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I am an only child with no children. My father is deceased for about 15 years. Mom will be 88 in November, and has been healthy as a horse for all of her life. Not even a cold. Last September, she started having blood pressure problems and nausea, and after numerous doctors visits and emergency rooms, no one found out what the problem, until in December, she fainted and threw up blood. She had an ulcer. After this, she is not the same person. She literally lies in the bed most of the day and night, not sleeping but a couple of hours because she just WORRIES about everything that did or didn't happen in her 88 years. If she has to go anywhere, she has a melt down. She begins to shake and teeth chatter. Once a week, she does drive to get her hair fixed but it is very hard on her. It is hard for her to get out the bed. I am married to a wonderful man, but I don't want to burden him with all of the details. Mom is not the same person, and she complains all day long about how miserable she is. She will not go to the doctor to get some meds. I got her some a long time ago, and she will not take them. She hates everything in her life, down to the falling leaves. She is a Christian woman who has stopped going to church because she thinks everyone knows her condition. She has outlived all of her friends, and she really doesn't have any. If one or two call her, they are nosy. If they were her friends, they would visit her or ask her to do something with them. Basically, all she has is me. I work full time as a teacher, so I do have a lot of patience. She constantly says that she wants to move in with my husband and I; that is not feasible. I tell her that. I tell her I love her, and I am here for her, but that is not an option. She still says it just about every day to me, and it really does get to me. I go visit her every other day and take her food, and make sure she is taken care of. I really don't think it is dementia, but may be the early stages. She has a good memory; she reminds me to do stuff for her. I just wanted to see if anyone is going through what I am going through with her. This is a terribly, lonely place that I really didn't think I'd be in. I really thought she'd just grow old and become physically feeble, not mentally.

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I am another “only”, the daughter of a tragically agoraphobic mom who seemed to lead a relatively stable life until I was born, or shortly after, then became housebound for long periods of her life, occasionally was able to leave the family home, but not often, and left the “fill in” time raising me to my dad and her 4 sisters.

Partially in response to some of the things I’ve read here, at this website, I’ve begun the process over 10 years following her death, to figure out some of the things about her that shaped my childhood and in fact, my earlier adulthood as well.

My mother was suspicious of the motivation of others to the point of paranoia, yet also, on her own terms, loving and trusting within “THE FAMILY”. I remember one horridly painful holiday when I asked her to visit my husband and infant son and me, and she responded “I’d rather spend the holiday with my sister”.

So, a sad, damaged human being whom I loved, but who could not readily love me in return.

After my father dropped dead in his garden, she consented to taking a small dose of a tranquilizer, which she actually broke into thirds before taking. As a grandmother, she became relaxed enough to accompany me to stores to shop for “her boys”, and the love she was able to express for them was joyfully reciprocated.

Your mom’s trauma was her ulcer diagnosis, OP, and my mom’s was a nearly catastrophic C delivery - (mine) and from all accounts, it actually was so horrifying that no one thought she OR I would survive, but somehow we did.

I think you are moving along as well as you can. I was most certainly someone who assumed I’d NEVER consider residential care, but found to my great surprise that it was actually a very positive step for her. Even after she became unable to speak, she would have attacks of extreme restlessness and in her wheelchair, seemingly manic activity. Whatever part of her was hard wired to it, it remained until she died, at 95.
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What caused the ulcer?

The reason I ask is that a common cause is overuse of pain relief - not abuse, often the person doesn't realise they're overdoing it, but just QED more than their particular stomach and gut are able to handle, especially over time.

Check for ibuprofen, Naproxen, aspirin or diclofenac - any of the NSAIDs, or any branded meds that contain these. If you find there has been quite a lot being prescribed, bought, stocked, or anyway consumed THEN you need to investigate what your mother was taking this pain relief for. Tread diplomatically because you're implying that your mother has been keeping secrets (she has been keeping secrets! - but she was perfectly entitled to; the key point is that you mustn't allow her to feel criticised).

It's a matter of following the trail of breadcrumbs until you discover what the real, underlying problem is - then you have a much better chance of finding ways to improve her sense of wellbeing and her quality of life.
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Great big warm hugs!

You are doing the right thing by not letting her move in to your home. Stick to your guns and don't even consider it.

Can you call her Pastor and ask that the church prays for her? I don't understand why God fearing, God believing people don't call on their church family. She needs it more now than ever. I don't think it would be unacceptable to bypass her on this and get a prayer chain going, she doesn't need to know.

Remember, her unwillingness to consider other resources doesn't obligate you to do everything for her. Sometimes we keep them from seeing that they need more care by wearing ourselves to a frazzle propping up their bad decisions. Sometimes we only learn when we have experienced enough pain, it is difficult to step back and watch, but it is even more difficult to deal with this solo because they refuse to do what is needed.

