For the past 2 years my mom has believed these things. It started with her thinking they were cutting trees, then bushes, then digging up plants, then driving in the yard, then adding cameras in the woods to watch our house, then shining lights through her window at night, then breaking in and putting cameras in her tv, smoke detector, lamps, microwave, the ceiling fan in the bathroom. She thinks she knows who these people are and has confronted them multiple times, to which they deny. I’ve spoken with them and I believe them, I apologize, and I tell them to call me if anything happens. My mom will call the cops sometimes hoping to get justice, but the cops don’t do anything and ask me if she’s okay. she keeps claiming she isn’t crazy, it’s happening, and I see it but I’m also “out to get her” by denying it.

I dont have person rep to talk to her doctors about this. I’ve talked to the department of aging, they just say how awful it sounds. I’ve tried to talk to my mom to find deeper issues, I’ve told her it’s not happening, I’ve tried to play along, I’ve tried to ignore it, but nothing helps. She stares outside and checks the trees everyday. In her bedroom, her window is covered my numerous blankets and sheets to keep light from coming in. Every mirror, tv, shining object in her room is covered by blankets, sheets, and jackets because she thinks there’s cameras. I had To buy her a new tv because she took apart her old one because she claimed there was a camera. Two weeks later the new one had one as well. She walks around the house and has fits of rage and screams curse words when she thinks she finds new problems. Our smoke detector is covered in tape. Our bathroom window is covered in 2 sheets and one shower curtains. She’s nailed the bathroom window and her bedroom window shut.

I’m 21 and I’ve been taking care of my mom since I was 13 when she had a stroke. Up until 2 years ago I was working full time and I’ve since quit that job, to be home with her full time because of her outbursts. When I’m not home, they’re worse. When I’m home, it’s better, but still bad. She’s claimed to see people in the yard (she names them) and that they’re running around laughing and cutting things. She claims to see tire tracks in the grass and says people are driving in our yard. She claims the house in our house (I’ve lived here since I was born and they’ve always been there) have been newly drilled.

I cant Talk to her doctors, she thinks it’s real and she isn’t crazy, I dont Know what to do. She does this all day, everyday. Crying fits, anger fits, screaming at me and calling me names. Her memory is fairly decent beyond that. She forgets somethings, but nothing bad enough to focus on. I have a sibling who isn’t very involved and doesn’t live anywhere near here.

What do I do? How do I help?

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For starters, you CAN and indeed must talk to her doctors. This is not any kind of HIPAA violation. You do not need to be on her paperwork for this - you can talk freely to the doctors and give them information, they just can't discuss medical issues with you. Please do this for your mom's sake and yours. How can the doctors help her if they don't know what is going on?

And if it were me, I'd talk to the police - I presume your mom does not have access to a gun, but if she comes at them with a knife.....They need to know that she is mentally ill so they can protect themselves and also her. Don't cover her problems up. All that does is deny appropriate care for her. And frankly, this is way beyond your ability to treat.
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Geaton777 Apr 2021
rovana, I agree that the OP can talk to her mom's doctors and pass on information to them but I'm not sure they can act on it. The doctors having knowledge of her condition still doesn't solve the problem of getting the mom into the clinic to get checked and treated.
i am so sorry what your going through.
How old is your mom and did she battle any mental health issues before her stroke?
My mom is much older (she is 74) but was a 100% independent and no mental health issues before her stroke.
It is common to have personality changes after a stroke and most have to try antidepressants or anxiety meds - was she put on any medications after the stroke? My mother didn’t do well on these - they had adverse reactions and she became worse. But also older people can have these types of behaviors if they have a UTI (urinary tract infection). But so can someone with a brain injury from the stroke - a small UTI infection can affect a stroke survivors mental health and cognitive status. Since my mothers stroke - when she has a UTI her behaviors can become very bizarre - severe confusion - combative - angry and even “people are lying to her” or stealing - etc. it took me a long time to see signs of a uti as nobody told me anything about this and in the beginning when I took her hone - I just thought she was experiencing post stroke behavioral issues. So I just want you to know sometimes it could be something different than mental illness. Not sure if maybe even getting some of those UTI test strips at any store and testing her urine may help you to even rule out possible urinary infection.
I apologize I do not know of anyway or anyone to contact (but many here do) besides getting her to a drs visit or calling 911 for help so that she can be assessed if she is unwilling to go with you. It is very scary and hard but know you will be helping her and yourself - prayers for you.
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You’re too young for this. You’re going to end up losing a big part of your youth and life to this situation.

