12 Signs Your Elderly Parent Needs Help

Updated on June 14, 2018
Marye Audet profile image

As my mother got older, there were many little warning signs to tell us that she needed more help: Here are the red flags to look for.


Help! I Am Concerned About My Parent!

How do you know that your parent is in need of intervention?

Are you really seeing a problem, or are you only imagining it?

Most of us really don't want to admit that our parents are beginning to have problems. Their arms have always been strong enough to hold us, their minds have always been sharp enough to give us the answers we're looking for, and we don't want to believe that those times may be coming to a close. Most of the time, our parents won't admit it, either, and often get angry if it is suggested that they may be needing more assistance than they used to. Since it is hard to accept, and harder still to confront, many of us treat the issue as the elephant in the middle of the living room.

Sadly, with this head-in-the-sand philosophy, you and your parents will end up with some serious issues. According to Agnes Schare, RN, BSN, and VP of a home care management company, "there are no laws or policies to aid in determining if your loved one is too old to live independently, but it is always wise to be proactive regarding the care of your aging family member." As my mother got older, we started to see many little warning signs that told us that she needed more help. Having open discussions and knowing what their desires are helps us make wiser choices when the time comes.

Signs Your Elderly Parents Need Help

If your loved one is getting sick or injured often and making more frequent trips to the doctors, this is an obvious red flag that they may need more assistance. But what are the other signs you might see? How can you assess your parents' ability to be independent without dragging them into a doctor? Here are the red flags to look for:

  1. In their home, you notice growing piles, dishes, messes, stains, and dirt.
  2. Bills aren't getting paid and other signs that they may be losing their financial decision-making abilities.
  3. Your parents are having difficulty feeding themselves or you are worried they're not eating healthy food.
  4. Your parent refuses to take a shower or wears the same dirty clothes day after day.
  5. Your parent is dressed improperly for the activity or the environment (see examples below).
  6. You see evidence of confusion or difficulty in the kitchen.
  7. It is getting more difficult for them to safely drive a car.
  8. You notice increasing and alarming clues of memory loss (scroll down for a list of telltale signs).
  9. If you suspect that your parent might be depressed.
  10. They are acting in a strange or unusual manner (see full description below).
  11. You see more bruises, scrapes, slips, and accidents than usual.
  12. If your parent is seeing, hearing, or smelling things that are not there.

Below, you'll find full descriptions of each of these signs and solutions for how to help your parent. Keep in mind that many of these signs can be indications of depression or other medical issues, too.

1. Sudden Lapses In Housekeeping

Mom has always been a great housekeeper, but lately her house has been dirty and cluttered. This can mean a lot of things: Maybe she has been busy, perhaps she is more tired than usual, or maybe she is becoming overwhelmed with the daily chores.

What to do if your elderly parent's house is a mess:

Keep the discussion about the mess light and do what you can to help her catch up. You can help by stopping by more often, casually doing the dishes, or offering to vacuum. Watch to see if it gets any worse. If the problem continues or worsens, then she probably isn't just tired.

When piles start accumulating—especially piles of unopened bills—it could be a sign that your elderly parent needs help.
When piles start accumulating—especially piles of unopened bills—it could be a sign that your elderly parent needs help. | Source

2. Mail Is Piling Up and Bills Are Not Being Paid

Dad is letting the bills and other mail pile up. He seems overwhelmed by tasks that used to be easy. Bills that have never been opened are going unpaid. You may find notices of late payments or bounced checks, and there may be messages from debt collectors.

At some point, parents can no longer face the decision-making required by the business of maintaining a household. As people get older, they often become more likely to hoard things and let piles accumulate. If the checking account is a mess or bills aren't being paid, this can be a troubling sign that your parent my be overwhelmed and not thinking as clearly as they used to. Over-spending and extreme frugality may also be signs that your parent is in financial distress.

What to do if your parent stops opening mail or paying bills:

Don't just go in and start opening their mail or tossing out what you think is trash. Gently discuss your concerns with your parent. Ask for permission to open their mail and have them allow you to become a signer on their checking account so that you can help. Managing money is a huge part of independence, so tread very carefully in this discussion.

3. Weight Loss

Weight loss can happen suddenly and drastically, especially after the death of a spouse. Shopping, preparing food, and cooking just become too much trouble. You may notice that there is no food in the fridge, or the food is spoiled. You may also notice signs of dehydration like sleepiness, dizziness, or fewer trips to the bathroom. My mom was only eating a carrot or a piece of celery now and then because that was easier than cooking a meal.

What should you do if your parent stops eating or drinking?

First, talk to them to find out what's happening: Is it a sign of depression, forgetfulness, or a loss of appetite? Is the cause medical, psychological, or something else? Determine the reason and enlist a doctor's assistance, if needed. You may be able to help by delivering individually packaged servings of casserole. If you live out-of-state, ask your parent to consider a Meals on Wheels or similar program in their area.

4. Dirty Clothes or Poor Hygiene

The elderly may forget to change their clothes, sometimes sleeping in and wearing the same things for days, or they might put on the same clothes every morning. This is a sign of a problem.

What to do if your parent stops bathing:

This is a tough one, since it's so personal. Try to find out what the problem is. Maybe it's too hard for your parent to get into the shower, or maybe they can no longer manage doing laundry. If you can talk to your parent's doctor and get some advice, do so.

5. Inappropriate Clothing

Clothing mishaps might seem relatively harmless, but they might endanger a person's safety and health. If you notice that your father is wearing summer clothing in winter, going out without a coat, not wearing shoes, forgetting to button himself or forgetting articles of clothing, these are indications that he might need more help.

What to do if your parent can't dress themselves properly:

This could be dangerous, especially if your parent lives in a very hot or cold climate. Arrangements will need to be made to assist your parent get dressed and make sure they're safe. You should also involve the doctor, as it may be an early sign of dementia.

6. Signs of Confusion in the Kitchen

If you find pots that are burned on the bottoms because they have been left to boil dry, spoiled food, water stains or mildew under the sink or elsewhere because taps were left on and forgotten about, dishes that remain unwashed for long periods of time, or food left out, these are all signs that your parent is at risk. The loss of the ability to prepare food is one of the main reasons older people move into assisted living facilities.

What to do when your parent can no longer cook, clean, or feed themselves:

To prevent your parent from starting a fire, damaging their home, or becoming malnourished, you'll need to remove the dangers and arrange for another way to feed them.

If your parent's car is becoming dented and dinged, that could be one indication that they need some help. Find out what's going on to prevent a larger accident.
If your parent's car is becoming dented and dinged, that could be one indication that they need some help. Find out what's going on to prevent a larger accident. | Source

7. Difficulty Driving

If you see any of these signs, it your parent might need help:

  • Stiffness in the driver's seat. If your father is physically incapable of turning his neck to see behind him, it could be a cause for concern.
  • Getting lost. When your mother consistently forgets where she is, where she's going, or how to get there, it's time to step in.
  • Slow responses. If your dad can no longer respond quickly enough to changes in traffic.
  • Frustration or rage. If you mom is starting to lose her temper while driving and has lost her ability to maintain composure and control, she may no longer be up to the task.
  • Parking tickets, traffic violations, or moving citations. If your dad is getting more tickets and citations, you'll want to find out why.
  • Accidents and close calls. If you are afraid to drive with your mom because she has suddenly started inching too close to other cars or objects on the sides of the road, braking or swerving last-minute to avoid collisions, or getting into fender benders or even serious accidents, it's probably time for her to stop driving.
  • A dented car. If dings, dents, and scratches are accumulating on your dad's car, it's a sign that something might be wrong, especially if he can't remember what caused them.

