What do I do in this horrible situation that has placed me in peril?

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I need to update my profile so I don't repeat myself so much. In short, my dad died in 2010 and mom was depressed and lonely, I visited six months prior to his death to visit him in the nursing home, he did not know me, he had alzheimers, I was also shocked to see the state of my mother. I was in the US and she in Ireland.

I talked to my mother at least twice a day every day on the phone. I knew she was slipping, repeating herself, and since I had been helping from afar with her finances and other matters, I noticed I had to really explain more and more to her about writing numbers, I knew this was not good and I would have to be with her sooner than later.

I gave up all I owned which was a great deal, sold my car, shipped things at a great expense that I just did not want to lose and jumped through hoops with USDA, customs, etc to get my cat over to Ireland. The red tape was paralyzing.

When I arrived in Ireland, the car service man, a friend of my mothers, told me to be prepared because my mother was not quite the same. We called her to let her know I arrived, she said she wouldn't be home because she had to go to my dad's anniversary mass. This was in April, dad died December, yet she was thinking it was Christmas, so I was stunned.

The next few months I spent trying to figure out what was going on with her. The neighbors insisted she was fine just old age, and still yet, I said why didn't you let me know how bad she was getting, they said we didn't want to alarm you since you were in USA, yet they in the same breath say it is just old age and she is fine. I found out it was more than that with all the crazy things she was doing and saying.

It got to the point where she became at times hostile and accused me of being a bully. She told the neighbors I was hitting her. I was serving her all her meals, doing everything I could to make her feel comfortable. She refused to go out with me to get her hair cut or get a manicure, pedicure, lunch, anything to make her feel good. The neighbors said I was keeping her from going out?? I tried to wash her clothes, she refused to dress just wear pajamas, I tried to wash those and just washed what I could. Whenever I told mom she needed to try to bathe, go out, she said I was yelling at her. When I told her what she did not want to hear she said I was yelling at her. The house was ovewhelming cluttered, I would plow through a pile and move to another to go back and see her filling it up again. She would take piles of garbage into her room with various things, pictures, her handbag, and put under her pillows. When I told her this was not good, she said I was yelling at her and being a bully.

The long and short of it came to this, she went out to go to the neighbors house and locked herself out, I did not hear her banging on the door. The cops came and she started screaming that she didn't love me and to get me out of the house, I spent a few hours in my pajamas being detained in station while they arranged for me to stay in a homeless shelter. The next morning they let me call her and she said where have you been all night, they talked to her and she told them she missed me and wanted me home, they let me go home.

When I got home traumatized, she smirked at me telling her what happened. I couldn't believe it, she had been talking to the neighbors and her doctor who insisted she come in that day. The public health nurse came by to as she said, check on us. She said she thought my mother should go into a respite care for a few days, mom didn't want to go, I didn't know what to think or say. Off she went to doctors, the nurse said she would call me and let me know what was going on. I heard nothing, it was Friday, I couldn't find out anything, Sat or Sun. Monday, I am freaking out, what is happening, should I find out or am I supposed to wait and not interfere with her diagnosis, get her excited and upset. Tuesday, I find out she is in respite care 160 euro ride from me and I can visit for an hour. What the heck is going on, I am led to believe they are waiting on diagnosis by consultant, I wait. Then I find out my neighbors knew where she was right away and went to visit her without taking me, they ripped into me saying I didn't love my mother and should be ashamed of myself for abusing her and that she was in there because they wanted to keep her safe from me??? I can't describe how broken hearted all this has made me. Right now they are getting various people together to meet with me and find out if they can release her to come home with me here. They are trying to get her to remove me from the house, I have nowhere to go and am at wits end. I continue to pay the bills online the way mom and I agreed to do it. Do they have a legal right to keep her, she is crying to come home to me, telling them I didn't do anything to her. Could a lawyer help me, I don't know what to do, I am sick to my stomach over all this. This forum is my only help.

Answers 1 to 10 of 27
What a hearbreaking and frightening situation. I would contact a lawyer and try to sit down with her doctor for a heart to heart talk. I would even go and talk with the folks at the respite center. Surely they have evaluated your Mother and understand where all this trash talk is coming from.

