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My mom was recently in the hospital and rehab, after we checked on her and found out she had been in bed for a few days, and had not eaten or taken her meds. She was very dehydrated and couldn’t walk. However, she kept calling me to pick her up and bring her home almost the entire time. She also refused to eat or cooperate with the physical therapy in rehab, so ended up back in the hospital, where she told the doctors she refused to go back to rehab and wanted to go home. So they released her! I requested they prescribe her a walker. My son picked it up from the pharmacy, then got her things from rehab, and picked her up from the hospital and brought her home. I spoke to the hospital staff and her regular doctor’s office, and they both said she refused to have a home health aide service set up. She just expects us to do everything for her, and we can’t. We work, and have our own lives. I get that she wants to be independent, but something has got to give here. Yet, I can’t force her to do anything, even if it in her best interest. I was told that it would stay that way until she shows signs of memory loss or dementia. I don’t know what to do at this point, and now have my own crisis to deal with. I guess all I can do now is wait.

Why did you send someone to pick her up?

She will continue in her unrealistic expectations as long as you continue to dance to her tune.

Many folks here are in your position--waiting for the fall or illness that causes a hospitalization. When that happens, communicate with the discharge planners and make sure they know that she lives alone and that family CANNOT provide care. In all likelihood, she has told the hospital that you all will provide care for her at home. And they have no reason to disbelieve that.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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Many times people don't know the difference between what they want and what they need.
Your mother's problem is not about her insisting that she maintain her independence. If that were the case she would not expect or want you and your brother to do everything for her.
The problem is she wants her care and needs met on her terms and her terms and those terms do not include allowing outside help.
That is what she wants. What she needs is for others to do for her in some ways now.
Explain to her that her choice and that she can choose the easy way or the hard way. The easy way is to cooperate and work with outside home/health aides that your and your brother find for her because the two of you cannot meet all of her care needs. Or she can choose the hard way which is continue refusing every attempt you make to get her good help which will result in her getting sick or hurt and then she won't be able to remain in her home. Then she will be living out the rest of her days in a nursing home. After you and your brother explain this to her, stick to it. Don't take every call. Don't go running over there every time she demands it. Both you and your brother have to have this talk with her together otherwise she won't take her situation seriously.
This is what she needs. Not what she wants. Good luck.
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Reply to BurntCaregiver
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my2cents Mar 7, 2021
Good point. It's not what they want, it's what they need. Drive that home to mom. No one wants help, but sometimes people who are trying to help you maintain some independence need the help. Always best to get patient to understand why YOU need the help for them.
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You make sure that she understands that you and your family cannot and will not just drop everything to be at her beck and call, and if she refuses outside help, then she will have to live with the consequences. You are not your mothers keeper. She will discover rather quickly that she needs more help than she realizes, and if the family's not there to help, she will have no choice but to hire some outside help. Stand your ground. Don't let her guilt you into the caregiver roll. This is on her now, not you. Best wishes.
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Reply to funkygrandma59
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Tell your apparently competent Mother that you can no longer enable her in an unsafe decision to live on her own and to refuse help. Tell her that you will not be able to do things for her now, and she can accept help or end back into rehab. If you are unable to deal with an apparently competent woman then do know that Beatty here is correct when she says "There will be no solutions as long as you are all the solutions." Perhaps the THIRD time Mom end up hospitalized some bright social worker will understand that this isn't working and that Mom is making poor decisions. Stop being the go to. When the Social Workers call tell them you cannot be the "go to" for your Mother any more. That you have a life. That she will not accept help and you cannot "BE THE HELP". Tell your Mother that this will be your action in the future.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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BurntCaregiver Mar 6, 2021
Absolutely right, AlvaDeer. Sadly, some people have to learn the hard way. Like Mick Jagger sings,

"You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometime, you just might find, you'll get what you need".

Hopefully, Wasstraw's mom won't have to learn the hard and will accept the care she needs to stay in her home and not end up in a bad situation because it's not how she wanted it.
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She doesn't show signs of a desire for independence if she is not taking any steps to physically help herself. I think you have to emphatically state that. I am not suggesting you sound threatening. I simply think you tell her that the longer she stays in bed the likelihood will be she may not walk again.

That is what happened to my mother through no fault of her own to a degree. She spent 10 days in the hospital with a severe septic infection. She went from living on the 2nd floor of an AL facility which was considered the more independent floor (as opposed to the first floor where residents required more assistance) to being in the neighboring NH facility unable to even stand alone. She would very much like to stand or walk.

Although she has made some poor choices in her life regarding her health she has always embraced PT when offered to her after ailments or surgery. She survived the septic infection which had been doubtful but is very immobile. She would very much like to regain that but it is very unlikely.

In my opinion all you can do is tell your mother how much worse it could possibly become. You can say you can help to a certain extent but you cannot live her life for her. If there are not funds for private nursing (which also often has not ideal circumstances) she could end up in a Medicaid facility likely with a roommate which may or may not be favorable. Perhaps this will motivate her to a degree. If not then she will have to slowly fail. I don't mean to sound cruel but you should not sacrifice your life especially if she is not willing to try to help herself at all.

