Follow
Share

I moved in with my parents over two years ago when my Dad said Mom needed more help. My Mom has always been fiercely independent and amazingly determined and creative. At 91 she is experiencing diminishing memory and has numerous physical ailments. Which is understandably very frustrating for her. In four months she has fallen 4 times most recently dislocating and breaking a bone in her elbow. She still wants to keep her 16" high mattress/box spring which requires her to use a foot stool to get into bed; take showers independently:dress standing up and go up and down stairs without assistance. She gets very upset when we try to assist her and become argumentative and combative. This behavior makes Dad's days miserable. She refuses to take these basic precautions even when they come from doctors she loves. She does not want to move from her home which I totally get but if she breaks a hip I won't be able to lift her. We don't think that Mom will change her behavior. Does anyone have any tips on how we can manage our own behavior. We just want to help her stay safe. She sees us as the enemy. Thank you!

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
My mother has always been beyond stubborn and independent. No ones tells her what to do! Mom would be like this even if it was to her detriment - she would show you! The perverbal "cutting off your nose to spite your face". There never has been any reasoning with her and once the dementia really kicked in, even the most basic, simple suggestions could turn into all out war. What made things worse was that when she would proceed to do whatever it was I was trying to stop her from doing and things would fall apart - it was always me who had to clean up the mess. It was exhausting and frustrating. Mom would take it even a step further and after the crisis was contained she would re-invent reality and paint herself blameless - the helpless victim. I never was able to figure out a way around her continuing to do this. However, in some ways this has finally resolved itself. After most of the disasters, mom would be worse for the wear and finally bad decisioned herself in a nursing home. Taking mom to a geriatric psychitrist helped some by way of medications but ultimately it has been her mental and physical decline that has taken the fight out of her. Sometimes you just have to step away, letting the chips fall as they may - and then of course YOU get to sweep up the chip dust.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

You might try highlighting her strength and independence, complimenting and reinforcing her determination not to succumb to the reliance of others as she ages. She may need to reinforce that herself; support her and compliment her. It might lessen her need to try so hard.

And just tell her that you're available to help her if she needs help. She resents your help now, so that's not effective; give her some space to ask for help and it may, hopefully, allow her to ask for help without sacrificing what she considers her strength and independence.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

If she breaks a hip you won't be able to lift her. And it will be out of your hands. You can't really control the consequences of her decisions.

Does she sleep with Dad? If so, what if HE wants the bed lowered? Would she consider it for him?

You are wise to be realizing that you can only change your own behavior. You've done your best to enhance her safety. You don't think she will change her behavior. So give up the unproductive and unsuccessful nagging, pleasing, begging, and scolding. "Mom, you know that Dad and I care about your safety and want to see you living independently as long as you can. We have talked about four things we'd like to see you change. But you are a smart woman and have a history of making sensible choices. So Dad and I are going to let these four subjects go. It doesn't mean we've stopped worrying or caring, but we are leaving the choices in your hands."

Stop being what she perceives as the enemy.

(If it would do any good, sacrificing your good relationship with her MIGHT be worthwhile. But you've already concluded that it won't do any good anyway. Might as well at least salvage a loving relationship.)
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

The only thing that ever worked to change my mom's behavior was when I put my foot down when her behavior was affecting me negatively. At that point, I'd get ticked and tell her we were changing things. Since she needs me to keep her going, she'd acquiesce to my wishes.

My mom wasn't taking her warfarin, despite her assurances to me that she was. I had wanted to get people in to give her meds for months. She was stubborn and refused. Until she wound up with a clot in her foot because she forgott to take her meds for three days. She wound up in the ER and we had follow-up doc's visits. At that point, I said, "That's it, we're getting people in to give you meds." And we have ever since. And it's been great.

So you will probably have to wait for some kind of emergency and just hope it is something that she can survive and bounce back from. That's tough, but that's the way it is with some seniors.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.