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I have been caring for my 72 year old mom since my dad passed away 2 and a half years ago. At first I knew it would be diffcult for her they had been married over 40 years....
she has alot against her health wise.
but she can be so hard headed!!!! She smokes so much its ridiculous I've tried everything to slow her smoking to no avail. She doesnt take care of herself like she used to, I have to make her bathe then she fusses about. She wants everyone to do everything for her. She is giving up she often talks about going meet my dad she says she will be better off.
I have no help from family at all. I find myself crying and crying because I dont know how to help her. Its killing me watching her slowly go right before my eyes.

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I try to get her to take some water aerobics at my gym. She refuses I try to get her out a lot she just has a stubborn mind of her own
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Thanks for all of eveeyones responses I appreciate all the advice
She has been hospitalized and been in rehabilitation twice. When she gets
Out shes the mom I know again.....but it's starting to be a cycle.
She does get out to do her nails and hair. But more lately she sleeps a lot.
I try my best to do it all for her make sure she has food and her meds. But I also think it's some of her meds that should not be mixed. And yes I have talked to her Dr.s they all say she needs them all I don't agree at all.
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I would try to figure out what is causing your mom to act the way you are describing. That might help you decide which course to take. I would explore if it's some medical problem or if she does have dementia issues.

As Lindylu stated above, some times dementia starts out with a person being a big pain in the you know what. They exhibit very selfish conduct, are unreasonable, demanding, lazy and resistant. My cousin was that way and I just thought it was her character flaws, but eventually the dementia was obvious. That is what caused her poor behavior. I'd explore that possibility. If it's dementia, it will progress and her behavior will become more challenging.

If it's not dementia, then I would have a complete assessment by a professional to see exactly what her needs are based on her physical condition. Is she able to get into the bath unassisted? Can she prepare her meals? And depending on what she is unable to do, make arrangements for that to happen. Maybe, she needs to go to Independent LIving, Assisted Living or even a nursing home, if she needs skilled nursing care.

Continuing to live as you describe is not healthy and you will regret it. Just read what others on this site go through. It's heartbreaking. You have to protect your own welfare too, not just your mom's.

Oh, she could be depressed. You might see if medications might help her feel better.
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Second hand smoke is just as dangerous as smoking. You might as well buy a pack of cigarettes and light up with your mom.

There is a process for grieving but 2.5 years is way too long and now her self neglect is a habit. I urge you to make appointments for her to get her hair washed and cut, a proper manicure and pedicure, and then take her to lunch or dinner.
Your father would not want her to have neglected herself this long. You can help bring her back into the land of the living. Be gentle and offer her some of your companionship until she finds her own way again.

Find some activities for her to do - the local library is a great place to start - and take her to them until she finds something she enjoys. I wish you lots of luck!
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In my book, 72 isn't old. If she lives in your home, the smoking section should be outside. There's really no reason to have to live in an ashtray just because your mom doesn't give a ___ anymore. If you're the one living with her, consider moving out.
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Hi Gidget, has your mom been evaluated for vascular dementia? The reason I ask is my grandma was a heavy smoker and we didn't realize she was having signs of dementia until she was in her 80s, but when we really thought about it, there were plenty of signs for about 10 years prior. The big things were not taking care of the house or herself anymore, having a difficult time following instructions (e.g. recipes, sewing patterns), sleeping more (probably had more to do with COPD but the fact that she was fine with sleeping 12+ hrs a day was alarming), having a harder time taking care of finances, losing interest in things she used to enjoy, and becoming more withdrawn (but also less inhibited about what she said, especially to doctors.) She also got a little bit of an edge to her. Many of the symptoms overlap with depression, so it can be hard to see at first. If you think it is a possibility, discussing it with your mom's doctor might change the way you approach the difficulties you are having with her. She might not be thinking clearly about things for that reason, and since she is still pretty young, maybe there are things the doctor could advise that would help your mom.

I wish you both the best!
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gidgetnicolez, your Mom probably had planned a nice long life with your Dad and when he passed [sorry for your loss] that turned her world upside down. Your Mom is way too young to be sitting home feeling sorry for herself.

I am just a couple years younger than your Mom, I have my fair share of health issues but that didn't stop me from working. And even through I am dealing with my own parents, who are in their 90's, I refuse to give up my career. Work is my reason for getting up in the morning.

Now, you need to help your Mom find something that she is excited about. If you live near enough to a Senior Center, take her to lunch there and eat with her. Eventually she will meet other people and hopefully find a new BFF [best friend forever] and will want to go to that Senior Center.

Or if there is something that your Mom enjoyed doing while your Dad was around, maybe she could do volunteer work in that field. I know it won't be easy but something to think about.

Does she enjoys dogs? If yes, maybe adopt an older dog that needs a new home, and that way it will get Mom out of the house to walk the dog. My neighborhood is full of middle aged folks walking their dogs.
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Is she in your home? Sounds like she needs to go to a facility. It's just gonna take some tough love. She'll scream and yell but you'll have no life with her. Your mental and physical Heath should come before hers. I'd she truly wants life to end place her somewhere that she can just fade away without destroying your life. Save yourself.
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I'm just four years younger than your mom. I've had two separate cancers, smoked forever, just quit last December after I wound up in the hospital with bronchitis. Just hospitalized with arterial fibrillation. Have high blood pressure and a few other incidentals. So I guess I qualify as having "a lot against me health wise."

I have several sets of girlfriends at least going out for lunch or dinner with them two or three times a month. I dress in leggings and high boots. I assure you I shower quite often. Have let my hair go natural grey and love it. Experiment with new make-up and keep up with technology.

I was married for 26 years, no children. EVERYONE in a half-way decent marriage is devastated when they lose a spouse. Your mom isn't the exception. She's the rule.

Stop enabling her. You make powerful excuses for her right here. She's a widow...boo hoo...she's got health issues...boo hoo. Her and everybody else, my friend.

If she wants to waste her life, there's nothing you can do for her except not stick around to watch. Stop BEING her life and perhaps she'll make one for herself.
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