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My mother has refused to go to a doctor for Many years. She is overweight, has severe tooth decay/loss, and is now having mobility problems which she refuses to acknowledge. Up until a week or so ago, she was still able to get around the grocery store with me. But she has had me running to the store over the last week to get food/supplies for her, because she claims to have a stomach bug. But I know the real problem is that she is having pain/mobility problems with her one leg. I have already talked with a social worker about some of these issues and was told that I would have to basically wait and help Mom with emergencies as they come up, but cannot force her to receive medical care. So frustrating to watch her decline in health and to be able to do nothing to help. She has never had the best mental health (depression, etc) and since she is not getting out of the house on a regular basis, this is declining also. Not getting much support from siblings, and if I try to mobilize any type of intervention/help, she will call my sisters and brother and pit them against me. Would love to hear from anyone in similar situation.

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As if this situation weren't bad enough I found out she has mold in her basement and it looks pretty bad. From what I read it could be causing some of the mental and physical issues I am seeing with her. We're looking into grants to help pay for some repairs to her home but now I'm wondering if the house is even habitable. She has refused to leave her home up to this point but is this bad enough to have the choice removed from her? I have no idea where to go for help with all of this. Social services?
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Is there anyway your mom could be suffering with some kind of anxiety issue? Some of what you described are classic for someone with that type of illness. I am sorry you are dealing with this. I know what you are going through. My father in law passed in 1999, and he could have lived a longer life but refused medical care and dr visits.

He would not give anyone power of attorney, there was an incident prior to his death when we took him to emergency. He had a horrible infection and he needed to remain in the hospital. He REFUSED to be admitted. The infection was in his blood, and the nurses stated it was the worst case they had ever seen. His blood literally looked like chocolate milk..He was sick. My husband signed an order making them admit him, and when he awoke he demanded to be released and all treatments stop.

He contacted my husbands brother, and he was the white knight that came to save him. He took him home. There is not much you can do as much as it hurts, and as hard as it is. The only option you really have is to see if your mom will give you power of attorney. If not, the social worker is correct. You tell your mom you will be there if she needs you. I would sit down with your siblings and let them know that you are disengaging from her care, unless she chooses to ask for help, or decide to see a dr. on a regular basis.

We cannot change the way people are as hard as that is......Be prepared though, if your siblings are not cooperating, you might be the source they blame in the future. It is was happened to us. Your siblings have made a choice to be your moms savior right now. If they are not helping you now, it is not likely they will do it in the future. I am sorry you are dealing with this.
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Getting Mom to see a doctor is only half the problem. She only has Medicare A now, because she dropped the Medicare supplement I had signed her up for years ago without telling me. Now it would cost her several hundred a month to get Medicare B and she doesn't have the $. She would probably qualify for Medicaid if she ended up with a huge medical bill (or so says the social worker I consulted). My husband and I have been helping her financially as much as we can, but at some point you have to draw the line. I have tried to talk to her about selling her house and moving into something smaller that would be easier for her to manage (i.e. no stairs), and then she would have quite a bit to live off of, but she won't budge on that issue. Her house is disgusting and in really bad state of repair so that is a tough one for me to accept.
In the last 2 weeks she has really gone downhill. I finally managed to get her out of the house to go to the grocery store yesterday, and it was pretty trying. She spends more and more time staring at the shelves in the store as if she's really interested in what she is looking at, but I think there's something else going on there. Does anyone else notice this with an elderly parent? I give her some space in the store and do my own shopping and periodically check on her. When it gets to be too much, I will ask her if she is having trouble finding anything. I'm not sure why it takes her such a long time finding things in a store that she has shopped at for Years! Picking out cat food can be an all-day ordeal, and yet she always gets the same brand/flavor. I think eyesight might be an issue here, but there again, she gets angry if you bring it up.
I am really losing my patience with her and the stubborness. I'm so tired of being made to feel that I am making too much of things, and that I should not trust my instincts, and that I don't know what I'm talking about. I am getting really resentful towards her. Has always been this way with her. She will let me worry and lose sleep over this god-awful situation and keep doing what she is doing, no matter how little sense it makes. And if I make too much of a fuss, she will shut me out. So sick of it.
