What to do when you can't quit your job to care for a parent with dementia (my mother) and she won't allow another person to come and help?


My mother have always been an independent woman and stubborn. Shes in her early stages of dementia, meaning still knows who i am and the rest of family. I really don't want to place her in a facility when the time comes, but i can't quit my job and i know she would't allow someone to come and help her with the house chores. What do you do? Or should i stop worrying about it?

An overwhelmed daughter from North Carolina

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I had to wait it out, until Mother had to go to the hospital. Then, we just told the doctors that she was no longer able to live alone. She went to rehab, assisted living and the NH. Believe or not she loves the NH. I think she may have been getting scared of living alone.
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Wendylou i feel so sorry for you as my mum is the same and yes as stubborn as hell! I had just lost my job when i came home so i wonder what would have happened if id still have been working abroad? I guess to be honest she may have died as she was here alone and its only when i moved back "temporarily" i noticed things were not right and now four years on she has early dementia and refuses help from anyone BUT i had to put my foot down regarding home help even with me here the clutter and mess was just too much to cope with so yes firstly this is the first thing id do get someone in to help with housework checking food in fridges etc...... I dont know as you dont say much if she has done anything dangerous left the cooker on? Not washing eating properly is one thing but not being safe is when it starts to get more complicated. Make sure she has her house evaluated for safety get an OT to come and visit or just make a check list yourself. If you feel she can no longer live alone then maybe a social worker to talk to her? I am due to start my own business next year and will also have to think about mum being alone unfortunetly here we dont have AL only NH we are so backward when it comes to care of the elderly as family always looked after them but now times have changed! Can you afford a carer to come into her even an hour a day? I know she will refuse but like me i think its time a professional had a talk with mum as im done its either she accepts help OR it will have to be a NH the stress is just too much for me she will not go to doctor,get her bloods done,cooperate with carers etc........ i am now looking at her doc having a serious talk with her BUT i know we cant make them do anything they dont want to do?
Hugs and i hope you find a solution as when they are naturally stubborn this illness will just make it worse! I get they are losing thier independence but when its no longer safe for them to live alone we have to step in whether they like it or not!
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Wendy, I have two parents who are like that, very stubborn, won't take outside help if their life depended on it. They still live in their own home which isn't elder friendly, and I instantly became a 24/7 worrywart.

Now I am trying to adjust being a bystander, I will take my parents [90's] to doctor appointments and I will order them groceries. But I had to stop doing everything else that they needed, or downsize into something more manageable. I was becoming too exhausted.

One time at few years ago I wanted to give my Mom a gift certificate for a complete house cleaning, OMG my Mom was so offended, they way she acted you'd think I was asking her to walk in the Macy Parade without any clothes on :0 Thus, I won't offer to help my parents with any inside chores or outside chores because I know if I do it once, it will become a weekly thing. I figure it was THEIR choice to keep living in their house, thus they have to take on the responsibility of that choice.
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When she becomes unsafe alone, in my opinion you have an obligation to make other arrangements for her like it or not. Sometimes people have to get social agencies involved. One of the sad things about growing too old to care for one's self is that we lose our independence, and other people have to make choices FOR us.

One of those choices should never be for a caregiver to quit his/her job and revolve his/her entire life around caring for an elderly loved one...at least in my opinion.

Begin finding out about some of the resources that are available to pick up the slack on those things you're too worn out to handle . . . a subsidized housekeeper a few times a month (here in Cook County that used to cost mom $28 a month); Meals on Wheels ($5 day suggested donation; free if can't afford to donate); some small stipend that may be available on an annual basis for respite care; locking pill boxes; pre-prepared meals. There's plenty of help out there, but one has to look hard for it. Your local Council on Aging can direct you to plenty of resources.

By knowing in advance what's OUT there, as it becomes necessary, you can just make the arrangements. There will come a time, however, when your mom will be unable to live alone. Dementia is a progressive condition. So check out some assisted living facilities nearby to see what might be available. Get a handle on her financial situation so you know what she can afford -- or if she can't afford anything, begin looking at Medicaid's various programs and what you have to do to get benefit for your mom from it.

Throughout my life, I've found that knowledge is power. Just knowing what you CAN do, what you CAN avail yourself of, may make you more comfortable in the now.

In the meantime, streamline your help all you can. You don't indicate what you're doing for her now, but there are ways that include "running like a chicken with its head cut off" and efficient methods of providing assistance that maximize your time.

I wish you well. And your smart to begin thinking about it, because, as I'm sure you know, her ability to take care of herself will do nothing but degrade.

Hope something here was helpful in giving you peace of mind.
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