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My dad passed a year ago and mom lives with us now. She is extremely needy of my time. Financially she is ok but is very fixated in money - she does not want to rent her own place - she says it is because she can't afford it and she doesn't want to be alone. She does not want to meet people or find hobbies to keep herself engaged. I believe she has the starting of dementia or Alzheimer's but refuses to get tested. Mimi don't know where to begin......

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I can relate to most of the comments. When her husband died my MIL had made no plans to continue with her life in another state. She assumed that she would move in with her son and his wife would wait on her - something I learned years later when she told my about how her mother waited "hand and foot" on her 2 grandfathers who lived in their home. My husband and I were gone from home all day but at first MIL would take a bus and walk quite a bit. But then she became bored and wanted to move back to her former living area about 300 miles away. This boredom/helplessness continued as we moved her 14 times in 17 years, or something like that. She would move away and be upset that she had to walk a long block to the market. She wanted to be in an apt. complex with 24 hr. security but didn't like it that there were only younger people living there. She would go to a Sr. Center yet always had some story of being left out or spoken to harshly.

She lived with us multiple times and I become very stressed that she had no interests, not even watch soap operas. She didn't enjoy reading, didn't have any hobbies, found reasons to not talk on the phone, yet complained that she was bored. The only time she came out of that shell was when we had company over and then she loved being the center of attention and getting sympathy.

At one party a very nice woman spent quite a bit of time with her and as this woman was leaving I thanked her for the time she had spent listening. She replied that she had done social work at a senior residence and that she recognized that my MIL was a "handful".

So, do your best to keep the house running as it has in the past. Make a list of possible activities (church, senior center, hospital, clubs) and transportation (Access, Uber, Lyft, etc.) Try just 1 a month. Continue to charge her rent but if possible put it in a savings account for her future use, but do not let her know that. Communicate with relatives here and there about how she is doing so she can't play a game of claiming to be neglected. Be sure she does as much for herself as possible, and maybe to help the family such as folding laundry, or setting the table for dinner. Be sure to thank her for each thing she does and tell her how important it is to the family.

Last, have some girlfriends you can call who will just listen to you "whine and complain". It is very theraputic for you and helps you cope. Keeping a journal helps also as it is a place where you can put your frustrations and daily situations on paper.

Good luck.
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Caregiving implies that your mother has some impairments and you are helping her with things she can't do herself. Are you really her caregiver? What do you help her with? Can feed, clean, and dress herself? Is she fully mobile? Use the bathroom alone?

Or is she simply a needy widow who is living with you?

Is she paying you room and board? She certainly should be. Unless she has expensive medicines to buy, etc. she should not expect to get a free ride. That just feeds into her fantasy about not spending her money.

Can she be left alone? Do you go out sometimes with friends? To run errands? To shop? Gently break her of the habit of depending on you 24/7.

A year isn't enough time to fully move on from the death of a spouse. But it is time enough for people who love her to encourage some moving forward and to embrace her independence.

If Mom does indeed have the beginnings of dementia then it probably isn't realistic to expect very much moving forward. She will need a lot of emotional support. But even if dementia is present she should be encouraged to do what she can for herself and to have a broader circle of people to interact with than just your household.
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There is also the possibility that she just wants you to be with her and so she is "faking" not being able to find her way. Just a thought. Don't forget that parents are good at manipulation when they want to be.
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Stick to your guns on the rent!

Her sulking and passive aggressive behavior is intended to punish you, in the hope that would won't leave her alone again. But what if you don't react to it at all? Pretend you don't even notice it. That kind of defeats her purpose, doesn't it?

Or if she is being particularly obnoxious what if you said, "You know, Mom, I love you but when you are in this mood I don't enjoy your company very much. I'm going back out, to read in the park. I hope you are in a better mood when I get back."
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You better get her to an eldercare attorney and get POA papers drawn up and get a family's name included with her account--it's only going to get worse. You better get those POA papers done while she can or it will be too late and once she is unable to make a choice on her own the court will have to appoint a legal guardian. Welcome to the world of Alzheimer's. No point diagnosing it since they can't do anything about it. Just pray.
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Your Mom probably is still grieving over the loss of her husband [your Dad] so she won't want to to meet people to join into hobbies to keep herself busy. And it is common to not to be alone.

