I'm on the 3rd try of caring for my Mom. Many people advised me not to. How could I say no when she calls sobbing to please let her move in? - AgingCare.com

I'm on the 3rd try of caring for my Mom. Many people advised me not to. How could I say no when she calls sobbing to please let her move in?

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Some history. She has had many health problems most of her life, and her life's journey has not been an easy one. She raised me and my 4 brothers with many step-dads and boyfriends along the way. One of our step-dads sexualy abused one of my brothers which basically ruined his life. One of Mom's problems is she is a prescription drug abuser. Ex. when I was about 20 and did not have much of a backbone she talked me into going to a Dr and requesting diet pills for her... I was 5'6" and weighed 120 lbs at the time! The whole experience is seared into my memory, it was so awful, I felt so stupid but did it for her. About a month later she asked me to go back and ask for more. I told her no and to please not ask me to do that ever again.

So here we are she's been in our home a week, the second day she took more Ativan than prescribed, fell on the desk in her room, cracked her head open and spent 3 days in the hospital. She lives for her next dose, and her meds is all she wants to talk about. She is gonna be 77 next month and has told me since I can remember to never put her in a NH. She has copd, Atrial Fibrillation, Diabetic, and has congestive heart failure. Plus a few other things.
Right now I'm exhausted, and have fibro, in a bad flare, and just found out I have high blood pressure, not good i know. I'm too tired so will write more when I can, she has no one else, I'm at a loss, and very down. I love her, but do not like her. What would you do? I have been reading here and feel like it's a lifeline, like so many of you. Thank you for listening.

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Wow. I know you want to help her. The best way for you to help her is to tell her you are sorry, but no you can't give her the care she needs right now and she needs "skilled care". If needed, consult with her most recent doctor and hospital case worker and explain everything you told us here and request their help in discussion with her about her "care plan" going forward.

If she can go back to her home and can afford some in-home care assistance, get it and set it up for her, be sure to enlist a liscenced care agency and call references. Then set boundaries with your mom and stick to it. It can be a daily phone call, weekly visit, etc. stick to it and if she abuses or balks, tell her you won't accept the calls and advise her to call her doctor.

Take care of you. It doesn't mean you don't love her or don't care for her, it is a matter of getting her the skilled care she needs to be healthy and safe. You wouldn't give in to every whim or bad choices (drug abuse) from your children or friends and you can't tolerate and need to implement tough love even for parents.

I've had to do this with my mom, it's hard but time makes it easier and my emotional health is slowly recovering, definitely, my stress is trmendously less.

Hope you can find the same.

My advice...get her out of your house, assist her to get help to live at home or in a facility, and set boundaries for your ongoing involvement. Her care needs are not going to get easier.
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Debbierose, I was very fortunate that the caseworker/socialworker at the hospital steered me to the NH that she is in. I was especially concerned about the level of cleanliness for the patients. This one is very good-they are quite attentive to personal hygiene and clean up accidents very promptly, so you rarely get hit in the face with any odors when you walk into that wing. I was glad that it is about 30 minutes away, so instead of running back & forth every day, it forced me to a once a week visit, and once a month outing with her. The whole point was to get her into a safe environment 24/7 and relieve me of the daily stress. Mom's memory issues are progressing a little faster these days. I know she is not unhappy there because she always says that she is very well treated, and I know that is true-I have good rapport with the nurses and the aides. There are plenty of activiities and Mom has always been social so she particpates and is rarely in her room until almost midnight - watches TV in the community room at night. She keeps busier there than she did at home, where she was sleeping half the day and forgetting to take meds or eat properly. On the other hand, every time we visit or call on the phone, she says "I think I'll be coming home next week, I'm fine and I can't take it here much longer". It's like a broken record. We just sympathize and say we miss her too, and to "let me know as soon as the doctor gives you the OK". Then she's fine again - she just says the same thing - every week it's "next week" - sad but funny too. The thing that I appreciate most is that she gets her meds lilke clockwork and rarely has any discomfort - she has not complained of pain in months. I have stayed on top of the medication issues with the staff and the NH doctor and they must call me if they want to change anything. I insist on being consulted (as POA and HCP) when it comes to meds. As for the initial adjustment issues, they have a social worker on staff and a psychologist as well. In the beginning they "counseled" her frequently, adjusted her anti-depressent Rx, and that all helped tremendously. I can finally sleep at night knowing she is safe 24/7. It's like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders - it was a hard decision, but in my heart I know it was the right one, and I have no regrets. It really boiled down to what was best for her, and also preserving my health and sanity so I could survive to assure that she gets the best care possible.
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Thank you all for your thoughts and advice. Orangeblossom-- I have been reading on the site for awhile and I see also people are now living to be a lot older... you are right about it being a tough decision. It must have been a huge relief for you once you had made the decision and carried through with it. i'm glad to hear you were able to do what you felt was best for your mom and yourself. May i ask is your Mom doing well and does she like the NH she is in?

vstefan-- thanks for your insight, I know, I see now that at some point she may have to go somewhere. That kind of promise is not even reasonable... why did our parents make us do that? Is it because all they knew back then was "nursing homes are bad?" I know there are good and bad ones. Even so it is a hard situation to be in. The rx problems she has had off and on over so many yrs, decades, has caused being around her like being on a roller coaster. The thing now is she has so many health issues she has to take all the meds she does, even the xanax because she has anxiety and also the xanax helps her calm down when she has panic attacks from not being able to breath properly from her copd, oh what a terrible disease it is! Once one has it, it just gradually gets worse, she is now stage 4, and from what I have been reading many people with copd die terrible deaths. It's because the lungs are very sick and it can be like slowly drowning. And she has to be on a steady regime of pain pills, she has quite a bit of pain caused by the copd and other illnesses.

