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She's depressed, lonely, scared! She won't eat right, misses meals, can't sleep, is a horder, at the same time a clean freak germaphobe, is argumentative, a complete family gossip, incapable of learning anything new yet resentful that we all have iPods and new phones, drives when she wants to and at other times has to rely others at her own whim. The list goes on and on. I make frozen homemade meals for her each week (she always has plenty of food); we take her out to eat at least 2-3 times a week; she has a First Alert which I pay for yet she doesn't wear it all the time and hides the remote unit in the bottom of her purse; she will not take ant sleeping pills or antidepressants,she won't do her back exercises for her severe back problems (yet I took her to rehab for three months two times a week); her house and paperwork are out of control (stacks and stacks of junk mail which she has a fit if anyone touches it) . She won't let anyone clean for her and the few times doc the adult grandkids did, she talked incessantly about how bad of a job they did. She never feels good except yet she's not dying of anything and catastrophises every little ache and pain. I take her to all her Dr appt and hear exactly what the Drs say and she'll totally make up a diagnoses when telling someone else (Dr put her on the lowest possible amount of oxygen only at night so she might sleep better and now she tells everyone he said she could die without it! When I say she's negative about everything, I mean everything. She loves being around the great grandkids talking about how sweet, smart and adorable they are. But somehow it all slides into either worry about safety or health (and if course no one is raising their kids as well as she did hers) or she thinks the ones who have working moms are "poor little things not getting the right attention". Her constant companion while at home is Fox News (she hears half of the story and makes up the rest) or The Golden Girls (she loves their hairstyles!). My kids just keep telling me to accept what is and believe me I work on it daily! My mom lost her sister three years ago, then her youngest child, my 8 years younger brother of a sudden heart attack almost 3 years ago, then my dad 18 months ago... So I realize she's had major hits in life. She will never, ever, ever leave the house she and Daddy built and to even bring it up makes her fighting mad. She won't allow help or anyone even coming in part time foray reason. She's starting to forget a lot of things but no where near where we could do anything legally. It's just all so wearing on me and I find myself feeling guilty when I do something for myself. I know it's all going to get worse as she fails and I want so much for these years to be happy for her. After Daddy died she was with me and my husband for6 months. That's another long story...she wasn't happy here yet resented it terribly when she went home. She spends the night with me frequently or with another adult grandchild. No attest what we coif never seems enough.

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Dear Laralu,

You are an amazing daughter. I'm so sorry to hear what you've had to put up with. Certainly not easy. I hope you can get some respite. Please try to be as kind and gentle to yourself. Give yourself a break. Its overwhelming when dealing an elderly parent. Thinking of you.
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I just re-read all your posts and sound and compassionate advice. As an update: well, I do try to "distance" myself...more emotionally than physically. I am trying to not respond to some of her negativity however I haven't yet mastered not responding when she says really outrageous things that she is totally making up (I know she's not lying, she's re-inventing her truth and believing it). I have found if I say nothing and don't attempt to correct her or set the record straight, she goes on and on and thinking that she's right, gets upset. OR, if I try to gently suggest that something isn't so, she accuses me of trying to make her thing she's crazy and that I am lying. It's truly the "damned if you do, damned if you don't" conundrum. And dumb ol' me....I don't see it coming until she slams me with something. As an example, the other day we were having what I thought was a rather positive conversation about doing things with other people (she had gone to church by herself and then went into the church hall afterwards for coffee and donuts and struck up a conversation with some people). I was praising her for doing so, even acknowledging that it must have been hard but telling her that if she went back next week, she would already know some people and that's how relationships are started. Well, that all backfired! She launched into an attack that she wasn't like me that she and Daddy had always put their families first and they she didn't need anyone except her family. I then pointed out that having friends was a healthy thing. She responded with another "attack" on me telling me that I had more friends than I knew what to do with (she is resentful that I have maintained contact with people I worked with for years and have lunch once or twice a year with them)...then she REALLY went off and demanded that when she died she didn't want [name of my very best friend for the last 40 years) in HER HOUSE GOING THROUGH ALL HER STUFF!!! This absolutely flabbergasted me and I told her that "of course, I wouldn't have anyone in except family". To which she insisted that I had told her over and over that when she died I was going to just get [Best Friend] in to help me throw stuff away. I wound up defending myself, saying that was just not true and I had never said anything (yes, I know, I should have somehow just told her not to worry that would never happen, but I know that would have not stopped her rant. She would then have asked me why I had said it if I wasn't planning on having [Best Friend] in. She wound up slamming the phone down on me. Later my brother told me she had told him not to let my friend come in the house. He believed her that I had said that! That's the part that drives me crazy. Her re-telling others things that never happened! She mentions surgeries that she's never had or makes minor surgeries out to be extremely serious. So I know my path is not going to get easier. I know I have to only try to mitigate my responses and not take her comments, moods, jealousies and daily dramas to heart. I won't go into being at the hospital all night a few weeks ago for her "heart". It wasn't...but I live in fear the one time I don't take her in, that it will be. My dad had the best attitude and always had a clever way of putting things in perspective. One of his classic comments was: Things go along like this for a while, then they get worse! I guess that's where I am. Thank you all again for your wise and insightful responses. God bless you all!
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My grandmothers both lived alone well into their 90's, very independent and healthy. We SO respected them and I really do understand that some people are "elderly" at 30, some NEVER get there.

