Resistant and combative Mom in her 90s; what can I do? - AgingCare.com

Resistant and combative Mom in her 90s; what can I do?

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She is doing well, lives in her home, I am there several times per week. She eats, dresses herself, can use the phone, read and speak, signs checks for bills, etc. Will not allow me to supervise cleaning service and it's hard for me to change her sheets, lift super heavy mattress; I do laundry when I can, mop when I can, buy and unload groceries and supplies, prepare meals, take out trash, deal with the gardener, etc., but there is so much more that needs to be done.

The plumbers were there recently to replace all pipes, she always tells me it's her house (in front of any repair people) and to stay out of it - no problem, and they got her signed up and she was gung ho. Thousands of dollars (but about right for the size of her home) and new pipes later, she says she already paid it and did not sign anything. The plumbing people should have known better. I called her that night to say "think about it" before they started, she hung up on me. She has not been diagnosed with anything - and had a cat-scan last summer when she accidentally cut her scalp.

However, she will not go to the doctor for annual check up, (I take her blood pressure each week), and is now canceling her hair appointments after I drive an hour to take her and confirming the night before and while driving (I have Bluetooth - it' legal). I get there and she says she does not want to go, though raves about the hair dresser afterwards each time. She has now canceled on the hair dresser 4 times in a row and I am letting it go for now. Mom wants to go back to the salon that ripped her off and takes much longer to do her hair - I told her I will not take her there, but she can catch a cab if she wants to sit there for hours and over pay.

These are just a few examples where she agrees to things we have been doing for a long time, then does the 180 or simply resists.

She will not allow a part-time caregiver in. Will nature run its course or must I resort to APS - where she will not say good things about me if she thinks I called.

Two of my siblings live in her area, but have not spoken to her (or me) for decades, for reasons only known to them. She is verbally abusive - she has been that way most of my life. How can I continue to help her if she will not cooperate, at least half of the time?

Any thoughts would be appreciated, thanks. I work almost full time, and have my own life to run, too. Any friends or neighbors near her or me are busy working, or have families, not an option.

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Unfortunately, with this type of stubborn elder, you usually just have to wait for a crisis to happen, I'm sorry to say.

Nobody wants to give up their freedom, regardless of age. So the more you can make her feel independent, the better.

You can't be all things to all people. You have a busy life too and, if she refuses all care and help, as long as she still has reasoning power and no dementia, she can do whatever she wants. It will just be a matter of time before something "gives" and she will HAVE to have help or go to the hospital. It's a very frustrating situation.
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Reply to SueC1957
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I wish I could give you a hug. I have slightly different circumstances, but basically the same. I don't know what to do. I'm here with her being incredibly distressed, but she is happy (for now) watching a movie..I'm stressed to the bone. Much strength and peace to you.
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Reply to nikita1966
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We are also dealing with a stubborn but otherwise healthy elder. He is much more resistant to help if it's offered. We have to wait for him to say "I need this help".
Sometimes it's hard to wait when you see a need. But, for us, it is very frustrating to help him before he has identified the need for help. As long as he's in his right mind, we need to let him take the lead.
Maybe you could try visiting your mom without doing any chores for her. Just go out to lunch or sit and have tea. Give her information about cleaning ladies, shopping and cooking services and the gardener and step away from involving yourself in her decisions until she asks for help or demonstrates that she is not capable of making decisions.
It sounds as though you are trying to take good care of her. It's frustrating that she doesn't seem to want it.
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Reply to Marcia7321
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I agree that sometimes the best action is inaction. It sounds like your mom has all her faculties plus an extra dose of stubbornness. Step back and let things take their own course. You’re engaged in a Battle of the Wills and you won’t win, especially if the other combatant resorts to insults and refusals.

If you can’t do something, don’t. If she wants to go to the inept, overpriced salon, take her. It’s not your hair, it’s hers. Step back and do the minimum. If she’s capable, she should be able to put a load of laundry in the washer and dryer. Sometimes, we give our loved ones the idea that they are more capable than they are simply by “doing for” them. When they’re faced with having to accomplish these tasks by themselves, all of the sudden they’re willing to listen to reason.
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Reply to Ahmijoy
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Mom is feisty and wants to keep her independence. As long as you continue to help her she won't change.
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Reply to shad250
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I recommend the book, "Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End," by Atul Gawande. It has some great insights about elders clinging stubbornly to their independence.
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Reply to jeannegibbs
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Do you feel responsible for your mom?

You're not, you know. She is her own worst enemy, but until she's declared legally incompetent, NO ONE can make her do a dam' thing or get her to accept help.

Leave her alone. Why are you shlepping in groceries? And mopping and doing laundry? She's independent, right? Let her be and let her hire some help.

You are her DAUGHTER, not her housekeeper. And when she verbally abuses you, walk away.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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UptoHere Jul 24, 2018
Thanks for your reply, you are so right. I have always felt responsible, aka co-dependency. She is not ill, but is elderly and weak, and no longer drives, and is unbalanced walking without her 4 wheel trolly.

There have been a few crises, she had 24 hour caregivers several years ago, and is well now, but needs help with household chores, groceries, getting bills into the mail, hair appt., etc. I am concerned that if I don't help, APS will be called and they will wonder why I am no longer assisting her. She lives in a large home, and it's great for her to feel safe and comfortable there, but I am the one keeping everything going - people know her "independence" is a charade. I called this afternoon as I had some time to get over there and get bills out, but she said shut up and hung up on me. Oh well. If the phone is shut off due to lack of payment, she will have no way to get help. She lost her cell phone and had a hard time using it. The neighbors work, and it's a long walk to their homes. I am not sure what I am missing here, what I can do? I plan on leaving large typed notes with numbers of caregiving agencies on her table - I've done it before, but she loses everything or cannot remember what she did with it.

If I make any plans to meet with an agency, she just cancels. She even told the new gardener to leave last Saturday when I told her he was coming - I was out shopping for groceries - of course. I think she needs a check up but she keeps canceling.

Thanks for listening.
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I must have missed this post the first time around. You may not be able to get her to accept outside help until a crisis occurs. She thinks she is still so independent, because you are doing everything for her. Let nature take its course.

That's what I'm doing with my mother. And she's only 7 minutes away. You are an hour away, and you are going over there and doing all that stuff for her?

Rarely can people get elders to accept help. They need to be forced, and that usually happens after a crisis.
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Reply to CTTN55
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Thanks for the input. She does need some assistance, so I cannot let things go for too long. How can I get her to accept outside help?
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Reply to UptoHere
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