Mom (65+) refuses any medical care or Dr visits. Any advice? - AgingCare.com

Mom (65+) refuses any medical care or Dr visits. Any advice?

Follow
Share

Hi there,
I am hoping to gain some insight or advice here on how to best deal with a frustrating situation involving my mom. My parents are retired and entering their late 60's. They live independently in their own home and are in fairly good health. My dad is very active and in good physical shape for his age (goes on hikes daily, gardens, eats very well, etc). My mom is not in as good of health as my dad (overweight, does not get enough exercise) but no major health problems...that we know of! The issue is she refuses to go to a Dr for a check-up of any sort. My dad said it has been 20 years since her last well woman visit including a pap test or mammogram. He called me to express that he is frustrated and has been trying to convince her to no avail to see a Dr. He said she becomes defensive and says she is fine, or that she rather not know that something is wrong. She has some obvious decay somewhere in her mouth (teeth) since you can smell a musty smell when she is close to you and my dad encouraged her to see the dentist for a cleaning and eval but she refuses this too. She thinks that because her teeth 'look' normal at first glance that nothing is wrong but doesn't want to admit that with aging teeth and gums are prone to issues. I tried for 5 or so years to get my mom to see a Dr for a well visit and gave up some years ago but now my dad is the one feeling how urgent this is. She has mild bladder issues and spotting (which she should not being post menopausal). What can we do to get her to a Dr? Could this be a bigger issue than her just being stubborn? I have already tried saying things like "would you want me to never go to the Dr?" "You have a grandchild that loves you and we want you here to see him grow up" "We really love and care about you and want you to be healthy". My dad is worried that if I talk to her about this again she will know he confided in me and will get very angry at him. I don't know how to help :(

Thank you!

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
31

Answers

Show:
1 3 4
I was firmly on your mother's side right up until the word "spotting." But now I see I have three pages of posts to catch up with before I say anything: I hope meanwhile that you're making progress with persuading her..?
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

That is a difficult one. Maybe she doesn't like the doctor she has seen in the past. Encourage her to find a new one, if there is something 'wrong' with her and she finds out during a routine visit-this gives her the opportunity to plan ahead. Not everyone gets the chance to plan ahead, they either become ill suddenly or die suddenly with no chance to plan. It's her life, she needs to 'plan' it in the direction she wants it to go. She has this opportunity now but may not have it at any given point.
I dislike going to the dentist too, but oral health problems can lead to medical issues. Think of how much better her mouth will feel if she receives routine dental care. I find the older I get the more 'difficult' going to the dentist is, maybe she can locate a dentist that caters to cowards and/or offers sedation dentistry. Losing all your teeth and getting dentures or doing without teeth is not 'fun' I see people everyday in my work who don't have teeth and I see it in my dad who has dentures but hates them.
Offer to go with your mom for the doctor and/or dental appointment. She may have some minor issues that she can receive treatment for and 'feel better'. Maybe she is depressed, a primary care doc can assess her for depression. Many people with depression have feelings much like your mom. She needs to see the positive side of doctor visits. My mom passed suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 64, I hope you have your mom much longer than that. Be supportive but don't 'hound' her, use encouragement and tell her your concerns if she don't at least have a routine checkup. Maybe you can visit the doctor together and both of you get check ups or a dental cleaning. good luck.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

One third of women with post menopausal bleeding have endometrial cancer, and your mother may know this. What she may not know is that 80% of the cancers are cured! She may not want to face the reality of cancer if she thinks its a death sentence. Maybe - maybe - she already knows she has cancer.

My mthr's only friend told me recently that she is sure my mthr knew she had cancer years before we rescued her. Friend worked in the herb shop and mthr was having her buy anti-cancer products. She was "too embarrassed" for anyone to see her going to the herb shop! When we rescued her, her hemoglobin was about 5.5, almost fatal, because she had active bleeding from her mass. She could have easily slipped away at any time. That may be what your loved one wants - to go without treatment and slip away.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Oh and by the way, don't let her discourage your dad from taking the meds he needs and taking care of his health. My dad had Parkinson's and colitis. Mom was convinced the colitis was caused by dad's Parkinson's meds and wanted him to stop taking the meds. When the colitis really kicked in, she made excuses for taking him to the doctor for treatment. I lived 800 miles away and no one would listen to me and my brother just let her do what she wanted. Well dad died. And she blames every doctor and every pill and everyone except herself.

