I understand Mom's got it hard. But couldn't she just try for me?

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I suggested that I would be happy to make a daily schedule for Mom so that she would do more during the day when I am at work than get showered and dressed, empty the dishwasher, and watch tv. She's 67, had a stroke. Executive functions are likely damaged, plus half her vision if gone. I can't tell if she forgets to do things or just chooses not to. She CAN do things - I've seen her. But she doesn't want to feel pressured, she says. A schedule would pressure her, she says.

Thing is, hubby would like to see her attempt to contribute to herself and make connections with others. I haven't told Mom this but I guess I'm going to now. She doesn't want to do something as simple as sit on the porch a little each day - maybe I don't want to do all the hundreds of things I do for her. She's lived much of her life avoiding unpleasant things. And she ended up a widow with clogged arteries which caused the stroke. She's here because she has no resources to live anywhere else in her present state.


This is a tough one. When we get used to doing nothing, we don't want to do anything. Can she do things like laundry? or cleaning the bathroom? Maybe if she realizes that if she doesn't do something that it won't get done she will be more inspired. It sounds like she has checked out of living before it is time. I wish there was an easy answer, but I've learned there isn't. We just do the best we can to motivate them to do something besides watch TV all day.
How long ago did Mom become a widow? How long has she been living with you? When did she have the stroke?

Having a stroke can result in almost no impairment at all, to fairly incapacitating impairments. It can result in dementia symptoms. It is hard to know from what you write just what she is capable of. Being able to do things physically and having the executive powers to organize the task without prompting are two different things. What is "her present state" that makes it necessary to live with you?

With a little more information, maybe some of us would have more specific suggestions.
Dad died from cancer in late 2010. She had a heart attack a month later, then two strokes as she was recovering. Has blind spots that cover half her vision. They had no savings, no resources. She lost her job, was in huge debt. Their house was in my brothers' names and it was foreclosed when they could no longer pay for it. My husband and I moved down in 2011 so she could move in with us. We took large cuts in pay. Mom gets a small SS payment a month. She can't drive. Can't walk by herself in public due to her vision.

She does her own laundry but folding laundry is very hard for her. She has perception problems, trouble using her left arm, trouble understanding time and quantities, compounded by the blind spots. We talk about things she needs or wants to do but she doesn't do them. For six months I had to call her at noon just to make sure she was up and eating. Now she wakes up at nine each morning on her own. I can't tell if her motivation/initiative was damaged by the stroke or if this is her personality. (I left home 20 years ago). My siblings say this is her personality. She's always been stubborn and did only what she felt like doing. My husband agrees with them.

I know people say poor people can live in AL homes, but I haven't found a way to make that happen here. If she just wants to sit around, then she can do that in a nursing home. But no one in our family can afford to contribute to her financial needs beyond what we are doing now. (And don't even get us started on how she and my dad mooched off her own parents and siblings over the years due to their stubborness and irresponsibility.) My other siblings are younger and have even less money than me.

So yes, there's history here. I'd love to ignore it, but it keeps getting in the way. And even if I can ignore it, the other people involved in this drama aren't. Except Mom. She says she doesn't want to be a burden to her kids, but her not doing things to take care of herself beyond the very basics is a burden. I'm afraid she'd starve if I didn't cook meals for her since she thinks an 1/8 cup of cereal is a bowlful. But she gets her feelings hurt if I create individual servings of cereal in little baggies for her so she actually gets the right amount.

I could go on and on but I'm at work and need to get back to my job.
I added wrong - I left home 30 years ago.
Cmc, you may have to start thinking of her as blind. Put tape on the measuring cup so she won't have to actually 'see' where to fill it anymore, she'll be able to feel it instead. There are talking wrist watches out there, because I got one for my mother-in-law that she loves. Talking books may be something that she'd like too, check the library for that. You can't make someone do something they do NOT want to do, I've figured that out over the years! For your mother, it sounds like she's falling back into the old habits that she had are her life... denial & avoidance. Then you're faced with the old 'can't teach a dog new tricks' problem, so now what? I personally believe you CAN teach an old dog new tricks, if that dog is willing to learn. If your mother is sitting around all day thinking about JUST herself and HER problems, that in and of itself would be enough to keep me on the couch all day, wouldn't it you? Do you have a church home? That was my first thought, to get her involved with other ladies at church. I think that there are so many people today that have neglected or totally forgotten about church, that that never enters their minds. What a shame. Used to be when someone had an illness or were devastated by something, their church family would swoop in and help them. What has happened to America when people don't have that option anymore? Sad.
So funny you say that about church. My husband suggested that this week. My parents were non-denominational and attended tiny churches over the years (and preached at some, too) but all those people, who believed in healing, disappeared when things got rough.

However, now that we are in a new town, I'm going to start taking Mom to an episcopal church here and hope she can find companionship there. It will take time, I know, but it will be better than not doing anything. If she doesn't find friends, I will!

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