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Last year I moved in with my mother because she lives alone and her health has deteriorated a great deal. She fell a few times in the past, and is afraid of living alone.
I don't want to go into great detail and make this a very long post, but a few salient points as background--my mother is a VERY intelligent woman (former attorney), widowed when I was 5 (I'm now 54). She is also very well-off, and has been extremely generous financially, paying for my son's education, etc. I'm divorced, and I'm ashamed to say that at this point it would be very difficult for me to start up a career again and be financially independent, so in many ways I've put myself in a vulnerable (and perhaps selfish) position with her. She is generous, but she very often uses her money as a tool of control (again, I blame myself for allowing this to be the case at this point in my life, but there it is).
I do love her, but we have never gotten along and in general I find it very difficult to be around her. She can be hyper-critical (I was determined not to let her treat my son the way she treated me as a child) and is prone to rather childish temper-tantrums. I believe she's had depression all her life; a few years ago I was able to persuade her to go on antidepressants. They helped (she became somewhat more pleasant), but it's a really low dose and I've asked her to increase it but she refuses.
She can also be very kind, but any conversation with her is like a minefield--I never know what I might say to set her off on a critical tirade.
I could go on, but I want to get to the main question. My mother has always hated any kind of exercise, and her biggest pleasures have always been sleeping and eating incredibly unhealthy snacks and desserts. When she retired about 20 years ago, she literally said (she says I'm making it up, but I am not) that she basically didn't plan to get off the couch ever again.
Not surprisingly, at 84 she is now overweight, diabetic, with high blood pressure and heart problems (she had triple-bypass about 15 years ago). She is in constant pain because of back problems--I"m quite certain it's because her main activity all day long is sitting on the couch watching TV (which she keeps on 24/7, even when people are trying to have a conversation with her) and, with no muscle left to support her frame and her weight, her skeletal structure is just shot. Her doctors have called her "deconditioned" (again, she denies that they have said this) and have pretty much given up on telling her that she needs PT or some form of exercise because she becomes abusive with them about it.
I certainly understand that pain (which is considerable--she's on all kinds of painkillers to which she's developed a tolerance) makes her even less willing to exercise. But I also know (and I checked with her doctor again recently to make sure that I wasn't just being mean) that her condition and her pain will only get even worse if she doesn't do something other than lie on the couch all day, and doesn't make real changes in her lifestyle. I keep telling her that she could live many more years, but that she will be bedbound very soon if things don't change.
At home, I do help her keep the place neat and clean (she has become very careless about hygiene and cleanliness), drive her to appointments, shop for her, etc. I do sometimes cook for her if she's especially tired or not feeling well (for health reasons of my own--long story--I don't really eat dinner any more). But much of the time I don't do it, because I'm thinking that at least if she gets up and moves around the kitchen, etc., it will at least get her off of the couch and keep everything from atrophying completely. She gets petulant about it, implying that I should do it all, but I just don't. And of course I feel guilty and conflicted.
So the question is--am I just being unkind? I know that I have anger issues about her just letting herself fall apart and become so slovenly (aside from our usual disagreements), and it really just depresses me to see her loll around all day with the damned TV going. I see a lot of her neighbors, all about her age, and some with very serious medical conditions, doing a lot of physical activity.
I've really been on my own about this, and the resentment AND the guilt and uncertainty about what to do (or not do) is driving me crazy. She has money enough to get someone to come in and work with her, and a pool where she could do water exercises in privacy with a trainer, but no.
Any insights/advice/whatever would be greatly appreciated, and sorry for the long post here!

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To whoever else is still out there, THIS is my topic! Yes, it’s me who sincerely needs help. Don’t tell me you could idly sit and watch a loved one who still has mental capacity and no life threatening condition just deteriorate from lack of activity until they can’t move! Besides the fact of it being such a waste, she wont be able to attend to any body functions, will have to be fed and cleaned in bed due to her laziness and who knows for how many years? It seems to me she’s showing no interest in living and yet she is thriving! When she cries because she’s too weak to walk to toilet or can’t get up from her chair, it’s very hard not to get angry because it most assuredly is her own fault! Getting more care is NOT an answer because she would then move even less than she does now. I’m hearing that a nursing facility will allow her to miss therapy at will so that is not an answer either. It is so sad
Charlotte
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Nancy... Sorry but this will be a long post. It sounds like you have your hands full even though from what you have said you are more of a companion to your Mom with some caregiving responsibilities which makes it a very difficult situation you are in. Do not feel guilty or conflicted about the boundaries that you have set.

