My Mum won't accept that she needs help. What can I do? -

My Mum won't accept that she needs help. What can I do?


Housework isn't getting done, deliberately missing hospital/doctor appointments, walking is just a shuffle tends to veer of to one side, as with driving the car. Not much in fridge or freezer, messy cupboards, confusion, forgetfulness, bank/money mix ups, writing worse, wont meet up anywhere cancels when I arrange to meet, paperwork pulled out of boxes, wears same clothing. Gillian

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OK, time to step up and take charge here before something bad happens.
Clearly mom is not able to care for herself anymore, and what you list sounds a lot like some kind of dementia is taking place. Nobody tells us this day will come, but it does and most people have no idea what to do. We aren't ever supposed to counter our elders.....except when they are not making safe decisions.

She needs to be seen by a geriatrician come heck or high water. Not a family GP who isn't trained on matters of aging.
There may be a referral to a neurologist for imaging & tests.

My mom went through this too. My personal growth moment was having to overrule what she said and get the right thing done anyway, even if it made her mad. Just tell her something/anything to get her in the car. Don't be totally transparent about what's going on. You will be forgiven.

The Blame Obama Ploy:
Hey mom, the insurance (or government) said you have to go in for a checkup.
I don't know why, you just do. Thanks Obama.

The Ice Cream Offensive:
(Don't explain anything ahead of time to her. You have already sent your observations & concerns in to the doctor ahead of time.)
Hey mom, let's go get some ice cream. (Drive to the doctor's building.) I'm going to pop in to this office now and you should come with me. We will get ice cream after.

It helped my mom if *I* didn't try to address things with her. I let the doctor do the dirty work, ask the hard questions, and deal with her showtiming, flirting, and evading the question. But he saw through it and had her number anyway.
It was a beautiful thing.

If I had tried to do any kind of intervention with my mom and confront her deficiencies, she would have battled me to the death - literally.

You have to be more clever than the problem to accomplish what must be done for her safety and wellbeing. I was a shy gal before all this happened and it has really made me a much more assertive person these days.
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She's not at *what* stage yet? Would it be worth suggesting that the point of going to the doctor is to help prevent her from getting to "that" stage? I'd also want to ask her if she is afraid that one particular thing is wrong that she'd rather not find out about - it could be that things are not nearly as bad as she is imagining, if she turns out to be dreading the worst. Is she afraid that she is going blind, for example?
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How old is Mom and does she have dementia? It sounds like she does. There are basically two ways to deal with her. Do the best you can by fibbing, cajoling her into doc appointments, getting help to clean the house etc. If she just plain won't cooperate at all then it will probably take some sort of crisis to get her to a doc or ER. She sounds like my Dad, to him everything is just fine, don't need no help or doctors, but the reality is things are falling apart.
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So, you make an appointment. You show up on the day of the appointment to take mom "out". You stop at the doctor's office. There are treatments for glaucoma these days, but if she doesn't get them, it will advance more quickly.

I sometimes used the line "mom, you're too smart to act this stupidly".
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One problem with that she wont admit anything is wrong, says she's not at that stage yet so wont got to a doctor?? She's cancelled all her hospital appointments re glaucoma check ups for just over a year now
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When was the last time she saw a doctor? Can you take her? That's really the first step; you going with her to the doctor and letting her/him know what's going on. If she won't let you come in to the examination room, write out a list of problems that you are observing and give them to the receptionist when you sign in for the doctor to review before you mom is seen
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