Question: My mom is in a bad situation and she is in extreme denial. She is living in filth and hoarding, and has a bad pest control problem. I have a low income myself and cannot help her. I am also currently in school and work 2 jobs. My mom will be 80 this year. I am desperate for help and don't know what to do. I am at the point of dropping out of school because I can't concentrate-- she is stressing me out so much. Please help me!
Dr. Amy: It sounds like your mom may not be able to properly care for herself. I encourage you to start by talking to her doctor to about having her assessed for mental health issues and for dementia. If you run into problems or your mom resists, you can call Adult Protective Services. Telephone numbers vary from state to state, but for your area, Las Vegas, call (702) 486-6930 or toll free at (888) 729-0571. They can come out to assess your mom's situation and make recommendations. Your mom may qualify for assistance—including someone to come out to help her a few days of the week. She may find it easier to listen to someone who is outside the family.
One of the hardest things for an adult child is to see our loved one making choices that appear to be wrong-headed. I hope you are able to help your mom improve her living situation both for her own sake and so that you can continue your education without constantly worrying about her wellbeing. Good luck!
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