Home > My mother's giving me a nervous breakdown

My mother's giving me a nervous breakdown

October 22nd, 2014 at 11:06 pm

I am just so f****** frustrated with my mother right now. I feel like I've had it.

Everything I've done to try to maintain her quality of life (ie, living independently in her condo)has been refused and rebuffed.

Two weeks ago I arranged to have a representative of a home health aide agency come to the house to discuss what they could do to help her. He spent a long time there, but after he left, she said she wasn't interested.

Yesterday I used a vacation day to accompany her to a followup office visit with a neurologist to discuss the results of her testing. He told us she has early dementia (something I long suspected) and recommended 3 things:
1. A medication that can slow progression of memory loss and cognitive decline
2. A driving evaluation to make sure she is still safe driving.
3. So-called physical therapy where they teach you ways to compensate for the memory loss.

I scheduled an appointment for the driving test as well as the physical therapy and she got her prescription. I thought we had made great progress and were at least attempting to take control of things.

Then today she did what she's always done. She read the warning label on the prescription drug, which listed possible side effects of diarrhea and digestive issues, and even though the doctor told us NONE of his patients experienced any side effects, she no longer wants to take the drug.

She has also reneged on taking the driving evaluation because she says she thinks it's "premature" and is doing "fine." And she doesn't want to spent the $185 for the evaluation.

Keep in mind she has plenty of money. She's not frugal. She's just a tightwad.

I am just so upset with her I told her I didn't want to speak to her again. She doesn't get the connection between the medication slowing progression of dementia and prolonging the amount of time she can live as she always has, in her condo. Most rational people would at least try the drug if there was a chance it could improve memory loss, but she has always been anti-medication because she routinely reads prescription warning labels, freaks out at the long list of possible 1-in-a-million side effects and refuses to take the med.

Will I really not speak to her again? I probably will, but I feel like this is my last option, the very last bit of leverage i have. Because I am the only caregiver; my sister wants nothing to do with it and hasn't helped at all.

Why should I jump through hoops to try to help someone who doesn't want to be helped?

I have a neighbor who had her mother, who had Alzheimer's, living with her for a number of years, but the disease worsened and her mother any number of times would wander outside the house late at night (they live on a busy road) in her nightgown screaming that my friend was trying to poison her. Paranoia is a hallmark of late stage AD. Finally, my friend couldn't handle her anymore and she signed over responsibility to care for her to the state, who assigned an attorney to oversee her mother's care. At that point, she was put in a nursing home; I don't think the attorney ever even met the mother.

I've spent so many years planning for a comfortable, fulfilling retirement. I am not looking forward to 10+ years of wrangling with my mother.

I plan to go to a support group this Friday night. I feel constant stress and frustration and I am tired of sacrificing my own time and happiness for nothing. I am angry at my mother for being so god **** stubborn. I am angry at my sister for not giving a s***, and apparently not even caring if she ruins her relationship with me (not that we ever had a good one).

12 Responses to “My mother's giving me a nervous breakdown”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    ((Hugs)) Yes, she is doing some things the same, but dementia patients aren't rational. Why are you expecting her to be? I'm so glad you are going to a support group, as that was my first thought as I began reading. A good friend of mine is working with her mother who has dementia, and she has learned not to say no to her, but direct her elsewhere or say maybe later. If she tells her no, she gets stubbornness by her mother. My point is to try different ways of communicating with your mother to see if you get different results.

  2. Kiki Says:

    I am so sorry you are going through this.

  3. Violet Says:

    I am so very sorry you are going through this. Last year at this time we also were going through this same type of situation with my mother in law. Bless your heart. Praying.

  4. Wife of the Deacon Says:

    I was very relieved when I read at the end of this post that you are going to a support group. I think that it is our own expectations that ultimately disappoint us. We think we know what we would do, and it is never what the person we are trying to help is doing. Think of all that your mother has done for you in your lifetime, and while you don't want to spend your retirement years responsible for your mother, maybe there is a happy medium that can meet everyone's needs. I'd suggest a geriatric specialist or caseworker to maybe help everyone out. Neutral third party. And my mom is only 20 years older than me and I just went through the same thing with reading labels about side effects. I had to say, "Mom, it is your vision we're talking about. Only you can make the decision right for you on whether or not to take beta-blockers." And closed the book.

  5. Wife of the Deacon Says:

    And in rereading what you've written. Maybe it is all too much for your mom - suggestions 1, 2 and 3. Maybe call the doctor and see how he'd rank them in order of suggested important and go from there. If I were facing dementia, I might be in denial, too. For awhile, at least.

  6. Wink Says:

    I feel like I could have written parts of this myself. My mother lives with me, and while her challenges are different then Patient Savers, I still deal with the stubbornness, the denial, the blame game and a host of other issues. I also have a sister who bailed out and relocated to another state, and a brother who lives just a few blocks away who has to be constantly reminded that he is also responsible for my mothers care. Caring for my mom has been the single most stressful thing in my life. I also feel angry, and resentful, and completely unappreciated, and taken advantage of. I struggle on a daily basis with feeling guilty for feeling this was, because after all she is my mom and I love her, while also feeling like I have totally sacrificed my own life and happiness. I get it Patient Saver. I'm sorry for making this post about me, I think I am trying to convey that this is a very hard, complicated issue. I like your idea of a support group. I think I may look into this myself. Hang in there, and again, take care of yourself. ((Hugs))

  7. Butterscotch Says:

    I am so sorry. Can you tell her the pills are something else? Like put them in a vitamin bottle and tell her they are vitamins? I don't like taking pills either. I only take birth control pills, but something about having to take a pill everyday just bothers me. Even though it is totally elective and I want the results, I just hate taking pills - I cant explain it.
    I wish there was a way you could sneak them into her food or something, but that would require seeing her everyday. If I can think of anything helpful I will post it. Try googling to see how others have "tricked" or convinced their loved ones to take their meds.

  8. Miz Pat Says:

    This is all painful. My Dad's death comes to mind although in a separate type of circumstances.

    I have a question: Do you live with her? Do you have your own place away from her? Since I think you have a paid off mortgage and she is in a condo - then the answer is yes - you have some space.

    Can you get counseling with you and your mom on this issue - maybe with your doctor. Its very difficult to discuss death and old age with parents - but making it a counseling situation could give you the opportunity to state your concerns and your case. Choosing not to take a medication that will help stave off dementia is a sign of dementia and could be the beginning of a case to say she needs someone to take medical and legal responsibility.

    Oh that sounds so mean, but maybe if she understands she is doing stuff that is questionable now, when she's in the beginning of it, she'll realize your great pain and concern and stop being so stubborn and actually take the medication.

    All of you who have spoken on this issue are now in my prayers. God bless you.

  9. Helen Says:

    Have you considered applying for conservatorship? Although this seems drastic, it might help you enforce decisions that are for her own good, such as taking medicine and having her driving skills evaluated.

  10. FrugalTexan75 Says:


  11. Tabs Says:

    That's a really tough situation there.

  12. Dido Says:

    so sorry it's so hard. The conservatorship mentioned above seems a good idea to keep in mind, if not right now, in the future....and does your mother have powers of attorney for both finance and health care in place? One thing about dementia is that it affects executive function in the frontal lobes, which means that people often aren't aware of their decline. I'm glad you've found a support group to help.

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