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Background: I just discovered my birth mother in 2017. I knew immediately that something was wrong. She lied to me from the minute we met. She was not able to follow instructions when she was trying to help me on my job. In 2018, I was able to get her diagnosed. She has dementia, but she still works. I had to take her car away – Her doctor did this. I also believe she has other mental illnesses. I am certain that she has learning disabilities and ADHD. She is very active and she still works. She does not believe she has dementia. She has anger outbursts that include trying to jump out of a moving car and she often threatens that she’d rather be dead. I would like to help her, but I don’t feel that it would be safe for either of us, to take her into my home. She is to advanced for assisted-living and I don’t want her to lose her dog going into a nursing home. She is living alone right now, but that is not good. Fortunately or unfortunately, she is still functioning at a level where people don’t realize that she has dementia. She has all of the classic behavior: repeating stories, losing things, lying, getting stories wrong even if she’s not purposefully lying, and paranoia that people are stealing things from her. Her anger outbursts are the hardest thing for me to handle and I have felt that I have been in life threatening situations when I am driving her on a highway and she’s trying to jump out. At one point I was holding her seatbelt for over an hour until we got to our destination. Another time, I had to hold her seatbelt, she was able to get my hand to her mouth and bit my finger and permanently injured it. Advice?

Memory Care sounds like what she needs. And some Memory Care facilities will allow pets.
If when you are driving she tries to jump out or hurts you you should immediately pull over and call 911. Tell them that the passenger is hurting you as well as trying to harm herself.
Once she is in the hospital you can talk to a Social Worker about option that are best for all involved.
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Reply to Grandma1954
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AlvaDeer Oct 18, 2019
I kind of like this plan. It kills several birds with one stone. Mom would get evaluation, and after an EMS ride to the hospital likely be 5150 ed for evaluation. What good thinking, Grandma!
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Yes, next time she acts out (which sounds like it is everyday) take her directly to the nearest ER and insist that she be admitted for psychiatric evaluation.

tell them everything you said here. And also, that she tried to jump out of a moving car. She is most definitely a danger to herself.
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Reply to Katiekate
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Um. Apart from her being your birth mother, do you know much at all about this lady's history? And if not, is it a good idea for you to be taking responsibility for her as much as you are doing?

If in fact you're looking at a person with decades of mental ill health behind her, then you need a certain level of information, expertise and informal training/education to keep her, yourself and everybody else safe.

Do you have her permission to access her medical records?
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Reply to Countrymouse
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Why are you putting your life in danger?

My mom tried to grab the steering wheel from my husband...once.

From there on in, we used medical transport, not our cars.

This person's needs far, far outweigh what you can or should provide. She needs professional care. Call APS, the Local Area Agency on Aging or 911 if she is threatening suicide.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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My "Dad" adopted me after marrying my Mom. He was the only "Dad" I knew from the age of 1. Mom was willing to tell me the name of my "real" father but I chose not to know. Why, he had known about me and chose not to have a relationship or support me. I know, Moms side but my Mom never lied to her children. My "Dad" was one of 8 so I was surrounded by Aunts, Uncles and loads of cousins. I was treated no differently than the rest. So, I never had the erge to look. I also felt that I might not like what I found and would not be able to back step.

You owe this woman nothing. There is a reason why she chose to allow u to be adopted. Sounds like she may have had challenges that kept her from raising a child. What u need to do is find her help. Call the APS and explain the situation. So let the state take over. They are in the best position to get the ball rolling and get thru the red tape. She gave up her rights to u long ago. And if u have adoption papers, you gave up ur rights to her too. There is no loyalty here.

If you happen to have her in your car again, put her in the back seat on the passenger side. Put the child safety locks on the door and window. You can open the door from the outside but shd can't.

So sorry, but you may just have to walk away once you get Mom help. There is really no bond between you. The most you could be to her is a friend. At this point, I doubt if she could love anyone.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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I met my birth family in 2000. My birth mother had died about 7 years previously, taking the identity of my birth father with her to the grave. I have 6 half-siblings, all in one state of mental illness or another. The truth is, I almost had a nervous breakdown when I opened the Pandora's Box and ALL this information came rushing at me. I grew up as an only child with my adoptive parents, so to find 6 siblings was quite a shock. I flew out to meet them and we had a 'reunion' of sorts. I still maintain contact with one sister, but that's about it.

I was happy to 'become real', finally, which is what I call finding one's identity. I felt no real connection to these siblings, having not known them my entire life. I decided to cut off contact with them shortly after we met. I made that decision to preserve my OWN sanity and functionality. As it was I had to go on anti-anxiety medication to be able to cope with the entire situation.

You may have to tell your birth mother that you enjoyed meeting her and that you wish her well. And then disengage. You don't 'owe' her anything, really.............but you DO owe yourself peace and happiness. Her needs are WAY out of the realm of what you should be dealing with. She needs placement in a facility that can handle dementia and mental illness.

Best of luck
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Reply to lealonnie1
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Takincare Oct 25, 2019
Wise answer from someone who's been there done that. This situation will only drag her down.
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I would say that car trips are no longer a possibilty due to the danger it represents.
I agree with you that her moving into your home should not be an option now or in future.
At this point it is uncertain how much of this is mental illness and how much of this is dementia? It is presenting as either/or. Is she on medications for mental illness. Has she seen a neuro psychiatrist? Would she do so for a definitive diagnosis?
In all truth, you have known this woman for two years, and those years have been nothing but traumatic and problematic. I do not see that you have an obligation to her. I myself would not be assuming any legal or financial or POA responsiblities for this woman, who may have decades left in which to impact your life very negatively.
What other support systems does she have? If none, you might consider assuming the role of "friend" or "acquaintance" in this, because legally that is what you are.
I am so sorry that this has been the outcome of finding your birth mother. Do you, yourself, have the good support of family? Wishing you luck and hoping you will update us.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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Do not take her in the car. It is extremely dangerous for both of you.
Learn from the previous drive with her, please. She sounds quite unstable. You are taking on way too much that is out of your control. She need professional help asap. I do not understand with her state of mind, how she is currently working. This needs to be addressed now, and decisions have to be made by the professional. She should not be alone in her present state of mind. I would have her transported to the ER and have her evaluated both by the ER physician and a psychiatrist. They might admit her for observation, or inpatient and then Social Service would get involved. It would be a quicker way of getting the help she needs.
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Reply to earlybird
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I agree with Emma. Your mother gave you up so give her up. Don’t feel guilty. You don’t need to take care of her. She needs to be in a nursing home and you care for her dog or find someone who will.
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Reply to elaine1962
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Whoever used the term “Pandora’s Box” was spot-on. You found your birth mother, fine. Take the advice wisely given here and UN-find, her STAT! Run, don’t walk, away from this mess. She gave you up, so now you need to giver HER up before she flat ruins your life.
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