Mother in Assisted Living called a moving company. How did my loving mother turn into a mean, old woman?


Moved my 85 year old, health breaking down, mother into assisted living last summer after five years of falling, hospital trips, raging UTI's that landed her in the hospital, etc. We live three hours away, but like a good son I always rode to the rescue and saved the day when she got down, including moving her into assisted living near us. She started demanding that I move her back home last fall. I've read the posts, the ones about how you change the subject or deflect the conversation when mama starts her "take me home" begging. Doesn't work. My older, special needs brother died about three weeks ago. But mother won't give any of us time to grieve his death. She cries at times and says I didn't love him like she did. She calls daily, leaving multiple, rambling, muffled messages demanding that I bring her car, dog, all her stuff, some of which we don't even have, to her. The social worker at the assisted living/nursing home said "don't worry. They all say that." Well, last week mother called a moving company to move her home. Now, the social worker says "we've never had anybody do that before." Welcome to the world of "hell with my mother." She became so negative we've stopped answering her calls. That just makes here even more angry. Went to see her this weekend and the first words out of her mouth were "bring me my car. You've locked me in this prison and I am NOT staying here." She can't even fasten her seatbelt or open the vehicle door without assistance, yet says she can drive to the store "when I get back home." Today she left messages saying she was going to take my name off her bank accounts because she doesn't want me writing any more checks to the assisted living facility. My wife is sick of her and says "just let her go back home." But I'm afraid if we do that she'll rewrite the will and remove me as POA. She says she'll hire a sitter, but she'll fire them by the time we get back home. There are no other siblings, but I've become public enemy #1 to her. I could write a book on the mountains we've moved to care for her and my late brother during his fight with cancer. But none of that matters to her now. She's become a contrary, delusional, mean old woman. She complains that her leg hurts so bad she can't put on shoes, but won't take the medicine the doctor gives her. She refuses to let anyone help her, including me, the nurses, anyone. She tells me if I loved her, I'd bring her the car and help her move home. I'm at my wits end. She's abused me and my wife (but my daughters are suddenly angels in her eyes.) My daughters have helped out significantly, but nothing compared to what me and my wife have done for her. Now, she's calling and asking for their social security numbers because I suppose she wants her estate to go to them rather than my sorry butt. I'm debating taking her cell-phone that we got for her to keep in touch with friends back home. I hate to do that, but we can tell that somebody on the outside is helping her. (she doesn't have internet to locate a moving company and her bank account scheme is too complicated for her to have devised it alone.) She's flipped her lid but still knows who we are and where she is, and where she ain't. Possibly beginning stages of dementia, but she won't go to the doctor to get checked out. (she'd deny it if they said she had dementia.) She knows perfectIy well how to drive us insane, which is where I'm headed. I've learned by now that nobody has an answer and everybody on this forum has their own caregiving horror story. My mother and I have always had a loving relationship, but now I feel guilty for wishing she would die. But the mother I used to know and love doesn't exist anymore. Sorry for the rant, but friends at work and church just give pat answers and want you to be okay. I feel like I'm trapped in a time loop reliving the same nightmare over and over each day with her. Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

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RWB, so sorry you're going through this. I was kind of in a similar situation as you with my father but not anything near what all you've been through and still going through!!
Keep coming here for support and the best advice ever! AC and all the kind, loving, and "been there done that" WISE people saved my sanity!!
I did SPILL my guts to a hospital sociol worker who took the reigns...I had to let go and let others intervene.  So hard to when you love your parent even when they hurt you & drive ya nuts!!  He ended up getting great care.
Take it from me, it does get better!💜HUGsss💞

RWB, how are you holding up?

I agree with CM, that a mediator, or a geriatric care manager might be the better person to have a discussion with your mom about what kind of help she needs if she's going home. But that YOU are not going to help her get home and certainly not going to go and stay there to assist her with her fictional "independence".

I’m so sorry you’re living this nightmare. And I’m very sorry for the loss of your brother. I’d make that cell phone disappear in a minute, without a mention when someone else is distracting mom, and then act like you know nothing when she asks. The staff should be instructed not to let her use facility phones if possible. You’re very correct in the thought if she goes home the merry go round will just repeat, after a huge amount of added stress and trauma for all. Hope you can get a doctor working with you, and mom on some calming med.

Gosh yes, I remember (and I went back to check on your last post).

But where she may have a point is that she now wouldn't have your brother's care to deal with, which must have had its own effect on how she was functioning before. It may not be impossible for the right support package to be found. It's worth investigating the possibility, because the investigation itself will necessarily lead to an assessment of her care needs. Including her mental capacity.

It must by the way make you gnash your teeth to think that if she'd accepted help much earlier on, when they were both at home, instead of struggling on so desperately, then maybe nobody would be in this situation now. But there it is.

I do think you should look for a mediator, and if not the social worker then maybe a lawyer? Maybe an elder care planner or advocate? There are such people around, if you can find one with a good reputation.

