My Mother lives alone and she only has the bare minimum in caring for herself, is it time to call hospice? - AgingCare.com

My Mother lives alone and she only has the bare minimum in caring for herself, is it time to call hospice?

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My mother has cancer and I work. She wants to have everything done for her. She will not clean up after her toileting or she drops her depends wherever she is. She does no cooking or very little. She sleeps in a reclining chair and does not bathe at all. When she wants to do something like going out to dinner she can walk out to the car (with walker) and walk into the restaurant. Then she says that she could not get to the toilet and when she drops a depend soaked in urine it is not her job to pick it up. She does not defecate in her depends so we know that she can get to the toilet for that.

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I agree with ff -- there is more going on here than cancer, or the cancer has caused mental impairment as well.

I infer from your post, DrKen57, that you are skeptical about your mother's helplessness and think she could take better care of herself if she wanted to. And it is easy to see how her behavior could be seen as manipulative. After all, she can go out to dinner OK. Why can't she fix herself a sandwich?

I can understand where the skeptical reasoning comes from -- I engaged in it a bit myself before we had a medical diagnosis for my husband. But that kind of thinking is irrational, inappropriate, and not valid. In a perfectly healthy person, wanting to be waited on is selfish. In someone with severe medical impairments, wanting to be waited on is in a whole different universe and cannot be judged in the same way.

I am afraid there is entirely too much suspicion and skepticism directed at the elderly and others with chronic medical conditions.

Your mother needs much more care than she can provide herself. Is her cancer stage 4? Is she at the end of her life journey? Is she likely to die within 6 months? Then, yes, hospice may be appropriate. But hospice does not provide the level of care your mother needs on a daily basis, unless she goes into a hospice house.

If she is not eligible for hospice, she still needs care. You work. We all understand that. But can you use some of your own time to arrange in-home care, or to get her into an appropriate care center? She flat out sounds neglected.

I realize that this post is a very small view of the bigger picture. Perhaps you have been trying for months to get her to accept going into a care center. Maybe she is refusing to see her doctor or a specialist who could evaluate and treat her depression (if she has it). Maybe you are at your wits end after trying everything you can think of. Maybe my use of the word "neglect" is grossly unfair to you.

But the fact is, your mother needs more care. I hope you can arrange for that, whether or not hospice is the appropriate vehicle.
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I don't want to sound critical, as it does seem as if you want to get your Mom some help, but why have you let this go on so long? Are you helping her with bathing, eating and keeping her home and finances in good condition? She definitely needs someone to care for her and fast! If you are unable to be there for her, or do not choose to, and not every child does want or can't be a good caregiver, she needs to be placed in to a skilled nursing facility. Without basic hygiene and bathing, she is at risk of developing infection and it doesn't sound as if anything is being done for her, the poor dear! Go with her to her Dr's appointment and request the help she needs, starting with an assessment, perhaps from Hospice, or a Social Worker. Your local Area on Aging will come in to evaluate her, her home and her needs. This must be done immediately as she sounds like she is being neglected and doesn't have the personal skills to seek this help on her own..
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I don't know the answer. Maybe someone here will. Will hospice come in if there is no caregiver with a patient?

DrKen, I know it is difficult to get some elders out of their home. From what you described I found myself wondering why she wasn't in a skilled nursing facility or assisted living. Does she refuse to leave her home? I'm not sure if hospice would come in to a high risk situation such as this. I hope others will have some good advice for you.
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Sounds like there is more going on with your Mother besides cancer. If she needs to use a walker that tell me she is a fall risk, and those who are fall risks are afraid to get into a bathtub or a shower.... she is also afraid of bending down to pick something up due to falling or it hurts too much to bend over... and it sounds like she is also depressed, I know I would be if I had to live that way. If she isn't eating, she probably isn't defecating much any more. Sleeping in a recliner tells me she is hurting and the recliner is far more comfortable then a bed.

Time to get your Mother some caregivers to come in to help her or place her in a continuing care facility where she will get some help and care.
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