I am DPOA over mom's health and finances.
She is being too demanding of my time. I am with her between 12 and 3 every day of the week for 4 years now. I needed one (1 !!!) day to do her stock paperwork and filing today. I told her this. Just got a call @ 7:00 pm that she is lonely, blames me, and wants to move.
I am ready to put some of her money into a companion.
I am an only child.
I have two teens, and frankly, I'm sick of running ragged for everyone and entertaining her. We go to stores for no reason. I just get her out. Once she said, "I don't care if we drive around the block 10x. I need to get out."
She refuses senior center activities unless I am with her.
I am 48 and cannot work because she will threaten to sell her home if I am not at her beckon call.
She forgot I told her I would need today to do her paperwork.
Now she is yelling at me and telling me she needs to start thinking about herself.
I told her (and I regret saying it) that that is one thing she has never had a problem doing.
And it is the 11000% truth.
I'm tired, I'm pissed, and I'm wondering:
Can I get a companion to come in 1x a week to give me a break and entertain her?
What if she throws them out?
It will piss her off to no end. She only wants me.
She's threatening to sell the house and move again...... God help me.
I don't think she can, but still.
(half the time she doesn't know what month it is.)
In suburban Chicago, unskilled companions/aids are available for $22/hour through Comfort Care and others. Schedule them as suits your calendar. They will keep mom company, do laundry, light housekeeping, feed her lunch/dinner, visit, dispense prepared medication on your schedule and many other helpful tasks that'll free up your time.
Or you could move towards selling her house and moving her into assisted living. There's an assisted living facility family has used that's $1500 a month; room/board/three meals from a restaurant menu in their dining room. Regular programs and to-do's; doctors come right to the facility to save trips, podiatrists, transportation to shopping and excursions, medication assistance and more. A la carte services are available to cover almost any unskilled service she would need as time goes on.
If YOU need to pay for some of these things before your mom sells her home, be sure to keep excellent records so you can be paid back. I have no idea what your financial situation is, but if mom needs Medicaid, they will question disbursements for five years back. In order to get reimbursed, you MUST keep accurate records.
Check with your local Council on Aging. Mom is excluded from most of their services because of her assets, but she STILL gets a $1,000 a year stipend to use for in-home care.
Before she moved in with me, she got Meals on Wheels for a suggested donation of $5/day (5 days a week), a woman came in for two hours to do house cleaning for $7 an hour twice a month. There's lots of things out there, but you have to search for them. The Council on Aging will direct you.
If she refuses to have in-home help, you're faced with a dilemma. If she can manage alone? Leave her alone for all but three days a week. If she can't, you can call Social Services and they'll help you get the wheels rolling to either cajole her into accepting other help or moving her into assisted living.
"Mom, one way or another? You're getting outside help. I've got a plan that keeps you here in your home. If you resist? I'm getting authorities involved, and they'll make sure you're safe -- which is probably going to mean moving into assisted living or a nursing home. Work with me here!!!!"
Be prepared for fireworks. Things aren't going to get better until they get worse. Hang in there.
At some point your mother is going to need more than the 3 hours you can give her. Maybe hiring in-home help is a good answer for that. Or maybe having her live where there is staff available 24 hours and monitored activities would be best.
She only wants you. Well, as my mother (and probably yours) said over and over as we grew up, we can't always have what we want. We need to make the best of what we can have.
Start by hiring a companion. Some people introduce this is a sneaky way. "My good friend's cousin needs some more work hours and I told her we'd try her out here. It is a kindness and maybe you'll like having someone around here a bit." Some people are more forthright. "I know you don't like being alone so much but I can't come over all the time. This woman is going to help us both." Do whatever you think will work.
But also start thinking ahead. What are you going to do when Mom really can't be on her own all day and all night, even with a few hours of help? Selling the house and moving might be something worth thinking hard about.
Living right across the street MAY allow her to stay "independent" (i.e., only dependent on you) for longer than most dementia patients. But you have to consider your own level of health and availability, too. It is not too soon to start thinking ahead to a care center of some kind, and it is certainly time to bring in some in-home help.
Would it help you both if you spread your own in-person care time out a little? An hour in the morning, and hour during or after lunch, an hour in the evening (maybe helping her to bed)? I'm wondering if this would make her feel less alone and also be less overwhelming to you. And then substitute a companion for one of those slots. ("Betty is going to start coming to get your lunch ready for you each day. And maybe you two can play 500 after that")
Since you are the one who is caring for her, that would make YOU the boss. If you need to supplement her care with an in-home companion then that's what you need to do and if your mom doesn't like it then you can let her know that there are things in your life that you need to take care of as well and it's either a companion a couple of times a week or you and she can begin looking at assisted living facilities. One way or another you're going to have to tend to your own life.
I know that's easier said than done but when elderly people with dementia put their foot down on accepting assistance compromises have to be made if they want to continue to stay in their home.
In the meantime while your mom is spinning her wheels on that, hire a caregiver. When you find one tell your mom when the caregiver will be there (but don't tell her too much ahead of time). It might be a good idea if you're there the first time although caregivers have experience in dealing with clients who don't want them around. Your mom won't hurt the caregiver's feelings. If you go with an agency you can tell them that your mom is less than thrilled at having someone in the home and the agency may be able to send out their sweetest, most charming caregiver. Maybe someone who's over 30 and may have some things in common with your mom. Your mom may end up loving it. It's happened before.
I know it's difficult. Guardianship is always an option but try to do this without guardianship first. It may work out and you will have saved a bundle on attorney's fees.
Your mom is losing her independence which is a) very difficult and scary to her and b) driving you nuts having to be the 'bad guy' and the one who makes all the decisions. Many elderly people live their lives kicking and screaming against change and hollering whenever they feel threatened. Be loving but firm.
Do you really think it's possible for your mom to move on her own?