I spent years telling my mother she could not simply rely on her Christian Science faith when ill and needed to lose weight. She had intervals of adhering to this but not with consistency. She is a basically kind person who has loved my 3 children and been supportive to a degree in my life. She had a very difficult mother. These factors play a part with my behavior of trying my best to advocate for her now. She has made it to 90 which amazes my husband and I to a degree. I very much wish her present state is not what it is but there is nothing more I can do. I have to try to emotionally separate. Some days are easier than others. We can only assist. We can't live lives for others. I hope your situation improves.
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Reply to Riverdale
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first mistake I guess was going to get her.
If she ends up back in the hospital do not go get her. It is what is called an Unsafe Discharge.
Often what happens is some catastrophic event makes the decision for us as to what is next and how we deal with the stubborn amongst us. (my Husband was what I lovingly referred to as "my stubborn pigheaded German" for 32 years!) At some point there is no choice but to do rehab or resort to Skilled Nursing or Memory Care or whatever the best option is.
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Reply to Grandma1954
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You learn to say "I couldn't possibly do that but I will call a home care agency for you." If she says no then you say "Mother, you either agree to home health care or I cannot help you." If she throws a fit then you say "Mother, I will talk to you when you're feeling better." If she's well enough to be uncooperative then she's well enough to accept the consequences of not cooperating.

Do not send your son to help her. Do not drop everything that you have going on in your life to help her. Stand firm and be the broken record: "Mom, I can only help you if you agree to home health."

When inevitably she needs to go to the hospital again, call 911 and have her taken by ambulance. Picking her up from the hospital and bringing her home was a big mistake and one that should not be repeated. As long as you continue to rescue her she will continue to expect you to dance to her tune. Change the music!
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Reply to NYDaughterInLaw
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I feel for you. It’s a horrible position to be in. My 96 year old mother was competent and I had to WAIT for something to happen. She had a stroke and fell to the ground. I checked on her and she was lying on the floor conscious. I called 911 and they brought her to the hospital. The next day she took a turn for the worse and had to be given comfort care.

She passed away 3 days later. She died on HER terms refusing all outside help. She refused everything. Refused a nursing home.

She did things HER way!! She lived on her terms and died on her terms.

So sorry you are dealing with this.
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Reply to elaine1962
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Inthistoo Mar 11, 2021
i had a similar experience. Father refused help, didn’t want to move to be closer to the kids, adjust for wife with Alz. who now lives with one of the children, but called everyone he knew for help. Meals on Wheels heard him crying for help, was on floor overnight, pneumonia had been aspirating food. Anyway, closest child got POA etc, and he went in a nursing home - not the best in town. Languished for about 9 months. With Covid-19 and its isolation of the elderly, it was a slow, ugly death. Not what he wanted obviously, but ended up being the only option left as he needed 24/7 observation. It definitely killed him sooner but this is life without cooperation and a plan.
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I think the next time she goes to the hospital and the hospital discharge people call, you need to tell them that she has no help at home, that you found her in bed without food, non-compliant with her medications, and discharging her home is not safe. Tell them you are not her POA. And you need to tell your mother that you are not going to put up with her bad decision making. Tell her she needs to figure out a plan because you are not available. If she’s competent, as the hospital discharge planners seem to think she is, she should be able to manage on her own. If she goes to rehab you need to tell them the same thing. That you are not POA, she’s supposedly competent, and so on.

I KNEW my mother was experiencing dementia and poor decision making yet it seemed to be invisible to everyone around her. I contacted adult protective services several times to report my concerns, and they found her to be making good decisions. I tried multiple interventions all which ended in disaster costing me money and time and a trip to the ER for myself after having a panic attack (there’s a history of abuse)! I was accused of all kinds of treachery for merely making reasonable suggestions. I completely backed off.

Sometimes all we can do is stand back and wait for the crisis to happen. It’s not easy because we feel like “bad” children. And we want our parents, even if they were bad parents, to not suffer. My mother was cycled through the hospital for various serious health issues multiple times with short rehab stays before she was found in a complete state of filth and confusion.

Stand your ground and don’t let yourself be run ragged.
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Reply to Mepowers
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It’s a crazy world we live in and the laws need to be changed. Doctors start need to listen to family members and not just the patient. But we have laws, so until the laws are changed we have to change the way we respond.

My 96 year old mother lived in her hoarded house alone refusing any outside help except for me and my son. She wouldn’t bathe or wash her hair or change her clothes. But since she was competent we couldn’t have her placed in a facility.

My son and I stopped being at her beck and call. We went to her house when it was convenient for US, not her.

I went over every Sunday and my son went over twice a week to bring her the mail and take out her garbage.

You need to limit the times you and your son go over to her house.

I understand you don’t want to go no contact but at the very least limit the times you go over there and do it when it’s convenient for YOU.
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Reply to elaine1962
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rovana Mar 8, 2021
Please keep in mind the reality of treatment of mentally ill patients in the past. Often railroaded. The family just wants them gone but is not willing to face the guilt of just dumping. So they insist that the mentally ill person be locked away in a hellhole. Sounds nicer I guess. Inadequate treatment or none at all. But you ought to research the history here before condemning the patient's rights. Danger to self or others make sense as a legal test - but dirty old slob does not. People really differ a LOT in their tolerances and preferences. What is crucial to one person may mean little or nothing to others. Vermin, rotten food, fire danger - that is one thing, but hoarding could also mean just a lot of untidy clutter.
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