Looking for advice

SailorGirl

Well-Known Member
My mother is 90 years old. She continues to live in the home my dad built over fifty years ago and my older brother lives with her and works during the day, but is home at night and the majority of weekends. I go over for a couple of hours everyday to check up on her and clean.

I was there on Tuesday and she was asleep on the sofa. She woke up as I was leaving and was coherent and powering her way through a box of chocolates (yeah the entire box). I asked her if I could get her some lunch and do anything for her and she said no. I went over again on Wednesday, Thursday, and today. She's been in the same clothes for four days now and is still sleeping on the sofa. On Wednesday I straightened her room and made her bed. I checked today and her bed hasn't been slept in.

She opened her eyes long enough today for me to ask her again if she was okay. She said yes and I said you've been asleep on the sofa for the last four days, you've not been upstairs, and I'm concerned. She immediately got angry, which is not that unusual, and said she's slept in her bed and changed her clothes. I told her that I think she may be losing track of time and again not a lecture, just concern. To the best of my knowledge the only solid food she's eaten in the last few days has been the chocolate and five bottles of boost. I've done the dishes but it's pretty obvious that they've only been my brother's.

I don't know what the heck to do. She trusts my brother for everything - doctor's appointments, grocery shopping etc. etc. and any suggestions I make are met with anger no matter how I approach it. My brother and I are at odds, but when we were speaking, he says what's she got to live for and shrugs it off. I can't see that he's caring for her at all and that really bugs me. Is it my business - do I have any recourse - is there something I can or should be doing that will still keep the peace with her?

I know there are some people here that have been through this - any suggestions - ideas that might help me help her?
 

General Lee

Well-Known Member
You could speak to an attorney for family affairs and inquire about power of attorney over your mother and what is needed to achieve that route.
 

Yooper

Up. Identified. Lase. Fire. On the way.
PREMO Member
Not suggesting you go to therapy; but am suggesting trying to find/making contact with a counselor who specializes (or, at least, is well-versed) in gerontology. Can help you understand what your mom is dealing with, family dynamics, how you feel/how you might approach the challenges, etc.

Here's a link about geriatric counseling from the counseling perspective:

Here's a link that describes some of the issues that families face:

Not sure where you are/live, but one way to start a search (if this appeals to you) is go to Psychology Today and click on the link to find a counselor in the area:

Praying for you and yours!

Cheers!

--- End of line (MCP)
 

GURPS

INGSOC
PREMO Member
my wife struggled with her mother off and on for yrs, until she was finally called the EMS one to many times to help her get up off the floor and she had a ride to the hospital that resulted into a move to the McKeesPort Nursing Home ....

She had been eating bags of chocolate instead of real meals, dishes left piled in the sink, not moving off of the couch for days .... she could not remember the day of the week .....


I do not envy your position .... You have my sympathy
 

SailorGirl

Well-Known Member
You could speak to an attorney for family affairs and inquire about power of attorney over your mother and what is needed to achieve that route.
I've actually been to the register of wills for paperwork in an attempt to get something from SMECO - can't even remember what it was anymore - something credit maybe? One of my brothers is the executor when she passes and according to court, he would have power of attorney and I would need permission/signature from him and her to have that temporary power. Neither one of them will do that. He's suggesting some in home care but I'm pretty certain she doesn't want that - doesn't want strangers in her home.
 

SailorGirl

Well-Known Member
Not suggesting you go to therapy; but am suggesting trying to find/making contact with a counselor who specializes (or, at least, is well-versed) in gerontology. Can help you understand what your mom is dealing with, family dynamics, how you feel/how you might approach the challenges, etc.

Here's a link about geriatric counseling from the counseling perspective:

Here's a link that describes some of the issues that families face:

Not sure where you are/live, but one way to start a search (if this appeals to you) is go to Psychology Today and click on the link to find a counselor in the area:

Praying for you and yours!

Cheers!

--- End of line (MCP)
Thank you very much.
 

Yooper

Up. Identified. Lase. Fire. On the way.
PREMO Member
Thank you very much.
My best to you!

Thought of two other possibilities. First, if you know any clergy, they might be able to recommend someone.

Second, your local hospital is sure to have points of contact that could either help or point you to someone/some org.

--- End of line (MCP)
 

Bann

Doris Day meets Lady Gaga
PREMO Member
SG, it's a tough situation to be in, I'll grant you that. My situation with my mom was different in that I'd brought her from northern FL to MD so she would be closer to family that could take care of her. My brother lived too far away in the Keys to help her, is single and not the caretaker type. My sister lived in the same town as mom, but had passed earlier that year. Her 3 daughters were still grieving and lived in central FL when my mother ended up in a nursing home down there from neglecting her health. (she was in her early 70's)

Anyway, long story short - my brother was often at odds with me and always having issues with me. He wasn't taking any part in her care at all, didn't handle her finances, he lived 1, 000 miles away, so he never even visited or helped me out at all, and she played him like a fiddle emotionally He was always jumping on my case about things. (He's been acting weird with me ever since.) I can't do anything about him, and my conscience is clear that I helped take care of my mom to the very best of my ability while still a single mom to 2 teenaged boys.

