Mom refuses to get help. What do I do? -

Mom refuses to get help. What do I do?


Mom is losing her memory, in bad health and lives alone. I feel she is a danger to herself. She is currently being seen by a pain mgt doctor, spinal issues and long term prescription drug use. Smokes, has poor nutritional habits and is getting more confused daily. She has extreme outbursts and overreacts to most things. She does not trust outside help and makes it difficult to be around. My life has been on hold for several years now and I need help.

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Good luck! I would caution you against putting your life on hold for your mom. You can help her, but please don't do it at your own expense. Your needs are equal to mom's needs. {{{{Hugs}}}}
Helpful Answer (9)

APS is legally required to complete a visit on every call. My mom refused to let the APS lady in several times, even took to hiding in her closet like a little child. Ultimately, they will have to get the Sheriff to open the door if she won't open it voluntarily. If the Sheriff opens the door, you're going to need to call a handy man.

I was able to get mom to open the door by calling her and telling her that I had gotten a phone call at work about her not cooperating with the county. I said they have to come check on all the elders and she has to let them in or they will break down the door. They have to follow the law and she can't stop them.

Mom's mental illness was in full gear and her dementia was still in early days, but definitely present enough to degrade her quality of life. She had paranoid delusions and beliefs that they were going to hog tie her and carry her away to kill her if she opened the door.

Somehow, I was able to persuade her to open the door by saying they just want to check on you to make sure you're getting all the benefits you're supposed to have. *That* is what I think convinced her - the prospect of getting government help or money. Yes, I know I'm going to hell for these lies, lies, lies to my mother. Sometimes one has to do what one must in the name of the greater good.
Helpful Answer (8)

you could call your local Adult Protective Services, and ask them to do a welfare check, and an assessment of her ability to live alone.
for the issues you have with feeling your life is on hold---I'm right there with you, had a horrible day with my mom, dealing with her doctors & her pain....all the while, one of my jaws is throbbing from a bad toothace. I can't manage to get my own needs addressed because I am so "put-upon" to take care of her stuff.
Helpful Answer (7)

Thank you! Yes I feel I need to do something soon. We had a terrible argument, she is very suspicious & angry at me. Thinks I want to put her in a "nut house" and take her money! I am so upset as I have only tried to protect her and help but this is turning out to be a 24/7 job and not very rewarding. We take 2 steps forward and 10 back as she will not follow any doctor orders -only if in the form of a pill. We have an appt with a psychiatrist today. Wish me luck!
Helpful Answer (6)

My mom had a fall and went to rehab. I kind of thought they'd say, "she needs to get to a home," but a week in the hospital and 21 days in rehab, she had less Xanax and Norco, and no cigarettes, and did great. (That's another thing she gets: something like a monthly 90-pill supply of Norco, so she has that, xanax, smokes and bad diet habits, takes statins, plus some signs of mental illness -- which she had before she started up on the xanax, etc.) But she did great in the rehab and they let her go home.
I've hoped my mom would get a new doctor because she says this one "doesn't know much" -- the woman doesn't specialize in aging issues, so she has tried to send my mom to specialists for heart and neurology but my mom won't go. So she gripes about this doctor but goes back mainly to get more pills.
On one hand I want to get mad at the doctor but I know she has to follow the rules of the hospital she's part of. My mom goes in and the visit takes an hour because my mom rambles on and on about unrelated things (I'm sure the doctor wants to hear all about her trip to the Netherlands in 1961) and it's a confusing mess. Then when she tries to direct my mom to try therapy or see a neurologist my mom pitches a fit about the costs or says "I've lived too long."
The doctor has a limited amount of time and she's probably just trying to get through the day and I assume help people who really will follow through. It's not ideal, but I get that. I don't like it, but I understand that she's limited in what she can do.
Helpful Answer (5)

One thing my mom did was equate medical attention with affection.
She would not have hugs or social interaction from anyone else. It had to be medical and procedural to "count". A prescription in hand was as valuable as a love note to the rest of us. It's due to an illness event in her childhood, but this is the way she was. Other interpersonal encounters irritated her to no end.

