard to income, who:

Are mentally and/or physically impaired; and
Due to these impairments, are unable to manage their own resources, carry out the activities of daily living, or protect themselves from abuse, neglect, exploitation or other hazardous situations without assistance from others; and
Have no one available who is willing and able to assist them responsibly
There is an APS office in each borough.

If you would like more information on an active APS case, please call the correct borough office:

Brooklyn Borough Office 718-722-4830/718-722-4812
Bronx Borough Office 718-620-8880
Manhattan North Borough Office 212-971-2727
Manhattan South Borough Office 212-279-5794
Queens Borough Office 718-883-8254
Staten Island Borough Office 718-556-5846

Devoted Caregiver:
Contact a geriatric care manager in your location now to get advice! It seems that that your parents have difficulty caring for themselves, and it will only get worse!

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