What to do about a parent who refuses to see a doctor?

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I apologize in advance if this topic has been previously covered. I find similar questions, but not quite the same scenario or corresponding answers.

My mom will be 80 this year and about 6 years ago started displaying signs of dementia. MRI follow-up with doctor showed "white matter disease" and the neuro said she had vascular dementia.

The major obstacle here is she flat-out refuses to be seen by a physician. Apart from the dementia she also has severe osteoarthritis, has been diagnosed Type II diabetic, and has heart disease. She saw a doctor last 4 years ago! No amount of pleading changes her mind. She has a lot of pain, but still refuses. Prior to the dementia, she would on occasion see a doctor, but frankly, hates them. I don't know if there is anything that can be done for the dementia - I would say it is moderate heading toward severe - but I would love to have her seen by a professional. She is currently not on any meds.

We live together and I am the only caregiver and am disabled from several autoimmune diseases. I have one sibling who has no contact with us and no other family. I am unable to leave her for any period of time and have no type of support. That's another thing - she will not have anyone in her home. I offered to have a doctor come to the house well, her response was too colorful for this forum. I cannot leave to attend caregiver support meetings. At the risk of sounding whiney, I am having increased trouble with my health now due to the stress of dealing with the ins and outs of Mom's dementia.

I should add that I do not have POV, nor does she have ANY legal forms in place. I think she thought she "had time", but now, time is running out. I have to admit, this scares me - I love my mother and want to do the best I can for her and not leave decisions up to someone else who doesn't care.

I am thankful for the info I have gleaned from this site. Prior to this evening, I have felt very depressed, but reading many of the articles has shown me I am not alone.
Thank you for your suggestions and answers.

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Getting an older person to realize the importance of going to a doctor when they are 85+ is difficult because most say that they can't do anything about my problems and I don't want to spend the time and money. SOOOOO you have to make going to the doctor a payoff for them. Here is what I suggest: Tell you mother that your problems are not getting better and she will need to know what to do just in case something happens to you--you may not always be able to care for her. You have to let her see the importance of her making the move to go to the doctor. Tell her that if something does happen to you then you are not sure what will happen to her--she might have to go to a nursing home or move somewhere to get help--Don't make the conversation sound negative or punitive, but a fact that she will have to deal with. She has to understand that you may not always be there for her!!!! And now is the time for her to get some help while you are still there to assist. I believe that once older adults have a good reason to see the doctor they usually go. Before you talk to mom, practice what you are going to say--try to avoid any kind of blaming conversation--you phrases like "I feel . . " Don't agrue, scold, or get angry as you are just stating the obvious, which is "I really feel that you should see a doctor not just for you, but for me. If something were to happen and I am not here, then a person would be able to know about your and give your help. Impress upon here that you want to make sure that she is taken care of in case of emergency." The conversation may not stick with her the first time she hears it--try again latter. Now if that doesn't work, I want you to remember that you are the important one in this role--You are the one giving the care and need to make sure that you take good care of yourself. Stop the chatter with your mom and take some positive steps for the good of you both. You have to be ok, rested and ready to get and provide care. I would seek assistance from the community for campions and many of those services are free--call the local Area Agency on Aging to get answers to some of your questions for assistance--Be resolute, strong and assured that you are doing the right thing for you and your mother. Peace!
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Stop waiting on her hand and foot and focus on your own health. Leave when you want to, go when you need to. Tell her to call 911, not you, for the next crisis. Stop enabling her addiction to your attention. The sooner she ends up in a hospital, the better off you will both be in the long run.
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If I ever saw a case, where the patient is going to outlive the caretaker, it is yours. What happens to your mom, when you die? She should not be allowed to sap your life away. I watched this happen in my own family. Mom is great now (for her age) and my sister died taking care of her. Get whatever help you need and do not look back.
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You wrote, "At the risk of sounding whiney . . ." You don't sound whiney to me. What you sound like is a prisoner who needs to break out of prison, away from a bullying jailer. Please, please follow Sue Maxwell's advice and contact some local resources to help you engineer your prison break! You don't need to totally abandon your mother, but, as previous posts have indicated, you are pushing yourself into an early grave with the way things are now.
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Thank you all for your wise insight. Last August I was very ill and needed to be hospitalized, but left AMA for fear of what might happen at home. (I have two small dogs and would fear for their welfare.) It's interesting to me that none of my doctors seem to have a shred of info to help with this situation, not even the GP. Makes me wonder what they do with their dementia patients. Anyway, that's irrelevant. I do feel like I am in jail and appreciate that all of you understand that. There is an Area on Agency here and I have spoken to the gentleman in the Alzheimer's/Dementia "dept." He has told me he can offer much assistance and I will see him gladly. Again, thank you all so much for taking the time to offer your assistance. It is GREATLY appreciated!!
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This past Thursday my mother awoke and was sitting on her bedside and when I saw her and sat down to speak to her I could hear "crackling and wheezing" when she breathed. She argued, that she needed no help and was fine. I allowed her to go on that day but the next morning it was the same or perhaps a bit worse. I could clearly hear bronchitis or pneumonia. I called and got an appointment with the doctor and when I told her, all hell broke loose. She argued and fought that she was fine there was not reason to go. She threatened me and demanded that I cancel the appointment....it went on and on.

