My bloody mother!!!! <again>(89 Posts)
She is driving me nuts and i just don't know what to do to help.
She has the long running, what can only be described as obsession that her sister (who lives in australia) has damaged her property. I have posted about it lots im sure. Anyway, the latest thing is her cooker - her BRAND NEW
30 years old cooker, that is irreplacable apparently . Firstly she said that she had put chewing gum on the halogen hob and had basically spent entire nights (im not joking) scouring it off, thus destroying the hob - but this is only because her sister had covered it in acid never mind all the shit my mother has put on it to CLEAN it. It has now expanded to the inside of the BRAND NEW cooker that the woman has painted with acid - to what ends? maybe she was trying to poison her?? All this will have been done about 7 years ago, when she stole my mums photos (actually, she did do this and this is how it all started), pegs, duvet covers - if not stolen, swapped for lesser quality items for the charity shop, damaged her bedroom suit, which my mother has subsequently destroyed by scrubbing with bleach, rubbing with chisels etc because it had a few fade marks on it - its a fecking antique!
It has been a nightmare and gone on for years - most of the time I try to humour her as disagreeing with her just results in her a) not talking to me (now don't get me wrong, this would be a blessing) and i have to worry about her physical health and im an only child. b) causing scenes at my house etc and quite frankly my own mental health isn't up to it.
Her latest thing is that she is going to get the money together to go to australia and hope that the very sight of her standing there will cause her sister to have a heart attack and if that doesn't work, she will jump on her head I know it just sounds like a weird sort of comedy doesn't it, but she is deadly serious.
That is where my question is - she is 76 and in bad health (her sister is 85). Would that prevent her from flying? She reckons she will go one day, come back the next. I don't believe for one minute she would be allowed into australia on that basis, but what i AM worried that a flight company would still take her money.
No point in going to doctor, my mum wont have any of it, and wouldnt take ADs if she was dying.
teenage, if i did that she'd burn it but actually i can't afford to, otherwise i would.
My mum just gave us £300 for my DDs birthday treat and presents - the original plan was that we were going halves on it, £300 was more than it all cost but you know what, i took the bloody money just so that was £300 less towards any flights!! I haven't spent it though. See, this is the thing, she would give me anything money wise but has alway been toxic. It makes it so difficult.
Another thing i am scared of is if i go the GP i am going to set ball rolling that once it starts could lead to a whole load of trouble. The rest of the family think its hysterical though, and instead of keeping quiet about letters etc they feed it all back to my mum who of course gets more and more insenced. Talk about bloody dysfunctional.
I don't know if this offers any reassurance LEM but when I worked as a travel agent (albeit many years ago) I have refused bookings from elderly customers who didn't appear to be 'safe' to travel un-aided. I have also phoned social services when an elderly lady tried to give me 20k for a round the world cruise to meet up with her husband who I knew had passed away. We also prevented a lady wiring money to a scam in Nigeria.
How many years does she have on her passport? Can you take it?
She'd be very unlikely to get travel insurance and there is no way an airline would accept someone of that age travelling to the other side of the world without it. She'd need permission from her doctor to give to an insurer
LEM - does she have (and use) credit cards and bank cards or does she deal with things by cheque and cash?
That was what i was hoping to hear hopas because aside from the terrible waste of money that she cannot afford, I am genuinely worried she would do somethind drastic if she did manage to get there. Or i'd worry she'd end up stuck somewhere and I'd be unable to help. She has high blood pressure and other needs that make travel insurance unlikely although she did manage it before.
she has bank cards but cannot use them without my help to be fair, although i think she can now manage to pay for things in shops with her bank card.
Your mum very much needs to be seen by a Dr. It sounds like paraphrenia - a form of old age schizophrenia.
If your mum is actually delusional - then replacing her cooker is not going to make an iota of difference. She needs medical help.
It's clearly a difficult situation. You need to see her GP asap to get their help.
LEM you are so not betraying her by going to the gp. In fact you sound like a lovely caring daughter. Good luck x
Firstly, I think you should definitely follow the advice above and arrange an early appointment with your GP to include a discussion of your Mum's problems. I'd write it all down in advance to act as an aide memoire so that you don't get there and decide not to go into detail about things. I really do think she has mental heath problems other than just being cantankerous with age.
Secondly, I was wondering whether you could review her finances and in the process, put everything, as far as possible, onto direct debit/standing order online to avoid her having to deal with money. Online accounts are something you could check on for her and not only would they probably save money and hassle but you could keep a weather eye on her spending.
I think that you don't need to face immediately the prospect of her being institutionalized but as long as your family can control spending for the time being, you would know she hasn't bought a trip to Oz or done something equally awful. Maybe you could aim to achieve that in-between position at the moment as a result of talking to your/her medical adviser and perhaps taking over control of her financial affairs.
