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Mother won't accept help

(9 Posts)
Rosie21 Sun 08-Apr-18 19:17:14

My 88 year old mum is driving my sister and myself crazy. She lives in sheltered accommodation and has a lovely flat and two cats for company. Our problem she refuses any form of help. Her flat smells and is dirty. The cats dont use their cat tray properly and mum doesn't keep the flat clean let alone the bathroom. She doesn't regularly wash down work surfaces or change the dish cloths. She buys food and leaves it to fester in the fridge and eats out of date food.
She won't have anyone help with cleaning and she was getting her washing done but sacked the girl as mum didn't think she did a good job. She goes to the restaurant during the week but complains about the food quality. She won't even join in the residence activities. When we do see her it's a long list of complaints and grumbles. She also doesn't take her blood presssure and weak bladder medication regularly either. She does no exercise not even a walk in the gardens.
We have Powers of Attorney both financial and health car. She is a very wealthy lady but we are at our wits end as to how we convince her to have help to keep her well.

BlueBelle Sun 08-Apr-18 19:28:05

If she doesn’t want help I think you have to accept that’s its her life and her choice if she’s of sound mind that is
Could one of you take her out for a meal while the other has a quick clean of the cat trays and bathroom . I really wouldn’t worry about the food I ve seen elderly people regularly eat gone off stuff and I really think the sell by dates are way over concerned about
You can’t make someone take medication even if you know she should it’s her life and her choices I know it’s hard when it’s someone you love that’s just how I see it I m sure others will think differently

tanith Sun 08-Apr-18 19:30:33

I have been through this scenario with an elderly lady in the end I had to step back and let her get on with it she was very stubborn. In the end she was hospitalised and was referred to social services who did help her out but not without difficulty.
I’m guessing being her daughters makes things doubly difficult but you can’t force someone to accept help. Sorry if that’s not much help .

granfromafar Sun 08-Apr-18 19:31:39

This is a tricky one. Sounds like a visit to the doctor is in order if she is not taking prescribed medication as she should. Memory problems in older age are not uncommon, and may or may not indicate some form of Alzheimer's. Can you speak to the manager of the sheltered accommodation if there is a real concern she is not keeping the place clean? Her eyesight may not be up to scratch which is one explanation for not keeping the work-surfaces clean. Maybe organise a cleaner to go in once a week while you take her out to lunch? When my Mum had similar issues at home she came to live with us, as fortunately we had the space. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer's soon afterwards and medication helped a little. If you have POA for her health care then you should consider contacting her GP. Good luck!

M0nica Mon 09-Apr-18 08:39:50

A start might be to check that she has had an eye test and hearing test recently. Part of the problem could be that she cannot see or hear clearly and that is why she is living like she is.

You might also consider one of you taking her out for the day, while the other stays in and gets professional cleaners in but ensures not too much is moved. You would need to assess how she would re-act to this first.

But essentially, I agree with others, if she is in her sound mind and chooses to live like that there is little one can do.

Panache Mon 09-Apr-18 09:04:18

Always a tricky one and there is always that fine line whether it is wise to interfere if only a little...........or blindly ignore the state and allow your loved one live their own life.
Some very sound and valid points raised about her eyesight and hearing which indeed could well be the chief culprit here.
Seems the advice already given is very sound and will give you a few good things to ponder over.
I think I can only add Good luck and may you get it all sorted for your own piece of mind.

Washerwoman Mon 09-Apr-18 13:55:24

Hi there Rosie.I feel your frustraction, believe me !I'm the daughter of a 96 year old ,still living in her own home but with diminishing eyesight due to Macular degeneration plus a massive dollop of stubbornness and what I refer to as 'competitive ageing'.ie.any of her acquaintances left that use cleaners, have carers or have gone into a home simply aren't trying hard enough in her (rapidly failing ) eyes.There's a long thread on Care /Carers forum from a month or so ago where I got some very supportive comments.At the moment I'm backing off and leaving her to get on with it.Have just called in today and always take my water bottle to drink as I can't face opening the fridge or having a cuppa having had the experience of cleaning it out when it got in a terrible state.

Washerwoman Mon 09-Apr-18 13:57:15

Sorry typo- meant there's a long thread !Called Frustrated with mum refusing help.

Bluegal Mon 09-Apr-18 17:31:45

I know just how you feel Rose21. My mum is 89 and has always been such a proud woman with a clean house. She is too proud to admit she needs any kind of help whatsoever. She certainly wouldn't pay a cleaner. Like your mum, we've noticed the house smelling a bit and food well past its sell by date in the fridge.

But like someone else suggested, my siblings and I work it between us. One will take her for a drive to a garden centre or somewhere else she used to enjoy and another will do a quick clean - we have to be careful not to remove things in an obvious way but we will go through the fridge and remove things that are clearly out of date and replace with fresh stuff and say - hey mum, I've bought you some cheese, you know the stuff you love and oh I've cleaned the cat litter tray out for ' the cat' (at the same time disinfecting all around etc). I never say its for HER lol - just the cat! (she loves her cat)

This does seem to work for us but am mindful that not everyone can even get to that stage.

Unless your mum makes herself ill as a result of poor hygiene then (as has been said) I doubt there is a lot you can do. It is still her life and her choice. I think sometimes people fear their independence being taken away from them so much and of course some of it could be depression or the onset of alzheimers.

I would try just doing bits and pieces such as cleaning the loo when you visit it, using anti bac wipes on the surfaces etc but without mentioning it.

My mum refuses to let anyone do her washing but she has now conceded she needs help changing her bed so I often, change the bed and pop the bedclothes in the washer without even telling her. I will just say as I am leaving - ohh the washers on mum, then run and leave her to it! She hasn't yet told me not to waiting for it.

Good luck