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Old 04-15-2008, 10:10 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by bethany View Post
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.
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.
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Old 04-15-2008, 10:34 PM   #12
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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!

Please take care of yourself, too!
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Old 04-15-2008, 10:45 PM   #13
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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.
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Old 04-16-2008, 03:29 AM   #14
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Mary, this is something that I have quite a bit of experience with both professionally and personally. First of all, '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.
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Old 04-16-2008, 05:38 AM   #15
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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.
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Old 04-16-2008, 01:10 PM   #16
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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 . 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.

Kelly
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Old 04-16-2008, 02:49 PM   #17
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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.
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Old 04-16-2008, 03:06 PM   #18
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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.
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Old 04-16-2008, 06:01 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by GinnyG View Post
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.
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Old 04-16-2008, 07:00 PM   #20
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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!
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