(I'm thinking of prohibiting all purchases/withdrawals of more than - say - £500. I don't know whether that's possible with a bank account/bank card (by arrangement with the bank) although it's certainly easily achieved with a credit card.)
So sorry you're having to deal with this, especially when your own health is indifferent. I've been thereabouts so know what it's like.
LEM keep your appt for yourself and book a telephone consultation about your mum. You aren't betraying her at all! you are helping her stay safe. Your GP will have dealt with similar situations in the past. Stealth is sometimes needed...
Your GP might want to do some bloods in the first instance, do you think she would agree to that? With her medical problems she should probably have regular blood anyway. Blood tests would rule out a physical cause. Eg a low vitamin B12 can cause confusion and odd behaviour in the elderly and is easily sorted.
there won't be an inevitable chain of events set into action, things might move quite slowly if your mum doesn't agree to anything.
I'm sorry you are not getting much support from the rest of your family with your mum who is very much delusional. She really does need medical assessment, as everyone has said. I think it has got worse over the years and I understand your resistance to wanting things to change but I think they are coming to a crisis anyway and she can't really be allowed to board a flight whilst in this state.
......Stealth is sometimes needed.......
Oh yes indeed. When you have someone who is genuinely acting in the older person's best interests that's a true thing.
Have you got power of attorney in place? would your mum agree to that??
In terms of acting in her best interests it depends if she has capacity to make her own decisions. Capacity assessments can be done by GP or psychiatrist. Although I'm guessing she won't agree to that either...
It's the in-between bit that's difficult, Ginformation as you probably well know. An older person might present as quite capable (at the relevant times) but in reality be immensely vulnerable.
Another thing i am scared of is if i go the GP i am going to set ball rolling that once it starts could lead to a whole load of trouble.
What trouble exactly are you worried about OP? Do you mean trouble from the rest of your family?
Gin, i tried to get this but she wouldn't have it. She doesn't have much in terms of money so not much to protect, her house is council owned. She does have the capacity to make her own decisions but it is fogged by this how irrational behaviour.
I think i would prefer to talk to GP face to face so will make appointment in the morning - if i make a prebookable i'll have to book 2 weeks in advance . I can just get her to write my script for citalopram while im there. Will she actually be able to talk to me about it though?
Thankyou so much for your advice, everyone x
Xiaoxiaong - no, "trouble" from my mum, she only really has me and she will just cut me off, which of course will prevent me from being able to help her, i also don't want trouble FOR her if you see what i mean. I just want her to be happy
cozie - that is my concern, she would fly through an assesment for alzheimers im sure - she is very lucid and with it, just utterly delusional.
Can you arrange to 'lose' her bank card and move her over onto a credit card which has a low (say £500) limit (a second card to one of your own perhaps) or a pre-paid cc which never has more than than a set amount on it? That way, she could still happily spend in the shops on normal messages but couldn't go for any Big Bertha purchases.
Your GP will be able too talk in general terms about the situation and advise you about tyred next step. Must importantly your dr can listen too all your concerns. They won't be able to release any info to you, unless your mum consents to that. It helps that you are registered at the same practice and they know you. I have had cases where 'concerned' family members have wanted to fraudulently get control of finances
Hence my comment about 'genuinely acting in the person's best interests'. There are some powerfully self centred people out there. Luckily, LEM doesn't sound like one of them.
What a sad situation to be in, I am sorry. I feel a bit errrr about using a dear friend's experience here but her mum was disturbed/paranoid for decades (think writing to the UN Sec-Gen about the local bin collections, global plots against her hanging baskets) and then had early-onset Alzheimer's. The changes in what she said and did were subtle at first but looking back it's awful for my friend who wonders if it could have been spotted earlier. From where I stand, I don't think it would have made a big difference for her mum but it's still a question that will never be answered. The "jump on her head" thing seems different from the rest ("I have been wronged") to me - it seems a very "childish" plan or fantasy, IYSWIM? I would also suggest talking to her GP, because of this new "plan"..
Absolutely cozie, some real prize fuckers out there.
The inbetween stages can be exceptionally tricky as you say. sometimes, unfortunately, you have to wait for a big incident before things can progress. Sorry LEM. Can't believe the rest of the family are acting that way though . Could it be they don't realise the full situation?
its ok Gin, my mums "fortune" consists of some dodgy paper mache ornaments and moth bitten fur coats
The problem is the rest of the family aren't really that close to my mum now, due to her behaviour more than anything and they see it as a bit of a joke Without wanting to sound unkind they are pretty uneducted and really don't get it.
Oh yes - families are a bitch some of the time. It can be a mix of eg not realizing the truth of a situation to actively enjoying a bit of drama in their lives (a la soap opera) to leaning back on previous relationships without seeing that a person may have changed. And so on....
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