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I've posted here many times throughout the years, since I've helped my mother and two aunts and their issues, and greatly appreciate the support I've received from those of you who understand. Now, it's just my mother and she is 90 years old, a classic narcissist, chooses to live in an apartment, while I help her out twice a week to shop, doctor, dental, and specialist appointments. We have family dinners once a month at my house with my sons and their families, which she attends. If there is an emergency, real or imagined, I make sure she gets where she needs to be. I am semi-retired, teaching two courses online every semester, which takes a lot of time, and we watch our grandson every Mon and Tues, which is a great delight to us. My mother increasingly demands more days to "get out," which just means more shopping. I have not given in, but have to put up with her outbursts when she refuses to take her anxiety medication or if she's feeling particularly ungrateful for all I do for her. I have IBS, likely from all the years of verbal abuse and mind games, and recently high blood pressure on occasion (which is not like me). My neighbor friend was being paid another day to take my mother to Bingo and/or drop her at church while my friend ran errands, but my friend had knee surgery and won't be driving for a few more weeks. My son offered to take my mother to church any time she wants (he lives only a few miles away), but she wants "someone to sit with her." Now my mother is trying to badger me into taking her to church once a month, but I truly don't want to spend another day with a person who is as miserable as her. Any suggestions?

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Wow, we all have such similarities in our situations, and I appreciate the advice. I feel so much better from the other day. Usually, I can manage pretty well, but after several days of her foul mood and lashing out, it was just enough. It's hard to detach, but it's true that I need to. My mother is very capable of taking care of herself, and it keeps her busy. She's bored because she doesn't seek out friends (she lives a 3-5 minute walk from her neighbor she goes to Bingo with), and chooses to live in an apartment because she's a "private person." My family and friends are very supportive. And this site is a Godsend. One thing I've told my husband, my mother has taught me "what not to do" to grow old gracefully.
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Blackhole, u just explained my MIL. When we cleaned out her house I found brandnew srubbies still in the packaging. Bottles of dishsoap. She never knew how to cancel the CDs, cassett tapes, video tapes and magazines until they got outvof hand. All there when we cleaned out. And those nick nacks they sell in magazines where u get oneca month...then she would complain of not getting enough SS.
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You must keep your boundaries and tighten them if necessary. Your mother has many options but chooses few. So be it. Then she experiences the consequences. I know the escalating demands are exhausting.  It makes sense for you to establish consequences for her continuing to push your boundaries. It is not good for you to be stressed all the time. Can you have the local agency for aging and/or social services do an evaluation to see what kind of help she needs and what is available. She may accept it from an outsider. Is she able to keep her house reasonably clean? Does she prepare and eat nutritious foods, Can she manage her own laundry and hygiene?

Obviously she is manipulating. My mother has Borderline Personality Disorder and now vascular dementia and for a while it was a 5 ring circus. Now she has been diagnosed and is in antipsychotics and antidepressants and in an ALF. I had to draw very firm boundaries and back off to seeing that her needs were met but not catering to her whims like having someone sit with her in church. The hard part is not getting upset by the unreasonable demands. You need to emotionally detach to preserve yourself. Just because she gets upset about something does not mean you have to. Decide what you want to/can do, and stick to it calmly and firmly, otherwise she will take over your life.
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Flashback! OH how I remember the syndrome of 1.5 hours to get a dozen items at the store.

And my mom would only buy one brand of toothpaste, because "the Chinese put poison in all the other brands." OK.....

Hope the thrift store liked the 17 unopened boxes of Mom's Preferred Brand Toothpaste that I donated after she died.

Because irrational stockpiling goes hand-in-hand with the mental decline.
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It has been so interesting and helpful to learn from this site that there are many mothers like mine!

My mother told me several years ago that she could never live with me. Hurray, because this gives me the assurance that she never will. I do sometimes envision the scenario where my mother is in the hospital (or rehab), and it is determined that she can't be discharged to be alone in her condo. I'm sure the facility will pressure me to take care of her. And I'm sure the question will come up as to what kind of house I have (and it is a ranch, so I can't use the stairs excuse).

But she's given me a kind of advanced living directive of a sort, hasn't she? She's told me what "living" situation she doesn't want -- she doesn't want to live with me.

One of her primary obsessions is that she's had Vitamin B6 toxicity. A neurologist tested her blood level one time (investigating the cause of the neuropathy in her feet), and it was a bit high. After immediately cutting out her multivitamin, it dropped to the normal range and has remained there for one additional blood test. The neurologist said that although she had one high blood reading, that he did NOT like her using the word toxicity.

So of course my mother "hates" that neurologist. (He's also the one who suggested she consider some meds for her many anxieties.) She won't go back to him. 

She cannot understand the difference between percentages and amounts (one big example of how she can't reason very well). She cannot understand that even though her daily Centrum Silver had 300% of the RDA for B6, that it was still FAR FAR FAR below the level to cause toxicity.

