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96 year old mother lives by herself, is adamant that she is Still In Control! But making mistakes mishears details & angry when I intervene? I am the only daughter involved in her care (I live 20 miles away, two sisters in other states have no interest or patience to step in to help me). Mother wants only what SHE wants how she wants it. (She's always been this way, it's just worse now because she DOES need my help all the time). No dementia, just old-age slowing down with comprehension, poor hearing which doesn't help her comprehension (!) but she won't admit her hearing is "bad". She's had 3-4 serious health crises in the past 8 years and amazingly recovers every time enough to go home. I guess my question is, how do I deal with the guilt that I am NOT ALLOWED to do what I KNOW would be best for her in just about EVERY aspect of her life? She won't let me hire helpers to come to her house. She expects people "should just WANT to help" her out and she shouldn't have to PAY for it. When she does hire landscapers to do yard work, for instance, she's terribly cheap and thinks it's fine to only pay $10 an hour. She's making mistakes when she writes checks (!), doesn't understand much of what people try to say to her (like the details about the yard work, when and what and how much), won't follow any doctor's advice, etc. etc. Since I can't just begin to use her money to start hiring help (which I have the power to do as I'm named on her accounts at the bank - and she has the funds available, thanks to my dearly departed Dad who provided well for her). Considering her age, her funds should be adequate to hire home health caretakers for many years so she can stay in her home... but... like she said last week when I asked the landscapers to call me if they had any questions, "WHY did they call YOU? This is MY business. I can handle my own business!" *Sigh*

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Mom was 88, with Parkinson. She had paid for a long-term care policy and I'm finding out she had put all of her bank accounts, IRA, and Annuities
in my name or made me beneficiary and wrote a will listing all of us as heirs so I assume she thought she might have to go to assisted living and made things as easy as she could. Had I known she could have had a private room. I was worried because she was in a rehabilitation/assisted living center so i was trying to convince her if she participated she could go home and we could hire help. I thought moving her to private eoild make her give up.
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First- you say she doesnt have fimentia BUT you just described the early symptoms... and my mom. Independent, strong willed - making checking account errors, locks her car keys in her car, mis-interpretted scheduled "time"... just little things we all do, right? but getting worse because its becoming consistent--- what you are saying-- IS SHE NO LONGER HAS GOOD JUDGEMENT that could end up hurting her-- like my mom who started an Apple Turnover on fire in her microwave but it was the microwaves malfunction, or the yard flooded when the hose malfunctioned. Little things that become consistent, noticeable, and when mom (dad) become overly defensive or irrational, lose their common sense--THAT IS DIMENTIA, EARLY STAGE.

You need reverse psychology. You know your mom -- how can you make things HER idea?? What button can you push??

I sat my mom down a flat told her- REMEMBER when dad was losing his hearing how agitated you were? You made me promise not to let you make people scream at you to communicate so STRANGERS are thinking that you are either ignoring them or you're rude.

When she made really scary mistakes- and refused that she had anything to do with it; I called her doctor and asked them to call her for a check-up reminder so she was clueless i had anything to do with it. I told the nurse to be sure to assess her cognition- (they did and put her on Risperidone). I asked her out to lunch on her check up day, she said NO, I HAVE A DR appt; I said GREAT- I'LL JOIN YOU AND WE'LL EAT AFTER.

