When our mom believes no one is looking, she does everything by herself. How come? - AgingCare.com

When our mom believes no one is looking, she does everything by herself. How come?

Follow
Share

Our mom is still mobile. Once she's helped into a sitting position in the morning to get out of bed, she then uses her walker to get from her bed to her potty (approximately 7-8 feet). The lid to her potty is usually closed so she gets in her position and then lifts it up. She wears depends so while standing and holding on to her walker, she pulls down her depends to right below her knees. Then she sits down and uses the potty. Then, she stands up, while holding on to her walker, pulls up her depends and then uses her walker to get to her chair/recliner which is approximately 10-12 feet away. However, when she feels/thinks no one can see her, she'll do EVERY SINGLE THING by herself and in an extremely minimal amount of time. We have watched her of course w/out her knowing and that's how we learned this. So my question is... what do we do when we know full well she can maneuver around and do everything on her own but, she'll act unbelievably pitiful when we're around, yelling out for help or even standing in a position for several minutes or so calling out and saying she needs help?? This is becoming overwhelmingly overwhelming, if that even makes sense?? Please help. Thank you so much.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
18

Answers

Show:
Your mom has Parkinson's, right? Does she have any signs of early dementia? Any hallucinations, sleep disturbances, loss of sense of smell, any behavior out of the ordinary?

My husband had Lewy Body Dementia, which is very similar to Parkinson's with Dementia. A hallmark of this kind of dementia is fluctuation in cognition and behavior. It is literally true that such a person may not be able to do something at 2 pm but can do it at 3:30. I know of one case where the care center assumed the resident was trying to manipulate them. They had dealt with ALZ but never LBD. That whole scene got very ugly before the center got some training.

It sounds like your mom may be manipulating the situation to get attention, especially since she can do things when no one is looking. But I think you should consider the possibility of genuine fluctuating abilities, especially if she has any signs of dementia.

I agree. This can be overwhelming! Hang in there!

(BTW, did mom show signs of narcissistic behavior before the rehab experience? That disease does not just pop up overnight.)
Helpful Answer (13)
Report

She's playing you all and getting away with it. Mom wants attention, plain and simple. If she acts helpless and pathetic, she probably has half the family dancing attendance.

It makes total sense. My mother will sit all day and be "fine" and if you walk in the room, she makes out that she's in agony of some kind, headache, can't do this or that...it's ALL for attention. She actually makes us wheelchair her into stores and then transfer her to a electric cart at the grocery store--with all the grocery personnel cooing and fussing her. She can walk the store, and she should, but what's the fun in that when you can have everyone running to your aid?

You're going to get a LOT of responses about Narcissistic parents with this post.

The worst thing for a Narcissist is to be found out and called on it---usually winds up in a rage. Tread gently, you're in for some "fun" if you confront her.
Helpful Answer (10)
Report

My mother has Parkinson's as well and plays this game with me. I'll walk into her house , I have to use my key because she cant get up or so she says. I won't be in the door 5 seconds before she rattles off commands. As I'm wirkung my As s off to accomadate her needs she now gets up a nd starts moving around with her walker. I actually despise this. I never realized what a princess my mother always was and how much my dad must have did for her. Now that he has passed she is mental! Good luck I doubt this behavior will ever change. Its a rough road and you can't turn back.
Helpful Answer (6)
Report

My mother in law had dementia and she would do things for herself when no one was awake. It was scary but we were fortunate that she never fell and broke anything. It could be a sign of dementia, attention is always nice to get, but it could also be that it is painful or so difficult to do things for herself that if she has help, she uses it. You can't blame her for being sharp enough to use available resources!
Helpful Answer (6)
Report

I agree that this variability in behavior is very frustrating and it does feel like a game. Sometimes it probably is. But I echo the thoughts of Jeanne Gibbs here. My Mom has a mixed dementia with a large portion of LBD in that mix. When the variability first showed up, it did feel like manipulation. But as we lived through it, we realized she did NOT consistently get helpless when we showed up. In fact, she is still overall determined to be as independent as she can be, which now consists primarily of getting herself back and forth to the bathroom with the aid of her walker. She will allow us to help, but does not demand it. Then suddenly there will be an episode where she just feels like she can't get her legs to hold her up. When that happens, both my husband and I have to drop what we're doing, get on either side of her and support her to her chair, genuinely feeling that she is about to collapse and praying we will get her there safely. This often happens after an exhausting visit to the bathroom where she has to sit there longer than usual and it seems to wear her out. We get her to her chair, she collapses, falls into a deep sleep, and when she wakes up, she's her independent self again. She does always enjoy being helped and as the deterioration continues, she welcomes that more and more. She has never been a narcissist - quite the opposite. She has always insisted everyone else is taken care of before she is. So in many ways this is very different. What you're describing does sound pretty manipulative. But do heed Jeanne Gibbs' thoughts on LBD. I know with my Mom, the variability is physical and/or neurological, not psychological. It's hard to know the difference.

