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Without making this a really long post, I have been looking after my mother, who lives alone, for the past 6 years - right after her husband died.


After mom had a car accident, I sold her car as it was then clear to me it was time she stopped driving. That was last year. Mom is now 84.


Before that, I became POA because she was spending what little money she had on going out to eat every day. So I also got on her bank account. This all was eliminated when she stopped driving, but then I became her chauffeur, bought her groceries, dr. apps, etc and this is when I was still working.


I'm retired now, but her care has become more challenging, especially in the past 6 months.


She neglected her feet for years and would lie to me that she went to the doctor and he told her there was nothing they could do. She had a growth on the bottom of her foot and, because it was painful, she over-corrected her walking to compensate for the pain. Now her leg is crooked and she can barely walk with a walker.


She has lost 20 lbs in the last year for lack of eating properly. Because of dental issues, she wasn't telling me she couldn't eat certain things. I even bought her an "elderly microwave" (the kind with just the rotary dial) because she had trouble using a regular one. She has yet to use it without me being there.


She has early stage dementia and her dr thinks maybe Alzheimer's. Her hygiene has suffered, she is either forgetting or refusing to take her meds. I say refuse because she is paranoid about eating, using, or taking anything she deems as "old". She doesn't go by the expiration date as I have gone over with her many times. She quit taking her blood pressure meds, for example, because they had been "sitting in there for a while". She won't even use the body lotion I bought for her for the same reason.


She has promised me she would start eating better and take her meds and bathe regularly many times, but nothing has changed. As far as her eating is concerned, it isn't her appetite. When I take her out to lunch, she eats very well.


Now, I am forced to visit my mom 3-4 days a week to clean, grocery shop, pick up her laundry, prepare a good lunch for her and make sure she is taking her meds (I have started counting her pills), not to mention having to maintain her one acre property. No help from the siblings who live out of town.


One brother she used to visit on a regular basis every 3-4 months. During this time, my husband and I would plan a short trip somewhere for a break. Now, she has cancelled scheduled visits 3 times just saying she doesn't feel like going. So our plans had to be cancelled. However, this last time I put my foot down and said she was going and she refuses to go.


I have brought up the idea of home assistance with her 2-3 times and she refuses that too.


I find myself being angry every time I visit my mother now. I've really been angry for a few years, but it has gotten to the point that I dread seeing my mother, but then I feel bad about it.


This was a little rambling, but how do you get someone to accept outside help? She is perfectly fine with me doing all the work. I have already told her about needing an occasional break. She just wants me to "hire someone to call me".

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All great suggestions and thank you for the insight. I admit that I have prolonged or delayed some decisions because it seems I'm always fussing at her about what she needs to be doing or not doing.

At the end of the day, I don't want anyone to be able to say I didn't do my best to take care of her.
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Good strategy windy - the therapeutic fibs.

Princess - would bringing someone in as a "friend of yours who needs to earn a little extra money" or "you aren't feeling well and need help yourself" or something like that work? Like windy says don't ask ahead of time, just do it and have them work with you a few times then one day you can't make it and just this person can. It is so unfortunate when seniors get stubborn as the disease progresses.
Sorry I just saw you write you had POA. That does not necessarily mean you can force her to do anything, but you can protect her finances as you are doing

Can you arrange a grocery delivery service, or order online to spare yourself some work? Some use pill boxes with timers/reminders that you could set up for her. I am afraid she is in a somewhat of a 2 year old stage where "N0" is always the answer.

I agree with windy that there comes a point where you have to pull back for your own sanity.
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I have a 68 yr old friend like this. She has numerous health problems. Two major are heart and diabetes. I made her bathroom as accessable friendly as I could. She needs help daily for a few hours but won't call Medicaid to see if she qualifies. She has no money or family. Some friends but you can't ask a friend to do everything for you. Me, I have enough on my plate with Mom, a disabled nephew and a Gson who can't drive because of Epilepcy. At this point my family first. Problem with this friend is she won't do anything until it gets bad.
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With my dad I have learned not to discuss anything or try to get him to agree to anything. He won't. Leave me be, everything is just fine. He's kinda stuck in 1956.

But he's a sweet friendly old guy and when the pretty nurse or bath aid would show up for mom (Again, no advance discussions with dad) he would be his sweet flirty self. Especially if I had coached the aid to say they were an old girlfriend or football buddy of mine from high school.

Now if I said Dad, this lady is coming by every day till moms better, NO WAY! WERE FINE!  He's pretty much just in the minute these days.  Even if I get caught he'll forget soon.

