Mom has unrealistic expectations.

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Hello gang,

Thanks again for this forum, and for all of you who respond. My mom is thinking about trying to sell her condo and get into an AL facility. She does not really have the money, but that is a separate topic in itself. She is pretty well able to care for herself so far (at 84), but is getting more confused about things, so something like AL is attractive in that sense.

But her main issue is her self-described "loneliness". Of two of her sons that live in the area (my brothers, I live 1000 miles away), only one is engaged at all. Of course, this puts a bigger burden on him.

When she visited an AL facility, she thinks that she will be able to make friends and get companionship there, but the trouble is her. She has never really been able to make and keep friends... typically due to her being pretty judgmental (yes, it has to do with her fundamentalist Christianity).

Since she cannot really afford AL, while she is able, I want to take her to the local senior center and say "look mom, this is what they do here: play cards, go on trips, gossip, etc.". If you are not willing to join in and participate in these types of activities here, for free, what makes you think that you would want to do them in AL?

The response to this type of query is either silence, or the "hurt look", or "I guess it is all my fault"... Arrrrrgggghhhhh!

I know that this is not really a question, really more like a vent, as I understand that we cannot change mom or her personality at this point in her life.

My brother and I would be happy if she *could* find some type of companionship at the senior center which would get her out of the house and alleviate some of her loneliness, but given her history, it does not seem likely that will work.

Any thoughts or comments on how to deal with her unrealistic expectations are welcome!

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Your mother sounds like my mother! My Dad is in a dementia unit....and here in Arizona, his various facilities for the first year were all between $4500 and $5000 per month....and if you are looking and are pretty sure she has dementia, choose one that has the dementia or memory care unit attached, so she would not have to be moved a second time when AL cannot handle her with her confusion!! Here, there are also smaller family type facilities that are more like a home, with less numbers of residents too. Also, know that Medicaid will pay for in home caregivers, as well as facility care. My Mom is the same way, when it comes to no friends or few friends. She is not social and is not a 'giving' person who would be helping others or doing anyone a favor. She expects others to be doing for her. She is the victim of the world. She refused to continue with a caregiver coming a few hours per day to the house a year ago....and she is 88y, CHF, Pulm Hypertension, a 91% lumbar fracture, Chronic A-Fib, pacemaker, and insists she is 'just fine', but hates to be alone, hates to eat alone, won't eat at the facility with Dad because the food isn't 'fine restaurant' quality and says she will 'NEVER EVER be placed in a place like he is'. I just tell her that she best be praying about dying in her sleep...to which I hear that she plans to live to be 100 ...'just like her Daddy did'. Totally unrealistic! Will not discuss ANY possibilities of further health decline and need for help to remain at home. I try to nicely tell her that the time will come when it's either living elsewhere or having helpers come to the house....and I hear the same response others report.....'ONLY FAMILY' can help her! Family = ME....there are no others! I tell her I cannot move in with her. I would be there if she were imminently dying or if my Dad was.....but I have a husband (with Parkinsons now) and a home business, live 5 hrs away and run a home business too....which is going down the tubes since taking over as POA for both of them and having to make so many trips down there to check up or do things for them both. I would give your mom the 'either....or....' treatment.. Call it a trial....re: going to day care.... 'We are going to try it for a month...." That's how I got caregivers in for my Dad when he was still at home. Just said, 'Lets try it for a month. If you don't like, we can stop it." By the time a month went by, he looked forward to the helper coming....she was much more fun for him, than my mother was! And even my mother befriended her in the end. Or the other option is to get the doctor to 'order' it for her. Most will do what their doctor says.... To qualify for Medicaid requires money being down to about $2000 in actual cash per month, one car and a house allowed. It takes a long time to get qualified....They will look back for 5 years at what all her money has been spent on. If a 'spend down' is necessary to get to that $2000 left in cash, it can only be spent on medical needs and home repairs to count. It took almost a year to get my Dad approved and in the meantime, we spent $75,000 of his investments on him and another $20,000 on my mom's medical needs and fixing up the house. So all the existing resources have to be used up....and THEN, the Medicaid is basically a loan. In the end, they get paid back out of the proceeds of selling the home. That's how I understand it from here in AZ.
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My Mom and I lived together in our CA condo for 22 years. Since public transportation limited where we lived, Mom drove herself to appointments and activities until she was about 92 years old! She adamantly tried to keep her independence. Two years ago, I lost my job and she had a back injury from a fall at home. I kept her from driving her car for one year! I then took her car in for servicing and found it needed expensive work done. Mom decided that she did not want to spend the money so she sold the car. Last year, she suffered another injury at home with a broken pelvis and ended up in a nursing home. She was in rehab for a month and still not allowed back home. Family and I had placed her in assisted living, so Mom gradually got used to the dining service and made some new friends. Today, she is 94 and can still use her walker (with assistance to get to and from the dining room or activities!
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I wanted to jump back in, since I started this thread. Part of what I called "unrealistic expectations" was the idea that mom can go to AL, which costs around $3000 (or more)... the AL facility has told her that she can get a Medicaid waiver when her money runs out... I assume there *are* no AL facilities that cost (say) less than $2000, or am I wrong?
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Gettingold.
Sounds like you HAVE had enough. I looked up symptoms of Alzheimer's and Dementia and listed all the ones that matched her behavior so when I talked to doctor it didn't seem like I was just venting. He told me it was now up to me as to how aggressive we treat her. I know I have about had it and this is why I'm trying to get doctor involved. She will listen to him before me ( she just argues with me about everything, even if its what she wants. Think that's her hobby, arguing!)

