At My Wits End!

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I am the only adopted child of a mother who's view of children was always they should "be seen and not heard". She always gets what she wants, and I'm convinced she just bought a kid because her friends had them and she couldn't. She had no use for me other than child labor, as long as she had a man. She's been through 3 now, and at age 80, says I'm "all she has left" like I'm the consolation prize or something. She wants to be up my behind now 24/7...something I can't deal with. My husband and I have rearranged our lives 4 or 5 times now since 2007 to help her, and it never works out. The latest "crisis" came when she ended up in the hospital last fall and a caseworker cornered my husband and I to tell us she "couldn't be alone anymore" at her current residence. Since they gave us no other options and we felt guilty, we told her she could come live with us but we needed time to pack all her stuff (she hoards) and rent a U-Haul. The lady said no problem-we're sending her to rehab for 2 weeks. The next day as I'm packing all mother's stuff, we get a call saying mother is being discharged from the hospital because insurance denied the rehab. I begged for one more day. My husband and I pulled an all-nighter to get her stuff loaded, brought to our house in a neighboring state, and unpacked/setup for her. We did all the labor ourselves.


While she was with us, I had to move all her accounts, obtain new doctors, change her insurance to our state, etc, but she repaid me by telling her friends that I was "mean, wouldn't let her drive (that was dr.'s orders!), and she's forced to stay in her room", which was NOT true at all. She was out in our space from sunup til we went to bed at night! Home health was coming but she didn't like the people. She complained that her old senior center was "boring" so I drove her to ours twice to get a tour and schedule of events, which was a lot of activities, but she refused to go. She wrote a suicide note and when I took her to the hospital she talked her way back home the next day. Every time she made a suicidal comment I'd call her doctors, her outpatient psych place, the home health, anybody who'd listen to try to get some help. But every time I was met with, "Well...if she doesn't tell us she's going to hurt herself, there's nothing we can do."


After all that, she got mad at me for trying to get help and went behind our backs and signed a lease on a dumpy apartment back in the place we just moved her from. So we had to get another truck and move her again! Since she's been back, I have people calling me all the time about how "depressed and lonely" she is. We go back and forth every weekend to check on her. She now wants to come back here and because we told her no, she's stepping up her game by scheduling medical procedures that require someone be with her 24/7 until she's mobile again. Upcoming is a knee replacement. I cannot go until the weekends because when she was living with us, I sold my older model vehicle so she could have the garage space, plus I was using her car to take her to doctors etc while she was here. I also gave up a job to take care of her. But when she moved back, I'm stuck now with no transportation or job (while she keeps driving against doctor's orders). Of course she's mad because I can't come and told the doctor when he asked about post-op arrangements, that she was coming back to live with us! I called the doctor and told him no, she wasn't. I told him she would be going back to her apartment alone, and did they have anywhere they could send her for rehab after until she was able to return home. He said yes. When I told her this, she got mad and said "I don't know about that! I can't keep doing all this stuff because it's putting me in a higher insurance tier and then I'll have to start paying out of my own pocket and I'm not going to have any money left!" And as soon as we hung up, she called both her insurance and the doctor (I do her bills so I saw the call log) to sabotage my efforts again at getting her the care she needs.


I'm at my wits end. She cannot handle living alone, but she refuses to go back to assisted living where she was once. She has money to go for 2-4 years, but says she "can't afford it". Even if she agrees finally, what happens when her money runs out? I've tried calling her social worker for help and advice but he doesn't return my calls. She refuses psych care-her doctor tried to set her up with outpatient again but she won't go. Insurance always denies attempts at getting her somewhere for a week or so. I try and try to get help yet all the while her "friends" keep calling me and expecting us to move her back in here and she reinforces their beliefs that we do nothing for her with her lies and complaints. She wants attention constantly, is manipulative, and is the neediest person I've ever met. I give all I can but it's never good enough. I'm slap wore out, depressed myself, and hopeless about having any kind of life for myself. Sorry this has been so long; guess I needed to vent. Thanks to any out there who have read this and can offer any advice. smiley