I really don't understand how neighbors would know more than you do. Who are they that are getting people together? The nurse took her to the doctor and they put her in respite from there without calling you. Why were you not able to go to the doctor with her? I know medical services are different in other countries but this is beyond my understanding.

Hopefully once you have the group meeting, this will all get settled. It may well be that the neighbors just don't know you and are trying to protect your Mother.

In the meantime, call a lawyer, call the doctor and try to talk to someone at the respite center. Make a list of all your questions, explain how you are helping your Mother and find out how to get some help in caring for your Mother at home.

I wish you all the best! God bless.
My first knee jerk reaction is, just come the heck back to the U.S. and let the neighbors take care of your mother. But I suppose that isn't going to happen (sigh) so I guess you're going to have to work within whatever system they have in Ireland. Are there services for seniors like there are here? What do they do with old people in Ireland who have dementia/alz? Her neighbors are hiding their heads in the sand so to speak if they think it's just 'old age' your mom is suffering from. Sounds like from this end, that your mother and her neighbors have been living close to each other for a VERY long time, and been looking out for one another for as long. Are they also seniors, and cut her slack because of that? If that's the case, maybe it's time to make nice with her neighbors and get them to see this from your side. And not as some interloper that has come to upset their poor aged friend. It's bad enough to have to deal with this sudden decline in your moms health, but then have to deal with it in a different country.
Wow.
Nancy, this is exactly what I was thinking. I wouldn't know exactly how to handle this in another country. It is difficult enough when one is in their own country. Madeaa, it may be that people don't really believe your mother, but they have to be sure. One thing that does seem apparent is that she has been fighting you being there since the time you came. I wish that you had known how it would be before you made all the changes in your life. I would consult with a lawyer there who was knowledgeable about elder affairs and figure out what is the best way to proceed. I do not envy you this situation. What a nightmare. Please let us know what happens.
Thanks so much for your responses, it does help me somewhat. Yes mom has been close to these neighbors who are in some way related a cousin of some sort. I was so happy she had them when dad died, they helped her through it when I couldn't fly out of NY in snow storm week. Despite this, they have proseuted me, indicted me and persecute me. One thing quite interesting is what Jessie Belle said, she has been fighting me since I arrived, I didn't think of it but this is true. She wanted not to be alone but definitely resents the intrusion into her space. I sure would have not gone through hell to find a new fresh hell here waiting for me. A woman with an eleven year old cat that moves heaven and earth to move with her and that gives up everything to me does not fit an abusive profile. I am devastated, they are trying to put me out in the street and bring in a home care worker, where the hell do I go, I spent a fortune to get here, have no where to go and no income just remainder of my savings. I will get in contact with a lawyer next few days after going to see this tribunal panel.
Top Answer
I understand your frustrations having given up so much to help your mother. Nobody seems to address that until it becomes caregiver burnout and then the agencies want to help so they don't have to take over. However, it is what it is. You will fare better with the authorities if you take the high road and speak only about what is best for your mother and make it clear what her wishes are concerning having you in her house. You have your hands full, but if you can find a class on Altz/dementia you can learn what is expected from you. Here in the US the first thing asked: Is there a danger to self or others? Every dr. visit, my mother is asked if she has fallen and they check her arms for bruises. Whose fingerprints do you think they are looking for on her arms? It's called Mandatory Reporting. These safeguards are there for a reason, but we have to live with them too. If your mother was being abused by a caregiver, this is how they protect her. You have to speak their language. It's a foreign land.

If you are going to continue to live in the same house together, you may need to stop all forms of telling her what to do. It's a mother/daughter thing. My mother will cooperate with the prt-time caregiver and not me. When I tried to insist on anything, she felt I was yelling and a bully. Yelling can be a feeling, not just a volume. You may have to lower your standards and expectations to unbelievable levels. At this point, I don't ask my mother to shower. I just make sure she is scheduled with home care staff to bathe on certain days. I'm looking at getting one of those bidet fittings for the toilet.