Siblings/kids go through this kind of thing with their parents when they're older and in poor or frail health. Sons see their moms different than daughters. Even though it can be hard to look at things this way - as long as you can see that she's not in squalor or in medical distress - she's doing what she wants to do. If you go check on her each day, and your brother is there at night and many weekends, then it's likely she isn't left alone all that much. Is it too terrible that she's eating only chocolates and drinking boost? <----Serious question. She's in her 90's and she wants chocolate - so she should have chocolate! She could be having some senility - that's true. But if she's not having a medical event (seizure, stroke, heart attack, insulin issues, etc.) what can you really do about her eating what she wants? What should you do if that's what she wants to do? If it only bothers you - and is not causing a medical problem for mom - my "advice" is let your mom be mom.

Sure, keep checking on her, and offer the help. She might need help with bathing or other things. If she does, that's fine if she will let you help her. If it's a case where she cannot do those things at all for herself, then your brother needs to do it or get his head out of his butt and face what the reality it. If your mom doesn't drive, then you might be able to have services like Meals on Wheels stop by during the week and bring her a hot meal. (maybe she'll eat it - or not) She might qualify for in-home health care. Contact The Office on Aging, and I'm sure they can give you some resources to contact if those are services you need.

Good luck, I know how you feel. :yay:
 

SailorGirl

Well-Known Member
SG, it's a tough situation to be in, I'll grant you that. My situation with my mom was different in that I'd brought her from northern FL to MD so she would be closer to family that could take care of her. My brother lived too far away in the Keys to help her, is single and not the caretaker type. My sister lived in the same town as mom, but had passed earlier that year. Her 3 daughters were still grieving and lived in central FL when my mother ended up in a nursing home down there from neglecting her health. (she was in her early 70's)

Anyway, long story short - my brother was often at odds with me and always having issues with me. He wasn't taking any part in her care at all, didn't handle her finances, he lived 1, 000 miles away, so he never even visited or helped me out at all, and she played him like a fiddle emotionally He was always jumping on my case about things. (He's been acting weird with me ever since.) I can't do anything about him, and my conscience is clear that I helped take care of my mom to the very best of my ability while still a single mom to 2 teenaged boys.

Siblings/kids go through this kind of thing with their parents when they're older and in poor or frail health. Sons see their moms different than daughters. Even though it can be hard to look at things this way - as long as you can see that she's not in squalor or in medical distress - she's doing what she wants to do. If you go check on her each day, and your brother is there at night and many weekends, then it's likely she isn't left alone all that much. Is it too terrible that she's eating only chocolates and drinking boost? <----Serious question. She's in her 90's and she wants chocolate - so she should have chocolate! She could be having some senility - that's true. But if she's not having a medical event (seizure, stroke, heart attack, insulin issues, etc.) what can you really do about her eating what she wants? What should you do if that's what she wants to do? If it only bothers you - and is not causing a medical problem for mom - my "advice" is let your mom be mom.

Sure, keep checking on her, and offer the help. She might need help with bathing or other things. If she does, that's fine if she will let you help her. If it's a case where she cannot do those things at all for herself, then your brother needs to do it or get his head out of his butt and face what the reality it. If your mom doesn't drive, then you might be able to have services like Meals on Wheels stop by during the week and bring her a hot meal. (maybe she'll eat it - or not) She might qualify for in-home health care. Contact The Office on Aging, and I'm sure they can give you some resources to contact if those are services you need.

Good luck, I know how you feel. :yay:
I was really hoping to hear from you because I knew that you had been through it. In fact your post filled me up for a minute or two and your advice pretty much validated the direction I've decided to go. I questioned myself about what's really bothering me about her situation and I think it's the fact Bann - that this is how my dad became right before he died. And that during his last few weeks at home, I didn't go over more often because of her outright anger at him for not eating and not changing his clothes and sleeping on the sofa. It's resentment, my dad did not want to die and she doesn't seem to care if she lives. And I want her to care again about something, anything. I don't know, maybe I'm not the solution as much as I am the issue.

Anyway I'm in tears again and I don't want that to define my day. I copied your post and put it on my desktop for easy access - it's very good advice and I'm grateful that you took the time. I need to read it on a daily basis for a few days and come up with a game plan. And forgive myself that I'm not a better daughter. Thank you.
 

