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Elerly mother neglecting herself and refusing support

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My mother lives along in a flat and neglects herself – home dirty, no personal hygiene, dehydrated, eats moldy food as doesn’t want to waste it. She has lost a lot of weight, retches, has had a couple of falls and hurt herself with boiling water when trying to fill a hot water bottle. Is soon having medical tests as doctor did an ECG and discovered she must have had a heart attack (but she denies this). I live the other side of the world and my two siblings who live close to her cannot cope – they have their own other significant challenges to deal with. We knew she would resist going into a home and so my siblings recently suggested she get some home help. She refused and became angry and agitated and my siblings were devastated and at a loss at what to do next. I know someone will suggest social services but I gather they push back care needs onto the family – and my siblings absolutely cannot take this on. She makes poor judgements and forgets/denies things that have happened. I suspect dementia of some kind. What are our options? Could a privately arranged Psychologist assess her needs and have a careful conversation with her to discover her underlying objections? But we would not get her consent for such a referral. We all feel so desperate and at our wits end.


  • My mother lives along in a flat and neglects herself – home dirty, no personal hygiene, dehydrated, eats moldy food as doesn’t want to waste it. She has lost a lot of weight, retches, has had a couple of falls and hurt herself with boiling water when trying to fill a hot water bottle. Is soon having medical tests as doctor did an ECG and discovered she must have had a heart attack (but she denies this). I live the other side of the world and my two siblings who live close to her cannot cope – they have their own other significant challenges to deal with. We knew she would resist going into a home and so my siblings recently suggested she get some home help. She refused and became angry and agitated and my siblings were devastated and at a loss at what to do next. I know someone will suggest social services but I gather they push back care needs onto the family – and my siblings absolutely cannot take this on. She makes poor judgements and forgets/denies things that have happened. I suspect dementia of some kind. What are our options? Could a privately arranged Psychologist assess her needs and have a careful conversation with her to discover her underlying objections? But we would not get her consent for such a referral. We all feel so desperate and at our wits end.

    So sorry to hear this. It sounds as if your Mum is a potential danger to herself, as well as being unwell – so social services should take action once contacted. They should only push back if the care that she needs needs to be funded by the family – depending on your Mums financial status.

    I think firstly you should talk to your Mum’s Doctor. They should be able to mobilise the initial resources needed via community care/district nurse. Your Mum might be really frightened particularly perhaps if she has some kind of Dementia – which may also be contirbuting to her anger over suggestions of care. There are organisations that can give you a private assessment – local private care agencies should be able to help with this. Good luck.

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