How can we convince mom she needs more care then we can give her?

2 answers | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

We live with my boyfriends mother as her live in caregivers. She has AlZheimer's and dementia and her health is deteriorating. She basically is bedridden,(her choice) She has numerous health issues, but she refuses to do anything to try and Improve the condition that she is in, ( including her hygiene, she hasn't showered or washed her hair in three years and her hair smell like vomit.) She just doesn't want to shower. She believes she'll wake up one morning and be completely healed. We know that is not going to happen, she doesn't even want to try. Her attitude is whoa is me, everybody has to do for me because I don't want to do anything but be waited on hand and foot. She also has a completely negative attitude. She complains all the time, she's mean, hateful, demanding, and extremely NEEDY. We are so burnt out with caring for her, (we have no help from anyone, she refuses anyone to come into the home she doesn't know because she fears that they will rape her) One of us always has to stay with her because she's afraid she'll die if she's here by herself for even 5 minutes. I have health issues, our relationship ( my boyfriend and I) is strained so badly because of all the stress that we are under, that we just exist from day to day. We have no time for ourselves. She refuses to go into a nursing home, because she thinks that everything is fine. Well it's not. There is no reasoning or trying to talk to her because all she does is bitches and complains. We can't afford poa or guardianship, because we don't have the funds. We don't know what to do. She has no will if she was to pass and refuses to make one. Any suggestions please? We want what's best for her, and we also have to think of ourselves too. She has gotten to much for us to handle by ourselves.

Expert Answers

Brenda Avadian, brings knowledge, hope, and joy to family caregivers for loved ones with Alzheimer's and dementia. She cared for her father with Alzheimer's and helps families one-on-one and in groups. She is the author of eight books, including the pioneering memoir "Where's my shoes?" My Father's Walk through Alzheimer's and the Finding the JOY in Alzheimer's series. She presents vivid, compelling, and funny keynotes to both professional and family caregiving audiences.

You're in a bit of a predicament as live-in caregivers for your boyfriend's mom.

When you stepped up to provide care, you likely did as so many of us have, with good intentions, believing you could be of benefit while having a place to live.

Yet, as you've learned, you're dealing with someone who is stuck in her ways and doesn't want help. This doesn't mean it's impossible.

My father hadn't showered or changed his clothes in at least 6 months, but after 3 years of regular calls, visits, and patience (LOTS of patience), he felt at ease with my helping him. I told him for us to draft a power of attorney; he'd need to take a shower. Just like that, he did. (Did I mention it took 3 years?)

However, it would require saintly patience and helping her feel more comfortable with your suggestion for care. There may have been issues in her younger years that are coming to light for her as dementia grips her mind. Her fears may be real based on her past experiences.

Still, the reality is you and your boyfriend need a respite. Otherwise, everything you’re working so hard for is for naught. Some time away will help you to clear your minds and get a fresh perspective.

To help you head in the right direction, start by seeking help from your community resources. Explain what you have written here after you review this ElderCare Resources[] and / or call your local office of the Alzheimer’s Association[]. These organizations will give you the tools to take the next step. Your boyfriend’s mother may be eligible for free services.

Community Answers

Goobiedoo answered...

I've talked to the Eldercare resources and they suggested that my boyfriend get guardianship. I told them that we don't have the funds for any legal suggestions, and they told me to try and convince her to sign herself in a nursing home. That is NOT going to go over even if we were to mention that. She would say she would get one of her friends to do what we are doing. All her friends arecelderly like her, have homes and families and she would believe that one of them would sell their home and come live with her. That is complete unrealistic. In reality, from taking care of her for the last four years, her dementia and Alzheimer's is worsening and her way of thinking is impossible. I'll call the Alzheimer's Association and see if they can offer any suggestions. She refuses any type of outside help period. Maybe it's time to get her doctor on board, (so to speak) and see what he can do if anything.