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My mom suffers from several health issues including early dementia and is being very stubborn on taking care of herself or listening to me or her doctor. She doesn’t take her meds correctly, refuses to eat some days, and laughs when we tell her to stop doing the physical activities that hurt her conditions further. I suspect this is for attention?


I understand she’s having a hard time accepting her limitations and the fact she’s sick and gaining, but I also can’t force her to eat or take meds, etc. The issue is she gets very sick as a result of her poor decisions. How can I help her maintain her sense of purpose and identity, while making her understand she needs to step back and accept help? She lives with me and won’t let me cook for her or do laundry, on top of all that, she tries to take care of my little kids (which is so sweet) but is way too demanding of her, health wise.


Please help!

I found your question a bit confusing, and I am wondering if you are wanting your mother to do less than she really can. You say that she is ‘gaining’, presumably weight, but you want her to eat more. Taking off weight is a big help for mobility and for her physical care in the future, so some reasonable fasting isn’t all bad. She can do her own laundry and cooking, even though you wish she wouldn't, so she is functioning fairly well in many ways. You say that she gets very sick as a result of her poor decisions, but it isn’t clear what that entails.

Can you find a way for her to do the things she wants to do, but more safely? Can she interact with your little kids in a way that will work for them and for her? In many ways, the more she can do, the better for her and for you. Perhaps it would be good to turn around your anxiety, and focus on helping her to do things, rather than stopping her from doing what she wants to do. At least it may be worthwhile thinking from this point of view as much as possible. Best wishes!
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Reply to MargaretMcKen
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I found in the early stage they lose the ability to reason. So trying to reason with maybe a lost cause.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Maybe tell Mom that if she keeps making herself sick, she is going to wind up in the hospital and she won’t be able to come back to your home then. She will have to go to a facility where they will be able to care for her. Her pills? Ask her why she is wasting her money by not taking them. Offer to flush the money she’s paying for those meds down the toilet in front of her because that’s what she’s doing by not taking the meds. Keep an eye on her when she cares for the kids. She can only push herself so far in trying to keep up with small children. Tell the kids to tone it down around Grannie and suggest they color with her instead of running around.

You cant force her to accept help. You simply cannot. Accepting our limitations as we age is one of the hardest things we seniors will ever have to do. And unfortunately it usually takes a Health emergency to bring it to light.
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Reply to Ahmijoy
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