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I am not sure what is going on here, but I am getting very suspicious about my mother's doctor and his lack of a firm diagnosis. He refuses to diagnose her with dementia.


My mother has been seeing the same doctor for maybe 15 years. He started out by treating her for things like depression and ulcerative colitis, and she has been diagnosed with Celiac disease. The amount of medications she takes is staggering - she also has other compounding health problems that are treated with medication.


She has been on so many medications over the years that she has developed Tardive Dyskinesia. To make things worse, she drinks several glasses of wine with her medications, and that causes her inhibitions to fly even further out the window to the point where she will intentionally cause her 9 year old grandson to cry or otherwise lose control of his emotions. On top of the dementia itself she has been on gabapentin/pregablin for several years for something called Fibromyalgia, which I understand a lot of doctors think is B.S. One of the major side effects of these drugs is the prevention of the formation of new memories. She has dementia, and this doctor of hers continues to prescribe her both heavy narcotics and other medications that negatively alter the way her brain works.


She spends all her money on gourmet pet food and animals, including possums and skunks, which defecate IN her house/garage on a regular basis. The smell is appalling. Animal Control has informed me that they have been called 12 times in the last 7 years about her. They issue her a warning about once a year for all the stray cats climbing around her house and destroying neighbors' property. She also calls 911 on random family members with made-up, inconsistent stories. Last week she called one person and told them I was "beating her cats up real bad" when she found one of them run over in the road and another limping because it got its leg stuck in a fence.


Her doctor is aware of every bit of this. Her doctor is aware of the fact that she gave a complete stranger (a crackhead) the keys to her car last year. He drove off with it, naturally, but she claims no fault. There have been so many other incidents that obviate her condition that I have lost all faith in this doctor, and the only direction my thoughts can go when trying to comprehend what his plans are for her are down the path of suspicion and malcontent.


What can we do? My mother needs to be in a nursing home/psychiatric ward, at least for some sort of diagnosis so my family can know what exactly we are dealing with and where to start looking for help. We have been pleading with her doctor's office for the last three years in an attempt to get even a psychiatric evaluation out of them to no avail. It was only recently that her driver license got medically revoked, likely in large part due to the fact that I wrote the state Medical Advisory Board a terse letter about her driving habits and relevant incidents. I gave them his information in the letter and outlined some of this rant in a more formal presentation.


The only help we've had from her doctor's office is this person that comes by once a week, starting a few weeks ago, to check her vitals and drive off. My mother has already developed the habit of rescheduling/cancelling the appointments/lying about her abilities and condition to the nurses.


How can I get someone to listen to what is going on?


Maybe I am the crazy one!

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SmallDog,
I'm hoping your name is referring to your small pet.
It sounds like you've been through the ringer. But after you get the situation with your mom straightened out and get her placed in a facility, your life will get back on track. You will be able to restart your job and take care of your son. So, think positive and positive things will come your way.

You need to call the police to get the CORRECT number for an emergency medical warrant for evaluation. Also, alert Adult Protective Services right now. Tell both of these agencies her most bizarre behavior and keep it to just a few sentences. That should get the ball rolling. Tell them she's a danger to herself. You should hear back quickly.
Good luck. Once the ball is rolling, things will fall into place. She will get the help she needs and you will have peace of mind that she's no longer able to "run free" with her strange behavior. You will also have your life back.
Good luck and we're here for you.
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Good grief! Your own mother shouldn't be a source of distress in your life.

You might have to have her committed. I don't know if there are any padded cell rooms any more, but I highly doubt your mother would wind up in one. There are care centers specifically set up to deal with dementia. A century ago my aunt and uncle worked at an "insane asylum" and physical restraint was deemed necessary to control violent behaviors. Such places do not exist anymore. Now restraint is achieved, if necessary, through medications and there are laws against over-medicating just for the convenience of the facility. Do some research online and/or visit some of the facilities that might serve your mother. I think you will find they are far, far less horrible than you are imagining.

Many of the posters on this forum have parents or spouses in memory care facilities.