What should you do if you think your parent shouldn't be driving anymore?

Before you take away the car keys, you'll want to...

  • Arrange for your parent's needs to be met. They'll need rides to the stores, doctor's office, and other outings.
  • Find other solutions to help your parent retain some mobility and independence. Help them learn how to take the bus or call a rideshare company.
  • Involve their doctors. The issue may be temporary or treatable. For example, maybe a new vision prescription is needed, or maybe the danger can be avoided by driving only during the day or avoiding longer, unfamiliar trips.

8. Loss of Memory

Missing doctor's appointments, forgetting to take medications, forgetting to attend church when they have been regular church-goers all their life: these all may indicate a problem. My mom forgot about my daughter's wedding, and we had to call her and then postpone the ceremony for over an hour, waiting for her to get there. We did not see it as a problem at the time, but looking back, it was our first clue of what was to come. Although some cognitive impairment and memory loss is unavoidable with age, when it begins to endanger your parent's life, you'll need to step in.

What to do if your parent can no longer remember important things:

This is a strong signal that they need extra help, especially if they are not taking (or accidentally taking too much of) their medications. It's time to step in before things get out of hand.

9. Depression

There are many reasons an older person might get depressed: coping with aging itself can be depressing, as well as dealing with loneliness and the losses of relationships through death or divorce, the loss of physical capabilities, the loss of jobs and occupations that may have given meaning to life, and the loss of self-perception as capable, strong, and valuable members of society. So feelings of loss and sadness are completely normal, but if depression continues, unabated, for two weeks or more, it's time to pay attention.

What to do if your elderly parent is depressed:

First, familiarize yourself with the signs of depression, which include sadness, loss of energy and motivation, loss of interest in activities and relationships, trouble sleeping, and thoughts of suicide. Many of the other problems mentioned above (weight loss, poor hygiene, etc.) might also indicate depression. A doctor should make an assessment and suggest treatment options.


10. Drastic Changes in Behavior

Maybe your once-active mother now just wants to stay in bed all day watching television. Maybe your once-responsible father has been driving you crazy and acting like a child, having tantrums or giving you the silent treatment, moping around the house. Maybe your once-steady parent suddenly starts overeating, yelling at people, making inappropriate comments, or losing their sense of humor.

What should you do if your parent's personality starts to change?

As they age, some people lose their filters and the ability to refrain from saying negative things that once would have shocked or embarrassed them. If your parent is starting to act like a person you don't recognize, it's probably time to figure out what's happening.

11. Bruises, Cuts, and Accidents

It's normal for aging skin to bruise more easily, but if you notice that your mom is covered in bruises and doesn't remember what happened, it might be time to worry. Likewise if your dad has been increasing his trips to the doctor's office for minor accidents. Black eyes, bruises, cuts, scrapes, and bandages are all indications that your parent is no longer physically capable of navigating life without injury.

What to do if your elderly parent is covered in bruises:

There may be a medical cause for this, so it's best to get the doctor's opinion.

12. Just Acting Weird

If your parent starts saying strange things, making phone calls at odd hours, hearing voices, inventing enemies, having delusions or hallucinations, displaying unusual fears and nervousness, or showing signs of paranoia, this may be a sign that they need help. Age brings an increased risk of mental illness, and psychosis becomes much more common as people age.

What to do if you think your parent might no longer have adequate mental capacity?

You'll definitely need a proper diagnosis for this, so you'll need to enlist a doctor's help.

Above all, be gentle. No one wants to get old or lose their independence.

It is a difficult time for everyone but it will be even more difficult if you aren't sensitive to your parents' needs.

Talk About It Before It Happens

Ideally, you can discuss things before they happen. Hopefully, you will talk to your parents when they are still younger and not having problems. Ideally, you will agree, together, what to do.

It is hard to bring the subject up, but please do:

  1. Take notes during your discussion.
  2. Sign and date the notes and have your parent do the same.
  3. Copy the notes and put the signed and dated originals away in a safe place. It may make it easier to carry out those decisions and plans if you can show your parent what was discussed, decided, and signed.
  4. You may even want to have the papers notarized so, if there is ever a question among siblings or anyone else, you will have those dated papers as proof.
  5. When it's time, consider getting a power of attorney agreement drawn up so that you can legally act on your parent's behalf.

Remember that it's alright if they want to revisit this conversation later and change their mind, but it's also important to have some record of previous conversations and decisions to look back on.

Where Can You Get Help for Your Elderly Parent?

  • Get a good geriatric doctor. Not only can they help with proper diagnosis and treatment, but a doctor can point you to various agencies that may be able to assist, and can more closely observe your parent the next time they are in for an appointment.
  • Geriatric care personnel can help. A geriatric care manager is usually a licensed nurse or social worker who specializes in helping to care for older people, either in their home or in a care facility. These are people who can assist you and your family identify and meet your parent's needs.
  • Consult with elder law attorneys and financial planners for financial and legal guidance and support.
  • If you're worried about the care your parent is receiving, a report can be made to Adult Protective Service (APS) to ensure the safety and well-being of your family member.
  • The National Council on Aging is a good resource.

What Are the Warning Signs of Dementia or Alzheimer's?

By age 85, 35% of people show signs of dementia, a broad term used to describe symptoms that include impaired thinking and memory loss. Alzheimer's Disease, a progressive mental deterioration that affects 10% of people 65 and older, is one type of dementia. Here's what to look for:

  • sleep difficulty (trouble falling sleep, waking up often, and shifts in sleep cycles)
  • disorientation (forgetting where they are or what they're doing)
  • forgetfulness or memory loss (a little memory loss is normal, but when it starts getting dangerous, it's time to worry)
  • behavioral changes (has your parent become uncharacteristically anxious, depressed, irritable, confused, or fearful?)
  • disorganization (inability to complete normal tasks)
  • agitation (embarrassment, anger, or nervous excitement)
  • lack of concentration (does your parent seem easily distracted or have trouble focusing or following along?)
  • difficulty with complexity (perhaps they can no longer do math, follow complex conversations, read long books, or multitask)
  • loss of motor function (when your parent can no longer take a shower, drive, or cook)
  • impaired judgment (wearing the wrong clothes, making dangerous decisions)
  • paranoia (losing touch with reality: feeling persecuted, jealous, or fearful that others are out to get them)
  • hallucinations (seeing, feeling, hearing, tasting, or smelling things that don’t exist)
  • inappropriate or aggressive sexual behaviors (a sudden lack of inhibitions and boundaries)
  • cognitive decline (loss of memory, language, etc.)
  • apathy (withdrawal from society, loss of interest, flat emotions)

These signs may or may not be clues of the onset of dementia. They are not proof, they are just things to watch for and discuss with a doctor.

Questions & Answers

    Please read the comments below for more insight into this issue, and if you have any suggestions, include them here.

