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We are planning a short trip at the end of this month (3 days). We have not had a vacation of any kind for a year. Whenever we talk about going out of town my Mom goes into panic mode. She insists that we get someone to come over and sleep at her home...which is next to impossible. We moved to a small town, so reliable caregivers are limited. We do not leave her without care...someone always checks in on her. We call her constantly when we are away.
Finally, I looked into an ALF that does short-stay respite care. I told her how nice it was and how there is someone there 24/7. They have a button you can push if you need help....etc.
Her response, "great...and get someone who will stay overnight with me." Arrrghh!
I am feeling so "tethered" to her, even when I leave. Tough love does not work....she gets on the phone and either calls everyone we know to tell them how alone and scared she is or calls 911 and tells them she is having a heart attack. (The last time she pulled this, they "trapped" her in the hospital for 10 days...I had to threaten a lawsuit to get her out.)
Has anyone else dealt with this? I realize that it is extreme NPD with issues of control, but somehow these people find a way to drag you into their drama. I would like to have a peaceful few days alone without having to come home to a mess. Help!

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If it helps at all to know you aren't alone - well, you aren't. But that doesn't solve your problem.
You found an assisted living situation that sounds perfect. She tunes you out, if I'm reading this right. The only thing I can see is for you to stand firm, tell her that you have this all figured out for her safety, but if she won't go, she'll have to figure out those options herself. If she calls 911 and says she's having a heart attack (panic attacks are real and often feel like a heart attack) she'll likely end up in the ER. She could be hospitalized. They may involve social workers. But frankly, you may need that anyway. You can't let her totally control your life. This is, indeed, tough love, but sometimes that's all that you can do. Let her know you'll have social services do a welfare check on her, if she won't go to the AL.
You need to take care of yourself, too. Try to drop the guilt. You are doing all you can with one stubborn, though genuinely frightened, woman.
Carol
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I cant offer any advice but I can assure you are not alone. I have not left my house for more than a day in over 2 years. As it is I can only leave 1 day a month. I found a great vacation for me and my mom 7 day cruise Italy, Sicly, Monte Carlo, Rome, for 5000.00. Her and I dream vacation but we cannot go because my father refuses to be left alone and cannot travel with us. I wish you all the luck. Last time we left my father alone for one day we went out of town for my grandmothers funeral we drove for over 20 hours both ways in one day so that we would not be gone more that a day but we had a blow out on the way back which delayed us 10.00 at night lucky we found a garage that could install a new tire but we called and let him know we were going to be delayed. he called a very distant relative at midnight and insisted they come over they live 2 hours away and they did. I really wish you all the luck.
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You did not mention if you have Power of Attorney, but you might want to talk to your mother's doctor and see what you n if you can get his/her support and a letter of recommendation for the below. We needed to change doctors after my mother's stroke. We have POA and the new doctor was more supportive of our decisions, and interested in my mother's safety and welfare. She was direct with my mother and told her that she recommended that my mother stay in an ALH for 8 more months, then she would re-evaluate her. Mom's other doctor was hesistant to do that. Our family has been going through a similar scenario with my mother over the years. I would encourage you to call an assisted living home that will take your mother for a few days and make arrangements before-hand (all of the paperwork and such). Then-- have someone pack your mother's bag while you take her for a walk or out to lunch at the ALH (Lunches are usually free for first time visitors). During your lunch tell your mother that you would like to have a small trip with your family because it is very important to keep the family connection and have some time away, and you would hope she would understand that you need time with your immediate family. Tell her you decided to give her a little vacation as well-- at the assisted living home where you are now having lunch-- talk about the benefits, take a tour...watch a movie together, or play bingo with her with some of the residents. Tell her this is where she gets 3 full meals/day...you made an appt. at the beauty shop to have her hair done at the salon there...(you have already made the arrangements), and she can just enjoy herself as well without you having to worry about her. Tell her you will phone her once you get to your vacation site, and that you love her and hope she has a wonderful time. Later, when you are ready to take your trip,( the day before you actually leave for your family vacation), call the ALH staff and tell them you are on your way to drop her off; drive her to the door of the ALH. and one of the staff should meet you there. If your mother balks at that point, leave her in the car and tell the staff you are planning on going for a walk. Give your mother a kiss and tell her you love her and plan to see her in 3 days. Tell the ALH you would like their assistance in bringing her into the facility. Go for a walk, and let the ALH escort her in to their facility. Hopefully, it won't come to that, but it may. Then, go off with your family for a much-needed vacation and have a wonderful time. Perhaps a few hours later, call your mom and tell her you wrote a small letter and included one of her favorite treats in a ziploc bag in her suitcase or purse). You have complete confidence in the staff at the ALH,and hope she has a wonderful time, and you will keep in touch. In my Kindergarten class, which can be similar, we deal with some of the same issues. As soon as the parent leaves,they are usually fine. Please let me know how it goes:)
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Lilliput,
Or Mom was also in a rehab facility prior to bringing her home last year. She hated every minute that she was there. We would rather have someone stay with her, but we do not have much choice when other family members do not help with her care. We also live in a rural environment, and the available nursing staff is nill! The ALF is a good idea, getting her to go might take some persuasion. There is not going to be someone to hold her hand all night long even in the ALF. She is going to have to understand that some of the time she will be alone. At least at the ALF she has the ability to push that button and have a caregiver respond to her need. She does not have that at home, even when you are there everyday.

