Help With My Mother

Hi Doctor Marion,

I’m in serious need of help.  My mother fell and broke her hip almost 5 years ago.  She went into a convalescent home for 10 days and was sent home, with therapy.  She kicked out the therapist and refused to use a walker.  This was went she decided tosell her home and move in with my husband and I.

She fell 2 years ago and broke the other and it took several weeks for her to recover (refusing therapy again) so she now uses the walker because without therapy and exercise she doesn't get around well.  Both trips to the convalescent home shefought about meds and the pills they brought for her, the food wasn't fresh etc.

She has always been stubborn and things go her way...even if she is living in myhome.  I don't cook right or do laundry correctly.  She knows it all...even when it comes to health her theory is you go to the doctor when there is a problem.  Neverhad a mammogram or anything she says that is what causes the problems.

Recently she fell and her idea of getting better is lying flat and healing.  She also was drinking a cup of coffee in the morning (decaf) and a hot mug of instant milk at lunch with a banana.  Since the fall (she says was from the coffee) she has stopped her only 2 cups of fluid resulting in weakness and fatigue to the point where I was feeding her, and she couldn't bath herself.  She also refuses any in home safety bars/equipment or help from an aide.

I ended up calling an ambulance after she was hallucinating about a cat being in her room.  She was taken to the hospital screaming and hollering.  The found she had a UTI and put her on IV with antibiotics.  They wanted to send her home but I said not to release her since she normally doesn't take meds.  The next day she was totally out of it and not in her right mind.  The next day she was back to her old self.  Saying how could I put her there she wasn't sick and if she was it was from my cooking etc.

She was sent against her will to a convalescent home for 20 days to recooperate...Well she's been there for 3 days she said she isn't paying for it.  She isn't staying there she is going to talk to a lawyer, and it's pretty good to send her there because I wanted her out.  She refuses to talk to me, she has 20% hearing in one ear and refuses to be checked for a hearing aid that might help.  She has cateracts and refuses to get her eyes checked.  The people at the convalescent home said she was in bad shape hygiene wise (because of her poor eyesight and lack of balance)...what am I to do...she is in her right mind, stubborn, and is her own worst enemy...Please advise me.

Kim in Georgia, 67

Dear Kim,

The fact that your mother is living with you says a lot about your relationship. I want to thank you for taking her in. Not only is being a caregiver often a thankless job, it can also be extremely difficult to keep the rest of your own life in balance.

At your mother’s age, many seniors are very accustomed to their own form of taking care of themselves.  Many even chose to ignore the medical profession and "do it their way," even if their way is controversial. This can be difficult for everyone involved. What worked for your mother when she was younger is obviously not working for her now. But it is hard to change anyone's life time patterns. Your first need is to take care of yourself, before you fall apart.

Your mother's decision to forbid any safety equipment (grab bars, walker, hearing aid, etc.) or to have a support system for herself (medical professionals, therapist, medication) have all contributed to her ill health. These choices have possiblycontributed to her not thinking clearly or not understanding what is now in her best interest.

You may want to have a geriatric care manager come in to evaluate and assess the situation.  A geriatric care manager will give both you and your mother a professional plan for what needs to be done and what priorities need to be addressed immediately. I’m glad to hear that your mother is now going to a lawyer.  Getting an outside view of her life today could solve many of your problems.  I wish you the best, Kim.

Sincerely,

Doctor Marion

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