Follow
Share

A little background. My mother is 81 years old. She has been a widow for over 20 years. She adored my dad and basically gave up on quote living unquote when he died. At first, she went out and socialized with friends, but gradually stopped. Now she just sits at home and goes out only when she had to do grocery shopping and to the bank, and occasionally to family gatherings. Her condition. Physically she is in pretty good shape. She is nearly deaf, but refuses to get a hearing aid. She rereads the same books, watches the same things on TV, does not have a computer, so she is not stimulating her mind. She is having short-term memory loss problems and has a chronic cough she has had for months. She went to the doctor last week, has not been for years and only went because it had been so long she was going to be dropped as a patient. The doctor suggested a chest x-ray, which she has refused to do. She is going to a hearing clinic to check out her tinnitus, but refuses to get a hearing aid. She quote forgot unquote to tell the doctor about her memory problems. My sister lives in a nearby city and tries to visit her once or twice a month. I live across country, so cannot really help other than to try to do research on how to handle our mother. My sister and I want to know how to talk to her about her options. We feel if she refuses to get medical help for her cough and memory problems, she is going to end up in a nursing home soon. My sister thinks she is afraid to know what might be wrong with her. But she is also afraid of going to a nursing home. She is also very stubborn and refuses to talk about it. Even claiming she does not have a memory problem. How can we talk to her and get her to at least understand her options? My sister has not wanted to tell my mother that she is going to end up in a nursing home if things continue as they are because she feels it is too cruel. But now we think we need to give her the truth of the situation. We are torn between allowing her to live her life the way she wants, it is her life after all, and wanting to help her lead a better life so she does not end up in a nursing home, at least for awhile. What do we do?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
Partsmom. My mother would be perfectly happy not to see more than two people a week. Communal living is not for her.

I'm thinking maybe my sister and I should approach her situation by just asking her what her plans are for when she can no longer live by herself.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

"quote forgot unquote to tell the doctor about her memory problems" - love it...
but really, a chronic cough could also be a treatable infection or even a medication side effect, as could be the memory problem. Davesmom, how would YOU approach getting her to have the symptoms checked out before they can brew up into something worse? Would you stoop as low as a phony note from the doctor's office saying she had to be seen face to face again to keep writing her Rxs or for Medicare purposes of keeping her account active?
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

What about a small board and care home?? We had a neighbor who was a retired nurse, and after her husband passed, she set up er place to accomodate three old ladies.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Bablou. I'm glad your mother adjusted. I don't think mine would. You'd have to know her to understand why. It is not just loss of independence, it is a aversion/fear of being around people.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Rob, i would have said the same thing about my mom, being miserable in a facility. She adjusted. I think sometimes our parents plant these mantras in our heads.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Partsmom. Thank you. That is a good point. Not sure it would make a difference to my mother who, basically, does not want to leave her home and would be utterly miserable in a community setting like an assisted living/residential care situation.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Judging from many of the postings on this forum, the words "nursing home" scare people. So don't use them! Mention "assisted living" or "residential care" or something that has a more positive vibe! Even most skilled nursing facilities don't call themselves "nursing homes" any more. There are a lot of options between 24/7 family caregiving and flat on one's back in a hospital-type setting.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Thank you everyone for all your advice. Learning how other people are coping with this similar situation helps my sister and I make a more informed decision on what action to take.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

May I interject? I'm 70 yrs. old, care for my 47 yr. old son who has renal cell lung cancer and his 8 yr. old son, of whom he has full custody. I retired from my accounting job of 35 yrs. to care for my grandson originally, but still help them online in the evenings, so my mind is still pretty sharp. I can tell you that I and my friends as well, actually prefer to stay home. We all spend lots of time watching TV, and I could easily read the same book over and over. My point is that because you're younger your perspective is different than hers. From my point of view, she seems entirely normal. I think as you get older and therefore closer to death you come to terms with it and it is not the big issue it would be to someone your age. I would ask you to consider respecting her wishes and let her live her remaining life as she chooses, at least as long as she is able to care for herself. Perspective!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I've been a long distance caregiver to my parents for about 5 years. Mom is mentally fit, or the most part, Dad has dementia. There is no one else but me,so I call every day, pay bills, set up doc stuff, and make the 10 hour drive whenever a crisis erupts, which is getting to be about 6 to 8 times a year.

I've learned a few things: Pick your battles, establish priorities. Don't hesitate to fib, cajole, plot and scheme to get important things done. Don't worry about the small stuff. (My Dad will not drink water, only coke. For 75 years. Like I'm gonna change that...)

He won't go to the doctor either unless I trick him into it. It goes like this: I call and say, DAD! Your doctor called! Your late for your checkup! Long story short, he's in the car and on his way before he knows what hit him. Mom helps with this trick also. When that quits working well come up with some other treachery for his own good. And at some point he will go to the docs or care facility whether he likes it or not.

Having said all that, with your Mom it's may take a medical crisis, 911 call, and trip to the ER. As much as I would like to get Dad in my eldercare chokehold and drag him to the podiatrist, that's not a reality at this point.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Robeyb-- Health insurance companies are sending warning letters to patients who have not seen an MD in a long time, threatening to drop their coverage if they don't go have an annual physical. Make sure she is not one of them.
It's time to check if she is paying her bills, too. In early dementia, they throw away the bills they don't like. Honest.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Pamstegma. My mother will more than likely refuse to go to the doctor again. As far as she is concerned, she has done the doctor thing for another 10 years, or however long she can go before they drop her as a patient.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Texarkana. Yes, she is still driving. The only problems are the short term memory loss, which my sister says is getting a lot worse and her chronic cough.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Also there is no such thing as a dumb question, only the question you don't ask.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Is she still driving? I had to go through the whole thing of telling my mother "No ma you can't drive anymore since they started you on morphine" "No ma you can't live alone anymore because you are a big fall risk from the osteoarthritis and the morphine". I was always the messenger with bad news.My mother doesn't have dementia just a few side effects from hi dose morphine,this doesn't knock her out, she is able to her ADL's with some assistance, no dementia just a narcissistic personality.I provide a safe environment for a hot house orchid,basically I protect her from herself amongst the snide and sarcastic comments she make to me, her only child.Tell your mom the truth, the cold hard facts may be the motivating factor for her to get herself to a MD,let her know what help you will be able to provide due to your own circumstances,its hard to talk to your mother with this role reversal dance we are all having to learn.But really read up on altzheimer's and read the posts on the different forums on this site, there is a lot to learn from other people's experiences, You are not alone!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Texarkana. Thank you for advice. Getting my mother assessed for demetia is something my sister and I want her to do. Unfortunately, my mother will more than likely refuse to go to the doctor again for another 10 years. However, as I said in my comment, I am leaning toward telling my mother the truth and then it will be up to her. My mother is not incompetent and can still live on her own, so we really do not have very much say in what she does at this point in time.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Chronic cough and easy fatigue accompanied by swollen lower legs would point to congestive heart failure. CHF is often accompanied by vascular losses in the brain...maybe you should go with her to the MD office from now on.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Tell her the realistic truth but with love.Life is cruel that doesn't mean you are.With the short term memory problem taking care of her long distance is going to be difficult.You are about to start on a difficult journey with the care of your mother.Start reading up on Altzheimer's ,get mom assessed for dementia, someone may have to be with her to get this done.Again trying to do things like this long distance are stressful for the caregiver.I wish you luck.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.