by Anonymous

My situation is a little different than most of you. I'm 50 and mom is 72. We are both recovered alcoholics and both still smoke cigarettes. My mom fell at work and broke her leg. And now she is retired. As a single mother she has always sacrificed everything for me growing up. She now lives on SSI and in a nice subsidized apartment upstairs which she likes.

I have moved in with her on the lease as her care giver. She has macular degeneration. I work 60+ hours a week. Not able to care for a dog as in walking. She has a few friends but seldom sees them. Things are not horrible but it is all very depressing to me. I'm an up spirited son but I find myself always being negative and trying to convince mom we need to do this and that and she is combative sometimes and it takes a lot to keep calm.

She has become extremely conservative not wanting to throw anything away and I fight with her about hygiene and nutrition. We both pray and thank god for the miracles but it makes me so angry that she could be doing more to take care of herself.

Shes never been lazy and she wants to do everything for me instead of herself. She eats sweets all day until I get home and we cook dinner.

It's basically like I've become the parent and shes becoming the toddler..I'm sure this is all typical normal stuff that happens.

If she does have a small accident with the bathroom I've told her to let me know and put the clothing in the bathtub and take it off in the bathtub but she will think that the underwear are worth keeping..

I don't want to go into tmi but you get were I'm coming from with the not wanting to throw anything away and making a mess.

I don't think its a mental disorder its almost like hoarding but its really hard for me not to get angry. Then I might say things that I feel so bad for I feel like a piece of garbage..anyway just venting and letting whomever know they are not alone..its just me and her..

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by: Anonymous

Save yourself some frustration and her embarrassment and start using Depends that can be thrown away. Walmart has a generic much cheaper version that work fine.

I switched my mom by going in her room when she was in another room. I just took all her underwear out of her drawer and replaced it with disposables (they don't look like diapers, they look like underwear) and said, "We're using disposable underpants now." Period. Walked away.

Sort of sounds like you need to take more control of the situation with her. You need to remember that perhaps she has lost the ability to make proper choices and you just have to.

It's hard and she will probably resent it, but like anything else change is accepted even if it comes slowly.

Good luck.

your mom
by: Anonymous

If your mom is 72 she likely has some dementia going on which is effecting her thinking. You may not realize it right now. Before my mom got bad, her doctor called it "walking the line." Some days they're on the good side of the road and then other days they slide on to the other side which leaves us confused.

Long term memory remains for the most part and your mom's hoarding may go back to a time in her life where items were her worth. Some behaviors from their past (that we don't understand) become even more so.

It's difficult to transition to the role of parent with an aging mom or dad. First, we just don't want to and also it doesn't feel normal. We kind of flounder around for a long time not wanting to make our parent mad at us, but still realizing in our "rational" mind that we need to take charge. Over time, you will become the parent more and more until the transition is complete and it feels somewhat normal.

It sounds like you are at the interim point now and that's hard. Perhaps it's time to take more control (which she will fight at first) and be more firm. When my mom moved in with me I had to eventually take over getting her medications ready each day or she would mess them up. Her hygiene was horrible showering one a month and wearing the same underpants weeks at a time.

In the beginning I was hesitant to tell her what to do. It just didn't seem right and it felt odd, but as time went on I realized her choices were bad and someone had to take control.

Now I get the shower ready, get her clothes out, clean underpants every day and just tell her, "You're taking a shower today, it's all ready, come on." She argued at first, but it's become normal.

You'll have to just become firm with your mom about the messy pants. It will feel odd, yes, but in time it will be normal. You're just going to have to say something like, "Mom, I can't live like this. You have to cooperate. This is what you are going to do." Period. Stick to it.

Change is hard for them. It's hard for us as well. Congratulations by the way on not drinking. You're going to find though as time goes on and your mom becomes worse that this will be the hardest existence of your life.

It's going to take great strength to not fall back, so please be careful. I'm not a drinker, but if I were I'd be hitting the bottle pretty damned bad right now because giving up your independence so that someone else can maintain theirs is very difficult. Or for me anyway.

Good luck. I don't know if anything I said can help you. Each situation is different.

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