Elder Care – Mom Needs Me


I was notified by Protective Services that my Mom (95 years old) needed help, so I dropped everything and flew out-of-state. Ended up staying for almost two months trying to help get things straightened out.

My brother moved back to Michigan to stay with Mom a year ago because he felt Mom needed help. In that year (during the pandemic), she lost her two closest friends, had a minor heart attack, was in an accident that totaled her car (she was driving) and developed an ear infection that cost her hearing. Although she is somewhat familiar with computers and the internet, all her community meetings were being done via Zoom, which presented her with new challenges she was having difficulty with.

One of the items in Protective Services’ complaint stated my brother was “verbally assaulting” Mom. They did not realize that Mom had lost most of her hearing, so he had to yell in order for her to hear him. She insisted she could hear just fine and didn’t need the hearing aids the doctor recommended.

After arriving I learned of numerous other issues she was having, so I did everything I could to fix as much as possible. One major obstacle was opening a new bank account to centralize her finances. Then, making sure unnecessary expenditures were eliminated, i.e., numerous monthly car warranty payments with various companies when she didn’t have a car anymore.

Thanks to a community organization Mom had been involved with for decades, LA SED (Latin Americans for Social & Economic Development), a lot of hurtles were quickly dealt with and the Protective Services complaint was dropped when all the issues were resolved. Then LA SED financed our train trip back to New Mexico. The hope was that she would be willing to stay with me, and every effort was made, but in the end she wanted to go home.

While in New Mexico, we shopped, relaxed, she reviewed what we had done on the house and presented some great suggestions and ideas, and saw some sights.

During the time with me and Jim, I found that besides her hearing issue, she was now easily confused, had lost most of her short-term memory, and tired easily. Jim and I tried to cater to her every whim, but we saw she was having numerous issues.

Despite strong objections by us, she strenuously insisted she wanted to go home, so we finally relented and she took a train trip home. One major accomplishment was that she acknowleged she had become hard-of hearing.

My brother has since started working nights so he can be with her during the days, and the challenge to find someone to stay with Mom from about 4 pm til she goes to bed is overwhelming. Her short-term memory has had her burning things on the stove and her balance is not up to par. With stairs in the house, her tenuous balance is concerning, so we don’t want to leave her alone too long.

Mom wants to buy another car, but being almost completely deaf, she would not be able to hear a car horn or a siren. Coupled with her lack of depth perception and the tendency to become easily confused means it would not be safe to drive again.

So the challenges continue. Most of the time I can address issues that arise via telephone, but the time is quickly arriving when, despite her objections, she will have to move in with me. She is a strong, independent woman with profound intellectual prowess, so the physical limitations are driving her crazy. My big-hearted, wonderful Mom is now facing new challenges that require outside help, and she hates that. God help us all!