Mom is stubborn and won't take care of herself... driving me nuts!! Any advice? -

Mom is stubborn and won't take care of herself... driving me nuts!! Any advice?


Gosh I don't really know where to bring... but my mom is 71 yrs old and she has 2 really big health issues going on; 1) her bad knee (needs knee replacement surgery), and 2) her bad teeth (needs a bunch work done and implants). Her teeth are absolutely hideous, I honestly don't know how she eats and wonder how she isn't in pain. Anyway, last year she finally scheduled the knee replacement surgery to be done; but a few weeks before, her dentist wouldn't sign off on it. So basically she has to have the dental work done before she has the knee surgery. I was excited that she was finally being forced into getting that dental work done... but now she won't get it done! This has been beyond frustrating for me. Both issues have been going on for years… and she’s stubborn about them. She won’t listen to me and whenever I bring it up she doesn’t want to talk about it and gets all upset….like I’m bothering her about it again. After rescheduling the dental surgery 3 times for stupid excuses, she has recently told me that she has a fear of the dentist and that she is going to go to a therapist for help. That was over a month ago and she only went to the therapist once. She told he has been on spring break. Well I don’t think doctors go on spring break for 3 weeks!!! This is driving me nuts and I’m concerned that if she doesn’t deal with these issues, then other issues are going to come up. I also want to note that she (and I) doesn’t have a much of a support system. My father died about 20 yrs ago and my sister lives in another state and doesn’t really seem to care anyhow… so it’s pretty much me. The only one I feel I could reach out to is her brother but he lives thousands of miles away. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!



Hi cdnreader - yea she started to go see a therapist to help with her "fear of the dentist" ... but as you stated and I agree, I think there's a deeper issue going on. She's only been to the therapist once and I hope she continues to go as she says she is. Fingers crossed! That's one of my problems is that she follows up and continues to go to these appts... I live about hour away from her so it's hard sometimes.

Rocketcat - That's a good question!! I'm definitely going to look into that. She had only told me about the implants so I don't know if that was an option. I do know she does have to get some other work done; like a root canal and have some teeth pulled. But I agree that dentures would probably be a easier solution after that.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to emc1029

Why are they doing implant instead of dentures? Have you talked to the dentist about that option? Much less invasive and I believe an easier faster recovery.
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Reply to rocketjcat

Dear emc,

I know its really hard because my father was the same way. My dad never wanted to listen to me or anyone else. I guess there is only so much you can do. But have you tried having a social worker or family therapist speak with her. I wonder if there is a deeper issue. I hope you can get the help your mom needs.
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Reply to cdnreader

Wow thanks everyone... great advice here! Yea she's been doing the gel shot for awhile now. It's unfortunately gotten to the point where she definitely needs the surgery. Also I believe she is suppose to do the MIS but I guess she still needs sign off from the dentist. And for the dental surgery, she is going to a surgeon so he can do it all at once and she will be put under... it all seems so simple to me, but she won't go... :(

As freqflyer mentions, I am more afraid for the infections in her teeth and that could lead other problems like the heart. I try to express my concerns about this to her but she just doesn't seem to listen.

I think something like the 'tough love' approach might be able to work. I mean you can bring a horse to water but you can't make it drink it right?!!
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Reply to emc1029

Not sure if they do it where you are? As your mum is scared of the dentist find out if they will do it 'all in one visit' and under anaesthetic (right out).

If she goes for denture impressions (may be twice - no pain from that) they could also have her new dentures put straight in after teeth removal. This is what we did with my husband.

I think the gel idea for her knee is brilliant. Again not sure if they do MIS where you are but it is Minimal Invasion Surgery. They can be in and out same day. Only local injections given for it and a lot less cutting open.

Who knows? If she sees how well the teeth go then she may not be as scared for other ops?
I wish you luck.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to BuzzyBee

ema, instead of knee surgery, now a days there is also this gel that can be easily placed between the damaged bones of the knee. This is done every few months. See if that is an option for your Mom. Let's hope it is. If the orthopedic doctor says no, then get a second option.

Otherwise, knee surgery has a very long recovery time. Your Mom would need to go to Rehab numerous times during the week. I vision that your Mom would make excuses to not go because rehab can be painful. Thus the knee surgery would have been a waste.

As for your Mom seeing the dentist, I can understand that, I hardly know anyone who jumps for joy that he/she is going to the dentist. It's the fear of the unknown. As Tothill above had mentioned, teeth can get infected. I know your Mom probably won't listen, but teeth infections can travel elsewhere in the body, especially the heart.
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Reply to freqflyer

Good Luck. I would not worry about implants for your mum, dentures would work too, cost much less, less invasive and maybe more practical for the time being.

My Dad needs dental work too and is reluctant to have it done, it has been two years since he last saw the dentist. I do not worry about how his teeth look, I am more concerned with infection.

Like my dad, you cannot force your mother to get her teeth taken care of, but you can refuse to enable behaviour. If she cannot get around because of her knee, stop helping her out. It is not easy to say no, when you are the only family member around, but you are allowed to say "Mum, you cannot rely on me to do x,y,z because of the bad knee, when you are not willing to do what is needed to get better." Then stand firm. The problem is hers, not yours.
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Reply to Tothill

        This reminds me of when my brother needed a hip replacement and put it off for years. He was only in his 50’s and the hip replacement was due to an old football injury. He put it off for years and walked like a drunken sailor. He too, had to be seen by a dentist, cardiologist, etc., before he could have the surgery and all this seemed to create an even bigger obstacle in his mind. Finally, the only thing that worked was when his wife, and I, and his entire family told him that we no longer wanted any presents from him on birthdays or Christmas until he took care of himself and had the surgery. In other words, we told him, “Do it for us!”. As by nature, he is a very generous person, he finally took the steps necessary to have the surgery.
    I have heard other posters use this ploy with obstinate Loved Ones with some success. You might tell her how she is really doing it for you because without the knee surgery, you won’t be able to care for her as well, as it is harder to care for someone in a wheelchair.
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Reply to Treeartist