You're not ever going to get logic out of somebody you're having an emotional row with, so there's not much to be read into how she can move home and drive and cook and run a couple of marathons but her leg's too sore to walk to the doctor's consulting room. The right go-between would take the pressure off you, and at the same time maybe diffuse some of your mother's anger.

If she does go home, you do not take her. You do not stay with her. You do not later on rescue her. If she does go home, she does so without your participation but on her own cognisances and by commissioning the requisite services, which must also include contingency plans for future illness, accident or disability.

And if she can't design a workable scheme on those terms, which are circumspect and reasonable, not punitive but practical, then QED she is not able to function independently. But if she *can*... well. Best of luck to her.

Countrymouse, I appreciate what you're saying. I've run this through my mind a thousand times a day. Our approach has been "fine, you want to go back home? Go, but you'll do it without our help." Yet, she can't move back home without our help and we all know it. Hence the games, the threats, nobody knows better than I that she is "f-ing furious." She was able to function at a bare minimal existence at home, but her protein levels were shot. She wound up on the floor for two days. We found  feces splattered  from one end of her  bathroom to the other. Today, she denies any of this happened. Her protein wasn't low. Her bathroom wasn't messed up. She was cooking. (can barely open a pack of nabs, much less a can of beans.) Legally, as of today, in the site of the law, she is competent. My nightmare is what happens when she goes back home and decides to drive somewhere, which she has told us she will do. She has glaucoma and can barely see. I asked our attorney and my POA actually took effect immediately upon it being signed and notarized several years ago when she was thinking straight. We did that to be ready for this very moment.

I know that if she goes back home, we'll have to move her, stay up there a week to help her get set up (and I don't have a week to take off right now.) then it may be a day, a week, or six months, but some neighbor will call that she's down and we'll start this whole merry-go-round all over again.

The social worker, is sweet, but out of her league on these issues with mother. We are trying to get her to the doctor in a couple of days for an initial mental assessment, but she says her leg hurts too much to go. (yet, she can move home.)

The thing is.

At the time that you successfully intervened and moved your mother and brother into this facility, your mother had been struggling and then failing to care for your brother in their shared home. Failing spectacularly, I'm not suggesting there was any choice in those circumstances, and your solution for both of them was the very best possible.

But there is a significant difference between being unable to care for and nurse your adult child with learning disabilities who is dying of cancer, and being unable to function on your own at home with appropriate support.

Your mother is oriented to time and place and people. She is capable of working out and following through a plan of action. *You* don't think she's demented, do you? Your wife doesn't, either. The social worker seems to have doubts.

And if your mother is not demented but abso-f**king-lutely furious, then what you are trying to do under the terms of your POA is ultra vires. If your mother does not lack mental capacity she has every right to revise her POA, to end her contract with the ALF, to communicate with whomever she pleases, and to commission a removal company.

You don't have to agree with her, let alone assist her. But as things stand, in the absence of a legally reliable opinion that she is mentally incompetent, you are on thin ice.

Have you sold her house?

Hmm. Your brother died only three weeks ago. But your mother was demanding to leave the facility by the autumn. What was her plan for him, then?

The reason I asked about the social worker is that I'm wondering if she might be a good choice of mediator. *Somebody* needs to facilitate an objective assessment of your mother's mental capacity, (a) and following on from that work with your mother to agree a care plan (b). It can't be you, for all sorts of reasons.

OMG! What a nightmare you are living. So so sorry for you.

RWB, what's the social worker's advice?

" Beginning stages of dementia"?

I'd say she's well into it, or has developed some other serious mental health issues.

She needs to be seen, asap, by a geriatric psychiatrist. If a psychiatric hospitalization is suggested, the answer is yes.

Call the moving company and cancel.

Get hold of the cell phone ( or the records) and find out who her outside contact is, the person who is " helping". Ask if they like to take over her care.

You need to ask yourself at some point if you are going to try to get guardianship or walk away and let the State take over her care.

You have my mother. First if POA isn’t activated get that done!!! The current Dr can have a letter that says to activate it. Once activated stop access to all bank accounts you will need to go to bank with POA and Dr note that activated it. Turn off cell phone and tell Assisted Living no phone call with their phones. I’ve been over a year with both mom and dad acting like this and it’s not easy at all. Now the assisted living raised their rent bu 2k a month. The god send was at the end of the year dad got pneumonia had to go to hospital then rehab for 6 weeks. While gone mom started acting even more crazy ended up in psych ward at hospital. She was just discharged to a nursing home 4 days ago. Today she hates it and wants to leave but even if I wanted to move her there just isn’t any other beds. Mom and dad are in different places right now because that’s where there were beds. They call me all types of profanity and say I ruined their life. But as the POA I have to make sure they are health and safe first. If I can get happiness it’s a bonus.

Sounds like it’s time to leave assisted living and place her in a long term nursing facility.

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