1992 : Mother was 52 y/o and began hoarding in her apt. I was married and did not live with her but was concerned about the clutter building up. Told to mind my business.

1998 : Clutter is at uncomfortable level. Personality is argumentive, combative, refuses help and once became physically aggressive. I went no contact for one year after being attacked.

2004 : Full scale Hoarding. Refuses help and denies there is a problem. Has diabetes, high blood pressure and atherosclerosis. Accusing people of stealing. Not paying bills properly. Poor eating habits.

2008 : Hoarding has reached a dangerous level. Pathways developing. She did allow me to clear the pathways a little while angrily protesting at the same time. Health condition still poor. Still refusing help.

2009-2016 : Hoarding continues. Surgery to put stent in leg. Proactively caregiving in as much as she will allow (Doctor Visits, Grocery Shopping, Outings, Bill Pays, Tax Prep and Home Cooked Meals). Accused me of stealing. Suspicious of everyone. Dr gave referral for neurologist and she refused, saying she’s not crazy. Stress has now made me sick.

2017 : The very thing I thought could and would happen did. She developed Pneumonia and Sepsis and almost died. I had to get her out of the apt which was almost impossible because of the Hoarded condition. Ambulance took her to hospital and she was saved from death. She stayed in SNF for 30 days and discharged to me. She was admitted to the hospital 2 more times for Sepsis and high Blood Sugar. She is living in my home with my husband and college age children.

2017-2018 : Mother is 78 y/o now. Currently still living in my home and it is a nightmare. Demanding, unappreciative, insulting, rude. Given three meals per day and snacks in between yet tells people we starve her. Ordering from catalogs and the clutter is creeping up. We hide any incoming catalogs now. Demands to go home but can’t because it’s not safe. Eats everything she can to elevate her sugar level so we hide snacks in bedroom. Goes to store and buys junk food then looks surprised and questions why I am giving her insulin. Is incontinent (bladder) for now, no major problem dealing with that right now. I feel it’s time for a long term care facility. My health is deteriorating. My family nucleus is deteriorating. She’s refusing to go into professional care. The hoarded apt still has to be cleaned out and I am too weak to do it now. I rented a storage unit to store some valuable things while going through the cleaning process. I have a POA for health only, she won’t do a POA for finance and I am currently applying for Medicaid through their trust program because her income is a notch over the acceptable amount. Just overwhelmed by all of this. Maybe someone can make suggestions on best way to handle this. Thanks

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After reading your detailed post (thank you) I had the same answer that came to mind after just reading your topic heading.

Change the one piece of the title that you have full control over: Change having her live in your house. You may not be able to specify where she does live, but you can certainly control whether she lives with you.

It sounds like you are on the right track, applying for Medicaid. She may or may not be able to "refuse" to go into professional care, but she cannot refuse to leave your house, if that is your decision. That is the direction all your hard work should be headed.

It sounds like your mother is mentally ill. I am very sympathetic toward people with mental illnesses. They did not request that affliction. They can't simply "snap out of it." But the current situation is simply enabling her self-harmful behavior. And it is also harming other members of your family. You mean well. You've done your best. Now you need to extricate yourself from this toxic situation.
Helpful Answer (21)
Reply to jeannegibbs
JFJINAL729 Oct 24, 2018
Hi Jeanne,

I wanted to thank you for your post regarding mental illness when it comes to situations like this.

I have Bi Polar 1.

I wrote a response to this question last week. I estranged my mom for my own mental health. She knew I was sick, but never researched how she could help me or acknowledged the problem. I believe because it could have marred her reputation having a mentally ill child. Bi Polar is hereditary.

My narcisstic sister uses my illness as a way to beat me up and down and abuse me anyway she can.

She is now blaming me because the sitters we hired to take care of my mom stole everything of value from her house while in her severely demented state of mind. She said that the sitters knew when she would be there and knew when I WAS NOT. And this fact led them to exploit my mom.

Although there is some truth to the statement it eludes that I am to BLAME. She’s throwing guilt at me daily. I briefly explained my absence and the fact that I had to take care of myself, because I have to continue to live after mom is gone has no bearing on her. It’s an excuse to her with no merit.

You are so RIGHT about the fact that we don’t ASK for the mental illness. I didn’t do anything to myself to get this illness.

I can admit I am sick. Getting a narcissist to admit anything above their “good deeds” and “great intentions” as well as the fact that they are always right and I am flawed gave both my mom and my sister ammunition to abuse me further.