She called up a newspaper reporter who promised to investigate this controversy that the medical and pharmaceutical world is remaining silent about this HUGE issue about Vitamin B6 and that everyone is risking toxicity because of this silent conspiracy. (Well, the reporter must have done a little bit of research and realized that my mother makes no sense.) I have tried to explain to my mother, but she refuses to accept my reasoning because SHE knows better than ANYone. She is harping about Vitamin B6 to EVERYone she meets. She told me this is her mission - to let the world know about the conspiracy.

She no longer takes multivitamins, and will not buy anything that contains more than about 10% of the RDA of Vitamin B6. She is obsessive about Vitamin B6, as well as fat (she is fat-phobic) and what kind of oil is used in products (certain kinds of oils affect her INR levels, and she is obsessive about this, too). This is one reason why her current slowness record at a grocery store is 1.5 hours to get 12 items.
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CTTN55 Wow! Your mom is so like mine!
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Just say "No, it's more than I can manage" and stick with it. I've been doing that for the last year (one of you helped me with that) and it works! Would you believe she has several paid drivers, errand runners, etc. now and I only take her out once a week? Decent phone calls and since I have not given in to requests for more in person help, now rarely get any.... a great blessing since I have my own mobility issues.
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KatieKate, I have suggested an agency many times, and she is insulted and refuses. That's why I stick to my boundaries despite the tirades. But every time she rants, I tell her it's all about her choices and that she has many options, and she has to live with what I can do. If she wants more, she has to consider the options and make choices.
Countrymouse, a lovely couple from her church offered to take her to church whenever she wanted, but she declined at the time. She didn't want them to know she didn't always go to church every week. Later on, I found a nice person from her church who was willing, and she found something wrong with her ("I think she made a sarcastic remark to me"). That is when I gave up.
CTTN55, our situations are very similar. Like your mother, mine also considers things, but then keeps doing the same. She is also starting to obsess about everything, especially her health. That is 3/4 of her social contact, since she is always mad at someone about something. Her judgement and reasoning are failing, and yet proud enough to make bad decisions despite my efforts to help her. I told her recently that I can't care more about a person's well being than the person does herself. She thought I was talking about my neighbor friend. It was actually about her. It would be nice if your brothers at least came to spend time with your mother a few times a year, so you could get a break and some time to recharge. It is very draining.
Thank you all for your advice. It truly helps, and I wish you all the best.
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Our situations are somewhat similar, pattiac. In exchange for giving me her car, I take my 91 year old mother shopping once a week, Mass and to medical/dental appointments. She was angry when I set limits from the start. Since she refuses to ask others to drive her places, she has very limited socialization now. The friend who used to take her to Mass can no longer do so.

I go to Mass, also, but I don't sit with my mother. In the past she tells me to sit in the back (she must be ashamed of me or else she thinks it makes her look more important if she rollates up the aisle to the front row with no one accompanying her? Whatever the reason, I quite like sitting my myself at Mass.

No once a month family dinners here. The last time my mother came to my house was on Christmas Day, and at that time she didn't want to come to my house anymore. Fine by me! Hope that still holds true for this upcoming holiday season.

She has very poor balance, sight in only one eye, neuropathy in her feet, bad hearing, atrial fibrillation and a history of small strokes. She lives by herself in a one-story condo not far from me. I think she would benefit from some anti-anxiety medication (neurologist suggested it), but she won't hear of it (and her PCP said she doesn't like to prescribe it for her elderly patients).

Refuses to look into getting a housecleaner (says she will consider it, but then never does anything about it). I do no housecleaning for her. She would also benefit from someone monitoring her while she showers. Again, won't look into this. I'm not doing it unless she pays me (and I'd charge $20/hour, minimum one hour). Of course she would be appalled at me charging her.

I grew up with a controlling, borderline abusive mother, and as she's aged she's just become so obsessive about things. Her reasoning is starting to go (as is her short-term memory). But she's considered legally competent, and since she won't listen to what I say, she will have to suffer the consequences of her decisions.

I do wish that she lived near one of my (out of state) brothers, and that *I* could come to visit her once or twice a year.
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Call her church and ask if they know a congregant who would be happy to include her in his/her family party for services. It's a Christian community: I'd expect them to leap at this chance to practice what they preach.
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I would just tell mom that you will arrange for an agency to provide someone. Of course, Mom will have to pay for this person by the hour....but, then she will have someone to sit in church with her. I bet Mom doesn't think it so important when she has to pay someone to sit there.

Honestly, I would just tell mom that since you cannot provide the service that your mom finds to be satisfactory to her...then it is time to bring in an agency that will.
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I appreciate your input. Her new thing is "I want someone to sit with me at church," even though my neighbor friend took her while we were away a few weeks back and she went by herself while my friend ran errands. This is new and manipulative. I agree about not being alone with her, and try my best to avoid it. I have the boundaries in place, but she is constantly trying to change them to her liking. I read that it might help to suggest some consequences for not accepting my boundaries, and that is my next tactic to squelch her complaining. Thanks again!
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Have your son take her to church and do not cave in to mom's temper tantrums. You have to establish boundaries and hold to them or she will kick your IBS into high gear. Try to avoid visiting her alone; she will behave better if you have a friend with you.
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