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I'm so frustrated. My 95 year old mother lives with me and I get so frustrated at times. She has health issues, but has firmly declined all further testing, so there isn't much her doctor can do. It is very likely that she has dementia, but that remains undiagnosed, also. She has many complaints, but is resistive to almost every suggestion I make. We have some help and volunteers coming into our house, which is helpful. Tonight was classic. I arrived home, worn out, from dealing with all of the issues in my administrative position today. My mom, who has had sensitive skin for years, immediately told me that she was itchy from the cold and dry skin. When I suggested we try Aveeno, like she used to use, instead of Eucerin, she interrupted immediately and told me that Eucerin was best for her. Yesterday, she didn't want to use the disposable hand warmers (she is ALWAYS cold) I bought because the directions say not to use them on sensitive skin. Those are 2 very minor, small examples, but it goes on and on. I really try not to argue about things with her. It doesn't help and it makes me frustrated beyond belief. I am an only child and she is a widow. Because of previous poor choices on her part, financial options are limited at this point. I know this all sounds petty, but this happens all of the time! I know that elderly people resist giving up control, and I understand it, to some degree. Yet, I'm the one who's supposed to handle things when they go wrong. She was stubbornly independent about a health issue this summer. When it finally became a medical emergency, I was the one who re-arranged my entire professional life to accommodate. I know that no one can say anything to change my situation. I'll keep her here as long as possible, and then she'll have to go on Medicaid and go to a nursing home; the application is currently in process. When the volunteers from her church, social group, and family come in, they see a sweet, gentle elderly woman. I see the stubborn, unreasonable, resistive side that is less than charming, and draining to deal with. I know that no one can change this for me, but thank you for listening. I appreciate it!

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I understand what you mean about mom appearing to be very sweet for the world, but difficult in private. I decided to pick my battles and I just let things go. It's tough, but I just try to be helpful, and let the elderly make their own choices. Unless she has dementia that is endangering her life, then I would let her decide. Some people that age don't wish to pursue every life extending measure.

Sometimes I think the complaints or refusal to listen or take advice is just something to do, unless it's dementia. My cousin starting getting difficult to deal with and refused to listen. It drove me away. She was too difficult and seemed to want to disagree about everything. We didn't know it at the time, but it was dementia. Eventually, she had no choice, she wasn't able to be difficult anymore because she lost her ability to function. I hope that's not the case with your mom, because they may start to do bizarre things like eat toothpaste or wander. That's a whole different situation that you can't just ignore.

For dry skin, try a body cream. Lotions have a lot of alcohol and they tend to dry the skin further. You can also get baby oil in a cream form that is quite good.
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My mother is 95. Her demands (yes, skin problems is one of them) led to the early death of my sister. What happens if mom outlives you? I tried and tried to get my sister to cut the umbilical cord to mother, and although she complained, she never would.

So, she passed away suddenly. Mom fell and went to the ER. We stated that she could not live alone and she went to the NH. Guess what? She is thriving. All of the complaints are gone (unless my other sister or I, show up.)

You can't please your mom, so quit trying. She needs to be with others her age.

As far as the skin problem, I have that. I get meds and cortisone from the dermatologist. But, now I am trying coconut oil. I am drinking a mouthful and spreading it on my skin. Good luck. I know what you are going through. I can't do it for one hour.
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kathy1 that is such good advice. I wish I had learned that years ago instead of stressing over my mother (to no avail!) Now we let her do what she wants, at 99, what will be will be. She made it this far, she lives on sweets, she takes no advice, won't use a walker, uses the stairs instead of the elevator, etc. But she is still going at 99 whereas most people are gone long before that. We hope she will not end her days with a broken bone from a fall, languishing in bed but it might happen and we will deal with it. In the meantime, we let her live her life.
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Blannie, I get what Phil is saying. I am saying although it is counter intuitive, when we allow our parents automony, they start to listen to us. Their number one concern is to be in charge of their lives. The frailer they become, the tighter they cling to their automony. Right now my Dad has fallen 4 nights in a row. I want him to go back to physical therapy. He thinks he can do it better by himself. I could insist, and he would dig his heels in. My stress levels would go through the roof, my MS would relapse, and I would want to be free at any cost.

