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My mom 76 was living with brother for 4years has recently broke her back and is in rehab being released in 5 more days coming to live with me. She is addicted to xanax, takes pain pills for all her breaks from falling, and had a blood clot in knee. She broke shoulder, had surgery and all she cares about is her stupid pills. I can't handle this mom. She has become angry, wants pills wants to sleep and acts and walks like shes had a stroke, but doctors say she has depression. She stays in bed so much she's lost muscle very weak and consumed with bills money and pills. I want to see her happy, wish I could fix her but rehab just keeps sending her back home. Any advice on what I need to do. She also began incontinence and refuses to wear protection she's so hard headed.

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Well.

The revolving door of home-hospital-rehab-home hasn't been working for anyone, that's for sure.

Your mother is comparatively young. She's been on this slippery slope for at least four years, then - what were her health and physical fitness like before the first major incident (whatever it was) that led to her moving in with your brother?

The pain is real. I expect by now that her addiction to the Xanax is real, too; along with its other undesirable side effects. The muscle loss is real. The depression is real.

The impact on your brother and now you is also real and important; but it's your mother who's been going through the mill. She's in h*ll. It's no use expecting her to address the issues in a constructive way on her own initiative.

Allies. You need allies.

I don't know what sort of healthcare resources and services you can call on? You need, as a basis:

a good PCP to co-ordinate everybody else
physical therapy
occupational therapy

Aiming for teamwork you then add in all kinds of expertise, from psychology to dietetics to pain management to continence care; but let that wait. The idea is to start developing a long-term personal rehabilitation program, to be worked on in her home environment, based on SMART goals.

Approach it with a completely free imagination. What sort of life would your mother, you, your brother and any other interested parties *like* your mother to be living by, say, the end of 2021?
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I am very sorry that you are struggling with this situation.

When you say, “rehab” are you speaking about drug rehab or rehab at a facility for her injuries?

You say they are sending her back home. Rehab cannot help someone if they do not participate in the program.

If this rehab was for injuries and she is in pain, plus has an addiction, how can she participate? Did you tell the rehab that she is addicted to opiates?

If this was a drug rehab program, are you aware that most addicts relapse? Most people go through the rehab program more than once.

It will require extreme patience and support if you wish to be a part of her life.

I grew up with an addict. My oldest brother who is now deceased had an opioid addiction. It’s a life long struggle.

Please go to Narcotics Anon for family members for yourself. You will gain the insight that you need to understand the situation better.

It may be time that you surrender your caregiving. There was a time that I cared for my brother as an adult and it became unbearable. I endlessly tried to get him to do rehab. He refused.

My brother lived in horrendous pain as well. He had a severe motorcycle accident.

He almost died on the operating table. He broke bones throughout his body. He suffered horribly.

His drug addiction was so bad that he asked me to buy heroin for him. I left his hospital room in tears and stepped out into the hallway. An incredible nurse saw me crying and asked me what was wrong. I told her.

You know what she told me, “It is time for you to take care of yourself. Go to narcotics anonymous for family members and they will be of help to you.” She was right. She also said, “Go home, get some rest. I will handle your brother’s needs. We deal with drug addicts and alcoholics.” I took her advice and trusted her.

Take care of yourself. Tell professionals about your mom’s problems. She cannot stop on her own. Please don’t expect her to. Withdrawal is brutal.

I saw things as a child no child should ever see growing up with an addict.

I swore to myself that my adult life would be happy and free.

Well, my mom asked me to care for my brother. I truly tried. I succeeded for awhile. It eventually became too hard. I had to walk away.

I reconnected with him shortly before his death in the ‘end of life’ hospice facility. He received excellent care from his nurses and was kept comfortable. He died from HepC.

I know this is hard for you. Think about surrendering your position as caregiver and allow others to handle this situation.

Addiction is a disease. No one wants to be an addict. Remember this. It will help you heal. You will be able to let go of any resentment.

You will be in my thoughts. Sending you many hugs.
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Beatty Nov 27, 2020
What a caring, insightful reply, yet heartbreaking story.

While I haven't delt with addiction, I get trying to help a sibling when it appears they won't help themselves.
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Hollie, we really cannot fix other people. I think you have known your Mom long enough now to recognize that is the case with her. You are, despite that fact, choosing to take your Mom into your own home. You Mom is in rehab now, and honestly this is the ideal time to tell the Social Worker at rehab that it is not possible for your Mom to return home to your house, that you are not capable of caring for her. It is clear you recognize that to be the case. This will allow the Social Worker to begin working on placement for your Mother.
I would suggest that you start Al-Anon in order to get support and a deeper understanding of what you can do about an addict (or more appropriately what you canNOT do). This may help give you peace, and you may also find connections with people who understand resources and the system you will be working within when Mom is placed.
Wishing you good luck. Will remind you that the choices you make going forward ARE indeed, choices, your own choices, and you must be responsible for them; make them with care.
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Beatty Nov 27, 2020
Your reply really needs to be a permanent reference guide.

But most of us have to take a turn around the merry-go-round once or twice & really live it before it 'clicks' & we get it.
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My heart goes out to you and your family. The short answer is, you can't. Neither can your brother or any other loved one. She's 76, and has had all these injuries and probably physical woes. Addicted to Xanax or not, let her have her prescribed doses. Depression alone can be severe enough to be debilitating. Can't help but wonder if she doesnt have dementia or Alz. I know it is highly difficult for you. I think all of us would love "fix" our loved ones issues and that they be happy. Refusing to wear depends is a huge red flag. She may very well have dementia in addition to depression. To be candid, your mom needs to be in a nursing home. She is in need of 24/7 365 a yr level care. Not you or your family can cover it all. Talk to her doctor, in some cases they can move mountains to get them into a skilled facility when family cannot. NH's placement and how much it costs depends on her financial situation and she may or may not need to get on Medicaid. I highly suggest you talk to her doctor while she is still in rehab. Possibly they may offer a social worker at the rehab, talk to social worker pronto about this situation. They too can move mountains in many cases.
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My heart goes out to you and your family. The short answer is, you can't. Neither can your brother or any other loved one. She's 76, and has had all these injuries and probably physical woes. Addicted to Xanax or not, let her have her prescribed doses. Depression alone can be severe enough to be debilitating. Can't help but wonder if she doesnt have dementia or Alz. I know it is highly difficult for you. I think all of us would love "fix" our loved ones issues and that they be happy. Refusing to wear depends is a huge red flag. She may very well have dementia in addition to depression. To be candid, your mom needs to be in a nursing home. She is in need of 24/7 365 a yr level care. Not you or your family can cover it all. Talk to her doctor, in some cases they can move mountains to get them into a skilled facility when family cannot. NH's placement and how much it costs depends on her financial situation and she may or may not need to get on Medicaid.
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