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Mom is an alcoholic and has taken prescription Benzos for decades. Benzos are known to cause balance/fall issues. She takes them daily and is physically dependent upon them. She lives alone down the street from me. I have witnessed self-destructive/careless behavior from her since she was in her late 60s, which is around the time her strange falls began. The first serious fall was in 2010-2011 when she broke her hand severely, and then refused the surgeon's physical therapy because she said she was old and "would not live much longer" (she was only 68-69). As a result her hand is now minimally functional. Last year she had a broken shoulder, broken part of spine, and two weeks ago she took two more serious falls and thinks we now need to go back to the spinal doctor. Her knees are often swollen and bruised, her arms are often bruised and there have been two black eyes.


Because of her behaviors over the last decade, I cannot/will not live with her. My husband says he will move out if I move her in (I have a very happy marriage that I will NOT sacrifice). It seemed ideal to have her living down the street and I would be able to watch over her. She is a hermit, no friends and there are no other relatives (I am an only child). I am 52 and still work more than full-time. She refuses to discuss any other living arrangements for her. We live in the Orlando, FL area where there are quite a few senior-type apartments, but she will not hear of it. I believe she belongs in assisted living, but any mention of that to her results in a threat to commit suicide. I feel she is making her own decisions and she has the ability to damage my life, so I keep her at arms-length. Any advice from the Forum???

I would first see a lawyer. Not for her, for you. If you do not have any POA or other legal responsibilities and do not want them (why would you?) there could be some paperwork you can file stating as much so you are not responsible for your mother in any legal way.
You already have your father's care on your plate. That's enough.
Odd things can happen when you are a presumed caretaker especially to a narcissistic parent. There was a woman and her daughter who moved in with the mother/grandmother who was unable to care for herself. When the woman laid down on the floor one day and refused to get up they called the EMS and police who said they could not force her to get up. They got her a pillow and blanket and kept trying to get her up. She would not even allow them to clean her up. Several calls to EMS and always the same - she is of sound mind legally and we can't force her to move. The woman died there on the floor. The daughter and granddaughter are now in jail for 5 yrs for elder abuse/neglect because they didn't do enough. Had they left the home, they still would have been found guilty because according to the state they didn't try hard enough (though no one in court could say what they should have done). I spoke for them in court because I worked with the woman who I knew to be horribly inept at self care and extremely demanding and narcissistic. I am sad I could not help more but it was a warning loud and clear. When my own mother suffered a spontaneous break of her dominant hand as she leaned on her walker to get up not one of us was willing to take on moving in with her (she was much like your mother but not with the meds, just the attitude). We took that opportunity to have her brought to the ER and from there made it clear to the nurses she had no where to go and no one to move in with her or to take responsibility. She was put in the care of a social worker who tried to get her to have a caretaker move into her home but when she refused living with someone she was packed off to a nursing home. In this case your smartest move is to legally absent yourself from her life. With people like this it's either you are all out, or all in.
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Reply to StandYourGround
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Upstream Aug 29, 2019
StandYourGround: That is some crazy stuff!!! I have actually taken some photos and videos of my mom's behavior and words, because I am concerned about the possibility of being accused of some type of neglect. Last year I began reaching out to family members (all live far away) to give them a run-down of what has been going on, so that they won't be shocked if something bad happens. I have videos of my mom stating she wants to die. Yesterday she told me she is "ready to move to the grave".
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Yes....next time she is hospitalized, talk to patient services. They must not release her to her same old living arrangements...it is very clearly unsafe for her. And no, she cannot be released to you.

She he needs to be in a facility where her needs are met....and NOT your home.

they will try to get you to agree to be her caregiver while she continues living in the same place...make it clear to them that she has been hospitalized over and over because she is t safe in the place.

leave her on their hands......
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Upstream Aug 27, 2019
:D Thank you Katiekate! Last summer the hospital forced me to take her home while she was still drunk and biligerent. I learned my lesson that time! She has been hospitalized several times since then for falls and Benzo withdrawls and I have refused to even step foot in the hospital. They have sent her home with transport :( I refuse to have the medical community force me to be her caregiver or guardian under the circumstances. Sadly, she's told me numerous times over the past decade she doesn't care that she's damaged herself...I guess she also does not care the position she has put me in.
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My mom was not a drinker but was addicted to her oxy pills and with no balance....Well, we all know how that ends up.

Finally mom ended up in the hospital after a fall. I had checked out the local assisted living facilities and had one lined up. She was transferred directly from the hospital to assisted living. This was not as easy as ABC, it was a couple weeks of hell but that’s what we’d come to.