I don't often talk about the duties of sons and daughters to their parents. I think such duties are very limited. But in this situation, I think you have a duty to act in your mother's best interest, since she clearly cannot. And it would be in her best interests for her to be in a facility than can meet her needs. For you to neglect this because you "can't bear the thought" seems a little self-centered, don't you think? Think about your mother's needs first, and then deal with your emotional pain. Come back here often, and we'll help you.
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Smalldog I admit I skim-read some of the centre paragraphs there (not for want of interest, just wanted to see what conclusions you were coming to), but this, here:

"Yet here I sit, unable to come to terms with the fact that I might have to have her committed, that I am not in her will, and that I am unable to act in spite of these facts because she is still my mother and I can't bear the thought of her living out the last few miserable years of her life in a padded cell where she truly belongs."

Look. Just think of everything you have been through, all you've sacrificed. And think of how your mother has been living. And now tell me that it was worth all the price you paid because your mother was so much better off.

Your mother needs help that you can't give her, no matter how much you want to or how hard you try. God knows you've tried.

Make some important phone calls in the morning. *Get help.*

I'm going back now to see what the "not in her will" part was about.
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I am shocked at the amount of feedback. I wish I had known about this website years ago. This almost brought tears to my eyes. I'm a 40 year old male that has been shot, stabbed, beaten to a pulp, incarcerated, blackmailed, audited, and the whole rest of a very long list of terrible things to happen to people - and I don't cry for that - but this, I can't thank you enough for the advice. For every person out there that wins the lottery, there is someone like me that life perpetually craps on.

Apologies for the vulgarity.

It has been suggested here that I might question whether dementia really is a factor in my mother's behavior. To be clear, she is and always has been unable to complete a rational conversation about important, life-affecting topics, but today she is unable to remember the beginning of most conversations. What starts out as a simple discussion about not using dish soap to clean dog feces off a concrete floor, and instead to use bleach to disinfect it (rather than smear it into the concrete with the dish soap), quickly turns into a Q & A session about what a mop is and how to use it, and then why we are using a mop instead of a sock, my pillow case, or my bath towels to wipe this up.

And then we are having to talk about what we are wiping up again, all in the span of 5 minutes or so.

My mother has dementia. My ex wife told me that she and my son once ran into my mother in a grocery store parking lot. My mother had opened a bag of cat food and was throwing it all over the parking lot, in traffic. Some of the cat food hit this really luxurious 4x4 truck, and the owner stepped out and started screaming at my mother. My ex wife walked up to the guy with my son's hand in hers and told the guy off. My mother just looked at her and continued to throw cat food without any hint of recognition whatsoever. It was clear to my ex wife that my mother had no idea she was standing in front of relatives. My mother frequently asks me how old my son is and what grade he is in. Last year she bought him a teething toy for toddlers for his birthday. He is 9.

About a month ago I had to resign from my work at home job. I was essentially fired, but tried to make a cleaner exit so I wouldn't look so bad in case I ever get a chance to get that job back. Anyway, this work at home job entailed spending 90% of my time on the phone with people performing tedious technical support with upset customers. My mother routinely banged on the door asking about everything from her cats to the wherabouts of her cell phone, notebooks, her purse, food, or whatever else she had rolling around loose in her head. The customers did not take so well to this noise, and neither did my boss as all calls are recorded. Over and over she would bang on the door or otherwise just stand out there and talk loudly. I even put up a sign saying "I AM AT WORK. PLEASE DO NOT INTERRUPT. I AM ON THE PHONE WITH CUSTOMERS AND WILL GET FIRED FOR INTERRUPTIONS". The sign was big and bright enough to read from across the house. She still knocked, so I resigned. It was my only source of income, and now my own bills are marching towards collections.

I try to recycle cans to make a little money. She drinks 2 cokes a day and refuses to let me keep the cans, until I temporarily talk sense into her and get her to agree to put them in this container I have for them sitting right next to the trash can, yet daily I pull coke cans out of the trash can, and daily we have conversations about the merits of my attempt to make small amounts of money to support my son and I by selling aluminum cans at $0.40 a pound. Sometimes she even hides the cans.

