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mwhite
04-15-2008, 07:35 PM
I have no earthly idea where to go for help in this matter. My dear Mother needs our help and I just don't know how to start. We (my two sisters and I) have racked our brains... Mother hoards and buys things, keeps them forever, in the original bags. She never cleans her house, won't even let us go into her house. I know that she isn't bathing properly. She has a cat and a dog that get fed and loved but I fear they are not being cleaned up after. This is a proud woman and I know anything that we do legally, she will be embarassed by and may exclude one or all of us from her life. Please, I know this isn't the first time this has happened. She recently lost or retired from her job. She is 75 years old. The local Dept. of Social Services tells us there is nothing they can do. I know that "Oprah Winfrey" has had some programs where this type of behavior was discussed. Anyone know how I can help improve her quality of life?

KniftyKnitterGal
04-15-2008, 07:54 PM
Well I don't want to offend you (and I hope I don't). But have you considered maybe putting here in a home? If she really doesn't bathe herself right and doesn't take care of her house and her pets, she may have some kind of mental problem. I hope what I said doesn't hurt you. :(

Jan in CA
04-15-2008, 07:58 PM
Yes, there was a show on Oprah about it. Here's a link to start and there are links at the bottom of the page for more info.
http://www.oprah.com/tows/pastshows/200411/tows_past_20041118_d.jhtml

:hug::hug::hug:

annomalley
04-15-2008, 08:02 PM
Honestly, I don't know what to tell you other than that I can sympathize with you. :hug:

I have an uncle that is about the same age as your mom and he is just as stubborn. He lives alone, he mixes up his pills, even fell and hurt himself once, and yet he refuses help. He is a veteran and he qualifies for all sorts of free help from the VA, and he refuses that, too. My dad goes over and takes care of him, but most of my aunts have "washed their hands" of him, because they're tired of dealing with his stubbornness. It just leaves them exhausted. My dad is starting to get tired of dealing with my uncle, too, because he is being so stubborn. It's so sad and so frustrating at the same time.

mwhite
04-15-2008, 08:18 PM
Well I don't want to offend you (and I hope I don't). But have you considered maybe putting here in a home? If she really doesn't bathe herself right and doesn't take care of her house and her pets, she may have some kind of mental problem. I hope what I said doesn't hurt you. :(


Oh no, I'm certainly not offended and appreciate the feedback/input. I have seriously considered having her deemed incompetent by the court to have one of us awarded custody so your suggestion is not offensive. We are actually working on putting a house/mobile home on our property so we can be closer and have some sort of control. I know that her landlord would have a heart attack if they knew her little house were this bad.

KniftyKnitterGal
04-15-2008, 08:58 PM
Well I like your idea. I hope all goes well :)

Sewing Angel
04-15-2008, 09:16 PM
Wow! I thought you were writing about my Mom! Mine is almost 88, still lives alone. My DB checks on her daily, but she is very, very stubborn. She also is a pack rat. We have helped her some, but as long as she is taking reasonable (maybe not perfect) care of herself, we are going to leave her be. I really feel for you. Its such a feeling of helplessness, she has people who would help her live a better quality of life, but chooses to shut them out. I don't have much advice for you, but just know you are not alone.
Angel

bethany
04-15-2008, 09:24 PM
I'm sorry to hear about your difficulties. I worked with the elderly and know this situation, and it's so hard to be "the bad guy" in your parent's eyes (or uncle's or whoever's!). Soooo--maybe call in the landlord and let HIM be the bad guy (warn him first) or there are annual fire inspections for the apartments or someone called and complained or "the dr. said...."

It's easier to have someone outside the relationship be the fall guy for sure, but if you warn them ahead of time, they'll be cahoots with you some. Then you can be sympathetic and "help" get things in order.

Or, be tough and say, "These are your choices, you pick, and if you don't pick, we'll pick for you." It's soooo difficult to parent your parent or an elder. But the sad fact is that there comes a time when they aren't always physically capable and the rest falls apart, or vice versa, the mental capacities aren't fully there and the rest falls apart.

I'm sorry for this difficult time. Do be sure to take care of YOURSELF, because caregivers always have to protect their health. :hug:

PCwombat
04-15-2008, 09:42 PM
Starting maybe ten or so years ago, my parents went through this with my maternal grandparents, so I've seen how difficult it is.

I know that there are many factors that go into this, and it may hopefully not be the case, but packratting is a sympton of Alzheimer's Disease. My grandfather, who passed away from it this past spring, was a severe packratter. My dad found bags and bags and bags of used twist ties and plastic bags, among other things.

I'm sincerely hoping that this is not the case, but it should be checked on.

:hug: :muah:

SteveDallas
04-15-2008, 10:07 PM
That's always tough... in her 80s, with Parkinson-like symptons, my mother-in-law just wouldn't give up driving for anything. To make a long story short, we thought we could make the doctor the bad guy, but when one doctor told her she shouldn't drive any more she just went shopping for another doctor! She also was convinced the entire family was out to get her money, so she wouldn't do anything we suggested to protect any of her assets. (She didn't, however, have any qualms about taking advice from investment counselors. In the end everything went to fund the stay in the nursing home that my wife & her brother tried so hard to avoid.)

