Hi everyone, I’m brand new to the forum. I was lucky to retire three years ago aged 55. One of my hopes was to offer more support to my Mom (80) which has been partially successful. However with COVID hitting us all we were unable to take her out or get into her house. My mom lives alone with no other help and is a loner with no friends and she has no social interaction but my sister and I. As COVID restrictions eased we realised my Moms house was in a terrible mess. She wasn’t letting us in. Very occasionally we got in to do a tiny bit. My mom is very proud and independent but is struggling a lot with maintaining the house. I’ve offered a lot of times in a kind way but she mostly declines or gets annoyed. I’m aware that many people on here will have the opposite problem of loved ones demanding a lot of them. That I’m sure is beyond tough, but I sometimes wish my Mom would ask for more help.

We had a tricky Christmas as my Mom wanted it to be at her house. After a week of offering to help clean up she relented and my sister and I spent several hours cleaning the kitchen. My husband and I cooked the meal and took it to my moms in a laundry basket, so it kind of worked out.

I was back at my moms yesterday and things are deteriorating again. She’s not keen on help. Just for a bit more information, my Mom has a long history of alcohol abuse, depression and more recently has short term memory problems. Thankfully alcohol is not a problem at the moment. Happy for any comments.

Hi Sophie - welcome aboard!

Some of this reminds me of how things started with my Mum. It was a slow process but that very houseproud lady gradually let things slide and only recently - after her move to a care home - we found that her meticulous record keeping stopped around the time my father died in 2012.

It’s just hit me that it will be 10 years since he died in February.

Where does the time go?

Anyway, I don’t really have any answers for you: only to say that the memory loss and the “letting things go” may be linked, whether or not your Mum is getting more frail physically. My Mum’s dementia certainly made her depression worse and her motivation was affected badly, except for going out to shop for bits and pieces, until her heart started giving problems anyway.

It might be worth telling her doctor about your concerns. The doctor may not be able to talk to you, but they can take information from you.

Thank you Charles. Yes talking to GP seems a good idea but feels devious. She would be angry at me. Also the Gp has never met my Mom as yet as is new.

Sophie, you have to accept that your mum is probably incapable of motivating herself now to clean etc.
Not that she doesn’t want a clean tidy house, she just can’t do it any more.
Maybe write to the doctor to express your concerns, so that they are on record.

The earlier alcohol abuse may have damaged her brain, and this might be the beginning of dementia I’m afraid.
I always think it’s the change in behaviour that is most indicative. I saw my lovely mum in law, and later sister in law, decline with dementia. Both were really organised until a certain moment. Having seen MIL decline, it was easier to spot in SIL.
However it took about 4 visits to the GP before he took their concerns seriously. I worry for my niece as she gets older.

Of course getting her to see the doctor might be out of the question, at the moment.
Maybe take some photos of the worst of the house when it is safe to do so?
Then the doctor could see the level of untidiness, and it would give a “benchmark”.

At 80, mum is only going to get worse I’m afraid.
Concentrate on what she NEEDS not what she wants.
If she says she doesn’t want help, then say “do you want to go into a care home then?” because that is the realistic end result of this attitude.

My own mum was a clean hoarder. Over 60 dining chairs, 10 dining tables…It took us a year to empty the house when she ended up in care, because she hadn’t let me sort things out and arrange a disabled friendly en suite. There was plenty of room in her main bedroom, it was rammed full of furniture!

I’ve never recovered, I was too kind. Now I wish I’d had a blazing row, not always been kind and understanding. Looking back, my life would have been so much better. Don’t let mum take away your good retirement years.