How do you deal with mother in poor health who refuses to go to doctor? - AgingCare.com

How do you deal with mother in poor health who refuses to go to doctor?

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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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