My Mother lives alone and is 95 years old. She is a gambling addict and a hoarder. I went to work tonight and was only their 10 minutes when my son called and said grandma needs you. She has shortness of breath and is shaking. I left work immediately and there were 2 ambulances in her driveway. I rushed up the driveway and they told me she is fine. She just had a panic attack but she wants us to take her to the hospital. I said ok I’ll meet you there. I made up my mind I was telling them everything. The ER doctor checked her over and didn’t find anything wrong. He then took her socks off because she said her toes hurt and all this white dust and stuff came out of her socks. He asked when the last time she changed her socks. She said she couldn’t remember. They immediately brought in a social worker. She told her that her house had clutter and I whispered hoarder so the social worker heard me. She kept trying to talk my mom into having a nurse or aide come to her house. She said no. A few minutes later I got the social worker aside and told her she is not bathing or changing her clothes, or washing her hair, that she won’t do laundry and she is a hoarder with just a path to get around the house. I am crying and pleading at this time and said I’m sorry. She refuses help. There is nothing we can do since she is competent. She said she has to fall or something before anybody can’t intervene. Nobody is calling APS. Not the hospital or the EMTs. There were 3 of them in her filthy house. The social worker told me to call APS if I wanted but don’t be surprised if they say there is nothing we can do because she is competent. This is outrageous. I live in upstate ny and there is no mandatory reporting of a self neglecting individual. Needless to say I had to bring her back home. I got her settled in and then I left.
Because you cannot change her behavior, you have to change yours. What I did with mthr was to not visit her house at all. Nothing. I refused to be in that mess of a firetrap. You might say, but then Mommy won't get her groceries, or social activity... That's your point. If people won't go visit her mess, then she has to either give up the mess and move to an AL, or clean it up on her own. We know she does not want either, but you have leverage to pry her from her home once she runs out of groceries. You can bargain with her... I'll take you to the store IF we go to your doctor's and you have an exam first. Hopefully you have photos of the inside of the hoard, the kitchen, bath, her bedroom, the path to her chair, and the path from the chair to the door as evidence that her living conditions are unsafe. (Take those photos first, before drawing this line!). You'll also need POA if you don't have it already.
Depending on the Dr visit, you can now find the appropriate level of care in a home (NH, MC, or AL). Now when something happens that ends with her in the ER, you will have a list of places to call. And you will continue to use groceries or visits as barganing chips - but **don't go in the house** - protect yourself from it!
Hoarding should be considered a mental illness and safety hazard, I'm surprised more action isn't taken in these situations.
Your mother is severely mentally ill. The contact you do have with her is toxic. She groomed you to be the way you are with her. The anguish she puts you through is abundantly clear!
Her not answering the phone is manipulation to get you coming in person. As long as you are calling her from your house or cell phone, you will have a telephone record of attempting to reach out.
You can call the non-emergency number of the police to do a welfare check on her. Call enough times, and the police may be your allies in forcing something to happen.
Call APS and leave your name. Tell them you can no longer check on her because she is verbally abusive and her home is a death trap. And do not let her drag your son into this.
And the next time she lands in the hospital, tell the social worker or whoever is calling you that discharge to home is unsafe, that you cannot help her, that she is verbally abusive to you, and that her home is a death trap. Let the hospital deal with her. And perhaps, when she realizes that you are not coming to get her, she will answer her phone.
Your mother has some huge cushions. You will bail her out of the messes she creates. She knows that.
The EMTs will bail her out by taking her to the ER for every little episode she has.
Nobody will 'do' anything about her living conditions so she knows she's safe and will be left alone.
The answer here is YOU.
Stop doing for her. Stop bailing her out. Stop rushing to the ER when the phone rings. Tell your son to call you when the crisis du jour is over with and to let you know the results. That you are WORKING and have no more leave time. Sorry mom.
Allow her to fall and hurt herself or get very sick and THAT is when she will be forced to vacate her hoarding den and get placed elsewhere.
As long as you keep picking up the pieces of the messes she makes, she's got a safe haven.
Sometimes we have to stop doing that and let the chips fall where they may. In this case, at 95 years old, I think it's the only way to get your stubborn mother the help she truly needs. By FORCING it.
Otherwise, step back and let mother live life on HER terms. Which may mean dying on her terms, too. She's a grown woman and has a right to make her own decisions, right or wrong, at least that's what everyone keeps telling you, right?
Sending you a giant hug and a prayer too. None of this is easy, that's for sure.
Let us know. Pulling for you. 💗
Yes, unfortunately you have lots of practice dealing with your mom!
Not only do you drop everything and come when summoned, you tolerate her insults. She treats you poorly because you allow her to. It sounds like she's mean to you and sweet as pie to outsiders. I encourage you to read the book Mean Mothers: Overcoming the Legacy of Hurt by Peg Streep.
Since Elaine doesn’t live with her mom she can’t get into any trouble then with elder abuse charges. Is that correct? Excuse my ignorance. Are children ever forced to take responsibility for their parents legally in any one of our states in this country?
My mom gets discharged today after round #2 in hospital/LTC. I'm nowhere near the scene this time around . Have no idea if utilities are on - or house hasn't been broken into this whole time she was laid up. The caregiver she hires (under the table) will be there to meet with her when she gets home.
The only thing I can say at this point - it's her problem, not mine. I gave up. (sort of). But I' steering clear of my mom as much as I can now. I've got to get back to my life anyway.
The hospital says she is competent to live alone, PT says she is mobile enough to ambulate independently.
If there is an "emergency" call 911 and the let hospital deal with it.
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