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Virginia55-I would have loved to have read that essay!
Sibling-good luck with your Mom. I hope you find some relief for your mother.
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Hi Fairydust: Thanks for the tip, you could be right, but the Dr. didn't seem to wanto consider that Mom's meds could be the problem. I will bring it up again, although when I tried before, she said that she "didn't like to repeat herself". But I runit by her again when she gets back from her holiday (I guess she needed one).
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Sibling, perhaps some of her meds that have diarrhea as a side effect could be changed for other meds that don't have that side effect? Like how there are so many different classes of blood pressure medicine - if beta blockers give you brain fog you could try an ace inhibitor. I know sometimes only one med will do but with the ones that have alternative maybe there's room try something.
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There is also VRE but I do not think is causes symptoms usually.
Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vancomycin-resistant_Enterococcus
Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus, or vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), are bacterial strains of the genus Enterococcus that are resistant to the ...
History and biology of VRE - Mechanism of acquired ...
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Hi msdaizy:
Thanks for the reply - yes CDiff was checked and other usuals - got all the printouts on meds and the pharm. knows of the problem - and every one of the meds is suspect but she can't do without them. Mom fell and they did keep her in hospital for a few days then rehab some months ago when this started and she went thru all the tests then and twice since to emerg with no unusual results. I think the meds combined may be the problem, but she certainly needs the Gabapentin which is the only one that touches the nerve pain, and it can have similar side effects. But she panics if she is even running low on those! Certainly seems like more than old age to me too. Thanks again.
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Hi Imm897; I am going to line list what was an essay, argh.
I feel you, I have been through it with mom full time since 2007.
Try guile as another poster suggested. There are visiting physicians now all over. They are not usually very good but certainly better than nothing. I checked mom's pressure and blood glucose myself- wasn't too bad.
There is a good book called Elder Rage that has behavioral suggestions.
If you get to the end of your cable you may have to use tough love. At a certain terrible point, which I am at now, fixing one thing on mom breaks another. Further, the stress of any medical procedures anymore just about outweigh the payback. You would have loved the essay I wrote you. Anyway, sending big hugs and best wishes. Hang in and on- get support and take care of yourself. This is a rough ride- it isn't your imagination. Virginia
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I had to wait until my Mother fell and 911 was called. Fortunately, her fall was not serious, but still bad enough to keep her in the hospital. Since she lives alone, the hospital will not allow her to return home.
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Has she been lab tested for C-Diff...it's a bacterial infection that causes chronic diarrhea and weakness. If they have done stool tests then I think they would have discovered the culprit. I don't think it's an age issue..but maybe it's a reaction to the medications she is currently on, or possibly a combination of medications. Sometimes talking to the pharmacist about the symptoms might be better than the doctors. The pharmacist will tell you the drug interactions with your mom. My sister who works in the pharmacy knows so much more about medications than any doctor would know. Doctors know diseases..and only prescribe. Anyhow, I sure hope you can get things figured out. It's so hard when you have to watch someone you love suffer. Good luck and God Bless.
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My Mother is 95 and is now refusing medical help, but honestly I'm beginning not blame to her. She seems to have some kind of chronic illness involving diarrhea and an over-all sickness and weakness that comes and goes on a regular basis, but numerous trips to hospital emergencies, GP, Cardiologist and Gerontologist, repeated blood, urine and stool tests have not lead us to a diagnosis/solution to the problem. I am beginning to believe that she has either developed an allergy to food, or a reaction to medication. However, I have been "shut down" when I mention this to her Doctor. Also, if it is an allergy, finding the root of the problem would be almost impossible, because most of the time she is too ill to go out, never mind launching an allergy testing session. And she needs the current medication for other conditions. Cardiologist says possibly small strokes causing illness (anyone have experience of stroke inducing diarrhea?) Can this just be "old age"? - organs slowly malfunctioning? I wish someone could give us a clue - I hate to just give up on finding the reason for her suffering so that something can be done about it. She already had a pacemaker to help with arhythmia and unbearable nerve damage from shingles. Now when she is particularly ill and I mention doctor or hospital, she simply says, "what for?". I know she will not be here for much longer, but would love to make what time she has left more bearable. Any similar circumstances or suggestions?