I have pulled stuff off with him that's is Oscar winning material. Mom even buys it most of the time and that's fine too.
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Golden23 - yes we have discussed bringing in outside help with her dr. He even suggested he could have home health come in to do an evaluation and perhaps they could recommend resources. She absolutely refused (in his presence and stated she would do what I said and what the dr said for now.

Yes, I already have medical and financial POA. I even got her Meals On Wheels, but she rarely ate the meals they delivered and stated she was tired of them. Knowing the meals were piling up in her fridge and going to waste, I cancelled that service so someone else could benefit.

Yes, I have the power to do what is necessary but at the same time I hate making decisions that will greatly upset my mother (like having outside help).
She doesn't want anyone in her house "snooping around". No amount of assurance will change her mind.

So, like it has been mentioned, a serious event will have to happen to move forward.

Like Windyridge mentioned, I have already pulled back as much as possible. I do only what needs to be done when I visit and then I leave.
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To quote GW Bush (actually Will Ferrell ) ya gotta have "Stratigery".

A couple other points, your probably aware of this, but:

Don't try to reason or argue with mom. Dementia won't let you win.

She's not gonna change her ways

She's not able to learn new things

To her, everything is just fine except for this daughter that gripes at her.

its just going to get worse. But, as her health and mind fail it becomes easier to fib, divert and JUST DO IT.

Finally, you must accept some facts:

You can only do as much as she will allow or as much as you can get away with.

At some point (I'm thinking that point is about right now for you) you have to pull back physically and emotionally. This is not the nice mommy you used to have.

You CANNOT feel guilty about this. It's not your fault.

I get so mad at my dad that I just want to strangle him. I have to take a breath and remember that he taught me most of what I know about getting through life. He's still a sweet old guy but it takes some wrangling to keep him straight. He's headed to memory care in the future and I dread it but there is no other way.

And like you, I had no idea I'd be spending my retirement taking care of elders. It sucks. But here we are.
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As windy says -you may have to wait for a crisis.
Alternately you can report her as a vulnerable adult to APS, and also talk to the local agency for aging and social services to see about an evaluation and what services are available for her, Do you have POA medical and financial? If not, it is high time to get it. She is at a point where she needs more and more assistance. Can you relay your concerns to her dr and have him speak to her about help. She may take it better from him. Not taking her meds properly is something her dr should be concerned about. Good luck, You are not alone. It is not good for you either to be so stressed or to feel guilty. Sometimes you have t accept things as they are until they get to a point where someone else steps in.

just saw your post  -don't fall for the guilt tripping - try to make light of it.
 
windy - that was brilliant!
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Thanks so much Windyridge!

I already do a little fibbing telling her that her dr said she has to do such and such. It's the same tactic she uses on me. It's
Like it gives more weight to what she is telling me, in reality, she doesn't want to do. I guess she thinks I will just believe what she says at face value and not question it. Like I ask her point blank in person if she took her meds that day and she will tell me "yes", but I find out she hasn't done so in weeks.

Lately when I get firm with her, she tries to put a guilt-trip on me and says things like "I was so good to you when you were growing up. I never would of thought my own daughter would treat me like this".

I don't like what our relationship has become, which is another reason I would like outside help.

I never imagined having to go through something like this with a parent.
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Oh Princess,

I'm in the same boat as you except I have 2 parents like this and I'm long distance.

Like your mom, they don't mind a bit when I come down (I'm leaving for a visit tomorrow) and work my butt off cleaning, shopping, fixing, driving etc. but WE DONT NEED ANY HELP. WE DONT WANT ANYONE IN OUR HOUSE!

They are not legally incompetent so I can't force anything at this point. So I'm just waiting them out.

Sadly, and this seems very typical, it will take a crisis to force change. I've resigned myself to this and will use the first opportunity to get in home care or get them in a facility depending what happens.

You could try and get your mom declared incompetent and/or get legal guardianship to force mom to get help but it ain't easy. My guess is, that if you had APS stop in they would say there's nothing they can do.

It's a shame it works like this but it seems to take a disaster to get old stubborn people in care.

Having said all that, I've gotten some things done by just doing it.  Don't ask and argue about a visiting nurse, carpet cleaning, new chair for dad,  and so on.  Sometimes it has worked and sometimes but doesn't.

Depending on your moms level if dementia use a little fibbing.  My dad will agree to things if he thinks it's free (Yeah dad, this is my old girlfriend,  she's a nurse) or covered by insurance.  

I have no shame at all in telling him anything it takes to get basic things done.   My personal best, or worst, DAD, MY BUDDY HAS THIS BRAND NEW DRYER AND HES MOVING.  I TOLD HIM TO BRING IT OVER AND HOOK IT UP FOR YOU.  Their 40 year old dryer had died and dad was trying to fix it for 3 weeks!
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