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Frequent Social Butterfly
Posts: 159
Registered: ‎05-04-2011

Re: 1) New caregiver 2) Mother seemingly content to live in squalor? Advice welcome.

Message 1 of 5 (255 Views)

JulieLouise wrote:

Hello everyone. I'm a brand new forum member. I sought out caregiving support because I'm trying to help my mother. The problem is that my mother 1) is more or less physically, mentally, and financially competent (as far as I know), but 2) she insists on living alone in the old family house, and has let what little housekeeping skills she used to have largely lapse. My sister and I have repeatedly offered to help her with the house, but she will not act on such offers of support. If my sister or I go to the house and start cleaning up things, she will participate, but the next time we come back she hasn't done anything on her own.

 

My sister and I each live in Washington, DC; our mother is in the Maryland suburbs. I've been out to the house the last couple of weekends, but I have a full-time job (and my sister is even busier). Any advice on what to do?


I've read the thread up until this moment, and i have a couple of thoughts. I used to live in DC and worked in the Maryland suburbs as well. You can try APS. There IS a special set of services for hoarders in Montgomery County if that's where she is. But she has to agree to let them help her. This is crucial. A person can't be declared incompetent based on being a hoarder. As awful as hoarding can be. She sounds like a stage 3 or 4 hoarder. Pretty bad. 

 

If APS can't help you, let me suggest a geriatric care manager. I used to work for Seabury Resources for Aging as one, and there are many other services, including Debra Levy Care Management. A care manager who is worth her salt (i've never met a male one) can slowly build rapport with your mother over time and begin to intervene, starting with her health/medications/food situation. I can't tell you how many times i've started a relationship with a troubled elder by talking through a closed door. I know my colleagues have done the same. Step by step. 

 

I wish geriatric care management was free but alas, it costs money. However, if you and your sister are working, perhaps you can split the cost. You can also ask that a monthly cap be imposed. I used to write emails that would say: "Okay, these are the resources that are available. I can call and sign her up, or you can. She needs the following supplies. I can buy them and you can reimburse me, or you can..."   That way you and your sister can choose which errands to do, or delegate them to the care manager. There's a tradeoff, many tradeoffs, between doing things  yourself or paying to have them done. Your busyness is part of the puzzle. Last i checked, Seabury cost $115 an hour. But lawyers are way more expensive and they won't do a home visit!

 

please write more about your situation as you figure this out, and feel free to ask as many questions as you can come up with.

 

Great memoir on living with a hoarder: Coming Clean: A Memoir by Kimberly Rae Miller.

 

Jane, formerly of the DC Maryland Virginia area, now in rural oregon,

social worker

Treasured Social Butterfly
Posts: 18,884
Registered: ‎12-25-2011

Re: 1) New caregiver 2) Mother seemingly content to live in squalor? Advice welcome.

Message 2 of 5 (289 Views)

Oh; that's a lot more serious than your original post sounded! That house is way too large for your mother, and she may be overwhelmed.

 

You should call Adult Protective Services as soon as possible; information & guidance should at least give you a direction. You should probably also call an attorney who specializes in senior issues, because you may need to have her medically evaluated & get power of attorney or a court-appointed guardian, to handle her affairs.

 

You should probably also find out what she's been eating, medication & supplements she should be taking, because if she's undernourished, that may also affect her mental abilities!

 

Good luck, and hang in there. Just remember that if she's "uncooperative", she may not be able to help herself right now.


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Info Seeker
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎03-04-2017

Re: 1) New caregiver 2) Mother seemingly content to live in squalor? Advice welcome.

Message 3 of 5 (296 Views)

My mother: 76 years old.

Me: 49 years old.

My sister: 47 years old.

 

The house is three stories plus a full basement.

 

Two weeks ago I discovered that the kitchen was nearly impassible with junk and undone laundry, plus there were signs of insect and rodent infestation and food hoarding. The living room and dining room are under practically a foot of litter. She has two cats (they are with me right now), and she clearly was not keeping up with the litter boxes.

 

My sister's boyfriend and I have excavated a path through the kitchen, and this weekend I started on the front hall and dining room. When I tried to talk to my mother about the situation, she dismissed it by calling herself "messy" and "lazy." I have the number of the relevant county Adult Protective Services, but so far I haven't called, because I'm not sure what they can do in this case.

Treasured Social Butterfly
Posts: 18,884
Registered: ‎12-25-2011

Re: 1) New caregiver 2) Mother seemingly content to live in squalor? Advice welcome.

Message 4 of 5 (300 Views)

It would be helpful to know everyone's respective ages; your mother, you & your sister. Is the house very large? People also have a broad range as to what they think is "reasonable housekeeping" .. all within an acceptable level of neatness & cleanliness, so you need to be more specific as to what your mother isn't doing, and whether that represents a health or safety hazzard. When my elderly aunt moved in with me, she pestered me to sweep leaves off the deck on a daily basis .. I had a landscaper who did that weekly, but she didn't think that was enough.

 

There are many people in this forum who are seniors & happy to live alone .. very competently, thank you .. so you've got to be more specific here about what your mother is/isn't doing, and why it's "harmful" for her.


Registered on Online Community since 2007!
Info Seeker
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎03-04-2017

1) New caregiver 2) Mother seemingly content to live in squalor? Advice welcome.

Message 5 of 5 (339 Views)

Hello everyone. I'm a brand new forum member. I sought out caregiving support because I'm trying to help my mother. The problem is that my mother 1) is more or less physically, mentally, and financially competent (as far as I know), but 2) she insists on living alone in the old family house, and has let what little housekeeping skills she used to have largely lapse. My sister and I have repeatedly offered to help her with the house, but she will not act on such offers of support. If my sister or I go to the house and start cleaning up things, she will participate, but the next time we come back she hasn't done anything on her own.

 

My sister and I each live in Washington, DC; our mother is in the Maryland suburbs. I've been out to the house the last couple of weekends, but I have a full-time job (and my sister is even busier). Any advice on what to do?