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      • profile image


        2 months ago

        my mom is going crazy she will not tell me when she is is going to the room or if shes leaving when she gets back she claims she told me so oh and really good article buy the way

      • profile image


        2 months ago


        THANK YOU

      • profile image


        5 months ago

        Really good article, thank you. But I have to mention the "white elephant in the middle of the room", because you are mixing up two different meanings. A 'white elephant' is something not needed, a piece of furniture or similar that is not wanted and is just taking up space. Whereas "the elephant in the room" is an obvious problem that nobody wants to talk about. I'm a septuagenarian and, although I don't think so, possibly both the white one and the one in the middle of the room


      • profile image


        8 months ago

        I have been reading these posts and its a comfort to know I'm not alone, however much I'm sad to hear about such tragic stories. My dad is 72 and used to be a great man, so talented, an artist in many fields and also a great father figure when was young and needed special social development. He is now however, not looking after himself since I have moved away. He doesn't eat well, smokes and drinks and has poor hygiene. Many times he asks for money which I'm happy to give, however this money tends to be for bank charges because he failed to pay his bills. I have tried setting him up with budgets in the past but he doesn't like it. If I give him a large amount of money in advance it will be spent on large purchases and he will be pennieless without a matter of weeks. Has anyone every thought of ordering a food shop once a week to ensure their food is sorted? Then he can spend all he wants and still have food at the end of the day. The only thing is it might be expensive, but if done efficiently, may be sustainable in the long run and contribute to his better nutrition. I can't think of anything else.

        Thanks for reading


      • profile image


        9 months ago


      • profile image


        10 months ago

        What do I do about my dad he is living in a home and in clutter and dirt and it's not the proper environment for a handicap accessible person I don't want to be the enemy of the bad guy but I know that my mom needs help she thinks she can handle all on her own but my dad really needs to help maybe you should hire a caregiver or maybe you should go in a retirement home I keep telling them but they don't like them they're in denial they are not living the way they're supposed to Mom has only 52 my dad is 61 I don't know what to do I need advice

      • profile image


        11 months ago

        What do I do about my moms boyfriend who is 20 yrs younger than she is.She is 71 yrs old and she doesn't want to admit he is taking advantage of her He never wants to work and she seems to never have any money for what she needs I pay her 3hundred dollars a month rent for a room .Plus I clean are family home that her and my dad bought for us kids if we ever needed a home to come back to my Dad has been deceased for almost 10yrs now her boyfriend moved in3yrs ago and since then my sister that is a little slow has lived here all her life has moved out 3months ago because of him and I moved back 10months ago can you give me some advice about this situation this boyfriend of hers does not do anything but eat sleep and drink beer I really do not know what she is thinking I feel this man needs to be doing his own laundry help with cooking and cleaning up after his self not for her to be cleaning up after him

      • profile image


        13 months ago

        Michelle, this kind of thing may be caused by a urine infection, its worth getting this investigated.

      • profile image


        14 months ago

        My father-in-law went from one day walking a mile, driving and being independent, to calling me to take him to the hospital and coming out not walking, not feeding himself, hallucinations. What the heck does altzheimer's or dementia come on this fast?

      • profile image


        16 months ago

        My mother had diabetes and COPD and did nothing to take care of her self maybe she tried the best that she could. she ended up dying two weeks ago from a blood clot in her long but we could see that there were issues long before this . Two weeks prior I asked my dad to take her to the emergency room and he refused . I'm feeling so guilty that I did not take her myself. i've tried for many years to get her to eat healthy and to quit smoking but she refused . I am feeling so much guilt over her death because I feel like I failed her. She did not know how to ask for what she needed. tried to have many conversations with my family about getting her help but no one was on board with me

      • profile image


        21 months ago

        Um, what if your parent has been like this since you can remember? Any differentiators then?

      • profile image


        4 years ago

        We have an 82 year old relative who has never married. He has always lives alone. He has a rental house next door that he rents to this addict and she os trying to take over his finances and also his life. He has been robbed by these thugs several times. And then they make threats and use scare tactics. How can we resolve this issue. And had him sign a power of attorney for his bank. Please help us help the elderly..

      • FlourishAnyway profile image


        5 years ago from USA

        This is a helpful resource. We are noticing with my grandmother that she is also more prone to being tricked by scammers. She willingly gives out credit card and personal information over the phone, sends people money if they request it, etc. I've suggested taking away her access to credit cards and a checking account but that is a tough one as far as independence goes. Good information.

      • Marye Audet profile imageAUTHOR

        Marye Audet 

        5 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

        I am not in control of the ads...

      • profile image

        Bekka White 

        5 years ago

        If a loved one is in a skilled nursing facility, where the abuse is not blatant, but rather subtle its impossible to make changes. Expressing concerns results in retaliation ( CA in the year 2013); the state slaps the NH's hand and the NH returns to their usual behavior. I contacted at least 10 attornies, spoke to a few, left messages for the others. The ones I spoke to could not help and the remaining others never returned calls. Why? I guess there is no money in it for them, except upon death if negligence can be proven.

        It is surreal that this occur at a record rate in nursing facilities that receive medicaid and medicare funds but it occurs.

        Things from not having water available for a resident to clasp. Didn't see one water pitcher. The pitchers are in the room but someone in a wheelchair would have to traverse themselves between the bed and wall and move the curtain to get to the water pitcher. The NH will claim they provide water because it is there next to the bed.....taking off a wet diaper then replacing it with a dry diaper, no wiping, cleansing, drying or barrier cream. Oh yes. Sometimes minimal cleaning during changes with the industrial strength paper towel?

        A mildly confused patient gets out of bed during the evening. She is crying and confused and scared. The charge nurse tells the CNA to change her diaper and put her back in bed. Even the patient said, "I don't need my diaper changed." No consoling or comforting (yet the facility claims, as many of them do, that they are specially trained for dementia. Why does everyone have to stay in bed at 9 p.m. if they are awake? Today the CNA, who is supposed to be properly training was feeding a resident. She had pocketed food in not one but both cheeks. It should have never gotten to that point. One is suppose to give a bite, watch that the food is chewed and swallowed then proceed to the next bite. Oh, and while her cheeks were full of food the CNA gave her something to drink...an aspiration disaster waiting to happen. And your ad advertises we can stop abuse. HA. If we can't stop what I have described which is poor care how the heck could anyone stop abuse? Your living in a dream world. Nice idea and nice video however.

      • profile image

        Mobile Spy Windows 

        5 years ago

        I’ve searched several sites and have yet to find a site that is as useful and informative as yours .

      • profile image


        6 years ago

        I am a 61 yr old man living at an apartment complex in my own apt., my 91 yr old wheelchair bound mother also lives in same complex by herself in studio apartment. I love her dearly and for the last 8-10 yrs I have been the one she phones all day long to go to store for her for grocery items, medications, etc., and I give her medications on a daily basis. My brother, (schizophrenic/drug addict), rents room at house in same town, has been at my mothers apartment from morning til night each and every day for years now, threatens to hurt me daily, eats all mom's food, uses all her money for drugs and cigarettes, verbally abuses her, controls her, disturbs tenants, threatens some, has restraining order against him now by our landlord and cannot come onto property, but still comes up street honking for me to go outside to give him money from mom. Now mom has been served eviction by our landlord, because of my disturbing brother and in hopes she will allow me to have her cared for in a skilled facility due to her inability to use her legs at all, and she has not been bathes in months.....I know I appear selfish when I say, "I want her last years on earth to be shared with other people (seniors) to spend time with and for her to get the care and attention she deserves as well as desperately needs." she wants to rent a room in a bording house where my "idiot brother" currently lives, but I don't know what I am to do to prevent her from doing so, because my brother will spend ALL HER MONEY THE SECOND SHE GETS HER SSECURITY CHECK AND SHE WILL NOT BE BATHED, FED, OR GIVEN MEDICATIONS LIVING WHERE HE IS AT. WHAT DO i DO?

