Mom wants to keep living alone despite her Alzheimer's and osteoporosis. What should we do?

Follow
Share

My husband asked me to post this for comments. His Mom is 88 and quite active. Has mild/moderate Alzheimer's. Insists on living along. Forgets that due to osteoporosis she is not supposed to climb on ladders, pick up large and heavy objects etc. Keeps hurting herself and breaking more vertabrae. Her doctor is of the opinion to let nature take its course since she fights tooth and nail with anyone (doctor, lawyer, her only son) who might suggest anything. Always a no.
And since you are not supposed to try to reason with a person with dementia, what do you do?
Her viewpoint is "leave me alone. I am not hurting anyone."

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
22

Answers

Show:
1 2 3
I think you have to appoint (PCA) personal care assistance they give a proper care to your mom.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Wyndie - gr8 answer, l agree it's about stepping up to the plate when someone is impaired. However, a couple of times you say " dementia is a form of Alzheimer's" but it is actually the other way around: Alzheimer's is a form of dementia... :-)
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Skinona: Your husband is hiding from reality. Most men do not like confrontation and his mother will give him confrontation....she is vocal...he doesn't want to hear it. He is not capable of making any decision and therefore is doing nothing. He may live 200 miles away from her for a reason, to "escape."

He cannot continue to live like an ostrich with his head buried in the sand. He is not helping his mother and his lack of doing anything will eventually cause problems between the two of you and honestly it isn't fair to the friends who are "looking in on her" to basically be her caregiver when that is her children's job.

My mother and I received a call from a relative that wanted us to come and help take care of her mother when she was ill on 3 different occasions. We drove over 350 miles each time and stayed to take care of my Mom's sister until she recovered. Now this relative was the daughter and she lived right next door to my aunt, and my aunt was married and her husband was fine, but we were called 3 times to come and care for her. My cousin said she could not quit her job and be at home to care for her mother, she needed the money. On the third trip my aunt finally died, the day after returning home from the hospital......my cousin retired from her job two weeks later.

My cousin did not want to be responsible for her mother, but she had no qualms about pulling my mother and I away from our homes, husband and children to care for her mother, who lived next door. I loved my aunt but I don't consider this fair.

If your MIL has only mild dementia then I might let her stay where she is for a while, but you both need to go and stay with her each month, so you can determine for yourself how she is doing. Just by calling you will not know if she is forgetting her medication, is she doing things dangerous to her health, is she in danger of burning her house down, how long is her memory, how is she handling her money, is she eating.....these things and more can only be determined by you while you spend a few days with her each month. You MUST see how they cope and handle their daily lives for longer than 10 minutes.

If you choose not to act on moving her now, begin to figure out what you are going to do down the road because her condition will worsen and she will need your help. Dementia is a form of Alzheimer's and sometimes it progresses slowly and sometimes it goes quickly, you will not know until it happens. My mother's began slowly and is building momentum with each passing day.

Your husband needs to go to an Alzheimer's Group in your area to gain insight into what we are all facing on a daily basis. He needs to face reality, but he needs the facts as to what this disease is and how it works. My mother can still argue up a blue streak but her memory lasts 5-15 minutes and is getting shorter by the day. Just because they can still make some sense in arguing does not mean they are okay, he is kidding himself. My mother believes the dog should be fed 25 times a day and will argue the reasons why, but is that normal behavior? Believe me there are days that I have wondered if my mother was just "putting on" or if I was the crazy one, everyone has felt this way at one time or another. I have an uncle that use to yell at his wife to "snap out of it!" The problem is they can't, it is part of the disease.

By the way you asked if dementia was catchy. Alzheimer's does run in families, it runs in mine. Dementia is a form of Alzheimer's. My grandmother had 2 sisters and the female children of these two sisters (6) all died of Alzheimer's and now my mother and her cousin presently have it, so your answer is kind of yes, it can run in families. Also it is known that some high blood pressure medications and some antacid pills (probably a ton of others) are known to cause Alzheimer's. My ex husband is currently taking one and I already notice a change, but his doctor has convinced him that the information is wrong, so he keeps taking it and he is 60.