But outwardly, especially around other people, she pretends to be the typical sweet old lady who loves animals and children, in spite of the fact that she psychologically abuses my already emotionally disturbed 9 year old son. She repeats the same things over and over to him, to his face when I turn my back, and it drives the poor little guy to the point of running away crying. She uses this scary, creepy facial expression while doing it, wide eyed with a huge facetious smile like some kind of killer clown. She'll say things like "your daddys a good COOK! your daddy's a good COOK! your daddy's a good COOK!", or "I LOVE YOU! I LOVE YOU! I LOVE YOU!" over and over and over. It's maddening and makes me want to scream, but composure is a virtue I developed in early childhood between dealing with her take on raising children and my father's lack of patience with children who complain about other people.

She'll tell you over and over how she used to be an RN and a school teacher. She has an impressive resume, but she lost her career due to her feeding/attracting stray cats on school property after having been warned not to dump huge bags of cat food by the holes in the building foundation by the principal. She got fired from her nursing job because she couldn't remember where her cell phone or car keys were most of the time.

So yes, this tip of this iceberg. She is mentally deranged enough to warrant an inpatient psychiatric eval along with a firm diagnosis of some form of organic brain disease.

I will be attending her next doctors visit. She often sneaks off in a cab or begs the neighbors (who are completely fed up with her) to give her a ride in order to cut me out of the loop, but I did talk to her doctor's office yesterday in one last attempt to get them on board with what she is really like, and the person I spoke to was all ears and guaranteed me that a psych eval is forthcoming, but would take some time for some reason that was not very clear.

I have had the police tell me about the Baker act during an incident where she called them on my sister for yelling at her. My sister fled when my mom dialed 911, and after the police talked to my mom they told me that my mother needs to be institutionalized. They gave me a number to have an emergency medical warrant issued for her evaluation, but when I tried to call after they left the number was the wrong one, and I was stuck on the phone with all kinds of local agencies trying to figure out what this warrant thing is and how to get it, and it turns out that its not that simple to obtain. She has to be posing an imminent threat to herself or to others before a judge will sign one. The thing is, she is always a threat, just a very concealed one. When she is not 100% predictable she is spontaneously doing something like hammering holes in the wall or violently chopping up plastic bags with a large vegetable knife in order "to make them easier for recycling". She even picks up cockroaches and dog feces with her bare hands and throws them outside, and then lightly rinses her hands with water in the kitchen sink, wipes them on her shirt, and goes about preparing food.

God I need help. Look at this mental vomit.

When I spoke to her doctor's office yesterday the nurse told me that my mother did not know who the president of the United States was. I wasn't exactly shocked though. I was told they use this as an easy indicator about where to begin with the assessments needed to refer a patient. I asked my mother directly who the president of the United States was in a casual manner so I could get an honest answer out of her, and she truly did not know.

But like I said - no conversation with her is finite. Every conversation is circular. In every discussion she has to be reminded of the subject at hand repeatedly. She can, however, complete fairly difficult Sodoku puzzles. She attributes her ability to do so to the fact that she is completely mentally sound and should be allowed to drive and operate a bank account.

She donates money to various charities on a regular basis, mostly questionable animal-saving organizations, and to the tune of maybe $100 a month in total. She also pays $100 a month for satellite TV service which she uses to watch only 3 channels. In our area, phone, cable/DVR, and Internet access is sold for $90 a month, but she refuses to switch in spite of her need for a land line (we live in a very dead spot for cell service, and she is always knocking on the neighbors door to have them call her phone when she loses it - she doesn't ask me, she goes straight to the neighbor).

I moved in a couple of months ago to help her get rehabilitated after shattering her leg while out feeding stray cats on private property, and now I've lost my job because of her, and can't leave my 9 year old alone with her for fear of what torment he'll suffer around her. I am constantly falsely accused of various mundane and serious transgressions alike, and am constantly on the ball with housework and basically throwing away accumulated junk and broken furniture. Last month I stacked to piles of dead brush and broken appliances/rotten furniture/urine stained mattresses, etc in the front of the house to be hauled off by the city. Each of the two piles were easily as tall as the eve of the house itself. The neighbors were taken aback by my efforts and made it clear that I had their support and condolences.

About the outpatient rehab center/nursing home employees. The director of the home, a real doctor, and 2 or 3 RNs were in the room when I was told that my mother has dementia and that she is likely to wind up, at the hands of Adult Protective Services, in a nursing home or some other state-run facility if nobody stuck around to take care of her at her house. That is why I moved in. I had to break my apartment lease to do it, so I now I couldn't even get a new place if I tried because of the ordeal on my credit. I intended on paying it down according to the lease agreement, but now that I have no job its in collections, along with my cell phone bill. Forget car insurance, shampoo, or shaving cream. I do not even qualify for food stamps because my mother, living in the same household as I, must be listed on the application with her $2200 a month in retirement income and social security checks. The house is paid for.

