My Mom is 82, and lives by herself. Unfortunately, I live several hours away. I can still have a good conversation with her, but her short term memory is an issue. I think she has forgotten how to do most household chores, hasn't taken a shower in a while, and forgets to take her blood pressure meds. Previously, she didn't think she needed a caregiver. (yet the house, etc is a mess) She said she likes to be independent and likes her privacy. I did hire a caregiver and I told her that it would give me, her daughter peace of mind. About 6 months ago, I hired a very nice person who lives relatively close by and has a flexible schedule - she can drop by for a few minutes here or an hour there. (Unlike the agencies that said there is a 4 hour minimum twice a week) She doesn't have much experience with dementia, but we thought with a few strategies - (like bringing food she likes, having her take part in any chore etc) she would come around to accepting having her around. It's been 6 months, and Mom still acts anxious, and even a little annoyed that she's there. If she is there at 10 am and reminds Mom to take her pill, Mom won't do it because it's not noon - her usual time - then she'll forget to take it at noon. So the caregiver does the bare minimum and leaves because she know her presence makes her uncomfortable. My Mom even acts anxious with me, her own daughter, try to help. I know that giving up control is hard for her, but the house is a mess, she is stinky and her meds aren't being taken regularly. My question is, would a caregiver that has worked with dementia patients have better luck? Mom will absolutely hate having someone there 4 hours a day twice a week. She likes her privacy. I want my mom to be happy and well cared for, but I don't think both go together in her case. :( Any opinions are appreciated. Thank you. Missy

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Thank you for all your replies! I have Mom on the list for 3 assisted living homes near me, with memory care units. She is on the waiting list, and my favorite one said there is probably one more year to go. I wish I could say she could move in with me, I feel incredibly guilty, but I have a special needs son who I'm already taking care of and my anxiety is already pretty high. When I talk to Mom about some of these that are concerning to me like the shower - I try to put a positive spin on it - like it's good that you are waiting for someone to be there just in case there is a problem - but she insists that she takes them. I read about agnosegosia - where it's more than just denial - or maybe it is that she's embarrassed that she doesn't remember how. SueC - I saw my mother's toenails the other day - very long -even though she told me she trims them! I'm taking her to the podiatrist this week! She has lived in the same house for 50 years, I've heard that making a big change like to a memory care there can be a regression. I can still have conversations with her, and if I make a big change like a move - there may be no more conversations with my Mom:( In the meantime, I don't know if a more experienced caregiver will help. I definitely need to address the shower ASAP. I'm very OCD, so it will be hard on us both. Thank you again for your replies.
Helpful Answer (2)

Unfortunately, what you describe about your mother's condition was the exact time frame that I had to put my mother in a memory care facility.
I already handled all the bills and I set up her meds until she got too forgetful to even take them. She lived in an AL with meals, transportation and housekeeping included.

I can accept that she can't clean the apt., also that she needed me to pay the bills and take her to all the doctors visits but I drew the line at no bathing---I mean for weeks! I did her laundry and there was nothing in the basket week after week. She'd get defensive when I'd ask her about it. 
Once in the facility, when they took off her socks, her toenails had grown up and over the tops of her toes and back down the back side!!! There were cobwebs in-between her toes! I never thought to take off her socks, as she could still get dressed. This is unsanitary and unhealthy.

I heard from others living there that she would go down to breakfast at 3 am!
I didn't want to find her one night run over in the street. It was time to place her.

I don't know your mom but I know that they are masters of concealing their condition. Don't be too surprised if you start finding weird things about her or the house. Not bathing can also lead to urinary track infections. They can cause confusion in an already forgetful or confused person.

I know you don't want to have to face the fact that your mom is on the last string of being able to live alone. Please move her now so you don't have an accident or worse. That way she can get used to the surroundings while she still has some memory. The longer you wait, the worse it is to get them settled.

I don't mean to have offended you but I lived through this. I realize your mom is not my mom but my mother was VERY independent and didn't want ANY outside involvement, sometimes even me. She became a danger to herself and she's been in a memory care facility for nearly 2 years.

Good luck.
Helpful Answer (5)

I second the idea of moving her closer to you! Check out too! Some caregivers on there do have an 4-6 hour a week minimum but you might be able to find someone who is willing to just show up in the morning to remind her to shower, or even help her shower, and also to come at noon to remind her to take her meds. You could also advertise on craigslist. Its a little sketchy so youd have to do your own background checks and interviews, but who knows, you might find someone whos perfect for the job!
Helpful Answer (1)

Your mom may be anxious because she realizes she needs help but doesn’t want it. I am caregiver for my bedridden hubby and have health issues of my own. My house and my mind are a mess, but I will not ask my kids for help. They both have their own busy lives. Us oldsters are just weird that way. Not only that, but when my husband came home from rehab last May, we had aides and therapists coming almost every day for months. They helped and had the best of intentions, but I didn’t like my home being invaded.

Could you possibly move mom closer to you? Blame it on yourself. Tell her you miss her and want to spend more time with her. Tell her you know it’s asking a lot of her, but would she consider moving to an apartment closer to you? Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and it might be a good time to do it. Don’t say anything about her hygiene or the house. Just tell her you want her closer.
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