Anyway.... for what it's worth, there are some care organization devoted to helping people tay at home a long as possible... around here (PA) I know of one called Friends Life Care at Home. Maybe there's one in your neck of the woods? Also it might be worthwhile to consult a doctor and or a social worker with a private counseling practice, who has experience with geriatric issues. They might be more likely to tell you what you CAN do to help instead of what you CAN'T (which it sounds like is what you got from DSS). If nothing else you can get some support for you & your family.

It sounds like your plan to have her come be near you would be great, though that can be traumatic in its own way. When my mother-in-law was in decline, and she went to live with her son and his family, they were able to add an apartment onto their house for her. But she was absolutely livid that they wouldn't put in a stove for her, just a microwave. Considering her history, there's no way a stove would have been safe for her, but it wasn't pleasant dealing with the confrontations over it. (And of course my wife was involved... "Do you know what your brother said to me????")

Come to think of it, my grandmother was a hoarder to in her own way. She was already 70 when I was born, and her husband had died years before when my father was in high school. Dad had kept her checkbook and paid all her bills for as long as I could remember. By the time she was in her mid 80s she did not always know what was going on. It got to the point where she would tell him she needed some money from her bank account, and he'd say, "I just gave you some yesterday--did you spend it already?" and she'd have no clue. After she moved into a nursing home, when we were cleaning up the house, we found $20 bills stashed all over the place!

mwhite
04-15-2008, 10:10 PM
I'm sorry to hear about your difficulties. I worked with the elderly and know this situation, and it's so hard to be "the bad guy" in your parent's eyes (or uncle's or whoever's!). Soooo--maybe call in the landlord and let HIM be the bad guy (warn him first) or there are annual fire inspections for the apartments or someone called and complained or "the dr. said...."

It's easier to have someone outside the relationship be the fall guy for sure, but if you warn them ahead of time, they'll be cahoots with you some. Then you can be sympathetic and "help" get things in order.

Or, be tough and say, "These are your choices, you pick, and if you don't pick, we'll pick for you." It's soooo difficult to parent your parent or an elder. But the sad fact is that there comes a time when they aren't always physically capable and the rest falls apart, or vice versa, the mental capacities aren't fully there and the rest falls apart.

I'm sorry for this difficult time. Do be sure to take care of YOURSELF, because caregivers always have to protect their health. :hug:

I'm afraid the "landlord" tactic is out of the question. She's already been evicted before so our next move for her will be either here, with us or with my older sister in Ohio. I am not afraid of dishing out "tough love" on this. She still drives and has no debilitating, physical problems.

It helps to know that we are not alone in this situation. I've argued with my sisters, who say that she isn't lacking mentally. I disagree and feel that ANYONE with this behavior has either an out-of-control compulsion or is severely depressed. She's been like this for years but it never before created skin disorders or the odors. I've been reading the link that Jan provided and I'm positive that Mother's situation will only get worse without some form of intervention. I do so appreciate everyone's replies and it helps motivate me to be able to go ahead and take immediate action.

iza
04-15-2008, 10:34 PM
:hug:I just want to offer my support. It must be a very hard situation.

Mental illnesses come in a wide range of levels, and appear for all kinds of reasons. I think you're right - if an adult can no longer take care of him/herself properly, something is wrong. I hope you will find the best solution for her soon. She might not realize it, but she's lucky to have you!:hug:

Please take care of yourself, too! :heart:

sue in canada
04-15-2008, 10:45 PM
So sorry to hear that you have this to deal with Mary. It must be so difficult for you and your sisters.

I have seen those shows on Oprah and the way some of the people live is incredible and there must be mental issues involved. They were not all elderly people either. I'm afraid I don't have any advice for you but I think the possibility of moving her closer to you is a good idea, just how to go about it is another matter. Wish I could be of more help to you but hope that that you and your family can make some decisions soon.

Debkcs
04-16-2008, 03:29 AM
Mary, this is something that I have quite a bit of experience with both professionally and personally. First of all, :hug:'s to you and your sibs, this isn't easy.

The first step is to get her to a doctor. It's hard, but if you take a list in of the things you see that you think are detrimental to her, the doctor can start the legal processes going. You also have to get a lawyer. If her safety, and the safety of others is at risk, it is easier. At this point, she is the only one that is ever right and everyone else is always wrong? You have to get everyone concerned together to impress on her how much you all care, and to force her to the doctor. In some states there is a letter a doctor can write to the patient informing them that they have to come in, or the sheriff will come to take them in. This is so hard, but sometimes a neccessity.

I wish you the best, my prayers will be with you and your family.

