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How do you deal with an aging parent who is in complete denial about their problems? My mother believes she has no problem with food yet she often eats fast food and often skips meals dangerously derailing her blood sugar. Yet she refuses assistance or admitting there is any problem. She refuses to admit that she can barely walk, but it's true. When I insisted she uses a walker, she acts like I'm offending and patronizing her. Basically every single limitation she has due to her aging and health - which are many, she does not want to acknowledge. Then she gets angry and emotionally attacks anyone who tries to help her or intervene for her safety. So far she has been amazingly lucky in avoiding consequences for her behavior but one day her luck will run out. She respects no one, she listens to no one. She still lives independently (barely) and it is a crazy making situation for me. Short of getting guardianship there is no way I can make her go into an AL or NH or even just live more safely. What can I do?

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Emjo, I do have plenty of things going on for myself and my worry about her situation is not constant. This is a real situation that is worth worrying about and honestly I'm surprised that you would trivialize this. I posted for support not to be told to get a life. There is indeed a moral question of how much one should say, whether one should attempt to influence the situation even if you don't have authority.
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sunny - until you mum is declared incompetent you cannot force her to move anywhere or to get extra help. It is not a matter of morals, but a matter of law. In the meanwhile, you do not have any authority to make her make sound decisions or to override her decisions. I know it is hard to see someone struggle and put themselves at risk, but there is a grey area where they need help but it cannot be forced upon them. It can be very frustrating and worrisome, I know.

sunflo - you are taking the only route possible though I know it is not easy.
"YOU can't control her behavior but you can control your reaction to it....you don't stop loving, but you do step back with a little tough love." Amen to that, and wait until she knows she needs your help, or till something happens that it is obvious to the professionals that she cannot make good decisions for herself.

Meanwhile, sunny, get some things going for yourself so you don't worry about her all the time. (((((((hugs))))))
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Awww thanks Sunflo! I love your positive spin - yes she is fiercely independent (also known as stubborn as h***!) I think you are right that being in her own home definitely has that comfort and meaning to her. I guess it would to any of us really. She'd rather struggle with things than give that up. I just worry about when is the line crossed past which I am morally required to act against her wishes? She does have early dementia, her brain is not working right some of the time so at some point isn't letting her have her way the same as letting a child make dangerous decisions? I know there's no blanket answer for that because it's a judgment call for each unique situation but I really worry about that one.
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I soooo understand. YES I've had to detach myself for the sake of my health, job, family. I do live out of state and therefore don't have to watch every little thing with mom. When I do visit, it breaks my heart -- I know I could make things so much better if she would just try and listen to me "as I know best!"....And I do understand the ripple effect and fear for it. BUT I've also had to step back (through help and support from senior center counselors and behavioral health counselors) to give me permission to let mom live her life and understand that it isn't about me --that for mom, moving is another "final" phase which means losing her independence, moving from a home she's known for 40yrs....learning a new routine, having others in your business (even tho they can make her life easier), walking the halls and dining with others who have greater infirmities that are scary for another elder to watch and worry they will be like that, learning a new pattern--"no longer 20 steps to the bathroom, light switch on the left"; comfy sofa, favorite rug, etc. I get that now and realize how comforting being surrounded by her familiar things are for her. Mom has stated to me --"I don't want you in my business" and "I want to die in this house". I have to repeat those things to her when she tells me she's lonely or can't get something fixed...I just tell her "well mom, we know how to make things easier when you're ready".

It's a mindset, and struggle every time I see her name pop up on my phone and my heart stops..."what will it be this time?" And I have a spring in my step when we just talk and she is having a good week, content and happy. And I "let go" when we are having a bad or disoriented day.

YOU can't control her behavior but you can control your reaction to it....you don't stop loving, but you do step back with a little tough love. Dementia is awful and scary for you and them...but there are many stages and some can function for a time. Your mom sounds fiercely independent!! Embrace it for now, let her fall, because she does get back up and even tho it's a struggle, realize she finds joy in knowing she escaped a close call and is still standing to tell about it. We all know it won't last forever..so I say let them celebrate each day they can manage.