If there is a senior center near by and you are able to go with her, try it out for half a day, have lunch there. I realize Mom won't jump for joy at the place, but it is a start. Get a schedule and try to lure her with something she might like.

Another idea is to hire a caregiver who could be a companion for your Mom. The tough part with be finding one who has the same interest and whom your Mom would enjoy being with. Don't use your money, this would need to come from Mom's bank accounts. Keep track of all the paperwork in case later down the road Mom needs to apply for Medicaid.

My Dad had a caregiver who he couldn't wait until she showed up in the morning, as she would chat and joke with Dad, take him for walks, even drive him for hair cuts, or to the store to get him out of the house.
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I am concerned that your mother cannot find her way to a familiar store while driving. She may not cause an accident, but -- as happened to my husband -- make an unwise driving decision that made it impossible for him to avoid a vehicle that ran a red light. Neither party was injured, but our new car was totaled.
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Lucille, on the scale of things a year is not very long into widowhood. [And how are you doing, by the way? Losing your father is not something to be brushed aside, either.]

It sounds as though your mother is feeling extremely sorry for herself and wants to be 'babied.' Well, she has things to feel sorry for herself about. On the other hand, it will do her no good to get stuck like that; and meanwhile the world doesn't work as she wants it to. No matter how much she is loved as a mother, food and fuel and phone bills and the rest of it still cost money, and her notion that you take her in and foot all her bills as part of your daughter's privileges... hmmmm. Don't think so!

Sympathy for her grief is one thing. But at the same time, to serve her as well as you can, encourage her to look ahead and find some meaning in the rest of her life. You can be firm and practical without being unkind; and in the end if she turns down all your suggestions and proposals and would rather sit in her chair and sulk, that's where your boundaries come in and you remember that her loneliness and lassitude are her problem, not yours. She can please herself, but she can't help herself to all of your time and limitless resources.

I'm not unsympathetic to her because starting again when you're old and sad is not easy. It's difficult to find the motivation to change at the very moment when your life has been torn up by the roots. Keep suggesting ideas, comfort her; and above all take care of yourself. It's fine to give it a bit longer and see if she turns a corner, but it may be in the long run that independent living will be a better solution for all concerned, not least her.
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Thank you for the responses. My mom is able to care for herself with regards to personal grooming, feeding, meds, etc. and yes I can leave her alone for periods of time. So yes, perhaps she is now 'a boarder'. She is paying rent but is very upset by that. SHe thought since she was my mother she shouldn't have to pay. We are working on that. I can go out and she is ok by herself - the issue is she sulks when I have left her alone or becomes passive aggressive. I feel dementia or something is lurking. She cannot find her way to the grocery store which is less than 2 minutes away. I have driven her multiple times and she has driven for the past couple of weeks with me guiding her -she still is unable to find her way on her own.
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I suspect that you are correct in your suspicion of early dementia or cognitive decline. A few things that you stated ring a bell for my situation with my LO.

One thing that happens is that they may not be able to learn new things. That may be why she can't figure out how to get back from the store, after you have repeatedly showed her how.

She's needy of your time. Often the person with dementia will start attaching to one person. They are overly needy and it's not really something they can control. There are neurological reasons for it and I can't site them here, but, a neurologist may be helpful.

She says she doesn't want to live alone. Often things are changing in their brain and it scares them. They know something is going on and they want to be near someone they love and trust. They need that security. Also, she may be losing track of time and not realize how much time she requires from you.

She is obsessed with money. Often they will latch on to a topic, item or subject and not let go. With my cousin it was her cat. She loved it, talked to it and about, and watched it constantly. Nothing could dissuade her. She may be locked into the finances. Plus, she may sense that she''ll need more care as she gets worse and she's worried about the costs.

Stops wanting to meet new people or go out much. They have likely started forgetting things, like words, names, how to respond to people. That can be embarrassing, especially around new people. They try to cover up and may do a good job, but, it's tiring to keep up the facade. Being in new and strange places can be too intimidating.

And she may have lost interest in old hobbies. The coordination decreases and with the fear, can come depression, which causes a loss of interest in old activities.

I would definitely cut out her driving and try to give some extra time and encouragement. If she does want to go somewhere arrange a driver.

Maybe, looking very carefully, you can tell if any of these things are happening. It might explain some things. I hope it's not this, but something else that can be remedied.
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