"Emotional blackmail" & other questions about forgetful mom.

Follow
Share

My 82-year old mom is in India. She has always been absent-minded, not remembering when events happened or who is related to whom in the family. Lately she seems to be more forgetful like details of a conversation, names of my kids, name of her DIL, what she watched on TV etc. Our phone conversations now are quite short since she doesn't remember what has happened in her life. Mom's home is also very cluttered and she refuses to let me throw out stuff when I visit her. She reported seeing rats and I did get an exterminator for her. She forgets to flush and the bathroom smells bad. She forgets to pack up leftover food and I have seen ants on the food. Mom pooh-poohs all these issues, saying I am too fancy because "I'm American" and that's her way of life!!! So what stage of dementia this might be? I saw someone talk about stage 6 Alzheimer's in one of the posts here...so I was curious. I've been picking her up from India to stay with me here every 2 years. Now she is asking why can't I do this every year??? Talking to her of the expenses/my life here is of no use since she just tunes out or doesn't understand. She even told me to quit my job here and stay with her there. Is it ok for me to say absolutely not??? I will go mad and bankrupt if I have to ferry her every year in business class. When I vaguely mentioned to my relatives that I might get a home aide to stay with mom in India, they looked like I was crazy and how I have to move mom here with me, come what may...it is my duty etc etc...anyway, mom would never let me hire an outsider to care for her. (I am exploring getting her a green card & posted this in the "new to caregiving" forum). So the way to deal with all this is: I should be just thick-skinned and let all this slide off and ignore my relatives and mom's idiotic reasoning that "I am American?"" Thank you so much....and good luck to all of us dealing with our parents.

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
Find Care & Housing
3

Comments

Show:
Thank you both. GardenArtist, yes, there are our Indian language programs on TV and lots of Indian businesses in New Jersey, so that way I'm good if/when my mom moves in with me.

Right now, I am in touch with mom's neighbors and they will call me right away if there is any need for me to rush there. I will try to figure out a POA for mom.

I will look for the book, thank you.
(0)
Report

I think you would gain some insights from the book "Being Mortal." The author, Atul Gawande, is a surgeon and an Indian-American. He writes about cultural differences in regard to aging in the US and in India, and he also points out that in both the US and India and all over the world change is underway.

His focus is on meaningful elder care in the US. But his knowledge of another culture is very informative and adds a valuable context.

This book won't tell you what to do about your mom's declining health. It may help put the decisions you have to make in a different context for you.
(3)
Report

Well, first, I think that there are substantial differences in what we Americans have adopted as standards of living and cleanliness vs. those in other countries. I recall an Army Col.'s wife commenting on her observations when returning from a tour of duty with her husband overseas. Her comment was that it was almost unbelievable how much water Americans waste. And she's absolutely right.

I don't think there's much to be gained in discussing the way she lives vs. your American lifestyle. And I suspect there's some resentment that you're living in America, which I suppose to some people still seems like a coddled, pampered lifestyle.

I suspect there's also some resentment that you don't sacrifice your life to move back to India and care for her. I think this is an issue that many families must face when some members emigrate from India.

I couldn't guess what stage of dementia she might be in, in part b/c of the different standards of living. I would ask though whether these attitudes have changed over the years, or did she live as you've described before any signs of dementia appeared?

What would worry me the most though is how she'll eventually care for herself if/when the dementia accelerates. Is there anyone to care for her in India? It sounds like the family is pointing to you with a "you're it!" expectation, if not accusation.

I do remember your green card post, and my concern about medical care if she were to move here.

I honestly can't think of any good answers b/c the cultural differences may be too great to bridge, but would fall back on my suggestion of reaching out to other Indian families here, and there are a lot of them in certain areas where businesses hire under the special visas (I can't recall the category at this moment).

One of the upscale areas on the west side of the county in which I live has a lot of Indian and some Korean families. I was told there were auto suppliers in that which and that was where they were working. As I recall, there were also tv programs in those languages, as well as English as second language classes. Those kinds of communities might also have groups specifically for emigres, and you might get some ideas from them on bridging the cultural gap.
(1)
Report

Related
Questions