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Mom agreed to assisted living. Everything was paid for and set up. Furniture moved. Even Pictures hung on the wall. An hour before she was to go there, the nurse of the facility told her she would meet with her in the morning to discuss her medication management. At that moment mom called it off. She refuses to go now because her medications will be managed. I'm quite aware my mom has an addiction problem ...Thats why we chose to go to assisted living. Now I'm out over $6000. I live overseas. Friends did the moving. I can't ask them to move it back. I don't want to ...because the same stuff of repeated hospital visits for "anxiety," falls, and depression are going to continue. I'm at a loss. I don't know what to do. Is it time to step back and let her go it alone?


She blames us all for pushing her, even though she was excited for the last weeks until it came up about the meds. She is now living in her condo which has no bed, an uncomfortable pull out sofa and no clothes (all at the facility) not even a coffee pot. But she said she prefers this to having her meds managed.


I'm at a loss... Any thoughts welcome.


Only child...no other family

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Five years ago you would not be labeling mom as an 'addict'....the war on drugs has taken a nasty toll on people who NEED pain relief on a daily basis.

ONE pain pill at some point in the day is probably not covering her pain well. Prozac is taken everyday, or it's pointless. An occasional Xanax is not a problem. A LOT of people take something to help them sleep. Without good sleep, chronic pain becomes the overarching theme in your life.

What she NEEDS is a pain management dr. who will listen and compassionately treat her. Then, when she feels she can ask for and receive the meds she NEEDS to keep comfortable--I bet she sings a different tune about moving.

Until you have lived with chronic pain-- the kind that NEVER goes away, but is simply managed so you have a semblance of QOL, she isn't going to be amenable to letting someone else handle her meds.

There are MANY different 'cocktails' of meds mom can take to relieve her aches and pains. Just labeling her a drug addict doesn't help and is super offensive to those of us who DO have to take something daily to manage pain.

Just my opinion. And personal experience.
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Upstream Jul 4, 2020
Midkid58, my mom mis-manages Klonopin (a Benzo like Xanax). Sadly, she was put on it decades ago for sleep & anxiety. She takes it like candy, morning and evening, and sometimes in-between. There is always an excuse, a reason, a drama, why another pill is needed. It's a controlled substance, so when she doubles & triples up on her pills, then she runs out and, guess what, no refill for days/weeks. Withdrawl symptoms begin within 48 hours and they can become quite severe. A few days ago she informed me that she's run out of pills (again) and now she has to wait 5 more days for refill. She called 911 yesterday and was transported to the hospital. They told her it was just anxiety and turned her out almost immediately. This is a constant cycle we are on and it's rung me out. The doctors recommended assisted living last December due to her medication mis-management, but she moved herself out and back to her house in May (over my objections). Her life revolves around the pills. I refuse to let mine revolve around the pills any longer. I don't call her an "addict", but she is dependent upon the drugs, and her dependency causes significant life disruptions.
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Amy, who manages your mom's pain meds? How often does she see that doctor?

We have a poster here, Dorker, whose dad has chronic pain and is in end stage cancer. His demented wife INSISTED that he was abusing Oxycontin. Dorker believed her.

It comes to pass that dad is hospitalized and in rehab and Dorker mentions this "addiction" to the staff at all of the places. The medical professionals see NO issue with the number of pills that this elderly man is taking.

Pain is a frightful thing. I know that you are far away and that that makes this whole situation terribly fraught. If you have a label of "addict" from a qualified medical professional, then so be it. But taking 3 pain pills a day does not an addict make.
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AMYPED22 Jul 4, 2020
She is/was a recovered alcoholic..The adiction symptoms are there and have been for a while. I ignored it and thought no...its fine for a long time.

She has decided to stay in her home now.

She was reported to the authorities after the last time she was in the hospital that she should not live alone. They called me and I told them we organised assisted living. Now I need to call them to update.
In home care is not an option financially. We have a Long term care insurance that she chose but only covers ALF or nursing.
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You should not be using YOUR money to pay for your mother's care. Her funds pay for her care.