Finally I told her that she was going or she was going to wind up in the hospital. She kept arguing, I finally told her that if I had to call both of my sisters, we were going to drag her butt to the doctor, no ifs ands or buts! Now I admit that my vocabulary could probably have been nicer, but after hours of her yelling at me, I had, had it!!!

She has dementia and cannot make the best choices for herself, that is why I am her POA. You listen and deal with the crap as long as you can and then you have to make a stand and say "no more bull----!" In your instance if you are quite ill then it sounds like you both need help and your mother needs medication to quiet her down and quell the tantrums. It is time for it. We just began my mother a few months ago and it was working great but she began getting headaches and so we had to stop one of the meds. I have to get them to institute another one as I cannot live through the hell she has put me through. The tantrums and argumentative behavior is just too overwhelming. I too am on disability and have medical problems of my own.

Is there any family member who can assist you? If not call a social worker perhaps they could help you.

My thoughts and prayers are with you.
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What a terrible way to respond, though I agree. (I think it could have been said better personally..). Regardless, G-man is still right. There needs to be some other type on contingency that needs to be put in place in case of an emergency while youre out so that you can be out to take care of yourself. I kinda had to do that with my grandmother so that she would realise that I dont just live for her.

As for the will, if she cant realise how important it is to have one, you might have to appoint some type of guardian to assist with end of life plans. Im not sure about that though, so you might need tp hire lawyer.
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Your mom has dementia and can't reason. You don't ask her if she wants to go to the doctor. If you are lucky enough to have a doc who will come to the house, you make an appointment and make up a story about who s/he is. Your mom is going to outlive you if you don't get help. And what happens to her then. Alternatively, let her manage by herself for a bit. When she lands in the hospital, you've got the social workers and discharge planners to help you. Good luck!
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If she knows even with dementia she "hates doctors" why don't you just let her live her life the way she wants, and when an event occurs, the ambulance will take her to the hospital where she can get help. Don't let her illnesses make your even worse. Let her know if something happens to you, she will be on her own (see what happens).
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I just read the messages I missed from ferris1 and kazzaa.

Ferris1, I have lately found myself just letting Mom "be". I do believe it will take an injury/accident before she receives help. She has had a few falls - one pretty bad - and refused help. I dread the thought. Again, a situation like the one that led to the paramedics being here might be the thing that changes it all.

Kazzaa, we sound much alike. Being chronically ill was hard before, but now, well, it feels like I have fallen in a pit and cannot climb out. I have been on SSD since 1998. Limited funds and no home other than here, which makes it very hard to go. Where? My brother has nothing to do with us. Frankly, I think he recognized the dementia long before I did - he's a police officer (well, now retired), and has seen plenty of this. I think if I wasn't so angry, I might be able to deal better. I'm working on it, but am not very good at letting do. :) I do have a very caring half-brother and his wife, but they live in Northern California - about 8 hours away. Too far away to get a night away, but ultimately the place I will land one day.

Thank you all! Your comments are invaluable!!
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