What to do about Mom who fakes strokes?

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Dad won't let ANYONE confront her on faking or call 911 to have dr's confront her (cuz she'll get better).. I've spent Friday thru Sunday afternoon being called off and on all day and at 1 and 2 in the morning to help dad get her to the bathroom, just to clean her and the floor because I didn't get there fast enough so she wet herself. I finally got sick of her manipulations and told her if she wasn't better by Monday morning I WAS calling an ambulance AND I was canceling our trip to the beach the end of the month,.. low an behold, Monday she could talk, walk and feed herself again, but wanted to know if I could come wash her hair and give her a sponge bath "so your dad won't have to".. and thats part of it, she knows I'll do things to keep dad from doing them .. if he'd just let her sit in her own pee or not bring her- her pepsi and candy bars (that she fully admits she's sooo addicted to that she can still eat and drink them " but with difficulty" while having her strokes) she'd soon learn there are consequences to her "strokes"


He KNOWS she's faking!! Or he'd call 911 at the first signs of her slurred speech and turning limp as a rag doll, but he won't confront her or let me or anyone else confront her... I don't understand why!!?!!


I'm soo sick of her manipulations !! And I hate that dad would rather expect me to play along and care for her like she's completely helpless for days on end unless I have something to hang over her head like I did this time by saying I wouldn't take her to the beach as planned.


Any ideas or suggestions? I can't just leave dad to deal with her, it's sad to say, but she's done it before, she'll let dad run himself ragged until he's sick, then say if I just loved HER enough to help him take care of HER during her "latest stroke recovery" he wouldn't be sick... I can't do that to my dad again, AND SHE KNOWS IT!


It's a catch 22 - I just don't know what to do.. they can't afford and I can't afford to call an ambulance every time single time she pulls this or I would -then dad couldn't stop me from saying "The DR say's theres nothing wrong with you so knock it off!! But thats not an option because when the dr's find nothing wrong we have to pay the $300 ambulance ride


Anyone else dealing with this?... I'm really glad I found this board.. I needed very- very badly to vent, thank you for leting me.

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Dorthy I'm not to active in AC, but when I saw your post here. I'm private paid caregiver. I would like to tell you my experience with person like your Mother.
When I started caring for my new client(F/92) 3.5 yrs ago. Her family members thought she will die because she is always complaining to family(specially her oldest daughter) about her back aches, stomach aches all over the her body!! After I start working with my client after couple of weeks later I had noticed so much meds she was taking!!! Most meds cause/make her feels sick to stomach, so I suggested to her daughter to make Dr's appointment. three of us met Dr... Dr referral to MRI, my C was nothing wrong with her!! Well currently my C is very stable for 92 for her age, plus eat healthy foods, having good BM!!... only her problem is evening anxiety so she took smallest amount of Xanax....I'm guessing her dementia is starting a little worth then that when I started working with her 4 full days a week as live-in.
I don't know what kind of medications your mother is taking... just needs little adjustment from by her PCP, Sorry my English writing is not great...hope you would understand my writing. Please take care your self first so you can give best care for your parents!! Good Luck to you....
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I think you need to step back and allow your parents to continue their dance. They've been doing it for a long time. Until dad gets fed up (won't happen) or dies or leaves ( as in, has to go to a facility), nothing will change. Structural disruption is what will make a difference. Nothing you can do or say will. Step back and let them be. To engage in this is to enable the dysfunction to continue.
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Thank you sunnygirl and babalu for the advice (and "permission"?).to not feel like I'm responsible for dads health when he gets worn out from dealing with moms nonsense. . I really appreciate it,...never thought about dad feeling empowered in some way..that's interesting, at least that would explain why he allows it to continue.

I'll take the advice and when I'm called again to help dad feed, bathe, dress, take her to the bathroom, etc I will simply say "I will be happy to once she's been to the dr and I know why she can't do these things for herself - but until I know why she can't do them for herself, I'm not available to help you."

