My mother is in that vortex still where she isn't quite bad enough to be told what to do, but she doesn't take care of herself. What do I do? -

My mother is in that vortex still where she isn't quite bad enough to be told what to do, but she doesn't take care of herself. What do I do?


I am new here so please bear with me. She had a TIA in 09 and she is having terrible headaches and I can't get her to go to the doctor. Everytime we schedule an appt she comes up with a reason why she doesn't need to go...what do I do???? Wait until another ambulance needs to be called? Please, any help is appreciated.



Could you schedule an appointment and not tell her ahead of time? I had to do that with my mom as she got older. I'd just go over, get her dressed (she was best in the morning) and off we'd go. Or take her to a walk-in clinic where you just walk in. Promise her lunch afterward or shopping or something she likes. I also did that with my mom. Good luck and keep us posted.
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Reply to blannie

Call her doctor, explain to them what you did to us and have them contact her for a “yearly exam”. Often the parent thinks that if a doctor wants to see them, then it’s legit. Rolls are being reversed, and sometimes we have to resort to trickery and white lies to protect them.
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Reply to Ceecee65

Dear Sheneedsme,

I know you are doing the best you can for your mom. It is hard to see our parents age and at the same time fail to take the steps to safeguard their health.

My father was also very stubborn. Are you able to find a doctor that will make house calls? Or do you think getting a social worker to come to the house to talk to your mom about your concerns might help. Sometimes family members takes instructions better when it comes from someone else.

I know we don't want to fight with our parents and we only want the best for them. I hope you can find a way to persuade your mom to see the doctor. The one thing I wish I said to my dad was "dad I really love you and want you with us as long as possible." Instead it was this constant battle, but I hope you find a better balance.
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Reply to cdnreader

My dad has had 2 fusions of the neck and has continual headaches. I have gotten him to the doctor, but he never followed the medical regime, saying he was not getting the relief he expected in the time frame he wanted, even though it was explained to him what to expect. I hope your experience is better. I recommend reading (also on audiobook) On Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. Here are 5 questions he says should be discussed to best help our love ones and keep our sanity. 1a What is your understanding of your situation? b What are the best possible outcomes? 2 What are your fears? 3 What are your hopes? 4 What trade offs are you willing to make? 5 What are you not willing to do? 6 What is a course of action that serves this understanding? Knowing her thoughts can guide you to seek care for her, but also get her cooperation. Keep in mind with TIAs this may take a lot of more directected questions. Ex Are you afraid the doctor will find a tumor? Are you afraid it may take surgery? Are you afraid there is no chance of relief?
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Reply to fantasmagorical

sheneedsme, mine is in that same place! Welcome to the site. That is exactly it, I’m so glad you posted this query. I hardly ever post here, and/because I get the daily mailer with questions and there’s almost always one topic or more that helps me. I hope you’ll stay on board!

I was on the crux of making a dentist appt. without telling her in advance, and now I going to do it, thanks blannie! She keeps refusing but seriously needs to go. And like ceecee, I now have two offices that will call her for an appt. when I ask, instead of asking Mom week after week if she’s made an appt. yet. To cdn’s point, your mom’s insurance likely covers nurse visits on some schedule, if her doctor orders it. Mom’s doc is ready to order that whenever I ask... it helps that he has an assistant I communicate with, maybe a lot of docs have that now - she’s not his nurse or tech. And thank goodness because I’d never get through to him.

On this site I’ve learned that some fibbing, sleight of hand, etc., are all on the table because the elder is not thinking clearly. So use whatever method you need to get her in. Good luck!
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Reply to Zdarov

I always found ways to convince my mom to go. Also she was hypervigilant about skin problems so I would say that was why we were going, but while there I would tell the doctor the real problems. He was great and would make a big deal out of her imagined skin cancer, but treat the other problems etc.. There are doctors that will come to the house too. Call the largest Senior Health Center near you for information on that.
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Reply to NightOwl

Just do it. Lead up to the appointment with other fun outings. Go out for a pedicure or manicure together and create some fun bonding activities. Show her your love, so going out to the appointment is just a continuation of that love, not a judgement. But when you go, please keep an open mind and listen to her opinion. Don't make any immediate decisions and do lots of homework around what is discussed at the doctor's office. It may be that she doesn't want to do any kind of intervention and that is why she keeps putting it off. That is her prerogative; however, you can gently remind her that this is a fact-finding mission in order for her to make an informed decision. She needs to know that you support her, not dictate to her.
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Reply to lynina2

Ask there office not to call Mom to confirm appts. This is how she knows you made one. Ask that they take her phone number out and put yours in. Hopefully you have POAs in place. Also, ask that they only call you with test results, etc. Early on Mom would confuse what was said. And yes, it may end up with a hospital visit and even then she'll be stubborn. Good suggestions above.
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Reply to JoAnn29

My mom did the same thing. Last minute - she would say, I'm not going. Cancel it. I wasn't about to carry her into the car and force her to go. It was frustrating, to say the least. Fortunately I was able to get her to go and see a geriatric physician. She told me that I can't really do anything because she wants to do things on her own terms and that I can only do my best, to do what I can do and don't beat myself up or take any blame.
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Reply to earbud

I'm only answering so you know you are not alone.

I would make appointments and the day before I'd get a call from Mom saying not to bother as she'd cancelled the appointment.

I believe in 'free choice' and believed my mother had the right - but basically she committed suicide by stopping all her medicines 6 months before passing. Stubborn doesn't even come close. I can still see and hear her 'proudly!' exclaiming at the doctor's office that she'd stopped all medications 6 months earlier. No one knew. A week later I sat with her as she passed.

Good Luck to you - you are in my prayers.

P.S.  My mother was 82 when she passed, leaving my father in my care.  It wasn't easy as I had to learn as I went - but Dad went on to live another 7.5 years with me assisting him.
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Reply to RayLinStephens

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