      • profile image


        6 years ago

        What do you do though, when you know your parent needs help but they deny it, want to control you (make you live with them to do things their way even though you have a family) and won't take medication. In addition, the doctor allows the patient to control their own medical care or non-care. The spouse has severe dementia, they are dirty, they burn everything, one spouse quit driving but required the other one with dementia to drive even though they are legally blind, no longer has a license, does not insure the car and does not get the car licensed. We do not know what to do. It is our belief that they belong in a care facility, hopefully, together but one's behavior (not the one with dementia) is so aggressive that they keep being evicted even from an Independent Living Facility. We know that mental illness has always been an issue with our parent (bipolar and personality disorder) but all we have is a POA Healthcare Directive and POA for Finances. In addition, the bank has told us that a sibling is taking large amounts of money from our parent and our parent is screaming and acting bizarre at the bank (can't remember how to write a check). We don't know where to go from here and the doctor is non-responsive to our concerns to the point of telling us to leave them alone and allow the sibling that is taking the money to take the parent.

        We are working on Conservatorship but with a doctor that is unresponsive and down right rude and a parent that denies they have a problem and is abusive themselves, we can't get the evaluations needed for the Court process.

        This has been going on for almost a year now and the doctor just keeps taking $200 fees completing forms that say our parent is both incapable of taking care of themselves or finances and incompetent of taking care of themselves, all on one form. Help.

        Any suggestions?

      • profile image


        6 years ago


      • profile image


        6 years ago

        Well, frankly, some of these comments scare me! What about callous selfish adult children who just can't wait to get their nice old folks into a home and their hands on the money? It is shameful - I know of cases like that, and once institutionalised is it any wonder that the elderly parent then goes downhill? I've just seen a list of 10 criteria for putting your aged parent into a so-called care home - and I think each one point could be easily be re-written as "odd jobs" the son or daughter OUGHT to be attending to on behalf of their parents, out of kindess and respect - and human decency, towards the parents who once did so much for them. Here they are: 1. Cluttered house - needs tidying (so, why can't son/daughter give a hand, eh?) 2. unpaid bills (anyone know WHY?) 3. muddled household accounts and routines (is it really just the old who get like this?) 4. losing weight (presumably in an unhealthy way - so, why not invite poor old Mum & Dad round to dinner more often? why not spend more time with them and find out how theyr eally are?) 5. poor hygiene, not changing clothes or sheets very often - if at all. So? Whose business is that? Perhaps they are HAPPY in their comfy old clothes? perhaps they think YOUR garments and life-style is also "lacking"? 6. Empty cupboards, no food in fridge (well, maybe the old folks are less wasteful careful than you and just purchase what they need when they need it? 7. burnt dishes in the sink and lots of old washing-up to do (so what? lots of people live like that all their lives! Remember student days? Did anyone say they should all be institutionalized? And certain husbands?) 8. forgets appointments (don't we all? and who made the appointment? perhaps granny didn't WANT to go to the doctor again - to be given more pills that don't work or whatever!) 9. acts weird - almost parnoid - ringis you up vary late at night or very early (so? could it be that the parents are worrying about YOU? and a little more connection and kindess would help?) 10 signs of depression (hmmm, could it be lonelieness? anxiety that YOU are going to stick them in a "home"? Or sorrow about getting old and unfulfilled dreams - and feeling useless? Theny why not just LOVE them more???? reassure them, visit more often, do a few things rogether?

        Honestly, our UK culture is so sick and sad these days - the way parents and grandparents are often treated is horrible. OK, if they really do need to be in a care-home, make sure it suits them, that they are TRULY well cared-for - and still go to see them and so on. But first make sure that this is not just all about YOUR own selfishness! No wonder this topic is in the news. Our culture has gone all wrong. What has made me so mad today? My Mother's Day card just came - from a son who claims to care but visits once a year if we're lucky ... a son we have always chersihed .... well, I smiled at the writing on the envelope, it stirred happy memories (is he coming sometime soon I thought? if only for a day or two?) is it a nice photo-type card? Well, it showed a 50s style mother and adoring kiddies - and it said "Mother Dear, Remember on Mother's Day to always be very ncie to your children ....." and at the bottom ... "because one day they will be arranging your nursing home for you!"

      • profile image


        6 years ago

        my mother in law has dementia, my husband paid her bills, took her to her appointments he basically was at her beck and call since he is retired. recently on one of her very bad days she got a friend to take her to the lawyers and remove my husband as executor,she also had them take her to the bank and she removed him from all accounts claiming she was doing better and could handle matters herself...now her bills are backed up and he has access to nothing , what papers does he need to legally help her, we have no money for a lawyer...HELP

      • profile image


        6 years ago

        I don't think there is a place for judgmental commets on this forum. Unless you have been through caring for an elderly parent with dementia you can't possibly understand how much stress it creates. My heart goes out to all here.

        We went through this with my Mom for years and she died this week, due in part to her stubborn refusal of help. Even in the hospital they had trouble with her. Yes, she cared for me as an infant - but that would have been a joy for her. Caring for someone who is nasty and ungrateful and making your life hell is a totally different thing. Yes, I love her, no I did not want my life and health ruined by her.

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        6 years ago

        Wow! There are others in hell.thank you all for the cry,i neededthat,while talking to yall i got a call finally after more than 2 weeks from our visiting doctor I was about to call 911 now i will hold one more day to get her approval of hospital care

      • profile image


        6 years ago

        i have an elderly aunt who lives on her own in london uk.abot 2 and half hours away from me.she has just been discharged from hospital with 2 hernias leaky heart valves.unstable blood pressure;cellulitis and chronic diverticulitis. she has bad stomach pains and diarrahea and is struggling to cope on her own. i visit weekends and take her washing home;clean and shop for her but have to work during the week.she is refusing all health support as she does not want to go in a nursing home and wants to die at home. she is mentally very alert and has signed a disclaimer to say she refuses social support.this is very worrying tome as she then constantly calls me in pain not knowing what to do. she is clearly frightened. i am not in a financial position to pay for her care myself so what can i do? i can't just leave her to die on her own surely this is not humane. can anyone help please?

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        6 years ago

        My dad is 72 years old & is an alcoholic. He lives by himself & has been in & out of rehab facilities. He fell in October 2011 & fractured his him & was sent to a nursing home for rehabilitation. He was released in December & decides to start back up drinking the second week of this month. When he is sober he pretty much can take care of himself; although I would take him to the store & do his bills but other than that he took care of himself. When he's drinking, he don't eat & he don't take care of himself. I have a 8 month old baby so & have a full time job so I can't take care of all of us. I'm not sure what I can do. Can I get the state involved? We live in Georgia.

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        6 years ago

        HI-- Here is the situation I am in with my parents. My father who is 84 used to be a brilliant man but after having 2 strokes and heart surgery is confined to a bed and his chair all the time and does not think very clearly anymore. My mother is 82 and needs two new hips and repeats the same old stories over and over whenever I stop in. They both live in their home and say they will not leave. It is in the country. My 54 year old brother lives in the house and has not worked a day in his life and drives my mother to the store and doctors appointments. He is not normal and constantly engages in verbal fights with people he comes in contact with. I have another brother who lives in a house up the road from my parents which my parents own and pay for everything like the hydro heat ect. Both houses are paid for. The cost to run both houses is bleeding my parents dry. If I try to suggest to sell one or both houses and move into a nursing home my parents and my brothers all get upset at me. My brothers are thinking of their own interests and not my parents and I do not know what to do.