Had I not been born into the family, I would have NEVER had either of them in my life. They would have never been aquatinted with me.

I wish everyone had the same opinion you do. Even Doctors have questioned if I have a true medical problem when I have disclosed the fact that I am Bi Polar. It’s a great burden to carry and the abundance of doubt from anyone that knows I’m sick is devastatingly painful. I pay the price daily.

I am compliant with my medicine, have a Therapist and a Phychiatrist. I am on the right track and MUST REMEMBER that even though it’s hard, THEY are flawed in a way that can’t be repaired.

So I take the hits as they come and let it roll of my back with no obligation or intention to do anything different than what I want to do.

Thank you again Jeanne. Your post was a blessing to me and my mental health!
Listen to the wonderful, caring advice you have gotten here. You are in control of what happens to you, in YOUR home, not Mom, even if Mom thinks she is in control and on some level, you may think she is as well. You’ve certainly treated her as though she was, for a long, long time. Time for that to be over. Mom did this, Mom said that, Mom refused this...enough! Limit her computer access, find out how to block shopping sites. Does she still drive and handle her own money? And, she brings all this “stuff” into YOUR home? You certainly don’t help her carry it in do you?

If she is disregarding her health it won’t won’t be long before she crashes again. As was said, don’t bring her home! Stand your ground with Social Services and refuse to bring her back to your home. Sounds like she has funds. Do you have access to them? Hopefully so. Hire a trash-out company to go to her home and clean it out. Whatever is there is most likely beyond salvaging. If she has neighbors there, they will be forever in your debt if you do this.

Make the change. You know you need to do so. It’s way overdue. And please come back here and let us know how it goes. We care.
Helpful Answer (19)
Reply to Ahmijoy
Clarity Oct 26, 2018
Hello...Thank you for your response to the OP and wanted to answer the questions you posted. My mother doesn’t use computers. She handles her finances with my assistance and she is a retiree with a limited budget. She stopped driving on her own about 10 years ago. When I am driving and she sees a store I don’t stop. I discard catalogues that come in the mail. I even blocked the shopping channel on cable. I do not assist her in hoarding in any way, shape or form. If you have never dealt directly with this disorder I can tell you it’s crazy making for sure. Now let’s add dementia to this brew. More than likely I will have to have her placed after a hospital admission. It’s a very sad circumstance to be in for her and myself & family. Again thank you for your suggestions and my prayers to you and yours as we all try to muddle our way through this thing called life. God Bless
At the next possible juncture, get her to the hospital. Get her admitted. Refuse to take her back into your home. She needs much, much MUCH more care than can be given in your home, by you.

She needs three shifts of professional, well - rested, trained caregivers.

You need to be able to say "Mom, I can't possibly do that" and mean it. Ultimately, you are looking out for HER best interests.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn

If I am understanding the situation, your mother has an apartment? So she’s paying rent every month for an apartment that’s uninhabitable. First, contact the landlord and make him aware of the fire threat that exists. Next, contact Adult Protective Services to make them aware of the living conditions in the apartment. She will be evicted. Once that’s done she will only have one place to live: your home. You can either wait until she’s hospitalized again or call 911 and have her taken to the hospital for one of her ailments. Then you can work with the hospital social worker to have her placed in a suitable living situation. If you allow her back in your home, things will go from worse to unbearable for you and your family. If you’re having a hard time grappling with this reality, get counseling to find out why you’re allowing your life to be disrupted like this.
Helpful Answer (17)
Reply to Susanonlyone
surprise Oct 28, 2018
I disagree. As long as mom has a lease on the apartment, she is the resident there and should be easier to uproot from the current situation. It's hard to get an eviction on a guest once they've stayed a few nights, and harder if they have no where to go. If the OP refuses to sign for the discharge, the hospital would be negligent if the social worker had been show/given copies of the photos of the condition of the home. If mom gets released to herself, then it's not OP's problem - she can call 911 with those high sugar numbers or lack of food or whatever. She should not bring her home.
Call your local office on aging. They can help you.
If she gets admitted to the hospital again, refuse to take her home. They will find placement for her in a long term care facility. I highly doubt that they would discharge her to home as they cannot legally discharge someone to unsafe living conditions, but just in case they would, call APS and tell them she is in immediate jeopardy. They would then have to go to her home within 4 hours. They couldn't make her leave, but they would report the condition of the home to the city who would have the power to condemn it.
But, you have to stick to your guns and NOT allow her back into your home. Remember, at 78, she could possibly live a lot longer. You could end up dying before her due to the stress of trying to care for her. You must put yourself and your family's needs first!
Helpful Answer (16)
Reply to katydid1