I really feel better having a game plan AND knowing I'm not the only one.. thanks to all of you for your responses.
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If your mom has been controlling throughout their marriage, he may be in "go along to get along mode", which I think is common of men in such relationships. It's easier to just do what they want than deal with the wrath, tears, guilt trips if they try to say no.
He can't confront her because he just can't. Not a healthy dynamic, I realize, but one that occurs all too often.
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Why would you have to pay for an ambulance? Doesn't your mother have Medicare or other health insurance?

I'm more than a bit concerned that you and your father are "diagnosing" an alleged stroke. Do you have medical training that allows you to do this?

Perhaps your mother is faking just to get attention, but I'd err on the side of caution. Unless you have medical background, I don't think it's appropriate to conclude that she's "faking".

It also sounds as if there's some family friction involved so you might want to consider addressing that as well because that might be part of any attention your mother does want to get.

You also might want to educate yourself more on strokes and the symptoms. It isn't always apparent when someone is having one - the symptoms aren't always that obvious and discernible.
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Thank you all for your responses, and STP your english is fine, thank you for posting ;)

I saw an attorney, and long story short is as long as dad is of sound mind my hands are pretty much tied, which you all have already told me, but I guess I just needed to dot all my "i"s and cross all my "t"s...

He said with me living next door to my parents now, if I decide to not help dad with mom, to expect one or both of them to go beyond the "you don't love me" routine,
that I should prepare myself for them to attempt to shame me in to resuming coming over at every little whim by telling the neighbors - subtlety- that they would be doing better if I wasn't to busy to and lend a hand, but that I am far too busy to help at all, or words to that effect.

I hadn't thought of that, but I can see mom doing just that, sitting on the front porch waiting for one of the neighbors to stop and ask how they are and then "I was really sick with a mild stroke and Dorthy couldn't be bothered to help her dad take care of me so now he is sick and I'm just doing the best I can to take care of us both".. yep,.. I can see it now.

He said all you can do to try to head that off is make sure you wave "sweetly" to whichever neighbors you can as you are going in and out of your parents house,if they question you on it tell them Mom and dad don't remember things like they used to and leave it at that, don't elaborate, just Mom and dad don't remember things like they used to. He suggested I check on them at least once a week physically and daily with phone calls and emails after I begin to refuse help with Mom , simple because of their age they need some one to keep an eye on them, But to think long and hard before I start this, he said just like a child will have a tantrum to get their way, adults will too, if I back down and give in and begin helping to take care of mom again because my dad is becoming ill from doing it all himself - before dad takes mom to the dr to find out what if anything is wrong, then just like giving into a child because you don't want to hear the screaming anymore I will be creating a brat ! Eventually the child learns throwing a fit just makes him tired and does not get him his way, and I have to hang on until my parents learn that.. OR until someone else in the family (like I did when they were living with my brother thought I have more time to fill her need for attention, let them move next door to me) after hearing how "bad" things are volunteers to step in.

So, good advice or no?

Since she's still "recovering" I gave my first "pushed back" when I went over earlier this afternoon. Mom asked if I'd give her a sponge bath and wash her hair for her again because she was tired today and "your dads arthritis in his shoulders makes it hard for him". I said " Oh well I will go home then so you can take a nap and when you get up you can take your shower and give dads shoulders a break" Of course she got up set and started "no no no don't leave", but I left her standing at the door saying "I don't want to nap right now" I could hear dad in the back ground saying it was ok, he'd help her.

It sounds easy enough as I write it out...just say no... but it was hard...this is going to be tough, but it truly is push come to shove time, this is going to be a battle of the wills, and the short (but seems so long too) 8 months of habit/training/conditioning/manipulation that has become the norm since they moved in next door - I have to un-learn- I just hope and pray dad comes to his senses before he gets too sick.

thanks for letting me vent, get this out of my system, think out loud, whatever it is I am doing... I have a feeling I might be doing a lot more of "it" before all said and done .
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As to there being "nothing really wrong", well, she's mentally ill, isn't she? Mental illness is a real thing.

