How do you help someone who doesn’t see the need?

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Dad was hospitalized, then placed in a nursing home a year and 1/2 ago. She depended upon him for almost everything, and couldn't maintain their huge home. Then she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, on top of Emphysema, COPD, RLS, Spinal Stenosis, and more. She also has some serious cognitive disorders, which prevent clear understanding of her situation. Like many of you, she has turned against the ones trying to help her. No matter what we try to do to help, or how we try to be a blessing, she dwells on the negative. She is critical and complaining, paranoid and manipulative.

Mom lives to socialize and spend money, and detests any restrictions on her freedoms to do exactly as she pleases, with no thought to personal safety, or common sense budget restrictions. Any attempt to moderate her activity with healthy boundaries, is met with utter comtempt. I am very conservative, and she is way over the edge extreme, so we do not agree. This has put considerable stress on an already strained relationship, and is at a breaking point - my breaking heart. I feel we've done all we can for mom, and cannot save her from her poor choices. She is bent on having her way, even lying to get it. Others do not see this, and work against our efforts to set boundaries. I feel as though we're fighting, not just Mom, but all her "allies," as well. Don't they see how unhealthy all this is? My heart hurts to see enablers make her problems worse!

We are running out of options, and hope our Attorney can help. He has offered some type of hope, and I am eager to speak with him next week. I am literally praying for a miracle.

Answers 1 to 10 of 26
I didn't mean to write, "many of you turn against those trying to help," but meant that you understand, because you have loved ones who turn against your help. (A little clarification.)
Mom's insatiable appetite for more more more has literally worn me out. In trying to meet her needs, I have fetched and provided beyond my comfort level. Still, nothing satifies her. She still wants more more more. And it must be her way, in her timing, or else! So much so, Mom has called the authorities on me, in an effort to get me to comply with her unreasonable demands. I have done so many 400 mile round trips down to her home retrieving items for her that I'm fatigued, and so was a car or two. Now her apartment is filled filled filled. But she still wants more more more. Wow! For instance, she wants to buy some groceries on sale, and asked for a large chunk of cash. Her freezer is already jam-packed full! We just brought her 10 boxes of decorations, leaving 48 of them downstate. She asked for money to go buy more! Incredible!!! (I didn't give her the money tonight, as I am stalling.)

This situation is out of control. When I don't meet her demands, she writes a letter to a judge saying I'm "emotionally abusing" her. Since when is conservatism abusive? I understand it's her money. But she signed on a mortgage, and needs to pay that back before blowing everything. And there's the monthly expenses... But each time I deny her requests, she gets angry, and threatens me again. I'm told, "They have rights to blow money if they want." Well, I think she has a responsibility to pay her bills. Since when is a deranged person's "rights" to stiff creditors considered a legitimate "need"? What is wrong with this system? (So we stiff the bank because she "wants" more stuff?) And I'm considered abusive because I want to limit unwise spending and pay just debts? What in the world is wrong with this picture? I feel like I'm living in the middle of a nightmare!

We went to Mom's apartment tonight. She called, saying she wanted a cheap shelving unit she rejected two nights ago. Her place was filled with dozens of new stuffed animals, boxes, etc. One can barely walk around in there. The closets, cupboards, drawars, and all floor space is filled to the brim. Only an empty space on her walls remain. (Won't be for long...) What chaos! And she enjoys nothing. Demanded a DVD, tape player, CD player, camera, but cannot operate any of them, saying, "I don't have time..." And if I deny her anything, she screams, "Abuse!" Wonder what the court will do with her? Guess we find out soon.

My fear is they will "help" her spend her money, by paying her attorney and guardian and conservator fees. So sorry bank. I tried to pay you back. So sorry creditors. I did the best I could. Seems some deranged person has "rights" that trump reasonable and rational. And I am not happy with this system. I get the shaft for trying to do things decently and in order. Please, somebody, tell me how to stop this train wreck.
I reconsidered a previous statement: I am worn out trying to meet her "wants." Looking for answers...
Top Answer
Soon, it seems the financial situation WILL be out of your hands, and she will bother someone else, someone with clout. You can say with all authority "call Mr. Jones to request more money. I don't have your money any more." These county conservators WILL have to handle the mortgage payments, and the bills, and all lawyer fees are authorized by the court. THEY will put her on an allowance, as my mother is, and "spending spree" mad money the county budgeted (not that they pay attention to their own budget) is $25 month or so.

If she's a shopaholic, then that's her life's activity now, fulfilling wants, filling the emptiness. Just as my sisters have a legal right to be deadbeats, your mother has a legal right to whack out, to be her individual crazy self, just as long as she is not a danger to herself and others, the old 51/50 (in terms of being committed mentally).

Of course, YOU have set a very low bar, wild spending, for her "danger," where the law would start "danger" at pummeling fists and flying knives. The PG's office is set up to stop this sort of financial self-abuse, just as it is set up to protect the little old lady who donates to every cause that comes her way, just as it is set up to stop family financial abuse.

If she can't think of anything to do with her life except spend money indulgently, perhaps related activities would help her. Some people are addicted to shopping, then RETURNING. As your mother seems to want, then NOT want, that might be a way for her to channel her energy.