Look out for your dad and keep an eye on her mental stability. Good luck.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

My mother is exactly like this but she is 84. She only goes to the doctor if there is a real problem, i.e., heart attack or something in which she has to be hauled off in an ambulance. Seriously. She never takes meds except a beta blocker. Has good eye sight at the moment and still drives everywhere. She can not be reasoned with or talked to about getting check ups and doesn't even at this moment have a doctor for general things like colds or whatever. She refuses. We have tried to reason with her but she has one million excuses for not going to,the doctor. Gets mad if we try to talk to her about it. So I have to take the attitude that when she gets sick enough or is in enough pain, she will seek help. That is all we can do for her at this point. And she has been this way all her life. She also will not go to the dentist and has cheap dentures that make it difficult for her to eat certain foods. If your mother is like my mother, she is scared of the doctor and scared of her,own mortality. Just refuses to act like a grown up. So you might as well stop worrying about something you can not change.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Perhaps she would see a Holistic or Acupuncture practitioner, even a chiropractor. They generally steer clear of pharmaceuticals and prescribe herbal remedies. I suggest this because of her general dislike of all things to do with traditional medicine. I know Reputable chiropractors will recommend patients to MD's if they suspect serious disease.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

If your Mom is mentally clear you really have no option but to respect her wishes whether you agree with them or not. Perhaps she's already done a lot of
thinking and she's decided how she wants her life to play out. Lying to her will only destroy any relationship you have with her.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

I tend to agree that there is a bigger issue going on here than just her stubbornness. You mentioned that she hasn't seen a doctor in almost 20 yrs. How was her attitude about doctors prior to that? Something seems to have set her off about the medical profession in general, and I think it might be a matter of finding out what it was that happened. Fibromyalgia comes to mind as an example of how insensitive many physicians were before fibromyalgia because a "for real" medical condition (which predominately affects women). Perhaps your mother went through something similar in the way in which she was treated.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I hate to be the bearer of bad news for this situation. From your description, it sounds to me like you may very well have to see a lawyer and go for guardianship of your mom, plain and simple. It sounds to me like she's not really in her right mind and that she really does need a guardian to make these kind of decisions for her. Guardians have the authority to even make medical decisions along with all other major decisions. Just from your description of things it sounds to me like she's neglecting herself, which is often very common in the elderly. You'll want to find a special lawyer who specializes in this kind of thing, and also study up on elder law in your state. If it turns out you just can't handle her, she may very well need a nursing home but can handle her an override her will, and get her to do right. Just from your description, it sounds like she's not at all of very sound mind. It sounds to me like your mom definitely needs a guardian. All of you may also want to talk with a social worker at the adult protective services in your town. I'm going to do something with my surrogate dad right now and I can tell you from experience that the more information APS has, The higher likelihood that they'll take your case. I know from experience that they need enough information to even consider the case, so the more information they get, the better. My surrogate dad is also neglecting himself, so I know what you're going through. The APS has since taken over and assigned Dad a social worker. Their main goal now is to get him out of the rundown slum he's been living in for so long. I really do know what you're going through.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

All you can do is tell her you love her and care about her health ... the rest is up to her. I will give an example. I have a very close friend who is extremely overweight and is a diabetic. Now her sugars are so out of control, she is on insulin. She has not changed her ways. Maybe she cannot. Maybe she is a food addict (strongly suspect). She goes to doctors all the time. In fact, she has even been labeled a hypochondriac, yet she is NOT taking care of her health and no one can force her to. I mentioned it only once and she denied that she overeats. Never said it again. Maybe symptoms will scare her into going one day. I know prevention is better. Love her. Tell her. After that, you have done all you can.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

1 3 4
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Related
Questions