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Thanks mally1! I'm trying! :)
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Nice going, Blue! If she changes her mind, stick to your guns; you've got this one!
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Just an update: I finally got mother into rehab after her knee replacement surgery Monday morning (they were going to send her home the next day to her apartment with only her friend popping in and out throughout the day as she recovers!) Thankfully a very good caseworker at the hospital was able to make it happen. I'm so relieved. She will go to rehab tomorrow after her discharge and I'm sure the staff will be grateful. Mother cut up something awful early Tuesday morning when she started calling people at 3am. She called my husband's phone, then made the nurse call me and her only reason was that she couldn't find her cellphone! (she was calling from her room phone) This was at 3am! She also called her friend at 4am, and me again at 7am because she couldn't remember what she did with some keys and insisted I had them when I didn't. Last night, they gave her a sleeping pill and this morning she was all perky and said she got a good night's rest. I'm sure the staff was glad too! She refused to take the meds Monday night that would have helped her rest. She can't stand anything that makes her sleepy- she might miss something. While I was visiting, I went ahead and got her on the list to go back into AL. I told her I did it and she's going. She fussed about it, but now she's telling my daughter and some of her friends that she wants to go. I've got my fingers crossed and prayers going up that they'll have a room for her soon! Thanks again for all of your advice and encouragement. :)
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Just don't. If she wants you to do something, say "sorry, I can't. " It is actually amazing how when you refuse to do what seems to be the only alternative, another one turns up. If she's not going to be happy no matter what you do, then let her be unhappy in the way that impacts you the least.
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Thank ya'll for sharing your experiences and advice. This site has helped me not feel so alone in all this. My prayers go out for all caregivers!
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Same as I say.... enabling because of unfounded guilt, sweetie; why don't you do as some of these others say and step back? She may crash, but she will anyway the way she spends to move, order stuff, etc.; at least she won't be driving you crazy with it.  Oh, and who cares what the others think; they're not YOUR friends, are they?
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BlueRidgeGal, I can sympathize with the toll the playing victim stance your mother takes on you. I deal with this all the time, it's incredibly aggravating.

If you do feel filial responsibility, I would take time and speak with an elder care
lawyer for advice. I'd be careful about doing her finances if she's being so vindictive.
Finding a reasonable AL attached to a SNF, so if need be she can transfer into higher
level of care seems like a best bet. Doctors like to dump responsibility on family,
because it's easier for them and they're so busy they have no idea what situation you're
in. Manipulative folks always cultivate a harem of gossipy busy bodies who have empty
lives and enjoy the emotionally bloody sport of watching someone being chewed up
and spit out. To me you can divide humanity into two groups, those who rubber neck
car accidents and those who stop to help (or get out of the way if there's help already
on the scene) . I married a rubbernecker and he'd always become so incensed when
I breathed a prayer for those who'd been involved in an accident instead of gawking at
them like he did.

I'd disregard the rubberneckers, and concentrate on your bottom line. What are you
wiling and able to do without compromising your own health and sanity? Given that
you've been raised by an abusive user type of person, it might not be a whole lot. But
that's on her. Not you. And rubberneckers be damned. If they're so concerned let them
move her into their home.
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Assisted living usually kicks them out when $$$ runs out. Looks like you’ve done all you can but she is not going along w anything that will make your life or hers easier. Maybe if you obtain guardianship?
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shakingdustoff, I'd like more than anything to get myself out of this entanglement and save my own sanity, or what's left of it. But....I've always believed it was a child's duty to care for their parents in their old age. I never feel I'm doing enough and I'm sure she's telling her friends that I don't do anything for her. They are all aghast that she's back to living in an apartment, by herself, even though she chose to do it. I don't like her there either, but she refuses to go back to AL. They all think we should take her back in again and look at us like we're horrible people for not doing it. I admit, I care too much about what other people think. :(
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JoAnn29, sorry the "paid for me" part sounded harsh to you, but after a lifetime of watching and being on the receiving end of this woman's bullying, manipulating, and tactics of getting what she wants and never accepting the word "no", I feel like I was no more than just something else she wanted, like I'm a piece of property or trinket bought to serve her purposes.

I do have POA, but it seems I can do nothing with it unless she's incapacitated. I am paying her bills because I was doing it when she lived with us and she asked me to keep doing it because she "can't keep up with it." Her checkbook was a mess- she had figures written on top of figures, erasures, one balance on one line and then thousands off on the next line when she hadn't spent anything. Yes, it's her money. I am on her bank account and able to pay her bills from her account. I'm having trouble keeping up with it too, since she went and got more checks and keeps writing them off to all kinds of stuff: Publisher's Clearing House, Guideposts, wildlife causes, Joel Olsteen, Indian schools, anything that comes in the mail asking for money. Every day I look at her banking account online to reconcile the checkbook there's more spending. I've tried to gently tell her she doesn't need to send money to every cause or gadget that seems useful (like the $30 she spent for 3 small plastic containers with lids!), and that since she constantly complains about not having enough money, she needs to stop spending on all this stuff. Her response is "Well I have to have something to do!" I'm about to the point where I'm going to hand it all back to her and whatever happens, happens.
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