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My husband & I have taken my Mom into our home to care for her. She is a physically healthy 90 year old with some forgetfulness but otherwise has good faculties. Thing is I have caught my mom in several lies over the years and worst part is that she dismisses me and my husbands repeated requests. My dog is an escape artist and has run away more times than I can remember. I adopted her because she ran away from a previous home. I only ask that Mom does “not open the door” to retrieve packages, mail or newspaper when my husband and I are not home. We are usually not gone long but my mother continues to do so anyway. When asked she casually acts as if it’s “no big deal” or that I am over reactive. She will say “I am careful, or “I don’t remember you saying that” or “the dog isn’t nearby when I open the door” or “she hasn’t gotten out anytime with me”. At any rate she continues to do so. When she does say “it won’t happen again” a day or week may pass & we will come home to find packages inside the house, mail etc. This has been going on now for years. I find myself raising my voice and then feeling badly of self. I don’t know what else to say or do. I have tried & tried to no avail.
As far as her saying she will not let this happen again frankly it’s just old at this point. It’s like she just doesn’t get it or give a damn. Same thing with “please don’t feed dogs from table or human food Mom”. They have allergies. We find her sneaking them food repeatedly only to say “but they want some”. The excuses are endless in both regards the door & the food. I really am at a loss at this point. How do I get through to make her understand it’s not about being “careful” near an open door or that the dog isn’t nearby her etc. Just please don’t do it.

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Claire, locks can be put on crates or the dogs can be put in OPs room with a lock on the door.
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Crating the dog at. meals and when you are gone might help keep dog safe....but if she decides to let the dog out of crate as soon as she is alone in the house....can't stop her.
Consider getting a post office box for mail and package delivery. It is a nuisance to go collect it every couple of days, but will reduce the 'excuse/reason' to open the door to outside.
If these interventions don't work....time for a hired caregiver to give you regular times to go out on your own and know that mom and dog are safe.
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Crate your dog during meals and when you are gone.
It might save you from the heartache of loosing a pet.

You might consider cameras for when mom is home alone to see what she is up to. It can give you a heads up when she is no longer able to be alone and help you see her interaction with delivery folks etc.

She is past the time to take instruction from you. You are causing yourself extra stress.
You will have more luck asking the dog not to beg and to not run out the door.
If there is a dog park nearby, that might be fun to take mom and the dog and let her watch the dogs run and play.
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While you search out Assisted Living arrangements for your mother, which are long overdue, I'd keep the dog kenneled when your gone. Otherwise, the dog will likely get out one day since this behavior has been going on for years, your mother has acknowledged memory problems, and sounds quite stubborn to boot. You're not likely to get her to understand ANYTHING since she's been unwilling to all along. Memory problems don't get better, they only get worse with time and age. Your mother is no exception. Same goes for stubbornness. If she's unwilling to be a decent roommate in YOUR home, then it's time to make other living arrangements for her, it's that simple. Long term living arrangements with an elder need to be reviewed on a regular basis to determine if they're working anymore. This situation clearly is not. There's no crime and no shame in having her live in Assisted Living or a similar residence where she can have autonomy and live life on HER terms, and you can have your house back on yours.

Good luck!
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dear OP :),

i just want to add:
only you know...but your mother might also be doing it totally on purpose, in order to upset you. she might be amused/have joy from you getting angry. it might be "fun"/"entertainment" for her to see you get all worked up.
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dear OP :),

hug! very kind of you to help your mother. i hope you're able to, at the same time, live a full life.

regarding door/feeding...
one thing one can always try is reward/punishment. you can try to say:

1.
"Dear, sweet mother. From now on, every time you open the door or feed the dog, you'll get your least favorite meal 7 days in a row. You'll also have to eat Brussels Sprouts every day at lunchtime. And you will be forced to watch your least favorite, most boring, movie."

2.
"Dear, sweet mother. From now on, if I see that for 1 whole month, you never opened the door/fed the dog, you'll get as a reward..."

etc.
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"She lives with me as was decided many, many years before."

Life changes. We as people change. Once we have flown the nest very hard to go back. Parents look at us as children, not so much the adults we have become. You agreed years ago that Mom would live with you that was at a time when you probably didn't understand what Mom would be like in the years to come. Now you have to admit that this arrangement does not work anymore. If Mom has money, may be a good idea to place her in an AL.
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In a post from last September, you write that it is your father that lives with you, and that your only sibling who is a sister who can be verbally abusive.

?

Regardless, this doesn't mean that your mother has to continue living with you. It's been more than 8 years. What is her financial situation?

Are you her HCPOA/POA?
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Does your Mother have memory loss?
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Stargeek, I have the same issues with my mom. She thinks she knows best and nothing will change that.

I started providing her treats she could give to my dogs, a small dish and she can give them all of them but, I don't let my dogs beg at the table, so I actually get after the dogs when she calls them to be fed at the table. It upsets her and I tell her, they know better than to beg at the table. Doesn't change her actions but, keeps me from having my dogs doing things I won't stand for and makes her responsible for getting them in trouble. It actually makes her an unsafe human in my dogs eyes but, dogs are greedy guts:-)

I have German Shepard's and they puke when their diets get changed, so I told her I would be putting it in her pillow if she gave them anything besides their food and treats. This was the most effective thing so far.

I would lock the dogs up when you leave. You say you aren't gone long, so this will be fine for them. They will probably feel safer anyway.

If you are going to keep mom with you, you are going to have to modify what you do to protect your dogs. She has proven that she is going to open the door and feed the dogs, for whatever reason that is, protecting your dogs will make you feel better.
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"Old dogs learn no new tricks".
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When you say “….90 ——with some forgetfulness” do you realize that the forgetfulness can and probably is affecting anything in her day to day life?

You have no way to predict what part of her brain hears facts accurately and what part distorts or erases.

Nothing you’ve tried, or will try, can change what you experience now. She isn’t fabricating “excuses”- she can’t.
She “doesn’t get it”, and her motives aren’t relevant.

If you have decided to refuse your opportunities to investigate Alternative living placements, you will need to stop attempting to rely on her to meet you expectations, since she won’t, because she can’t.

Please start developing a management process with regard for YOUR NEEDS. Attempting to develop your life plan with her in the middle of the circle is NOT working FOR YOU.
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Stargeek May 17, 2022
Thank you Ann. I will:
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So, you are her only child.

So what?

That does not mean that you have to house her or provide care for her, does it?
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I am her only child so to speak. My brother is verbally abusive to her.
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Reading your profile, it sounds as though you and your mother have a fraught relationship.

Why did you think that taking such a difficult person into your home would be a good idea?

What plans have you made for her to move elsewhere, since clearly this is not working for you and your family?

It's your house. You get to decide who lives there.
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