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        6 years ago

        My Day will be 90 in 3 days time. I am the sole care giver and can clearly see that he needs to be in a

        semi frail care retiremet home. He has money and can

        afford a good place. If he never left me anything I will

        be very happy as long as he gets the correct care.

        I work and he is alone all day which is not very safe

        for him. He will not go to a retirement home. How can I make him understand the consequences? He will never agree

        for someone to look after him during the day.

      • princesswithapen profile image


        6 years ago

        Caring for an aging parent has never gone out of vogue! Things like bills piling up and the house getting cluttered are some of the basic signs of aging and the need for attention, but they can go unnoticed easily. This post is a great read for those who have an aging parent.


      • profile image


        6 years ago

        my mom is early 70's and is paranoid and cannot get herself together what is worse, she let a new neighbor get away with damaging our house she has not done a thing about it since 2009. I am ready to just take off and leave her here the house is old and they damaged it further. It goes to me if she dies but I would have to sell the house for I also conveniently lost my job. I am very upset and very worried.

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        6 years ago

        I have read all sides and all sides are right..all sides are wrong. Yes, my parents raised me, loved me. No they weren't the best parents, always thought more of the son than the daughters but they did not hurt us. Luckily for them, they have been able to be on their own. About two years ago, I started noticing they were eating fast food..A LOT! I got them meals on wheels. Did it for a week, quit. I went over to fill out forms to get them into senior housing...all one floor.changed their minds. Now we are at a point where my mother meets the above criteria. No food in the house or expired food. Not cleaning, not cooking. We arrange for a lady to come three times a week. She came once and guess what, they don't want her anymore. My mother called me and my sisters last week stating they were hungry, had no food and we need to take turns bringing food. Here is what she doesn't get. We all work. She never did. She never worked yet she did not do for her parents what she asked of us. She says she doesn't remember saying it. But we feel they will be the happiest at home with us coming more and this woman coming. Yes we need to be patient with our parents but it is difficult when you know they still have enough mental facilities and they are being difficult. Yes, I think that one day this could be me. I can only hope that I will cooperate with my girls more than they have cooperated with me. I only want them to be safe and healthy and at home as long as they possibly can.

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        6 years ago

        Ugh my dad needs help but I'm at a loss. My husband and I moved into his house just after mom died. I was pregnant and Dad had lost 45 lbs in a month and a half and the place wasn't getting cleaned so he got mice and fruit flies. it's a bit over a year later and things are somewhat better Dad is in love with my baby but he still isn't cleaning or sleeping. I'm afraid when we move next week he might go downhill.

      • JIN1128 profile image


        6 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

        Great hub on this issue. I am 27, my mom is 56 and my dad is 57. I have a decent job in this economy, make enough money to support all three of us. The issue is that they are first generation immigrates with very poor English. My dad has not worked for the past 10 years because he said he does not like for work for Chinese employers here in the US. My mom had jobs over the years to earn us a very mininal living. She wants to quit working as well very soon. I will be supporting them for the rest of their lives. They have no savings, no property, nothing. My dad has gotten pretty comfortable at his lifestyle of not having to work and just relying completely on me for all financial needs. You see my stress is building each day as I think about this. I don't want to live with my parents anymore but have no choice. They ask me for help on everything, which is getting pretty annoying. I know I shouldn't be because they brought me to this great country. But I don't know if I will ever meet that special someone to escape my parents. At that point, I will have a good reason to not live with them anymore. I guess I shouldn't complain because my situation is not completely bad. But is it too early to retire at 47 (for my dad) and 56 (for my mom)? I know that is not possible in most cases but I guess it is good if you have somebody supporting you permanently.

      • profile image

        No name yet 

        6 years ago

        ...and not signed in as a member, but I'm elderly and still very mentally active, with a loving family I have nurtured and guided in their youth and adulthood... but I depend upon their returned care today. I love them deeply.

        But some people here, children of parents as we all are, seem to be unaware that they too will grow old. I remember thinking of 50 as 'one foot in the grave' - and when I reached that age I knew I wasn't. But I still wished I was 49! We will all grow old, no matter how much we may regret it.

        When you (the collective 'you') are old - and a 'burden' to your sons or daughters, will you wish for their care in love for you - or finally die alone, facing death unloved?


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        6 years ago

        My father is so very stubborn. Took him to 7 different stores looking for something he needs because he said they were all too expensive. They were all very close in price. He is very negative and just tolerates me cleaning his house, doing his laundry. I do dr. appts., picking up meds, everything I can due to his bad health. He seems sad when I am around, but lights up when his friends come around. I think he resents me taking control, but I have to take control, as his physical health is not good. I am becoming very depressed over this situation, as I am only doing what I think is necessary. He is worried about self-preservation at this point. I thought I would derive some type of satisfaction over being there for him, but he just takes it for granted and I feel like a fool. I try and leave him some responsibility, but he waits until the very last minute to do anything. He is completely content taking birdbaths, wearing dirty clothes, having a nasty house, etc. I feel stupid because his mind is very clear, but he is unwilling to do anything but take himself out to eat 3 times a day and watch tv. He has nothing good to say about anybody except for his close buddies. Everybody else is trash.

        I am in this thing alone and I am sick of it.

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        6 years ago

        My grandfathter is 78 years old. He has always been so strong. We live in a different state from him my whole life. The last 6 months his health has went down rapidly. I talked him to coming and staying with me and my husband. He stayed two months and started to feel better and decided he wanted to go back home. I couldn't just stop him. I ve tried being patient with him about everything. Since he has went back home he has been in the hospital 8 times. He is now in my state with us visiting and he had to be rushed back to the ER which he is now hospitalized. He has been mixing up his medications. He says when he gets out he is going back home. I don't know what to do, I just can't let him leave it will only get worse. What can I do? He is not willing to go into an assisted living home where is lives and he does not want to live with me, but he needs serious help.

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        6 years ago

        My father and mother split up long ago when I was a baby. When my father got sick it was me and a sister that took care of his business. He was always mild manner and never was rude to us to the point of disgusts. He died years later peaceful in his sleep and before that said he was always grateful for me and my sister for take caring of him and his business in an honest way. Now my mother is another story. What they should have included in that story is that the personalities of many elders when they were younger is still there as they get older. My mother never raised me and my sister it was other relatives who done that. She make everything about herself and years ago some of her relatives thought she needed to see a therapist. She accused all of them of trying to set her up in the psych ward and mind you it's years later and she did end up in hospital having to take medications for her mental disorder. Now when she take them, that nasty personality is still there. She is very vicious, devious, lies a lot something my father told me years ago and is why he left her. She was very abusive to him and us and anyone in her family as well as to friends. Every one of them cut her off they have nothing to do with her ever. She throw threats at me, almost twisted my wrist mind you not long ago that same wrist was injured in an accident which she knew about. I hated to say it but some people have bad spirits while there are other people with good spirits. I have elder neighbors who were older than my mother and really sweet. When a person lived life to the full, mixed with a lot of people, socializing, even doing quiz or games their brains stay active and they're less likely to be depressed, miserable even nasty. Those who are anti social, horrible and devious don't care who they hurts they're the ones who become the most dangerous to move in with or move in your home. You never know what they're up to especially when you're sleeping you have to do so with one eye shut. The hospital told my family that my mother can't live by herself mind you she accused them of trying to rob her of more money yet she's the one who put not just herself but neighbors' lives at risk. She didn't care and told me so whatever. I'm done with her so is my sister once she end up in the hospital again, they won't waste time selling her home to use the money for her care. If me and my sister wanted her money/home don't she think we would have got power of attorney and put her in a psychiatric hospital? The fact we put up with her for years and I'm not talking 3 or 5 I'm talking for 20 years speak volumes she don't care, appreciate what we done for her even out of our pocket so as far as both of us concerned, it's time to move on with our lives we're still young but burned out.