Yet here I sit, unable to come to terms with the fact that I might have to have her committed, that I am not in her will, and that I am unable to act in spite of these facts because she is still my mother and I can't bear the thought of her living out the last few miserable years of her life in a padded cell where she truly belongs.
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And when you talk to them, do not concentrate on the 10 bottles of ketchup, the amount of cat food, or whatever. Talk about the behaviors as an overview. Just mentioning hoarding of certain food items is enough, then mention the more worrisome behaviors.
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I agree with JoAnn. She needs to be evaluated by a geriatric neurologist to see if she has dementia or the weird behavior is from the "cocktail" of meds she takes. Set up an appointment for her and tell her that her regular doctor wants her to see a specialist. Her behavior is definitely "off". She needs 24 hour supervision.

You can also call her doctor's office to set up an appointment for YOU. Speak directly with him, face to face, about her behavior and your concerns. Throw in the words "law suit", "formal investigation" and "reporting him to the insurance company and Medicare" and see if you get a better response. Hold nothing back. He gets a huge sum of money every time your mom has an office visit ($200.-$300.). I've been to doctors that keep you coming back to bill the insurance company. Put him in the hot seat and tell him you won't leave until he makes an appt. to re-evaluate your mom.
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She sounds mentally unstable, for sure, and there is something wrong with her thought processes. But I don't know what here points specifically to dementia. Did the rehab place say she has dementia? Do they have someone on staff qualified to make that diagnosis. They said that unless something was done, the state would take over. What was the "something" they wanted done?

It is extremely hard in this country to force an adult to do anything against their wishes, unless they have been declared incompetent (which is different that being diagnosed with dementia). So you cannot force your mother to go for in-patient psychiatric evaluation (although that sounds like a very good idea), nor can her doctor. Most states have the "Baker act" (sometimes called something different) that allows holding an adult against their will for 72 hours if their behavior is harmful to themselves or others. Look into how this works in your state, and be prepared to put it into motion when appropriate.

You are suspicious of your mother's doctor. Maybe you are justified. Maybe he really doesn't have her best interests at heart, and is just treating her to keep the insurance money rolling in. Have you tried to get your mother to see a different doctor?

But some of your suspicions don't seem well-grounded, to me. Have a look at the article called Fibromyalgia misconceptions: Interview with a Mayo Clinic expert (just copy that into Google search line). Her doctor has the Mayo Clinic on his side in thinking Fibromyalgia is an actual illness and deserves treatment.

I don't see how your mother's excessive drinking makes you suspicious of her doctor. If you can't get her to change this habit, why do you think her doctor should be able to?

Many people take a "staggering" amount of drugs, if they have a "staggering" number of medical problems. If a doctor just keeps adding drugs without evaluating periodically whether some should be dropped or changed, that is bad news. But if all the drugs are given for a reason and monitored closely, the sheer number of them would not make me suspicious. If your mother is having side effects from certain drugs, that should definitely be reported to her doctor.
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Hi, you may wish to obtain a Conservatorship through the court to facilitate making rational decisions for your mom. Another option is to contact social services in your state with your concerns. Since you have documented several instances of her poor decision making and have a history of proof, it should assist you in getting the help she needs. Good luck to you.
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Take her to another doctor. She maybe on too many meds. She needs a pshyc evaluation.
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CW gets my vote for understatement of the month with "something off mentally."
Perhaps it would be best all round if the state did step in. No? Why not?

And, so who's taking care of grandpa?
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I'm not sure I'm seeing dementia here, although I agree there is definitely something off mentally. How old is your mom, and how long has she been like this? Is this behaviour a real departure from the mom you grew up with or has she always marched a little off beat?
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The last time I actually talked to her doctor on the phone was a few months ago and he stated that he had no reason to diagnose her with dementia.

