How do I persuade my mother to go to the doctor, or leave the house at all, for that matter? - AgingCare.com

How do I persuade my mother to go to the doctor, or leave the house at all, for that matter?

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My mother moved in with me and my family in late February after my father died in December. She has severe osteoporosis and arthritis, is unable to stand on her own and uses a walker. Her knee broke three times over the past five years and she is terrified of it breaking again. My father was at her beck and call all that time and limited his time out of the house to one hour at a time. He was a very healthy man, a runner and athlete, who tried to get her into therapy and back in life again but to no avail. He also couldn't beat the glioblastoma that caused his death just two months after diagnosis.

My father's funeral was the first time my mom left their house in a year and a half.

Now that she is with us in another state, she is continuing her pattern of trying to control our routines, etc. and is in constant pain, bored and limits my time away from her.

I know she is severely depressed and her arthritis pain is horrible. I gently tell her that we could get help for the pain if only she'd visit a doctor. She hates (is afraid?) of them and says it's to hard to get her out of the house. We do have a portable wheelchair and ramp I remind her. Then she says it's too hard to get her in the van. She weighs about 90 pounds and I tell her my husband and son are strong. Then she says it would be impossible to get her to a bathroom if she needed one. I told her she could use Depends and she would be fine. Millions of people use them daily just to be out in the world. She says she is not one of "those" millions and that is that. She is NOT leaving.

She is becoming quite needy as far as my attention which is understandable since I'm the one that's around all day. She hates talking on the phone and won't even call her old friends at home because it makes her "more lonely."

I'm at my wit's end as I don't know how to help her change her attitude. She says she wishes she would've died before my dad, that's the way it should've been, she said. I'm sure there's a lot of anger there but she refuses to grieve as well.

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Your've gotten some fantatastic advice, here, Windytown. I think it would be good for you to read the whole string.
You know your mom is controlling you. She is now living with you, which makes it harder to backtrack and get her into assisted living. But you may have to make that decison and stick with it.
Your words: "Little does she realize, an inheritance will not help me if I am dead in the ground before her from taking care of her. I'm to the point of telling her that, it's that bad." say a great deal.
Your own health could be next on the line. Your dad's ill health and untimely death may have happened without all of his caregiving, but life with your mom couldn't have been easy. Caregivers get sick and die at a greater rate than the general public. Many die before those they care for. Please don't let yourself be one of them.
Try to get a doctor or other professional involved who can help you make changes, either by getting in-home relief (which apparently she can afford), or finding her a nice assisted living home where you can see her often. It would take quite an adjustment for her after a move like that, but she is controlling your life, so whatever your choice is, she's likely to not like it.
Her depression is part of this, but some of it is control. It would be good for you to get some counseling so you can be more certain of your next steps. You need to take care of yourself.
Carol
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Thanks Lilliput, for your kind words. I've been lurking around this great forum for the last couple of weeks since my situation has become so claustrophobic. There are so many stories I can relate to and helps to know I'm not alone.

The thing is, my mother has always been negative. She and my father were complete opposites. He was always a glass half-full person, and she's always been one that expects the worst outcome going into any situation.

I knew that when I took her into our household, but never did I imagine it would be this difficult. I realize now that my father was always the buffer, so to speak, between the rest of the family and her attitude.

My only sibling, a brother, lives in Germany and has been very supportive throughout this journey. He spent four months of his life here, from when my father was diagnosed to mom's transition to my house. He experienced her negativity big time and was equally frustrated with her attitude. He is, thankfully for him and his wife, back home now. He has been really great with phone conversations and e-mail, but it's not like being here.

I do get a 4 hour break once a week when my husband's sister comes in. That was a struggle as she doesn't trust anyone but me to help her. It's ironic, because she never would allow me to help her when my dad was alive. Only he knew how to help her the RIGHT way which meant he could only leave the house for an hour at a time even though I was right there. It robbed my dad, my husband and our son of many fun times they could've spent bike riding, hiking, go-cart racing, etc. I was simply not capable then, in her eye, and now that he is gone no one else is acceptable. Drives me nuts!