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What I have learned from my mother, age 90 and a husband who is 68 and
and has dementia is to realize that you are in charge now and you need
to make an appointment for her and tell her it is time to go; If she refuses.
I would tell her that you will not suppoert her unhealthy lifestyle and until she
gets medical attention and follows the advice, she can find someone else
to watch her die. I know I am harsh, loophole (mimosa)
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My dad is the same way. He won't go to a "real" doctor. We convinced him to go to an osteopathic physician. There are naturopathic practitioners, such as chiropractors, acupuncturists, TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) practitioners, NDs - (Doctors of Naturopathy), etc.; and many of them are experienced in treating the elderly. Try telling your mom this isn't a "real" doctor but has had success helping someone you know. It works with my dad! Hugs and best wishes.
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I feel for you and oh do I understand the personality. My Mom was the same way and refused to leave her home. When she had a heart attack I had to promise her I was taking her out for breakfast to get her to the doctor and that took hours. She ended up with open heart surgery the next morning. I also took her grocery shopping every saturday for over nine years and we spent 90 minutes in there, I considered it her workout. All you can do is take care of her by going over weekly or more than weekly. I used to pretend I was going by, or I was going shopping anyway. I couldnt let her think I came just for her, she wouldnt have it. She started burning things and her hygeine went down hill, it was so difficult as they are so stubborn! You are in a bind, they dont listen and wont until something happens, which it will eventually. My mom fell and broke her hip and came to my house to recover. By the time she was walking again, she thought my house was her house so I finally could care for her without driving to and from all the time. This was years ago , itts a long road. For some reason, you will probably take on most of , or all of, her care and your siblings will still be golden to her no matter what, it sucks, lol gotta laugh looking back now. I wonder if your Mom fell and didnt tell you with her leg hurting? Leg pain can be a bad sign if it doesnt go away so keep a close eye on her. I found that eventually when she was in a calm good mood, that I could talk to her. I explained to her that she could be put into a nursing home if she had an accident or illness and went to the hospital, thats the doctors choice. I told her if she didnt make out her health care proxy and dpoa to put someone in charge that we would have no say in the matter. That scared the heck out of her and she finally did before she was incompetent. I preferred it wasnt me but that the way it went and worked out for the best as she is still with me and still I have had no sibling help, I gave up on that a long time ago. If your Mom wont listen, so be it, you tried your best, good luck!!
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Thanks for the responses. Mom is 78, widowed and living alone for the time being. My brother has lived with her on and off, but this is not the best situation either. She owns her own home but is not able to afford to stay there much longer, and refuses to talk about a plan for her future. She simply says she does not want to move. When pushed to talk about anything (medical care, dental care, financial situation) she simply shuts down on you and refuses to talk (there are tears if you keep pushing after that). I do not have power of attorney and have been told that the only way to get it (since she most likely would not agree to it) is to have her declared incompetent. I'm not ready to go that route yet, because it would destroy what relationship I have now with her (which is shaky at best).
I'm not sure if dementia is an issue yet, because she has always had strange ideas about things. She is also a master at covering up and trying to make everything appear normal if she thinks something is up. It's exhausting.
Thanks again for the feedback. It's comforting just to hear from others in situations that are evenly remotely similar to mine, since the feelings of isolation are pretty tough to deal with lately. The situation is so strange to me, that it's hard to share things even with people I know well. And then there is the guilt that I'm not doing enough. Folks who have not lived with her do not understand how difficult her personality is, and I always fear that people think that she is being neglected and that I am not doing enough for her.
I will check out the links that were recommended. Fairy Dust-I will read your posts as well-thanks for chiming in!
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Imm897 do you have any type of power of attorney? Does your mom have a advance directive? DNR? The reason I am asking..is because unless you have these powers there is really nothing you can do short of trying to convince her otherwise. I had Durable POA and was assigned that 10 years prior to her diagnoses of progressive dementia. This gave me right to make sound decisions for her care and financial needs. I'm sorry your mom is depressed. If you could convince her to go see a doctor that's the only way I see you getting anywhere with this. Unless she has an emergency and paramedics are called. Good luck and God bless.
