My mother won't reason with me. What can I do? - AgingCare.com

My mother won't reason with me. What can I do?

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My mother now lives with me but doesn't trust any of my decision making. I am in my 70's. She is 93. She won't get rid of anything. Her bedroom is filled with clothes that don't even fit her anymore. I mean clothes piled. It is so very hard to move around in that room. Moving her into my home meant I moved all of my things in and most of her things in.

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to jeannegibbs, yes she was always this way, but not so ugly about her entitlement as she is now at 93. The room is very small with all of her BEDRM. FURNITURE SHOVED IN IT. I am trying my best to keep it all together emotionally for her and myself. I love her regardless.
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Hoarding. From what the staff at mthr's memory care home says, most of the elders do this in some form. The real problems are the ones who were hoarders before dementia set in, like my mthr. She'd take every magazine in the whole facility and put them in her room. You can't put garbage from her room and expect it to stay in the bag, even dirty Depends - she hides them somewhere until you smell them!

We sneak things out! Throw them out the window if need be! And deny any knowledge of the deed. Fire safety and fall prevention are the most important aspects of her life right now, and you are the competent adult whom this falls upon.

Don't let her know you threw anything out, and if she cries, so be it. It's like a little child - you make them get the temporary pain of a shot to prevent the big pain like a disease.
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Did Mom act entitled as you were growing up? Is this attitude new since the onset of her mental impairment? How about the hoarding of clothes? Is that fairly new? Poor dear has damage in her brain now -- logic and reason probably isn't going to win the day.

Is her bedroom the only room she hoards in? Is there any way you could improve the sanitary conditions in there without insisting on massive removal? Could you bring in inexpensive clothes racks and hang things? Maybe make a game of it. "You have such lovely clothes! Let's arrange them so you can enjoy looking at them. You have a lot of yellow things -- should we put them together on on rack?"

(I am absolutely not claiming expertise in this area. None! I'm just brainstorming based on dealing with dementia.)

Try to get into her world. Try to show that you value what is important to her. You didn't say there are unwashed dishes among the piles, or dirty plastic bags, or moldy bread. If it truly is "just" her clothes and only a hazard because they are spilling in piles, then MAYBE she would be willing to let you/help you tidy it up, especially if she gets attention and pleasant interactions with you as you do it. "Mom, I didn't realize you had so many scarves! Some of these are awesome! Can we put them in a clear plastic box so we can see them altogether? And could I borrow a few? I'd love to wear something of yours!" ... "Mom, I remember when you wore this to Peggy's wedding. I think you were the prettiest guest there!"

Try to show respect for what she values. I'd say absolutely put you foot down if she starts "collecting" things in other parts of the house, but try to let her enjoy her stuff in her own room, while gently getting it organized better and more manageable.

You don't need this hassle in your 70s! Goodness, when do you get to enjoy retirement and your own golden years? But bless you for doing your best with your mother at this difficult time in her life.

Wouldn't it be nice if you could turn her obsession with clothing into a bond between you instead a constant source of friction?
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You are right, she will not reason with you! You can't reasonably expect her to any more, unfortunately. You just have to do what is reasonable in the kindest way possible. Bless you both!
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I would start having two or three pieces of too-small clothing "disappear" every day. Gradually enough so that she wouldn't notice. Keep the top of the pile the same, just take stuff out from the middle of the pile when she's in another room. If she has dementia (and you say she does), logic will not be something she exhibits. So you have to find workarounds that won't cause arguments and upset.
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I meant to say I moved all my things out so that her things were moved in. She acts as though I owe her this.
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My mother was like this also. She refused to get rid of anything. Luckily she didn't live with me. But I did have to get the place cleaned out once cause of fire hazzard. I didn't tell her ahead of time and most of the stuff was in the basement where she couldn't go. She was on a walker. But she could yell and argue.
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Take your mother to see a geriatric psychiatrist or neurologist for evaluation of her mental status. Write out what you are observing about her behavior.

If she had dementia, you won't be able to reason with her.
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Piles of anything attract bugs. So wash them and put them in plastic containers in the attic or basement. Live like a bug, live with bugs.
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