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Old 04-15-2008, 07:35 PM   #1
mwhite
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Stubborn Aging Parent *Current Update*
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?
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Old 04-15-2008, 07:54 PM   #2
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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. :(
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Old 04-15-2008, 07:58 PM   #3
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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/...041118_d.jhtml

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Old 04-15-2008, 08:02 PM   #4
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Honestly, I don't know what to tell you other than that I can sympathize with you.

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.
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Old 04-15-2008, 08:18 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by KniftyKnitterGal View Post
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.
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Old 04-15-2008, 08:58 PM   #6
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Well I like your idea. I hope all goes well
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Old 04-15-2008, 09:16 PM   #7
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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.
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Old 04-15-2008, 09:24 PM   #8
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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.
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Old 04-15-2008, 09:42 PM   #9
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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.

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Old 04-15-2008, 10:07 PM   #10
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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!
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