MaryB
04-16-2008, 05:38 AM
I wish I had all the answers you need, but each case is so different. Having lost both my parents in the past 2 years, I can relate to the aging issues you are experiencing.
The only advice I would offer is to have your Mom see a geriatic specialist. My Mom had never needed meds for anything----so healthy! At a certain point we noticed changes that concerned us. The geriatic doctor had suggestions for us---including moving my parents in with us or into an assisted living facility. He also prescribe meds for Mom. She was not "drugged", but her blood levels, etc, were better controlled.
We selected an assisted living facility. What a difference it made for both my parents. We were amazed at what a difference proper nutrition made. Also, the social aspect was a bonus. I guess we did not see how lonely seniors can be. We knew Mom and Dad were active most of the time, but evenings and long winters were hard for them.
My thoughts and prayers are with you.:hug:

kellyh57
04-16-2008, 01:10 PM
My grandma is 81 and insists on staying in her house until the day she dies. She was born in that house and she'll die there. It's a 2-story but she can't get up and down the stairs, so they are just dust covered storage bins now. (Probably bat & mouse infested too.) Her garage was out the basement, but since she can't do the stairs, she had one built on the side of her house- taking out the yard! My uncle and mom conspired to have the building permit denied but it backfired. The lady at the courthouse TOLD HER! Ugh. Now the house has no value left but she's putting thousands of dollars into it to make it suitable to her! (It's falling apart bit by bit as no one maintains it.) She's so drugged up it's not even funny. Every sniffle is pneumonia, every ache is surgery-worthy, and she has weekly, if not daily, doctor's visits. It's her social life and her way of getting attention. She spends money as soon as it's in. My grandpa was great at investing and very thrifty. He made a decent life for them and spent very wisely so they could enjoy retirement. (He passed away 6 years ago.) Now she's blowing it!

Okay, I'll stop. My mom and uncle are in your shoes. They want to do something, but they can't. They've tried. I just wish there was some easy way to break through to these people. I just don't know why people resist nursing homes/assisted living so much. I can't wait until I get old and can have people wait on me 24/7 :teehee:. I wish there was something I could say to help. I hope you find the answers you're looking for and pray she gets better soon.:grphug:

Kelly

GinnyG
04-16-2008, 02:49 PM
It is very painful watching our parents get old. When we are young we never stop to think about these issues, then all of a sudden our parents are old and frail and the problems are overwhelming.

My Dad is 86 years old, in VERY poor health, lives 900 miles away from me and SHOULD NOT be living on his own. I'm a Nurse so OF COURSE I know what is "best" for him but GOSH DARN IT, he thinks he should make his own decisions, IMAGINE!

It has been a difficult couple of years struggling with knowing what he "should" be doing and reconciling myself to what he "will" do. He is very stubborn, fires every caretaker, cleaning person, or handy man I hire. It has become a family joke; twice a year I go to his house, CLEAN IT then arrange all sorts of "hired" help to come take care of his needs. Then I return home and ususally, before my bags are unpacked, he has fired the help I hired.

There is much about his living arrangements that I am appalled by. BUT, he is of sound mind and capable of making his own decisions and I have finally come to the realization that he needs to live his last days in the manner HE choses. That may mean that his actual life span is shortened because he doesn't eat properly, doesn't have the cleanest of homes, drinks too much alcohol, and isn't safe alone.

The last time I was there I did convince him to sign up for one of those medic alert buttons you keep around your neck. He complained bitterly about having the "albatrose" hanging around his neck but did agree to keep it on. I finally told him that if he fell in the middle of the night and was laying on the floor with a broken hip it was his choice whether he pushed the button and summoned help but at least he had the choice by having the button around his neck.

The point of this long rambling post is that your Mothers need to maintain her dignity and freedom of choice may out weigh "doing the right thing". She may well be mentally ill, hoarding is a sign of mental illness. But you need to stop and think whether forcing a change on her will do more harm than good. The problem with an "intervention" is that you could damage your relationship with your Mother terribly and in the end you might end up with no relationship at all.

I would LOVE to get my Father into a nice bright clean well run assisted living facility, or better yet bring him home to live with me. But that isn't what HE wants to do and forcing him to live out his days in a place he doesn't want to be just seems like the ultimate in cruelty.

stitchwitch
04-16-2008, 03:06 PM
My mother in law died a little over a year ago and she was exactly like this except add in an addiction to alcohol and prescription meds. She was also paranoid of everyone out to get her money and would rather die than be under someone else's care. Attempts to talk to her only got us excommunicated until the Sheriff called us to tell us she had died. Then the real fun began as we NOW were suddenly in charge of everything we had been previously been told was not any of our business.
I spent two weeks working 12 hour + days with my husband scrubbing cat **it off of walls and floors of her rented apartment and loading up a dumpster of junk she had accumulated. We are still going through probate over a year later to settle her estate because she hid everything. We spent two weeks playing CSI Florida to find clues of where her accounts were, etc. and to this day stuff still pops up that we have to settle. She also left us with a very large damage cost of her apartment. I'm bitter but there's nothing we can do or could have done.
I guess all I can offer you is a huge hug and the comfort of realizing you are not alone, some of us have been in your shoes. :hug:

mwhite
04-16-2008, 06:01 PM
It is very painful watching our parents get old. When we are young we never stop to think about these issues, then all of a sudden our parents are old and frail and the problems are overwhelming.