One other thought -- if she is experiencing radical fear of being old and alone, and this is the only way she has of getting attention, then maybe the solution is to be more proactive about giving her lots of loving attention before she has to resort to melodrama. Takes some courage and discipline to act on this, but it might be worth a try. Even if the behavior is manipulative, the fear of being old and alone is no doubt quite real and oppressive. My Mom has recently waked me in the middle of the night with a little clapping routine she does (quite loudly), and when I come into her room, her relief is visible and palpable. I ask her what she needs and usually it's "I just needed someone to be with me. I got so scared." So I talk her down from her fear, then suggest that she go back to sleep knowing she's safe, I mention that it's 3 AM and the rest of us are not ready to get up yet, so let's all go back to sleep and I'll see her in the morning. By then the fear is forgotten and she's thinking "going back to bed" sounds awfully good. (Of course, then I can't get back to sleep most of the time, but some of that just seems to come with the territory. I'm getting good at being productive between 3 and 6 AM, with the promise of an afternoon nap.). Obviously for someone still working full time outside the home, the 3-6 productivity is a much greater challenge or even disability, so I'm not preaching here -- just observing how things continue to unfold as this grim disease progresses. Remember, as I've read on this site repeatedly -- our anger is at the disease, not the person.
Helpful Answer (6)
Report

I'm going to chime in again for a minute---Mother has huge front windows in her kitchen that look out into the street and front yard. Her vision is poor and she doesn't realize that we can see HER, but she can't see US. Also, she lives with brother's family, so it's fairly hard for her to play her games w/o being "caught". I've watched her get up from the table, walk w/o much struggle to the sink and cabinets, etc and seemingly is fairly stable and OK. She is not supposed to move a step w/o a walker, but of course she does.

I come into the house and she can hear me, and is suddenly back in the chair, slumped over, telling me she has been woozy all morning, hasn't eaten yet, can't find her shoes..something. I long ago realized that ANYTHING she really, really wanted to do, she did. She's playacted for so long, nobody even listens to her complaints.

It didn't work 40 years ago, I do not know why she thinks it will work now.
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

2 sides to every coin.

My DH can sometimes do things on his own but other times fear overtakes him. With him, it isn't that he wants me to "jump through hoops" as much as sometimes the fear overwhelms him. He is terrified to take a step without me, he has fallen so many times. (BTW, if she walks with her toes up, she is going to fall backwards if she tries to turn around or back up.)

Age too can make a difference. I discovered that in front of his son, Ray is different than when just the 2 of us alone. But I think that might be pride more than ability. He doesn't want to look weak in front of Bob. But alone, just the 2 of us, Ray does try but like I said above, the "fear factor" is very real and can be debilitating. So we live One day at a time and sometimes One minute at a time. BTW, Ray will be 96 next month.

jmotherofjohn is right - if they have help, they are more secure. None of us knows how we would be in similar circumstances. I try to live by the Golden Rule and what would I hope people would do with me.
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

Dear Chauna,

I have to agree with Midkid and believe this is your mom's way of getting more attention from her children. I don't think she is doing this make life more difficult for her grown children but maybe she "thinks" this is the only way to get people to visit her or not leave her alone. She could be very afraid of being old and alone.

I don't know if it would help to call a family meeting. Talk with your mom. Its not easy to talk about feelings and what is happening sometimes, but maybe a good heart to heart will get to the bottom of this issue.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

My wife has alzheimer and does the same. Its a pleasure to help her. This way I know I'm on her mind wherever it is. : )) God still driving and looking for our response.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

My wife was very mobile. And had alzheimers. She had her hair done this morning and asked for highlights in her hair. I told the hairdresser yes. We were home by 11 am. At 2:15 the caregiver was unable to get a responce. I tried to get a response. No heart beat, no breathing. I called 911 and they tried to revive her. No can do. She was pronounced dead at 5 pm. I'm so glad that I took myself out of my wants and gave her hers. Thank you Jesus for the 17 years we had. Now she is with her first husband whom we waited for each evening for the past 5 years to join us for dinner. She is now having dinner with him and talking to her mom and dad. I love you Jo thank you for our time.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

See All Answers
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Related
Questions