Please advise on 90 year old mother voluntarily stopped meds

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Hello all
I am new here, and looking for some advice regarding my 90 Year old mother. I am her only carer, and currently she is still living at home, alone in a three bed house. She is quite physically frail now, lost a lot of weight and walks with a stick. She doesn't have local authority care, although she is awaiting an assessment. I go over every day to help her bathe, do the washing, make her meals etc.

Mum has always had the best of health - apart from high blood pressure for which she has been on both ramipril and amlodipine for years. The only time she has ever been in hospital was to have her children, the GP used to joke (in the days of patient folders) that hers was the thinnest he had ever seen! Up until very recently, she has been as sharp as a tack, and even has her own iPad on which she watches tv and films and does crosswords and apps.

My father died in March last year (dementia) basically faded away and died over four years. My sister sadly died in 2013 in very tragic circumstances which took its toll on both of my parents. Also, her two sisters aged 92 and 86 both passed away in 2016 within months of each other.

Around three months ago, I realised that mum was losing interest in everything and not looking after herself at all. She stopped cooking for herself completely, and now doesn't eat unless something is made for her. she doesn't wash herself. She used to wash at the sink with a flannel twice every day and we have a bath chair contraption which I use to lower her into the bath twice a week. She's never used a shower in her life. She has stopped wanting to go out ( we used to go regularly for lunch every Thursday) stopped caring about shopping or going to her regular hair dresser appointment (old school, shampoo and set every week, never did her own hair) and basically sits in her pj's all day watching repeats on Gold. She has also stopped taking all her medication which she has taken as regularly as clockwork for years. When I asked her about it she said what was the point in taking anything to prolong life when she is ready to die. I spoke to her GP who says as she is fully coherent she can make this choice if she wishes.

The last four or five days she has stopped answering the phone when I ring in the morning which was our usual routine - (I live about six miles away, so I would ring at 8am before going over about 9.30am. She would be up and about, had breakfast and I would have a clean round, have a chat and make her lunch, then back to give her supper and help into bed.). But I have gone round recently to find her still in bed just staring into space, not wanting to get up. She won't take anything to eat, although today she did ask for egg and chips. She ate a few chips then came down stairs and sat in her chair. She does not seem confused or dopey.

I really don't know what to do for the best. I can't have her to live with us..to many reasons to go into, and I don't know how to speed up her assessment so she can have local authority care to help her or or even get some respite for me (it's been a long few years with no breaks caring for both parents.) she has told me she wants to go into a care home, and she would be self funding. This is not a problem, she has savings and her own house.

I know this is not a medical forum and I am not asking for med advice, but I guess I am wondering about her stopping her medications and if anyone has any experience of that - and if a care home would start her on her meds again? Should I be persevering at home or is it time for more care than I can give alone.

Grateful for any input or advice
Why not look at the local homes, then when you find a couple she might like, arrange a trial week or two? Then you can both talk about it. You are lucky in many ways that mum is asking to go into a home. If it's near you, you can let others do the care and you will regain your mother/daughter relationship. Make sure, if she hasn't done so already, that mum arranges a power of attorney and will.
Thank you.
Yes, I have POA and her will is up to date.

Brit
That's good. I know how difficult you will be finding this all, I certainly did, because there are so many different emotions. Maybe mum realises that she needs more help now, and will need more and more, and she has seen many loved ones pass away, and has decided wat she wants for the final phase of her life?
In the meantime, does she now qualify fot Attendance Allowance?
If she is self funding, forget about Social Services, you can arrange an admission without them, or paid care at home, which would make life easier for you.
Hi Brit
My situation was similar. Mum after years of determined independence suddenly asked us to find a Home for her, aged 92. Her last friend of that age had passed away and she was lonely and finding things more difficult and scary than she'd admit to. She could have chosen any of 3 of us or 4 adult grandchildren to move in with but she wanted the company and ease of a Home. It took her longer to settle then she thought, but we the family now enjoy social visits and 'light duties" such as clothes laundry. She took her own furniture and loves her room.
When we moved her we found she had been clearing the house for many months before and was getting ready for the next stage. It was so much easier than many of the stories on here where people don't make the decision themselves and it ends up being forced on them by needs instead of wishes..
Yes we did feel guilty and hurt she'd refused us all on our offers but eldest is 75, others not much younger and some next generation live considerable distances away.
She'd known her own mind all her life, and still does now, tho forgetfulness increases daily.

Yes she did get down, especially as each bereavement hit her. Your mum may benefit from mild antidepressants, but do remember they are the generation who were always told to pull themselves together and she may refuse.

I'd just say make sure she knows she has choices. She may not be aware of what can be provided at home, that there are different homes and sheltered flats etc,
Shes fortunate to be self funding, it makes things very easy but good Homes tend to have waiting lists

Does this help at all? What are your main concerns?

