My mother will not stop nagging us to move home.

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My mother has been in assisted living for two years, and will not stop nagging us to move home. Her dr. wrote a note that she cannot, but she will not accept this fact. I am about to have a breakdown, listening to her over and over many times a day. My sister is of no help. If we sell her house (which we need to do it has cost $20,000 during this time) will that help? I am at the end of my rope, her dr. will not give her a different anti-depressant.


You say that her primary ailment is depression. Have you asked for a second opinion regarding her medications?

Does she have other mental or cognitive issues as well? Mobility issues? Just trying to see the big picture here.

What does the staff say she is like when she is not talking to you? Does she participate in any activities? What was she like when she was at home?

Does anyone have guardianship for her? How about POA? A little more information will help other people answer also.

Why are you listening to her nagging about this many times a day? Why are you taking these phone calls? Why engage on this subject at all? You feel like you're having a breakdown and these sessions can't be doing your mother much good.

"Why won't you let me go home. You must hate me! What did I ever do to deserve this ..."
"Mom, you know I love you very much. You are where you need to be. Let's talk about something else. I'm trying to make that prune cake you used to do all the time and it keeps coming out too mushy. How did you soften the prunes?"
"Don't try to change the subject! I want to go home now!!"
"Mom, there is no point in continuing this discussion. I'll call back at 7:30 and see if you want to talk about something else then. Good bye." HANG UP.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

I, too, suffer from major depression (which is well controlled now) and I feel sorry for your mother. I would hate to see her isolated. She needs support and contact from family members. But this is just not and never is going to be a therapeutic topic for her. Refuse to engage in that topic. Reward her with nice conversations on other topics if you can. Just refuse to get dragged into that particular topic.

The same with visits. Play cards with her. Do her hair. Go out for a malt. Do whatever you two do together, but DO NOT engage in the going-home topic. "Sorry mom, that is out of my hands. The doctor doesn't approve that. And now we have to talk about something else or I will have to leave." And leave, if necessary.

Depression is a real bummer and it can change one's perception of reality. But I don't think it prevents one from learning through consequences (as dementia does, for example.) Mother should be able to figure out that if she wants to talk to you and to have you visit she will have to avoid that subject.

As far as the many times a day goes, why not set a schedule? Mom, I'll call you after breakfast, before the morning activities start, and again after lunch. You can call me when it is convenient for you in the evening. If you have an emergency, one of the staff can help you between those times." And then don't answer calls from her except on that schedule. Again, unless Mom has some cognitive issues, she should be able to learn that schedule.

You having a breakdown will help her not one iota. Take care of yourself, too.

And if you can give a little more background, other posters may have more specific ideas.
What you seem to be saying is that your mother's primary reason for being in Assisted Living is depression, and her doctor is saying that he won't treat the depression. Um, might you (and she) consider seeing another physician? Perhaps a geriatric psychiatrist, who might have a different opinion?

A physician who doesn't "get" that antidepressants need to be considered when treating a person with depression probably shouldn't be treating one. What other suggestions does this doctor make? It sounds as though she's extremely agitated as well; is anyone looking at the big picture of her mental health? that's why I suggest a geriatric psychiatrist.

You ask if selling her house will help. Do you have POA? Do you have legal standing to sell her house? As Jeanne states, more details will get you better advice.

And yes, stop taking her calls. Tell the DON at the facility that you need to take a respite break, and that they should call you in an emergency. If you need to, call your mom once a day to check in. But that's it.

Babalou, as I read this, she is on anti-depressants. Her doctor will not change the prescription. I think a second opinion is warranted, too, and a geriatric psychiatrist would be my first choice.
Thanks for the correction, Jeanne. (I should never type answers before coffee). I agree. She needs a second opinion. The thing is, sometimes you need a combination of meds. My mom, for example, is on Lexapro AND Remeron. Just one didn't help the agitation and anxiety. She is also on a once a day, very low dose of Klonopin, which seems to help with an overwhelming sense of dread that she gets when she doesn't get that particular med. I should add that before we went the medication route, when mom was at home, we tried all sorts of reassurance, 24/7 aides (they made her MORE nervous), calling several times a day to talk to her. None of it did a bit of good. Getting her seen by a geriatric psychiatrist who gave her the correct medication did.

Record some of her calls. Play them for the doctor. Tally how many times she calls you in a day. Give him a chart. Ask him what he would advise you to do. If the answer is not satisfactory, seek a second, more expert opinion.
Thank you so much for your input! She suffered a stroke two years ago, but refuses to admit that this happened. She tells people she is where she is because of a "car accident" (which she has never experienced!) She has a split leverl home, which adds to the difficulty of her living alone. Her medication is also a huge issue...she fights taking her medications for bladder, blood pressure, etc. She has always been difficult...and as the older daughter, I am the only one who has born the brunt of her spite. I feel so guilty for not spending more time with her...but I have serious health issues and within the last year lost a daughter-in-law to cancer...a very young daughter-in-law. So, my self-resources are thin, and I finally admitted I need to care for myself, too. I might add that I tried caring for her myself for a month in her home...and that was impossible. Because we live in the middle of Kansas, finding competent medical care is nearly impossible, but I will keep seeking. God bless you all in your daily struggles with parents you love, but may be driving you crazy!

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