Mother does not care.. about anything.

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My wife and I have been caring for my 82 yr old mother for the better part of 5 yrs. She is physically able to do most everything for her self but she won't do anything... Bathing has been an issue since before my wife and I took over the care giving..She would say "I can't smell me" or "I don't stink" or "at my age, who the h*** cares".. even if she goes to the bathroom on herself.. she will just lay there.. She is making herself bedridden..most of the time, if we ask her to get up and go to the bathroom, she will just look at you and not say anything... Eating has become an issue as of late...she will chew but not swallow (sometimes, she will fake swallow) or she will get up and flush her food down the toilet.. this lasts for 3 or 4 days then she will eat a couple of days.. She likes eating from a baby bottle.. We have a respite care giver come in a few times a week, which worked for a couple of weeks, but now that my mother knows the care giver and refuses to do anything.. again... If a new person comes, my mother is all happy to do what she needs to go to the bathroom and shower.... We are not the "put her in a rest home" type... It is our responsibility to take care of her.. but it is real difficult to care for someone who does not care about them self.


That is part of the illness. I use incentives for my mom. Whether a piece of candy or anything that will encourage her. All with kindness and gentle words and physical touch. It is also not an option. But I do ask her is this a good time for you. If she says no I say ok in 40 minutes I'm going to put the movie on pause and then we are going for a bath instead of right now. Is that better for you. Then when the time comes. I say nothing put the movie on pause and assist her with kindness to get up and and get a bath. When dressing her I ask her what color she wants to wear today and compliment her constantly. Put lipstick on her and tell how beautiful she is after she bathes and gets all dressed up. Everything is like that. It's grinding. It's grueling. It's stressful. But it works.
I'm going through a lot of the same things with my mother. She has been with us since March and has slowly gotten more and more "helpless". My mother is still interested in food and would happily sir in her chair all day waiting for food to show up instead of fixing something for herself. I know she can still do it but she just doesn't want to.

The problem is that the less she moves, the weaker she becomes and then, she really will be helpless.

And, oh, the smell. She can't smell herself but the family gags when she comes into the room. Getting her to bathe is a struggle.

Sorry, I don't have any advice bur you are not alone
Bonniepages: I hope someone is telling you how beautiful you are for the care you are providing. Don't forget to take sometime to refill you're own well to avoid burn out.
It would seem that she is suffering from a deep depression. Have you seen a doctor about this? I am not a big fan of medicating emotional illness but at 82 she is not likely to do therapy - perhaps an anti-depressant would help. I feel for the difficulty you are facing with her. Is it possible she knows you will not put her in a home so she knows she can get away with this. Perhaps, too, you could consider saying that you cannot go on like this, you are going to look for a care facility....she may just snap out of it when she realizes you won't put up with it anymore. This is terrible behaviour on her part, the situation seem untenable to me. I am sorry for your difficulty. I don't believe you are responsible for anyone to this degree, that any of us are. You cannot do for her what she will not for herself. She is capable it seems from what you say and only doing this because she gets away with it. Back away until she behaves appropriately and tell her this is what you are doing in no uncertain terms. This is childish attention seeking, when she is not rewarded for it by your attending to it it will takes some strength to let her sit in her self-pity and do nothing but it is the only thing that will work. If it doesn't work, put her in a home and get on with your life, making a visit or two a week.Where is it written that we must give our lives up to our elderly parents when they will not do for themselves when they are able. Your behaviour is as dysfunctional as hers in a way...and I say this with complete compassion. change your end of things and her end will be forced to shift. Not easy at all i know...but crucial. Good luck and many hugs.
This is not self pity it is dementia...

Medication will probably help some but it will not disappear..

Patience and education will help..

I feel your pain. My mother has Dementia to the point where she doesn't really know HOW to do anything for herself anymore. Physically she can run around the house like a maniac and climb the stairs 200 times a day. She's a whirlwind of activity as she (organizes) all day, which really means she's moving stuff around. Mentally though, she can't and won't bathe herself or change into clean diapers when she's had an accident, or clean her dentures, change her clothes or fix anything to eat. I have to follow her around to make sure she's not doing anything dangerous or unsanitary. She will not cooperated with the caregiver when it comes to baths or diapers unless I'm around to reinforce it. She is rebellious around everyone but me. is hard to care for someone who does not care about their self. Mom takes forever to eat and prefers soft and mushy foods. I think her dentures aren't fitting right. I'm not a professional but it sounds as though your Mom is depressed. Laying around and not wanting to do anything is a sign of that. Not wanting to eat is a sign of depression also. Sometimes "approach" has a lot to do with how Mom responds to me. When she's not responding to me, I try a different approach. Am I acting disgusted, bossy, aggravated or condescending?
If so, I try acting sweeter, more patient, more loving,etc. But sometimes I'm acting very sweet and patient and she wont respond until I go all military on her :) There are no hard and true answers for Dementia patients. You just have to keep trying to word things differently or use different psychology until something clicks with them. Sometimes they don't want to do things but what they aren't telling you is that they don't know how because they are confused and they are too embarrassed to admit it. Good luck to you and lots of hugs. Every day brings new challenges and it can be very exhausting.
I agree that she sounds depressed. Go to the doctor and get an depression screen and meds if needed. I would find her an adult day care near you and work toward taking her there two or three days a week or everyday if she is able. Since she likes when other people come to visit she might need more socialization an adult day care could fill that void.
I agree she is very depressed and needs medication. It might save her life, if not she might spiral down into a place you will not be able to reach her. My Mother is in a home, and I felt it was my responsibility to put her there. People take care of her there in ways I never could, and she is safer. Do you think your mother might have dementia?
I totally agree with clarinetcathy. Read the post "What might the neuropsychology test results mean if elder can make own decisions with guidance of doctor?"
If I have misunderstood the cause of her behaviour I am really sorry. Dementia is very difficult. Ido think you must take care of yourselves first. I don't know much about dementia. You have my deepest appreciation. I know some cultures take care of their elderly which I respect and believe we can all learn from. That said, there is a point where ruining your own lives is not doing good for anyone, including your mother. You need help and so does she. If you can find a good facility for her, daily or full time, and reclaim some of your own lives, I would encourage you to do it. Many hugs to you.

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