When doctors started to be evaluated by how many people they could put through in a day, they stopped having time for the "relationship" part of the visit. This did not go over with my mom AT ALL. It's hard to be a hypochondriac when nobody will let you perform.
The anthropology student in me wonders why we couldn't put that "visit time" back into geriatric visits on purpose. It doesn't need to be the doctor who sits through the story time, but a different person. It could really be a behavioral assessment through observation, that feels like visiting time to the patient. It could be a way to pick up on changes before they turn into a crisis event.

I think there are some cues into the person's situation that can be gleaned during that time. Do they tell the same stories each visit? Is the story now changing with different facts? Is the story mixed up compared to the past version? Is the person struggling to find words? Is the story more confabulation than truth? Is the process of relating the information (telling the story) becoming frustrating? Is the patient becoming paranoid or delusional? Is it getting harder to talk?

For some patients, having this time and attention is very calming and reassuring. That's why mom made a career out of going to any doctor she could. I believe it may make them more receptive and cooperative with the next part of the visit that could involve procedures. Just a hunch from an unqualified lay person!
Helpful Answer (5)

Sandwich, you didn't lie. Your mother benefited greatly from that visit -- and from your quick thinking!
Helpful Answer (4)

Sandwich, thats a great idea. I just found my mom asleep outside in her courtyard leaning so far to the side of her chair it looked as if she passed out. I checked on her and asked her to go inside. In spite of our huge blow up yesterday she reacted calm and did just that. I don't know if she is taking too many prescriptions or ?? Her gait was odd as if shuffling. Its so sad to watch and I am not ready to make the call. Next week she is supposed to get a petscan of her brain to check for dementia. Hopefully that will lock in a diagnosis. The guilt my mother tries to put on me and the anger she displays toward me is so painful to deal with. To think I have devoted so much time and energy only to be accused of not caring makes me ill. I need support to take it to the next level… I have no siblings and she has no other relatives or close friends so its a lot. Also, I am fearful if APS believes her ridiculous stories and they have to legally look into things that ultimately it could complicate things?
Helpful Answer (3)

Yikes, I've wondered that myself. My mom gets something like 1mg of Xanax and the prescription says "take up to 3 a day." Well, she takes two or three at night because she can't sleep. (Of course she does nothing all day except smoke ...) One time a few years back, we were visiting and playing a game of Monopoly and she got super loopy and we were wondering if she was sneaking booze behind our backs or if she was having some other medical issue. Turned out she'd taken three Xanax!
Every time I've been at the hospitals, the nurses comment on how strong the dosages are -- "strong enough to knock out an elephant" is how one put it. I've mentioned it to my mom's doc, too, and told her a couple of the falls that sent her to the hospital could be tied to the Xanax. The doctor keeps giving it to her anyways. My husband has wondered if we could report the doctor for being so generous with the Xanax.
You'd think, with it aggravating dementia, it being taken improperly and with it being strong, the doctor would at least address cutting the dose. When my mom was at a facility recovering from her latest fall, they cut her xanax by half to try and ween her. Once my mom got past the mean stage of getting less dope -- and getting hostile with me for not smuggling her pills in to her -- she actually became much more pleasant and clear-headed for the last week or so at the assisted living facility. Then she went home and got right back onto her cigarettes and Xanax and turned mean and loopy again. The pills aren't the whole problem, but I'm convinced the Xanax and the cigarettes are a huge part of it.
Helpful Answer (3)

Yikesneedhelp, sometimes the only way we can get help for an elder is if they have a sudden serious illness or a fall where 911 needs to be called. Then while in the hospital and for a couple of week in rehab, then it could be determined that the elder cannot go home if there are no caregivers there to help them 24/7.... that becomes an open door to relocate to a continuing care facility.
Helpful Answer (3)

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