I had gone through the same crap you did a couple times previously, hospital sending her home when she couldn’t even sit up and dad with moderate dementia trying to care for her.
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It kills me how our parents don’t want to compromise. They feel we owe everything to them. Everything revolves around their needs. No, it isn’t just about them. It’s about all of us.
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She may be drinking often. She may also be taking medications. There is not much you can do if that is the case. Nothing you say or do will change her. Never let her move in with you! Very sad! 😢
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Upstream Aug 28, 2019
Goody2shoes, thank you. My concern is that there is some pressure to have her move in with me because obviously she should not be living alone. I refuse to take responsibility for her life and her actions. I can't stand that she even lives down the street! If she lived here I know my life would be over. And that's the truth.
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My MIL started talking about committing suicide when her car was taken away. Then she started talking about it when we were talking to her about assisted living. I went to a doctor appointment with her and gave the nurses a heads up before we went in that I was going to mention it. And I did. When I brought it up the doctor asked her if she really was telling us she was going to commit suicide and she said yes, so it's in the doctor's files. The doctor then asked her if she wanted to commit suicide at the moment and she said no. She just says it so we'll give her car back and so we will stop talking about AL. Doctor told me (in front of her) "if she talks about suicide again, you need to call 911 immediately and they will take her to the hospital and keep her for 72 hours to make sure she is not a threat to herself". MIL said no, she wasn't really going to do it. She just felt like telling us that. Doc told her it didn't matter. These things need to be taken very seriously. So we held a family meeting with all the sibs and MIL and told everyone that the doc said to immediately call 911 if she does it again and to have her admitted under a suicide watch. Funny enough, she's never mentioned it again.
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Zdarov Aug 29, 2019
Good story (you know what I mean), thanks for sharing! My mom says that all the time and I now have another approach in my kit.
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If she threatens suicide call 911, that will end that. You can go no contact, I have had to with my mother, who is a nasty drunk, it was her or me, I chose me. She is 94, lives alone and hates everyone including me. Other family members have not spoken to her for 30 years, and have no intention of doing so. I have let the chips will fall where they may, I gave up.
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Upstream Aug 27, 2019
DollyMe, thank you much for the response. Ugh, it totally sucks. She's been Baker-Acted and held in the mental health facility 4 times in the past year for suicidal tendencies, and alcohol & prescription drug abuse. I am ready to give up and I am just waiting for the "Big" fall or mishap that renders her clearly unable to live alone.
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Sorry to post so many times, but I just checked the Care Topics (top RHS of the screen) then scroll down the alphabetic list to alcohol, and there are some articles there that might help, certainly support. Yours, Margaret

https://www.agingcare.com/topics/189/alcohol-abuse
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First of all, stop buying her booze. I loved my mother in law (when she was sober) but wouldn't buy her booze and if I found it in my house, tossed it out.) . I take it she is put in the hospital when she breaks something. Refused to let them release her to you and tell them you can't/won't take her and she can't live alone. Then "they" will be responsible for her going into assisted living. By the way, when my mother in law was in a nursing home she kept trying to leave to go get some beer so (with my permission) they let her have a short can of beer once a day. Kept her from binge drinking and she enjoyed it. I think the "keeping her at arms-length" is a good idea.
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disgustedtoo Aug 29, 2019
1) mom doesn't live with her
2) even if she refuses to buy alcohol, mom can still get it!
3) OP says "...They have sent her home with transport..."
4) OP said: "...the hospital forced me to take her home while she was still drunk & beligerent..."

It isn't that simple to just leave someone at the hospital and refuse to let them go home. Clearly the hospital sent her home. As long as she is deemed competent, she CAN demand to be sent home. The only think OP can do is not let them deliver mom to her (OP's) address!

As for the booze - if they *really* want it, they WILL get it. My grandmother loved her wine (a tad too much - she didn't know when to say when!) When she still lived in her own house, but couldn't drive, she hired a taxi to go pick it up for her. Where there's a will, there's a way...
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I am the Poster: I want to thank everyone for responding, and mostly for your support!!!!! This situation is so horrible and so hard to explain to anyone. I feel like I am walking around with a few bricks around my neck all of the time.

Mom has been hospitalized for either falls or Benzo withdrawl/overdose 5-6 times since March 2018. She always has excessive alcohol in her system. She's been Baker-Acted at least twice, and has done four rounds of stays at a mental health facility. In June 2018 the hospital forced me to take her home while she was still drunk & beligerent, so I learned my lesson then not to show my face when she is admitted.

I've tried to let the "system" intervene but they keep releasing her and then we just do it all over again. My fear is that if I force the issue of moving into some type of facility and she is kicked out, then I am stuck with her because her house will have been sold. She can be extremely nasty, dropping the "F" bomb all over and I've had to apologize for her behavior in public several times.

This morning I drove by the cemetery where my parents purchased their plot, and I thought to myself that when they are (finally) gone, I will NEVER set foot in that cemetery. I will not be the somber visitor bringing flowers, I will only feel relief that I got my life back. Both parents have been a mess for a decade now, both abused alcohol, Benzos, and brought all of their drama to my doorstep. I want to run away :(
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Daughterof1930 Aug 29, 2019
I just read your story. God bless you for still caring at all after such a long and hard ordeal. Seems to me the priority here is your own emotional and mental health. So glad you have a strong marriage and job, other positives in your life to focus your energies toward. Your mom has made her own sad choices and there’s nothing in your power to change them, addicts always find a way to get what they crave and are controlled by. I hope you’ll limit your exposure to this and take good care of you!
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