Bann

Doris Day meets Lady Gaga
PREMO Member
I was really hoping to hear from you because I knew that you had been through it. In fact your post filled me up for a minute or two and your advice pretty much validated the direction I've decided to go. I questioned myself about what's really bothering me about her situation and I think it's the fact Bann - that this is how my dad became right before he died. And that during his last few weeks at home, I didn't go over more often because of her outright anger at him for not eating and not changing his clothes and sleeping on the sofa. It's resentment, my dad did not want to die and she doesn't seem to care if she lives. And I want her to care again about something, anything. I don't know, maybe I'm not the solution as much as I am the issue.

Anyway I'm in tears again and I don't want that to define my day. I copied your post and put it on my desktop for easy access - it's very good advice and I'm grateful that you took the time. I need to read it on a daily basis for a few days and come up with a game plan. And forgive myself that I'm not a better daughter. Thank you.
@SailorGirl That's not true - I'm sure you're a wonderful daughter! You're a daughter who is now in the role of care taking a parent. It's a difficult situation to be in. It doesn't have to be, though.

Here is a little story of some sage advice that a friend of mine gave me about 7 years ago about my mom. Mom was out of the nursing home, and able to walk, albeit slowly, and she could get around with the shopping cart, but she had to take her big-ass oxygen bottle with her everywhere (Medicare didn't pay for the portable at that time or I didn't know that I HAD TO request it - I can't remember the issue now) It was a huge production just to get out of the townhouse. (downstairs, to the parking space, yada, yada)

Since she was now at home all day and I was at work, or taking my sons here and there - she wanted to go to Walmart or Kmart in the afternoons when I got home. Every.dang.day! I mean - she always needed to get something, EVERY.DANG.DAY. I was venting to a friend and (I AM PARAPHRASING THIS MEMORY) Friend said "so take her to Walmart and drop her off and let her shop and go do whatever you need to do and pick her up when she's done". I was like: "she might fall or..." and my friend said "and?" "what if she does?" "BANN - IT'S NOT LIKE YOU PUSHED HER--NO ONE IS GOING TO BLAME YOU"!! I was still like :yikes:

The point is that my mom wanted and needed that bit of autonomy and I needed to not be so controlling. It's not "controlling" in a bad way - you obviously don't want your mom to be ill or have harm happen to her - but you cannot control the timing of everything. You can be preventative and attentive, OF COURSE. But you will make yourself with worry if you try to control every thing.

Trust and believe this.
 

Bann

Doris Day meets Lady Gaga
PREMO Member
Also - thinking back to what you were feeling about your mom when your dad was getting close to his time. BTDT, too.

There are always so many emotions tied to these events. I did the same kinds of things with my mom and dad when he became ill. Those are THEIR issues. You can't change them now, nor could you have prevented them (or changed them) back then. (nor should you!) Relationships are not always easy or neat.

My best advice: be your mom's daughter while you still can. Everyone's relationship with their parent is different. Yours is not the same as mine was - and mine is not the same as some of my other friends'. Just love her (in your customary way) and care for her when she needs it to the best of your ability and wishes Just let the other stuff go. ❤
 

ginwoman

Well-Known Member
I've actually been to the register of wills for paperwork in an attempt to get something from SMECO - can't even remember what it was anymore - something credit maybe? One of my brothers is the executor when she passes and according to court, he would have power of attorney and I would need permission/signature from him and her to have that temporary power. Neither one of them will do that. He's suggesting some in home care but I'm pretty certain she doesn't want that - doesn't want strangers in her home.
They never do want strangers in their house and I understand....but, we kind of slowly introduced a lady to come in and help our mother. If she's not bathing and getting up some and eating healthy her condition will likely rapidly go down hill. Good luck to you, this situation is very hard.
 

Bann

Doris Day meets Lady Gaga
PREMO Member
@SailorGirl That's not true - I'm sure you're a wonderful daughter! You're a daughter who is now in the role of care taking a parent. It's a difficult situation to be in. It doesn't have to be, though.

Here is a little story of some sage advice that a friend of mine gave me about 7 years ago about my mom. Mom was out of the nursing home, and able to walk, albeit slowly, and she could get around with the shopping cart, but she had to take her big-ass oxygen bottle with her everywhere (Medicare didn't pay for the portable at that time or I didn't know that I HAD TO request it - I can't remember the issue now) It was a huge production just to get out of the townhouse. (downstairs, to the parking space, yada, yada)

Since she was now at home all day and I was at work, or taking my sons here and there - she wanted to go to Walmart or Kmart in the afternoons when I got home. Every.dang.day! I mean - she always needed to get something, EVERY.DANG.DAY. I was venting to a friend and (I AM PARAPHRASING THIS MEMORY) Friend said "so take her to Walmart and drop her off and let her shop and go do whatever you need to do and pick her up when she's done". I was like: "she might fall or..." and my friend said "and?" "what if she does?" "BANN - IT'S NOT LIKE YOU PUSHED HER--NO ONE IS GOING TO BLAME YOU"!! I was still like :yikes:

The point is that my mom wanted and needed that bit of autonomy and I needed to not be so controlling. It's not "controlling" in a bad way - you obviously don't want your mom to be ill or have harm happen to her - but you cannot control the timing of everything. You can be preventative and attentive, OF COURSE. But you will make yourself sick with worry if you try to control every thing.

