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Briefly my mother has heart failure and suffers. Is homebound, agitated and depressed. She complains constantly about everything. Her health, issues are understandable, but also about her children. We are doing our best, but something is always broken and needs to be fixed, Then it is another thing. I wonder if this is a symptom of dementia or is normal. How do you deal and still be compassionate. She was never this way. She most often will not go to the doctor. yesterday she cancelled because it is too cold outside. She is taken by car. She was never this way in h her life. I am getting so exhausted. It usually ends in her anger at me.

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Trying. This must be SO trying! All o can say is thjat you need to step back for your own sanity and let the train wreck that you clearly see coming occur.

This is a sad and cruel disease. If you step back, perhaps your brother will start to see what is really happening.
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Hello Babalou:
Sorry for taking so long to respond. It has been hectic. I did not mean to take offense. I know you mean well and you do provide great information. And, you are right, I can only change ME. Seeing this and realizing that it is not that I am abandoning her, but that I cannot change the situation. It is just difficult for all caregivers. I do not live with her and to be honest I don't think I could handle her living with me. Just being honest. Trutthfully, my health is poor. In any case, I asked her to come here a number of times and she has said no. I do all I can shopping, cooking, cleaning, and even offer to take her to doctor visits. She will only have my brother take her to the doctor; As to PS, they said "there is nothing that can be done as she is not a danger to herself or anyone else". I cannot force her to have carers in. They are all awful and do nothing according to her. I do pay for help once a week. More than that, on top of everything else, I cannot do. She even turns away the Nurse who comes oncea week. She screams at me about the need for this. What do they do? Nothing. They take my BP, do three things and are gone. And for that I wait all day long". Nothing is right. Not the food: I first sent in Meals on Wheels, then went to collect it from Senior Center she used to attend, and finally I started cooking it myself (she had never liked what I cooked), then she liked what I cooked and said she was living off my cooking, and now we are back to her not eating it. She will eat Chinese food (but that is very dangerious due to the salt) and she has advanced congestive heart failure. My husband brings in an adiditional meal or two from the restaurant, which she eats. Maybe it is my food. :(. Meals on wheels, she rejected and was angry at my brother for ordering it. She is now very difficult to please. I send Ensure. One of the ensures she said was either "spoiled"????? or had meat in it. Sometimes, she drinks it; other times not. I am ranting and I don't really expect a response/answer. I have to let some of this. she was never like this in her life and I am baffled that no one sees this but me. The stress of being the only one to see this as not a sign of old age, but possibly more, is enormous. Three hospitalizations for not taking her Lasix should be a big rred flag. But not to my brother. Sorry for the rant. I read all I can about all of this and I try my best, but my best is not good enough. If only she would just not be so difficult about accepting a little help. thank you all for reading and thanks to all who respond with so much patience.
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When my mom still lived alone and something was always broken, we gave her three notebooks, one for each of us. She wrote down, each week, what she needed each of us to do. We each either called or came by once a week and did what she needed. that way she wasn't calling us all the time. Maybe that would help.
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Have you ever tried contacting APS and reporting her as a vulnerable adult who shouldn't be living alone?
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"In a more subtle way"=someone would really need to know all the details of the situation to advise you about this, which is why I would suggest you see a therapist. Years ago, I found myself in what felt like an impossible relationship; there truly appeared to be no way out. Through therapy, I learned to change and by dint of that, the relationship shifted. I guess that's what I mean. It's not easy. But it can happen.

In a "stuck" situation like this, only you can change.
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No, you're misunderstanding me. I meant "live in" or "stop in". Are you living with her? That's a different story.

when I say "social events" I mean something like adult day care, senior center type of thing. In what way is she too ill for those?

