My mom is 87 years. She has diabetes 2, high blood pressure, cholesterol, over weight in 1995, depression in 2007 and dementia 2013. My father had committed suicide in 1991. I have 2 other sister, who helps me take care of mom throughout the years since pop died. My sisters and I have our different ways of helping mom to carry on with her life. Mom has these problems - hearing, she doesn’t want to wear her hearing aid; diabetes shoes, in-toe nail; she use to wear those stocking for her calve and ankle - blood flow issues; has glaucoma, use eye drops and additional pressure drop for just the left eye, had carats removed in 2011; had a bleeding ulcer in 2010, has upper/lower dentures; hair line crack at the end of her tail bone, has arthritis in both hand, knee; bladder; allergy. She takes medications. Mom lives in her home. I moved in with her 3 months ago, have been caring for her long distance for 13 years and 3 years( driving 4 hours one way). I set-up self in-care home, did all the legal paper works. I have dysfunctional family (5 kids - 2 older brother, 2 younger sister, I’m in the middle); mom is F.O.G., narcissistic mother. Mom and I are like oil/water. My siblings say that I am a rebel –bad seed – on on on. I try to stay away from my family to PROTECT myself from all the HURT!!! I have struggle through my life with depression; ex-husband after 20 years with his PTSD (no kids, 2 step kids); father pass away; injury on the job - had to deal with Workers’ Comp.(diagnose incorrectly for 10 years, getting wrong treatments) then diagnose as fibromyalgia that I have (19 years). I was lay off by that company. I try to get other jobs, no luck. I had to sell my home. I apply for Social Security disability and fight with them for 7 years, finally got it. I was homeless and did the best to survive. I have border line diabetes 2; cholesterol; high blood pressure; under active thyroid; depression. I took control of my life style and changed – got off 15 different medications - went holistic; exercise; eat right; yoga; meditation; deep breathing; EFT; finding myself and praying. I’m still here.

My older brother has angry management issues all his life. We all try to help, guide him. The last 2 years – I help him to find out what was wrong with him – diagnose as Dysthymic disorder, now he see a psychiatry and psychotherapy. He has a lot short term memory issues; OCD; autism. He has border line diabetes 2, high blood pressure, cholesterol. My sibling gave up on him (out sight – out mind). I’m his caregiver too.

Mom is mid dementia. Depend on what issues she may have, but doesn’t feel pain or UTI - felt no symptoms; ear infection –pulp in right ear - no feeling of fever, ear rakes; body temperature changes; can’t wear denture - hard to chew solid; can’t swallow pill; shuffle walk; very slow; lost interest in some hobbies; loosing things – try to help her find it; speaking softly; words not so clear; using words that don’t make sense; she doesn’t understand her ills; she’s in denial; her hand and feet shake sometimes; white films along the edge of pupil; not drinking even water; scalp itching, short term memory , agitation, anxiety, critical talking; back sit driver (even thou she never drove). All the blood is gathering all around her ankle, feet – I give massage, encourage to move around, exercise.

I’m afraid to leave her alone to shop of us (wandering) – mom doesn’t want outside people. I already ask my sisters to help – their reply: it’s OK to leave her…
She doesn’t want to go to see the various doctors to take care of her health; eating more junk food. Do I just let eat all those bad food, remind her of her diseases – concern about having a heart attack, stroke, dehydration or whatever else.
While I’m driving with mom – she takes off her seat belt… I pull off to the side. I would calmly, gently ask why – she can’t answer me. I don’t feel comfort.

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You poor thing! You have had so much trouble. Does she have much income, or can she be on Medicaid? Sometimes Medicaid will pay for a companion or homemaker so you can get out of the house for a while. If she "doesn't like strangers," ask the agency to give her a funny caregiver, or a sweet one, or a kinda mean one who won't agree to be fired.

Or maybe you can get a volunteer from a church to visit while you shop.

Does she go to the doctor? Will the doctor tell you how long he thinks she will live? At her age and in her health, I might let her eat more junk food than is good for her. Make her a nice healthy meal when you can, but why try to prolong her life when she fights against it?

Your job is to keep her comfortable, and if you can, to make her feel loved. Your job is not to get her cholesterol numbers down.

I'm with you about the seat belt. Pull over and tell her to put it back on. Don't ask her why - she has no idea. Maybe her fingers just got busy.

You sound like a wonderful daughter and caregiver. I'm sorry your life has been so hard. I admire you for taking control of your health. I wish I could. Remind yourself every hour how lucky your mother is to have you.
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Jinx has given you some good advice.

Might Mother be eligible for hospice care? Please look in to it. That might be a very good help for you.

Don't leave mother alone.

In my opinion, do let mother eat what she wants to eat. Encourage fluid intake. Popsicles might appeal to her.

Do insist that she wear a seatbelt (but don't ask her to explain why she takes it off.)

Love her, calm her, comfort her. Realize that dementia is a terminal illness. You can't fix her, no matter what she eats, but you can try to make her remaining life more pleasant and comfortable.

Check on the possibility of hospice care.
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THANK YOU Jinx4740 and jeanneqibbs for the advices.
Mom’s doctor didn’t give me how long she has to live. Mom had request not to be put in AL or Hospice, she wants to die at home. She doesn’t have much income. I talk to mom’s case manager and set-up in-home self-care and Hospice. Mom is like 2 different people - kind and compassionate and supportive and boom…condescending, critical, hateful, nasty, rude…the list goes on. I just never know what to expect out of her. Mom never invites any friends from the church to her home, not sure. I mention about some of her church friend visiting her while I’m out – she gets so agitated, mad, throw tantrum. I just have to put my feet down - about having some stranger in her house and let her go through whatever. At least I know she is going to be SAFE…
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Caregivers are warriors. You are a warrior and a fighter and that's what makes you qualified as a caregiver. Not everyone is cut out to be a caregiving warrior because it requires a lot of physical strength and mental stamina. Many others who can not handle this job throw in the towel and just put their loved ones in a nursing home or delegate this major role to other people in their family if they can. You are faced with these challenges because you are strong and you can handle them.

Please consider taking mom to an adult daycare facility so you can get respite and mom can be watched. That is where I take my grandpa who also has dementia. His medicaid covers his entire daycare expenses up to 5 days and they also serve breakfast, lunch, and snacks. If your mom has medicaid and any kind of insurance call all of them and inquire if they cover adult daycare and other respite programs. Help is out there you just need to know where to look! Yes! This site is a blessing! I got the adult daycare idea from this site several months ago! Thanks to everyone who suggested adult daycare.
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Hospice care can happen in the patient's home. My husband was on hospice care in our home and I found the experience very helpful to both of us. I have no idea if your mother is ready for that kind of care, but inquiring about it now will be helpful, even if there will be a long delay before she can use it.
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As her care giver, if you leave her alone and she falls or has a mishap you can be held responsible.....It is called Elder Neglect. You now have to protect yourself from prosecution by making sure Mom is always watched. I have to do the same thing. I am housebound until my daughter or sister come home and can relieve me.
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Caregiver 78104: I enjoyed your "Caregivers are warriors" What you stated is exactly how I feel at times, Thank You.
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