My mother has dementia and is refusing all help. Any suggestions?

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My 80 year old mother is suffering from dementia but refuses any help from anyone! We have taken her car keys so she is extremely angry with us. She calls repeatedly at all hours of the night. She will forget about it for a day or 2 & then it starts all over again.
Home health is supposed to come in & do an intake but we know she won't cooperate. We hate to go to court for guardianship. We know she will probably never speak to us again after that.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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Get your mother's needs sorted out and start looking into AL, never mind if she 'stops talking to you' or gets angry! Enough, already. She'll soon forget all about it anyway, her brain is deteriorating. Keeping her at home is a worthy goal, we all want to do that for our parents, but the day will come when it will be obvious that she can't stay there alone. In fact, she may not even recognize her own house. (that's what happened to my mother, who had Lewy Body dementia with hallucinations, she would be sitting there watching Judge Judy and say, 'whose house am I in today? Is there a bathroom in this house?' Talk about chilling!) You have to realize you aren't dealing with a logical, intelligent person any more, the one you remember. Sadly, that part is going or gone! You have to do what is best for your mom and not let her yelling or complaining get in the way. Very hard to do, you all have my sympathy.
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Bobbyb,
It's nice that you are concerned about her independence, but with dementia, it's often not like you might think. Independence makes sense and can be appreciated when the person's brain is working properly, but when the brain is broken, independence is more of a fantasy. That independence can cause fires in the house, allowing strangers inside, wandering, eating spoiled foods, mishandling electrical appliances. It's just very dangerous, since the independence often cannot be trusted. Even leaving the person unattended for a few moments can be risky.

All of this also makes the patient very anxious, so their freedom is difficult to enjoy, because they are so scared. That's why they keep calling. They are confused, because things look different and they can't function the way they used to. They don't understand why things don't work and where they misplaced them. Their judgment is gone. It's like leaving a toddler in a house unattended.

Also, keeping a dementia patient in their home is not the key to making them happy. They are often so confused and anxious that they are not happy at all. Many dementia patients are not happy, regardless of where they are living, although medications can really help with that. I do hope things work out and you can get your mom the help she needs.
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My parents had been fifty years in their house and we're both 83 when they went into IL - although pretty ill my father was still sharp and my mom was only beggining to show signs of odd - odder than usual, I should say - behavior. Daddy had a full time caregiver who was wonderful so that did help a lot. But for sure it was probably easier for them than it will most likely be for your mom. Still - you really can't let that deter you if she won't be safe in her house. Putting it off will probably only make it more difficult when the time comes. There are lots of tools and ways to help with the transition and for sure you will be getting the best of the best advice from the experienced, knowledgable folks here to help you. Sometimes I think making a move like this is kinda like having a baby. People say they want to wait until the "time is right". And really, when it comes to making huge life altering decisions some times/circumstances are better than others but overall there is no perfect time and waiting/hoping/ looking for one just may make it harder or mean it may never happen at all.
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Thank you for all the comments & advise. We know that she is probably going to need AL soon. We would prefer to keep her in her own home with some help because I think she would be happier there. My other concern is her becoming disoriented in a new place after almost 40 years in her home.
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The thing with dementia is your mom will forget that she's mad at you, if she's far enough along. My mom will be upset and crying and 30 minute later, she's forgotten all about it.

My mom resisted getting someone to give her meds twice a day (she lives in independent living) until she forgot her coumadin for three days and got a clot in her foot. For those three days, she was telling me she was taking them. I spent time in the ER with her and visiting a vascular surgeon and at that point, I put my foot down and we've had people coming in twice a day since to give her her meds. Sometimes you have to wait for the emergency, like Rainmom said...it's sad, but true with seniors who resist help.
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If mom won't cooperate and you don't want to file for guardianship - pretty much all your left with is waiting for a crisis to happen and then picking up the pieces. I know - that's how it went with my mom - unfortunately.
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BTW, acting like you aren't concerned works with many things -- sleep, exercise, etc. They have to realize that they are doing it for themselves and not to please us. It satisfies their battling nature that way -- we're not the boss of them.
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Bobby, it is a difficult problem. Although someone may actually realize something is wrong, they don't really think there is anything wrong with their thinking. My mother's favorite expression is that she has lived 89 years doing something, so she is going to keep doing it. Another is that she's not crazy and can do things herself. Of course, we know it's not the reality. It is just her fighting about doing things she doesn't want to do at the moment.

I've learned the only way to survive elder outrage is to shrug my shoulders and say that I personally don't care if she takes her pills. It's up to her if she wants her blood pressure to go up. I tell her it doesn't matter to me. When I walk away, she'll take her pills. Maybe it is because she realizes she's not doing it for me, she is doing it for her.

It sounds to me that your mother may need assisted living soon. I am a heavy advocate for assisted living if people can afford it. I'm an in-home caregiver and know dementia is a long and hard road I wouldn't wish on anyone. It is especially difficult with a combative parent who doesn't think anything is wrong with them.

You have my sympathy in what you're dealing with. There is only so much you can do when they refuse to help themselves. Professionals usually hold more sway than family. If you can have her doctor write her some prescription notes about things to do, it may help. For example, if her doctor will write this pill at breakfast and that pill at dinnertime, you can refer her to the note. That way it is what the doctor said and not what you said.

One of my favorite lines when my mother decides she wants to stop doing something is that she'll have to talk to her doctor about that. I tell her that I plan to keep doing what the doctor prescribes until the instructions change. That gets me off the hook and puts it on the doctor.
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Thanks pamzimmrrt. The plan is for Home Health to meet with all of us together at her house for the assessment. We have already met with her doctor with my mom, my brother & myself. She wasn't exactly agreeable but certainly more cooperative at the doctor's office. We agreed that her independence is important to her but we asked her to meet us half way. The concessions were that I would put her meds in a pill minder for her to take. ( Her BP has been sky high & she is confused with her meds) My brother, who lives closer, was going to stop every evening to make sure she had taken them. That was when she, reluctantly, agreed to the HH intake.
Since then she has refused to take the meds in the pill minder & is ticked off because she was "a nurse for 40 years & isn't stupid". She knows how to take her meds!!
She still has enough wits about her to be somewhat logical in her arguments which seems to make it even harder!
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Make sure someone is there with her when home health comes... you can listen in, and if you can;t reply (Mom is listening) get thier card and send them a detailed letter. Or see if you can "walk them out" and talk to them then. Maybe have a note from her Dr verifying her dementia.
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