90 year old Mom lives with her maltese puppy. Any advice on her "care" of the dog? - AgingCare.com

90 year old Mom lives with her maltese puppy. Any advice on her "care" of the dog?

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My mom will be 91 in a couple of months and lives across the street from me.
When she first moved here (at the age of 86), she purchased a little maltese puppy. It's a great dog, but the problem here is mom.

Mom says "Bella" refuses to eat dog food and she literally sustains her on 'treats'. I know this is not good for the dog's health. While the dog is not overweight, (Bella eats healthy expensive treats) I go in mom's house and find pieces of dried chicken on the floor, dried bits of banana slices, bones, etc. If I look in the kitchen I see 4 bowls filled with dry and wet dog food (thankfully mom changes this every day or two and the dog always has fresh water) - but I explained Bella is not eating because she is like a guest on the Carnival Cruise line with a buffet before her 24/7. In order to train her to eat real dog food, mom must TAKE UP those bowls and ONLY put them down 2x a day for 1/2 hour each, according to the vet and the groomer.
Mom refuses.
Additionally, the house stinks like piss because mom has pee pads all over the place and bella is one of those dogs, where if you come inside the house and lean down to pet her, she squats from excitement. Not only has mom drenched her booty socks walking on her slick white tile floor from the pee, but she doesn't always see it to pick it up.
Mom spends quite a bit on treats for Bella, and grooming 1x a month for her as well.
I don't know; I am venting today. She never should have gotten the dog. She would have done better with a cat. I have 4 cats myself and I certainly can't take her when 'the time comes' and I feel overwhelmed that mom will not listen to the vet or the groomer.
She considers Bella "A Person" in her eyes with her mild-moderate dementia and frankly I worry she is going to trip over Bella someday, as her gait is unsteady (like a drunk) at times....she gets dizzy and lately has been weak. Mom also has about 7 DOG BEDS scattered all over the house. One is a big bed like a victorian dog sofa bed and mom put a pillow down for bella to jump onto her bed... the pillow was on the floor in the living room and don't you know mom tripped over it, fell flat down. Thankfully she wasn't hurt.
I go in there, move the beds out of the walkway areas. I come back the next day she has re-placed them all where they were; right in the walking areas.
What to do ?

