I fear my Mom is slipping away and I feel.....I'm not sure what I feel.

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My mother is in her 90's and has fallen 3 times in the past 6 months; each time requiring a hospital stay. Each time, the doctors have recommended a rehab facility but mom absolutely refuses to go into one -- so, we have in home nursing and therapy 3 times a week, and someone come in each morning to make sure she gets up, bathed, fed, medicated, and gets her situated for the day. I come by after work to fix her dinner and sit with her until she is safely in bed.

Early on, mom would only agree to having the nurse's aid come in Mon-Sat, and every other Sunday because she wanted to have one day without any outsiders in the house. It turned out that on the off Sundays, she would end up calling me to get her out of bed, so we agreed the aid would come in 7 days a week. Last night I confirmed the aid was coming and I called this morning to make sure she was actually here. Mom said aid was probably at a neighbor's and she would be fine.

I called her around 4 to see what she did today and what she wanted for supper. It was then that I learned the aid had not come and mom had been unable to get out of bed the entire day. When I got to her house, I found her still in bed, laying in urine soaked pajamas! I asked her why she hadn't called me earlier and she said she figured she would be able to get up on her own eventually. When I questioned her about the incontinence, she said that she hadn't actually wet the bed, but that every time she moved, a little came out. (A lot came out apparently, because her mattress pad was soaked as well.)

I got her up out of bed and into the bathroom and she apparently had a lot of urine left inside. She finally finished using the bathroom and bathed herself, and I helped her dry off and get dressed. She's sitting up in the den now and still seems very sleepy and either not willing or not able to carry on a conversation. She's just reading the paper and dozing off. When I ask her if she was sleeping, she insists she was just resting her eyes.

I'm feeling very guilty for not following up to make SURE the aid was here, and also guilty that my mother was laying in her own urine soaked bedding for the entire day. I'm also frustrated that she didn't think it was necessary to call me, or one of her friends in the neighborhood who know her condition.

She steadfastly refuses to give anyone power of attorney and steadfastly refuses to go into assisted living. She's always been fiercely independent and I know she feels a lot of anger and resentment about needing a little help to get up and get through the day.

Having her declared incompetent would destroy her, but I'm not convinced she is capable of making logical decisions about her health and well being. n She's lucid enough to know the basics... day of the week, time of day, what meds she needs to take when, etc.... but when I ask her about her day.... what she did, who she talked to, what she saw on television or read in the paper, she gets annoyed with me.

Her aid, the nurse, and the physical therapist all think she is so witty and wonderful -- but she treats me and her close friends with increasing hostility and accuses us of being bossy.

I really don't know what to do now. Has anyone else experienced a similar progression?

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I wish you and your Mom a peaceful day and evening. This can't be easy on either of you. However, swearing at her isn't going to help either you or her AS I'M SURE YOU ALREADY REALIZED. She can't reason well at all times and this may be due to her pain medication and/or issues with dementia. Please make your last days with her be fond ones. I guarantee you that this will will be exactly how you prefer it to be be when you look back at things. I know you're going through a difficult time and not to lose it at times is going to be a huge challenge but someday you will be proud of yourself for not losing your temper with your Mom. It was good that you apologized to your Mom for your outburst and were candid about her becoming bedridden. I bet you feel good about this!!! Good job!!! God bless you!!! I would tell myself that I had one shot to do this right when I took care of my Husband and this helped me to to not scold him when he didn't want to do things for me. I knew that he was exhausted and sick so tried my best to put myself in his shoes. Whenever I reacted this way, I always felt proud of myself for not saying something that I might regret later. I believe with all of my heart that there's a right way and a wrong way to say things. God believes this way too. Your Mother most likely looks at you as her Angel if she says it or not. My Husband would call me Angel and I knew he appreciated everything that I did for him. I knew darn well that if the tables were turned and I was in his shoes, he would do for me just what I was doing for him. May he rest in peace. I miss him more than words could ever say.

