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My mom has beginning dementia and she's visiting me from India. I will take her back next month - she refused to let me apply for a green card here.


So I want to hire a p/t aide for a few hours for her. Mom lives in a senior center which is good only for regular seniors, not dementia. Mom is very upset about getting an aide and insists she will manage on her own.


Mom doesn't care that both I and my brother are in foreign countries and cannot rush to her side in a heartbeat. She says stupid things like,"I hope you come for my funeral at least " etc. I feel with an aide's help mom can still have a better quality of life but mom doesn't get this idea at all.


I am very tempted to leave mom alone in her senior center and wait for a catastrophe. I'm getting tired of being a good kid and looking out for her. Has anyone actually left their parent alone because they were too stubborn to take help?


I can, of course, blackmail her she will not go back unless she accepts an aide.


Thank you!

When you take her back to India next month, it would be good to allow enough time to see the ‘friends and neighbors’ you think she will badmouth to about you. Explain to them what is going on, and ask for their support to get mother to accept help. Perhaps they could monitor her and keep you informed as well. It might be worth writing to them in advance to let them know that you would like to see them when you come, and how concerned you are. That might be useful for your mother, and also help protect yourself against the badmouthing. If you will be on a tight time schedule, it’s worth setting it up in advance.

Don’t ‘blackmail’ your mother into staying with you. It could be a disaster for both of you. And most people can't stop a parent from being stubborn when they are in the next room, let alone on the other side of the Pacific Ocean!
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jjmummert Nov 16, 2018
Very sound and practical advice, Margaret.
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If you have alerted the friends and neighbors about the real situation, then you won't have to worry about her "badmouthing" you. Make arrangements for her care as you can. Who in India is authorized to act on her behalf?

I found that my own life had to go on hold when my late father moved in with me. It's something we have to get used to. Consult with a pro in dementia and find out what you will need to nail down in India so you can sleep at night. Take her back and just do what needs doing, whether she likes it or not. As much as you can, keep her in ignorance about her future. And stop expecting her to be rational about any of the plans for her future. Just have things lined up and ready to go.

When she makes a funeral comment, just agree with her, then let it go. You know how she is, just ignore the intent and remember she is not really still the mother you knew.

Do what needs to be done for her safety and care and and don't fret. Some things we can do, and if dealing with someone who doesn't have it all together, we just do it or we pass our parents on to people who can do what needs doing.

I hired a morning attendant for my father--who was living in a facility near me, but didn't offer as much help and care as he needed. He was closer to her than to me, which was a relief, as it gave me some time to live my own life. Whatever he said about me was irrelevant as long as he was safe and cared for. When I was young he was "all there," loving and somewhat lovable. But those things change. At advanced old age, he was a new person.

We do what we can and don't beat ourselves up for our mistakes when we first walk this painful path. Much later now, I consider my dad a "learning experience," and regret my failures, but don't beat myself up about them. Your mother is your learning experience. I hope you can do the best you can with what you have to work with, and it lets you sleep at night. Loss of sleep can contribute to your own dementia.
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JoAnn29 Nov 16, 2018
Well said
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Everyone talked out of both sides of their mouth about my mother’s so-called independence. And yes, I did allow my mother to “suffer the consequences” of being stubborn. It did not end well. But it wasn’t going to end well anyway.
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Sure, I've offered various kinds of help for my mom only to have her snottily reject it so I pulled away and left her to her own devices. Instead I started putting my energies into helping my head-injured older brother. It's making him more happy and comfortable and he appreciates it.
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In her moments of clarity, Mom is upset about her loss of privacy and she feels an aide will stigmatize her in the eyes of her neighbors - that she is now feeble and not competent enough to handle her own affairs. I will keep reassuring her that the aide will be a good companion to her.

I'm in touch with mom's neighbors and management and will, of course, speak to them about the aide. Anyway, the aide's contact info has to be registered with the management. They will . handle things for 48 hours if there is an emergency and I am very thankful for this.

As Whyarewe says, I've to focus on her safety now and my own peace of mind.

Thank you, everyone - I'm just very nervous! I know I will keep coming back here to ask for more advice!
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We have done that. It is hard and it caused us a lot of anxiety. In our case, the senior is actually stubborn and not demented. The decision to let them go until a catastrophe forces their hand gets more complicated when they clearly can't make decisions for themselves anymore.
I am in the US and we hired someone called an Aging Life Specialist to be in contact with our stubborn senior. She is a social worker with over 30 years of experience and she has been a big help. But even she is saying all we can do is offer the help and wait until he will accept it.
There have been two incidents that I think would have required us to make an emergency visit and we didn't have to fly up there because we had her on site and she went to the ER, kept us informed and helped the senior navigate his options.
If there is someone in India who would oversee your mother's situation it would probably be a comfort to you and your brother. Is there anyone at her current senior center that could give you some guidance?
You will need to find an aide who is a good personality fit for your mom and that might take a few tries. It would be great to have some local oversight of the situation.
Best of luck.
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Yes, I allowed my mother to be stubborn.

The last time was when I made a doctor's appointment to have her medicines checked - her eyes were always glazed over. This is often a sign of medicines.