These are just my examples -- but dont kid yourself. Dimentia IS an old brain that's losing cognition. Dont wait until she either loses a lot of money or burns her house down.
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I'm so sorry for ALL the stress and sorrow you've been through Help123456.... ! How old was your mother before she passed away in October? Bless you dear for all you did... I'm sorry you feel guilt... I hope that will fade more and more as time goes by
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My mother died October 20th and I still have feelings of guilt. For seven years I went over everyday, giving her her meds, cleaning, shopping, bill paying,etc. She want to stay home so bad she allowed her high school best friend's son-in-law move in for $100 per month after his wife, and his mother-in-law passed. I hated it but did not interfere with that decision.She at least had someone to answer the phone, door, cook for her and cut the yard. He ended up dying in June, which required me and my brothers taking turns spending the night while I had to quit work and stay some nights and everyday. I think she might have lived longer had she gone to assisted living sooner, but she hated it so bad. I thought she would have better care and not be so isolated even though I would trick her into going to Center the Physical Limited and take her to the park and store...It was "killing me softly" but I still feel guilt.
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Whoops... left out an important word above in the quote... ! (Darn it! I am sooo tired!) .... the quote about mom being cheap and complaining about the work, tell her "she got what she paid for, it's NOT 1980!" Hahahaaa!
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I LOVE what Been There wrote: When she complains [about shoddy work], tell her she got what she paid for, it's not ... if she won't listen to your suggestions, tell her you don't want to hear her problems." BRILLIANT! hahaaaa. *sigh*
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When my Mom was alive she began to complain of leg pain. She complained every time I saw her and every time I saw her I begged her to make a doctor's appointment. She refused and we would end up arguing. I imagined everything from bad circulation, ie stroke, to blood clot, ie death. I finally realized there wasn't anything I could do about it so, though I kept worrying, I bit my tongue. I am a person that feels strongly about moving out of a problem into a solution. It feels very counterproductive to just wallow around in all the misery rather than searching for a solution to make it better, whatever "it" is. Anyway, she kept having the pain for SIX months. One day I was driving her to the drugstore and just before we got out of the car she moaned "I am so worried about this pain in my legs". I just snapped and blurted "You're not too damn worried or you'd go to the doctor". That was all I said. She made a doctor's appointment, began medication for restless leg syndrome, and the pain stopped within a week. I say all this to say sometimes we just have to state out right how ridiculous they are being. Mom expects cheap work. When she complains, tell her she got what she paid for, it's not 1980. Tell her if she won't listen to your suggestions you don't want to hear her problems. I know I make it sound simple and I know your problems are much more complex than the example I gave. But it comes down to this: All we can do is love them, pray for their safety and set our boundaries. Turn it over and trust that all will be well.
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Oops, battles with her, not them.
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As long as your mother is safe and not suffering from dementia, you should probably choose fewer battles with them. If you have the ability to write checks on their accounts, let them write the smaller amounts but also let the people doing work know that you will pay the difference (and keep up with quality control). Be sure to keep an eye on her accounts. You said she has no dementia. This means that she still has a strong sense of self. How would you like it if your child started telling you how to live?
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I am facing the same- with two parents in ill health with very debilitating illnesses. I think as was mentioned before- we just have to love them where they are. It is difficult- on so many fronts! Even with their level of dependency- they have for years not seen the need for assisted living, or moving closer. I works for months trying to get in home care- the assessments, paperwork, calls during work... And finally they had someone coming in.... Only to cancel the care 3 months later because it was " too expensive".
I had to step back- they are still of sound mind and made choices. I also had to step back, because I was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer in November with a hard journey ahead- my health cannot allow for the running I was in place to do for years. They have found neighbors to make meals, clean, take them to appointments, etc. I had a friend tell me a word that has blessed me: surrender. When I feel guilty I have not done enough... I surrender it to God.
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My dad told me to "mind my own business" and I was a daddy's girl but he was very independent and didn't want all the extra help even though he needed it. Don't worry about her not listening to Drs. She is 96 and could probably teach them a couple things about longevity and health. It's true you can take care of "some business" on the side such as the yard work but make sure she still feels like she is in control. If she pays 10/hr you could gracefully slip a tip to the yard help. As for hiring a caregiver, let her be part of the process. Hours needed? Days? Duties to perform? Young helper, middle aged, older helper? Maybe start with a few hours per week and then work up to full time help. In the end, begrudging our parents for unkindness or lack of love only leaves us with bitterness and them still needing help today. Bitterness leads to dry bones and an unhealthy body for ourselves.
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Caretaker, Actually, you don't have to be "it" just yet. Mom IS IN CONTROL, but not of you! Allow her the benefit to use all those people who should want to do it for free.

In another world, compassion and understanding is the order of the day. There is no law against being opinionated or driving everyone away. None of us would have willingly, in hindsight, signed up for abuse, being ordered around, criticized, or anything related to what your Moms plans are for you. The truth is, you may both be more in agreement of what she requires than you know. But, she will require a pound of flesh and your self-esteem from you, and not from others. Let her hire help.
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Weird--I posted 3 minutes ago, Windyridge posted 11 hours ago, but his post just showed up when I posted mine.