Your mom sounds challenging, and I think all of us who have commented feel your pain, in some way. It is a fine line between caring and taking over their lives. We're now moving into the very unpleasant side of caring for Mother..she id becoming alternately rude as all get out, or so sweet you don't know who she is.

Take some time to step back and consider all options. As far as her "issues"--well they are hers and can't be your unless you choose to make them so. That's hard to do and easy to say. I do have to distance myself from my mother. But I have a child who has chosen to distance herself from me, so I know how that hurts..but she has to, to stay sane, I guess. It hurts when you are on both sides of that coin.
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Llamalover47, I think you're way off base with some of your comments. Depending on the person, a 95 year old certainly CAN live on her own and be just fine. Not every older person suffers from dementia, or depression, or hoarding. If you notice signs that trouble you in your elderly relative, such as forgetting people they know well, or not remembering recent events, by all means you can get help. However, don't mistake what you term stubbornness, or not living by your sense of cleanliness, or social awareness, as signs that the loved one needs to move from their home. Let's respect our elders here! I understand one's desire to remain in their own home as long as possible. Can you imagine having lived more than 80 or 90 years, and seeing the changes that have come along in society, and possibly resisting some of those changes yourself? Can you imagine how the one place you feel the safest, the most at ease, the most able to care for yourself, is your own home? I worked hard to keep my mother in her home as long as I could, and when I needed to move her out of it, it broke my heart! Elderly people, even when they are 80 or 90 or 100 deserve our respect!
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Llamalover47

Could be, he did die pretty quick when it was mentioned he was gong to long term care.
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1 RareFind

