Overriding a parent's desire to remain at home: Caretaking for a difficult person to please.
Mom’s 80 yrs old and lived through a lot in her life and has fought to overcome each challenge. However, after a couple rounds of Bell’s Palsy and then shingles, she never regained her vitality. Depression and the constant, but reduced pain of shingles, deters movement and 100 lbs more than her frame or her heart should carry. She has allergies, emphysema, COPD, and hypertension. She is angry that she can no longer be independent, control her finances, be mobile on foot or car, and is incontinent and cannot take care of her personal hygiene nor revive her health. In her frustration, she attempts to get the mail, do laundry, clean the house, and constantly falls without knowing why… or so she says. Mom cannot roll over or pull herself upon a chair, or push to stand up from a squat to help others to get her back up. We have a live-in, 24 hr caregiver who is a saint for trying to tolerate mom’s increasingly angry tongue and failing body functions. The caretaker helps with meals, light cleaning, bathing, laundry & personal hygiene. She is impatient – and wants what she wants, when she wants it. As soon as the caregiver takes a break for a meal or brief 15 min walk, Mom will sneak to try and do some kind of household chore (put laundry in the dryer – or pick up a piece of lint on the floor) and falls. The lack of balance leaves little for a formerly fastidious housekeeper to do without falling. She has no hobbies, no friends, is paranoid about others intentions, and is more easily confused as she gets older. She had 10 siblings. Now, only an older brother, a ward of the state with advanced Alzheimer’s, and she are alive. She can’t go to assisted care because she falls without warning and they won’t let her have her 12 lb dog unless she can take care of walking and cleaning up after the pet. The dog is her only unconditionally loving companion. When previously hospitalized, she hates the fact that she must wait on others to help her get up to the bathroom, or sit in her own waste until they have time or desire to help her. It seems like Mom is regressing and secretly takes pleasure at being babied – ie washed, fed, etc like a young child – especially when she is incontinent or falls. Mom has frayed the emotional rope of care and concern with my brother and myself…. And the caregiver is almost at wits end as well. Any perspectives or suggestions as what we should consider for next steps would be appreciated. Mom tugs at our guilt strings, but we want our own lives too! My brother lives 1-1/2 drive from her home due to cost of living in CA, and I live in the upper midwest since my husband needs his family to overcome some military related PTSD issues.