Sorry went on so long. I just wanted you to know that I care and understand.
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Oh and it's not so simple as just a fall and then done, my mother has fallen several times and seems to have a karate masters technique of falling without injury. That's part of why she fights the walker so much she believes falling is no big deal.
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Thanks Sunflo, I hope to achieve your level of detachment. Just yesterday my mother revealed she was about to do something that might have very bad consequences for her (and so then ripple effects for me) and I couldn't help myself I just had to do everything I could to talk her out of it. The particular details don't matter because this scenario repeats itself all the time. I guess I should just step back and "let" her do what she wants and experience the consequences but it's so hard when I know what those likely consequences may be. And of course she's not grateful to me, she experiences me as being disrespectful to her and trying to control her. She has no idea how many extra gray hairs and stress I've taken on in the name trying to help her. I like how you have a plan on what and where when the big crisis hits and boundaries, hope I can do the same.
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Good for you sunflo you had no choice and did the best thing before you got ill. I have a brother down the road and he will have to cope as best he can when i leave as this cant go on. ive exhausted every avenue and come to a brick wall either she falls or worse then ill proberly have the whole guilt thing to deal with? theres no win win with dementia. One of us is going to suffer big time so either she falls OR i have another stroke?
thankgod i have an older brother who supports me and says get out before you die. sounds harsh but hes right!
Like sunflo and as unbearably hard as it is to do we need to step back and wait? once they fall theres no going home again what worries me is if she fell on her own and us knowing she had "dementia" are we responsible??
Oh god this is so hard to deal with. I just cover my ASS so to speak as i tell her doc everything i even annoy him.
the docs think shes OUR problem like i can make an aggressive old lady go into a home against her will? the system is so wrong they should be getting more state help at home at least let them keep thier independence for as long as possible?
Its good to have a plan i too have one and even where she will be buried? i know but i dont want ANY stress when she passes i want it all sorted so i can go and grieve and finally find peace one day!
Off to snuggle up to my cat! getting fed up being single feel like the 48yr old VIRGIN!! I need a life and a man not too much to ask is it? OH and a car.
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Sunny dreams--I've been living this scenario for over 3 yrs...I've tried everything as well and have driven myself crazy trying to get mom into AL, senior living or hire outside help part time. She has refused all isn't budging. I live long distance and worried myself to death until I finally accepted her right to a decision, even if it's a poor one.

This website has helped and supported me. I exhausted all resources and even her personal physician, behavioral health, etc have all told me that I have to wait for something bad to happen where she can't return home and can no longer care for herself on her own --until that emergency happens, there is nothing I can do as legally I cannot force her. I would have to have her declared incompetent (which she would resent and she isn't really totally incompetent at this moment in time) and I don't want to traumatize her or me through a court battle.

Sorry I don't have better news. I have accepted it. But I have also been advised by dr and aging services that neither should I enable her by being at her beck and call or rescuing her whenever something happens, such as buying groceries, chaffuering her around, calling repairman, etc. I do do some things for her and help when I can, but I no longer worry over everything or "fix" everything...I tell her if she wants to have total control and continue to live in her home she has to be able to manage. I've had to reinforce it, but she is managing.

I'm less crazy since I've set boundaries. I have researched and made a plan on what I will do and where she can go when the inevitable happens and that has given me peace of mind.
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Hugs to you as well Kazzaa! Yes it is an impossible position. They have to be extremely and suddenly bad off for us to have a window to get real support to force them into an NH. As long as they are ambling along the edge of the cliff everybody seems to feel it is our job to pull them back when they get too close. Then if I choose not to try to pull her back when I see her near the edge then it's elder neglect and I am the bad daughter. No I don't live with her but I'm terrified that one day that could happen. I really feel for you - that you had a TIA is a measure of how much stress having an impossible responsibility is. How is your recovery going? I hope your mother will relent and go to the respite place for a couple of weeks so you can have some peace to heal.
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That is my mum gosh you couldnt have described it better! I dont know if you live with her? if not thank your lucky stars!
Does she have diabetes? as you mentioned sugar.
Ive been ill from the stress of trying to keep her safe and like alot will tell you here all we can do is wait until something does happen? I know this sounds harsh but she wont go and get POA and I dont know if there is guardianship here in Ireland?
I am thinking now if maybe i need to get a "shrink" involved as im sick to death of being called a bully? I think at some stage we need a professional to talk to them this is beyond my control now as she like your mum is in complete "denial".
I find her own doc useless and want her to change him she is supposed to be seeing a geriatrician again soon hes very good but shes now said that she is not going to see anyone anymore?
I was offered 2wks respite for her in a NH but now is refusing to go?
Im done i will have to leave if someone dosnt help me out.
Last week she broke the toilet 200 euros
now the washing machine because she insists on using it and puts her clothes in with anything like jewellery,diapers you name it and has now broken the machine even though there is NO NEED for her to use this machine I do all her washing but she managed to get out to the machine also the fact that there is a hole in the roof and its dangerous?
To answer your question like me you will honeslty have to wait until she falls or something my last and final attempt is to ask about a "shrink" as i cant do this anymore.
I get all the crap and the siblings get all the nice comments im so fed up with her stubborn attitude.
I dont know what guardianship can do? I am going to call her lawyer this week and see what i can do now?
I found the nurses that called "useless" they just see if shes ok and dont give a "monkeys" that youve just had a stroke from the stress i honeslty think thier attitude is "if its too much stress for you then maybe you should leave??" then what happens to mum?
This is such a stressful situation as until they actually do something dangerous or fall there is very littel we can do.
Like me I would make sure you would report her to her doc everytime she does something thats not safe as if the stress of this job isnt enough we could be doen for neglect? its all BS the way i see it is my mum is "thier" patient and they dont care about what youre going through they just think well if youre stressed and unhappy then you shouldnt be doing this job?
I tell you theres days I want to scream the house down! People dont help either those who havnt experienced this just say OH A HOME? eh not that easy her doc said even if she was deemed incompetent its still not that easy to get her into a NH against her will.
I am just drained and now i will have no choice but to walk away as its just too much on your own.
I hope you get help at least get guardianship and maybe POA?
Hugs, this is so hard to cope with.
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