We have finally found a medical society that is very helpful and understanding. It took us all year to find them. Most hospitals are all about keeping a medicare patient for as long as they can to milk the system. Yet, when I had to find Mom another GP ... nobody would take her because of her being a Medicare patient. We found a doc on accident when she was hospitalized with sepsis over Thanksgiving. He fell in love with her and kept her as his patient. It is his hospital that is opening a new Elder Care facility. It is only because we have found the staff to be so wonderful that we are even thinking about the possibility of taking some time this year.

I would love to tell you that it get easier, but it doesn't. We just learn to dodge the punches a little better. I had to pull back a little bit and not allow our Mom to hurt my heart with her words and antics. I tell myself that she really cannot help it. When she has days that are really bad, I will tell her what she is doing and ask her to stop. This always surprises her. Some days it makes her realize and stop, and some days it does not. We are lucky in that these days are fewer now that she has had her leg removed and her body is not full of infection.

I so understand about that sharp mind! Go on your trip. Enjoy yourself!
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Dear Liiput,
Oh Honey! This is a really hard thing. Through years of this I have come to the conclusion you can do it two ways. Tell in advance so they can get use to the idea (Which gives them amonth to grieve and abuse which only adds to your guilt trip) or tell them 2 days before you leave and see them you last night in town. 3 days is months to them and yes they will call everyone they know from the time you tell her through the time you return. (Yes, even 911.) Since you live in a small town your options are limited. My suggestion would be to put up something on the Church bulletin board or community bulletin board requesting someone to come sleep over for pay and watch over your mother. There are people who are willing to do this for a brief period. You would need to interview them to see their character but with no need for medical assistance, any nice person would do. They do exist. If you get any nibbles and select one, introduce them to mom a few days in advance and again right before you leave. You may just have to tough it out this time but it is only 3 days. I have left them for a month with caregivers and you just have to put it in God's hands. You can't think about it while you are gone. It's like leaving the kids with the babysitter. Call when you get back.
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In my tired head, I truly believed that my Mom was the only one who did this. We have very differnt personalities and I guess that makes it hard for me to figure out why she does the things she does.
Carol: I think you have an excellent idea. She would be appalled if social services, etc., came in to do an evaluation. However, if she could manipulate someone into staying with her overnight, she would not care if it caused anyone problems. I agree with you about stopping the maniuplation. If I could set these plans in place and leave, that would be great. But, I usually come home to some drama. I know what she is doing....she is trying to make it so hard for me to leave that I will give up and stay home. She is not too far off...it is so hard to make arrangements for her that I am exhausted before I leave.
fluco: It is becoming the same way for me and I resent it. Most people would say I am "spoiling" my Mom...and yes, she has always been self-centered. She comes from a tradtional family where the girls drop everything to help their parents....so, she expects the same. And, just like your dad, she has no qualms about calling people in the middle of the night and wanting them to come "stay with her." People who are not in our shoes think its no big deal to just give her what she wants...she is good at playing the "victim" - but they are caring for her 24/7...I am!
Thank you both for your responses...it makes me feel better and empowers me to forge ahead. I plan on taking this vacation no matter what!...I need it. Fluco: I hope you will do the same and take that wonderful vacation with your Mom...a time will come when she won't be able to travel and it would be a shame to miss it.
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I have had a similar situation with my mom-
she was still living alone-with care during the day-
but she became increasing paniky knowing she was going to be alone.
Dementia is a weird disease- hers was progressing, but at that time I didnt realize that was one of the signs-for her-i thought as did my brother that she was was being overly dramatic ,but as i eventually found out, she was afraid she would die during her sleep., and it was very real and scary.she had been aware that things were changing,in her brain, thoughts were not connecting to the right words at times, her brain was not working right. she was deteriorating very quickly- and that was one of the first signs that her brain was not connecting properly.
