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Something I go through almost every day here is my mother wanting to go to the doctor or take a new medicine to fix something. I know that there are things that can't be fixed, that there is no pill that has the magic to turn back time. I don't like to say that she's just getting old or that she has dementia, even if those would be truthful responses. However, I don't want to go to doctors or get more medicines for her if they won't do any good.

How do we tell them kindly that something can't be fixed? Or should we just keep chasing cures in order to keep the hopes up?

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We can end up in this double bad-guy position. Darned if we do and darned if we don't. On one shoulder we have this little guy saying "If you loved you mother you would keep looking for ways to make her feel better." On the other shoulder this little guy is saying "There is no cure for this and you're wasting time and Medicare dollars with more doctor appointments." No matter what we choose, we will be wrong.

Today has been a classic exasperating day. My mother has pneumonia now in her mind. (No, she doesn't have it.) I tell her she doesn't have it, that she doesn't have the symptoms. She says she does and is faking it. Poor dear, trying to cough up congestion when her lungs are in fine shape. This is just so crazy. I realized that I can't even "own" my personal illness and take time to recover completely. Instead of helping in any way, she has been messier and needier. I've had to stay away from her as much as possible. My SIL offered to help, but I didn't want her to be exposed to this since there are new babies in her family. Now that I'm better, I may take her up on that offer of help. I don't know what she can do, but I know I need a break to get completely back on my feet. When I go around my mother, she comes up with a need for something to do. She can be relentless. I sympathize so much with you, rainmom.
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My mom was almost at hypochondriac levels with this. Every little thing meant a trip to the doctors - everything and anything. I use to say she was there so often they should give her her own parking spot. If a doctor didn't give her what she wanted she harangued them until they did. If a doctor didn't tell he what she wanted to hear - she'd find one who would. With my mom she wasn't looking for a cure to old age - she was seeking attention. After she lost her drivers licence the doctor appointments slowed down. Then we got a caregiver who fed my mothers hypochondriac needs and it started all over again but even better as she now had a driver, someone to fuss over her getting in and out of the car and a captive audience to provide loads of sympathy - hell, she even made all her follow up appointments for mom. Normally this type of caregiver would be ideal - in the hands of a hypochondriac she was heroine to an addict. Since moms been in the NH all of this has fallen way off - finally got mom to accept at 89 she wasn't going to have another hip replacement - last week the caregiver, who works one morning a week as a companion now - called me to ask if she'd be driving mom to the orthopedic specialist appointment. WHAT? WHAT APPOINTMENT?
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My Mom use to say about doctors who said her ills were age related "what do they know" thus onto the next doctor. Mom was very stubborn and would guilt me into taking her to yet another appointment. The guilt would be "I would drive you to appointments if you couldn't drive".

One yearly appointment I dreaded taking her to were her mammograms.... seriously, a mammogram at 97?... it would take 2 techs to help this tiny frail woman, then Mom would complain after the fact, while driving her home, about the machine, about the techs, how cold it was in the dressing room, etc. Yet she would insist her GYN write an order.... [sigh].
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You can't tell her anything because she doesn't want to hear the answer Jessie.

When my mom complains about her knees I say "its too bad you aren't 20 years younger, then they would give you new ones. Just be glad you aren't living like your grandparents in a house with a wood stove and an outhouse." But even with all the holes in her memory she is still able to understand what I'm telling her... we can't fix it and be thankful for what you have. I'm not sure your mom would appreciate my approach ;)
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Just out of curiosity were these miracle cures on dr oz because i used to have to go to the doctor for the miracle cures he endorsed. Our doctor has a program where you can email him questions and he'll answer. I print off his replies and put in a binder. Whenever im asked about the "cure" i tell them to look in the book
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For once, i don't agree with FF!

I would remind my mother what the doctor said " no mom, you dont need to go back to the eye doctor, she gave you this chart to look at every two weeks which tells you that your macular degeneration isn't getting worse". " mom, the doctor said that if it hasn't lasted 5 days, it's not diarrhea and it's not dangerous. Just take an immidium". It helped that i didn't live with her.
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Jessie, just keep chasing the cures. I remember my Mom was determined to find that magical hearing aid or state-of-the-art eye glasses that would make her hear/see again. All a waste of time, what can you do when they are in denial of their age and health issues... [sigh].
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