Trust and believe this.
 

SailorGirl

Well-Known Member
So I opened a folder on my desktop labelled Advice from Bann and stuck your posts in there for future reference!

Things are actually looking a little brighter. My younger brother called and is going over her house tomorrow to check things out for himself. He is the executor of her estate and although I think that means very little at this point, I think he would be able to get Power of Attorney much easier than I could. Plus it puts those kind of decisions on him and not me and he has a tendency to see things practically and not emotionally.

And after Thanksgiving I should be able to go over several nights a week and get her bathed or at least cleaned up, and in clean sleepwear, and in bed, and leave out clean clothes for her the next day which alleviates some of the things I'm worry about.

Thank you everyone for the advice - I'm feeling so much better about it.
 

PeoplesElbow

Well-Known Member
I would say let her be happy, if that is how she wants to live let her live that way. She doesn't have a lot of time left no matter what you do (please don't take that badly) and you don't want your remaining time with her to be fighting.

As long as she is happy and safe I'd say let her be. Your brother probably means well, just can't articulate it properly, remember its probably hard on him too.
 

Lump

Active Member
My mother is 90 years old. She continues to live in the home my dad built over fifty years ago and my older brother lives with her and works during the day, but is home at night and the majority of weekends. I go over for a couple of hours everyday to check up on her and clean.

I was there on Tuesday and she was asleep on the sofa. She woke up as I was leaving and was coherent and powering her way through a box of chocolates (yeah the entire box). I asked her if I could get her some lunch and do anything for her and she said no. I went over again on Wednesday, Thursday, and today. She's been in the same clothes for four days now and is still sleeping on the sofa. On Wednesday I straightened her room and made her bed. I checked today and her bed hasn't been slept in.

She opened her eyes long enough today for me to ask her again if she was okay. She said yes and I said you've been asleep on the sofa for the last four days, you've not been upstairs, and I'm concerned. She immediately got angry, which is not that unusual, and said she's slept in her bed and changed her clothes. I told her that I think she may be losing track of time and again not a lecture, just concern. To the best of my knowledge the only solid food she's eaten in the last few days has been the chocolate and five bottles of boost. I've done the dishes but it's pretty obvious that they've only been my brother's.

I don't know what the heck to do. She trusts my brother for everything - doctor's appointments, grocery shopping etc. etc. and any suggestions I make are met with anger no matter how I approach it. My brother and I are at odds, but when we were speaking, he says what's she got to live for and shrugs it off. I can't see that he's caring for her at all and that really bugs me. Is it my business - do I have any recourse - is there something I can or should be doing that will still keep the peace with her?

I know there are some people here that have been through this - any suggestions - ideas that might help me help her?
I'm so sorry to hear that you are going through this. I had somewhat of the same thing happen with my mom although she lived alone. My sister and I met over her house the day before Christmas Eve to realize that she was in very bad shape. We had known for a while that something serious was wrong but she wouldn't hear of it. Long story short, I called an ambulance and she refused to go. I had to wait until she basically passed out and was unresponsive in order to call the ambulance again and have her taken to the hospital. She died within 2 weeks. We believe she knew and was just trying to stay home and die there. She was so angry with my sister and I for interrupting her plan and made it very difficult. Very bad memories and lots of guilt.

I came to this conversation late and it sounds like you are in better mental shape at this point. I wish you all the best!!!
 

SailorGirl

Well-Known Member
I'm so sorry to hear that you are going through this. I had somewhat of the same thing happen with my mom although she lived alone. My sister and I met over her house the day before Christmas Eve to realize that she was in very bad shape. We had known for a while that something serious was wrong but she wouldn't hear of it. Long story short, I called an ambulance and she refused to go. I had to wait until she basically passed out and was unresponsive in order to call the ambulance again and have her taken to the hospital. She died within 2 weeks. We believe she knew and was just trying to stay home and die there. She was so angry with my sister and I for interrupting her plan and made it very difficult. Very bad memories and lots of guilt.

I came to this conversation late and it sounds like you are in better mental shape at this point. I wish you all the best!!!
Yeah not so much. Things headed south fast. Thanks for the well wishes.
 
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