Mom acting out and being manipulative

laydeebug72April 19, 2013

My mother is only 67 years old lives alone and is just an attention hog. I am the baby with a family and lives about 5 miles away. My sister who is the oldest lives 4 hours away and has a family. Her only conditions are arthritis ( mild) mine is much worse (rheumatoid), she also has high blood pressure and about 3 years ago she had stints put in. Other than that no serious medical issues but you would think that she has had a stroke, cancer and everything else. I think her main issue is that she is lonely. She has mentioned many times wanting to live with me or my sister. Neither of us would mine this however, when she comes to visit or when we visit she acts as if she is severely handicapped. We are afraid that if she does she won't cook, clean, bathe or anything just allow us to wait on her hand and foot. She calls everyday telling me if every pain she has headache, backache, anything to get our sympathy and attention even crying. It's getting to be annoying. She even tells friends and family that she need to live with us. Iove my mom dearly and does almost everything for her but she doesn't even try to be independent. We feel as if she is trying everything to just make us feel sorry for her. What should we do?

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So mom is 67 then you probably are in 40's. Don't you work, have hubby!. Does mom have any friends, any senior programs in town, does she drive? Maybe she could volunteer to read stories out loud to young kids at library, if she had someone to care about she might improve. Has she got a dog? Could she volunteer at a hospital, directing people where to go, taking papers to visitor lobbies on various floors etc Working couple of hours in gift shop. Church group have ladies class she could go to & get involved in. College have course she might enjoy, beginner painting, knitting or crocheting class , assist at grade school, many have volunteers. Could she visit nursing home & visit with folks who never have visitors, they wouldn't care if she told them her ills, they would be thrilled with a visit. Get her involved in something & she won't bug you as much .You might get busier also so she can't be talking to you so often if you aren't available. Shut you cell phone off for several hours a day for some peace & quiet!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 2:12PM
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I agree, turn the phone off. I think people who act like she is acting do it because no one calls them on it. You might start in on your problems and go on and on and on.

Living with one of my children is the last thing I would want to do. I gave my POA a list of care homes in case she has to make those kinds of decisions for me.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 8:27PM
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Hope you and your sister on on the same page. Is there a assisted living home she could move to? Does she own her home? Is her legal papers in order? Maybe you should stop doing everything for her--be postive and tell her yes you can do----- etc. Does she go to any church? Talk to her pastor and/or talk to her medical Dr. for ideas. Even the social service dept at the hospital or a Elder Aging commission might give you ideas. I do hope for the best.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 9:52PM
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I've tried talking to about going to the local YMCA, volunteering you name it I've tried it. All she says is "I'm not able to do that I need help" she used to go to church, she won't do that anymore, says she too nervous to drive. The list goes on and on about what she "can't" do, even putting on her seat belt. I had to tell her the other day that if she starts the crying and feeling sorry for herself I will just stay away. My husband and I have our own business so we are pretty busy all day. She won't even walk outside further than the front porch to try and get exercise so moving is becoming harder. When I come over and take her out we have to help her out of the car, yet she refuses to use the walker or cane, so it's always drama doing anything with her like the attention has to be on her. I have 2 kids one away at college and can't imagine putting these burdens on my children. I couldn't imagine having them worrying about me. Please tell me if her behavior is normal? She is very aware of everything, owns her own home and I've tried time after time talking to her doctor but he's more of a friend to her and wont tell her to improve on anything. If she can't get my attention age will call my sister and stress her. We are both on the same page and when we mention assisted living or a nursing home she starts with the crying. Please give me some advice! Any advice!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 11:02PM
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Everyone here has so much more experience and knowledge, but if these behaviors are relatively "new".... she could have
"early dementia"....

I know someone who started dementia in their 50s (it's unusual, but it happens)

I would take her to someone who could analyze her and if that's the case, she needs to be in some kind of memory unit and if she cries, tell her it is for her protection.

If I am "way off base" forgive me. I have quite a bit on my mind and may not have read you correctly.

Good luck... 67 is NOT too old to have dementia (unfortunately)


    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 8:47AM
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The main reason that I think that this is manipulative behavior is because when someone is visiting or when I pick her up for a drive out she us perfectly fine,laughing etc. It's just really bad when she is home alone, not trying to be a complainer but it's overwhelming on a daily basis and the doctor is no help at all!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 12:23PM
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Boy, I feel for you. My mom is back living with us, after the lady she'd been staying with for two years called up and said she couldn't take it any more.

This time it's tough love. No putting up with her crap, reminding her that's exactly why she had to leave her friends' house. Within 5 minutes of walking in the house she had insulted our dog, humiliated my youngest son, and criticized our house. A stern warning almost had her in tears but we just can't live with that kind of stress again (she was with us for three horrible years before the friend). We flat out told her that she needs to be polite, like a guest, and follow our rules and stop nagging us.

Anyway, it makes me think that you have to be brutally upfront with your mom. "Mom, hubby & I both work full time, and we won't be able to care for you in our home since you have this problem and that problem." Explain to her that if she can't do the ADL's by herself (activities for daily living) then maybe it's best to go into assisted living, or if she wants to live at home, she'll need to get someone to assist her. Be sure your sister is briefed on this and repeats the same statement.
Your gut feeling is probably right. It'll only be worse if she is living in your home. I've known my entire life that I could never live with my mom (I lived very infrequently with her growing up) but the only other choice is her being homeless. She is only in our house due to the generosity of my DH. My kids will probably need therapy for the rest of their lives to get over these years of hell, and I'm not really kidding too much.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 6:37PM
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My dad has never been good at making friends or joining in activities. He talks to people & everyone thinks he's charming, but he's never had any friends that he did anything with. He always depended on my mom to be company to him. After she died, he always wanted my sister & me to be with him. We couldn't because we were working and had households ourselves. Like c9pilot, my sister & I have always known that Dad couldn't live with us, nor us with him. He is way too controlling. He would have also let us do all the cleaning, laundry, cooking, etc. even though there was nothing physically wrong with him at the time.

Take your mom for a thorough eval & explain the situation to the doctor. If her current doc isn't helping, try another. Encourage her to find activities and friends. Acknowledge that you understand that she's lonely. If she continues to act like this then you're right that you'll probably have to stay away. Helping her if she is sick and truly needs help is one thing. But it's not fair to you or your family to completely take care of her like she's an invalid if that isn't the case.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 7:48AM
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Medical checkup should include complete thyroid check, tsh3-4 etc as thyroid problems can make you seem crazy. Complete blood workup as she may have B vitamin or other deficiencies. Question her about any falls she may have had, that often makes seniors insecure or did a person on street threaten her or maybe almost having an accident in her car. All those things can make person afraid. My mom lost her hip bone to driver that was texting as folks were stopped ready to cross traffic lane to go into grocery store parking lot when woman barreled out "looking down" before dad could scream they were hit. At 1st m om did all the therapy etc. but once she found out the MRI looked like birds nest & no bone there, she got more unsure used quad-cane & now walker & won't go out at all except to drs or if we take her somewhere. Fear of falling can be great! Did she change meds about the time this started? That could be it.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 6:05PM
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Sounds like dementia. Sometimes they cry because they are so confused and don't know what is going on. They also have good days and bad.

This post was edited by EmmaR on Sun, Apr 21, 13 at 18:13

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 6:12PM
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