My Mom lives with us now for almost two years and informed us that she will NOT ever stay alone at night. What to do? -

My Mom lives with us now for almost two years and informed us that she will NOT ever stay alone at night. What to do?


She insists that we call her whenever we will be gone after sundown. When we return, say an hour or so afterwards, she is angry and ignores us completely, that is until I serve her dinner in her room! I'm exhausted and feel completely depleted and robbed of my normal life.

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Your house, your rules. She does not get to tell you when you can go out or when you have to be home.

BUT ... she does not sound mentally healthy. So, still maintain your rules, but try to also help her with her mental status. This may be a signal that something is changing, and having her evaluated medically would be a good idea, so you know what you are dealing with.

Can you agree to call her or tell her when you will be out late? If that gives her some reassurance it might be worth the inconvenience. I'm NOT suggesting that you stay home every evening, but if you can make it more palatable for her by calling that would be kind. If it doesn't help, drop it.

Does Mom usually eat alone in her room? If not, don't cater to her when she is in a snit. I would think being ignored by her for a while would be a relief!

If she truly cannot stay alone, then she needs to live in a place where she will never be alone, such as assisted living.

I am hoping that uncovering and treating the underlying medical problem (such as depression) will turn things around.
Helpful Answer (1)

She's developed a fear of the dark and is finding it unbearable...finding it hard to forgive you for inflicting it on her, and due to cognitive decline with the loss of empathy an dability to keep things in perspective, sees it that way instead of realistically seeing the burden it imposes on you! Can you think of anything that would help her with that fear?
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I would look for other things that could indicate a change in her mental status. It could be more than her being demanding or unreasonable. Sometimes dementia can start out in odd ways.

My loved one began to act very controlling and demanding when I was staying with her after she broke her foot. She would get extremely worried and anxious if I was home 5 minutes late or after sundown. Upon my arrival she would go on and on about how she worried over me and how she was so scared I was hurt. It was quite over the top, but as it progressed into other areas, I realized it was the dementia. She was also overly worried over her cat. It could be your mom is overly worried over you and that's why it upset her after it gets dark and you aren't home.

I might take note of any other changes and bring it up with her doctor. It could be depression, anxiety, or something else.
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You need to sit down with her, and talk about your and her concerns. You are a team; she isn't the star; you aren't the water boy. Your concerns matter as much as hers. If she doesn't want to be alone, ask how she will arrange that because you need to go out occasionally. Put the onus on her not you. Be open to her concerns, but emphasize your needs. Try to find common ground. If she wants to pout and make your life a living h*ll, then a nursing home is in her future. Explain to her your burnout, and its consequences.

I find going to a shrink to be very helpful. He explains my Dad's concerns, and how to handle it. Mostly he keeps me from upsetting the balance, by insisting I pay attention to my needs also. Good luck
Helpful Answer (5)

Just read your profile and some of your other posts. Consider taking mom to see a geriatric psychiatrist; she could have untreated depression/anxiety and might be helped by medication.

Taking care of an otherwise healthy person shouldn't rob you of your life; just your privacy, your ability to go where you want to when you want to, talk on the phone without someone else listening, eat when you want to. Oh wait, that IS life. Why is Mom living with you? What socialization does she get? I'll bet she's bored silly not having any peers to talk to! Take her to day centers if she can't afford assisted living or independent living.

Also, please talk to a psychiatrist yourself and make sure you're not suffering from depression, which is SO treatable! Make some appointments TODAY!!!
Helpful Answer (6)

Have you suggested a social day program to her? I know the subject may be 'touchy' at first, but maybe she is just frustrated with aging- and some socialization just might do the trick. Or, maybe you could suggest hiring a companion to visit with her in the afternoons. Something to draw her aggression away from you so you can enjoy your time with her.
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Does your mom have dementia? Could this be sundowning? If this is a change in mental status it should be reported to her doctor.
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It is your house. You make the rules, not her. If she can't live by your rules and let you live your life, then she needs to go to assisted living or to a nursing home.
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