It's 1:00 am and I've been googling for several hours now. Unfortunately the search engine that tries to answer every question anyone can come up with can't answer mine. How do I help my mother to help herself? It's not there, and frankly the information I can find doesn't help me feel much better about the situation.
The official term for it is self neglect. Mom fits all the factors and several of the early stages, alas there is really no solution to slow or stop the progression. The problem is entirely hers. Frustrating as I watch her simply disintegrate into nothing waiting on me to pick up the pieces.
Therefore I have come to the conclusion I can't do it any more. I can't spend endless hours at the hospital every time she is admitted, I can't be her on-call taxi service, I can't be her social liasion. I will no longer do those things. I will take her to the store, library, and any other reasonable errand she needs to run once a week. I will attend her doctor appointments with her so I can bully her into action when I feel it's necessary. I will no longer hound her about smoking, about not eating even reasonably decent, or not getting even minimal excercise ( well at least as much as I can keep my big fat mouth shut). To NOT do is inherently harder than to do. To give up and realize it is entirely out of my control is not in my vocabulary. I find it so damn difficult to let her be when I know she hasn't dressed in three days, or walked outside, or washed her dishes, or eaten a fruit or vegetable. I can't continue to parent my parent when she doesn't even show the same amount of responsibility that my 11 and 7 year old do.
I am at a loss, and I must let go for my own sanity.