My mom won’t let me leave her side for more than five minutes before she panics that I have left her. What do I do? -

My mom won’t let me leave her side for more than five minutes before she panics that I have left her. What do I do?


I’m new to caregiving. My mom was living on her own. She fell prey to a neighbor who almost wiped out every dime she had. When I reported the neighbor to elderly abuse hotline and they interviewed my mom, she showtimed very well and they told me that she was fine and she could make all of the bad decisions she wanted to. My mom wouldn’t speak to me for a year and a half. She showed up on my doorstep Christmas eve night wondering where everyone was. I took her home and stayed with her. My mom also has Ulcerative Colitis and I found that she was passing an extreme amount of blood. She has been in and out of the hospital since. Now she is living with my husband and I. She won’t let me leave the room. She starts calling for me, even at night. I am sleeping in a chair next to her and she still wakes up all night long calling for me. As soon as I say I’m there, she goes back to sleep. I’m exhausted and I can’t get anything done, including a shower, unless my husband sits with her and constantly tells her I’m in the shower and will be right back. When I come back she cries and asks me where I’ve been. What I want to know is, is there any way to wean myself away from her without causing her a great deal of distress?



I have found in many situations that copious notes will help the doctor/contractor/insurance company/whatever realize that you are not exaggerating. You might want to keep a notepad with you and not every time your Mom wakes and asks for you, at least for a couple days. You might even take a video to document what is going on.

Make sure the doctor (whether GP or specialist) has this documentation before he meets with your Mom. You are more likely to be taken seriously. You might also show it to family members who are resisting change.

You definitely cannot keep doing this on your own. I agree with others that it is time to get some medical help.

Good luck!
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to chdottir


You pray you can do this every day... for how many days?

Short term, sure; and I hope you'll have every success in getting your mother more settled and happier after what must have been a frightening, traumatic period for her. She's a lucky lady not only to have a daughter who'll take care of her, but one who'll generously set aside whatever went wrong before.

But medium to long-term? All credit to the power of prayer, but no, you won't be able to do this every day, on your own, indefinitely.

By all means let's draw a veil over your family members' various excuses, but in that case start thinking now about planning your mother's care in the future. You love your mother, you want her to enjoy a comfortable later life, but there's still only one of you and only 24 hours in the day. Be realistic.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Countrymouse

Same here, my mom wants me by her side all the time also.

I am alone, my husband passed several years ago and my children are grown and on their own, so it is no problem for me to be here. I am living at my parents home. My sister is here also with me and my Dad who is very alert, but has physcial problems of his own.

I just want you to know I understand and you are not alone and yes a geriatric psychiatrist can maybe order some meds to help you.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to helpingmom1


Please let us know what happens. Where I live, you have to get a referral to geratric psych from the person's GP, so that's probably your first step. And definitely let them know about the "showtimer's!"

Your's unfortunate they don't want to get involved. Aside from being there for her....for me, watching my grandmother deteriorate was the first occasion in my life that helped prepare me for my own parents' slide. I think I would have found it much, much harder if I hadn't had been through it once with the "safety" cushion my parents in between me and her. :-(
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Reply to Dorianne

Thank you so much for your help! It makes me feel better to know that there are people who I can talk to. I live  in the country and the closest support group is a hundred miles away. Not that I would ever be able to get to it. My children “don’t want to see grandma deteriorate “, so I get no help from them. My sister lives in Florida and hasn’t seen my mom in several years . My husband tries to help; but he is afraid to be alone with her, in case she has to use the restroom, so that just leaves me. I pray that I can do this everyday. Thank you again for your help.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to momsrok

Yeah, this definitely sounds like a serious anxiety disorder, but the good news is it can probably be medicated.

My best friend's mom is starting to get like this, but she is still enough in her "right mind" that she believes there's nothing wrong with her, and refuses to seek help or medication. 
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Dorianne

Geriatric psychiatrist, asap!
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn

My Mom has done the same thing and we started giving her a Xanax at 11 am and she stays calm all day, isn't over medicated, just using a small dose and now I can leave the room without her being fearful that I am not by her side.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Caregiver1929

Maybe it's time to take mom to neurologist or geriatric psychiatrist - fear of being alone is pretty common with dementia
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to MsMadge