My niece and her three children have been living with my parents for 23 years now. Both parents have suffered from a broken femur, but my niece is more attentive to my dad. What can I do to make sure my mom is being cared for too?


Mom and Dad are 80 and 81 yrs. Niece has been living with for 23 years. She has three children. Mom broke femur 2 yrs ago, Dad broke femur 3 months ago. Niece is attentive to 81 year old Dad, but not to Mom. Niece states Mom is lazy and will not go to bathroom, take bath, etc. When I talk to Mom she seems to states that she does take care of herself but infact she does not. Mom will agrue alot. Mom was recently released from a hospital for a kidney infection, then released from a rehab,nursing home facility. When released they stated that she could walkwith walker 100ft, bath herself, cook . When she came home she says that she can not do any. What can we do?

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Your mom could be depressed. She is not lazy. But she may not have the will to push herself as much as she was told she could do. She may have weakened because of lack of activity. I'd try to get her re-evaluated. I'd also question the attitude of the niece - she may not be put together to take on two very needy people. She could be neglecting your mom because she doesn't know how to handle her. It's a situation that needs to be watched. First step - have mom evaluated for depression and also for her physical health.
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Wow, I don't know why your parents who were only 60 years old at the time would want their niece to live with them in the first place, let alone the next 23 years! But having said that, if your mother is argumentative on a normal basis then I can understand why the niece would rather put her attention on the one that's easy to get along with. That doesn't make it right, just understandable. Since the niece is unwilling to move out or whatever, she needs to step up with and take care of both of them equally. I don't care if she thinks one is lazy or not, she needs to make sure it really is laziness or depression like Carol suggested.
If she's been living off them for 23 years now, time to 'pay the piper' I think.
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I can relate to the two parent scenario with one being easier to get along with than the other. My parents live at home and I am their primary family caregiver. Dad is 75 and Mom is 84.

When we first hired private caregivers, it was on a part-time basis and it was possible for one caregiver to take care of both parents. Mom is the one the caregivers want to help because she is "compliant" and makes an effort to get along with everybody.

It is my Dad who was getting the short end of the stick the past month or so since he argues about everything and refuses to take a bath or change clothes. Out of sheer desparation, I found Dad his own caregiver since I myself was exhausted trying to keep up with both of them. It's only been a couple weeks but Dad has become much happier and definitely more "compliant". He smells and looks a lot better these days.

Dad has an official diagnosis of depression and has been known to stay in the bed for days. It's like he's transforming into a different person with the help of his caregiver. He actually stays up to work on crossword puzzles and play trivia games. I realize now that he really needed more one on one assistance and we're all much happier because of it.
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