You’ve done all you’re able to do. If social services won’t step in, and you can’t get Mom to get any help... there’s nothing else that can be done. Giving up your life for hers doesn’t help you or her. You can’t save your mother. She is mentally ill. This is too much for one person to handle.

If she has a huge episode/outburst, call 911. Getting her to a hospital can start the process of getting her treatment and on proper medication.

Start looking for a full time job now and move out as soon as you’re able. You aren’t stepping away from her, just stepping back.
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rovana Apr 2021
So true. Getting this out in the open so to speak is absolutely necessary to get mom help. It is waaaay past the ability of OP to treat mom's mental illness.
If you're only 21 she is also fairly young...most likely too young for dementia or ALZ but perhaps this is something related to her stroke or she is experiencing mental illness. I'm so sorry you've had to shoulder this burden by yourself for so long. She needs more care than you can possibly give her, and you don't even have the legal means to force her to have care (like Power of Attorney or guardianship).

One strategy you could try is a "therapeutic fib". This is where you give her a compelling reason to see the doctor, like "SSDI now requires an annual physical in order to continue to receive your benefits" or whatever you think my incentivize her to go. If this works and you can actually get her there, have a note prepared in advance that outlines who you are, and your concerns about her behaviors then hand it to the staff discretely before she goes in for the exam. Before leaving, ask the check-in person about a HIPAA release form and see if your mom would make you her Medical Representative. If she does, then at least you can discuss your mom's issues privately with her doctor for that clinic. A therapeutic fib is morally and ethically acceptable in order to work in your loved one's best interests when there aren't other options. I used this tactic to get my MIL in for a cognitive exam. The staff was happy to help me.

If you can't get her in for an appointment your only other option is to contact Social Services for your county at the Dept of Health and Human Service (online) and talk to a social worker about what's going on. If your mom never assigns you as her PoA then the county can pursue guardianship for her and get her the care she needs. This will take some time and hopefully social services will outline what the pathway or strategies would be to get there. I wish you all the best but you must move on with your life. I think if your mom was in a healthy place mentally, she'd want you to.
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You say in your profile that she has dementia/Alzheimer's. She must be pretty young if you're just 21. Has she been officially diagnosed? All of what you're describing(the delusions and paranoia) can be part of someone with dementia or Alzheimer's, so it's best to let her Dr. know, as there are prescriptions out there to help with that. You can always go on the patient portal for moms DR. and let them know what is going on. That way they can do a proper evaluation next time she goes. She may just have some kind of mental disorder as well, that the Dr. should be able to help her with too.
You really are WAY too young to have to be dealing with all this. You need to be able to get a job, go out with friends and just have a life. What you're living now, I wouldn't call a life, that's for sure. Your mom obviously needs more help than you can and should provide. Please continue to seek the appropriate help for your mom. She needs it.
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The doctor can help with meds then you can slowly take all the coverings down. Also question her by saying let “them” look, if they have nothing better to do with their lives. Who’s it gonna hurt, wave & smile, say they must be friendly. Idk but maybe you can turn it around & get her to relax, along with a prescription. Also her current meds need to be reviewed to see if they are causing paranoia or delusions. You’re very young to be sacrificing your life to be a full time caregiver. I hope you have social media at least & can make friends to meet with & go on dates. A lot of us older folk do what you’re doing for our parents but I wouldn’t suggest it for young people. It can last for years & years, and more years. At least have someone stay with her if she can’t stay by herself so you can get out & have a social life :)
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