The approach I am suggesting comes from my therapist. Honor his automony. When I do this, I am calm, and things change for the better. My Dad is a very intelligent man. He won't do anything stupid. I believe in him. I hope I am making sense. I am running on fumes. He falls and goes back to sleep. I have so much andrelin pumping, I am up. Trust me; I get it.
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You don't want to hear this, but until she is incompetent, you are better off letting her choose her own path unless she puts herself in danger. Because, she will do what she wants anyway. It took our family 5 years to accept this. My mom is 99, and we have been dealing with this stubborn streak forever. Your mom is stuck in an old body, but in her mind she does not believe she is old, and she is trying to maintain her autonomy, her independence, her loss of power, by making her own choices or arguing. This is all some seniors have left. And, there is always some dementia so their choices are not good, but they don't know that. We finally accepted that Mom will do what she wants, regardless of what you say, so we give her those little victories and save the battle for those things that are really important. I know it is hard, but trying to reason with someone who has some dementia is a waste of time. Try to choose your battles and give her the little ones, for your own peace of mind.
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Phil, we just have to realize that our parent will always be the *adult* and we will always be the *child*, thus the adult will feel they have more knowledge and life experience. It doesn't matter if we ourselves are also senior citizens. Mom [or Dad] will always know best. Just humor your Mom, if you can.

My Mom is 97 and stubborn about trying new things, too... she wants the old tried and true, even if another product would help her, she doesn't want it. Count your blessings that you aren't sitting in waiting room after waiting room week in and week out... my Mom thrives on going to the doctor and welcomes any test they have, and will insist on certain tests that would be of no use even if the doctors found something.

Your Mom being the lady that she is isn't going to complain in front of guest, even if they are relatives. So who can she complain to? You, of course. As ba8alou above had mentioned, this is a way of initiating conversation.
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Gee Phil, you sound so frustrated and I would be too. Have you ever simply said " I'm so sorry you're dealing with that problem mom. I don't have any solution. I think you should ask your doctor" ? And walked away? It sounds like she wants to argue as a way of initiating conversation and contact.

I guess the point is, only interact with her when she's being nice. Don't enable the negativity.
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Kathy I disagree. I have a mom much like phil413 (who will be 95 next month). My mom is also stubborn and resistive to suggestions that will keep her healthy. And like Phil's situation, my mom wasn't taking her coumadin meds properly and as a result, screwed up her foot. I wanted to get help for her for months before this final incident. Mom resisted mightily. So when her foot was compromised, WE spent 4 hours in the emergency room, another hour with the vascular surgeon the next week, and countless (and continuing months later) hours of discussion about it. So her stubbornness has affected me, which I resent. At that point, I put my foot down and we got the girls in 2X a day to give her meds.

Also like Phil's mom, my mom changes her mind constantly. This week she doesn't like cheese. Next week she loves it. It's enough by itself to drive you crazy! He's trying to use what she has said she likes, only to get shot down because she's changed her mind.

Clearly his mom isn't managing well or she wouldn't be complaining to him the minute he walks in the door. It is very frustrating and I don't have a good answer for you Phil, other than to pick your battles. Sometimes I go toe-to-toe with mom (over important things, like the meds). But if it's something small, I have to work in myself to let it go.

So Phil, vent away, I get it!
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I'm tired, and stressed so this will come out wrong. You are telling her what to do, rather than listening to what she wants. She is not a child to be told what to do, but an adult woman who raised you. She has 95 years of wisdom. She knows what she wants, respect that. A lot of the tension and fighting will stop if you ask what she wants rather than insist you know best. By setting her back up you put her in opposition to you. This is the only way she can have automony. Relax, listen to her, ask what she wants done, and then do it. This will take a lot of stress off yourself to be the perfect caregiver. Be her loving daughter and enjoy her company. You would be suprised when you give up control, they listen to you.
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