What do adult children do when an elder parent refuses to go to the doctor and will not give any financial information in order to help them?


Our mother, nearly 86, lives alone and refuses to go to the doctor. She hasn't been for over 4 years, until recently she called me to take her because of "a rash". It was shingles. She experienced some sun-downing during that time. She refused to go for a follow-up visit, as she said the doctor "looked down my shirt" (with shingles a doctor would tend to do that...), and refused to take prescribed meds (she took a few shingles meds only). I stayed with her, as did my sister for weeks while she was ill. She continues to refuse to go and has told the doctor not to talk to us, so we're unable to gain any information. We are not only concerned with her physical well-being, but her mental health as well. We have gone to the office to report our observations and concerns however, which have all been noted.

Finally my brother (lives out of state) convinced her to see another geritrician just to try and get her to go (and hopefully be assessed for a diagnosis) After an exhaustive search, we located one that had a closed practice. We all but begged this doctor to take her on, as she is extremely difficult; aggressive, has delusions, hallucinations, and paranoia. Included in all this, we believe before this dementia, for as long as we can remember, she has had a personality disorder that was never addressed (narcissistic). She agreed to see this new doctor this month. All my mother knows, is that she has an appointment that my brother will take her to (each of us have now become black sheep for trying to help her, except my out-of-state brother). What she does not yet know is that her new doctor is a woman. She's said for years, she'd "never go to a woman doctor". We plan to say nothing until she arrives for the appointment as she will surely not go. Then my brother plans to act the parent's role and simply be assertive. Hopefully with the doctor's help, she will cooperate, and we will gain some helpful information. However, if she does become dys-regulated, as she often can, the doctor can de-escalate her behavior. Mom could also suddenly turn on the charm--that's been embarrassing beyond words in the past.

Our mother is living in a condo my out-of-state sister purchased-10 yrs. Before she moved in, my sister sat down with her to figure out whether she could afford to pay some rent and the condo fees. She agreed to do so, and looking at my mother's expenses at the time, she could well afford it. After two years, my mother stopped paying altogether and said she was a caretaker of the condo and should be paid to stay there. My sister has been paying my mother's expenses because of her refusal (to meet her mortgage payment) and now can no longer continually paying out thousands of dollars each year. We have tried to discuss the topic with our mother, but she shuts down and says we are all disrespectful, that she can't afford to pay-that she'd have to cut into her savings, and that she is the mother and should have everything given her.

We have said she will have to make a change of either paying some of her expenses or moving. In my mother's mind, she wants to move to a place of her choosing; an independent apartment where "you all will leave me alone" (she is also anti-social towards people-has been for years, and to those she chooses to speak with, the filters are non-existent). We believe she needs monitoring and very soon, will require some sort of memory care. She would not be receptive to assisted living and probably be asked to leave at some point anyway because of her behavior. If for some miracle, she stayed where she is and paid rent, she would drive any in-home help away-and not let them in. She'll not share any financial information with any of us now. This makes it incredibly difficult to help her.
We think she has enough saved for a couple of years out-of-pocket, then Medicare kick in, but we can't help if we're in the dark.

She continues to drive and was driving with a revoked license. We spoke to the police but they would do nothing unless she had a driving violation. She told us she would take us to court if we took her keys and car (we were told she would probably win). Though she got lost on her way to the DMV, (she refused to take anyone with her) she passed her driving test! We were aghast. I had made a call to the DMV and told them she was driving with a revoked license, and that she was planning on driving there without a driver. I was told they would not let her take the test, but they did. Had she had the written test, she would have failed. Someone from DMV said they are not police officers--if someone shows up for a test, they give it. They did say if her doctor had mentioned on the form "dementia", she would have been given the written test. We are beyond down-hearted.

We've met with an attorney to ask questions and soc. workers. Hope we won't have to take it to guardianship. She will not give durable POA-just POA on death. She's a tough cookie. Help?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.


At this point, I'm sorry to say that you are going to HAVE to go to court and have your Mom declared incompetent to take care of herself. From what you have written this action must be taken IMMEDIATELY! Your Mom does not have a live in caretaker, and from the sound of it, would not cooperate with them anyway. Your Mom, sadly to say belongs in a full nursing facility with personnel and Doctors on staff that are trained and prepared to deal with your Mom's problems. I wish you luck and hope that your situation will improve once these actions are taken. You are in my prayers. Take care of yourselves. Be Well, Sue
Helpful Answer (1)

I would talk to an elder attorney. You and your sister can't keep going this way. You need to get her out of the condo and make her responsible for her expenses. She needs to pay wherever she goes and no one else will put up with this. You can't be a doormat. Honoring your parents doesn't mean you have to allow her to hurt you. This has to end ASAP.
Helpful Answer (2)

You have exercised due diligence and made a good faith effort to act in Mother's best interests. I don't know what else you can do unless she is judged to be legally incompetent, and then it will take guardianship (I assume). So hang in there, hope she doesn't cause a serious car accident, and that she doesn't get evicted from wherever she goes next. STOP financially subdizing her. (How crazy is that?!)
Helpful Answer (2)

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.