I don't know how to get my mom to see that she needs mental help and I'm afraid. What can I do? - AgingCare.com

I don't know how to get my mom to see that she needs mental help and I'm afraid. What can I do?

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My mom is 78 and has been alone for 20 years since my dad past. I'm not yet 50, married for almost 2 years and living 30 minutes from her. About 10 years ago she had a nervous breakdown, attempted suicide with some sort of pill, not sure what. But, my younger brother found her passed out on the floor of her bathroom. She was put on a 72 hour hold and released after but she wasn't ok and I convinced her to admit herself to a ten day program. When she got out she had her mental health support and improved greatly. She was not diagnosed with dementia but I believe major depression with some paranoid schizophrenic attributes. She was insisting that her home was bugged, people were listening to her phone calls etc lots of conspiracy revolving around hurting her.
Well she's doing it again and nothing I seem to say or do helps. She's even accused my both my husband and myself of messing with her. She has been coming up with all manners of stories weaving my brothers family into news stories that she's seen. And then there's the ever persistent issue that she insists that anyone she talks to already knows everything that goes on at her house, conversations, incidents etc. And then we have the violence. My mom though small is a former marine. She has in the past hit me with a baseball bat and I have had to hold her to keep her from beating thew you know what out of me.
She know what our relationship is very strained because of this and she wants to get past it but she wont see her Dr when I ask her to. She insists that I am trying to control her and and when I deny and finally see that things are escalating she physically threatens me. Today, she swung a full coffee cup at my head and body, told me she was going to kill me and then wouldnt get out of my personal space and was trying to bar me from getting in my car so I could leave. Then at the same time she was yelling at me like I was 10 telling me to get my A.. in the house or she was gonna hurt me. I help my hands open in front of me to keep her from hitting me and did everything to to provoke her. I told her I didnt feel safe being there I needed to go and it just got worse. I finally was able to get in my car but she tried to open the door and locked it but honestly I was scared to death. I was scared that my mom that I love was gonna hurt me or that she was gonna try and I would end up hurting her by trying to protect myself, which has also happened. She'll swing at me and I hold her arms to keep her for doing it again, she also bruises if the wind blows hard so I don't dare touch her. But she'll try to hurt me than then tell me she'll call the cops on me.
I dont know where to go for help or what the heck to do.

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Thanks guys. I'm kinda aware of all of this as I was a counselor with severely emotionally disturbed teens for 11 years and then an advocate for developmentally disabled adults for a few years after that. But that was about 16 years ago. When you are a caregiver and someone already has a system around them, however crappy you think parts of it might be as a caregiver and advocate, I think it's easier than this. You have avenues in which to get things handled. I feel like I'm out there flapping in the wind and of course I NEVER thought I'd have to personally deal with something like this in my own family. I thought I'd get lucky and mom would be more like her mom who at 98 was still pretty hale, hearty and forever curious. Thanks for everyone's feed back.
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If APS sends someone out that person is most likely going to feed into your mom's delusions.

I'm so sorry that you have to deal with this but I'm with Jinx on this one, deal with it from a distance. Her behavior, regardless of where it stems from, is physically abusive and no one is allowed to hit you. Or threaten to hit you. The reason doesn't matter. It's just not ok.

You can't force your mom to take medication. We can't force the adults in our life to do anything. You also can't force her to see her Dr. This leaves you with very little options. Call her, see how she is but keep a safe distance away. It's a shame it has to be this way but this is the way it is right now. I know you love your mom but she's sick and refuses treatment. There's nothing more you can do. Parents with mentally ill teens find themselves in this exact situation when the kid turns 18. Once someone is an adult they're allowed to be mentally ill. They're allowed to decide to not take their medication. They're allowed to opt to not see a Dr. And there's rarely anything we can do about it.

Please take care of yourself and don't put yourself in harm's way. Continue to advocate for your mom from a safe distance. Good luck.
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Here's some follow up. I'm very frustrated and sad. Her Doc is still out sick but his secretary told me that if I couldnt get her to come in there was nothing that could be done. The whole call 911 if she's a danger to herself or someone else. So I called APS where they listened to me but told me that if she lives independently, and she does, they could send someone out for a visit but they were unsure of what could really be done.
Thats where we stand.
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Oh my gosh, my heart goes out to you. We all think we are dealing with a bad situation until we meet someone who is going through far worse, and you are.