As to sleeping on floor....I bought a door alarm at Walmart for $9 and that way if she comes out of her room I will know. Give that a try and maybe your wife could get back in bed.

So many siblings do nothing! I don't understand how they can ignore and in my case, have their hands out for $$ from her at the same time? I'd be embarrassed to treat her so poorly then have guts to ask her to bail us out, pay for kids college or whatever! ( she LIVES with us and we don't ask her for anything!)


I have actually said to my mom if she's going to continue to expect me to wait on her and she does nothing for herself, she will deteriorate and I'm at my limit so she can start to mentally prepare to move to AL or get up and do things while she still can. Her choice!

Its only been a week since doctor told her. I have looked in to centers but we haven't picked one just yet. (I mean she has found fault with all of them so far. She expects a private car to pick her up if she is to go. No group van service. Yeah, that's not happening!) My husband and I are going to check them out without her and pick one. Then I will tell her again she is going there or AL.

I would also do everything in could to keep her awake during the day. Even if she gets mad about it. Sounds like she has her nights and days mixed up just like a baby. Maybe ask her doctor for a little "help" getting her to sleep at night. Like I said if you present it to doctor right, they will see how hard it is on YOU and do their best to help her for your sake.

I am sorry for what everyone is going through. I hope any of the suggestions on here can help your in some way.
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I can relate to you with your fundamentalist Christian mother. My late father was a fundamentalist Christian and it caused me to go right through life without friends. My widowed mother is nearly 90. Because of her Christian beliefs, she wants help from no one but me - in spite of fact I am on disability support pension because I am medically unfit for any heavy or stressful work. Because of my mum's Christian views banning her from accepting help from anyone but me, I am now under more stress and pressure than fit and healthy people. This pressure will take DECADES off my life, but I am forced to accept it just because of my mum's Christian beliefs. And it really hurts that I have to have my life shortened by several decades and my health in tatters.
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My 90 yr old dad is that way too :-( he has burned a lot of bridges with family members he says a lot of mean and hateful things to and about his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, he has nieces and nephews that used to love spending time with him but now they dont even want to be around him and he cant understand why... It is he and I most all of the time we live together and he thinks when ge says jump I am suppose to say how high and when I dont he gets mad. He has a bad heart and demintia but he keeps going he walks around the neighborhood goes through the garbage cans and brings stuff home :-( everybody says just let him do what makes him happy, really even if it makes me miserable... He is a social butterfly but his anger has got him in trouble more than once so he has been banned from the legend and dance hall that he used to go to but he doesnt remember that... I am about at my wits end but I will just keep on keeping on until either he or I get called home
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I hope u can find her a senior center with like minded people. She certainly will not change. A better fit would be church activities
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I am considering AL for my mom too. She currently has in home caregiver support with home health agency but she also complains of loneliness and we have tried everything to get to senior center but nothing has worked and I just think the area she lives in - they really don't offer a lot of activities for seniors. We have found a really nice AL in our area ( we live in a metropolitan area) and the AL offers much more and you only have to go downstairs to participate plus I like the fact she will get 3 good meals a day and not have to eat alone. They also have multiple levels (independent, AL, memory care) and she has some memory issues as well as needing a walker. The price is not too bad and she gets pretty good monthly income and qualifies for VA benefits. I feel nervous talking her up to get her motivated for this move but I think it is time.
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IsntEasy, what state or city did you find AL for $750.? My mom pays twice that and I have to do a lot for her, especially her meds. She has dementia so she may need more care before too long. She also cannot be pleased, nothing I do seems to be enough. She wants everything to be "about her". (not new behavior). Stays in her apartment way too much. Refuses to go places we can't take her dog, except for 1 hr at church. I'm SOO glad I found this place because I couldn't have her living with me, we would fight all the time! My health isn't very good either. Hope you find answers.
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Sounds like she has dementia and the more confused she gets, the more she will want to retreat. Assisted living is very expensive, unless you can sell her house for more money than it will cost to keep her in AL based on her dementia status and other health concerns. Try the day care centers first, going three times a week, then increase it if she does okay. There are no easy answers to this and it will depend on how much stimulation she can handle. Good luck!
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