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Mother in law says we should have pity on her but won't accept that she is supposed to use her inhaler. At wits end knowing how to manage this. She just says "Goes in one ear and out the other" or "I don't take any notice", meaning she will do what she wants to do.


Help please.

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Good point JoAnn. Short of breath: Heart? Anxiety? TIA?

Lack of O2 will cause confusion too. So she grabs phone. Dials family for help. Might be the only thought she can muster?

What does the Doctor say about this issue?

I'm thinking if MIL cannot safely manage her meds (& possibly other things?) it's a little warning sign. That it's time to add more help.

It's not failing to involve others - it's adding! Will save your sanity & maybe even add years to your DH's life.

MIL's choices are simple:
A) accept an aide to the house every morning to administer meds/other assistance, or
B) move into AL.

My relative was singing that 'no non-family help' song. Doctor told her sternly to cut that out. If she needed help, it was not up to her to insist who/when/where of all her help unless she was paying big dollars for it. Said you cannot order only family to help you on your terms only.

2 yrs later, she is very happy to have the friendly professional aides coming everyday. At 98 you may not have this timeframe 😔.
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Reply to Beatty
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98 God love her.

Just a question, a pause ox level of 98% is very good for anyone, right? Wouldn't someone with asthma have a lower %? Especially at the age of 98. I was told that with every attack the lungs are scared causing problems as we age? Just a thought, does MIL really have asthma?
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You are being manipulated....she has as much said so to your face. Keep calling the ambulance on her. Don't rush over there. She wants attention and doesn't care if it is good or bad. Next time it happens suggest putting her in assisted living since she cannot be counted on to take her medication. Tell her in no uncertain terms that you cannot be her back up plan.
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It depends if this is new behavior or long term behavior. Even if you put her in a home, she will still have a right to refuse medications....per state laws. Trying to force medications can be construed as assault and battery. How is her behavior when hospitalized? Unfortunately her lungs will continue to get worse and become more like COPD.
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Ok …. I got you. I don't blame her. I don't use mine either.
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If there is no dementia then your mother-in-law should be given the 911 number for further emergencies and that is who she should call. At some point she will lose her life from wasting time. What can YOU do? Are you expected to go to the house and hold her inhaler for her? Tell her to call 911 in an emergency, or, when she calls you, call 911 and have them go to her home.
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headinthesand Jul 20, 2020
She says she doesn’t know what to do, but all we do is hand her the inhaler. If we do ring for an ambulance (which we’ve done 6 times in past couple of months) she improves before they leave and is up joking by the time they leave.

yesterday we pointed this all out that SHE needs to take HER inhaler. She then said we should have pity on her.
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Whoever is her HCPOA, should intervene...contact her doctor, get assessment to see what level of care she needs. If she’s not able to manage her medical care and treatment, she needs it done for her. Maybe, something else is needed. If there’s no HCPOA, I’d see an attorney for the options.
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haileybug Jul 19, 2020
Right.
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LoopyLoo OK … I have asthma. The doctor prescribed me an inhaler. I used the inhaler up until I realized it did not work for me. I stopped using the inhaler …. my asthma remains the same. (no changes)

When I have trouble breathing, I have a different type of med to use that actually works.

I have several family members who have asthma that do not use their inhalers bc it does not work for them. js
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LoopyLoo Jul 19, 2020
It isn't a matter of her using an inhaler and it not working. The OP says her MIL is having trouble breathing because she does not use her inhaler AT ALL.

The problem is not the medicine, it's that she doesn't use it.

js!
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Headinthesand,
I had to laugh. Your MIL is 120! Wow. Maybe that’s a typo on your bio.
What happens when you get the call? How often does it happen?
She probably forgets to use the inhaler (dementia) and then when she can’t breath gets scared and she knows she feels better when someone else (you) is in charge.

Her body gives her a warning. Many elders who don’t take their meds are totally unaffected until they fall or have a stroke etc.

Even though it can seem like we are going along doing pretty well for a long time, things do progress and a time comes when MIL just can’t manage as well as she once could. We get where we can’t manage as well as we once did either. So little events like her phone call happen to both annoy and remind us that it’s time to reassess where we all are. Just because you have always taken care of her doesn’t mean you must continue. Change is hard but predictable. We can’t wish it away. We can’t fuss at her and expect her to change. That’s just a futile effort to make yourself feel better and doesn’t progress to a healthy solution.