You must give yourself a hug. You deserve a hug. Like I have expressed before, caregiving is the best gift of all. SINCERELY, RUBYINRED
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Sorry, just had an afterthought and checked the post after your appt with the oncologist. Best guess is that it's not cancer is good news; but I wish it was better than a guess. If they don't want to CT your mother's head to check for stroke (possibly on the grounds that it's too long since her main symptoms) tell them what the oncologist is recommending and they might think it's best to do it anyway. They need to have a look at what's going on. Fingers crossed it will prove to be a waste of time and radiation - that would be a good thing! x
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Sb - well I think that settles the stroke question - needing an abnormal amount of sleep afterwards is typical. You'd better get her checked out as soon as you can.

You're right that mobility is very important, both for her general muscle tone and for her brain function. But it's a fine line to tread between encouraging mobility and making impossible demands on her remaining energy level. With my own mother things did eventually return (not quite) to normal after her small strokes, but it took weeks if not months.

And another will be on its way - I really wouldn't put off getting her examined, if I were you. Again, report exactly what you've posted - it's all significant. Best of luck x
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Last night I couldn't sleep so I had the TV on (I sleep in the den at the other end of the house). Around 1:30 in the morning my mother and her rolling walker ambled into the den because her cell phone was chirping -- keeping her awake. After the difficulty getting her up in the morning, I was pleasantly surprised to see that she had gotten up completely on her own. After sitting with me for a few minutes, she went back to bed. I checked on her every couple hours during the night and she seemed to be sleeping soundly.

This morning was a repeat of yesterday morning. Initially she said she had a good night, and would get up in a minute. A half hour later she said she'd get up when she was ready to get up.

My fear is that if the time to get out of bed increases by even a little each day, it won't be long before she just decides it's easier to stay in bed and will lose what little muscle she has and become permanently bedridden. After an hour of the aide and I trying to coax, cajole, and bribe her to get up, I finally let loose with a string of profanity that would make a sailor blush. I told her that her behavior was F'n killing me and that I wasn't sure how much longer I could take it. I stormed out of her room and went into the Den. Ten minutes later she was up -- when I left, she told the aide that after that outburst, she HAD to get up.

I know she's in pain but she's on the maximum dose of pain reliever the doctor prescribed, but she sits almost all day (except for a couple walks around the inside of the house). In bed, she sleeps on her side with her knees up (as if she had just been tipped out of the chair sideways onto the bed).

Tonight I apologized about my outburst and was very candid with my fears about her becoming permanently bedridden. She said it was ok... but when I asked her how long a reasonable time would be for us to wait for her to get up when she was "ready", she said 10 minutes. When I told her about this morning, she said she was sitting on the edge of the bed when I walked in. (Completely forgetting the hour we were trying to get her to sit up and get out of bed). She seems to remember what she wants to remember.
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God bless all of you!!! I can't even begin to say just how MUCH it means to me to have others commend me on my caregiving. I believe that I did all that I possibly could for my Husband, Grandmother, and Mom and knowing this gives me peace of mind. It's a role reversal to start making decisions for people who helped you to make your own decisions in the past. However, the adjustment is hard at first and then gets easier in the end. I became stronger when my Husband became weaker. I would tell myself that I had to be there for him because he couldn't take care of himself anymore. I prayed to God over and over for strength. It happened!!! When you feel powerless, please turn to God. I'm telling you that after I prayed to God, I always had more hope. I believed in God and knew that He would do what was best for both me and my Husband. Also, reach out to others for support whenever you can find the time to do so. There are nice people in this world who will reach out and help you. I believe that people in your same shoes usually offer the best advice. Been there!!! Done that!!!