Best wishes, may God move her to a place that she is willing to do what is required for her wellbeing. May He give you strength and wisdom during this time.
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HelpPlease1963 Oct 10, 2019
Thank you so much
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Yes, I get it. I have the same issue with my parents. One of them at least takes meds, but, the other one will not. Anxiety and depression rule their life. It's sad to see people who choose to be miserable. But, as long as they are competent and can refuse treatment, there's not much you can do. I try to ignore the complaints and just say, take it up with your doctor. She does see a doctor, but, still refuses to take medication. I don't understand why people choose to stay miserable. You are smart not to let her move in with you. I'm planning my exit soon. Dealing with this type of behavior daily is not healthy, imo. And, what about their religious faith. To have been so much into their church for so long, you would think that their faith would bring them solace, but, no.....not really. It's sad that their mental health is much worse than their physical health. This is not what I expected at all.
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HelpPlease1963 Oct 10, 2019
Thank you so much.
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My mother was 84 when she got very sick with ulcerative colitis. She wound up hospitalized twice, on blood thinners and an IVF filter after developing a DVT. She became SO depressed she couldn't function as a result. Her biggest fear was that others knew of her illness which caused her shame. She is EXACTLY like your mother, they could be twins. I am an only child too. I immediately called her doctor and told him how depressed and anxious she was and he prescribed Wellbutrin. She got back to her old self in short order. It wasn't an option to take the medication her doctor said, she had to, so she did, begrudgingly. The same way she does everything.

I think you need to tell your mother it's time YOU take her to the doctor. If she refuses to be treated for THIS level of a debilitating disease, then she will no longer have your support. You will always love her, of course, but her illness is causing BOTH of you SUCH distress, that it needs to be properly addressed immediately. If she had a heart condition, she wouldn't think twice about taking medicine for it. But the shame and stigma of being depressed is different and shouldn't be addressed? Come on.

If you have POA, take the matter into your own hands and call her doctor. If not, again, tell her you can't help her anymore until she pulls on her big girl panties and gets help for this very fixable problem she has. Tough love is called for here, imo.

I also agree with getting her into Assisted Living....they all sit around complaining together lots of times, so it takes some of the burden off of us.

Good luck!
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HelpPlease1963 Oct 9, 2019
Thanks so much.
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Hi HelpPlease, I'm sorry your mom's suffering, & you too. My mother passed recently, but had always been anxious & neurotic. It was sad & frustrating to deal with it getting much worse, when she went into ALF.
I'm glad your mom doesn't live with u, (cuz that cud become a nightmare), but does she live on her own? If so, maybe mom wud prefer an assisted living: cuz there's people 2eat with daily, & games like bingo & scrabble. Nurses 24/7 also. (Everyone's different,...just cuz my mom didn't like ALF, doesn't mean your mom won't). Your mom had friends in life, ...while my mom didn't. (She was extremely antisocial). Just consider touring a place with her, maybe. Meanwhile get mom on some klonopin, (for anxiety). Best wishes.
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HelpPlease1963 Oct 9, 2019
Thank you. She just won't agree to AL.
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I Understand about the worrying over everything! It is sad to watch. My 81 year old mother in law has anxiety. She’s always been a “nervous” person but when her husband died last year her anxiety started going through the roof. She is on a low dose of Buspar which isn’t supposed to be addictive. In my opinion she needs something stronger, but she is functioning. At church Sunday she was shaking like a leaf because she was nervous, and she has gone to the same small country church, same people except those who’ve passed, for OVER 60 years! She says she gets lonely, but she refuses to try activities at our small senior center even though I tell her I’ll bring her home if she gets “too nervous”. My husband is an only child, so it’s also a small circle here.
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HelpPlease1963 Oct 10, 2019
Thank you so much
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While I don’t have any advice for you, know that I’m living the same here. Mom just hates this phase of life and I can’t blame her. I try to bring her something new once in a while to give her a few moments pleasure. But the anxiety quickly sets back in. Hugs to you!
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HelpPlease1963 Oct 10, 2019
Thank you
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Ssometimes we need to strategize to get our parents to do what they won't "consider".

Can you tell her you're taking her to breakfast and then stop by a senior center to look for yourself? If she won't get out of the, go in yourself and talk to the director, who may have some ideas.
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Help, I'm so sorry that you and your mom are having these issues. I read your previous post, which says that mom had ECT many years ago and that she is afraid to go to the doctor because she is afraid she will be sent to a "mental ward". I'll bet those were terrible places back in the day!

YOU certainly need support! Have you thought about seeing a therapist or counselor so you have someone to bounce ideas for mom's care off?

In your county, there is an organization called the Area Agency on Aging. You can call them up and find local resources. Do you think mom would go to a senior center if you went with her, at least initially?

Some of us have gotten our elders to see the doctor by telling them that Medicare requires them to be seen once a year. Can you try that?
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HelpPlease1963 Oct 8, 2019
Thank you. I do have a counselor for myself. I appreciate your words. She is not herself and she just won't consider senior groups.
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I have seen so many elders who suffer from anxiety/panic disorder. They are afraid to live and in turn afraid to die. They lose their momentum.

What I have noticed is that they do best when surrounded by people their own age, they settle in with their own generation so to speak and like my mother who is 94, she has outlived her small circle of friends.

Have you considered IL or AL for her? She may thrive in that environment, my step-father and his wife are very happy there, they have made new friends and enjoy the many activities, they are no longer sitting by themselves...depressed and alone.
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HelpPlease1963 Oct 8, 2019
Thank you for your response. She won't consider it. I wish she would. I have prayed for God's peace, wisdom, guidance, and help. Just having to endure and wait for his answer.
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