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Since setting "boundaries" for myself, reading many eldercare books, and posting/reading on this forum, I realize that my unhappy & controlling mother in an assisted living facility will never be happy again. She's calling our phones (goes to voicemail), threatening to not take her medications, & wanting her living will to be utilized so she can die (doesn't understand what LW truly is). I hear again ALL the bad things about me & her AL place that she's been saying for 2 years. It's a broken record & I've tried it all! She's asked to go to an Internal Medicine dr, so it's coming up in 3 weeks. Now, she's saying cancel appointments, not taking meds, and requesting to die. These are ALL reactionary stabs at me because she wants out of this assisted living place (nice place) & move out on her own (impossible). She's threatening to get her church involved in this & still threatening to hire a lawyer! This manipulative behavior is her way of gaining control of a life that hasn't been happy, loving, or positive in decades. She's almost 89, hasn't been officially diagnosed with dementia, & is refusing any type of depression/anxiety medication except low dose of Xanax at night. The NP knows she's just uncooperative & says unfortunately, this is all she can do.


I know she needs a psych evaluation. How do I get her this without taking her myself (she'll be kicking & screaming)? Could the AL facility & NP make this happen? My presence as her durable power of attorney would only make this worse for her. She despises me, hits me, curses me, & blames me for all her ills.


Is there an agency I can see for guidance?


You guys have been awesome & gotten me this far. I truly appreciate every piece of advice!

I am so sorry for you!  My MIL was a guilt-tripper, but this is just plain mean.  You have nothing to feel guilty about and I'm going to make a suggestion that I truly hope you'll consider.  You say she's threatening to get her church involved (like you are the one in the wrong) - CALL HER MINISTER.  Tell him that she is threatening suicide and ask him to visit with your Mother.  Her church family SHOULD be involved and they can help in ways that you probably wouldn't even think of.  God love you - you are being abused and manipulated and this needs to stop.  💙💙
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mally1 Mar 2, 2019
Good advice, di! My mom's minister helped a great deal when we needed it.
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I agree with the three previous answers (Daughterof1930, JoAnn29, BarbBrooklyn).

I've been my MIL caregiver for 7.5 years. At some point, Hubby and I started calling her bluff. We assured her that she was in charge of her life. MIL also wanted to quit meds, die, move, all at the same time. We told her it was her right to refuse meds and if she was ready "to go"(die), we supported her and understood. We also told her to call her sister and/or her daughter to make arrangements to move from then ALF/now NH. We told her she had our blessing to move. Nothing ever comes of these threats of moving/dying (darn! LOL)

In addition to deleting the voicemails without listening to them as Daughterof1930 suggest, take away her power over you by not reacting when she starts ranting and raving. (It won't be easy.) I bet she never actually follows through and even if she does, the church and attorney would see it for what it is. When she sees she isn't getting a rise out of you, she'll give up--though it could take awhile.

I beg you to take care of yourself. I haven't until recently and regret it. I was a "helicopter caregiver" trying so hard to make her happy and make her world perfect. What a fool I was. It's impossible.

She's safe and well cared for in her ALF. If there is an emergency, they will be calling you. Take a step back and live your life. Nurture yourself today!

Good luck & Hugs.
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Your mother is 89 years old. No official diagnosis of dementia, but agitated, resistant to care, etc. I guess my question is what are you trying to accomplish at this point? At this age, is there anything that might make her feel differently? So, there's not much of a chance that will change. I would guess that everyone, but, her knows this too. So, is there any reason that you can't let her make her own decisions about receiving health care, medication, etc. If she has not been deemed incompetent, it's her decision. And at age 89, it would be her choice if she wants to prolong her life. Have you looked into Palliative Care. (Comfort care only.) I might ask for information and see if she's interested in it. Some seniors don't want to continue traveling to doctor's offices for endless tests. My LO's doctor took her off all meds that were not related to her comfort. Prevenative meds were discontinued.

I think that I might just try to keep her as comfortable and content, in the facility, as long as possible. She might settle down if she feels her wishes about her healthcare are being honored. And, if she is still competent, it's her decision.
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Ugh. Yes. When my MIL threatened to stop meds and die, I would casually and very matter of factly state, “Well, you are an adult, and you are in charge of you. You can certainly make that decision, and we will support you in whatever you choose.” Stopped the ranting in its tracks! Except one time she backed down to, “Fine! I just won’t get my hair done no more.” Lol!! Like that would hurt me!!
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Marylin Mar 2, 2019
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Your mom is emotionally trying to brow beat you - maintain your boundaries. My mom did the same when I finally set boundaries about 10 years ago. IT went from abusive phone calls, letters, to threats to kill herself in order to get me to knuckle under.