On some of these Hoarders episodes, the hoarder has also used plastic bottles for urine and/or have crapped on the floor or pile and not cleaned it up.
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JoAnn29: It is quite common for elders to keep junk mail. My poor brother had to go through his in laws' residence after they both deceased. THEY KEPT EVERYTHING! The oldest item he found amongst the junk mail was a Teddy Roosevelt pinback! No joke!
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Lucywinks: The word "consternation" is what I took away from your post. We all certainly know that a 95 year old woman can't control her own life! Good grief! Yes, you needed help for yourself well before you realized it, but thank God you did get it!
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When my MIL was in rehab it was determined she would not return home so her boys and wives started cleaning out her house. The chest of drawers that had been my FILs before he passed, was full of junk mail she had put in plastic grocery bags but didn't throw out. Some of it was cards sent by the Vets, tons of them. Then tose TU gifts from Readers digest and others for being a good customer. Again tons. Found where she had put the samr items away in different places and then buy more of the same thing. Since she lived in Fla and her boys lived in Ga, Miss, and NJ, we didn't see her regularly. Didn't start noticing any changes until the holidays before her rehab in Feb. She wouldn't come live with any of us. She chose to move to Fla away fro family in NJ 20 yrs before. You need to document everything. Then talk to her doctor about getting her evaluated.
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I can relate to your question. I'm the only remaining family member left who cares enough about my 95 year old grandmother to actually be available to her. She insists on living independently and controlling every aspect of her life in spite of herself. I and others including friends and professionals can see that she has needs with assorted aspects of her life, and she resists help. She prefers things her way just as you have explained, as odd as they may be. This may be due to depression, stubbornness, dimentia, confusion or who knows on any given day. It gives all of us anxiety, grief, sadness, consternation, guilt, a range of emotions. I want to see her in the best of circumstances, make the best decisions, the right choices, but due to the reasons above which I am clearly unable to control, I've learned to let go as much as possible. Add to that a difficult relationship with a narcissistic personality, and controlling abusive relationship and I've been walking on eggshells for a lifetime! The good news is that I finally figured it much of it out in recent years and got therapy to understand my relationship with her knowing that I was going to be needed in her later years, and I needed to take care of me. I highly suggest you get therapy to learn how not to let your relative's situation and/or your relative herself control your life. These are important life lessons going forward in many situations and relationships that will carry you forward. You'll have a lot less anxiety. I wish you much luck.
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Okay, Tom Ganley was told he would be murdered, no doubt because he was involved in getting rid of the Ohio Mafia.
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My mom has always been a negative, overly dramatic victim. I struggled with feelings of guilt 3 years ago when I placed her in skilled care, but it was necessary and because I take care of my disabled husband, she could not come live with me. Actually, it wouldn't have been an option even if my husband were well. I agree with the poster who said you need to distance yourself from mom a little. I used to visit my mom 2 or 3 times a week until I found myself becoming so depressed and stressed out by the visits, I now visit maybe once every few weeks. You cannot single-handedly change your mother's lifestyle or demeanor. It's a self-defeating proposition and it sounds like she would resent your interference. You do need to stop over analyzing her behaviors and fretting over her moods because you can't change them. Some people, like my mom, just aren't happy unless they're unhappy.
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73 I mean
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Google Tom Ganley to verify story as being true. He was 74.
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Local car dealer who owned a lot of dealerships in Ohio and FL, solved this issue with his family. He was in the hospital, was headed to Long term care, and died before he got there.
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LaraLu: Your mother is suffering from major depression. Do not allow yourself to HOLD IT AGAINST YOU OR BE DRAWN INTO HER DARK WEB! You have done nothing wrong. Your mother is not "lively, active or engaged," e.g. that was meant to be sarcasm by one of our posters.
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Churchmouse: I really don't believe that this woman is classified as "do nothing and spend a life suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune." She is tremendously mentally ill.
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Laralu,
Depression can cause people to act in very odd ways. I think I might see if treatment for that would help her. And also rule out any other kind of illness, but, if her functioning is as low as you describe, then, I wouldn't just write it off as too early to do anything about it. Because that may not be the case. I would consult with an Elder Law attorney who deals with Competency hearings and get an opinion on what evidence is required. Often, it's not always about memory, but the ability to run your own household, make appropriate decisions, use good judgment and resist being the victim of exploitation. Find out what to look for so you can gather your evidence. You'l have it when you need it. It sounds like she's pretty feisty and may not accept help.

I'm still wondering why you would feel guilty for doing something for yourself. It seems to be a common thing with caregivers. I wonder if it means you are trying too hard. Consider what is reasonable and try to accept what cannot be changed.

A lot of the things that you describe sound like my mom too! I decided to fight the big battles and the rest, I let it go. lol Antidepressants have helped her a lot, but certain things, I don't expect to change.
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If you can afford the time and expense of therapy, go ahead - it can't hurt. But when I was caring for my mother, I simply couldn't add that in to my many other tasks and responsibilities. I found a local caregivers' support group that I could go to once a month that really helped. I went online and joined caregivers's blogs, just to read what other people were going through and how they handled it. These things were do-able for me while still taking care of my mom. They will encourage you to live your life, put a little distance between you and your mom, for her own good and yours, and help you to figure out what really helps her, and what only enables her to be more unhappy and dissatisfied and complaining. You sound like such a caring person, I wouldn't be too worried about not doing enough for her, but about doing too much.
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I have friends who took dad out for movies & dinner & other daughter & spouse went into his home during this time & discovered unpaid bills etc. Might work for you for a start. Wonder if she would notice anyone had been there while she was gone.
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Laralu--
You are describing my mother! How is this possible? Were they twins separated at birth?
I am not trying to be disrespectful--I am saying that you are not alone in this--many of us struggle with a parent's odd (to us) behavior--which is often just their coping skills in action.