      • SFwrite2 profile image


        7 years ago

        Great Hub

        It is hard to see one's parent aging

        It is hard when you become the parent-I'm in this stage

        When my kids were little we always made visits to the assisted living homes where some people are just dropped and forgotten- that is extremely hard to take

        They loved visits especially little kids

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        7 years ago

        My father is 83. He has COPD and rhuematoid arthritis. He drives himself to eat out 2-3 times every day. He wears the same clothes for at least 4-5 days in a row.

        He sometimes does not shave for a week. I hauled his garbage off last week and the rear end of his truck felt like a carnival ride due to very low air pressure in tires. The only housework that gets done is what I do, and he doesn't think it's necessary. He gets irritated with me because I am not mechanically inclined and cannot make a lot of repairs he needs. Luckily, he has great neighbors who will do small things for him. But, it's not their responsibility, so you can see them try to get past his house without stopping. I feel very sorry for him. Mom left 30 years ago with my much younger sister and moved 3 states away. I know he has guilt issues over my sister. He never tried to see her as Mom took all the savings, and he knew child support would eat him alive. He had to start over financially after she left, as Mom cleaned him out. I think he feels bad about never seeing my sister grow up after the age of six years. So, he does not expect or ask anything of her. She visits app. 2x a year and seems concerned about how he's doing, but really does not help much. I am left to deal with his moods and his pain, while trying to keep him out of total filth and take him to dr. appts. I am thinking I may have to go stay with him some, as he seems depressed. I want to do the right thing. But, I am pretty much alone in this fight. I feel he resents my help and he has taken to ordering me around as to what needs to be done every time I go. If he can boss me around, then I suppose it seems like to him that he's still in control. I have never liked to be told what to do, so I just bite my tongue.

        There are many unintended consequenses of divorce, and this is a big one. He was a good father to me, but due to finances, I was left to my own devices at age 18. He was relieved to see me go off on my own, as there was not much he could or would help me with. I am at a loss, as he does not seem happy to have me helping him. God help a caregiver. None of us know what kind of help we might need in our later years. None of us want to think about it. As for me, I want to feel like I am of good character, but the resentment of being alone in this thing is huge.

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        7 years ago

        Im with an elderly man who is 70yrs old and has become very grumpy and mistrustful he is wealthy and thinks everyone wants a piece of hism oney and he is becoming mean and very jealous.i visited the forum as i wanted to find out on how to deal with his mood swings i have been with him for about 10years and im 40

      • lovelypaper profile image

        Renee S 

        7 years ago from Virginia

        This is such an important topic to discuss. We don't like to think about our parents becoming old but you have done an outstanding job explaining in detail what to look out for. God bless you.

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        7 years ago

        To sherrymandalay - thanks for being so honest it needs to be said. I too have gone through very rough periods with my parents and yes - you can ruin your own health in the process. I kept on flirting with ovarian cancer (i.e., complex cysts) and lost so much weight that I had problems - I never had any issues like this prior. I am currently concerned with how to handle my mothers issue - she had a stroke and can not speak and has reoccurring c-diff along with urinary tract infections and seizures. She is now in a nursing home but my father wants her to out of there. Not sure how we are going to proceed but you have to take breaks and you do have to live YOUR life :-).

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        7 years ago

        Aside from a parent who horribly abused you while growing-up; i.e.- sexually/rape, violence, I can't excuse any denial or compassion towards them during their old-age even if they can act like an old-fart from time to time, who wouldn't be grumpy, knowing their days are numbered their health is gone/going, spouse they were with forever has died, most of their friends are dead or moved/incapaciatated/changed, etc. Although I am very close to my parents in the same city, speak everyday on the phone, go by there once a week, I have decided to step-up my visits to a few times a week and to bring by a meal at those times although they act as if everything is fine, I can see changes, my dad will make comments about how they need to go to the store, mom barely cooks, mom's stomach growled when I was there sunday said she drank an ensure, I told her that wasn't solely enough, she said she didn't want to bother, napping a lot, although I'm a great daughter, loving etc. I read this and know that tomorrow I will bring breakfast to them, did this last week / mid-wk. before my 6 yr. old and I's normal sun. visit, they were so happy. I'm choking back tears to know my parents are truly 'there' elderly, my brothers (3) although loving have left me the single-working 2 jobs mom to go it alone. I make only about $24K a yr. 2 brothers make 6 figures havent' offered to by dad hearing aides (can't afford them, can barely hear!) and could also easily pay for a $80/wk (at the highest) maid. Should I ask? How do I not offend? Jeez, they should know.

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        7 years ago

        Thanks Mary for the article. My mom died a year ago and my Dad hasn't been the same since. He lives in another state and I am very worried but do not intend to give up my life to take care of him. I did that for many years prior to my mother's death when I lived in the same city as they did. I wore myself out trying to help them- reminding them of things they needed to do, cleaning the house, being company for them, etc. Now that my father is living alone, I am concerned. I am so far more fortunate than the other commenters; he can still drive himself, feed himself, etc. But the window on that seems to be slowly closing. I appreciate all of the comments here about what parents/relatives are putting them through. The ironic thing for me is that I used to volunteer to take the elderly to the doctor, shop for them, etc. I judged the children and relatives of the people I was assigned to see because I thought to myself, why does a person with grown relatives need someone to come and help them? Well, when I got to where the people lived, I learned why. The elderly person was almost always complaining, grumpy, argumentative, difficult, had bad habits like clove cigarettes (3 pack a day habit), was unkept, stinking and dirty, and on and on. I began to ask them if they had any family. Almost always they said yes, and more than half the time the people lived in town, but just couldn't take their elderly relative's attitude/habits, etc. My father is a retired cop. He's been the guy in charge, the go-to man in his family, etc. Now he is a shadow of his former self and it really kills me that I (along with a sister and brother who have basically written him off except when they need money) will most likely have to begin to make decisions for him in the coming years (months?- God forbid). I will be praying for everyone here who left a comment, including myself tonight. The truth is we're all between a rock and a hard place, and no decision you make either way is going to give you peace. The only advice I can give is what I learned from taking care of my parents when I lived in the same city: You can ruin your own health by looking after the health of others. Put yourself first before it is too late. In the end we are talking about people who have lived their lives versus people who still have their life/lives yet to be lived fully. If you sacrifice your own happiness and health to care for an elderly parent or relative, you may end up bitter and alone. Do what you have to do for you, explain it to them once, and if they don't understand, they just don't understand. You have to go out and live YOUR life. No apologies necessary.

