Mom is so stubborn!

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94 y.o. mom, still insists on living alone. on oxygen, weighs 95 lbs, wobbly, unsteady, barely eats. still mentally capable of making her own decisions, and has stubbornly refused, for 10 years now, to give up her home. in past year, she truly has become a danger to herself, forgetful, easily confused, and very weak. 6 kids have exhausted every tactic, persuasion, argument, and still she won't budge. I am closest, and I live 90 minutes from her. worried sick, as are my siblings. has anyone dealt with this?


My Mom is 86yrs, very stubborn and very independent. She cherishes her freedom of choice more that anything I can think of. 3 yrs ago she hurt her back and I had to care for her at her home for the first 6mos. 24/7 then slowly I was able to go sleep at my house and slowly she only needed a couple of visits a day. She was very unsteady on her feet and she disregarded all my warnings about using a walker. Well 6 weeks ago she fell and broke her hip. she was in the hospital for a month and they let her go home last week. Thank Goodness my sister has come down to help her for the next 3 weeks for I am also dealing with my husband who has dementia and cancer. About my mother, she is very mentally alert and sharp. she weighs 83lbs, and she is a very finicky eater, while she was in the hospital I had to bring her 3 meals a day or she would not have eaten any of the hospital food and she could not afford to lose weight. Although she can now slowly walk with a walker it will take months and months of my going to cook, clean and help her bath after my sister leaves. We all worry about her all the time. The doctor told her that if she fell again that she would probably die. The bottom line is this. Since her mental capacity is intact and she is able to make her own decisions she has chosen to live at home because she wants to die in her own bed. Her world has become narrower and narrower with each passing year. She no longer can go to a mall and shop, she no longer can go to bingo, or a restaurant she can't do her own grocery shopping. The only thing she has control over is where she will live and what she will eat. I figure since she mentally can comprehend the dangers of being at home alone and is still willing to chance it so that she can have her freedom of choice I will let her. If something happens to her and she falls again then it will have been her choice to take that chance, then we will deal with it. hopefully nothing will happen and someday she will pass away quietly in her sleep.
nana12345 Mom is so Stubborn! This Caught my attention I used to think this was a bad thing but now I see, that the apple didn't fall far from the tree... If I didn't see my Mom fighting for her independence, I would not have learned how to fight for her. My situation is quite different but in a certain perspective the same. My Mom has dementia and much younger and believe me if I could have kept her at home I would have. I tried my hardest to do so, but her safety was a huge issue and mine as well. As it turned out in a NH I didn't have to boss her around she got her Independence. In your case I suggest you do get the care needed,but, in her home for safety and health issues, as long as this works. If she's happy there that's the best place for her. Resources are there if she needs them (this site is a great place to search) and it sounds like your family is on the same page, that's a great bonus. Elders are more accepting to a strangers care than family for some reason. I visit Mom in the NH quite often and not many residents are happy about anything, no matter how hard you try to please them. So good luck and keep in mind you are not fighting a loosing battle your just trying to do what's in the best interest and safety of your Mom. Her quality of life at this point is your goal and not perfection you can only do so much.
nana12345, it might help to accept that your mother is going to die in the next several years, whether she stays in her home, goes to assisted living, is in skilled nursing facility, or goes to live with one of you. She could surprise us all, but she probably has less than 5 or 6 more years. Nothing you can do will change that.

Probably what your real goal is is to prevent suffering. Is that right? What measures might you take that would contribute toward that goal? A medical alert system comes to mind. Meals on Wheels or some method of seeing that she has meals she does not have to prepare. Two calls from her children daily (on a rotating basis). Perhaps someone to help her bathe weekly. Certainly housekeeping help. What else?

You cannot ensure that she lives forever. Is there anything that could reduce her risk of suffering? Perhaps she could accept that more readily than what she sees as loss of control.

You thought she needed to give up her house ten years ago. By being stubborn, she was able to have a full decade of additional "independence." Maybe that wasn't such a bad thing.

I like the story EMilie shared. If Mom truly is "still mentally capable of making her own decisions," maybe your focus could be on how to minimize the risks inherent in her decisions.

I think a medical alert bracelet or pendant is a must.I told my Mother, if you want to stay at home you have to wear this medical alert, a small price for your freedom to stay at home. Lets face it in the end she can just as easily fall in a nursing home as at home. I threw all small carpets out that she can trip on, safeguarded the house and made sure there is someone there to give her her bath twice a week.
My mother and I have an arrangement where she checks in once a day via email. We've also discussed getting a LifeAlert button that she can wear around her neck in the case of an accident or injury.
Thank you to all for your comments and suggestions. Mom does have a life alert button, and we have found someone to come in 1x/week(all Mom will agree to) to do light cleaning and laundry for her. She uses a chair in the bath. All small rugs are gone. Has a cane and a walker, both of which she refuses to use, because they make her look old (my 9 y.o. grandaughter thought that was so funny - said "well, Grandma, you are kinda old.)
Feel blest to have her in my life, but just get so frustrated with her stubbornness sometimes....
Hugs to all of you out there!
My mother is just as stubborn. Will not even think about her future when her ability to do things declines. She has no plans and assumes I will take care of the situation when she comes to that point in her life. Having DPOA means nothing as long as she has the competence to make decisions. The elderly have no right to put this type of burden on their adult children. How fair is it to allow the elderly to have these rights while the adult children are expected to take on the responsibilites to ensure their rights to choose?
I also have a stubborn mom who is the primary cg to my dying dad. I had removed their throw rugs a month ago for fall prevention with my dad's decline & visited last week & the rugs were back!! wtf? Does she want to risk her or dad falling & end up back in the hospital??? Just when I think things are in place & going well, these little things happen. Sooo frustrating!!!!
I don't think it's just stubbron. It is so sad to read these posts about people who used to put their families ahead of themselves reverting to the emotional state of 2 year olds. (I want, I want , I want) This seems to happen with or without dementia. Will we who are cargivers now, soon become the self absorbed elders needing care. UGH!
I ask my MIL who did you do something for today? If it is true that there is more happiness in giving than in receiving, maybe that's why so many elders are so unhappy. If they can talk they can call a friend, If they can write they can send a card. they can smile at their caregiver. I pray to God I remember this in 20 years. Encourage your mother to do something for someone else.
Life alert saved my mothers life twice, before I moved in to care for her.HIGHEST recommendation. Inexpensive too and SO worth it!

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