Igloo572-- I agree mom can live many more years, and I have to consider myself and my husband, we are both disabled, but much more functioning than my mom. I have a feeling the copd is what's going to kill her because she's stage 4, on 24 hr. 02 (oxygen)

Eyerishlass-- I love your user name, I am part Irish, You obviously loved your dad very much, and i think he was blesssed to have a daughter who put her own life aside for so long, 5 yrs is a long time! One thing i should have explained better about my mom is even though she has had the rx problems, she over dosed a few times so now me and my DH handle her meds. It can get challenging to say the least.... she can stress me out so bad one minute, and I'm thinking "(there is no way i can handle this!!!) and the next I just feel sorry for her and want to do all I can to help. My emotions are all over the place.
She can be sweet and endearing and then be overbearing and very clingy, I hate not being able to be in my own kitchen without her constanting following me there. Oh there is so much more to all this. I will be posting more, you all are or have been in the same boat and I love hearing what you have to say, reading your different stories and many of you have very good insight that I will be mulling over. I am so grateful!

Oh i will have to tell you all about her dog who comes with her. A lil story inside the big story lol... I never knew I was capable of such feelings for a dog.
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Now that your mom's addicted to prescription meds you have to give them to her. Maybe not in the quantities she requests but withdrawl from prescription drugs is dangerous and needs to be monitored by a Dr. in an inpatient setting. You must feel like you're in a terrible position! After all you've gone through with your mom you're a good daughter to be caring for her. But I have to agree with what was said before. If you feel like your mom needs a NH do not hold yourself to the promise you made her. I made the same promise to my dad and while I meant it at the time I had no idea how bad things could get. My dad ended up in a NH after I cared for him for 5 years in my home. Don't ruin your own life. Taking care of an elderly parent is difficult enough but taking care of an elderly parent who is also a drug addict sounds damn near impossible.

I hope you come back often and get things off your chest. This is a great site.
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DebbieRose - great advise fro VStef & OB5.

The only thing I can add is that SHE IS 77! - she could live another decade or two decades. Think about it.......not pretty. You will be another 10 or 20 years older and will be too worn out to live your well deserved own life.
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She possibly does not want the skilled nursing facility or rehab partly because they may not just let her stay in her comfortable habit of drug-seeking and staying drugged. And yet, that may be the single thing that would help her the most. She comes from a generation where talking about painful feelings and difficult events or problems in life was looked down on, and keeping all those emotions at bay with drugs has probably become second nature to her. See hazelden and cars-rp for some information and maybe some appropriate rehab programs or resources. Age 77 might not be too old to learn something new, and her health could imrpove in some ways if she can learn to live without as many addictive drugs...20 different Rxs is a bit much even with her official medical diagnoses.

But even if you "promised" "never to put her in a home," sometimes a promise must be broken if someone is only going to be hurt by it. And there are two very important "someones" getting hurt here.
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Debbierose, You clearly love your Mom, but no matter her hard life, she made her choices with no regard to how they affected your life or your brothers. Please have no guilt - you shouldn't have to pay for her mistakes. Somebody stated in another thread, that we did not ask to be born, and therefore we do not have to take care of our parents in their old age as if we were obligated to pay them back. Obviously not many of us share that opinion, or we would not do what we do for our parents. All to often, caregivers die from stress before their elders do. You are exhausted and not in good health yourself. Now she wants to come into your home and subject your family - next generation - to her drug addicted behavior? Sounds like history about to repeat itself. You may love her, but you love your own family as well, and it seems to me like your obligation is to them first, and to your own health. You can be of no help to anyone if you don't take care of yourself first. It's a tough decision - I had to make it myself last year. I see my Mom every week, take her out once a month to hair dresser and dinner, and still take care of all her clothes. I have no regrets, because my health was declining from the stress, and I know she is getting the professional round the clock care she really needs in the NH. It may take her awhile to accept being there, but all the nurses told me that happens to all new residents, and within a few months, they learn how to cope in their new home. With all your Mom's medical conditions, plus her addictive behavior, it sounds to me like your Mom needs the professional care a NH can provide her. I guarantee you will sleep better at night, knowing she has 24 hr care.
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Everything you advise is true. We have her meds hid away from her, and she hates it, as do I. She is on about 20 rxs. She is tricky and very manipulative, and I hate that. Turns on the charm to get her way, or pouts or gets very angry.

I will try for as long as I can, I hope when she's adjusted to moving here, from S.Cal to Wyo. things will get better... trying to think positive, and praying for wisdom. Thank you for your sweet response and encouragement Perseverance. Kind words are like salve to a wound.
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Oh, honey, it sounds like you've had your fair share of challenges and heartache. Bless you. How is your Mom recovering? Her fall sounds awful.

A few things come to mind: You are trying your BEST to honor your Mom's wishes and now with her recent drastic fall, are reevaluating your promise to keep her away from a NH. I get it. But clearly you are overwhelmed. NH's can be wonderful - you simply need to do your research and be your Mom's close advocate to make sure she's well treated.

If she continues to stay in your home, I HIGHLY recommend you lock up her drugs where only you (and maybe one other person) have access and distribute to your mom as needed. She is clearly unfit to manage her own prescriptions.

Whatever your decision, it is clear you love your Mom... just don't run yourself into the ground by her manipulations.
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