I "disappear" things around the house to keep up with the clutter she creates. I have created an account with a secured card with a small limit so she can purchase what she wants when out, but won't be ruined if somebody finds it. I pay bills from a different account. My current challenge is getting the food back into the fridge after she makes a snack. Warm food that sits out gets tossed for safety and is getting expensive. I'm thinking of bringing in a "snack" fridge for single serving items and locking up the regular one. I don't want to start a battle, so I will absolutely need to come up with a story to blame the fridge, not my mother. I have discovered that some packages are hard to open. This helps me control what is opened and when, but I couldn't understand why she wasn't eating her favorite foods. Now I open new packages ahead of time. The buttons came off the stove long ago. I keep them in a cup on an upper shelf. Shhhh, don't tell. She will tear the house apart looking for candy if she thinks it's here, but if she finds remnants of previous packages in a few places, she seems content without eating an entire bag in one day, getting a sugar high and stopping up the toilet later.

Please, everybody, don't take offense with my next statement. Folks who lose their mental function are working on a behavioral level. It's sort of like training a pet. I know, they are not animals. Even animals have different types and levels of intellegence. Training somebody and expecting them to remember or get better at it won't work if they have memory loss. However, routine, visual cues, avoidance of power struggles, all those strategies used for horse training or dog training are on the behavioral level. Just don't use food as a reward. You don't want to take away power and control any more than you absolutely have to or you will get more unwanted behaviors. It's always safety first. Then find ways to avoid the power struggles. Try to adjust your attitude (yes, it's hard) to keep yourself from saying "she's just looking for attention". Of course she is. We all do. The question is why? What is it that she needs or think she needs? Above all, find a place where you can go and close the door. We have two tvs. I can go to my room and watch a different show. Get it? I'm not telling her I have to get away from crazy town, just watching a show she doesn't like. Sometimes I have big, visible headphone on while working on the computer. I am visibly present for comfort, but tuned out from nonsensical chatter and not expected to respond. It takes some practice to act like I can't hear, but it keeps her feelings from being hurt and my frustration level under control.
I'm assuming you're a US citizen or legal resident, if so, I'd contact the US Embassy to see what they can suggest you do or have with you before you go to the tribunal panel and then paperwork you will need to get your mom back with you so that there are minimal issues with customs when you both leave, if that is what you decide to do.

Genealegal - your behavioral level observation is so spot-on correct! Choosing the battles are a key to sanity in dealing with dementia.
thanks again, it is so right about yelling can be a feeling not just a volume. I didn't think of that. It is most definitely a power struggle now I see, she does not want to do anything I suggest, but will listen to anyone but me. I could never take her out of Ireland, she fares better here. I am both an American and Irish citizen. I gave up everything, I have nothing to return to in America and I know no one in Ireland, and do not have a job here. I am beyond frazzled and upset.
Okay so an update. I finally got to speak to my mother's doctor today after another sleepless, anxious night full of fear and uncertainty. The doctor said my mother was in convalesence?? She should be home and he felt she did not have dementia but was depressed??????? I told him some of what she does, and asked him is this depression? He said he must have her see a specialist, he didn't know this. I reminded him that I spoke to him twice about her odd behaviors and he sloughed it off as old age. He is checking to see what is up, I am waiting for what is up. What an awful mess.
Sounds like Mum needs a new doctor; one that is more in tone with the elderly at the very least. At least you got one huddle jumped. How difficult for you and Mom having to deal with a doctor who doesn't know "what is up".

Hope it all goes better for you!
((((madeaa))))) what a horrible situation! I have lived in Scoland and in England for some years and the culture is really different. I do think the neighbours are suspicious of you for several reasons, not that you have done anything wrong , but you are different and that will makes things a little more difficult everywhere you go. Thank goodness you have gotten through to her doctor. Please be sure to follow-up, and with an attorney. I think you need legal advice, or at least a clued-in lawyer in case things get bad again, Let us know who the meeting with the tribunal and with a lawyer goes. I know the medical system over there is not the same as here. Are there are support groups in the area? Public health may be able to suggest resources for you and/or your mum. I like the idea of having someone come in to bathe your mum - she may well respond better to an outsider. And also that you educate yourself about Alz. Oliver North wrote about this - "The ancient Chinese warrior Sun Tzu taught his men to "know your enemy" before going into battle. For if "you know your enemy and know yourself," he wrote, "you need not fear the result of a hundred battles." Alz/dementia is the enemy.
Geneagal has some great suggestions, too, and i think what igloo said about chosing your battles is very wise.
Is there any chance of you getting a job over there. Being self-sufficient, and among normal people could only be good for you.
Do let us know how it is going. (((((((((((((((((hugs)))))))))))) Joan

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