I don't think your husband probably has dementia or Alzheimer's at this time but I do think he is overwhelmed and he probably does need you to step in and help him make a decision on what to do. He needs to be educated on the illness and he needs to see it in action with his mother.

You sound gentle and loving and it is wonderful that you tell her you love her and will do everything you can to make sure she is okay. Just make sure that she has a Trust and have her sign a Power of Attorney NOW. Let her know it is for future use only if it is needed. If you don't you will have MAJOR problems in the future and will have to seek to become her guardian or conservator which is long, difficult and very costly!!

Also you really need to find out about the broken vertebrae....a friend's mother has become bedridden due to these breaks and my sister currently has two that have had a cement embedded into them. This can cause paralysis and is nothing to mess with.

God Bless you all on this journey!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Part of the issue is that my husband is behind on the progress of the disease. For instance her dr gave her directions for obtaining stool samples to make sure her anemia is not from a gi bleed. I told my husband no way can she do this. And he yells at me saying I am being unfair and not giving her a chance. Well, she's done it wrong twice now and we are on to the 3rd attempt. We live almost 200 miles away and make weekly trips to care for her. She has friends who look in on her when we are not there. We both have to work and are over 60. I have said I will not intervene in his decisions, but it seems the more time he spend with her the more out of it he gets. I sometimes wonder if dementia is catchy. It is not that we would not have her live with us, but that she refuses. I do not believe my husband would ever have her declared incompetent. I just keep reassuring her that I love her and that I will do my best to make sure she is ok. My husband still tries to "get her to understand." Lots of fighting. He thinks that because she can still argue, she has the ability to reason. I just stay home when I can't take any more.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I live what you are going through....I however moved in with Mom along with my daughter and later my other sister as well. Since we were divorced there was no problem with this. The problem is with us the caregivers, we believe that we should let them continue to make decisions, when they are NO LONGER CAPABLE OF MAKING SOUND JUDGEMENTS. Depending on how bad your MIL's Alzheimer's is you may need to step in and take over for her own good or let her go for a while. In the beginning my mother was still able to do for herself and she worked in the garden and painted the house, etc. but as time has progressed and there is absolutely NO WAY she could or should live alone. She has left pots on the stove until the pans burned, she was giving away her money to everyone that called on the phone, she could not balance her checkbook, and she just makes bad judgement calls including feeding the dog 25 times a day (her obsession).

I have a problem with what the doctor said....To basically let it run it's course. Although that would be easy to just walk away and let her either live or die, I could not live with myself, knowing she is mentally deficient and I was going to just ignore it. If she falls and dies so be it.

My mother was/is very vocal, yelling at us that she is alright, she has no problem, she can live on her own and we all need to get out and leave her alone. We no longer listen, because we know the truth, we know her memory lasts from 5 to 15 minutes and she is basically in a new world again. She has heart arrhythmia and use to be able to feel it when it kicked up but she can no longer feel it so we have to take blood pressure and pulse daily.

The truth is when Alzheimer's kicks in, they still believe they are okay, they do not realize how bad their condition is becoming, because the condition leaves them without their memory to know what NORMAL was. This is when children have to step in and have the argument that will ensue but you have to be strong and know you are doing this for their benefit even though they don't see it that way.

You have essentially become the parent, now would you walk away and leave your child alone in this condition?

If you do not want her to live with you then see about a facility. You can sleep with a clear conscience that you have done everything you can to keep her safe.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