First of all I would say it is not safe for you to be around your mother as she has violent tendencies. It may not be safe for anyone to be around her unless she is either medicated or restrained. She is a danger to herself and others.

You said she has Schizophrenic tendencies. It sounds like you are correct and it may be mixed with dementia or Alzheimer's but it is clearly mental instability. This being the case, I do not think you can make her understand she needs help because she is mentally unable to understand that her present state of mind and actions are not "normal."

If you know who her mental health doctor is or even her general practitioner or social worker, you need to put in an emergency call to them immediately and explain the situation and further tell them she is a danger to herself and others in this condition. She needs to be readmitted to a facility for treatment and medication. She may have gone off her medication or her condition may have become worse.

In short there is no further discussion with her and trying to get her to understand her condition, she needs you to step in and take over for her and procure the help she needs, even if she does not want it! She is not in the state of mind to be able to determine what is best for her, she needs you to do that for her.

Do you know if she has a trust or do you have Power of Attorney over her healthcare? If not you need to find out about becoming her conservator or guardian which will give you control over basically everything and allow you to get her the help she needs.

If you go back to her house I would only go with another person and I would see if I could get some of what she does on video or even audio in case you need it to prove your case for guardianship.

Your Mom is not able to make these decisions for herself, so no amount of talking is going to get her to understand that she needs help, it is impossible as her disease has taken over. Yours and your mothers only chance now, is for you to step in and demand help for her, you now become her advocate.

Stay close to your husband as you will need his support through this. God Bless you all on this journey.
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This is requiring tough love.

Is she living independently? Who has POA? Call APS.

Your Mom clearly has some issues - that go back many, many years. As hard as this is for YOU, you need to step back. Her manipulation and outbursts and accusations are exhausting, offensive, and set to destroy you and your marriage.

This will be hard for you as you need to be free of your codependency. It will ache and you will cry, but you will be stronger for it. Her needs are beyond your ability to manage.

I agree with Smitty, call out to God for help and protection. Blessings.
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She has a psychiatrist and back in the fall I took her to an appointment and was allowed to sit in the session with her. She went through her litany of paranoid allegations and at the time she was also having some hallucinations. She has meds and refuses to take them or takes them long enough to quell the behavior somewhat and then stops. I have called and left a message for Dr so I'm hoping he'll be able to help some.
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I would stay as far away as possible. Your safety if not you life is endangered around her. Call Adult Protective Services and appraise them of the situation. Let them evaluate her situation. She is either mentally ill or has a fast onset of dementia.
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What an awful situation! I have dealt with an episode like this with my father, but 100 times milder. It is so upsetting, and there was only a threat of physical force.

I think you might need to let her "hit bottom." I assume she needs you to do for her in some ways. Don't go back until she agrees to see her doctor.

"Mother, on Tuesday, you were trying to hit me. I'm a grown woman. Even my mother is not allowed to hit me. I can't come back until you agree to see a doctor. You can decide not to, but I can't come back into your house until you do. I love you and I want you to be safe, but hitting me is a crime, and I don't want you to have to go to jail."

When you do go there, don't go alone. Everyone behaves better in front of strangers. Bring a sibling or child or husband or neighbor or someone from church.

Look up something called council on aging or adult protective services, and talk to them about local resources. When dealing with APS, don't give your name, because sometimes I have heard that they barge in and make things worse. I have also heard that sometimes they don't do a darn thing to help! So start by just getting advice.

At the present time, your safety and sanity are more important than hers, because she is fighting to stay in her unsafe condition. Don't let her hurt you as you do your best to get her to accept help. Keep your distance until you have a plan.
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Yikes. I'm so sorry you are facing this. Does she have a psychiatrist she followed up with after her stay? Can you call the nurse at his/her office for suggestions? Is she taking her meds?? You could call the county department of human services or something similar...there should be a department that deals with vulnerable adults and there is probably a contact person who is familiar with this kind of thing. You obviously can't live with her if your life is being threatened. She either needs to be admitted again, or can you consider putting her is a care facility? I feel helpless for you myself. I will keep you in my prayers. Prayer works and God answers. Call out to God to keep you safe until you and your hubby can figure out a next step. Keep us posted, PLEASE!!
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