My Mother Needs Help

Biggest Challenge: My Mother lives alone, and she has fallen quite a few times, and is now in the hospital. She was told that she may have suffered a mild stroke. She will not get a walker or lifeline that was recommended to her by the Geriatric Nurse. She expects my husband and I to look after her, but my health is not great; I have a pacemaker, and suffered a stroke and an anoxic brain injury at the hands of a hospital last June. I have mentioned to her about going to a retirement home, but she says at the age of 80, she does not want to leave her home because of all her memories and belongings that she has collected for years. I have tried to get her some help at her home but she is Irish, and controlling, and feels that it is our responsibility. What are we supposed to do? I look forward to your reply.

--Lorelei

Response from DM:

Dear Lorelei:

I truly understand your situation; it is one that I hear often. Most elderly individuals do not want to move from their homes, their many memories, and the people they know. It might help if a special friend, relative, or spiritual advisor can be brought in to council your mother, so that she truly understands how the care she requires is affecting you and your health. If your mother will not even consider moving, then you have to get additional assistance for her care, so you can have some respite for yourself. Be strong enough to ask for help from others and be clear and concise as to what they can do to lessen your burden.

Next, go through the entire house and make it as safe as possible, so that your mother is unlikely to fall again. Look at the house with fresh eyes, as though you are seeing everything for the first time. Make all of the safety changes that are necessary. I have written several articles (available on my website) on safety in all of its manifestations. Also, consider the many electronic monitoring devices that are available. The best ones are those that are neither invasive nor intrude on your mother’s privacy, but use sensors so that you are aware of her daily activity. Also, make sure that her behavior and responses are not being influenced by some undetected medical issue, or medications that may be contraindicated. Have her undergo a full medical evaluation, if she is willing, so that you both know she is functioning at her highest level.

As a caregiver, you must take care of yourself. If anything happened to you, who would be there for your mother? Learn to ask to have some of your needs taken into consideration.

Most sincerely,

Dr. Marion

 

 

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