My Dad is 86 years old, in VERY poor health, lives 900 miles away from me and SHOULD NOT be living on his own. I'm a Nurse so OF COURSE I know what is "best" for him but GOSH DARN IT, he thinks he should make his own decisions, IMAGINE!

It has been a difficult couple of years struggling with knowing what he "should" be doing and reconciling myself to what he "will" do. He is very stubborn, fires every caretaker, cleaning person, or handy man I hire. It has become a family joke; twice a year I go to his house, CLEAN IT then arrange all sorts of "hired" help to come take care of his needs. Then I return home and ususally, before my bags are unpacked, he has fired the help I hired.

There is much about his living arrangements that I am appalled by. BUT, he is of sound mind and capable of making his own decisions and I have finally come to the realization that he needs to live his last days in the manner HE choses. That may mean that his actual life span is shortened because he doesn't eat properly, doesn't have the cleanest of homes, drinks too much alcohol, and isn't safe alone.

The last time I was there I did convince him to sign up for one of those medic alert buttons you keep around your neck. He complained bitterly about having the "albatrose" hanging around his neck but did agree to keep it on. I finally told him that if he fell in the middle of the night and was laying on the floor with a broken hip it was his choice whether he pushed the button and summoned help but at least he had the choice by having the button around his neck.

The point of this long rambling post is that your Mothers need to maintain her dignity and freedom of choice may out weigh "doing the right thing". She may well be mentally ill, hoarding is a sign of mental illness. But you need to stop and think whether forcing a change on her will do more harm than good. The problem with an "intervention" is that you could damage your relationship with your Mother terribly and in the end you might end up with no relationship at all.

I would LOVE to get my Father into a nice bright clean well run assisted living facility, or better yet bring him home to live with me. But that isn't what HE wants to do and forcing him to live out his days in a place he doesn't want to be just seems like the ultimate in cruelty.

I do understand where you're coming from.... would love for her to live like she wants but with her inability to manage money and the unclean state of her home as well as her body, scares me. None of us want to get a phone call from the police or anyone else, telling us that she's been found dead or has been forcibly removed by someone other than us. Believe me, her dignity was always first and foremost as we were growing up. My first, unwed and unplanned pregnancy nearly gave her a coronary, not to mention "what her friends would think". An assisted living facility would be nice but there are no funds for this.

Daddy, the one that always bailed her out of financial problems and was able to stay financially sound, died in 2003, leaving her property, although in need of repair, that she could sell. She sold it and became the benevolent giver...to anyone and everyone that gave her a sad story and the constant purchasing and hoarding continued. In the longrun, instead of using the money to prepare for herself, it dwindled and now she is dependent on her Social Security alone, especially now that she is unemployed. I don't think she'll be able to find another job. We all begged her to let us help her with the money management but she felt that we were being nosy. I know that my older sister has given her money and we have as well.

I like the info and advice that Debkcs suggested as far as dealing with a Docter. I know that patient info is private but this sounds like the avenue that we need to take. She has some problem with skin conditions, surely this is from the bacteria factor in her house.

I thank you all for your hugs, prayers and advice... really had no idea that this problem was this widespread.

GinnyG
04-16-2008, 07:00 PM
My guess is you may not get alot of "cooperation" from the Dr. I see you live in SC, my Dad is in SC and has seen the same Dr. for many many years. When we first strated with these problems and many times since I have been in touch with his Dr. She alsways listened and was sympathetic but said there wasn't anything she could do and used patient confidentiality as a shield.

After my Dad was in the hospital we tried to get the Medical Social Worker to intervene and even she (isn't that her job??) was very reluctant to do any more than make "suggestions" to my Dad.

GOOD LUCK!

mwhite
04-16-2008, 07:25 PM
ARGHHHHHHHHHH! Back to Plan A, I guess. I will try the Dr. route but I know what you're saying....

snowbear
04-16-2008, 09:40 PM
One of the hardest days of my life was when I realized Mother wasn't herself anymore. I still tear up. I went through the frustration, and the denial. Then it finally clicked.
She wasn't the same Mother I knew. Age and her health problems had changed her. The stubborness was her frustration as well. She was frustrated that she couldn't do the same things she had always done.
By looking at things that way, realizing that I was having to deal with the physical and mental challenges as well as the fact she was no longer the same person helped somewhat.
It was hard, at times almost impossible, but I tried to take it one day at a time. I did what I had to in order for it to be the best for her. I fought DR. and won. He didn't believe her blood sugar was dropping. I then stated iIwas going to come into the hospital at 3am and test her blood if he wouldn't order it.
He finally agreed as it was very simple. She was a diabetic, and it was a simple stick. I was right. he then started listening to me and supporting me in my decisions. I was primary care giver, and honestly at times i don't remember what I did or if I ate or slept at times.
Long story short. Stand up for your rights, be forceful and convinced, and know you have to have a little support for yourself. Find a support group, find a priest who will listen, find someone who will listen, and remember, you are human.
God bless anyone who is having this situation.