No way should you put up with this. You're ruining your health and your family for someone who couldn't care less about you.
Helpful Answer (14)
Reply to Davina
Clarity Oct 26, 2018
Hello. Thanks for responding to the OP. Yes your right...when a person can no longer care about themselves they usually don’t care about others. A sad and true fact. Will be working on making things better for me and my family ( including mom in her madness). We can only do our best and when we have done that, we can know the choices we make for the future are the right ones. God Bless
For your own health and that of your family, listen to the thoughtful advice you've received here. You are not trained to handle the situation that your mother has created and refuses to listen to or cooperate with you in your own home. Speaking from experience, my mother is 92 in the New Year. Before my mother turned her attentions back to me to do her "bidding", she sucked the life out of her sisters and now they are gone. I realized during that time to set very firm boundaries and to keep them that way. She lives in her own apartment, but my friend and I take her out to shop and whatever else needed a few days a week. She wants more and pouts about it, but that's tough. I have a life and many other obligations of my own. It's forced her to be more connected to life, still paying her bills and keeping her apartment tidy, with help from me and her maintenance man. I would never, ever allow her to live with me. She did once for several months when I was in my 20s, and she was horrible, trying to take over because she is a narcissist who wants control, attention, and will do anything to get it. Sound like your mother? Then take back control of your life and ensure that she is attended to properly by trained professionals. Although we love them as best we can, we also have to love ourselves enough not to be prey to unrealistic and unhealthy behaviors. Stay strong and do what's best for your mother and yourself. You are not unimportant in this scenario, as your mother would have you believe. I always say to my mother when she pushes too hard, "I'm no good to you if I get sick." To a anyone, especially a narcissist, that speaks volumes. Best of luck and hugs to anyone in this situation!
Helpful Answer (14)
Reply to pattiac
Texasgal Oct 19, 2018
Good answer and I wish I would have followed what you did.  No I kept allowing my mom to move back in with me - why?  I guess I felt sorry for her because my father died - left no insurance.  She had nowhere to go so I let her move in me.  I thought it was temporary but oh no - lasted 4 years.  I had a nice one bedroom apt. and job.  And while she was not a hoarder she could be a horrible narcissistic, control freak, and just downright mean at times.  I didn't realize she was a narcissistic person until just recently.  She fits every criteria!  I'm mad at myself for letting her move in with me when I bought my first home - I went against my better judgment.  She lived there 13 years.  Long story short she is now back and no one really helps me.  I have 2 brothers - but they do very little.  She is now 92 and I'm wondering how much longer do I have to do this "tour of duty".  She's in great health and still drives.  I'm afraid she might outlive me - or once she's gone I'll be a broke down, too sick to enjoy my life.  I'm trying to stay strong but I've reached my wits end.  She can be nice when she wants to - or wants something.  She's manipulated me her whole life and I was too tender hearted and let her.  I was always trying to make her happy and win her approval and love.  I now realize I don't need her love to be whole.  And I'm a wonder person just as I am.  It took me a long time to feel good about myself and to love myself.  I stood up to her nonsense then got told I could get picked up for elder abuse!  I now just try and live my life the best I can - bought my own t.v. to watch in my bedroom to get away.  But you were so right to break free so young!  I feel like my best years are gone.   
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I recently posted about my Hoarding Mom - I completely hear you.

Unfortunately, what I've come to understand is that until/unless the Hoarder is mentally or physically "incompetent", then there is literally nothing you can do.

Literally. Nothing.

You can't fix this. You can only protect yourself.

One of the things that has helped me is to look at the Hoarding as an addiction. You can't help an addict unless they want help, and even then sometimes you can't.

I chose to let go of trying to fix or change my Hoarding Mom and to set boundaries that protect me, my sanity and my family. My Hoarding Mom is clear with me that because I think it's unacceptable to live in a home with no working heat, that I am a liar, that I'm trying to steal from her, that I'm not to be trusted, and that it's her life and her choices, and that I can't control her or tell her what to do, like I do everyone else. (Yes, because that makes sense).

Sure, her choices, but it's also my reality.

I have made a choice to limited my contact with Mom. I think long and hard about what contact (kids/visits/phone) I'm OK with and what I'm not. And when. Because she is right - she has "capacity", so she CAN make her own choices. All I can control is how I react/don't react to her mental illness.

Society/your family/neighbors will tell you it's your problem to solve, just go in there and clean it up! I'm telling you that's not true. You didn't create this problem, you can't fix it, you're not responsible for it.