Since Covid 19 things are harder for us all. Finding help seems like it would be easier with people out of work but nurses, CNAs, medical help of all descriptions are in high demand. Finding out what level of help she actually needs as has been suggested, might help you deal with her a little better until you can find a solution that works for all of you. Do take advantage of even the smallest help available to make it through this trying time.

We do understand how you feel. I hope that helps. If you didn’t care you wouldn’t be looking for solutions.
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Beatty Jul 22, 2020
Fantastic reply.
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Sounds like she is using her health to manipulate you all.

Is she using the inhaler after she calls you or are you guys running to her rescue? I would stop responding to the calls and call 911 if you believe that she would actually not use the inhaler without an audience.

Some seniors are like children, whatever gets them attention is what they will do. It is up to you to change how you respond to her tactics.

When my mom started saying that she had Alzheimer's and I told her that we needed to find a facility, she changed her tune. I knew it was purely manipulation and that is why I responded the way I did. Just fyi.
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An inhaler doesn't always work for asthma. Sometimes, extra is needed. js
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LoopyLoo Jul 19, 2020
One inhaler might work, another might not. But the question posed is about MIL not using her medication at all. No inhaler will work if it's not used!
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As an asthmatic myself, I have two thoughts:

1. She has dementia or some other form of mental deterioration and genuinely can't remember to use her inhaler.

2. She wants pity and attention. "You should have pity on me" is pretty clear! I don't know any asthmatic person who 'doesn't notice' or forgets to use an inhaler... they're used daily at the least. Funny how she always takes notice to call you when she's having trouble.

If it's the latter, there's some ways to handle it. Tell her to call for an ambulance if she can't breathe. If she calls you instead, tell her you will immediately call an ambulance to her house. I'm guessing she doesn't want to be hospitalized.

Or, you can use her own tactics against her. Telling her "You seem to have so much trouble with your asthma, and we're worried. It may be time for us to consider an assisted living facility. Would you like to tour some this weekend?". I am guessing she lives alone. She may be hoping you'll eventually ask her to come live with you. Don't even bring it up as an option; if she does, simply say it just isn't possible and steer her back to the assisted living option.

She will miraculously remember to use her medicine, or she will be on her way to assisted living.
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headinthesand Jul 20, 2020
we have had the ambulance out. Even at 98, her blood oxygen says were 98, her ekg was fine, even better than the previous one. So goodness knows. She dwells on the future and gets anxious about it so we went down the mental angle. She’s now on 2mg of diazepam 2x daily plus at one point the paramedic thought something wasn’t 100% on her ekg. So she has something to open her valves up a bit. She doesn’t want to live with us, but I think she wants to be 40 again. It’s that realisation of what’s to come that is playing on her mind but she’s not one to talk about anything except gardening. Everything outside of her bubble is Greek to her.

last night she was on deaths door, this morning she’s up cleaning the house. Big psychological fluxes I think.

I thought they’d give her antidepressant but they went down anti anxiety. I think she is anxious and depressed at times.
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It sounds as though your MIL needs a higher level of care than can be provided by you.

Have you had an assessment by the local Area Agency on Aging? With you present to correct that she incorrectly tells the professionals? Such as "can you prepare your own meals? Oh yes, of course (when in truth Meals on Wheels or you are providing premade meals for her)/

The AAA needs to see what her ACTUAL capabilities are in order to provide any assistance

.
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headinthesand Jul 20, 2020
Yes she does but she says “I’m not having anyone round here”, I’ve got you.

trouble is that we have been together for 8 years and had to maintain two households so he could be near her. She lives next door to him and we have a house 90 miles away. Spend time in both places and since lockdown I’ve been staying at his. We are about to exchange on a new house at the other location. (We are in England)

so if we carried on as before lockdown we’d be gone for a few days at a time. Since lockdown we haven’t been able to leave her over night. He told her about our new place (simply replacing the other one) and she said she hoped we didn’t get it. That would render me without a house.
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