She is also in denial about her finances. She is very well set, but complains when I bring up the subject of paying for outside help. Little does she realize, an inheritance will not help me if I am dead in the ground before her from taking care of her. I'm to the point of telling her that, it's that bad.
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You're in a tough spot. I'm sorry. I'm picking up on these phrases -- I know they don't tell the whole story, but look closely at them: "at her beck and call"... "control our routines"... "limits my time away".... Those are all phrases that describe a dynamic. The people she's demanding of play a part in the dynamic by saying yes or no, by being manipulated or not. The more it "works" for her to manipulate your life the worse things will get until you resent her out of your mind... and that's not good for her either. Being strong about saying "no" or "well, that's the way it is" is not selfish, it's real. The biggest favor you can do someone is not let them hurt you (= ruin your life).
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So sorry to hear about your father. You are all feeling the loss but your mother is internalizing everything and it comes out as negativity and self-pity. I find that seniors, who have debilitating illnesses, react in one of two ways: they either work around their limitations and get the best out of life that they can or they turn inward, become depressed, and wish for an end to their suffering.
Unfortunately, you cannot make your mom happy, or live her life for her, or make her do anything. What you DO need is time away from the stress or your mom's lifestyle. Is it possible for you to hire in-home help to give you respite? Do you have family in the area that can come stay with her while you get away? Are their church or community members who can help out once and awhile.
I have just went through a month of planning just so we could get away for a weekend...and even then, mom had a "meltdown." So, I know what you are going through. Fight to keep some part of your life to yourself. Try to keep connected to friends, even if it is by phone or email. Join support groups or just get out one night a week for a class or hobby. Trying to keep someone constantly entertained and happy, who will not participate in their own happiness, will take you down if you let it.
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Since your mother has decided to not go to the doctor or anything else, then you need to get out of the house on a regular basis instead. There has got to be a way that you can set her up so that she's safe for 3 or 4 hours a few times a week. Let her scream and holler at you, do it for your sanity. Get the heck out of the house once in awhile to breathe. Bring someone in despite her protests, who cares if she gets mad? Take back the control that you've lost when she moved in.
She won't die if someone comes in and 'babysits' her while you're gone or whatever. Do it, and don't let her make you feel guilty either. I bet she can do that pretty good...
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My father-in-law refused to go to a doctor. There are a couple of doctors in this area who do home visits. I talked to both offices and requested a visit from one of them and have been very very satisfied with the visits. A nurse practitioner visited my father-in-law, he lives with us, and despite declaration that he would never have anything to do with doctors, he actually seemed to enjoy her visit.
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This is a hard thing and I can totally identify with you. My Dad had health issues for years but was pleasant and his mind was fine. He had bladder cancer which spread to his prostate and bones. He passed away July 25th. Not two weeks later my Mom had a heart attack (which she denies) she says her heart is broken!!! So is mine. However we are now taking care of her and it seems like a herculian task some days. She doesn't want to take her medication, she has lost alot of weight she gets confused and so nasty some times I want to scream. I would really encourage you to get some respite care, someone to come to the home and stay with Mom. Check with your local Area Agency on Aging they can help you with this. As far as the Dr goes I would NOT give her any choice she is behaving somewhat childishly so for our children we do what we know is best. Get an appointment and just take her. She will be angry but she will get over it. It is in everyones best interest!!! take care and God Bless
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Your MOM sounds so much like mine and I moved my MOM in with us after losing my Dad...who sounded like yours. I wish I had answers for you but the previous writers gave a few good ones.
What I wanted to say is THANK YOU ...because I am grateful that I CAN get my Mom to go to a DR so I realize ...it could be worse if she would NOT go. I know that doesnt help you but it did make me realize that things can always be worse.
IF ever you feel like writing to me please do ..we have a lot in common and I feel perhaps nobody else can understand what it is like unless they walk a mile in our shoes. I never complain about my mom and Many folks on my Facebook page keep saying how lucky I am to have my mom and how they miss their mother ...when I mention something about her in a positive way. My daughter ( who has experienced my mothers negative attitude and lives in SAN DIEGO...I live in AZ ) ...said to me.....yes, tell those folks you wish YOU HAD THEIR Mother too. I feel it is so sad that my MOM has alienated her grand children with her negativity and told my daughter that. I also said that my mom is my mom and I make the most of it. Daughter's reply was..."MOM, YOU are a doormat." . Maybe I am...but I am the only sibling left and Mom cant afford to live on her own so we must make the most of it. Write if you feel it can help to have a "friend " going through the same thing. (((( HUGS))))
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I am in a similar situation. I try to get away on Saturdays for around 4 to five hours it is also when I do the shopping. I usually go twice a month otherwise I am home 24/7 with my father. He has not left the house in 2 years his mobility is a lot worse than you mothers so I understand why he does not. But I am getting a lot of recommendations to get out of the house more often. I strongly suggest this. My grandmother was also alot like your mother. I am afriad the best you can do is to get out when you can to relax. She will not leave unless she wants to. Try to give youself some time. Find way to relax and do not let yourself become depressed. I Wish you all the luck
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Thank you, Carol, and everyone for your kind, thoughtful and most importantly, helpful answers! That each of you has taken the time and effort to answer my question in such detail is humbling. This is a great community of people and I appreciate this forum very much.

Well, it took a shouting match, but my mother has agreed to pay for respite care. We'll start with two 4 hour slots, probably Tuesday and Thursday, and 6 hours on Saturday so my husband and son and I can actually get out together. The trick is finding the right people in a range of pay she is agreeable to. Visiting Angels and similar agencies want around $29 an hour. Ouch!

On a whim, I called the nearest Senior Center and they referred me to two women who do care on their own. I have calls into them so hopefully will hear back from them soon. Also, my neighbor friend is a nurse at the local hospital. I'm writing up a help-wanted type ad that she is more than happy to post in their breakroom. She assured me that there are probably many nursing assistants that are capable and would be happy to make a little extra money.

I've also put my foot down about getting extra sleep on the weekends. I told her she's going to run me into the ground if she insists on getting up at 5:45 EVERY day of the week. I don't care if she wets the bed, I'm not getting up until 7:00, period.

I feel like I've made some "baby steips" into regaining at least part of my life again. I'll be sure to keep everyone posted as this journey proceeds.

Hugs to everyone for your encouragement. It has made all the difference!
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