Step back, call APS (or have a friend do it). Do not sign as "responsible party" for any of her care, unless you are signing for her her POA.
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AMYPED22 Jul 3, 2020
Thanks for your answer ... I did sign as her POA. We have Long term insurance but it wont kick in for 90 days so we used our private money for the up front costs. Móm has none. Only SS and credit card debt.
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What is all this, “ she does not sound like an addict”? First of all, that was not the purpose of the poster’s question. Second, her mother is abusing prescribed medication by doubling and tripling the doses and running out weeks before a new prescription is due. She is of course addicted to the medication which is common with opioid and benzo abuse. She is not doubling up on vitamins. And she is refusing the AL because she does not want them to control her pill popping. Chronic pain does require management and usually it requires lots of different pills because that is what pain doctors do. This lady was given meds back when people were often just given meds to shut them up. And now she is a management problem. So how about instead of attacking the poster for calling her mothers behavior what it is, we have some sympathy for her trying to manage the mess her mother made of her life.
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josue1223 Jul 8, 2020
Do you have any compassion fool you don't know chronic pain like I do it's the worst thing ever and you will take medicine to make it stop because it ruins your life you can't do any of the things you used to do you can't play with your kids you can't even enjoy activities with your grandson or granddaughters you can't even go out to the movies or do anything when you suffer from chronic pain until you know what chronic pain is shut up you don't know anything and I'm sorry that I'm being rude but I honestly dislike it when people think that the problems we suffer from are addiction and not that we actually really need that medicine because we suffer daily put yourself in this person situation if you broke your leg then you know that pain and how bad it is but imagine that pain continues to exist even after the fact how tempted would you be to take more than one pill because of how painful it is we don't need more pills and we don't need people calling us addicts we need someone who shows compassion and knows how to manage our pain successfully and safely
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As some othershave suggested, the number of meds your mother is taking don't sound as if she's addicted, but rather that she doesn't have adequate pain management. If she's taking an opioid, as far as I know, there are no oral opioids that can control pain for 24 hours. The sleeping med and an occasional Xanax should normally be OK, too. If her pain medication is not an opioid, but rather an NSAID, some are prescribed only once/24 hours, but that's probably not enough pain med for her amount of pain, and an opioid may need to be added. If you can get her to go to a pain management specialistand she or he is prescribing meds that will control her pain adequately, the AL will probably not have a problem with them.
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Is your mother competent? If so you can’t make her go anywhere. My mother is turning 96 next month and is competent and still lives alone in her house. I can’t make her leave. She said she is going to die on her home. I tried everything to get her out of her hoarded house. I was told there is nothing I can do unless something happens. If she falls, if she has a stroke. So in the meantime I wait for a crises to happen. I go visit my mother once a week and my son goes to her house 2 or 3 times a week.
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Amy, I am an only child and my mom developed late-in-life alcoholism (I did not grow up with an alcoholic mom). On top of the drinking she mis-manages Klonopin, on which she is totally dependent. Sadly she has lived down the street from me for years. It's been an awful experience and it's taken a toll on me. Every time I think I've done something to make a difference and things will be "OK", she slips back into her old habits (or worse). I've just had to back away, self-protect, and let her run her course. She's determined to drink & die in her house (she's told me that many times). I would love to be far, far away and let this unfold from a distance, but for many reasons I am not able to sell our house & move far enough away to put the distance between us & my mom. There's not much you can do for a determined elder but wait for things to fall apart and then just hope for the best (for yourself).
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Jean1808 Jul 8, 2020
I imagine a move to Texas, or Europe, anywhere.
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I expect she has a big case of cold feet. Imagine being in her shoes. Giving up independence and admitting irreversible decline. Going through doors that will close behind you, never to re-open. She also is afraid of the unknown. What seemed like a good idea, even exciting and looked forwards to, is now a fearful unknown looming closer. I am not surprised she gets cold feet at the last minute.
Have you tried showing her that you understand her reluctance, her fears, her grieving over loss of youth, health, vigour, independence? When we're young we have doors opening, paths to choose from, future possibilities that are exciting and almost unlimited. As we grow older our options narrow, and most of our lives are behind us.
When older people rudely rail against those who try to care for them, it is not you they are against, it is the hard things of life, and of getting older, that bug them. Of course in an ideal world they would not take it out on their carers. But some personalities do that.
We can fight their personality and resent them (easily done, hands up!) or we can figure out how best to help them manage their emotions and behaviour.
It sounds in this case like your mum has clearly stated exactly what she does not want - to have someone else control her medications. I understand that! It is likely that there are other areas where she fears that others will be increasingly controlling her life. Her choices are already limited by time and health.
1) Show her that you understand, and care about, her feelings about all the changes. Specifically mention the meds and ask what about it worries her.
2) Ask some questions to find out how she is feeing about other things.
3) Work through with her all the upcoming changes, and ensure she does not feel all control is being taken away. Work out some things she can have a say in and make it clear you will honour those.
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lcolton Jul 7, 2020
Such a great response and caring to what her mom is/might be going through.
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Yes, I would step away and tell her she is on her own for all care, for moving back home, and for any incidents that occur in future. You are overseas? This is pretty much impossible and I would tell her so. She is very unlikely to give up her addiction. As they say, for the addict, the drugs come FIRST. So let her negotiate her own world, and tell her once she takes a fall or becomes helpless, someone a good deal less understanding will manage her addiction. I do not know if you are POA or guardian? I hope not. POA is a tough job; I did it, and that was for a quite with it man who was honestly the best man who ever lived in my book. So you have my sympathy.
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Amyped, is your mother competent? Would she pass a competency test? If yes, then there is nothing you can do. You can’t make her do anything. If she’s not competent, call APS and then stay out of it. Let APS handle it. It all comes down to one thing. Is she competent? They set the bar really really low. It all hinges on her brain. She can be an addict and still be competent. My 96 year old mother is living proof of how to stay out of assisted living. She can barely walk, but by golly she has her mind.
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