GinnyG
04-17-2008, 05:55 AM
Snoebear brings up a good avenue of help, your Mom's clergy (if she has one). We were able to involve my Dad's Minister. He is at least another person who calls or stops occasionally to see my Dad, my Dad respects his opinion and sometimes the Minister can make suggestions that we can't. The Minister also has our phone numbers and can call if he needs too.

If your Mom doesn't have a Clergy is there another good friend who might help convince her to make some small changes. Have you come right out and said, YOU ARE DIRTY?

It seems so unfair that after living long productive lives our seniors have to end up in such situations!!

msoebel
04-17-2008, 10:23 AM
I would agree with pps that your mom's dignity is important...and hoarding would not be a reason for me to enlist outside help. But it's not hoarding alone...she's also not taking of herself any longer (not bathing is a big red flag if she is someone who has always been good about this before).

It sounds like at the very least, she is dealing with clinical depression. Possibly dementia, in the early stages.

I admit, I would be overly cautious, since I have seen mental illness within my own family. My great grandmother was very, very similar to your mother. She started hoarding things that she wasn't going to use. Then she started not keeping the house up like she always had before. She wasn't bathing. She refused help. She became very paranoid and was convinced that everyone wanted her things. Eventually, she locked her doors and wouldn't allow anyone in. She picked at a scab on one of her legs all the way to the bone...and finally died of an infection. And no one knew about it for weeks.

I am not telling you this to scare you...but I think that when you start to see red flags, you should always investigate and take steps of prevention.

Maybe just telling her you miss her and need her near you will be enough to get her into the trailer on your property. Where she can live independently, but with supervision.

No matter what happens...best wishes for your family!

newamy
04-17-2008, 11:13 PM
Oh no, I'm certainly not offended and appreciate the feedback/input. I have seriously considered having her deemed incompetent by the court to have one of us awarded custody so your suggestion is not offensive. We are actually working on putting a house/mobile home on our property so we can be closer and have some sort of control. I know that her landlord would have a heart attack if they knew her little house were this bad.

Not to throw cold water on your idea, but you cannot simply have someone "deemed incompetent". You can call Senior and Protective services to look at the situation. Sounds like you spoke to some sort of social service agency. If her doctor and Senior services and an independent psych eval finds her to be alert and oriented and aware of the consequences of her choices, then it is her choice. Otherwise you are violating her rights. She might very well have something to say about your idea. She may not bathe and she may hoard things and her home may be unsafe but it is her right and choice if she is of sound mind....Now if you can get a clinical dx of some sort of actual psychological disorder that could change the picture. I encounter this sort of situation now and then in my work as a home health nurse. A few weeks ago I met a man that sounds a lot like your mom. I was horrified by his home, I quizzed him at length and had our Social worker follow up. I was there for nursing issue but ended up being so much more worried about his safety. It turned out he had a case worker from the local senior services. They had offered him numerous things in the past and he had either refused or tried and later refused most things. He is a very intelligent, oriented and aware man. They cannot legally make him change his ways. He has people checking on him and helping with things he consents to only. The one difference between him and your mom is that he was estranged from his kids.

It is hard to get parents to do what their adult children think they need to do to be safe in many situations, so good luck with all this. Maybe you could get her to an MD appt if she hasn't been for awhile and begin having her evaluated for dementia or OCD or something.

Cynamar
04-17-2008, 11:39 PM
I think the clergy is a good idea. Maybe they take suggestions better from folks whose diapers they've never changed.

dustinac
04-18-2008, 09:28 AM
:hug: :heart: :hug:

mwhite
04-28-2008, 06:33 PM
Well, a small update for this situation... I've been communicating with my two sisters...something I haven't really done in a long while. So that's plus but they're as frustrated with this as I am. My older sister, who lives in Cincy, was supposed to try and talk to Mama's docter sometime this week. We are still trying to make preparations to house our dear mother when it becomes necessary. She did go to my younger sister's house last weekend and they did a "makeover" with a nice hair dyeing and a soothing shower. All three of us are trying to be as tender and loving with Mama to help keep her from feeling alone, which we believe has alot to do with her living conditions. I'll keep y'all posted as things progress.....

feministmama
04-28-2008, 07:25 PM
My grandmother was just committed whenever she "acted up." And my other grands died of old people things before they got senile. And my mother is only 61 so she's not lost it yet (legally anyway) so I just want to say I feel so sorry for you and your pain and just want to give you a big :hug::heart::hug::heart::hug::heart::hug:

colloquy
04-28-2008, 07:50 PM
This looks like a helpful link.
http://www.selfhelpmagazine.com/articles/aging/index.shtml
and, this one: http://www.eldercarelink.com/Default.aspx
We had an aged relative who was not taking care of herself. Come to find out, they were victims of Alzheimers, and they were diabetic.
Alzheimer's disease is a terrible disease. http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_what_is_alzheimers.asp

Consider all the possibilities.

mwhite
04-28-2008, 08:07 PM
Thanks a bunch, Colloquy! I will start reading these now and pass them onto my sisters.