ANYONE, know if there is a refresh feature before posting so the thread is current?
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Caretaker, You may very well be crazy AND alone, but no longer! Thanks for joining in, you are welcome here on AC! As for Windyridge, he can speak for himself, however, you are not a bad judge of character at all!.
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Caretaker, I might be a long lost brother. I'm a 61 year old guy and sole caregiver for both parents, who are much like your mom, and I'm 600 miles away.
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So I'm taking care of my husband who has dementia, we found out two years ago. Since finding this out he has gotten violent occasionally. In which CPS has gotten involved and has basically told me to keep the kids away from him or they will be taken away if they are called again. He is now 90 as of Jan 5th. I am 47, I love him with all my heart and my kids. Lately I have been so stressed out because he also has 7 other kids from his first marriage who claim to love him but all they want to do is judge me for what they think I'm doing wrong. I can't take it no more. Between taking care of him, my kids, taking care of the house by myself, paying all the bills which we have more of than income, I can't go get a job cause I have to watch him 24/7. I am just amazed I haven't cracked up yet!!
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And... *sigh*... I wish I could "edit" these posts I've typed here and correct oops/typos... !
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Thank you to all the folks here who have share and commented so far... THANK YOU... THANK YOU... it is such a blessing just to hear I'm not crazy or "alone"... But like many of you, I bet, your own family or friends don't "get it" and you do feel alone in this Long Sad Struggle of caretaking... Also hard when the mother was never kind or loving.... ever... and now, TAG! I'm IT!
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I bet your excellent (and sassy) sense of humor helps, Windyridge... ! I can FEEL what you just might sound like talking... Are you my long lost sister? : )
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Phoenician, point well taken. I don't like lying but in my case it's all that works any longer. It's also called THERAPUTIC FIBBING. Maybe that term makes people feel better. I used to be able to convince my folks to do what made sense but that no longer worked as my Dads dementia got worse.

This is a good discussion. My point is to just do what is most productive for your situation whether it's fibbing, tricking or gentle reasoning. As I was first getting into the caregiving role I had lots of guilt. OMG! Should I have installed a $10000 home safety warning medical alert fire alarm system with ejection recliners?!

I'm better now. I still get stressed out, they can drive me nuts, but guilt? Nope.
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Windyridge, I don't disagree with you or pamstegma about being sneaky. But I have to say that I brought my mother to live with my wife and I out of a sense not only of personal responsibility, but also a call to obey God and honor my mother, by taking her out a circumstance where she was living alone and in constant terror from an imaginary intruder. That also means I haven't felt comfortable with lying to her about anything. I don't see it to be lying if I don't tell her everything I know, but so far I haven't had to affirmatively lie to her.

From what I'm reading, it's possible that I'm just naive, or that my mother's condition may not have progressed enough to require such measures. But for as long as I can, I want to avoid lying to her. Not saying it's the "right" approach, but it's the one I'm trying to adhere to for the time being.
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Just re read the question. Guilt? What's that? Why should anyone feel guilty for trying to help. It's a battle. You win some you lose some. I've done all I can do for my folks. They are currently refusing regular in home help. So be it. Something bad will probably happen forcing the issue. It's not my fault. We can only do so much. Screw all this guilt talk.
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Hadnuff, when siblings would criticize my husband about his mother's care, he would say "You want to take over? You can start right now." If they say mom needs a housekeeper, tell them to get one. They can take the flak.
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Yes, sneaky. My Dads dementia makes everthing impossible and my Moms reasoning is not great these days. She hates to fib to Dad but it doesn't bother me for a second. Nothing gets done, fixed, bought, cleaned, paid if I don't just do it or have it done by lying or tricking Dad and now sometimes Mom as well.

Do as much as you can get away with. Sometimes you get caught and get lectured or yelled at, no big deal. However, pick you battles. Some things are just not worth world war 3. If my Dad likes his disgusting, filthy old recliner what do I care. if Mom needs in home nursing care after surgery, that's going to happen no matter what he does. Ya gotta play hardball sometimes.
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I have a simular situation. I feel the most guilty when other people tell me what mom needs. For instance her doctor or physical therapist. She won't listen to me or anyone. There is no way to be sneeky about getting her the help she needs. I'm worn out emotionally.

Babara
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You have to be sneaky and lead her to believe all the good ideas are hers. Women are notoriously territorial about their housekeeping and yard.
The only thing you can put your foot down on is safety. If the steps are caving in, you hire someone to fix them, don't tell her until the day they get there.
If she drives badly, you write a request to DMV to give her a road test.
Mom needed a hospital bed, so I ordered one. She was in an uproar until she took a nap on it. Then she insisted she pay for it. I said no, she became more insistent and handed me a check. She walked away thinking she had won the battle. Be sneaky.
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Caretaker13, just chiming in to say I'm facing a similar situation; you certainly aren't alone. Probably the best advice I've been given came from a Christian friend, who counseled me to love my mother as she is, warts and all. It's difficult to watch someone you care greatly about make what you or I are sure is a wrong choice, but we have to respect their right to make their own choices. It's the same respect they gave us, many many years ago. I haven't been very good at implementing that advice yet, but it's my goal. Good luck.
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