You don't say how long your Mom has been on pain meds but with her having a tolerance to them she sounds much like my Mom was before she passed away. My Mom had always been a strong loving Mom but at times could be a Dr Jekyl/Mr Hyde. (that is a story for another time) She was always very active until her arterial sclerosis came to light and she had to have part of her right leg amputated and was in a wheel chair. (she would not use any type of prosthetic as she said they hurt her. Note: this was in the late 1970's/early 80's so prosthetics were not as good as they are today). Anyway she was taking a number of pain killers and unbeknownst to us she was getting the pain meds from three different doctors at the same time and none of the doctors were aware the other doctors were giving her rx's. (we did not find out about this until she passed away.) Though you have said that your Mom's attitude is basically the same... the combativeness, petulance and refusal to do anything remind me of my Mom's addiction to prescribed pain medication. We did not know she was addicted as in the early 80's this type of addiction was not widely known or talked about. But when she passed away we found huge bottle after bottle of pain meds she had hidden in her closet. Have you considered that she may be addicted to the pain meds?

Also with your Mom's heart problems, have they checked her for edema. With her inactivity it is a strong possibility. My honey, after his surgery in December, just refused to do anything or any type of exercise and sat on the couch or in the bed from that time on. By April 1st edema had set in and by the time he was hospitalized May 12th he had gained well over 74lbs in fluid and was unable to do anything literally or care for himself at all. He stayed in the hospital and then was moved to a rehab facility (I refused to allow him to come in the condition he was in as I could not lift on him and give him the care he needed due to my health) and by the time he came home, he had lost over 74lb and he has stayed active since. His blood has been extremely thin for the last week due to coumadin level and this caused him to have to back off on his exercise. This morning as I changed his IV (he has it 24/7 due to his heart issues) we noticed the edema returning. By the way I can tell when he is getting the edema or has it as his attitude changes from a loving person to a real pain (verbally combative and mean, goes into depression as well acting petulant like a spoiled child). Severe edema (fluid retention) such as he had before rehab put pressure on the muscles and his organs and cause a lot of pain.

Please keep us posted and feel free to vent any time. There are a lot of wonderful people on this forum. They have really helped me since I joined whether it was just allowing me to vent and the advice that they gave me.

