My mom has pretty much stopped doing things for herself. How can I talk to her about this? - AgingCare.com

My mom has pretty much stopped doing things for herself. How can I talk to her about this?

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My mom has lived in my house for the last 3 years due to her health. She has stage 4 copd, nonalcoholic cirhossis of the liver, osteoporosis, chronic spinal compressions, and is mostly blind due to macular degeneration. Additionally, she has always been a fall risk, but has began falling multiple times a day. With all of that being said, she STILL manages to make it out of her room and outside to smoke multiple times a day. The problem is, she won't go to the bathroom and uses a potty chair that I have to dump each day. She also says she can't make her own food or drink and will yell through the house for either one of my children, my husband, or myself to come get her what she wants. Both the bathroom and the kitchen are the same distance for her as going outside to smoke.

I am starting to get very angry and resentful of my mother because of these things. I need to talk to her about what she's doing, but I'm not sure how to start the conversation. Any ideas, or am I wrong for feeling this way?

Thanks for listening!

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It's my opinion that the person who is misbehaving by being demanding, rude, etc, actually feels guilty about it in a part of herself. She can't come up with enough motivation on her own to be nice, due to pain, dementia, alcoholism or whatever. If you can set limits and expectations, and she is actually capable of being nicer, she will have more self-respect. So reminding her or him to behave civilly is actually doing them a favor.

Of course this depends on how much brain power or sanity is remaining.
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Ah, that explains it more. So instead of having that talk about "I expect you to use the bathroom," perhaps you should have a talk about what is really bothering you. Your mother taught you to say please and thank you -- maybe she could not use a reminder of those lessons. Tell her it hurts your feelings to be treated like a servant. Try to work this out with her, for both your sakes.

I am so glad to hear you are getting some in-home help. I hope that works well for you.

I cared for my husband through his entire dementia journey, including, at the end, emptying his commode, cleaning up "accidents," bringing him meals and snacks, helping him bathe, etc. etc. And he ALWAYS said "thank you." Wow! And he always remembered to talk the hospice nurse for her services. No wonder everyone thought he was an excellent patient, in spite of his dementia. Getting a few "pleases" and "thank yous" goes a very long way toward making caregiving bearable. Please discuss this with your mother.

Pain and illness make be crabby. I hope if I ever get to the point where I am "demanding" all the time someone will sit down with me and have a frank talk about it!
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put the bedside commode on the porch where she likes to sit and smoke. you have to respond to crazy with crazier. its the only way..
youre welcome..
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She has a walker that she doesn't use. Has a cane with the 3 prongs on it and doesn't want to use it, either. I am just super exhausted trying to work full time, care for my home and children, be a wife, and care for my mom.
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Yes, we both speak english...lol. It's not so much the potty chair that bothers me. I understand when you gotta go, you gotta go, and for her, the potty chair is usually the quickest way to take care of that need. Yes, I work full time and as of right now, she is home alone from about 7:30 to roughly 12:30 when my husband gets home from work. She manages to get snacks during this time if she wants them (I feed her breakfast before I go to work). We do have some in-home care scheduled to start hopefully June 1. I guess I get upset at her demanding attitude. "Get me this, do that". Never a please or thank you. And yes, she is a fall risk, but I don't find it unreasonable to ask her to simply take her dinner dish to the sink after I have cooked dinner and served her instead of her demanding.."Come take this". After all, she has to have that after dinner cigarette and can find the strength to go smoke.

And by the way, I am working diligently to find ways to improve our situation. Just trying to vent here so I don't take it out on those in my home unnecessarily.
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This would be maddening. The big difference I see is that being able to go outside to smoke is driven by addiction and need. No one else will smoke her cigarettes for her. Other people are available to do the other things. If you think she is capable of doing the other things, I would certainly encourage her to do them.

I am most concerned about her falling. Does she use a cane or a walker? I wondered why she was falling so many times during the day. I realize that poor vision and weakness play a large part. I wonder if there is a way to keep her from falling so much. Perhaps she would do more if she didn't worry about falling.
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You both speak English? Then how about starting the conversation this way ... : "Mom, I am so glad you are able to go out of the house to smoke. Your living here would be much more difficult if you couldn't do that. The bathroom is a little less distance than you walk to smoke, so I hope you will be able to go to the bathroom instead of using the bedside commode. I'll be happy to empty the commode if and when you are not able to use the walker to get to the bathroom, but until that time comes I'm expecting you to use the bathroom."

Before you have this talk, consider such things as when she wants to smoke she can decide when to do it and can walk slowly. When she needs to use the bathroom she has less control. It might really be harder for her to get to the bathroom on time than to go out for a smoke.

If you work full time, how does she get her noon meal or any daytime snacks? Is there someone there with her all day?

I am in favor of having elders do as much as they reasonably can for themselves ... it is good for us caregivers and it is good for them, too. But figuring out "what they reasonably can" is can be difficult. This woman is a fall risk, and falls multiple times a day. Is it "reasonable" to insist she walk more than she has to? Would it be better to wait on her more, and only have her walk when she is supervised? (A broken bone would be terrible for both of you!)

If you are starting to be resentful and angry, then definitely something has to change. That something might be that mother does more for herself. OR it might be time to consider getting some in-home help. Hire an aide (with Mom's money) to empty the potty and to provide snack and beverages and to walk or exercise with Mom some each day. If she really does need (or benefits from) more waiting on, it does not have to be YOU that does it.

My mother smoked for 78 years. She has no interest in stopping, but most care centers do not permit smoking and in an effort to prepare for that eventuality my sister got her to try e-cigarettes. Hey! They work for her. She is now living in my sister's smoke-free home, without polluting the air, risking fires, or going through withdrawal. I've never smoked so I can't give a personal testimonial, but this sure was a great help for my mother. It is something to consider regarding the fall risk of going out to smoke.

Don't just let the resentment build up. Come up with ways that will improve the situation for both you and for mother.
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