If you are free of the legal obligations of her finances, and free of the effective reach of her nagging, then you can do "random acts of kindness." Send unsigned card every week with a $10 bill in it. Perhaps she'll see this as her Mad Money. When you do see her, bring her a "I thought you'd like this" present, like stuffed animal or rocky road ice cream.

Your mother has her entire identity set by now, and short of a magic elixir (Rx) or a transformative miracle, seems like she's going to ride her war horse into the sunset. She doesn't admit it doesn't work. Hey try Dr. Phil's line: "Gee, how's that working for you so far?" (She'll probably take that as a clue to increase her vindictiveness until it DOES work! ;-)

Perhaps for your self, make a list of upcoming events that will take the responsibility off you. Some are coming legally, but add a few of your own. Chop chop. Cut this cord, then that cord. Give yourself a whole two days where you do not even look at her papers, bills. Turn off volume on answering machine. Go out of town.

As this is the Christmas season, a time to reflect on love and generosity, take her to see Dicken's A Christmas Carol. I wonder how many souls that classic has saved in real life. How many people see their greedy selves in old Scrooge?

If you get her DVD hooked up, then buy her Andre Rieu's DVD of their concert at Rockefeller Center in NYC. Mom and I have watched it a dozen times, and it is charming. Rieu being always generous and gracious with his praise and humor. Perhaps it will rub off a bit.
Thank you for your very thoughtful response. The chosen Guardian intends to stop paying the mortage, turn off the power and water, when we were going to sell, so she could eventually move to a beautiful ALF. (Mom fears NH and Psych ward.) The "proposed Guardian" said she'd give Mom $50.00 per week mad money, and take her shopping once a month. Most of this sound irresponsible to me, and I don't think very professional. I am mad at the system.

I don't understand what you mean by saying I set a very low bar. I gave her only a little to spend, and bought all her groceries over the last two years. Since she complained, the proposed Guardian suggested the $50.00 for her weekly. I did want to appear to comply, but hated every second of it. Mom has been spending their assets in harmful ways for the past 52+ years. That is what I thought was MY job to stop, but she complained. It seems they'd rather listen to her than me.

The last thing in the world Mom needs is more stuff. Been cleaning their home of 52+ years for the past two, and none of our dwellings can contain it all, so I won't be buying her any more "gifts," but her friends sure are. Nothing satifies Mom's bent, except demonizing me. Nothing will fill her emptiness, save God.

Further, what bothers me, is that I am my Dad's legal Guardian and Conservator, as well. His last will and testament named me as executor, and he'd be caring for all this if he wasn't stuck in a NH with Advanced Stage Alzheimer's. Mom is abusive towards him, both physically and emotionally. I want to be able to protect him, and his 1/2 of the estate from dissipation. This is a sad and grievous situation, but I still have hope.

I am currently praying the Elder Law Attorney we have an appointment with on Tuesday will help. Definitely praying for a mircale! Will you join me in that? Thank you.
Dear Secret and Alz...

sometimes you just can't do anymore.... I'm at that point myself but in a different arena in dealing with an estate my mother will be receiving and sharing with her "dear baby brother". GAG....

Anyway... sometimes all you can do is go to the carpet and put the rest in God's hands. It sucks plain and simple. I hate seeing someone fleeced and done wrong. I mean I literally can feel my blood boil, but our God is bigger than the law, but he gave human beings one thing.... free will.

I'm sure He is looking at those destroying themselves and just crying. If you see our pain, can you imagine His? Hang in there and do your best for God. All else is out of our hands.
Thank you, Mitzipinki.
What does a person have to do to get someone declared 'mentally incompetent'? Can you make that happen and sell her house, put the stuff in storage closer to you? And you're right to have someone else take over as financial guardianship so she can have somebody else to scream at. Does your dad ever have moments of clarity any more to ask his opinion? What does your husband say about your mom? He's seen this all first hand, he oughta have an opinion.
Sometimes you have to detach and let the person live their own life. Maybe the blessing will be that you are free to have your life and can finally give up all of the time and emotions invested in attempting to care for someone that you say does not listen or like you. If she is petitioning the court to replace you, let her.

Let someone else have a go. Let go and focus on something else in your life that is positive.

God bless you for all of the energy you have put into this. It is in the courts and the Lords hands.
By "lower bar," I meant that your sense of danger for your mother involved her reckless irresponsible spending. The law might see that as a right. It's her money, she gets to spend it. Danger for them might include that she's too easily swindled...and obviously that would be YOU in her delusional eyes. Usually "danger to oneself and others" means physically violent, suicidal, etc. And even then here in CA, the state can hold them for observation for only a few days.

So looks like you have to choose your battles at this point, which is to make sure your father gets half the proceeds of the sale of the family home. He too depends on this for his upkeep in the nursing home.

Also, there is a certain calm to being assured that you do not have to like what is going on. You can no longer change it to what is fair and just. You have been unjustly accused, and the system is running over you. You do not have to swallow your outrage and say "well, maybe it's for the best." (Actually it might be the best for YOU to not have to deal with your mother so much.)

You got one of those raw deals, rotten mothers. My deadbeat sisters have been replaced by four parakeets, three cats, and a more than decent set of next door neighbors. Two grown nieces have stepped up to fill the gaps of loving family.

Hope you know what the off ramp for YOU in this situation. Probably making sure that your father's interests are protected.

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