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I found this very wise post on another (financial) website; I think it is good cautionary advice.


The OP wrote in that her mom, 58, had recently suffered a stroke, was refusing PT for balance issues and was probably not going to be able to return to work. The mom has no savings and still has a mortgage. She is resisting all offers of help from her adult child.


"...When in similiar circumstances, the toughest thing for us was to think about the problem dispassionately: to acknowledge that the limit of your responsibility is to connect your mom with services and to be supportive of your mom’s decisions —good or bad; to decide firmly that Under no circumstances should you consider doing anything that will negatively effect the finances or structure of your marital family unit.


There are natural consequences to your mom’s past and present actions/decisions. You can NOT want things for your mom any more than your mom does. If she chooses to ignore advice, pass on services, avoid decisions, etc then that is her decision as an adult and she alone will live with the consequences. It’s possible that by getting a social worker from Area Aging Agency involved that your mom may find her way to counseling that may start to chip away at the underlying mental issues. Best wishes."

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Thank you! I’m coming to terms with her refusal of care. I can’t be more proactive than I already am. Time to back away, take a deep breath and enjoy the many blessings God has given, including His protection over her.
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Making decisions?? My Mom can't even decide what to have for breakfast!
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I feel this!! What makes it really hard is when your loved one seemed to be competent but was making really bad decisions, and you tried your best to steer them in the right direction only to watch them make bad decision after bad decision that destroyed their life...and only after that happened then you found out that they were in denial (or maybe even completely unaware) of their declining cognitive impairment & hey guess what! they actually had dementia! Now they're not responsible anymore! How convenient lol. How can I make mom face the consequences of her actions once it became apparent that she was never really in control?
I honestly am at the point now, where even though she needs constant supervision and my help for almost everything, I'm so tired of dealing with the fallout from her impaired judgment from years ago, that I'm just about ready to throw my hands up and say: whatever happens, happens - I have my own life & family to take care of.
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I hate to say this but people MUST, MUST, MUST be made to face the fact that as humans, things will happen to them. Somehow, and not always pleasantly, if need be, they need to be forced to face reality before it is too late - that they must plan for their futures and have legal documents in place. If, after every attempt has been made with the help of professionals, they still refuse to cooperate and then the sh*t hits the fan, YOU must be strong and let them know that what they sow is what they reap. They refused to cooperate and do what is morally right and sensible and now YOU are in the position of NOT being able to help them. It may be the most difficult things you ever face, but do not do it. You risk them destroying you and your life. Turn things over to professionals or walk away. If you don't and you let them move in with you, your life will be hell and you will never have a normal life again. Don't do it. Sometimes when this happens, they suddenly wake up and there might be a chance of getting things done properly. Trust me - there is no other way. They must be responsible for their choices while they still can be responsible and if they refuse, they must pay the consequences they chose to have.
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Ratchet that up to plus 40 years and that was my late mother, who was still living alone in her own home in another state than me or my sibling and she was 94 years of age at TOD. She demanded to live alone and I had to abide by her wishes ... legally blind, CHF & A-fib. The deal breaker was VERY low blood pressure, which at that point I left my life behind & moved in with her.
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Until she’s declared mentally incompetent by a doctor or two, she’s “technically competent. It matters not that we think our own parents are incompetent. I get it though, I personally do not think my dad is mentally competent after a series of accidents and health crisis but sure thinks he is and I don’t think a doctor would declare him incompetent at this point. It’s hard, it really is. I wish my mom could take his debt card and car keys away.
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BarbBrooklyn, I am struggling with what "technically competent" means. I do not think my Mom would rise to that standard. Her series of mini-strokes, coupled with a (now healed) broken hip and leg, have really taken a toll on her ability to think logically and care for herself. She absolutely can not care for herself or live alone.
It is not a matter of "rescue" anymore. It is now a matter of existence.

And, I did have a talk with her yesterday to let her know that if she did not want to exercise, fine with me. However, lack of exercise comes with consequences, which I pointed out to her.
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Tex, as long as your mom is technically competent, you need to let her fail on her own.

It is simply NOT your responsibility to rescue her.

You only have control over your own actions, not hers. You can't care more about her situation than she does.
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Wow! Right on.
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As long as your LO is mentally competent, they have final say on their life... and should be allowed to deal with all parts of life - including consequences. If LO is not mentally competent, you may need to have guardianship or court ordered guardian that oversees LO's affairs. Then, LO would have only options appropriate for their mental abilities in decision-making.
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What If your loved one is not capable of making intelligent decisions? My 89-year-old mother broke her hip last year and did well in inpatient rehab. When she got home, it stopped. She did not want to exercise and no matter how much I nagged, she always had an excuse not to exercise (or shower, or eat properly, etc.) She suffers from cognitive impairment, so do I just let her do what she wants, even if it is really not what is most conducive to her health? Is she REALLY capable of making those decisions for herself? A 58 yo with no dementia can make decisions for things that effect her. My mom? Not so much.
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I stepped in when my dad asked me to. I’ve had to not only deal with dad and his Alzheimer’s care but his divorce that his wife filed for 3 yrs ago. She left the state without closing out their business, paying off debt or agreeing to clean up and sell properties but she’s fighting for more than her fair share. What a mess. All I want is for my dad to continue to be cared for in his wonderful memory care facility, not be taken advantage of and maintain his fair share.
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Barb,

I really need to print this advice out and print it on my forehead to view everyday in the mirror. Right now I have, ‘sucker’ printed on my forehead.

