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I am starting to think my mom is mentally ill. My parents went into a terrible tailspin around the age of 70 that involved heavy drinking, prescription drug abuse, and a deterioration in their marriage. After spending about 5 years living a very isolated and negative lifestyle, dad developed signs of dementia and eventually had to be put into a care facility. I think dad was probably covering for mom's mental illness but once he was unable to do that, she has unravelled and now I've got a mess on my hands. She's been placed in a "senior behavioral health center" three times in less than 12 months. I think she's bipolar at best, schizophrenic at worst. NOT dementia, I'm sure of that. I'm her only outlet to the world, really, and it's terrifying to think she will continue to be a weight on me for the next 10-20 years. I might add that I believe my mom's "split personality" combined with verbal abuse of my father, contributed to his rapid cognitive decline.

Upstream
This might be of interest to you. Anosognosia


https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Related-Conditions/Anosognosia
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Reply to 97yroldmom
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You can learn a lot by attending Alanon meetings for yourself, no matter what her mental illness is labeled. You do not need to make the meetings a lifestyle, but
can you attend 3 times for the information you need to proceed?

You can also attend NAMI support groups on mental illness for the families of the mentally ill. A definitive diagnosis is best done by a psychiatrist. If she has been placed in a "senior behavioral health center", you can be sure she already has a diagnosis. You would need for her to provide " permission" for you to receive the
diagnosis, via HIPPA and Medical Poa. Your hands are tied if she refuses.

With more information, you will have the facts to be able to plan your escape, or to decide to support your mother through this dilemma.

Often, caregivers on this forum are advised that there may be a responsibility to get care for your loved one, but not to do the hands on caregiving yourself.
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Reply to Sendhelp
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Next time she is in a behavioral center tell them u feel she no longer can be alone. Tell them u have the care of ur Dad and cannot care for her or equiped to care for someone with Mental issues. Maybe the state can take over her care.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Thank you both for your responses! Yes I have detached significantly due to the alcoholism, verbal abuse of my father and myself, and the fact that most interactions with her are extremely negative. She is heavily medicated and is often in a fog. A "good" day is emotionless. Unfortunately she lives within waking distance and moving my home is not an option for me. She refuses to leave her home although I don't think she should be living independently anymore.
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Reply to Upstream
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I agree with the above response. I am also dealing with somebody who has a BPD along with regular aging issues and the mental health issues are by far the hardest to contend with.
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Reply to GIAGIA
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Upstream
You have had a very hard time for a long time.
Somehow you have to detach emotionally. Maybe you already have to a degree?

If you have access to her funds, hire everything out. Try to limit your contact. Don’t enable or protect her too much from her acting out.

Continue to protect your dad, your DH and your health.

At some point you may choose to walk away. Do what you have to do for your own mental health. My experience is that the help you try to give doesn’t seem to help that much.

My understanding is that until she’s about 60 days sober you can’t truly diagnose.

Even though she does not have dementia now she is getting older and at some point she will have a life event that will render her unable to access the alcohol. At that time she might have a chance to sober up long enough to be treated for bipolar schizoaffective disorder or whatever it might be. There is medication that can help. Usually they stop taking it after they feel better and the cycle repeats but one can hope.
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Reply to 97yroldmom
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