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I usually take my mother to Florida with me for the winter but did not this winter due to difficulty traveling with her alone. She still lives alone and my sister who lives five miles from her looked in on her and provided her main meal and took her to appointments. I am getting ready to go back to PA and will stay with mom about a month until my husband returns. I have been asking my mother to gather a few things together so I can take her to get her taxes done. She has no idea what she needs since I have gathered the info since her husband died. Yesterday I called her and told her one by one what she needed and stayed on the phone until she found the 5 documents, she found one because she had no idea what the rest were. I asked her to get the fan fold file folder, easy to carry in her walker, out and look for the other documents and I would call her back. When I called her back, she was in the living room trying to hold the folder on her lap, hold it open and trying to find the documents, complaining the folder wouldn't stay open. I said why didn't you put it on the kitchen table, it would be more stable and explained how to secure the lid. You would think I would have asked her to walk ten miles. She whined, she threw a fit because she had to walk six feet to the kitchen table. I said I suppose you're walking without your walker. She again whining said this folder won't fit in the walker. I know it would fit in the basket, I bought the folder. Where the folder is kept, she had to walk past the dining room table which is two feet from where the folder is kept, walk past the kitchen table also and then into the living room to her recliner. All she wants to do is sit in her recliner. If she is asked to do anything she whines like a child, pretends she is crying. I am already getting stressed about going to her house to stay. She is getting less safe everyday regarding living alone. My sister and I both thought we could manage her living between us but to be honest her behavior at times is so nerve wracking that we are rethinking it. We have four hours a week from the Area Agency on Aging, that is all she qualified for. Her money would only last about a year and half in Assisted Living and that's IF her home would sell which needs repairs and the closest Assisted Living Facilities are forty five minutes to an hour away from family and friends and she is not Skilled facility appropriate. We love her dearly but I never thought my mother would be like this.

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Hey karbar, I too have a mother who constantly whines and complains. You have my sympathy because I know how draining it is to constantly have to deal with the negativity.

My mom's cognitive decline sounds similar to your mom's. What I did is I helped my mom buy a condo right next to mine. The jury is still out on if that was the best choice, because I am still "adjusting" to this nightmare, but I can tell you the good aspects in case you and your sister can manage something similar.

Having her right next to me BUT IN HER OWN SPACE means when it gets to be too much I can leave. However I am close enough to monitor her closely and watch out for her safety. I can come and go as tolerated. As things progress she is so close I could set up a nanny cam on my wifi in her place. Her being close means if something happens, lets say in the middle of the night or whatever- I can be there in seconds.

I helped her fix up her place so that she really likes it. It is pleasing to her eye and as she isolates more she is at least happy in her space. She has a wonderful water view and can watch boats and activity. She's actually very lucky to have such a nice place, my husband and I contributed a lot of money to make sure it was nice. There was one time when she kept complaining about something small and trivial. She wouldn't shut up about it so I finally shot back- "It could be worse, you could be in a nursing home". That shut her up. Honestly, the toxic non-stop complaining can border on abuse if you don't call them out.

So I think it really comes down to boundaries and having your own safe space to retreat to so you can get rest and a break. Not to mention privacy with your husband.

Is a move like that possible for your mom?
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It sounds like your mother is having cognitive issues, as she sounds and acts very much like my mother. The neuropsych already told us what we already knew...Moderate Cognitive Impairment. With that in mind, we moved forward to address her depression, anxiety, confusion, shrillness, agitation, etc. She is still independent in her ADL's, but we are learning to manage our annoyances realizing that she is picking up on it, which makes it worse for her. Yes, she also "acts" different with others and another way with me and my sister, and it's because her guard is down and it's a learned behavior. But now we recognize that it's the dementia rearing it's head, and we have had to realistically modify our expectations of her. You are taking the correct steps in getting an eval. Good luck.
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Reply to LovieSoul
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You are almost there where she should receive 24 hour care. You have 2 good suggestions. Get her mail forwarded permanently to you. Take over the checkbook (online if you have to). She can keep getting the junk mail. If she has a landline, you can set up online, a way to see her calling habits.

You might have to wait for her to have an accident for her to get further evaluated. At that point you should be able to refuse taking care of her so that she gets set up on Medicaid and the house can be sold. Try not to say yes to any increase towards assistingnher.

Have you ever considered calling her local social services to see if they can assist or guide you in any way?
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Reply to MACinCT
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karbar Feb 26, 2019
I would like to talk to a geriatric nurse or someone who can evaluate her to give us some idea as to where she is cognitively. I think I will call Office of Aging for guidance.
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Karbar, not everybody who loves their mother dearly is also blessed with the kind of temperament that can be gentle and forbearing and sympathetic at all times no matter what. That is, it is fine to feel impatient, annoyed and disappointed when the mother you love very much is not the - how can we put it - the woman she was.

