How do you Decide if your Elderly Parent is Mentally Ill?
by Crazy Issues
Not everyone has a mother who has now become a sweet old lady.
My mother has always seemed schizophrenic to me.
She used to beat my blind sister, and when the sister got married, mom turned to me, taking every opportunity to manipulate me, humiliate, and beat me and it was never related to my own behavior. I had no concept of myself that I could have or should have my own needs, no guidance on what I should do with my life or anything.
I was seen as the family slave really: clean the house, prepare meals, and take care of my siblings while the parents worked. Both my parents came here fleeing from Nazis and their families were murdered. Many Jewish baby boomers may have had dysfunctional families from the war.
When I was a teen, my mother got caught having an affair with someone (who happened to be an alcoholic). My parents divorced. I ran away from home, my mother had a nervous breakdown. Shortly after the breakdown, she tried to commit suicide.
Finally, she got some professional counseling but it was only a short time and she never did her all emotional homework. Neither did Dad. Dad remarried and had a better relationship though. Lucky for me, his second family is now taking care of he and his wife.
Mom went on to date men, live with one man then another. I later befriended her and we had a decent relationship for about 20 years.
Now she is in her 90s and I am her caretaker. My siblings are either unable or uncaring to help.
Sometimes mom and I have a good time and other times I am back to feeling beaten, although she doesn't hit me. The relationship is fragile and very hard terrain to negotiate for both of us.
It's hard to sort out which craziness is Elder crazy (borne of valid fears, or overblown fears), and which is the unfinished spiritual and emotional homework. Hard to pick up which pieces are mine, which are hers.
What can I do to help or do I just let her run the show because to try to do anything else, say anything, set a boundary, or even try to talk a full sentence is mostly impossible with her.
Where do I turn for education and emotional counseling for she and I? How do I get her to a counselor if she doesn't want to go?
What kind of counselor do we need? Who pays? Does medicare pay? Where do I find the help?
Thanks so much.