How do I convince my mom she needs full-time help?

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Mom is a dialysis patient, has severe limited mobility and suffers from depression since Dad died almost two years ago. I reluctantly told her she could move to my house but only if she hires full time help in my home also. She won't do and chooses to live on her own. I work full time. I have one brother who can't help because he lives too far away, in his opinion (geographically he is only about 45 minutes away). He just leaves it all to me and my husband. She won't spend her $$, she feels that she may "need" it in the future. As far as I'm concerned the future is here. She's hired a woman for approx. 8 hours a week to clean for her and to take her to the occasional doctor's appointment. This is my mom's solution to getting help. I have been to the ER with her 4 times in the space of the last 10 weeks. I am always waiting for the shoe to drop. I feel that it's probably only a matter of time before I get another call from the police, one of her neighbors or her life alert company. Any thoughts, help, suggestions?

Answers 1 to 6 of 6
Your instincts are correct. She needs help now. A good indicator is how well she is able to take care of her everyday needs. Is she able to get to the bathroom on her own? Can she fix simple meals for herself? Also, it sounds like she has been going to the ER often.
Not knowing her complete situation, it is hard to say if more in-home help would work. If it is for personal care, cooking, and cleaning, I would say yes. If it is more medical I would think she needs more help that what she has now. Also, make sure that you are ready for the responsibility of having her live with you if you are unable to be there or hire enough help. It is very challenging combining two households.
I would suggest looking into assisted living centers in your area. Many have a "tiered" approach where she could start out in independent living, and transition to assisted or NH care. That way, you know that there is someone available all day in case of emergencies.
Also, do you have her POA for both financial and medical? If not, that would be a good place to start. I set up bill pay through my Mom's bank and pay all her bills through them. It is convenient for me, I have a record of her expenses, and she does not have to worry about money. I think it is a symptom of our parent's generation to be worried about being destitute in old age. Maybe if you paid her bills she could relax about it.
Until then, help her hire more in-home staff but with the understanding that it is temporary until you can find a more appropriate setting for her. Visit the ALFs and gather information. Then narrow it down to 2 or 3 and give her the information to look at - many have DVDs now. When she is receptive talk with her about how nice it will be to have the everyday things taken care of so she can do the things she wants to do with her time.
Be patient - the most respectful thing you can do is to get her on board with the new plan.
good luck
Liliput, I appreciate all of your suggestions and I have already implemented most of them. There is nothing wrong with Mom's mind, she is completely cognizant and aware. The problem is she is unwilling to spend her $$ to get the help she needs, be it in my home or her home. I have suggested AL also, she won't hear of it. In mom's mind, if only my dad were still here none of these things would be happening. Unfortunately, I just don't see any good solution to this unless she's willing to pay for the help that she needs. I am trying very hard to be patient, but it's running lower by the day.
Tryinghard, it looks like Mom is trying, too -- your patience! How frustrating for you.

Agree with your mom. "Yes, if only Dad were here, we wouldn't be in this situation. Dad is not here and he is not going to be here. So what can we do now?" We might as well say "if only we had a million dollars," or "if only it didn't snow in the winter," or "if only chocoate cake were not fattening." If your mom is still with it mentally, she should recognize the futility of acting on wishes.

She needs help. If she has money, she needs to pay for it.

Is she "with it" enough to discuss finances? If Dad used to do all that, it might be new to her. Would it help if you could show her how long her money will last if she pays $x a month for the help she needs now?
Top Answer
It may be time for tough love and limiting her choices. "Mom, either we increase in-home staff or we need to start looking at other living solutions." And then follow through with what I mentioned above. If she thinks you will drop the subject, she will go on doing the same thing until the situation becomes critical - then guess who will have to swoop in and take care of everything? If you are her POA, hire the staff and pay the bills until you can get her to come around about the ALFs. Taking her into your home is not something I would advise unless you are committed to 24/7 care. You cannot force her to comply, but, don't step in and fill in those blanks when she needs more help - she may be waiting for you to be the unpaid helper.
None of us can have things the way we want them all the time. Life is about compromise and doing the best we can do.
If it is any consolation (and it probably is not), I think your mom's reaction to spending money is common. My mom got a new mattress and needed new sheets. I took her to Penney's. She about went into cardiac arrest with sticker shock! Sheets cost HOW MUCH??!! She wasn't going to buy any. Yes, you have to. The old sheets don't fit. She wanted to buy the cheapest. Ma, you can afford better ones. Get something that will be smooth and comfortable to sleep on, and not wrinkle badly when washed. I was able to talk her into a slight upgrade, but not the ones she really should have gotten.

On the way home I asked her what she was saving her money for. What if I have to go to the hospital? That is what you are paying for insurance for. Umm ... (laughingly) for a casket? Ma, your funeral is prepaid, remember? And you want to be cremated. She is 90 years old and I can't imagine why she thinks she can't spend money. One sister has access to her account so we force the issue by simply spending her money on her behalf when she won't. That is how she got the new mattess, for example. If we'd known what an ordeal the sheets were going to be, we'd simply have bought those, too. We thought she'd enjoy picking them out, not figuring in how much she hates spending money.

If you can manage it, perhaps taking over some of the spending would be a kindess.
Thanks Jeannegibbs, you're making me laugh! I ask my mom the same thing all the time, what are you saving it for? No one wants it, I always tell her, please take my "inheritance" and use it for yourself!

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