However. In that case, you do have to recognise yourself as someone who is not going to be able to handle her care. Doesn't make you a bad daughter, let alone a bad person, but it does make it a bad idea to continue as is.

You are becoming increasingly irritated with your mother, and you are beginning, unconsciously, to treat her with harshness.

You have always taken her to Florida. She is now a nuisance (she is, I'm not being rude about either of you) to travel with, so you didn't do that, you sensibly set up alternative arrangements and went alone. That's fine; but the net result is she got left behind because she wasn't wanted. Think she didn't see it like that? Think she didn't mind?

You have done her taxes for her since her husband died. For very good reasons, this particular year you needed your mother to do some of the most basic prep. No biggie. But think it through.

Year on year it has been easier for you to do her taxes than to help her to do her own. But all of a sudden, however many years later, you expect her to find these papers and handle the job on her own, with you providing telephone support? You might as well have been instructing her on brain surgery. She expected to fail, she duly failed, because your requirements of her, while trivial in themselves, were off the scale to her. Which you knew, because that's why you've always just done it yourself. And now, you're annoyed about it?

She is getting heavier, but also your tolerance is wearing out. And your sister feels much the same, yes?

Before you go and stay with her, I would urgently review your expectations of her everyday behaviour. Try pretending that she is getting over a nasty bout of 'flu, for example; make a conscious decision to pamper her and be methodically kind. Also, schedule in some highlights for yourself so that the whole ghastly month doesn't loom over you as you land at the airport.

Longer term, I agree that you and your sister *should* rethink the care plan - not least so that she and you don't end up swallowing your own tongues in frustration, but also so that your mother gets a broader kind of support as her needs increase.

As you already have a functioning relationship with the AAA, have you thought about consulting them on next steps?
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karbar Feb 26, 2019
Not taking my mother to Florida was not because she was a burden. Last year taking her home, she fell out of the bed twice in the hotel, despite me asking for an ADA room, they gave me a room with a high bed. They also gave me a room too far away from the front desk, she couldn't walk to the desk. On the way down, I put her on the luggage cart to get her to the front desk, this time there was no room to do that and she almost fell. I can't manage her and the luggage alone anymore since her mobility is declining. Once in the airport a w/ c is available but I can't handle a w/c, luggage and her on my own from hotel to airport. When we got to the airport they just about didn't let her fly because she said she "felt" like she could vomit. I know my mother VERY well and all she needed was some food which some fast talking got her on the plane. What u don't know also is the park we live in Florida started enforcing visitors can only stay two weeks, leave for 30 days and return 2 more weeks. I couldn't very well put my mother on a plane and send her away for 30 days alone. I have been her main go to person since my step father died in 2013. I live over an hour away from her when I am not in Florida. My sister lives 5 minutes away from her and my brother 20 minutes. They were contributing nothing to her care. Put all of the above together thus the reason I am burned out. I was also not willing to sacrifice my husband for 5 month while he was in Florida to care for my mother when I have siblings that need to step up. My sister is stepping up now but in just three short month of doing so, she too is about crazy with mom's behavior. I didnt let my mother on Her own to pull tax info together, she has the support of my sister, all I ask was for her to read to me on the phone what she had in the folder that said Tax Info on it and she flipped out because she had to get out of her recliner to go and get the folder. I will b the one taking her to get taxes done and if the info is not there I needed to know. I am going to consult the Office of Aging to see what kind of geriatric specialist can evaluate her to see what exactly we are dealing with. She doesn't act like this with others, only my sister and I.
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Have you said " Mother, don"t whine. Its very annoying".?

I'm not being funny. Treat her like an adult and call her on it.

If what is ACTUALLY happening is that she's getting agitated and teary because this task is too much for her, you need to find a way to reduce that stressor, ie, having her mail reflected. Or at least the important stuff.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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karbar Feb 26, 2019
I have done that and when I return to PA in March I intend to have a heart to heart with her. Her excuse is always, when u r old u worry about everything, and I don't feel good. Funny thing is, her friend could walk in and she is fine but then her friend doesn't require her to do anything, we do.
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My sister just took her checkbook from her. The mail is the only thing she has left and she looks forward to it everyday and reads every piece, junk and all. It's not the mail that's the issue, it's the whining about things that is the issue. It's like asking a child to do anything and they fuss and whine about it. She doesn't act this way around her friends or strangers just those closest to her and that's my sister and I and we r the two that do everything for her. I don't know how we r going to be able to tolerate her 24/7 if she has to live between us.
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Can you have her mail directed to you address?
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