I have and continue (on and off) to see a therapist who helps me work through this. Because I choose not to bring my years of hurt, anger, and resentment into my home and into my relationship with my husband and my kids. I choose to see this as an issue is between my mother and me. And as heartbreaking as it is to know that she cares more about piles of trash than she does about me, I've also (after years of therapy - give yourself time to deal, cope, grieve) come to the decision that even though I can't change her, I can change: 1.) how I choose to look at this; and 2.) where my boundaries are.

I hope this is helpful to you. There are support groups out there filled with people who are also dealing with this. I joined Children of Hoarders and have found comfort and release in knowing I'm not alone.

You're a good person dealing with someone else's rotten mental illness. I'm sorry you're going through this.
Helpful Answer (13)
Reply to MrsC2018
orlando101 Oct 19, 2018
Good for you. My belief is that dealing with this in the way that you are now and seeking professional help, you are stopping this dysfunction in it's tracks once and for all and when your mother is no longer around you will have the peace that you "broke" the dysfunctional cycle. I did this before my mom passed away (not a hoarder at all, but lots of family dysfunction).

My mil is a hoarder - after having no choice but to move into a retirement home after her husband died, she now can only hoard money - lots of it. For the first time I've seen up close how deep narcissism goes hand in hand with this and it breaks my heart for my husband because it is clear that for both he and his sister what she hoards and what is "hers" is bottom line more important to her than them.

It is an illness and I believe a way to keep the ones who should be closest to you at an emotional distance. I think these are people who did not ever grow emotionally either due to neglect, abuse or a traumatic event.

Best thing to do is what you are doing and what we have to do, and the original poster needs to find a way to do - stay away as much as possible. I'm going to look into that organization. My husband broke away years ago but it definitely affected his self-worth and now having this close by again has brought up some old stuff- but he sees it as an illness and has made very good boundaries.
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My MIL also has a Personality Disorder and is a hoarder and has dementia. She went to the hospital when she broke her hip, and we would not allow her to go home. She’s been living in a nursing home for a few years, and we finally have some sanity back.

As soon as your mother has the slightest bit of distress or her blood pressure goes up or blood sugar is out of whack, call 911 and have them transport her to the ER. When she gets there after they do their initial evaluation, step out of the room and let them know that you WILL NOT be taking her home because you are no longer able to care for her at home, and that they need to find placement for her in a Nursing Facility IMMEDIATELY. Refuse to take her home. Walk out if you have to.

This is a little secret to fast-tracking placement. Your mother will be mad at you, but she will adjust. You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else.
Helpful Answer (13)
Reply to DrowningDIL
Heather10 Oct 23, 2018
Excellent advice, when dealing with NPD.

Yes, the secret is that the family has to abandon them to get care.

As long as the hospital thinks there is a family member available to care for them, they will dump them onto that relative.
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I hope this won't depress you utterly, but I think you are handling it in the best way already.

Your methodical time line, and the flexible approaches you've been using, and your careful choice of battles - these are all very impressive. You are dealing effectively with an extremely challenging person.

The situation is draining and nightmarish, but not because there's anything wrong that you've done or anything you've left out.

You have sensibly sought advice on how to deal with the financial issues without financial POA. You do have health POA. As part of your correct thinking that her living with you is becoming untenable - though actually as it's making you ill it already is untenable - perhaps revisit what support you might be able to get from her healthcare team towards a placement. That might go as far as forcing an assessment of her mental state without her consent. Is she still willing to attend routine medical appointments?

What's so unfair is that she demands to go home; and you countermand her wishes because if you didn't she'd be at risk; and nobody minds your ignoring her autonomy on that score. She neglects basic self-care for a diabetic, and you're there to catch her, and nobody raises the issue of autonomy there either - you can't ethically call her bluff, let her sugars skyrocket, take her to hospital and refuse to collect her (for the avoidance of all doubt, I'm saying you WOULDN'T and COULDN'T do that). And yet when she refuses to see a neurologist, and refuses to consider a facility, all of a sudden she's in charge. Well, nuts to it. EITHER she is in control as a competent adult; OR she isn't. She can't continue to have it both ways.
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to Countrymouse
rovana Oct 23, 2018
Refusing to take her back into your home may be the only way, in the US, that you can get her real help. I believe you Brits have more realistic laws and practices in regard to mentally ill people. Frankly, were I in poster's shoes, I sure would refuse to take her back - after all other family members have rights too, don't they?
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