I’m 41 and my mother is 68. She has always struggled with depression. Housing is extremely expensive where I live. 25 years ago my mom left my dad in a situation that was because of her mental illness. We lost our home and since then we went from one rat infested dump to another because of eviction. She stopped working at that time because of her illness and hasn’t worked since. It was as always a dream that maybe one day I’d buy a house with a suite for her. Once I was an adult I had my own places but she always followed close and I have always helped take care of her on some level. Usually financially and when she was in the hospital etc. literally everything she owns I have paid for that isn’t rent or bills etc.
I was finally able to realize the dream of buying a house and getting her out of the terrible social housing she was in last year. The place literally had a hospice on the floor above her and bodies were removed often. Originally I was looking to live just with my partner but she told me she was sad I was leaving, that she was afraid she would die in that apartment, etc. I’ve never found my mom difficult to live with before and thought it would be an amazing thing to do if I purchased the large house with a suite for her. I ended up buying a house $150,000 over what I originally wanted so that I could have her.
It’s a beautiful large suite with a garden and I thought she would be grateful and happy. As soon as she moved in though it was exactly the opposite of what I expected. She complained about every detail including the cupboards, the colour of paint, called it disgusting and would not stop vaping inside no matter how much I asked nicely. One day she was just standing in her kitchen and started vaping in front of me. I had enough and told her that it needed to stop. Well she never stopped, but instead started creating conflict saying we couldn’t park in the driveway because she’d get carbon monoxide poisoning. Her bad attitude continued to escalate to the point where every day she would call me with a complaint like her hot water would go cold if she used it and I must be doing it on purpose, her Wi-Fi was weak in areas so I must be doing that, she accused me and my partner of going into her suite when she wasn’t home, apparently we were sneaking out at night to unplug her heated birdfeeder, once she even accused me of setting off her smoke detector when she was on a phone call (ours upstairs did not go off). I had electricians, plumbers, cable guys all come to prove these things were because of other issues and paid to fix them (we have separate water tanks and I replaced hers for example). At first it seemed like she was just being mean and my partner eventually snapped on her which made everything much worse. I tried everything to solve this but she just would not stop. It was a daily thing and I work at home. Eventually one day she was screaming up the stairs because my partner parked too far on her side of the driveway (literally inches and she doesn’t have a car) and was saying he did it on purpose. This was going on for 9 months and I said okay that’s enough, I’m moving you back home. My mom has very little income so I was in a very tough position. It cost me $10,000 to move her back long distance and pay all of the deposits etc. that she needed to rent a place. She couldn’t afford anything so I’ve been paying $550 a month toward her rent but it leaves me with no extra money. She has disowned me multiple times over these months, told me I made her homeless, many horrible things, that I’ll regret choosing my partner over her (convinced he was the mastermind behind the issues). She has nobody except my sister who doesn’t care to be bothered and my uncle who thinks I need to call her Dr and inform him. I’m torn because she already hates me and if she finds out she will be furious. If I don’t then she’s alone and I think maybe something can be done? Any insight is really appreciated :( is it dementia?
And people saying you can do this you can do that. No you can't, because even if you make an appt for her doctor, even if you find her a list a resources, she has to be willing to go to the doctor and willing to use the resources. She has a mental illness. She has to want to get help. The best u can do is call APS in her area and have them do a Well check. Let the State take over her care. You can't help someone who won't help themselves.
My Mantra...I am here to help people find away, not be the way.
Pointing Mom in the direction of her Doctor would be a good starting place. For a 'checkup'. Go along with her if possible/if she let's you. Explain to Mom & the Doctor why you are concerned. A full needs assessment may be needed, rule out possible reasons for behaviour, adjust medications etc.
68 is both young & old - very young to be living in assisted living but old enough for aged care services.
It does not sound like Mom will be able to live independently, but maybe with the right support services could try? Or some type of group housing with assistance may suit better?
Mom may need a referral to social worker to assist helping find suitable accommodation to meet her specific needs.
You can’t make her happy. Stop trying, you will always fail. If you want to keep in contact, make it easy for yourself. Send her cards in the snail mail, phone and ‘have to go’ if she starts complaining. Ignore the melt-downs. Do what you need to live up to your own values, but forget about solving her problems, spending your money on it, and trying to turn her into someone different from how she has lived for so many years. Whether or not it's dementia makes no difference either way.
In the meantime, I do think it's a wise idea to let mom's doctor know about what's going on with her. Who cares if she's furious? She's ALREADY furious and 'disowning' you left & right, and saying horrible things, so just add this to her list of complaints. If your mom does suffer from dementia, then she should likely NOT be living alone but have caregivers helping her or get placed in managed care with Medicaid footing the bill. Getting her into such a care facility would also let you off the hook for $550 a month in paying her rent, which sounds like a huge burden to me.
In any event, something is wrong, it sounds like, so why not get the ball rolling with her physician to find out what? You are trying to be a good daughter by helping the woman, and in my book, that's a good thing.
I hope you can make some headway with mom's M.D. and get an answer as to what's going on with her.
Best of luck.