Is she still on antidepressants? Does someone monitor if she's taking them?

I think i would distance myself in this situation so that you are not driven mad.
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It has been an interesting two day's. The BBQ was uneventful as far as mom's "health". She was funny and engaging with no problems at all walking, talking, feeding herself. A complete "recovery"

Until about 3 this morning when dad called and said "you were right, the party was too much for mom apparently, she got out of bed to go to the bathroom, and I can't get her back to bed, can you come help?" I asked what does that mean you can't get her back to bed? She's laying on the floor and I can't get her up to get her to bed he says. I asked if she fell, he said "no she just sort of slid down the wall and now I can't get her back to bed"

So I went over, with my phone on video and there she was on her side laying on the floor, I knelt next to her asked if she could hear me and she just mumbled . I told dad to call an ambulance, he said no we just needed to get her to bed, all the excitement of the day was to much for her and in a few days she would be fine.

I walked over picked up their phone and called 911. Dad began yelling for me to hang up as I was trying to get outside and onto the front porch telling dad she needs an ambulance over and over and trying to telling the operator the address and that my mom looks as if she has had a stroke. Once I made it outside dad slammed the door just furious!!

The ambulance and the police came, dad AND mom met them door (mom acting as if she were very sleepy) insisting that she was fine, that I was over reacting, that she had a "slight dizzy spell and dad called me to help "steady her" to get her back to bed.

I handed one of the EMT's my phone and said "I don't know how much recorded, but watch this."

I informed them that mom fakes these "strokes" often, she needs help.The EMTs told dad that even though she appears to be fine at the moment, based on the video I was right to call them and she needed to be evaluated if for nothing else a possible drug overdose the police agreed and mom was taken for observation.

The police talked to dad, but I couldn't hear what was said.

I went to the hospital but dad wouldn't let anyone tell me anything, even what room she was in.

I reached my attorney this morning, with my permission he told her Dr's and the police of my concerns and our conversation last week, the police said there really wasn't much that could be done, at most they could follow up on calls to my parents address and when the report is that it is another non emergency, charge them with her actions resulting in nuisance calls.

Her Dr told my attorney "while he can't discuss individual cases, he could say that it is difficult to force a psychiatric evaluation -if they can't find anything medically wrong, if all the test come back normal, if they want to leave the hospital they have to be released."

I saw them come home, mom is walking fine, and I can tell by dads body language, he is still furious!!

So.. there was nothing wrong .. again.!!

But at least THIS time I did something to prevent mom from dragging out this "recovery" for the next week.

I called my friend who has the little place at the beach where I was going to take mom later this month and she is going to let me drive down tomorrow and she said I can stay as long as I like. I have already turned off my phone, so if there is another "performance" in the early hours - dad will have to come to my house and ring my doorbell this time.. and if he does,I will stay right here and call 911 .. I'm not even going over there.

Thank you all for the advice and support, I wouldn't have had the guts to stand up to my parents without your help.

CentralMassach1, I don't take what you say as"sounding bad" at all, it's a valid question, I don't know how to explain it except to say- actors pretend to have all sorts of ailments including strokes/mini strokes, I don't know how they do it either, but they do - and so does my mom
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I have gone through it. It's a process and there are no quick fixes. The patient is often in denial and resistant to change and treatment. It's a long journey and things may not turn out the way you want. If your dad stopped taking her to her psychiatrist appointments then he is really hindering things. Sometimes the dysfunction is so thick it's difficult to get through it. Your dad may be in some way empowered by this behavior of your mom.

Between the two of them refusing treatment for her condition, I'm not sure what you expect to be able to do.
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Sadly it sounds as though they are complicit and co-dependant on each other as this has been going on so long.
Agree with the other very sensible advice given here, you don't need to be a part of this.
This might be a little shocking, but would you involve yourself in the more intimate parts of your parents marriage? try to see this behaviour as a private part of Their relationship and it might help you to give yourself permission to back out of your current involvement.
Good luck, and having backed off, give yourself a break if you temporarily fall back into old patterns.
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