And what can you do? Not much. SHE isn't going to change, and yes, we want our mothers to be happy, healthy, etc., and when they don't "cooperate", we feel like we need to step in and make it all right, and we can't. Accepting that mom is changing, life is changing, is hard.
I do see signs of dementia in my mother--but now at least I don't take her rude comments so much to heart. If she wants to live in a hoarded, cramped environment, well, all I can do is makes sure she has a clear pathway to walk. I can only do so much--as you can.

I'd be prepared, mentally, as much as [possible for the inevitable decline, and likely, like my mother, it's not pleasant to think about, but we've all made sure she's got POA established, her affairs are as in "order" as they can be, and we all just go with the flow.
My mother can be the sweetest thing--then turn around in the same sentence and say the most awful stuff about people. I try not to let it bother me--but it's hard.
It does sound like your mom is just being 87 with the problems that come with being 87 and having gone through a lot of bad stuff in a short time. Just be there for her, kind of let the bad stuff slide off you and try not to take it personally. (I'm also talking to myself here). SHE isn't going to change. So you have to. Distance yourself if you need to and take time for yourself. Sounds like she has a lot of care in her life, if she opts to not use it, well----she can do that.
I wish you well!
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I'm not up one problem where the person never leaves the house. Does the person have a hoarding problem? If so, stop being in the way may be the problem if they're trapped in their house due to hoarding. If this is the problem, you may try removing some stuff to clear the path. If this doesn't resolve the problem, you may try calling in a special team that comes and cleans out these kinds of homes. They have a special TV program on this kind of issue and they've had a pretty high success rate. whenever someone's home is completely transformed into a new one, their life is made much easier without all the junk. In fact when I saw one story, everything was put into a huge warehouse. When the person later came back to look at all the stuff that was once in their house, they were shocked at how much was in a very small house. Hoarding can actually be very dangerous in a few different ways, and if this person has a hoarding problem you may actually call on the fire chief to flip his lid. hoarding a little too much can actually be a life threatening risk when a pile of stuff caves in and traps the person underneath. I actually heard of this type of hoarding problem where the junk suddenly collapsed on top of someone, killing them. Hoarding can make it much harder to come and go, and when you're in, it can actually be too hard to get back out so you just stay in. The bad thing about some hoarding problems is the filth build up. Sometimes clean up teams have found animal corpses and even feces as well as rats. I don't recall how they get these people out of their homes for the cleanup, I think they may send them on vacation but not at their expense, but some agency pays for it with round-trip transportation. If the person in question has a hoarding problem, you may actually consider calling a cleanup team for help and have them clean out the problem home. Living in filth is actually a health hazard to not only anyone living there, but also visitors. Depending on the severity, it can also affect surrounding nearby neighbors if there happens to be rats and other wildlife living around the filthy home. The health department would also be of great help as well as the APS. The more helpful resources you can get on the case, the better.

One thing I've noticed when I was younger is when people start using their bathtubs or showers for storage. I guess I really didn't connect the dots much when I was younger, but when the bathroom starts getting too full to really use for its intended purpose, that's a problem. When you see these kinds of bathrooms, you realize the person in question may not be bathing well and you can only wonder how they're keeping clean. There are various signs to look for when an elderly person is in trouble, and the bathroom is definitely a sign.

Another sign to look for when an elderly person is in trouble is an overgrown lawn. It may be something as simple as either not having a lawnmower or the blades not being sharp enough to mow. It may also be that they probably just need some help mowing because maybe for physical reasons they're just not able, we never know until we check into it.

Another sign to look for is piled up newspapers and other mail, this is a telltale sign someone's in trouble.