I automatically have said to myself that if my mom did not listen to reason then I had to assume responsibility for her and just do what needed to be done.

My thinking was it would save me trouble in the long run or thinking if I did things for her that it would prevent future problems. Neither is true, of course. At best it is only delaying a problem.

Our parents are not our children. We teach our children to learn by allowing them to do for themselves, not by doing things for them all of their lives.

It is perfectly acceptable to help someone over a hump if needed. It isn’t acceptable to continue to do more and more and more and then some more to where it becomes never ending.

When our parents become helpless it is heartbreaking and my emotions got the best of me. My empathy for her meant sacrificing myself. Lack of balance causes anxiety, depression, loneliness, frustration, confusion, guilt, etc.

I have a small amount of help, two four hour shifts every other Friday that a sitter helps mom. I’m grateful for that because until recently I didn’t even have that. It really isn’t enough help though. I think about what the right solution is for me daily. I also ignore it daily. We get stuck in a rut.

Thanks for sharing this food for thought.
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Thank you, Barb. I struggle with this more and more every day. My Mom is a bottomless pit of need for sympathy from me when she complains about the natural consequences of her bad decisions.

She’s always been like this, but it’s much worse now that those decisions are making her own and my father’s life even more difficult than they have to be. He’s a stroke survivor with almost no spoken language. She has caregiver burnout, but accepts almost no assistance that she might have to pay for, even though they are in good shape financially. She has always refused any sort of psychological therapy, and is even more resistant to it now than ever. It’s hard to watch either of them in pain under any circumstances, of course, but the avoidable suffering that she’s inflicting is worse. My mother loves my Dad and me as much as she’s capable of loving anyone, but her own emotional limitations in addition to her current anxiety, and possible cognitive decline, are adding up to a perfect storm of intransigence.

I love her. I truly do feel bad for her, but also angry at her. I try very, very hard to take the highest road I can, listening with compassion, but still setting boundaries. I feel like she’s drowning and not only refusing every rope I throw, but (consciously or not) trying to drag me down with her.

They are in an independent living facility and have close friends there, which is a relief. I know that they’ll have help (whether she wants it or not) in a true life-or-death emergency. I have spoken to the staff, who I understand can not intervene except in extreme circumstances.
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Thank you so much for posting this! It’s timely for me, as my brother needs care but is in denial about it and has no money. I don’t want to sacrifice my retirement savings to try to fix his life.
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I needed to see this today. I try so hard to help my mother, but am realizing that she has to want to fix things herself. I have had to step back and just take care of myself - even my father, who is in LTC, told me that she will not listen, something bad has to happen and then she acts. They’ve been married over 60 years so he knows. Thus I stepped back and she has the consequences of her actions or inactions as it were.
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Great wisdom in those words....thank you for posting....somebody needed to see this today!!
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It was very hard for me to step back and watch while mom made the decisions that eventually cost her, her life early. I fought with her but mom was stuck in her ways and refused any advise or suggestions I was trying to give her. Then later on tried to blame me for certain things. I was like hope not going to happen I can lead the horse to water but I can't make him drink. That simple, it was one of the hardest thing for me to do was to step back.
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Thanks barb, very happy to see this this morning while I’m contemplating what to do next. Just standing by, much less ‘supporting’ poor choices is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Should do... I’m still trying to fix things. (Not financially, thank goodness.) Started with her refusing rehab after a heart attack four years ago, and choice after choice since then that erodes her brain and her health.

Blessings to all of you as we march forth.
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Good advice; thanks for sharing.
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Well stated and thank you!
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Yes indeed, all true. (& as you said), must not follow our emotions in such matters, or worry about what someone else thinks of us.
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I totally agree. Thank you for this post.
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Excellent advice. There is so much entertwined family financial and emotional mess that goes on and so many can’t seem to break the cycle. I worked for a social services agency for five years that connected people with various services. When we gathered the financial info, so often it was found they wouldn’t need help at all if they weren’t bailing out a family member, or being abused financially by a family member. So many senior citizens had adult children and grandchildren living off of them, or the opposite. And change was nearly impossible to make happen
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I agree with this a 100%.
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I agree, CW. We should go around our respective countries, doing worksite seminars!
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Amen.
Unfortunately for the people who usually come to this website that kind of advice comes too late.
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