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As this progesses I think that is a great idea, LivingSouth... I didn't know there even were geriatric social workers..
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I would bring someone who could be objective, like a geriatric social worker. My aunt did this for her older brother because his place was really a mess also. Tell her that her doctor wants this person to come and check on her living arrangements - at least you will have someone else on your side.
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LEP what you say is true, but the technical hitch tends to come with that 'have the doctors sign off that she is incompetent' bit. And if they don't think she is..?
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The person who said you cannot put her in ALF has a couple mistakes (in my state, at least). If I have the doctors sign off that she is incompetent, she can be put in care. It is a bit of a process, but less work than what you are doing now.
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CM, you know what I have been to this doctor for a decade for myself, and i know his patterns but today I am going to say, hey there bucko, wait a darned minute (lol) and tell him in the friendliest way I can that I need 5 minutes of undivided attention and stop shaking your leg like a go-kart ready to take off at the flag. :)
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lsmiami, well she will not allow ANYONE to walk Bella besides her. She is convinced beyond reason that the harness which is velcro will give out and Bella will escape, scurrying happily into the abyss.... My 13 year old daughter has asked more than once if she can walk Bella, and the answer is always "oh, absolutely not... she could get loose..." (groan)... Bella goes out into a large screened-in pool area to chase lizards, but it ends there...
As far as mom's hygiene, it's great.. (probably better than mine lol) she always smells good, always takes a sponge bath. She is a lady where, even if spending the whole day home alone, is wearing costume pearls around her neck with lipstick on and I am not exaggerating. So far, so good on that count.
Getting her to bingo for socializing with other people her age so far is not working well, since her hair appt which is weekly is a set appointment. She changed it once, then lost our bingo markers and forgot we were going.... then she said she wants me with her. I said I would stay for the first few times... it's a 1x a week thing, but once she made friends I would just drop her off and pick her up. She was less than enthused and said, "Well, if you don't WANT to go, we won't go..." (another groan)...
oh, and pee pads in the main bathrooms? oh how I wish. There is one in the dining room, one in the den, one in the walkway of the hall. She has no problem stepping on them as if they are little carpets until her slipper sock gets wet (gross)...
The compulsive shopping is the only thing that makes her happy. Thank God we always have garage sales here so at least she can get 3 bags of 'stuff' for only $10 or under.... plus for what I do I have to go to the estate sales and garage sales, and she tags along like nobody's business, enjoying every second. The main issue I had wasn't QVC or the TV; it was the mailers. I got them now (wink) and they are trashed before I even look at them.
I know ALF would break her heart as she loves the home and has painstakingly decorated it to her personal taste. I love that she is across the street, but at the same time I didn't sign up for this much supervision and I didn't foresee this a few years ago when I begged her to come... I envisioned a whole different scenario of her being...who she used to be... not who she is becoming with this dementia. Who knew....
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Nikki, I don't know if your doctor's practice works like ours, but when we've got something complicated coming up our (very helpful) receptionists book us in for a 'double appointment.' Would something like that get him to hold his horses for a second?
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I would not worry about the dog's diet, he is not being starved, he is happy....it's a dogs life...sounds like a good one at that.
Hygene and fall risks would be my top concerns. Can you have someone come in to clean once or twice a week? Unfortunately what is require is probably daily. Is there a neighborhood kid that can walk Bella twice a day so the pee pads are not the main bathrooms?
Can you get mom to got to adult care or any sort of activity to keep her occupied and away from the compulsive shopping? Can you channel block QVC, if that is the problem?
If you need to go to ALF and if you can afford it, some allow pets, of course they charge a little more, and they walk the dog for you.....else he would be a fall and hygiene risk as you have today.
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AK it's just a slippery slope to know when it's time for outside help... The doctor sees her a 3-4 times a year anyhow... and he is a great guy, i really like him, BUT he is one of those doctors who never keeps you waiting, always on time, BUT again he also flies in and out the door. He's literally like on roller skates and many times I have had to say, um, hey wait a minute we forgot to ask you something, etc etc... I will talk to him today and beforehand call the nurse to voice some concerns, but ultimately I don't know that she's at the point yet where her choices are incompetent. I think (guessing) she is in the mild-moderate stage of dementia, with a short time span for memory, and yes she spoils the dog silly, but she's still fully able to cook pasta and sauce with meatballs (yes from scratch lol) and she's able to wash her own clothing, take her own bath, even make her own bed. I think I will be hard pressed to deem her "incompetent" at this stage, and I wouldn't want to. A few months ago she put the dog in the bedroom and shut the door since we were bringing something big into the front door, and 10 minutes later called me at home hysterical telling me the dog was missing... until I told her it was in the front bedroom... lol...
I am in the middle-ground area here where everything is turning gray, but it is neither black nor white... it's a weird place to be for me because it's like am I not doing enough, am I doing too much.... what is it she needs, etc. I can tell you she loves her house and I wouldn't try to get it away from her and sell it until she can no longer function and do her daily routine. Until then I am just worried about things like falls, or her getting hurt.
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Nikki, would it be possible for you to call the doctor you will be visiting tomorrow and clue him/her in to the conditions in your mom's home? If the doctor knows about your concerns, he may take a little more time to evaluate your mom's mental function and move a step closer to getting her declared incompetent. He might even refer her for a more thorough evaluation with a specialist. It sounds like she is not able to make good choices for herself (or her dog), and changes need to be made. In my opinion a good ALF that would even allow her to keep her dog would be a good solution. After she is settled in, you can clean out her house, sell it and use the money to pay for her care. You can then choose how much time to spend with her and reclaim part of your life.
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