babi4x4 Asked April 2011

What is the best way to deal with a parent that will not get the medical attention she needs?

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My mom is 63 and relatively physically healthy. Her mind is not all there so she doesn't handle stress and daily stuff like, paying bills, etc well at all. She was diagnosed with degenerative bone disease a few years ago and the doctor has told her it is beyond repair. Most recently she found out she has a torn rotator cuff that causes her considerable pain and she has almost NO mobility in her arm. I've taken her to an Othropedic Surgeon who has suggested that she have surgery to repair it before this too, becomes irreparable. She scheduled the surgery, then 2 hours later said, "Nope...I don't want to do it." She gets in this mind set that she's REALLY old, so why bother with maintenance. Any suggestions on how to deal with this?

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windytown Apr 2011
My mother is also very stubborn regarding getting any medical help or therapy. Sometimes you just have to give up and let the chips fall where they may. My stress level has been reduced since I let go of feeling responsible for her as she is of relatively sound mind and stubborn as a mule.

She had a pretty bad case of constipation a couple of days ago and was moaning loudly every time she went into the bathroom. She also had a lot of rectal bleeding. I quietly suggested a doctor, but no, she wondered if she could give herself an enema because she didn't want to ask me. I said you had better not ask me because I draw the line with doing that. No way do I have any expertise in that area. Luckily for her, the Ex-Lax worked. Unluckily for me, I was taking her to the bathroom almost constantly. What a day!

I know this will happen again, and I know she'll refuse help with the problem. I'm hoping the new respite caregiver (a 30 year RN) can talk her into getting some help because she sure won't listen to me.
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toadballet1 Apr 2011
There is not much you can do to force someone to seek medical care. I am sure you and her docs have already pointed out the consequences. The extreme case would be to seek guardianship - but that is a long drawn out process that would cause you both more stress.
Is there someone who could intervene for you? Is there someone she would listen to? Sometimes parents still want to be the person of authority and will not listen to anything the child says.
My Mom is suffering from some things that she could have taken care of years ago. People tried to convince her to take care of herself, but she needed to do things her way - still does.
You just have to wait until she decides to take action then support her.
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