With your Mom's heart issue, I hope that she decides to change her lifestyle before she reaches the point that my honey was at. But being cognitive and able to make her own decisions there is not much you can do. Don't feel guilty and keep your boundaries of what you will allow or will tolerate in place.
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Look, nancy, if your relationship has always had that negative side, what in the world made you think that it would improve as your mother aged? I had a shrink ask me that question and it was a real wakeup call. In other words, stop expecting change at this late date and either help her or get someone else to help. You are critical and defensive and it is unhelpful at this stage. Look at the state of the crazy world in which we live and tell me you would be so excited about staying alive in it longer than other elderly. Wearing diapers and being sickly and old is no picnic. Get some outside help for your mother and move on with your own life.
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Stop trying to control your mother. She has every right to live the way she wants even if it isn't healthy. Her body, her life.
She would rather die doing what SHE wants and not what YOU want. It's amazing to me how many children feel their opinion should be followed.
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Sure was very interested in the ORIGINAL question posted by Nancygb...wondered how she's doing now ?
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Shelly1027: Whenever a person is dependent on a medication, requiring more and more is hooked. They cannot stop without the help of a program like Reformers Unanimous. "A small percentage?" Addiction is at an all-time high! Dependency is addiction. AND Ambien is very addictive! Laced with alcohol? 
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This post is more than a year old. OP has left the building.
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I'm sorry to answer off-topic. My understanding is that addiction is a brain disease that will affect a small percentage of the population. Anyone will become dependent on opiates with continued use and will develop a tolerance requiring a larger dose for the same effect. That's not the same as addiction. When I moved in with my parents my 84 year old mother was taking 10 mg Ambien every night. It scared the h*ll out of me because she would have a few cocktails and ambian as well. She's a fall risk now and that prescription is a deal-breaker for my continued care in her home. No judgement of her. Simply scared to death that I'd find her dead or with a drug-induced hip fracture.
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Reno55: "How much should sedentary mom be expected to do.....?"
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Reno55: That was my synopsis of the OP's topic.
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Reno55: The topic was "how can I get mom to be more active." That, in and of itself, goes along with pain management.
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Just another comment on the opposite site of the pain management problem. I took hubby to dr today. While he was having labs done, I met a couple. The man was obviously in pain and she was very angry, She was having to call the main hospital to fax his bloodwork to the dr at the satellite office complex where we were. She said they made a useless trip to the dr because the bloodwork had not been forwarded. The poor man looked miserable! She said because of the fear of pain med addiction, etc, they had given him a limited number of pain meds after surgery, then some weaker ones to wean him off, and now he was on nothing. She said just coming out of the house was a major effort for him, and he would be suffering twice as much after they got home from all of the exertion. Of course, one doesn't always know the whole story from a brief conversation; but, if anyone needed relief, that poor old gentleman did. He looked as if he had been through a lot, and his arms and legs had scars on them. It broke my heart to see him in such obvious agony. I don't know who his dr was, but he must have been a stickler to a limited amount of pain meds without following up on the guy's condition.

So, as some have said, each case is different and should be treated as such.

Another thought about getting dependent on a high pain med level is that the drs have to give you more pain med than that if you have surgery or rehab to overcome the pain, and that can be dangerous and can't be continued indefinitely.
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Can you change this topic to pain management? It has moved far away from the original question
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Llamlover47 I did take over my Mom's pain management when I realized what was going on. I had no idea until my Mom started to decline that she was popping Tylenol 3's. Actually the prescription said "as needed" so that left room for all kinds of irresponsibility. Not that I am in any way blaming my dear Mom. She trusted her doctor like you would not believe. Spoke of him in glowing terms. When I got wind of the problem I accompanied her to her next appt. I explained to him that I was concerned. His response was suspicion of me. When my Mom had to spend 6 weeks in PT they sent her home with another prescription of 80 Tylenol 3's and a sedative to boot. Since I was the one who went to the pharmacy to fill the prescription I kept the pills at my place and gave to Mom at my own discretion.

As far as my sleep problem goes. I think its anxiety that causes the sleep problem. I've gone to cognitive therapy for the anxiety. As I stated earlier, it helped a bit but I still need to take sleep medication periodically. I do not have an addictive personality so I am fortunate in that way.
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Gershun: Yes, I see that you took over your mom's pain management.
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Gershun: Okay, so you were or were not your mom's patient advocate? In today's world, oftentimes meds are given in a 3-month supply, e.g, 90 count. IDK, if that COULD have been the case with your mother's Tylenol with codeine. Also, was your mom blocked up in the bowel category? Codeine will cause that. So what are you doing for sleep? Sleeplessness is a horrible thing. Yes, addiction is at an all-time record.
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Llamalover47 I realize prescriptions are given with instructions but in the case of my late mother who had dementia, written instructions are not enough. I think giving 80 Tylenol 3's to someone with dementia is irresponsible. If he had given it to her in small increments that would of been better in my honest opinion.

Yes, if your doctor prescribes pain medication YeeHa! Unfortunately not everyone is responsible. Thus why pharmaceutical drugs are the new addictive drugs being sold on the street. Case in point: Oxycontin etc. Also, anyone with teenagers out there should lock up their sedatives, antianxiety drugs etc.My niece was addicted to oxycontin so I have first hand experience with this.