Wanda Witch
05-01-2008, 09:51 PM
I really don't know where to begin. I just read all the messages each had to say. Okay, here goes: I am almost 79-years young. My husband just turned 85. I have two very dear friends, the wife I met when I was about eight and she was about nine or ten. Her husband, a retired LAPD officer will be 87 on the 8th of this month. We are all in our right state of mind. Okay? So, if some days you don't want to shower, put your makeup on, cook a five-course meal, so what? For years all of us that are lucky enough to reach this age have the right. As far keeping up the house, who really cares! I have yet to meet anyone who really has ever wanted to eat off my floors even when I was able to keep them that clean. What a waste of my time back then. Yes, seniors get bored (the same as young people do also), we don't want the bright lights and all the social activities we used to be engaged in because it is now boring. We have done that and really don't want to anymore. Any more than we want to have children, be in the PTA or have our kids grow up and tell us we are not 'what we used to be.' Well, neither are they. Getting older can be a drag, it can be filled with certain medical conditions, and IF someone is, or has, Alzheimer's that is a different situation altogether. However, hoarding? Have any of you, in your 30's, 40's and beyond ever looked into your closets, dresser drawers, kitchen cabinets? When my husband was young, and yes he was, he used to save string. Well, guess what? He doesn't do that now. Should I be concerned? Of course not. So,, young'uns get over it. IF you are lucky enough to live to be in, say your 60's (oh, gosh OLD, like G.B. Bush is) or 70's (Heaven forbid, nursing home here you come - like Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor, Dan Rather, Barbara Walters, etc.) and should you live to be like my eldest cousin, who just last summer, at the awful old age of 88 bought a new house and is living there by herself and she is now 89 years old. Give us a break, listen, for God's sake and please, don't try and tell someone just becuase they get a little rattled now and then they are over the hill. You won't like that whenever, if you are fortunate, to reach that point.

mwhite
05-01-2008, 10:30 PM
Oh how I appreciate your post, Wanda. I'm going on 52, so not so young and I do have collections of unused items in several places. But...

My cats' litter box is cleaned daily and available, not stuck in the only bathtub and ignored for weeks. The dog is taken outside to do her business and not on newspapers on the bathroom floor.

When I go to the store to purchase something, I bring it home, take it out of the bag, throw the bag away and place whatever it is where it belongs. I actually use the item I've purchased not bought it for storage out on the sofa or diningroom table. Its purchase has a purpose. I do not have tons of nic nacs everywhere, collecting dust.

I bathe daily because I work with the public and don't want to offend them nor do I want to smell myself. I do not work in any form of food services. My clothes smell like they are washed regularly and do not smell like the dog.

When my children come to my house, they open the door, holler that they're here and are welcomed in to sit, paruse the refridgerator, play on the computer, use the bathroom...make themselves at home. And in the event that I haven't washed the dishes or haven't vacuumed, when they offer to help, I let them. I don't meet them at the door, pushing them out of the doorway or completely ignore them and act like I'm not home because I'm ashamed of how my house might smell or look.

All this is what we are dealing with from our mother and we know that something is wrong. If I were ashamed of this or gave a crap what anyone else thought, I'd have never posted this and instead would be denying the help she needs and just go on with my life and let her live in this situation without a second thought. I care and I want her elderly years to be free of problems. I want her to be able to walk tall and feel secure. I want her to know that I love her. I want her to have all the freedom and independence that any woman deserves after raising 4 children and working their entire life. I want her to be able to find her crochet thread so she can enjoy her talent or be able to plant flowers. I want her to let us help her instead of taking her last $5 from the Social Security check to buy some crackers and peanut butter for a meal.

I'm not trying to control her because I don't wish to be controlled myself. I sincerely hope that when and if my son and/or daughter detect some form of bizarre behavior with me as I age, that they will take charge and help me. I am not trying to be a smart aleck or deny your post. Mother's situation is dire and she needs our help.

LilHuskiesFootBallMom
05-02-2008, 01:14 AM
Is there a local Senior Services or Office for the Aging? I'd call them and see what they say and whether or not they can help.

mwhite
05-07-2008, 06:31 PM
With the help and encouragement and prayers from all of y'all's replies, my sisters and I have begun making preparations to move Mother into a mobile home on our property. It will more than likely take a few months to get everything set up. Mom is willing and cooperative, seems pretty excited about this and we are so glad. I have vowed to have yard sales, do some knitting for hire, whatever it takes to come up with the funds we'll need to make this happen.

