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My mom was recently discharged from a rehab facility. During that time, she feigned being unable to get out of bed but was able to when the social worker called her on it. She acted like she couldn't walk, but, again, was able to. She pretended she 'wasn't hungry" with us, worrying us about her eating, but the nurses said she was eating well. We would even peak in the door and see her eating fine but, when we came into the room, she would push the tray away refusing to eat.

Now, she is home and is ambulatory. But, she refuses to do anything. She moves from her bed to a chair where she sits all day. She won't make her meals - expects us to come over three times a day and do it. Acts like she
can't take her meds - again, we have to come over and do it. She won't go outside or do anything on her own. I am fed up and am looking into AL placement. It would be different if she would just try. Any advice?

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Hmm ... I don't know if manipulation is exactly the right word, but she does seem to be behaving in a manner calculated to get waited on.

What if you stopped waiting on her? What if you went over and got her breakfast and gave her meds and said, "I won't be back over today. I have other plans. I see that you have good sandwich fixings in the fridge and several frozen dinners to microwave, so I'm sure you will be fine." Rinse and repeat. If she complains that she didn't have any lunch or dinner, say "Oh? Well, I guess you're old enough to decide what and if you want to eat."

If several days go by with lots of complaining that she can't fix herself something to eat, then ... "Well, that is a problem, since we are not going to provide your meals everyday. But at least there is a great solution. Assisted Living is just what you need."

I don't offer guarantees with this approach ... if it doesn't work don't come to me for your money back. But it might be worth a try. It is based on the simple principle that you cannot make your mother do anything. But you can control your own actions. You can decide you are not doing three meals plus meds everyday.

You don't mention anything about cognitive problems. Does Mom have any of the signs of beginning dementia?
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katie, my father was the same way. After he fell a couple of times, he became completely dependent on people to do everything for him. We brought him his coffee and paper in the morning, his lunch, and his dinner. He sat in the same chair for 10 years, getting up only to use the bathroom and to go to bed. He wouldn't go out of the house without extreme difficulty. He was deaf and had Asperger's, so there was no real communication. My mother was determined to keep him at home. If left up to me, I would have placed him in AL with her or in a NH. There was really nothing that could be done to change his behavior.

He often performed better for the people we had come to the house occasionally. When they were gone, he went back to his disconnected self sitting in the chair. He seemed fairly content. It was just those of use around him that weren't. He wore a scowl so much of the time, so he broadcast misery to his family. No one but my mother wanted to be around him, and he did not want them there, anyway.

If your mother does not change on her own, there is most likely nothing you can do that will change her. It may be that if you stopped doing things for her that she would do things for herself. Either that, or she would start neglecting herself completely. It is a difficult situation to be in. Please let us know what you decide to do.
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