Why is my Mother so stubborn about doing normal things?

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Ok, my sister and I decided that mother at 86 was no longer able to stay in her home alone. We split the responsibility by her living with me 21 days and her for the 10 days a month my husband I'd home. She has accepted the situation but is extremely stubborn about such things as taking a shower ( we have both provided shower seats and hand held nozzles as she cannot get in or out of a bathtub). She won't bathe unless we make her and it is always a battle. Then she takes the shortest shower in the history of showers. 3 minutes tops. She refuses to wash her hair more than once a month. Refuses to go to beauty shop to get hair done. Tries to cut her own hair leaving her looking ridiculous. Refuses to use her cane unless constantly reminded to do so. ( she has already fallen once). She has numbness in her feet so she is very unstable on her feet. REFUSES to use a walker. Eats crazy things if we are jot around to prepare her meals. ( eggs and peanut butter together ugh). Wears the same clothes for days on end and doesn't care about her appearance in public. She was always very particular about her appearance and this just floors us!. If we push these issues she pretends her blood pressure is going up and refuses to discuss the situation. She is mean to the great grands and loathes our husbands. Help! I'm at my wits end on how to effectively get her to cooperate!

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Thanks for all the tips. Mother does not have dementia or so her doctor says. We have asked. She is very sharp mentally. Just very stubborn. We did have a loooong talk about a week ago where i told her everything that was bothering us. I reminded her that when i was a child she took care of me and made me do things i didnt want to do "for my own good". I told her how much everyone loved her and wanted to repay her for all that she had done for us by taking care of her. I also told her that since she was not a child that i couldnt turn her over my knee when she misbehaved but that we could move her to a facility where they would make her cooperate. I asked her if she had rather live with people who loved her or with strangers who were only there because of a paycheck? She tried to argue and turn things back around on me as she does but i stopped her and told her that she needed to stop and realize that she was 87 years old, unable to live alone, and needed us. I told her that she was going to have to start cooperating with us and stop making our lives miserable or other arrangements would be made. It was hard to say. But... she is showering and even let me cut and style her hair the next day and since has asked me to roll her hair for her after her showers! She wanted me to get the grands an easter basket and went with me to pick out the goodies. Anyway. Things are better. She is also being more social and actually cooking some decent meals for me when i get home from work. I fix her a lunch for the next day and she's eating better. Maybe she just needed a good dose of reality! Thanks again for ask your replies.
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I've always been a sucker to try new flavor combos, I may very well go down to the store and get me a bag of Fritos because I have a thing of syrup I don't know what to do with since I don't often eat waffles or pancakes (I sleep in late every morning).
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Jeanne! LOL! Maple syrup and fritos?!
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gladimhere, I agree with you about separating the important stuff from the trivial. And also recognizing what is bothering us vs what is bad for the loved one.

Peanut butter and eggs? What's the problem? Sounds a whole lot better to me than maple syrup and Fritos.

She gives herself haircuts? Unless there is a risk of her cutting herself, this doesn't sound like the end of the world. I once to a stack of card with me on vacation that said, "Thank you for your patience. My husband has dementia." Maybe the caregiver here could carry cards that say, "I DIDN'T cut Mom's hair. She did it herself." :) Because sometimes I think what worries us most is being judged by others when we are out in public.

There are waterless shampoo products that the loved one might be willing to try on a do-it-myself basis.

I assume there is a blood pressure cuff in the house. Take her claims seriously. Fuss over her. Let her know you are on her side.

Be glad she uses the cane if you remind her.

Attitude toward family members is probably the Big Stuff. First, make sure all family members understand the nature of dementia. This is a good teachable moment. See if her doctors are able to find some therapies that allow Mom's true personality to come through a little better.

I'm not necessarily advocating continuing the in-home care arrangement. But if you do, Witsend57, try to learn not to sweat the small stuff!
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Just curious, 1RareFind. Have you ever cared for someone with dementia who didn't want to bathe? Did your suggested method work on them? Or is this theory?
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What I was thinking besides the idea of hiding the scissors, try one of those big long padlocks and put all of your scissors on the pad lock and lock it. The lock is just in case she happens to find the scissors, and if she does, they'll all be locked up on the padlock! 😂 Another thing I thought you could do regarding her hair is to make her go to the beautician, or you can actually get some back up reinforcement and actually do her hair, yes I'm saying force the issue. A person with dirty hair is actually more likely to develop some kind of bacteria and even attract bugs. This is what you don't want to happen. Doing her hair may actually be best by picking her up and putting her in the shower and actually bathing her like nursing homes do with people who won't shower. This is actually a form of G.I. bath. I strongly believe more families need to just follow the examples of the nursing homes by doing this. I saw a post where someone spoke about this and I really like the idea because I know nursing homes won't put up with filth. When the shower is over, you can have a big fluffy robe ready after drying the person off so they don't get cold. Another idea is to make sure the bathroom is warm enough. As for confronting this person and them mentioning their blood pressure right during that time, I'm sensing this is just an excuse or even a crutch they use to dodge the issue. That's when you really need to press forward and keep on keeping on.
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My mom was very resistant to bathing and changing her clothes among other behaviors that developed as her dementia progressed. It is actually quite a common occurrence with dependent elderly. Arguing only served to upset us both.
Finally set a firm strategy and schedule. I marked her shower days on her big calendar. At bedtime, when she put on her pajamas, I laid out clothing for the next day and immediately removed her worn clothes to the laundry. On shower nights, I hid her TV remote until she completed her shower. She whined but the strategy worked for quite well.
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I agree with what the others said that she may have some form of dementia. Normal primary care physicians may realize there is dementia, but be reluctant to do anything about it if they've known the patient for a while. If your mother isn't already seeing a geriatrics doctor, I agree with the others that it is time to switch to one.

Your mother sounds a bit like mine. My mother has Diabetes II, hypertension, and vascular dementia. Although she is not very competent, she hates to be told what to do. She wants to eat terrible food when left to her own devices, and she no longer wants to bathe. I've been with her for 6 loooong years now. I've learned to just let things go if they are not critically important. I do feel that she needs to take 2-3 baths each week, especially since she has trouble with urinary tract infections. She'll take one on Saturday with no problem so she'll be clean to go to church on Sunday. I have to remind her of infection to convince her to take a shower at other times.

My mother always knows more than me, so convincing her I know best is not useful. I have to tell her that the doctor or some other expert says to do something. If I act like I know, she'll just assume I'm a dummy and ignore me. :)
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She won't go to get her hair done? She eats eggs and peanut butter? Those sorts of things you really need to let go of. You will wear yourself out and raise your stress level. Learn to pick your battles. You will no be successful at winning everything so concentrate on the things that really matter.

I agree with the other RM and JG. It sounds as if it is time for a visit to a neurologist or geriatric psychiatrist. Very likely dementia of some sort.
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BTW. Witsend, I'm glad you brought this to the top of the list again. Sometimes questions get buried if there are a lot of other questions at the same time.
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