There have been emergencies. The time she gave her car to a stranger was bad, but the circumstances.. She picked up this homeless guy on the street corner while she was out feeding stray cats by the dozen with my grandfather's life savings (she 'borrows' his money for bills and property taxes). She brought this guy home, let him stay in my old bedroom full of childhood memories, and ransacked the place. She said he was here for about a week and came and went as he pleased. She gave him money, and she is lucky all he took of hers was her car in the end.

About two months ago she was feeding stray cats at an abandoned, dilapidated house in the worst part of town. She fell and shattered her leg. It was at this point that I moved in to help her in her recovery, but not after a very eye-opening conversation at a big conference table with the assisted-living/outpatient rehab facility coordinators and staff about dementia and what her outlook is. They told me in no uncertain terms that unless I do something immediately that the state is going to step in and put her away, taking her home in the process to pay for it.

When her license got revoked I became her transportation, which is fine by me. No more worrying about where she is or if I am going to see a Silver Alert for her on the highway ticker. That was, until, one day I could not take her to the store immediately (she wants to go every day, sometimes more than once to buy things she has plenty of), and so she took off walking down the road in a 104 degree heat index. I was frantic, and finally found her at the grocery store - getting into a car with some stranger in order to get a ride home.

The time she told the police I was hitting her has me the most concerned. I had company over and we were sitting in my old room cleaning things up when the police practically broke down my bedroom door and throttled me into the living room with handcuffs. I had been with my friend for a few days prior to this terrifying moment, and learned that my mother had told them I was beating her up that morning. In reality, we had a mild disagreement about her allowing skunks to live in her garage and fill it with feces and an indescribable odor. If it had not been for my friend I most certainly would have been looking at serious jail time because my mother had intentionally marked herself up with fresh scrapes and bruises to make it look like I had hurt her.

I could have easily pressed charges, and once the police understood what was going on and who they were dealing with they became very disinterested in doing anything but getting away from my mom themselves.

She had lost her car in the Walmart parking lot long enough to call the police to come find it for her not too long ago.

She has 8 identical cans of 'flea spray' around the house, and buys more nearly every time I take her to the store.

She has 10 cans of 'Off' bug spray she uses indiscriminately in order to repel the insects that fly in through the bedroom window she leaves open 24x7 (we have Zika, West Nile, and a whole host of other zoonotic diseases fairly prevalent or at least reported in this area).

There are 6 jugs of enzymatic odor remover that she uses to dump on pet stains in the carpet in lieu of actually doing anything truly resolute to get rid of the stench. She buys more all the time.

5 containers of dish soap, 5 ketchup bottles, and get this - she has ruined at least 8 vacuum cleaners in the last 2 years that I have been witnessing the worst of this.

Conversations with her are truly heartbreaking. She goes in complete circles, sometimes in under a minute. The worst part is that she picks up on my agitation and most definitely and deliberately fans the flames in order to end any inquiry into her habits.

I'm assuming this is dementia. These things are just the tip of the iceberg. Her vocabulary and conversational repertoire is seemingly limited to 1000 words and a few anecdotal phrases that she interjects into any meaningful attempt to communicate about important things, like the fact that she won't buy smoke detectors but she'll spend $9 on a 2 pound box of cat food just to feed it to the birds on the neighbors cars.

I wish I were exaggerating. Her alcoholism isn't as bad as it could be. I suspect that has something to do with the cocktail of pills she takes that probably get her through the day. According to her doctor (according to her, anyway), he says it is OK for her to drink 2 'glasses' of wine, and by 'glass' I mean to say she consumes a full 14 ounce glass or two a night. Her doctor also allegedly tells her it is OK for her to drink 1 coke a day. She drinks 2, at least, and at 68 with calcified arteries, I can't fathom a doctor saying what she is doing is acceptable.

Deep breath ;)

If it h
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No you are not the crazy one. Your mom sounds as if she is an alcoholic and may be developing dementia. Unfortunately her doctor nor you can make your mom do something unless she has been found incompetent by two doctors or the courts.

Until something happens as an emergency there is little you or anyone else can do. Just wait it out. Put the emergency services in her area on notice that there are definitely mental problems with your mom.

How do you know she has not been diagnosed? Do you attend doc appointments with her? Do you have her POA? Maybe she has been diagnosed but has not told you? My mom did not tell us for a number of years, at that point it was obvious something was going on.
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