I had to move my mom to live with me several states away because she was no longer caring for herself or her apartment. It was infested with bedbugs among other pests and filthy. I was originally going to find her a place in senior housing, but now it looks like she needs assisted living because she can't even seem to take her medications correctly without help. She is very low income, and so far I've been unable to locate any places near me. As a result, she's living with me and I'm doing my best. She shares a bathroom with my college-age son and he noticed she was not washing her hands at all. I bought special soap that she picked out, and two days later it was still in the box. We started reminding her every time she leaves the bathroom (which is frequent because she has bladder issues), and now is becoming aggressive and angry when we ask her to wash. Yesterday she would go into the bathroom and turn the water on full blast the entire time she was in there, and mumbled about what she should do in retaliation. I was shocked and upset and asked her to please not run the water like that. She shouted at me to shut up and stop harassing her. I have not lived with my mother since I was 11 because she's mentally not all there. She was never diagnosed or treated, but she has the mentality of a child and the attitude of a teenager. My peaceful home has become an unwelcoming war zone and I have no idea what to do.

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I am sorry to say that what to do is get her out of there.

She was mentally ill back when you were 11 and she still is. This is Not Your Fault. It is Not Her Fault, either, dear lady, but that does not magically enable you to care for her in your home.

It does sound like she needs a level of care beyond independent living. Perhaps you should start by having a needs assessment done. Ask about this at your Area Agency on Aging, and/or your county's Human Services Department.

The agency that does a needs assessment will also have suggestions as to how those needs can be met.

There are some ways you might try to enact a cease fire in the hygiene war zone. But that would be the tip of the iceberg. I'm sure that you were not separated from your mother because of her poor hygiene when you were a child. There are deeper issues here.

I certainly don't suggest abandoning your mother. She deserves compassion and not punishment. And the most compassionate thing you can do is find her the appropriate level of care.
Helpful Answer (37)

Caregiving is difficult enough, but when it’s forced upon us, we are down 2 strikes before we even come up to bat. All past transgressions come right to the forefront. None of us is an expert in caring for a demented or mentally ill person. We do the best we can and somehow it’s never enough.

Hindsight is always 20/20. Ideally, you would have called Adult Protective Services in your mother’s former city and had her removed from her residence and placed in a facility befitting someone with her issues.

Take Jeanne’s advice and call for help. In the meantime, get some hand sanitizer for the bathroom and have her use that. It’s better than nothing. Explore Medicaid and apply for it. Then research facilities in your area for placement. This will only get worse and worse.
Helpful Answer (22)

I had a similar experience, but APS called me first. I had a hard time believing she was any different than when I'd left, but they kept calling and we did bring her home - to Memory Care (private pay).

My suggestion is this: if it has not been 30 days and you have not gotten her a new state issued id card, I'd call APS back and ask them to help place her in a situation there and that she needs a state appointed guardian since she will be living there. Act like this visit was temporary all along, and that you are taking her back "home" now. And DO IT, even if you have to go to an ER to have her evaluated for bedbugs and mental illness. Give her old address on intake, but that she is now homeless and that you lack any legal power over her.

I understand the difficulty of "turning care over to them without a thought." You were removed at 11- that did not take "no thought." That was a rational decision and very well thought out. Your mom needs more care than you can provide, she's paid taxes in her other state for many years, and that is where her contacts (I hesitate to say friends) are. My suggestion is to have her installed in a mental health facility there. If you can get her into the ER, you must be strong and insist on a mental health and dementia eval because she is homeless and you care about her. Do not sign for her discharge. Much on this forum about that aspect.
Helpful Answer (18)

You know, Judy, it’s ok to tell your mom not to talk to your son like that. Don’t use an angry voice, but a firm one. My mom had a nasty habit when I visited her of talking about nothing but sex. Yeah. My mom the World’s Biggest Prude. I used to want to shower when I got home. I finally told her, “Mom, be a lady. Ladies don’t talk like that!” She gave me a shocked look and after that, she toned it down. I reminded her to be a lady whenever the talk got out of hand. If nothing else, your son will admire you for standing up for him.

Keep on the Agency on Aging. If you don’t hear back by tomorrow, call again. Good luck and let us know.
Helpful Answer (15)

try not to take her bad mouthing personally. I know its hard especially if she been like that forever. (not saying its easy)
my mom gets mad at me too, increasingly so. but I try and not let it bother me too much.
im not sure if youre saying she shows signs of dementia also?

ive read there is (or already is) a tsunami coming for you, like a lot of us are in the tsunami.

**keep calling resources for help and maybe one call will lead to another.. until you find the help you need. **

its easy to be "shocked and upset"

it may sound bad. but I have to be sneaky when it comes to my mom (in AL) cause even with AL she can still be ornery. I do have to try not to embarrass her. like I caught her washing paper plates that belonged in the trash. sometimes just let them do their "thing" then correct it later when their not looking
Helpful Answer (13)

My suggestion to you is to apply for Medicaid. I think incomes less than 9k and over 65 would qualify, but do your research. After approval research nursing homes and then apply for her. If you don’t have health or financial POA’s and she won’t give you that authority then....if she becomes ill and needs hospitalization (must be admitted for 3 days not including 1st day in emergency room in NY) speak to the hospital social worker, let them know you can no longer provide care and have her discharged to a Nursing Home. If they try to discharge her to you anyway Do Not Sign Those Discharge Papers under the “UNSAFE DISCHARGE” clause. Take Your Life Back My Love Or This Can Run You Into The Ground. I have seen this happen to a couple of people that were dear to me and I’m dodging it myself. It’s not easy, just take things slow and wishing you the best.
Helpful Answer (9)

Thank you all for the heartfelt advice. Ironically, I did receive a phone call from Adult Protective Services in her former state today actually, and it looks like they would have acted had I not stepped in. Even though this is incredibly difficult, I don't know that I could've just turned her care over to them without a thought.

She does show the signs of early dementia, and I do think that is making the situation worse. I also reached out to the area agency on aging and have not yet heard back, but am hopeful that they can provide resources. I already signed her up for state Medicaid, and they gave her a tiny bit of food assistance as well, but when I asked about housing, was told there was nothing in the area for low-income seniors in need of assisted living. Hopefully this other agency will have some resources.

If it were just me, I would not care what she said. She's never been "nice" and often verbally abusive and I've chalked it up to her mental state, but she is lashing out quite violently to my son, who has done nothing but help, and that's not okay. I guess the Mama Bear comes out in me even though he is technically a grown man. I'm also afraid she will harm my animals when no one is around. Thanks again -

Helpful Answer (8)

My Mom is getting older and doesnt wash her hands much these days. I just use a non alchol hand sanitizer when she leaves the bathroom . You could try a pump too . Least til things get settled out
Helpful Answer (8)

If she’s very low income then you’ll have no trouble getting her on Medicaid & placed into SNF’s not like you have to pay thousands of dollars to an Elder law attorney to get her on Medicaid w audits of last 5 years of all her bank accounts since she probably has none...& you probably didn’t have joint accounts w her had no relationship w her before so it’s not going to upset either one of you if you live apart from each other...& grandson not close to her either. You can visit once a month...and this will probably suit both of you fine. Get her to hospital for probable UTI & Social Worker there will help place her...goodbye problems.
Helpful Answer (8)

Sounds like you need to take her to the doctor and get her some proper treatment for her behavior. I took my step dad off of his and I regret that now. His meanness has escalated to the point of heartbreak for me. Going to get him back to the doctor. Maybe you should try for getting her on medication.
Helpful Answer (6)

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