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        7 years ago

        My father is 94 years old, has macular degeneration, divertilitus, osteo arthritus. He lives in a semi detached home. My sister and I visit once a week and take it in turnes to visit twice. Since I retired last year my husband 6 years older than me - has suffered quincey in throat, stroke and benign tumour removed and hernias in stomach where major operation had operation. All this has happened since last November until now. My father has had several falls and we have arranged for carers to come every day and except the afternoons we go. My father now gets up earlier in the morning to have his breakfast before carers arrive and cooks his tea before the carers come in the evening. He doesn't want them to do anything but we have privately organised this in case he falls. He has a careline and has only just put this around his neck. I feel tired of going every week because of my husband conditions. My father wont go into a home. My daughter moved to cornwall with her partner and children (5 and 9). My son has not married or met anyone he is now 35. I feel life is not as happy as it was and will never be. I dont know how long it will carry on like this for. I am a carer twice over and have not had a holiday since March 2010.

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        7 years ago

        Be consistent and never ever give up on them! It has taken me three years to get my father from having no interest in anything, deeply in debt, depressed, resentful, mean and all the rest, to - Taking an interest in life again. He now has no debts is eating, has given up smoking and drinking (was alcoholic) and is no longer resentful. Try reading "The Tibetan book of Living and Dying" by Sogyal Rinpoche, it helped me to learn how to bring up awkward subjects. Dad just celebrated his 80th and we shared a bottle of wine and I cooked him a meal. He lives on his own and wont go to the doctor. Basically its his choice and thats what I tell him. Just be patient and compassionate, often after their partner passes away elderly have to go through the grieving process, which causes a lot of symptoms. Do what you can, don't worry about what you cant and seek support from health dept or talk to a nurse. Hope this helps some people.

      • gmwilliams profile image

        Grace Marguerite Williams 

        7 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

        Great hub. However, if your parents are beyond help, please place them in a nursing home. However, before you do so, put the finances in order and put all of the finances in your or a next of kin's name. Nursing homes are not bad at all and provide the 24/7 care that an elderly parent needs. That is what nursing homes are for.

      • profile image

        i love my parents unconditionally!!!! 

        7 years ago

        I am very horrified at the heartless comments made on here about your flesh and blood. You are doing nothing but complaining about your parents inconvienancing you?? really?? did you not think that raising you was a blessing..you will get your paybacks for the thoughtless comments you have made...and charging them rent??? how pathetic and selfish you are...and the answer is Yes i have done this job and was blessed to not have to put them in a nursing home cause I know the sacrifices my parents made to give me life and a good one..can't you at least have the compassion to give them a good ending to theirs??? God Bless those living with the nightmares you are and May God protect them from you too...

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        7 years ago

        What do I do with a 82 year old father who won't goto a nursing home? He cannot clean, eats tv meals, cannot clean but he can still shower/dress himself and even run a part time business as a hobby..I am newly married and my partner is not as quite compassionate to my father as I am...we have had arguments many a time and is putting the stress on our relationship.. My father does not want to go into care until extremely necessary (probably when he becomes incontinent) . I have grown up with only my father and now my partner comes along and wants to move out with myself...I am stuck between a rock and a hard place with no help from anyone. I don't think I should have these sort of issues at 28 years of age

      • mojefballa profile image

        Ikeji Chinweuba 

        7 years ago from Nigeria

        Good and great information been shared with us in here by Marye.Nice information and i also think or suggest that all child needs this early parents help.

      • Sylvia Page profile image

        Sylvia Page 

        7 years ago from Malabe

        Hello Marye, Congrats on a great Hub! What an eye opener and I certainly recommend that every child reads this.

        best to you,


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        7 years ago

        I quit my job 4 months ago to take care of a good family friend who has no family. He helped my mom when she was pregnant with me back in the 70's. They never had a "relationship" per say bc he is over 20+ years older than her. He has always been there for me though I know he is not my dad. I have a 5 year old and a spouse and like you guys my "uncle" is very demanding. He has 5 loans and I finally asked the bank to do a stop payment for the ones that get auto drafted because the rent money is getting used to pay his loans. His loans total 900 a month and his social security is 1200 a month! He is very opinionated when it comes to the "population explosion" crisis and told me again today that I had no business having another child. I never discussed it with him but he must have seen the test in the restroom wastebasket. He proceeded to tell me how I cant afford another child and I told him it was none of his business if I did! Im very frustrated but the man literally has nobody. Up until last year at 80 he was working night shift for a security company and has been vegetarian for over 20 years. He had an altercation with someone at work and ended up suffering a heart attack and had to have emergency quad bypass after learning that he has heart disease. His heart is healing fine but now he has a hernia and has to be cleared by having a colonoscopy before they do the hernia surgery. The other thing is that he never had the carotid surgery normally done with heart surgery bc his was an emergency so there is a good chance that he still has to have that done as well. Im 34!!! I have a life too and I know all too well about having to find money to pay for copayments, gas, and basic living expenses. We are behind on the mortgage and suffering big time =(

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        7 years ago

        I know how all you are feeling. I too made the worst mistake of my life. Moved in with my mom a year ago. Soon after she was diagnosed with dementia. I am at my wits end with this living arrangement. However I can not convince her to move to an assisted living. So what am I suppose to do?? She has me waiting on her hand and foot. Im exausted. Single mom of 9 year old and also have scolosis of the spine. Does anyone out there have any tipps? My life is going down the toliet. No one should judge others for things they have no real experience with.what a nitemare your parents can bring. I have compassion but im humantoo and would like a life of my own before its over with.

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        7 years ago

        Don't worry Leah. My husband and I have his mother living with us and it is putting such a strain on the relationship! Your other is so much like her! She has become so nasty and bitter that no one else will care for her. I end up feeling guilty because of the resentment I have towards her. Over our anniversary weekend (last weekend) I got to spend it taking her cat to an animal hostital because she decided to give it loeazepam (ativan) because it seemed nervous! the poor cat almost dies. She doesn't care who she inconveniences. We have to pay all her bills and pay for her medication (which she overuses all the time, to the point where we have to monitor it but that doesn't matter because she just gets more and pops ativan allday then lies about it as she is tumbling about and can't even talk) because she is unable to manage her own finances. She spends her monthly checks on pointless things or buys multiple o the same item (like 12 canisters of powdered creamer the other day..) She overdoses herself on her medication as i was saying before. She gets so wasted that she falls and hurts herself. I am just at my wits end! I feel it is time now for a home because now she is a danger to herself and hurting others (like the cat) and because of our work schedules and the fact that no one else will deal with her we just can't keep up. It's something new every day. Sometimes I don't even want to come home from work because I just know I will be walking into SOMETHING.

      • profile image

        Sheila Smith 

        7 years ago

        Delilah, Have you lived through what Leah is going through?

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        7 years ago

        Hey Leah, did your mother not give birth to you, feed you, put clothes on you, etc?

        She's old. Her cognitive function is deteriorating. She is basically turning into a child (as the hub says).

        Did she charge you for rent, food, clothing when you were a child? Do you charge your own children that?

        Well I don't know your situation or your past relationship with your parents. And maybe I am too traditional in thinking that one's elderly parents deserve respect from their children no matter how nasty they are. But anyway... just saying.