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I have a mother with VERY similar issues which I'm quite stymied by. Feel free to look up my previous posts and see the discussions. So far I'm in the position that until "something happens" I really can't make my mother do anything. I wish it weren't that way but she is clearly competent and recognizes the authority of no one - including doctors. I think the tough job for adult children like us is to decide where we draw the line - how bad does it have to be before say calling social services to evaluate them? And then somehow make peace with living with that line. I'm not quite there yet but working on it. Good luck to you.
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It's hard to accept, but your mother has the right to seek as little or as much medical intervention as she wants. You didn't say how old she is, but maybe she's 'done'.
All you can do is encourage her to do what you think is best but, ultimately, she's entitled to do what she thinks is best, regardless of how ill-advised that is.
What you CAN do is make very clear how much of your life your mom's decline will be allowed to consume, because it has the potential to consume it all!
Draw boundaries now. There are consequences to your mom's neglect of her health. She will likely become immobile and lose her ability to take care of her basic needs. Have an open conversation with her now, so she knows what to expect, about how much you'll be able to physically tend to her. Are you willing to have her move in with you? Can you devote hours a day to her care? It's best not to just 'let things happen' in this area.
Again, you don't say how old she is or if dementia is a factor, but it may be that your mom has lost her ability to understand consequences.
Keep in mind, as you tread these waters, that your mom might become inconsiderate in a way she never would have been when she was younger. She may begin making incredibly unreasonable demands upon you and getting herself into crisis after crisis that she'll expect you to 'handle'.
Do I sound like someone with battle scars? : )
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Is there any chance your mother could go to assisted living? It can be very isolating living alone in your home and that causes depression. Don't know the financial situation if this is even possible.

But, at least if she was in a facility with other people around, it might help. As far as the siblings not helping much - that is so common and unfortunate. If you try to help and she tries to turn them against you - there is nothing you can do about that. Just know, you are not alone.

Hugs to you and take care.
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There are so many components to your note....1) uncooperative parent 2) mental health issues 3) lack of sibling involvement, 4) serious health issues starting to surface, etc. and it reminds me of all the issues that have factored into my seven years of caregiving my elderly mother (5 years of which I also provided assistance with her elderly sister.) So I guess the first point is that there is no easy, one-size-fits-all answer to the challenges you're encountering with your mother. As mentioned above, it is typical for elderly people to experience depression when they have declining health, issues they're avoiding, and lifestyle changes are occurring (i.e., mobility, social, health issues, etc). Having encountered that myself, it is a tough, frustrating process to navigate, so I have a great deal of compassion for you. Undoubtedly, the depression you alluded to is at least a contributing factor to your mother's lack of interest in pursuing medical/dental care. Does your mother have a medical doctor at all? I was fortunate enough to be able to call my mother's doctor and explain the mental health issues I was encountering, and the doctor placed my mother on a low dosage medication at her next visit. This doesn't solve everything, but it does assist the loved one in feeling well enough to pursue the other care they need. Meanwhile, it's difficult to have to watch an adult we love make unhealthy decisions.There's another thread on this site that addresses similar issues you outlined in your posting that you might want to review https://www.agingcare.com/questions/elderly-parents-refuse-care-that-they-need-136194.htm. Since you are just beginning this process, I encourage you to gather as much information on caregiving boards and resources as you can to assist you in developing a plan. Our caregiving stints can be relatively short or consume years of our lives. I would never have imagined that I would still be doing this seven years later, and I would have done things a lot differently if I knew then what I know now. So I wish you success in finding the answers you need!
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It would help to know your mom's age. Is she widowed? Depression is a serious problem for anyone, but for someone who is elderly and in poor health, it may cause thoughts of suicide. While your mother may not consciously harbor thoughts like this, she may feel that there is no point in trying to prolong her life by going to a doctor and being treated for her poor health. You didn't mention whether she lives alone or whether you live with her?
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Oh my...not a single response? Did I share too much? Feeling a little vulnerable here.
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