My caregiving days have ended for now. If my brother or sister would need me, I would do it again for them. However, not soon, I hope. I'm still grieving the loss of my Husband. I need time to rebuild. I haven't done much of anything for about 4 years. I went mall walking yesterday. I needed to get out for awhile. I still think of where I once was and miss having a purpose in life. But, I will I find a new purpose in life. I'm not going to give myself no deadline at this point. I just want to say thank you all for your sweet comments. It made my day to come online a few minutes ago and find them. Have a good day!!! Cherish each and every moment with your loved one(s). Sincerely, Rubyinred
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All - thank you for the supportive words and encouragement! This morning was a little challenging getting my mother out of bed; the pain in her abdomen must be excruciating -- but after her coffee and morning meds, she did quite well -- (no sign of aphasia -- but I'm enough of a realist to know it will happen again - I'm going to call her primary care physician on Monday and let her know about the episode so it can be added to my mother's records).

Rubyinred -- I share others in my offers of condolences for your loss. I'd also like to say thanks for staying with this community and offering advice to us newbies! To answer your question, it's just me. no other family in this country, and only distant relatives elsewhere. Mom has a couple friends who provide support and talk to her as peers (bypassing that whole parent-child dynamic). I am also very fortunate to have a simply amazing home healthcare worker who cares for my mother and fusses over her as if it were her own flesh and blood.
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Rubyinred. I am so sorry for your loss it is so recent and so near to the holidays. You did a wonderful job taking care of your husband so do not feel you failed in any way asking hospice to help you. That is what they are there for and they have the resources and knowledge to make the last days as peaceful and pain free as possible. Asking for help is never a sign of failing in fact it is just the opposite. Blessings and hugs
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HI,

First of all my heart goes out to you. My husband just died in October. I had to have homecare from midnight until six a.m. so I could get some rest. I wanted to be with him all his day hours and early evening hours. I knew that I had to have help after his last hospital stay. He was coherent at times and not coherent at times. It was difficult because he like your Mom wanted to remain independent. He had one on one care every hour of the day. It was a challenge but the only way I would have had it for him. I have no regrets of being with him day in and day out. In fact, I cried at the thought of him going to a nursing home. He died the day after his birthday. He just turned 89 years old. Anyway, at some point, you will have to call the decisions for your Mom if she likes it or not. She sounds not capable of taking care of herself and having someone there more often would be best for her. Do you have any relatives who can help you out? I realize that homecare is expensive. This is why I'm asking this. One one one, personalized care like day in and day out is ideal because she could fall at anytime. Keeping your Mom in her own home could be a compromise instead of having her go to a nursing home. However, it will take great commitment to accomplish this.. My Mom had cancer and I had to make changes to keep her at home home but I didn't do this for two weeks or so because it was right before Christmas. On January 2nd, I got the ball rolling though. I told her that she could stay at home with oxygen or go in the hospital. I gave her this choice. She went with the oxygen. She also died at home with the help of family and professional caregivers. Again, her wishes were honored and later my husband's wishes were honored as well. I praise God for giving me the strength to take care of my Mom, Grandma, and Husband. Love and devotion says a lot!!! Good luck to you with your Mom!!! My heart goes out to you because I know it's very hard to make the right decisions. The hardest for me was when I had to surrender to hospice,. I could always fix my husband and in the end, I couldn't do this anymore. GOD BLESS YOU AND YOURS!!!
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Mom has the right refuse treatment whether it is her best interests or not unless she is declared incompetent.
To me it also sounds like a TIA and Warfarin or Asprin sounds like a good idea but leave that up to the Drs.
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Just read sb23508's second post...I have to agree that vanity and pride play a big part in the behavior of many aging people. But I can understand it. Also, I think you're doing the right thing to make her do stuff herself. I try to do that as well. Sometimes before meals I make her go for a walk in the apartment since she doesn't get enough exercise and I'm concerned about maintaining her limited mobility. All of these little things count.

Re your 3rd post, it sounds like a stroke to me as well, one that would be treated with a blood thinner. I'd take her to the dr. for an MRI, even now. They might recommend her being on blood thinner (though maybe not since she's a fall risk--clearly talking to a doctor is a good idea!).
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