Kr
MrsA
Thank you so much for helpful and informative replies, MrsA and bowlingbun.

I am in a rush this morning to and just came on to check..but will come on later, with another few questions :) off to see mum and then having a look round a care home nearby.

thank you
Brit
I'd say there are three possible reasons for your mum's behaviour now -

(1) she's sinking (sunk?) into dementia (the way you describe her behaviour is very similar to my MIL as dementia took over)(how does your mum compared to your dad when he was developiong dementia)

(2) she's in depression (the 'turning off' from the world, the 'torpor' of her behaviour)

(3) she is preparing herself to leave this life, as a conscious and self-aware act of her own rational decision.

This last, you know, may be the case. And it is, most definitely I would argue, if so, a rational decision that she should be allowed to make and see through to the end.

She's a very, very old lady, she's a widow, she's lost one daughter, she feels she has come to the end of her days and now she'd like to close the book of her life and say 'Done'.

Would that not be something that we could all, at some point in our lives, think 'Yes, that could be me.'

I'm a widow myself, and I know for sure that were it not for our son, and my brother, (my only relatives now apart from niece and nephew) I would have little 'reason' to stay alive any more. This isn't 'depression' of any kind, it's a rational awareness that the rest of my life is a kind of 'waiting game' and a 'passing of my time' until I reach the point where my life here ends, and I make The Crossing and (so I hope!) find my husband again.

Do you talk to your mum about this? It may be very, very hurtful to you if you think 'Mum wants to die and leave me' - but maybe for both your sakes that time has come. No child ever wants a loving parent to leave them, however old we are - and even when that parent has become terribly afflicted by illness, including dementia (as you say your poor father), and we 'know' that death would truly be 'a merciful release' for them we STILL don't actually 'want' them to die (we want them to get better, sigh.)

Maybe, finally, your mum has simply 'run out of energy' - and hence she is so accepting of a moving into residential care where 'other people' would do everything, and look after her. She'd be in a kind of hotel - a 'last stop holiday' maybe?

So yes, do check out care homes. My MIL (with dementia) has been in two lovely ones (now, sadly, in a not-so-love secure one - but staff are lovely, surroundings a bit grim because secure), and so good care homes most definitely exist! You will 'know' when you walk in - a cheerful atmosphere, a 'buzz' about the place in a nice kindly sort of way, and pleasant rooms that residents can personalise, social activities in the lounge, and just a 'nice feeling all round' - with lovely staff.

If your mum is reluctant to talk to you, you may find she will say things to care staff that they are very used to hearing, but which maybe she doesn't want to upset you with?

One of the definite 'up sides' of parents in residential care is that it means that we no longer spend time doing 'daily routine care' but instead can become 'companion carers' as in, when we visit, we spend time with them companionably.

One last thought for now - please please do get all the 'family history' out of your mum that you can! She is a repository of 90 years experience and family, and once she has died, it will be lost for ever, unless you record it now. Get out old photos and make sure she's identified everyone on them, so you have them 'for ever'.

I do think too, that if she is now nearing the end of her life, she may wish to 'complete the circle' by thinking about her own youth and childhood. My mother, a few months before she died, told me 'I keep having dreams of Granny' (who'd raised her), and I know it gave her comfort. And, who knows, maybe they realise somewhere that they are 'being called'???? It would be nice to think so, wouldn't it?!


I
Oh for the good old days when GP would call and have a chat with the patient and the family about Life, the Universe and everything.
Hope things improve for you both, whatever happens next. She sounds like a very special lady...a generation who have seen so much change.
Meds in care home? Probably only if she wants Meds. And she may well change her mind at some point.
(mrs A ...your Mother sounds very special too!)
(Danced, glad to see you here. don't leave!!! :) )
Hi Brit
I talked this through with my Mum today, saying a friend has this mum who...etc
She fully understood how down your mum is feeling and said to get her to go look at some Homes asap, because when she's there there will be things to do. My Mum said she used to be down and still is some days but those are the days she gives herself a talking to and goes and joins in something. She's tried various of the activities and finds at each there's someone different to talk to ( her home has 50 residents and as they all have their own routines, favourite chair and set dining place it can be difficult to get to know everyone, some can't or won't respond) . Today we talked to lady who is 101 and still in good health, to another lady who was busy cutting up cards ready for craft and to a chap who volunteered to take me "off her hands!" :roll:
Each resident finds their own niche and routine depending on ability and Social inclination. It's not forced or regimented.
Basically she said take your mum to see Homes, as being alone at home gets to the stage it's just not enough any more.

The sweetheart my Mum is, said if your mum wants to visit she'd happily show her around.... blissfully forgetting she now lives 200 miles away, bless!

Good luck
Xx
MrsA