I would be on the phone or with her and when it started I would say "I love you mom, but I will no longer take this from you. Good bye" and leave or hang  up the phone.

One time on the phone she told me "i'll kill myself and then you'll be happy" and I said "no, I love you but there are two of us in this relationship" She kept on with the "I'll kill myself" and I told her "if you are serious, I'm going to end the call and dial 911 to have someone come and get you to the hospital to stabilize you" well, she backed off quickly.

She started telling her building manager that I was a horrible daughter and she wanted to die. Of course the building manager called me "how could I be so insensible" I cut her off "there is more here that you don't know. If she threatens to kill herself - you should dial 911 so you have no liability"

Just keep your boundaries. Be polite and loving to your mom. But do not engage whenever she starts in on whatever manipulation of the day she tries. Tell her you love her but you have to go.

10 years later my mom and I actually get along really well. It took time and a lot of emotion but she respects my boundaries. She knows what will happen if she does not because I'm consistent in enforcing them. Good luck
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Tryingmybest Mar 3, 2019
Great reply! Very sensible. It is encouraging to hear that you now have a workable relationship with your Mom AND you are keeping your boundaries.
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Have you asked the NP to request a geriatric psychiatrist consult?

I seem to recall that the NP said at one point something like "you can't fix ugly" or something like that...am I recalling that correctly?

If so, it seems like she doesn't see your mother as a suffering soul, which is what somewhat with longstanding mental illness/personality disorder is.

If you mother is threatening suicide, I think that you are within your rights as POA to request that she be taken via ambulance for an involuntary psychiatric admission. You do not have to go along for that ride.

((((hugs))))))
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Marylin Mar 1, 2019
Yes, Barb, your memory is correct. The NP that visits the ALF said that. She has tried to encourage other anxiety meds but mom repeatedly refuses.....I don't want to be "drugged up" to have to stay here or to get along with my family! It's obvious she wants to be in charge of her unhappy & negative life without any suggestions from others.
As for suicide, ALF has not heard her say the suicide words, but they have spoken to her about them. She doesn't deny saying them, but says she wouldn't do anything because her future is in the Lord's hands. She speaks religiously often to them. I have sent several voice messages to ALF admin/nurse with mom referencing suicide..."I just need to take a gun to my head". Once they had a healthcare nurse visit for a few weeks. So, we know & they know but it remains as a dark cloud over us. I requested that the NP get us a neuro vist (taking the "crazy" out for my mom thinking it's for anxiety), but that office hasn't called. NP says they for some reason aren't accepting her. But, now, she's saying cancel all appointments! It's difficult to know if we're on or off. Today I canceled her cardio appointment. as long as we have meds coming in, she can go annually. Who knows if she's taking the meds now or not?
Do I just need to just tell them to come & get her & do a 3-day psych evaluation without a referral? That sounds harsh but may give us answers as to what's going on. We probably already know! What can it change for her if she refuses meds?
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Your Mom is just trying to be manipulative. Stick by ur guns.
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againx100 Mar 2, 2019
Right. I wouldn't fall for it.
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I’m sorry you’re dealing with this. Good advice already given, I’ll just add, delete the voice mails without listening, you don’t need that negativity, likewise refuse to hear the rants. Walk away when they start. You’re doing your best for your mom, don’t add listening to the toxic behavior any more, it just feeds her, brings you down, and changes nothing
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NeedHelpWithMom Mar 1, 2019
Daughterof1930,

Excellent advice to walk away. I could have saved myself many headaches if I had walked away more. I am learning to do it. I slip sometimes but it is certainly more peaceful to go into another room when the mayhem begins. They can't argue with themselves.
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Marylin;

If you are "asked" to take her, you say "No, I can't possibly do that; she's violent towards me."

If she needs to be transported in an ambulance, all the better.

If they threaten that "the state will take over her care" you say "yes, thank you, that would be a relief".
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Marylin Mar 2, 2019
I'm convinced...no transport from me. I do see how dangerous it could become! I have my sister's blessings on this, too (she has RA & isn't involved in this). I just need everyone kin to be on board when/if this happens.
Thank you!!
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As a Christian, I believe we are obligated to be sure our parents are taken care of in their old age. However, that does not extend to allowing them to abuse us. If she is well-cared for, then you do not even have to have contact with your mother. You do not have to continue to visit or talk to someone who hurts you. You can monitor how she is doing by keeping in close contact with the AL facility. Laura Schlessinger has some excellent books on dealing with toxic relationships. I'm sorry you are in this situation and will pray for you and her.
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Marylin Mar 2, 2019
I remember Laura! Will do.
It's an eye-opener to say I'm in a toxic relationship. I am a highly educated person but have let this take over so many facets of my life. Keep praying for me. I truly appreciate it!
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