As far as sleep medication thank-you for your advice but I am well aware of the addiction risks etc. Trust me...........I've been there and am still going there.
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I think it is crazy the way some doctors hand out scripts for heavy duty pain meds. When I had my wisdom teeth removed I got 28 tylenol with codeine as well as an equal number of a different pain pill (I can't remember what) in case I didn't like the first one. I'm no hero, but I for sure didn't need to take codeine 4x a day for a week. My nephew got a hard check in hockey and the doctor handed out percocet. Good Lord, when my parents had open heart surgery they didn't get that! And then they renew without reevaluating or considering addiction, my aunt was so hooked on fiorinol that she always ran out early and would call my mom crying, begging for some of hers. The same goes for diazepam, mt dad thought he need it because he felt so awful without it, we couldn't convince him he felt awful because he needed it. All these drugs have their legitimate place, but unfortunately the drug culture in medicine has become a little too rampant in too many instances.
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Rainmom: Very good advice that you gave="medications need to be taken as directed, just my humble opinion." Kudos!
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Tacy022: Really? You don't need pain meds? I don't understand how you are getting by without them! Good grief! When a doctor offers you a script for pain meds, accept it, get it filled and here's why=what happens if you need it in the middle of the night? Rainmom, I'm with you=done.
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Gershun: Your main doctor will NOT give you meds such a Diazepam. You need to locate a psychiatrist who is able to give you a script. Do not mistake that with psychologist as they do not dose meds.
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Gershun: Sleep meds such as Lunesta ARE habit-forming and are in the drug cat typically referred to as benzos. Stay away from them! What you could try is OTC Benadryl. Another tip, even if you can't fall asleep DO NOT GET OUT OF BED AND GET ON YOUR COMPUTER. TABLET OR SMARTPHONE. Stay in bed because at least your BODY is resting even if your BRAIN is not! Trust me on this one. I've been there!
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Gershun: A doctor most CERTAINLY gives a script with directions for dosage, e.g. "take 1 tab per day or night." They DO NOT give a patient a script with no instructions as to usage!
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I agree kind of with both of you Tacy and Rainmom. I think every situation has to be evaluated individually. There is no right answer to this. My main physician
does not believe in sedatives/anti anxiety pills of any kind. I've suffered with anxiety/insomnia that sometimes gets really bad. Sometimes just knowing I have something I can take to relieve it helps and I don't even have to take anything.

However I do have to go to a walk in clinic where there is probably the only doctor in all of this city that doesn't lecture me and gives me what I need.

I believe people owe it to themselves to investigate and seriously try other options before they go get that prescription filled. I have tried cognitive therapy for my anxiety and it works sort of but its still good to know if I'm just so tired and I need something that relaxes me that its there for the taking.
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God Lord, Tacy! Do you realize what you're saying? Just about every disease and condition can benefit from better diet and exercise. I don't think it would be a stretch to say the vast majority of people do not "help themselves" in this way. Would you have no one receive medication under your standard? Regardless - I'm done here.
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I don't want to hijack Nancy's thread anymore than I already have - and people will believe what they want to. I would only hope that as good people - which clearly you are or you wouldn't be on this site seeking and giving advice to better the lives of those you care for and/or your families - I would hope you would keep an open mind, acknowledged that your experience is not the same as everyone else's and not rush to judgement for people seeking to relieve chronic pain in a manner different from your own. There is nothing easy about living a life in constant physical pain - it makes EVERYTHING more difficult and being judged as being weak, stupid in making poor choices or someone seeking the easy way out doesn't help. Being able to exercise your pain away is great - you're lucky. But that also tells me you are comparing apples and oranges. I guess this is where I say "let's agree to disagree"?
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(SIGH)!
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Many doctors are NOW CUTTING BACK ON WHAT USED TO BE THE NORM, WHICH WAS READILY PRESCRIBING PAIN KILLERS. Easy answer=people are getting hooked!
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Continued--because here's the truth, if she does feel the effects of withdrawal, she is dependent on them.
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Nancygb: You said "she's on all kinds of painkillers to which she's developed a tolerance.," and "if she suddenly stopped, I'm sure she'd feel the effects of withdrawal." I understand that she's tapering back, which is a good thing. Because here's the trut
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