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My mother hasn't made a healthy decision for herself in her entire life. She had a bad experience with a dentist once, so she never went to a dentist again - as in, she hasn't seen a dentist in at least 50 yrs? Maybe more? Her teeth over time are literally rotting and falling out of her head. How she has any teeth left is beyond me! She smoked like a chimney (menthol, no less) for decades despite multiple warnings from her doctor. Yet she's managed on a $300/month COPD inhaler for over two decades and she's still chugging away. A disc in her spine failed 20 years ago & the doctor told her surgery was necessary or it would severely pinch a nerve & leave her with pain and mobility issues. She refused the surgery and though she can barely get around - SHE STILL MANAGES! Then came the dementia. When her doctor saw my panic at the diagnosis (knowing what a tremendous caregiver responsibility came with it), the doctor assured me - at her age, and with all her other ailments it was inevitable that she'd start to fall, or lose cognitive functioning rapidly, or have a "heart event." Moral of the story: Don't worry. Your mom is going to require hospitalization followed by direct transfer to a nursing home in no time. But, nope. Instead she's here. In my house. On the list for a memory care unit, yes. But as she's not quite deemed an urgent case, placement is taking FOREVER. And I know how this all sounds. I sound like an ungrateful daughter that doesn't want to be burdened by her elderly mother. But here's the thing. This is a borderline personality disorder'ed woman (legit diagnosed - won't take her meds or see a shrink), that I've had to watch over and care for MY. ENTIRE. ADULT. LIFE. She hasn't made a single wise decision for her health. I haven't seen her put a single healthy food option into her mouth. Everything the medical community states as a precaution, she's snubbed her nose at. And ya know what? Lately I think she's going to outlive us all and me, the one making sure to get 10 cups of leafy greens, vitamins, minerals and plenty of water into each day - I'm the one that's going to drop dead. And she'll be here. Still shuffling along with a cigarette in one hand and a donut in the other. *Sigh*

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God bless you! You have a lot on your plate. I hope it turns around for you soon. Many hugs!
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You sound like a saint. It's so frustrating when someone refuses medical/dental care. But, it's their decision. Now that she has dementia, it may be that you have to see to it that she gets that care, even if she is resistant. Did the doctor say that she is incompetent? I'd immediately explore getting her placed to let professionals handle it. MC shouldn't take that long. I'd protect my own sanity.
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You sound exhausted. You're not being mean, you're literally hanging on by your fingernails. My mother was exactly the same, if you add a big dose of pettiness. I don't have anything constructive to add. I'm sorry! I used to go out to my car at 3am (thank God we didn't have any close neighbors) and get in my Jeep and scream. I used to have bruises on my forearms from hitting the steering wheel as I just let out wails that this would never end. Oh god, please be kind to yourself. You are strong, you're coping and somehow still being kind even though the urge is to go out the front door and drive until you can't drive anymore. This will end and you will have done everything possible to make her life as comfortable and bearable as possible. I was so desensitized that by the time my mom passed I actually said sure, right when doctors started talking about caring for her when she was in her 90s. I thought, don't bother, I'll be dead by then. She passed suddenly from a broken hip. She'd smoked so much for so long that her oxygen levels couldn't support her. Vent all you want, a lot of people care and have been In your shoes.
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You don't sound horrible, at all. What's happening to your life isn't fair. Don't feel guilty.
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Ahmijoy,

You always have great and sound advice.
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There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Eventually, Mom will go off to MC. In the meantime, try to step back. Make sure Mom is safe. If she will bathe, help her keep herself clean. I worry about the smoking and her starting a fire, but keep batteries in your smoke alarms and put one right outside her door. If she wants to toddle around the house with a doughnut in one hand and a cigarette in the other, let her. You will not change her.

If at any time she has a health emergency and winds up in the ER, do not bring her home. Explain that you cannot care for her. They will need to find a place for her.
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