In the meantime, I've begun a campaign/discussion on my blogspot (http://customaryevents.blogspot.com/) and invite you to make comment. Share your own stories, maybe some of our communication and solutions can help someone else deal with this problem and keep it from getting swept under the rug. Maybe the "exposure" will simply open someone's eyes and get them to spend more time with their own parent, uncle, grandparent or friend having the same problems. Or maybe it will just create a medium to share and vent. I don't know but I have hope!

:muah: and :hug: to all of you!

MaryB
05-07-2008, 06:46 PM
Mary, I will keep you and your family in my prayers. It is a difficult decision for a family to make, but you know in your heart that you are doing the right thing.
My Mom died 3 years ago this week. I am grateful for the time I had with her. The last six months of her life were hard, but we shared so much----thoughts, memories, love. Things that we might otherwise not have taken the time to say we said. I treasure those days.
:hug: Hugs from another Mary:hug:

Sewing Angel
05-07-2008, 07:42 PM
That is a huge step Mary! It sounds like you and your family have come up with a great plan. You are doing a wonderful thing for your Mom. I wish you well in getting everything in place.
Angel

Jan in CA
05-07-2008, 08:04 PM
:hug:

iwouldratherbeknitting
05-08-2008, 06:26 AM
Don't forget... since, your mom will be 'downsizing' her possessions.. maybe you could consider having a garage sale of some of the items that she no longer wants/needs too??

Save that for her 'spending money'... ?? A feeling of some independence?

stitchwitch
05-08-2008, 10:03 AM
Best of luck with everything. :hug:

Wanda Witch
05-08-2008, 12:37 PM
I extend my very best to your family and especially your mother on the upcoming move. I originally wrote as so many tend to write us 'golden oldies' off because we might not be quite as sharp as in years past. I have been blessed, I realize, with reasonably good health and an active mind, so far. I also realize we all age differently and who knows what the future might hold.

It sounds as though your plan to have your mom near is a great one. She will feel secure, which is important at any age, and you will be near to see she is doing just fine. It is always difficult to put yourself into someone else's shoes and I know I might have been faced with this dilemma with my mother; however, I lost her at 77 and at that point in time she was fine.

My very best wishes go out to you, your family and especially your mother. She is fortunate indeed to have a caring family.

mwhite
06-20-2008, 10:57 PM
We've not been able to locate a reasonably priced mobile home yet and with the economy like it is, our funds will not allow us. My sister was able to get an application for a small apartment that is rent controlled and based on income. Mom has refused to move for at least 2-3 months because she says she needs time to go through all her things. She still will not allow us to help her clean and refuses to accept that she needs help.

My mom's dog, Prissy died last week. My younger sister was out of town so Mom called me. I made arrangement with a nearby Vet to have Prissy cremated for Mom and she was very upset. This past week, Mom's lights got cut off from nonpayment and Sis went and had them turned back on. After pretending to be Mom, Sis found out that she hadn't paid on the light bill in over 3 months and they were just being kind hoping she'd make payments from arrangements she'd made. Since Mom got paid for a sitting job the day after the lights were cut, Sis was able to get the money from Mom and have them cut back on. In the meantime, while Mom was on her job, my sister went over, found Mom's key and went into the house. She says it was appalling.

Seeing how thin and frail her cat was, took her to a groomer, had her fleas removed, hair cut and washed. She called me about 6pm yesterday and told me she'd stolen Mom's cat. I almost fell off the chair laughing at her story. It is a pitiful thing, the problems our mother is having but DS was too funny with her "rescue" story so now I have "Sophie". I fear my sister was at her wits end and couldn't stand it any longer. I'm proud of her for standing up and being able to speak her mind, with all the love she has for Mom.

Sis has given Mom an ultimatum... "Clean the house, let us help her and complete the application with all its income proof and requirements or we will have the Dept. of Social Services investigate." I will support her and if I can muster up the "Balls" that it took Sis to stand up and tell Mom she took the cat. Until then, I'm feeding her(the cat), will be taking her to a vet and hope she'll make it. She's awfully thin and weak. Once they got all the fleas and matted hair off her, she felt better. I really suspect that her little dog died from the neglect and I am so very ashamed that I didn't do anything about that.

So if the authorities come after my sister for stealing the cat, guess I'll have to go down with her for aiding and abetting. Please continue praying for all of us. And thanks for being here for me to vent. :hug:

saracidaltendencies
06-20-2008, 11:48 PM
I'm so sorry to hear, I can't even imagine how difficult your situation is. I hope it all works out for the best, for everyone. :hug:

stitchwitch
06-21-2008, 08:43 AM
:hug:

CountryKitty
06-21-2008, 10:10 AM
Good for your sister!