I'm so, so sorry if my tone comes across as snarky. I'm not. really. I'm just at work and typing fast.!
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what does "acting as a care agent in more subtle ways mean?".
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Sorry to bother you. Yes, we do revisit these situations because we feel so helpless and unable to step back. She Has Medicaid. She is too ill to go to social events ... bedridden. She refuses in home care. I She has ended up in the hospital numerous times, and they know she is alone and said she should not be. She sends people who come to her house away. Thank you for trying to help me. No I am not a stop in caregiver and don't think that is a fair assessment of me. We are all doing the best we can. I am learning.
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I'm also going to suggest that you might benefit from seeing a therapist or counselor who can help you understand how to handle this situation, to detach from it without too much guilt, or to act as a change agent in more subtle ways.
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Trying2B, not sure if I've had this conversation with you before, but it's a familiar situation among elders. If she's got dementia, there is no "reasoning" with her. If she won't go tot he doctor, you can't force her to until she ends up in the hospital again.

Do you live with her? If you are simply the "stop by and bring food" caregiver, tell your brother you're pulling back from this. Stop enabling this situation. Make him face the situation himself.

It sounds as though you are stressing yourself into high blood pressure/heart disease and other ills over this. Don't.

You can't change her; you can't change your brother. You can GIVE the doctor information, but you can't receive any. Send the doctor a fax, outlining your observations and the STEP AWAY. You can only change your contribution to the situation.

When she ends up in the hospital again, make sure the discharge people know that she lives alone.

Yes, this is all coming from a place of fear. It's sad that your mom doesn't see that there is help available, in the way of meds, social centers, housekeeping help that might be available through Medicaid. Sad, but as Jeanne Gibbs, a fellow poster here always says, Not YOUR fault. Step back a bit.
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She was never this way. Complete 180 degree turnaround. feeling stuck. She does not want to go on anti-depressants. She is on so many meds and in such great fear of so much. So perhaps the complaining is coming from a place of fear. Unfortunately, she has had to go on public services, and a clinic, in a large city such as mine, is impersonal at best.
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My brother has POA, is very controlling. Anything my other brother or I write to her doctor, is then responded to the brother who has POA. She is a difficult doctor to get ahold of even by FAX. My brother sees me as intrusive, when I sent an email suggesting that it could be cognitive impairment due to congestive heart failure or possibly early dementia and could he please get a neuro work-up. She wont even go to the doctor with me or anyone else. No one can force her to go to a doctor, to aka a medication. I have reasoned with her endlessly that when she is ill, this IS the time to keep an appointment. The response? You don't understand and then an attack. Without a diagnosis of impairment, she is a "free agent" to take or not take her medications, to not go to doctors and APS says there is nothing I can do about this. The antidepressant has been prescribed several times and she jut does not take it. I see a lot of medical non-compliance, and pointed this out to POA brother. she was hospitalized 3 times for not taking her Lasik, which cuased serious breathing issues. She used to be medically and medicine compliant. No longer. How he does NOT see this, I don't understand except that he is in denial, burnt out, etc. I appreciate any and all who respond to me. I don't know what else to say.
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Trying, is she living in your home?

Is she being treated for anxiety and/or depression? Does the doctor who is treating her know of the current situation? Does she take meds as directed?

Some people are more or less this way all their lives. Since it is new behavior for your mother, it really needs to be reported to her doctor. Dementia comes to mind, but whatever it is, it is not your mother's normal behavior. It needs evaluation.

Mom only needs to sign a HIIPA waiver (which should be available at the clinic) to allow the clinic to speak to you. A Medical POA is also valuable and important, but the waiver is faster and is good to start with. And even if Mom won't sign anything, you can still talk to the doctors -- they just cannot tell you anything about your mother. You could send the doctor a concise list of your concerns.
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What treatment is being given for agitation and depression? Has she been seen by a geriatric psychiatrist for those symptoms?

Has she ever been evaluated for dementia? She might be suffering from vascular dementia, which may begin due to a heart condition or after a stroke. For a complete dementia workup, you probably should seek out a geriatric neurology/neuropsych team.

You say she has never been this way before. A change in mental status such as this one should be reported to her primary care physician. Do you have medical and financial powers of attorney set up? These would be important to have, especially medical so that you can call her doctor and discuss these symptoms .

You might consider asking the doctor's staff not to cancel appointments until they talk to you.
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