it is exhausting, and i know other people that do go on short vacations,i understand that. but i could see she was just emotional mess. very sad, and very frightened,it must be horrible to feel yourself loosing it-it was and is horrible. now my brother has swept her out of the home, and has her isolated somewhere in Mass . where he lives,.i feel so angry and frustrated- my mom, was taken away - thats how i feel sometimes, nursing homes may be a help for some families, or when u cant deal with your parent- a last resort-but we had talked about it long ago- she did not want to go to die in a home-and i promised her she wouldnt- and i couldnt keep my promise-it hurt inside -because of that
she doesnt have people around her,none of her friends can just drop by like the used to, and no one is tending to her in a personal way. there are few staff for many patients.
i dont think she will survive this- they have her so medicated- which might be a good thing- but she developed an infection, and now they found a fistula and so she has to be changed every 2 hours., very painful and sore, very embarrassing and she feels so disrespected-and since i am not there- there is no one, that is pushing to get her some help- sorry for the rant-
what i wanted to say was, if u feel u have to go, for your own sanity, try and find someone who is sensitive tothe situation,to stay with her- if posssilbe-
we never know how long we will have them here with us.
and once they are gone- they are gone- at least in this dimention.
but what ever u do , im sure it will be the right decision- good luck-
and god bless.
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Lilliput,
You are not going to be able to stop the manipulation tactics, period. The only thing you can do is change how you accept her tactics. I think three days in the home is your answer, as you would not need to worry about her care at all. They are trained to understand and handle all of the antics that occur. They really can't help being the way they are. Don and I are looking hard at the new home being set up in Moab, UT just for this reason. The only "time off" we have gotten in this last year was when our Mom was in the hospital. Sad but true. This year we would like to take a few long weekends, so an alternate care facility is the way to go. Our Mom also puts herself through panic attacks and they do feel like heart attacks. I have been able to get her to just relax by firmly telling her she is OK, breath deeply with her and force her to stop it herself. It was a shock to her that I did not panic and start taking her vitals right away! Which is what she was angling for. It's all about manipulating you into feeling sorry for her. When I stopped reacting, she stopped doing it as much. There are times when you have to act like a parent, lay down how things are going to be and let her stew on it. If she is afraid to be in the house alone, and she probably should not be alone anyway, then a few days in a care facility is the answer. Whether she likes it or not to begin with, she might like it just fine at the end of the stay. She might make some new friends while she is there. A trip to look over the place prior to the scheduled stay might help also. She could meet the staff, maybe have lunch and see the rooms. Talk to some of the residents who are permanent.

Don't allow yourself to feel guilty about needing some time away. For goodness sakes you deserve it!

Let us know how this turns out for you. Stay strong. Our thoughts are send kind energy your way.

Pattie and Don
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Well - here we go again. Another scenario that I can so relate to. Is there a guide book out that that has tried and true (successful) approaches to cope with what we are going through? I am so thankful for this site!! I also feel tethered to my 84 year old mother. I have less freedom at 56 than I had when I was 18. My daughter (who is off to college in the Fall) and I have had only a handful of overnights away during her childhood. I have told my mother this summer we will be going to the beach for 2 overnights and so she is not responsible for the 2 little dogs we will take them with us. She will have her dog to keep her company. I have a network of friends that can respond if she is in need. We will be 4 hours away if there is a real problem. I have offered to acquire the services of a firm that can visit with her or even stay the night - she says no. I am trying to anticipate how she is going to sabatoge our trip. We have no family close by and while my brother in the midwest offered to come stay if we needed a break - he has forgotten his promise and I won't grovel to ask. Lilliput, I wish I had an answer to your problem. All I can offer is emotional support.
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I thought that by telling her a month in advance, it would give her time to process it. I am sorry I did that. She started stressing right away. Not once did she say, "oh, how nice...you guys deserve a break...have a great time." Mind you, this is a 3 day trip to NYC...we aren't leaving the country.
It just hit me like a ton of brick this time: I have no life of my own. I started this journey by wanting to help my mom, now I am "locked in" with no help from immediate family, especially my sib. I guess I was naive. We used to take vacations and short trips as a matter of fact. Now, it is this big ordeal of doing all this planning then waiting for the other shoe to drop.
I am making this trip my "test run." If it becomes too complex then change will occur. This is just not working for me.
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