skinona, my Mom was the queen of stubborn. She was living alone with dementia in the early stages, putting freezer things in the fridge, vice versa, burning things in microwave, hanging paper towels to dry and putting ice cream under her bed so no one would take it. She refused to come live with me, refused to even open the door to anyone but me. She was happy alone, managed somewhat to live independently but talking to her about "my burden of worrying about her falling" didnt click. Nothing was going to happen in her in her mind. To pull her away from the home she loved and her routine would have been devastating so the burden became mine. Her doctor said if she is happy home, then so be it, if she falls she falls but at least she was happy. He felt if we pulled her out of her home, she would die of broken heart depression ailments anyway going right down hill. She would never want to burden anyone, but I knew she needed help. I was working fulltime 2 towns over, had 3 children and a husband, and would go into the bathroom at work and call her pretending I just wanted to say hello just to see if she took her pills. Long story short, I ended up calling her 5 times a day just to "say hello , joke joke." If she didnt answer her phone I called again and if she didnt answer a second time, I raced over there. I ended up going there every saturday and saying I hated to shop alone, and would she go with me. (lie lie). It became our day out to the stores and for groceries and a great way for her to walk and get her exercise in stores. Once home I would clean up, watch her sort her pills, take laundry home to do, etc. Each month I ended up doing more and more for her and then the dreaded day came. She fell. Her neighbor saw her outside and called me and the ambulance. (by the way, I previously gave all the neighbors a typed up paper explaining moms condition and my phone number, which came in handy!)
Mom had a broken hip and came to my house to recover because none of my siblings would commit to help at moms house. Within 7 weeks my Mom forgot she had a house and thought my house was hers, problem solved. I ran back and forth and called millions of times for over 5 years and shes been living with me now for over another 5 years, now in severe dementia.Near the end of her living at home I did talk her into getting "meals on wheels" delivered and it was just someone to drop by daily and bring a meal too.
If I had known what I know now about surveilence cameras, I would have had them set up in her house so I could watch her on my computer to check on her. Its a very long road but for what its worth, I rather have her here, safe and with the best of care under my roof, then to travel to her in a nursing home or her home, I love her here so much, despite the hard work. Best of luck to you.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Tough situation and I've been thru, and still going thru same. Everyone has given you lots of options. My mom is 90 with dementia and chooses to live alone. We had 24/7 in home help (caregiver agency with CNAs) but it didn't last and she fought it at every turn. Her living alone with no help and no outside interaction is less than ideal, but she wants it this way. I've made decision to leave her be at this point and unfortunately, once there is a crisis, health, etc and she goes into hospital, we will force her to a dementia care facility near us. I didn't want to take her to court to force and she has been very vocal and resistant.

We have to remember, seniors have the right to make poor choices even if we don't agree unless they are in imminent harm...and that can be difficult to prove legally. I've neen there.

I would try to make her home as safe as possible, grab bars, extra lighting, stair tread safety, remove ladders, etc, rearrange cabinets so everyday items easy to reach and maybe life alert if she will have it...other than that, you will need to respect her decisions unless other health officials can convince her otherwise.

She's lived a long independent full life hopefully and she has a right to continue that as long her health isn't intErfering with your life ( she isn't calling you, or you don't have to take care of her when she breaks something).
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Can you shift the focus from "living alone" to "staying in your home?" With my dad I had to use the line "having someone live with you is how we're going to make sure you can stay in your home." You might need to say "if you break a leg, you will no longer be able to stay in your home." Now that my dad has 24-7 supervision in his home, he is gradually accepting help with all sorts of tasks he claimed he didn't need help with. Best of luck!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Thank you Paulaeagerton- I did not know a system like this exists. I am testing my husband every day to see if he can manage 5 days while I travel to Mexico for dental work next month. Day 1 - went out to feed the geese (4), ducks (11), pigeons (too many), told him to fix breakfast like I was gone, came back inside, he was eating and the gas burner was still on! I immediately turned it off, told him about it and he said he didn't leave it on. Waited three hours, told him he left the burner on, and he said, "I won't do that again." Next day, we discussed leaving the burner on, and he said he didn't do that. I asked him if I bring someone in to cook dinner for him will he like that? No. The dog who is the Alpha dog wouldn't like it either. I have to get these implants finished so I can chew and taking the pets (3) & him with me is not an option. I will check out GrandCare and see if it would work for us. Thanks!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Have you had a talk with her where you try to scare her?

If she's like my father, she might say that she's not afraid of death. Worse for her would be to fall and lie there for hours, unable to call help. Tell her if she accepts help now, she WON'T break a hip and will still be somewhat independent, but if she does break a hip, it will mean a wheelchair or bed for the rest of her life. Remind her she can't be guaranteed of dying, and can almost be guaranteed of greater disability WHEN she falls and hurts herself badly.

There's no reason to be tactful at this point.

It's a very tough situation. Good luck.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

1 2 3
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.