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        7 years ago

        My mother who is 85 lives with us in our home. She bullies to get her own way and what she wants and does not care about inconveniencing others. I made a huge mistake by undercharging her in her monthly rent and she is now stating that she has paid the rent two months in advance (not true). I have found paperwork from the govt. care agency that states she is not competent to make a decision to go into a long-term care facility. She hid this from me and threw away the covering letter so I have no idea when this arrived. I caught her eavesdropping yet again this morning when my husband and I were having a private discussion downstairs. Of course she lied and said she was looking for something in the hall cabinet. Meanwhile she is getting 3 squares a day (gourmet food cooked by me), free cable, free newspaper, mail delivery and laundry. She feels that her payment of rent to us entitles her to inject her opinion into everything that myself, husband or children do or say and if she isn't involved in or informed about everything that goes on in the house, she becomes very nasty and sarcastic. I have one brother who lives out of town who has practically no input into her situation and doesn't pay a penny yet who will be the first one at the lawyer's office to make sure he gets his equal share once she's gone. I regret ever having brought her here but her family dr. and the one at her last hospitalization due to congestive heart failure both said she could no longer live alone in her town. All the signs were there:- incorrect taking of medication,self-medication with pills and alcohol, on-purpose dehydration so she could sit in the hospital for three weeks and be waited on, spoiled food and a filthy apartment and clothing, repeating etc. My life has become a living hell because of this situation and we may have to give up our own home or declare bankruptcy because of her. I urge all of you to think twice before taking in a parent of this age!! The only reason she is here is because she WON'T PAY to go to a seniors' home!

        In my effort to do the right thing and be a good daughter I took her in but now I'm paying a huge price for it!!

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        7 years ago

        i have had to move my mother into my home because of her normal pressure hydrosphillis and she is also bipolar ,she was very sick when i had to go get her and i finally got the drs to replace her shunt ,she is better now but this can happen again at any time,the drs said she has dementia so with my brothers agreement i sold her place in fla. and renovated our home to accomadate her,now she thinks she is cured and wants to move back to fla,she is making my life misserable,she threatens me every day,my brother and i were left in charge of her when she was so sick she couldn't even use the bathroom ,i took care of her with a bad back and put off my surgery to make sure she got all the care she needed by the time i had my surgery my back was twice as bad and still dont know if i will ever be well enough to go back to work,she is like a big kid and wants to control everyone and leaves hateful notes all over my house my husband is completely disabled and we are waiting for s.s.d. it could be awhile,i dont know what to do,mom is threating to pt a lean on our home ,and she wants us to sell everything we own so she can move back to fla, she just doesent get that she is not cappable to take care of herself,what should i do?

      • Treasuresofheaven profile image

        Sima Ballinger 

        7 years ago from Michigan

        Hi Marye,glad you shared this piece. My family is going thru this now, and we are sharing responsibility for my mom. People need to know this.

      • profile image


        8 years ago

        Great hub, thanks

      • Storytellersrus profile image


        8 years ago from Stepping past clutter

        Marye, (I wanted to watch the Help for the Caregiver movie but it is no longer available.)

        I think this is an excellent hub. I am hiring a cleaning service today, as it happens. The caution Dana expressed makes me realize I need to have my brother who lives nearby check them out.

        I live too far away to help. I wish I lived closer now. My rebellious drive for independence has long passed and I regret my need to move far away, but what is done is done. Thanks for all these alerts and for sharing this information with us.

      • mulberry1 profile image

        Christine Mulberry 

        8 years ago

        This is a wonderful resource!

      • profile image


        8 years ago

        My Aunt who is 85, lives alone, no children but my sisters are and I all live close and have always been very close to her and have always taken care of her. She all of a sudden is saying someone is coming into her house and straightening up things, she has always been the neatest person i know she has always kept her things in order she walks around the house showing me things that she said she didn't do. I know she did them but she swears someone is coming into the house and cleaning it up .... i am at a loss, she gets very upset when i tell her she has always been neat and i'm sure she just doesn't remember doing these things. She said she found a pair of glasses and that someone put them there, (they were my uncles glasses he passed away 17 years ago) we had to change all her locks on the house she said that made her feel better but the very next morning she says they are coming in through the basement window. This behavior is so unlike her.

      • profile image


        8 years ago

        ty for the info i was very credible and heled in a few ways.

      • CareGiverPartners profile image


        8 years ago from National

        Watching for little changes in things that define our loved ones is an excellent way to watch for problems arising. Excellent hub.

      • profile image


        8 years ago

        I have a question about my mother-in-law.She owns a home in another state from where me and my husband lives and refuse to sale the house and come live with us. She is 89 and need help bad. we are now taking control of the situation because she has to come live with us or a nursing home. But we are trying to get her to give my husband power of attorney but she thinks that it is a scam. How can you help us with this and will she lose the house or can my husband sale it? Please HELP!

      • Ponderous profile image


        8 years ago from Missouri

        Good information as long as it is taken in context. What has always been normal for them may look a lot like the problems you list! Then what? It may be something other than aging, though it still needs to be checked out.

      • profile image

        Christina D 

        8 years ago

        This is good information. I hope I will be able to recognize the signs when my parents need help since I live so far away from them.

      • starme77 profile image


        8 years ago

        A Very Nice Hubb - Well spoken

      • profile image


        9 years ago

        My mom stopped working in nov of 2008. Since then she has become forgetful. We made a doctors appointment and another to see a lawyer for information on wills etc.. She forgot about both, and yelled at me and my sister, because she said we never discussed any of this with her. Unfortunately, she is really forgetting. How can I help her? I have taken so much time off from work because I need to take care of her now. She has a sister I believe is taking advantage of her also. No real proof. I do know she will not come around when I visit my mom. Any advise you can offer to help me help my mom would be so appreciated. I wouldn't be able to thank you enough. Thank you for taking the time.

      • chioggiabeetroot profile image


        9 years ago

        This is so helpful! Thanks!

      • Sue St. Clair profile image

        Sue St. Clair 

        10 years ago from I would rather be in Paris

        Good hub. I enjoyed the information.

      • Marye Audet profile imageAUTHOR

        Marye Audet 

        10 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

        Dana- the bet thing you can do is to contact a lawyer that specializes in wills and estate law.

      • profile image


        10 years ago

        Help My father died 2 years ago since than my mom has changed the will she and my dad had together leaving every thing to me after knowing her housekeeper for 5 months my mom has changed her will leaving this lady everything.

        My mom has gotten rid of family photos, tools of my dads who he wanted them to go to my kids. Im not a greedy person but i do want my moms personal affairs taken care of and what my dad and her worked so hard for not to be handed over to someone she has known for 5 months to get everything.

      • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

        Zsuzsy Bee 

        10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

        Marye! Very nice hub filled with compassion. Definitely one of your greatest.

        regards Zsuzsy

      • Marye Audet profile imageAUTHOR

        Marye Audet 

        10 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

        Guru- sorry I missed your comment! Thank you.

        WT & RD- Thank you. I miss my parents terribly but am glad I had the opportunity to care for them

      • Ralph Deeds profile image

        Ralph Deeds 

        10 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

        Yes, it was.

      • William F. Torpey profile image

        William F Torpey 

        10 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

        Well done.

      • Guru-C profile image

        Cory Zacharia 

        10 years ago

        Thank you for this important and compassionate guide.

      • Marye Audet profile imageAUTHOR

        Marye Audet 

        10 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

        That is a great one Vickey! True. I had forgotten about that.

      • VickeyK profile image


        10 years ago

        Great hub! I went through this with parents who refused to acknowledge they needed help--they felt their dignity and independence were questioned, so it becomes very difficult to get information.

        I would add one other warning sign. Listen for any hint of driving problems. An anecdote or complaint about the "rude woman" who yelled at them as they were driving by, etc.

        As we age, our reactions get slower and we don't drive as well--but we don't realize the danger that creates.


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