How can I convince my Mom she needs more help than I can give?

Follow
Share

Hi, new to the forum. Glad I found you! My mother just turned 84. Last year, she fell three times, breaking bones two of those times and getting a concussion the third.

She is frail and can't walk well at all, but insists on doing high risk things like standing on kitchen chairs to get at things on high shelves. When we indicate to her that that is a very bad idea, she gets angry.

She does not eat right, has withdrawn from social activities at the independent living center. I finally had an intervention where I told her it was mandatory that she get some help, walking her through exercises, doing her shopping (two of the ER trips came out of solo trips to Walmart), preparing nourishing meals, etc. I got an agency to send someone in four hours a week and she agreed to it to my face but a couple of days later began to back away from it.

This is a pattern of behavior she has shown before; I do something to make her safer and less stressed, and she undoes it. I am running out of options and energy. I am almost at the point of simply backing off entirely and letting her do whatever she wants, but I know that there will be severe consequences down the road. I lost my job a few months back and it's a lot of work just piecing together enough work to keep money coming in. I am simply running out of time and energy to help her.

She won't tell me what she really wants but everything I've done so far she has not responded to. Does anyone have advice?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
6

Answers

Show:
A visit to a geriatric psychiatrist can result in better management of mom's depressive symptoms. But if she's got mild cognitive issues, she probably can't be safe living alone. That dx usually means that person's reasoning abilities are at the level of a child's. They no longer reason, think abstractly or have the ability to forsee or plan. They may still have sharp memory skills. But their ability to see the consequences of their actions is almost nil. At least that's been my experience.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

We had to wait until our Mother broke some ribs and went to the hospital. From there, we told the doctor that she could not live alone and we were not taking her home with us. She is very happy and well cared for in a nursing home. She is 95.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Thanks for the comments! They're all very helpful. My sister in law, who is a therapist and used to be a home care and hospice nurse, was kind enough to sit and chat with my mother and I for a couple of hours. She said my Mom's physical, mental, and emotional state is pretty complicated.

She has had a couple of strokes over the last 3-4 years, and appears to have some cognitive impairment. And there are, my SIL adds, "some mental health issues." She is on the generic version of Paxil, but I'm thinking it's not doing her that much good.

Thanks for the advice. I think I will tell her I can't do this anymore. It is the truth, after all. All the falls and ER visits and managing the rehab along with all the other trials left me feeling like a toy with dead batteries. I have some energy back but I need to conserve it. She has always called me "her hero," and when I was much younger and far more naive, I bought into it. It's okay to just be a Decent Human Being with limitations and not a hero. I believe that, but I'm not sure she does!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Ribbman, I've been using what Babalou had recommended to above by now saying to my aging parents "I can't do this anymore" and it has helped..... but my Dad will throw in some guilt every now and then by saying "who will help us?".... "well, Dad, you will need to pay someone", "and no, you can't pay me, that's not the point"..... yada, yada, yada.

It isn't easy seeing our parent(s) lose so much of their independence, and they will fight like crazy to convince everyone they can still do everything they did 20 years ago. So I have backed off, if they want to be so independent than they need to take on the consequences that come along with that.

Yes, our parent(s) might get hurt, but it's of their own doing, but we can't wrap them in bubble wrap and duct tape them to a chair. Even though I am a senior citizen myself, I am still a *child* in the eyes of my parents... [sigh].
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Sadly, sometimes we have to wait for the fall, the ER trip and the broken hip. Has she been evaluated for dementia and or mental illness? Some people are stubborn, yes, but some folks are no longer dealing with the cognitive capacity to make good decisions.

Is it time to move her to Assisted Living?

I am big on having the conversation that starts out "mom, I can't do this anymore". When you get to the point that your well-being is compromised and she's not cooperating, it's time to have that talk and let her know that realistically, if she won't play ball with you, you're going to have to call in the county social workers to take over.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Well, obviously she likes company, but it should not be all on you. I think I would ask her MD about antidepressant meds. There is a reason for the withdrawal. It could be as simple as incontinence or as complex as stroke activity. Keep that caregiver and give mom time to bond to her, she may open up to that person and tell her what is bothering her.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Related
Questions