I am a caregiver for my mom. She cannot feed or bathe...

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
Sarasota asked...

I am a caregiver for my mom. She cannot feed or bathe herself. Now I am having trouble getting her to open her mouth so I can put her dentures in after cleaning them. Do you have any suggestions?

Expert Answers

As Founder and Director of Circles of Care, Ann Cason provides caregiving, consulting, and training services to individuals and public and private organizations involved in eldercare. She is the author of Circles of Care: How to Set Up Quality Home Care for Our Elders.

Your mother is very frail.If she won't open her mouth for her dentures, she is trying to communicate something to you. Maybe is it a message that she can't put into words. First,it is possible that her dentures don't fit properly and are uncomfortable. Second, it might be her only way left to take control of her life. Third, and probably the most likely: Your dear mother is at the end of her life. She is tired of chewing, tired of eating, and her life force is weakening. If she doen't want to or can't speak, you can talk to her. "Mother, if you can't eat, I am afraid that you will die. I hate to lose you. On the other hand, if you are ready to go, I will support your wishes." Speak gently, and put this message into your own words. This may be hard to say to your own mother. But the best relationships are based on what is true. Even if your mother is not in the last few months of her life, this conversation is good to have. Also, if it is an issue of control, this conversation will help. Just be very patient, don't force the issue, give her food and drink that does not need chewing. Also, work more on her personal care. Make sure you have lotion that she likes. Rub it into her legs and arms. Try lipstick. Make sure her night gowns are as soft as possible. Try to find a small stuffed animal like a turtle that she can hold on her stomanch or by her side. The more comfortable and loved she feels, the more she will relax. If she does not want to eat, accept that she might be getting ready to go. When our mother's die, it makes us tenderhearted. Reach out and let others care for you.