The night before, she called and told me not to pick her up, she had cancelled the appointment. I told her I expected her to do that and after a small bit of conversation, we ended the call. My mother simply couldn't handle anyone helping her in any way. She was stubborn to the end.

Mom passed away on New Year's Day 2004, sometimes you just can't fight them. She left behind my father and I assisted him for another 7.5 years until he too passed on.
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robinr Nov 18, 2018
God what we all go through. Same here. Mom was always a meddler and controlling so she kind of goes to MD appts to keep an eye on her beloved, my father. I make appts one after the other (so it's more or less a double appt they can bill for anyhow). I give the heads up to the nursing or physician staff with an eye roll and they get it and pass the word on to the MD. One visit he was able to listen to her heart and then of course bill for hundreds though he did manage to encourage her to go to the lab. She's healthy. We waited FOUR MONTHS to get in for an assessment with the neurologist and the day of the appt I called to ask a simple question and they had no record of her appt. THey looked....and looked and discovered they had in error sent mom as well as me an info pack four months prior and she was together enough to call and cancel. It took another 6-8 weeks for us to get in to see him. There are so many of us dealing with this stuff. So many. But I always remember how we too would want to have our independence and make our own decisions.
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Can you possibly tell her the "aid" is a guide that you have hired to make her visit more pleasurable. The "guide" can take her to the store, for a walk in the park, go for tea any number of things. If Mom is worried about money that you have spent to hire the aid another "therapeutic lie" might be this is a student that has to have X number of hours in volunteering and by accepting the help your mom will be enabling this person to continue their education.

You don't want to wait for a catastrophe you want to prevent them for as long as possible. (Just know one will happen it is just a matter of when..and we want to delay the when)

If she will not accept the help you should tell her that she will not be able to visit again as you are concerned about her safety and you can not spend your time worrying about her.

No one wants to admit they need help, no one wants to admit they are loosing their independence, and it mist be frightening to know you are loosing bits of your mind. Give Mom a hug and tell her you are doing this because you love her and want to keep her safe and happy and you hope your children do the same for you one day. (and remember those words because it will happen)
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Zdarov Nov 18, 2018
Love the ‘guide’ word, things like that can make a difference, thank you.
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This is such a complicated and painful situation to be in. When my brothers and I tried to have a conversation with our mother about her care before dementia settled in too badly, she closed her ears to it. Her behavior was deteriorating, yet her doctor would not give a diagnosis of incompetency so my brother could not get POA. We dealt with our local Area Agency on Aging for help and while they sympathized with our plight, they wouldn't make the call either. Our mom was no longer safe behind the wheel of a car, yet she continued to drive until we hid her keys from her. Finally when our mother stopped paying her bills, we made an appointment for her to see a psychologist. How my brother got her to go is to his credit. However, the psychologist spent quite a bit of time with Mom and ultimately diagnosed her with dementia, behavioral and delusional disorders, all of which we already knew but needed a professional diagnosis. My brother was then able to get POA. After checking many assisted living places with memory care, we decided on a facility our mom was actually quite familiar with. My brother took her there to visit, but she thought she was there for a job interview. Mom is 96 years old and has been retired for many years. Finally my brother packed her into his car and took her there to stay. He then went back to her house to pack up the things she would need. This broke our hearts to have to do it this way. We really wanted her to have a say in all this, but it just wasn't to be. There was absolutely no cooperation from her at all. She didn't want to stay, but going back home was no longer an option. We had hoped we could get her to agree to have in-home help come in daily so that she could stay in her home, but she refused help of any kind. I would arrange to have people from her church to come in regularly to check on her, and sometimes she wouldn't even open the door for them. Her house was in shambles and she wouldn't allow me to hire a cleaning lady for her. Fortunately friends and family understood what we were dealing with and supported our decision. This was all the more difficult because we live far from our mom and have to do a lot long distance. Mom is now in a safe place and receiving good care which is a relief to us. They have had to medicate her due to her angry outbursts and refusal to cooperate, but it seems things are under control now. I don't know what the best answer is for you, but I can encourage you to just do what you think is right and don't beat yourself up for it afterwards. These decisions are not easy to make. I wish you well.
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Riley2166 Nov 20, 2018
It is always said there is a time and a season for everything. Based on my own life, I believe it is true. That means there comes a time when YOU have to get the courage to do whatever needs to be done and then WALK AWAY. The past is done, gone - don't look back. Move on and take care of YOURSELF. Forget everything else. It is the only wise choice you have - look after yourself and move on.
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I had my mom with dementia for 10 years. We loved on her as much as my husband and I could. Yet, when she got something in her mind that was dead wrong for her, such as not seeing a doctor, we had to let it ride. I tried and putting her in the car to see a doctor or dentist would be a screaming match and at her over 90 age, that could of caused her heart to stop too. Fighting with the doctors and dentist caused my heart to skip too. I finally just let her be. She lived till 98 and passed in July. I was so stressed that I had problems too, my hair started falling out and I had sleeping problems. Took months after her death and my wonderful husband being there every step of the way, to help me recover.
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Tiger55 Nov 18, 2018
So glad you're recovering, I hate what unnecessary sh#t we go through & how our own families suffer. Please enjoy your freedom with your dear husband. God bless.
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