Mother complains constantly.

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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.


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.

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
what does "acting as a care agent in more subtle ways mean?".
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.!
"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.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

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