Hello, I am new to this forum. My parents are both in their late 70's and still living in their home. My dad is the primary caregiver for my mom. My dad is mentally alert, very active and social. Mom, on the other hand, is a totally different story.
I'm posting this because I'm trying to help my dad find a solution for my mom. I wasn't sure which area to put this under, since there is not only the aspect of dementia, but the underlying mental illness present. For my dad, taking care of my mom is a full time job, and my dad is not really helping her. Dad is her enabler. She refuses to take any medication except for her Norcos, for the constant pain she's in. Now, she's in a lot of pain largely due to the lifetime of self neglect. For starters, she has never slept in a bed; she sleeps in a chair. (When I was a child, she slept on the floor. This is "normal " for her.)
She he also has stopped eating, except for a couple of Ensure shakes a day and maybe a cookie or small snack, but according to my dad, no real food. Her weight has plummeted from 105 (she's always been little) to 75 lbs. She looks like a concentration camp survivor. She stopped keeping up her appearance years ago, and hasn't combed her hair in over a year. She also refuses to wear undergarments and dress appropriately for the weather. You have to almost treat her like a child.
My mom's dr was going to set up for someone to come to their house and help out, but my mom called and cancelled the appointment as soon as she got home from the dr's office. She refuses to allow anyone in her home, for they would be "on to her". She doesn't want anyone there except my dad, ever.
My mom is and has always been more concerned with ruling the house and dictating her craziness than her own health and well being.
My mom has never been diagnosed with a mental illness (other than anxiety because she refuses any further psychiatric testing) but has struggled for most of her adult life, even before I was born (I'm 47). She has signs of what I believe to be schizophrenic behavior for decades. How she's managed to evade her doctors is a mystery.
Mom will turn the water on in the kitchen sink, and stand there splashing water all over herself, the floor, the counters, everywhere. Now, this is something that she's always done. Nothing new, except now, she's doing it sans clothing. In front of an open window, and putting on a show for people when they drive by, regardless of whether it's daylight or dark outside. And yes, neighbors have seen her and asked my dad about it.
Mom has has also started urinating outside in the grass, often in full view of the street. My dad tells me there's "nothing he can do". Again, he's told me that he's mentioned all of these things to her dr, but was told that unless she's hurting herself or someone else, there's nothing they can do.
Another thing she does is walk around the whole house, inspecting every corner, looking for bugs (there aren't any) She has always done this. She calls this behavior "checking". As a child I could never interrupt her when she was checking as it would agitate her and make her go on doing this behavior for hours, talking to herself and pointing to the ceiling, but there were never any bugs present.
Then, there are the water rituals. She will stand there for hours, running the faucet. I call it her birdbath. As a child, she'd even do this outside with the hose in the yard. Growing up wasn't easy, I have PTSD from childhood related trauma from living with her.
She even splashed herself recently at a doctors appointment, completely soaking her blouse. Her doctor didn't seem concerned, as mom had her quick cover up, like always.
Her drs wanted to test test for dementia, and she of course has refused. She runs the entire house and makes all of the decisions, as my dad is even afraid of her. Once she gets started screaming, she will go on for hours. She throws things at him. It's like a nightmare that won't end.