Be aware that people who are secretly not eating well may wear baggy clothes to hide the fact they're losing too much weight. My foster dad did this and for a long time no one really knew. I just happen to notice when I went to hug him and my hand was in the right spot when I noticed something just wasn't right. Though I was able to help him start eating a little more, I was never able to help him get to a healthy weight. There were some things he was hiding because he was very secretive in certain areas such as he is doctor-patient relationship. I didn't know anything was off with that until I noticed he no longer had any medications filled that he was previously taking regularly. When I asked him out of concern, he said he didn't have a doctor anymore. I wondered if the doctor may have found something of concern and tried to address it, maybe suspecting dad was in trouble and no one else knew it. Some people have clever ways of hiding things they don't want others knowing or finding even by accident. Sooner or later some of them will slip up though. Anytime an elder is in trouble, it's always a good idea to get some help. In cases of downright stubborn people, a last resort for those who won't leave their homes no matter what, sometimes an absolute last resort is to grab a hold of them and just drag them out especially if it's for their own good and especially more so if it's to save their life
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Yhe best thing you can do IS take care of yourself. You are dealing with an impossible problem. Please don't feel guilty and by all means I agree get POA and A living will if possible.
Take care and God Speed
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Dear LaraLu
You diagnosed your mom in your first sentence...depressed, scared, lonely.
And then some.Family loss is so hard to deal with which can deepen dementia.She at some level may feel her "world" is falling apart and is unable to figure it out as she has done in the past. Perhaps you can hire one of HER beloved family members or friend to help her. Then she may accept help and alleviate you some.Also, if possible attend a dementia support group, at least once. My 88yo mom with alzheimer lives with me for past 4yrs.
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It sounds to me like she's neglecting her cell and someone may need to get her competency checked. If she's incompetent someone may need to take custody of her and all of her affairs. When my one elderly friend was alive, he was also starting to self-neglect and he also wouldn't do his exercises he was given. In the end he was pushed right into a nursing home where the state took custody of him
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Harpcat is spot-on. Mom won't let "anyone" in the house......except you and select family members. Been there. And it's a terrible place to be. To an extent, this is uncharted territory for our generation. When our parents were our age, most of them were not their ailing parents' puppet.

Another important difference: When my mom was my age, she was a "housewife" with no kids at home. In contrast, my so-called 8-hour/day job keeps me out of the house 10.5-11 hours/day. Most of our moms have no idea what it's like to squeeze everything into Saturday and Sunday. Thrown in a touch of narcissism and entitlement, and they don't care. Thrown in dementia -- even mild dementia -- and they really don't care.

Therapy, counseling, boundaries.......run, don't walk. Full disclosure: I did not take some this advice when I was in the thick of it. And I was -- and am -- all the worse for it.

Only you can reclaim your life. With deliberate effort. And professional support. Although they mean well, the family members who tell you to let it go are the same people who will call YOU the minute anything at mom's house changes for the worse. Not one of your siblings, not county elder services, not Home Instead, not mom's doctor, not 911. They'll call you. Without the tools to steel yourself against this, you'll be right back in the pit of despair.

Best to you. This is rough. Take action toward self-preservation. If it feels unnatural or uncomfortable, you'll know you're doing the right thing!
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Sounds lik my mother has a twin! Would love to advise but I am struggling too..
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I have to agree with the two previous posters. She's got the beginnings of dementia and it's a situation that you have no control over.

Has she appointed anyone POA for health and/or finances? If not, THAT's what you need to work on right now. Because what is going to happen is this:

She's going to fall, or end up in the hospital with a "real" something and decisions will have to be made. If she has all her paperwork in order, her loving family will make good decisions for her. You might point out to her that if none of you has the ability to speak to doctors on her behalf, decisions are going to be made for her by strangers.

At this point, you are waiting for the fall or other major medical event to occur. For YOU, meditation, therapy and perhaps antidepressants may give you some relief. Even if she won't take steps to improve the quality of her mental health, set a good example for her by doing it yourself.
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Your mom has some hallmarks of dementia in my opinion. you are stuck between a rock and a hard place. I understand and empathize with you're wanting her to be happy but you can't make that happen so you need to let that wish go bye bye. Accept what is. You are causing yourself mental anguish because you are hoping her situation was different. I call it the "if only" game, if you get my meaning. After reading your story, it sounds as though you are too much in her life. You need to see her less and get some distance and reclaim your own life with the family you have. Guilt is not a healthy emotion and it does not serve you. Guilt means you've done something wrong. You need some boundaries set. She obviously doesn't mind encroaching on you and has no boundaries. My suggestion is get thee to a therapist and get some of this talked out with suggestions on coping and handling her. You don't say you have done this, so I assume you haven't. Do not let her behavior own your life, it is not fair and it is not right. You have a right to some peace...you must for your own mental health. Yes, meditation would be good as the other person noted. It is a hard road so you must do what you can to help yourself. The only situation you can control is your's...you accept that and you will feel better. It helped me a lot.
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Those were your bereavements, too. (I meant to add)
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