I have been caregiver for my 94 year old mother for 10 years. She has all of her mental faculties.She lives with me because she has said she could never live with any of my brothers or sisters. I have been good to her over the years, helping her while making sure to maintain her dignity.The problem is, she recently fell and landed on her knees. Even though I was in the house, she never called for help. She said she got up on her own after 10 minutes, but told me she had no idea what caused her to go down. She denied feeling dizzy, or that one of her legs may have given out. I took her to the ER for xrays but there were no signs of a fracture. Days later I overheard her tell several family members that she has had numbness in her right foot "for several months" and that this is what caused her to fall. This was surprising to me. This behavior is not new. As a result, I am often caught in the middle with my siblings and my mother and her primary care physician. I take her to the doctor's every 6 months for a check-up, but she will wait until we get back home to inform me of any problems she's having. I do not know how to interpret what is going on. I have been burned out for a long time now.

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I will dig deep into my reserves of charity, here, and guess that your mother did not think anything in particular of the numbness in her right foot, and only connected it with her fall in retrospect, and only then saw fit to mention it and even then not to you. If you did not make sarcastic remarks or flick her on the ear when this came to light, you did extremely well and should pat yourself on the back.

"Anything else you think you might like to tell me, mother dearest..?"

Whether it's outright lies - "I was feeling a little bit sick but I'm fine now" prior to the bleeding gastric ulcer hospital admission - or, as I think might have happened just then with your mother, a failure to recognise a potential symptom, there is a whole spectrum of reasons not to take your loved one's word for it when it comes to medical information. We're not qualified practitioners, we're not expected to elicit a full clinical history, but there are routine questions to ask and observations we can make.

Writing things down helps. Keep a journal and take it with you to the check-ups and other appointments. Include anything out of the ordinary.

If you are blessed with siblings who call you and say, e.g., "why didn't you tell me mother was vomiting every morning" and the reason is that you didn't know, because she didn't tell you, thank them for the information and ask them to keep it coming. Remind them that mother is not one for full disclosure, and the more eyes/ears on her the better. You will note that the key thing here is to dismiss all ideas of there even being an accusation. They sound accusing. You feel that you are being accused. It is a big, stressful wind-up. Ignore it. The accusation is groundless, beneath your notice, but the information may be crucial.

I am suddenly very fond of Katiekate's brother, even though I have never met him, and I am glad that his shock tactic worked. But to be on the safe side with your mother it is probably easiest to assume that she will not provide information and don't even bother with the whys - any more than you'd ask your dog what he's done to his paw.

Actually I usually did ask my dog but I didn't expect a sensible answer.

Burnout. Mmm. Further thoughts on that..?
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PWSuleski May 2019
Thank you for your input. It was very insightful.
When my Dad was pulling this on me, it was my brother that called him and told him that he needed to knock off the sh*t, or he would be moving to a nursing home.

That was was the last time this was pulled on me. Before each doctor or therapy visit we would put together a list of issues to discuss....and from then on it was a complete list.
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I think a heart to heart talk is in order.

She is making it harder for you to help her and that is unacceptable.

I told my dad that he could not have it both ways, I either got the info or he found a new POA that he trusted because I wasn't going to look like I was neglecting his needs when I did not even know.

When I told him I won't help any more without the information it got his attention and he started telling me to much, so be prepared for the opposite end of no info.
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