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I am an only child with a narcissistic mother who is never happy about anything. She calls me constantly and expects visits but all she does is complain and talk non-stop about herself. It's not pleasant and clear that she has no interest in my life. She has psychiatric issues and is in and out of a psych outpatient program, and she has actually said "They don't do anything for me-I just go to have something to do". I believe she has dementia too. She is widowed and lived independently afterwards, but needed more care, activities, and help so we got her into an AL place that she picked and said she loved. Two weeks later the complaints started. She made it a year, but took herself out and went back to living independently. Then she started complaining about that so my husband and I moved her in with us. We've done that before and it never works out. She has no concept of privacy, boundaries, or that other people have lives too. Then she started complaining to her friends about being at our house and eventually she moved out to an apartment complex where she currently resides.


What I'm struggling with now is that my husband is likely being transferred across the country and we need to leave within a month's time. Mother says she doesn't want to go with us, and honestly I can't even wrap my head around what moving her and all her stuff across country would entail, plus trying to move ourselves. She's been complaining to her therapists, home health people, doctors, friends etc for awhile now that she can't stand living alone and wants to move again to a facility where "I don't have to worry about anything" and everything is done for her. She had agencies "helping" her find places, but nothing is ever accomplished. So I found another AL that I think she can afford and got her on the waiting list. A few weeks ago they called and had a room. I contacted mom but she said she had her insurance caseworker working to find her a place and get on Medicaid so she passed on the room. This caseworker showed up last weekend with nothing done and was upset that mom passed on the room.


Now mom says she "can't afford" AL and wants to hire an agency that comes in so she'll have companionship, light housekeeping, etc. We've looked into that too previously, but then she says she can't afford that. She told the caseworker when she asked mother how much she'd be willing to pay for a place to live that offered all she wants and needs, and mother said $1000. That's not going to get her anywhere! She brings in about $2500/mo and can afford AL as an "independent" person living there, but if she needs anything extra like having her meds managed, clothes washed etc, it's going to cost more. I don't know how long her money will last at that rate. I know nothing about how Medicaid works, but I have read about the 5 year look back they do and mom has moved money around and has sold a house so that's all going to cause her to be penalized and denied I think.


I'm so stressed out trying to figure out what to do with her. I've never done this before and don't know where to turn for help. She's already calling friends and telling them we're abandoning her so I expect to start getting calls any day now. Any advice will be appreciated please!

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Yes, I would call her doctors and all the agencies that have been suggested. Then I would write a letter confirming what was said in the conversations. Like: This letter is to confirm our conversation concerning my mother, Jane Doe. On such and such a date I talked to...then reiterate the conversation. I also would ask one of her doctors to report her to DMV. At the agencies, get the name of the supervisor, manager, director and carbon copy them in. Send everything certified mail. You can go online and print off the signatures once delivered. You have covered your tail.
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So will some agency finally get involved when something major happens? I hate to say it, but I think something will have to happen for any of these "experts" she sees to get her into a more suitable facility. She still insists on driving (she's in her 80s), she gets confused, picks and chooses what meds she wants to take and absolutely refuses to take any of her psychiatric meds, eats junk even though she's diabetic and medical staff has told her to lay off all the sodas and sweets (can you guess how often she gets UTI's???), won't wear her medical alert device in case of a fall, and she does fall, can't keep up with her finances....it's a mess! I've even considered contacting APS myself because of her self-neglect. I just want her to be in a safe place before we move but she's not cooperating at all. Someone once said that we cannot force our parents into doing something- they are free to make their own decisions even if they're bad ones.
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FrazzledMama Aug 29, 2018
Contacting APS might be a good idea. Even though she hasn't been diagnosed with dementia or anything, and still makes her own decisions, if she is getting confused or forgetful, she may be developing cognitive impairment.

I'd tell APS that she is putting herself at risk by driving while confused, not taking her meds properly, uncontrolled diabetes, uncontrolled mental health issues, etc, basically self-neglect as you said. Explain that you are moving out of state and that she has no other family close by, nor will she listen to your suggestions on finding AL or other suitable care. Ask what they would recommend.

That way, you have your bases covered, and if they determine that she needs to be evaluated, they can step in and take further action. It sounds like you have done what you can to help your mom, and this way you're doing your diligence to give them a heads up and let them know what is going on with her.
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NeverGoodEnuff, I agree with Ahmijoy. Move with your husband, and let your mother take care of herself. You've tried with her. She isn't your responsibility.

My mother likes to indirectly (and sometimes directly) complain about me to other people. She likes to point out how her SONS (they are states away) care about her. She also sometimes tells people how I don't like to drive her places (true).

I'm sure others think badly of me because I don't sacrifice my mental health to "mama." I limit my exposure to her (I'm her Dummy Driver Daughter, and I set very firm limits on how often she gets carted around). It's her choice that she's a shut-in with very little socialization. She could live in Assisted Living, but refuses.
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Let her call APS. They’d find nothing. Her opinion of you shouldn’t mean diddly squat. Who cares what she thinks? Tell her to mind her own business. Don’t explain. Don’t engage. If her name comes up on your Caller i.d., don’t answer. And don’t feel guilty. You can’t please your mother, so be respectful but not subservient.
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JoAnn29 Sep 1, 2018
Like that "be respectful but not subservient"
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It truly sounds like Mom is capable of finding her own facility, or finding “staff” to come into her home. She’s not satisfied with anything you do, so honestly, why keep trying? If you do move her into a facility you’ve found, she will for certain complain about it.

My mother had a way of making comments about me too. We used to live in a very nice, large home. My husband worked hard from the time he was 16 and deserved to live in a house like that. My mom was very jealous and told everyone (including me) we lived “in a barn”. My cousin told me she’d said that to him and he went up and down our street once looking for a “barn”. She also told the maintenance man at her apartment that she needed him to help her move because she had no one to help her.

Are you afraid that the people your mother told you were abandoning her will call APS? If they do, APS will laugh in their faces. If someone calls you and grills you about what your mother said, you are perfectly within your rights to tell them Mom is well taken care of and to butt out.

Get ready for your move and leave Mom to her own living arrangements. She chose to not come with, so fine. If she doesn’t want to live alone, well she’s a grown up and she can sign an apartment lease and call a mover. She can find Independent Living. She can call an agency and hire home help. She can find a Senior Center and join.

When she calls to complain how awful you are, tell her you have something on the stove and hang up.
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NeverGoodEnuff Aug 29, 2018
Thanks for your reply. I always feel guilty and I do worry about her "friends". One in particular likes to text me or call and ask if I know mom went to the ER, or had a procedure done or something...like I don't already know. She comes across as thinking I don't care and I'm a horrible person for "neglecting" mom. She'd be the one to call APS because now our move will seem like abandonment.
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