(And no jury is going to convict you of stealing given the condition of the cat and the fact thatit was taken straight to a vet for care.)


Good luck with your Mom, and try not to feel guilty if you need to call social services...with age your mother's immune system will be getting weaker and she will be likely to get dangerously illl living in such conditions.

Wanda Witch
06-21-2008, 12:36 PM
I am so very sorry to read how bad things really are. Initially, I had no idea the extent of the problem. Forgive me. Positive thoughts and prayers are coming your way for you and your sister to prevail. Thankfully, the cat was rescued and hopefully will become stronger with proper care. It is obvious your mother really does need intervention. Best wishes for a successful outcome. :hug:

mwhite
06-21-2008, 12:42 PM
Oh Wanda, I knew you didn't know, how could anyone know unless they've dealt with this kind of thing? And there's no need to apologize, your reply gave me more prospective coming from someone closer to Mom's age and I'm thankful for that.

MaryB
06-21-2008, 12:45 PM
Mary, it is so hard when the child becomes the parent. My prayers are with you and your family. :hug:

Wanda Witch
06-21-2008, 05:12 PM
Oh Wanda, I knew you didn't know, how could anyone know unless they've dealt with this kind of thing? And there's no need to apologize, your reply gave me more prospective coming from someone closer to Mom's age and I'm thankful for that.

Thank you for understanding. Sometimes we forget, no matter what age, how fortunate we are to be well and of sound mind, well sometimes forgetful,:-P but I do hope things will work out soon for your mother. It is obvious just how much you and your sister care for her. In spite of everything, she is one lucky woman to have such great girls.

LilHuskiesFootBallMom
06-21-2008, 05:42 PM
when's the last time your mom had a full checkup at HER doctor? If she's having issues keeping the place up and taking care of her animals (possibly herself as well) depending upon her insurance she may be able to get a home health aid.

Dh's grandmother lived on her own until she was 92, from the time she was in her late 80's she had a girl come (home health aide) that would do the general pickup, help out with errands, etc. Dh's Grandma didn't trust them to do her pills or her banking so dh's aunt (a retired nurse) took care of the pills and delivered dinners, dh's mother would go over and do the intense cleaning, make sure grandma's life alert system worked properly, etc. my second oldest stepson used to go over after school (she enjoyed it, he'd go over, she'd have a snack ready for him, he'd run some light errands for her and do his homework there before going home).

See if you can get her to get a checkup for HER health. I'm not going to go with the pop-psych mumbo jumbo and claim dementia is setting in because I don't know your mom and i'm not a psychologist. But if her animals weren't doing too well, it makes me worried about your mom (esp with the mess she's living in) and it doesn't hurt anyone (may even help when it comes to getting her a home health aide). I can see your mom's side too... she's worried they'll take away her indepenedence... when they did that to grandma and the doctor said she could no longer live on her own, she gave up.

Good luck!

mwhite
06-21-2008, 06:00 PM
I'm afraid that IS the problem, her health and it IS mental but is becoming physical. We may have to "HOG TIE" her and do this. I do believe that with her little dog dying and us taking the cat, two things she claims to love, might make a difference but we shall see. Mom still works and drives....can't handle her life but seems to do okay socially and at work. When we all get together to talk, my sisters and I do know that this is NOT just age, it is Mom and we all now know what our father had to deal with for so many years. He died in 2003 so it appears that we will be taking his place. Her situation is mental because she's been like this for a very long time.

LilHuskiesFootBallMom
06-21-2008, 06:49 PM
Is she overwhelmed by the mess? try surfing www.flylady.net and using some of her ways (i did, made a HUGE difference!) and it may help keep your mom organized to some degree when it comes to house work.

But please get her to the doctor, if it is mental, she may need the help of a psychiatrist...

mwhite
06-21-2008, 07:25 PM
Really cool site and it makes sense to do it a little bit at the time since that's how it got that way in the first place! I will pass the link and its contents onto her.

callmesusan
06-22-2008, 02:08 AM
Oh Mwhite, be very careful.

I know how concerned you must be and how difficult it is to wrap your mind around the hoarder's lifestyle. My friend was looking after her mother, a hoarder, who was about your mum's age. My friend bought a house nearby for the mom to live in. Twice my friend called in workers and a HUGE dumpster to clean the place up. Fears of fire and vermin.

Long story, but my friend's mommy ended up filing a law suit against my friend--out of hurt and anger I suppose. It cost my friend about 40 grand in legal fees, three years of worry, and the relationship with her mother.

Get some professional counsel by someone who is experienced with treatment for hoarding. This is most probably beyond you and your siblings. So sorry to hear your story.

Debkcs
06-22-2008, 04:47 AM
My best friend is a hoarder. She's unmarried, lives alone, and you can hardly make a path through her house to go anywhere. She won't toss a thing, unless it's likely to smell.

Your mom needs professional help, as does my friend, but no one is willing to upset my friend, and I feel that some day we will be very sorry we didn't do an intervention.