Mother refuses to update me on her medical issues. How do I help them when my mother lies to me? -

Mother refuses to update me on her medical issues. How do I help them when my mother lies to me?


My mother tells my brother (who lives out of town) about her medical issues and concerns (such as pain from bad knees, etc) but lies to me ( the only child in her town) and says she is fine. She hides ailments from me, making it very hard for me to figure out the best way to help her and my dad. I want them to be able to stay in their house, but Dad has recently caused a car accident in the day time at an intersection. How do I help them when my mother lies to me?

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Say something like "I want to continue to help, but I cannot continue to if you don't tell me the truth." And dad's driving skills show that they need to move.
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Maybe she wants brother to come visit--and being "sick" might be the only way to get him to pay attention.

Mother used to moan and groan over everything, now she's truly not feeling well, and she doesn't say much of anything. I don't know if it's the slow onset of dementia, or what, she is much nicer to be around now.

She only talks about her health to my brother, with whom she lives. He takes her to all appts and the rest of us kids are left in the dark.

Once in a while I'll ask brother to send a group email about mom's health, sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn't.

You cannot make someone care, if they don't. If brother felt concerned enough, he would come visit. You're there, so why should he come? I'm betting that's his mindset. My DH never sees his mother as he knows his sister 'has' her---and he doesn't call her or visit until guilt eats at him.
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This may only mean they exaggerate their health to brother so he'll come visit and hold back with you because you are on the spot - most likely it is somewhere in the middle - how old are your parents? - do they have other issues like diabetes? -

If you are always on about their health then they may be less likely to share - back off a bit & talk about other things - don't ask 'how are you doing?' but more 'how's your day?' but stay vigilant when you're there - this may sound funny but use the bathroom when you are there so you can check how clean it is as that will give you an indication of how the rest of house is -

Try seeing if they would accept a 1 time Xmas gift of a cleaning crew for all the extras like windows, moving beds to fully clean under & other not daily chores - look into it but say you heard of how someone did this & wonder if they would like it - you could even say you're thinking of getting it yourself
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Wish I could get one of my 2 children to drive me around! I was never a good driver (totaled three cars in my 30s), but it doesn't seem to bother them. Mostly I hit columns in the parking garage at my apartment. I am thinking of switching to ordering groceries online and having them delivered, and using Uber to get to the Senior Center.
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My husband does the same thing. When asked if he’s in pain, he always says “No.”. Then when I change him and have to move him around, he’s grimacing and cussing. He’s had so many tests, seen so many doctors and been poked and prodded so many times, I think he’s just tired of it.
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PrettyTunes, are you sure your mother isn't lying (or exaggerating) to your brother? It would not be unheard of to look for a little sympathy from an out-of-town relative.

Why would your mother keep her health issues private from you? Does she fear that you would interfere in ways she does not want interference? Does she have any grounds for such fear?

I have an email group consisting of my three sisters, a step-daughter, and my best friend. They are my support group for some medical issues I have. My brothers are not on that list. My sons are not. My other two step-daughters are not. Mostly if they ask about my health I say, "I'm fine." or "I've had some blood sugar problems but they seem to be under control now," or something vague. I feel I have every right to share my health concerns exactly how and with whom I choose. Out of my 6 sib, there are 3 I want to share with. Out of my 5 kids, there is 1 I want to share with. There really is no rule, as I see it, that if you are a parent you have to be equally forthcoming with all of your children. And it has nothing to do with the level of love you have for them.

A few months ago I failed to yield on a left turn. The car coming toward me honked and I realized immediately what I had done. Thanks to the other driver's alertness I did not cause an accident, but if there had been an accident it would have been entirely my fault. Yikes! But that does not mean I need any help from my children regarding my driving. It means I need to pay attention! So maybe your dad's accident is meaningful in terms of needing help, but maybe not.

You live in the same town. The best way you can help them stay in their own home (assuming that is what they want) is to visit often. Offer to bring them dinner and eat with them. Drop in unexpectedly, with a batch of brownies. Pick them up and take them to some local event or a movie or out to eat. Don't worry about what they say to you and to your brother. Observe them first hand. Is the house reasonably clean, or are the dust bunnies taking over? When you put leftovers away do you find some science experiments in the fridge? Does Mom grimace when she stands up? Does Dad seem confused a lot? Do they seem to keep up on their hygiene? DON'T make all of your conversations about their health, but casually bring health topics up from time to time. Your observations are probably more valuable than what they tell you.

Then share your observations with your brother. Compare them to what he is hearing. Decide if there is some help you might offer together, or some issue that needs closer watching. Unless you sense that your parents are becoming incompetent to make their own decisions, don't impose your views of their needs on them.

It is so wonderful that you are wanting to help them stay in their home. Good for you to want to help! But also keep in mind that the Boy Scout only gets credit for helping the little ol' lady cross the busy street if she actually wants to cross the street!
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Yes, we discovered that my parents were doing that. I was the one out of state, and discovered the discrepancy when both parents gave me a different story. So I immediately called my brother and asked if he could go over and check out the truth. He lived a mile away, and both parents had told him they had a flu, were getting much better, stay away so he wouldn't get it. He went in, soon called an ambulance for Dad, and took verbal abuse from him. We three decided to be in much more frequent communication. What a difference it made.
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Have you asked your mother why she gives you and your brother different versions of events? E.g. "Mother, Bro tells me that you needed to see somebody about the pain in your knee; and yet when I asked how you were doing with it you told me it was much better. Which is true?"

What I'm getting at is that although the frustration is enough to drive you round the bend and I totally sympathise (for a morally upright woman my mother was a big fat liar when it came to her health) what's important is the facts, and it doesn't matter how you and your brother between you get to them. Getting annoyed with her or engaging in arguments about care will only reinforce her anxiety about giving you information - do your best not to, I know it isn't easy.

So I should start by forming a united front with your brother - which will be easier if he is *not* adopting the "why haven't you done such and such" accusatory approach, is he? - to pin your mother down on realities. When your mother bulls*ts you, take a deep breath, clear your throat, smile sweetly, say "yes, dear" and then reframe the question until you get a credible answer.

Your mother lies to you because she wants everything to continue as "normal" and if you intervene something might change. It's changing anyway, whether she likes it or not, obviously; but as long as nobody does anything about it she can pretend it isn't really. She can tell your brother anything because he's not there.

Don't suppose your parents have got round to considering powers of attorney or anything like that? - please don't say they've appointed your brother, oh God...
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How old are your parents? Did medical condition cause the accident? Many people have them with nothing wrong medically.
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