How long is the jail term for elder abandonment? I can't this this much longer, prison or the hospital is beginning to look like a vacation.

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Seriously, I want to know how long I would have to go to prison if I refuse to care for my mother-in-law any longer. I have some time to think this over, as she will be going a third time to a geriatric psychiatric facility Monday or Tuesday and from there to a nursing home for physical rehab, again. I think I have about 8-10 weeks to figure something out.
I quit my job and we moved in with her and now I'm stuck forever. I don't think she can qualify for medicaid because she gets 2 checks a month and she is "owner-financing" a house to one of her daughters who has not paid a house note in five years and owns her home and a car and had some life insurance money in the last five years. She has too many assets, so a nursing home does not appear to be an option. Living in the state of Mississippi, a "filial" state, once my husband and I moved on her property 4 years ago, the state placed the role of primary care giver onto us. We found this out when we told home health care that we were going to move, because she refused to participate in her own care. They said we couldn't, that the state would press charges of elder abandonment against us, and possibly neglect if she fell or didn't take her medication regulary, even though we had a separate house. Because we are in very close proximity to her we are responsible. She has many serious problems, blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid, pacemaker, etc. etc. etc., but nothing life threatening, nothing that can keep her from doing for herself. She just refuses.
When her husband died, she had booths in a local flea market, drove, did her own shopping, etc. Well, she spent all of her new found money, got several credit cards and ran them all over the limit, took out several loans, over drew her bank accts. and ended up having more debt that income in about a year and a half. At that point, she over medicated herself and stayed in bed for ten sraight days. When she finally decided to get up, life as we knew it was over. She was constantly having an ambulance come pick her up for a variety of reasons, thoug they never found anything wrong with her, and she began "falling" all hours of the day and night. NO One ever saw her fall, she would just stop us from whatever we were doing to come pick her up. She has told us she has copd, broken ribs, broken "snuff box", inwards shingles ( the kind you can't see), the list goes on and on. Now, since we both moved in with her, she doesn't know when she has to go to the bathroom and she can't walk. I have babyed her to death, until a little over a week ago. A new therapist came in and she must have liked her, because she got up, grabbed her walker and walked across her bedroom and out into the living room! Therapist said to continue doing this in between visits and to quit putting so much strain on me. Next morning - she couldn't even sit up without tipping over. I lost it. Confronted her about she could lift her feet to touch the therapists hands(she was standing) and can't lift her foot and inch to put it on the wheelchair foot plate for me.Told her what a fool she had made of me all these years, and she just looked at me and smiled! Oooo!!!
Insisted that she CAN'T sit up. CAN'T lift her feet. CAN'T DO ANYTHING. Then about 2 hours later, the therapist came back that day and guess what? She was up and walking again. She's killing me - physically, my back hurts 24/7 from my shoulders to my waist from lifting her - and she can stand up! I don't sleep right, I don't eat right, I never have time to spend with my husband, except late at night after she's asleep. She doesn't really talk to me, just says thing like - I'm wet, i need my medicine, turn the light on, turn the light off, put the cover on, take the cover off, get me my cigarettes. I don't see my kids or grandkids much anymore and I can't leave the house for longer than about an hour because noone else will change her diaper. Oh, and she went on a hunger strike last week, refused to eat or drink for 56 hours, then ate a sandwich and didn't eat again for another 24. And there's one pill in particular for her heart/blood pressure, that she has lost under her breast, between her legs, in her gown or on the floor 6 or 7 times. OMG, I;m sorry i'm rattling from subject to subject, but I'm so confused, lost, scared and sad all the time.And lonely, even when the there are lots of people around. I just don't know what to do. Maybe you can see why I asked my original question, cuz if it's not too long I think it would be worth just walking away and paying the price, at least I'd be rid of this responsibility of caring for someone who doesn;t care for herself, me or life in general. By the way, this is not the first time I've cared for someone. I took care of my sister and my mother, both who eventually died of cancer, and the job I quit was as a personal care attendant for a 32 yr old quadrapelgic. I'm really good at caring for people, she just more than I can handle. Thanks for listen


I have never heard of anywhere in the US forcing people to remain in a location in order to take care of their parent. In fact, you can't even force someone to take car of their child. They can put them up for adoption. As long as care is arranged for your MIL, you cannot be forced to stay. Arrange for her care and be on your way. It is as simple as that.
That's just it, i quit my job. I can't afford care for her and she can't either and can't qualify for medicaid for quite a long while. With no where that will take her and no way to make arrangements for someone to stay with her, I've been told I can't leave. I've been wondering what would happen if I move while she's gone. No forwarding address, no phone number, etc.
First, I love your subject line! My favorite book title is "If I'd Killed Him When I Met Him ..." and the rest of the saying is "I'd be out of Jail by Now"! (It is a pretty good book, too.)

Second, Wow, I am certainly glad that I don't live in Mississippi!

But this isn't really as bleak as it feels. She CAN qualify for Medicaid. It will take spending her assets first, on her own care. And it may take setting up a special trust if her monthly income is over the limit. But it can happen! This is not a do-it-yourself project. While she is out of the house and you have a little break from constant caregiving, see and Elder Care attorney. (The specialty is critical. Don't settle for a family law attorney or an estate attorney, or anything else.) Gather up everything you can find about your MIL's finances before your first consultation. Work toward the goal of having MIL qualified for Medicaid when she runs out of her own assets. The lawyer will also explain spending down to you.

This seems like you are caught in a catch-22 situation. But there IS a way out, and a lawyer with the appropriate training and experience will help you find it.

Good luck! And please let us know what you are doing and how it works out for you.
Thanks for the quick reply. Will do as you suggest next week. Maybe I can get help paying for nh during penalty period. I don't know. Has anyone ever tried negotiating the price with a nursing home and if so , how di that work out. It's something I've been thinkingn about for the last day. I know medicaid pays a lot less than private pay and so do the insurance companies. Do you think they might reduce the price and accept both of her checks and apply for money from the VA. They will contribute $1094.00 per month. This still leaves me over a thousand dollars short for the first two years, but it is guaranteed income for the home. By the way, do you know the author's name, I could use some time lost in a book!
Pizzazzy, could you give me a shortened version your real name - or is that your name - I don't want to offend you. You had said earlier that my reply was one of the most sincere & I appreciate that - sometimes too much information is extremely overwhelming. Anyway, for privacy's sake I'd like to stay in touch even if we exchange e-mail addresses. Up to you : ) Karen
krusso, Hi Karen, My name is Bobbie. Sorry I haven't replied sooner. I cried for three days straight, all cried out at the moment. Then I lost myself in the television for 2 days and nights. I haven't had tv for about 15 years, by choice,until I moved in here. I remembe why, now. A whole bunch of mindless stuff(over 900 channels) to choose from. But, it was like medicine the last couple of days. Still trying to get some help, and still getting run around from doctors. She was supposed to go to geriatric hosp yesterday evening or this morning. I could tell her vascular doctor didn't particulary like this decision and was reluctant to agree to give her a medical release from a recent surgery. Finally he agreed, but with the stipulation that she receive agressive wound care for an ulcer on her foot. His office didn't fax info to hospital as promised and I am awaiting a call from them as to why and when this will be done. Her foot is pretty bad, but healing now that the surgery has blood flowing to it. To me, and I'm no doctor, more important is the fact that for the last two weeks she keeps "loosing" her blood pressure pills. Under her breast, between her legs, on the floor under her bed, etc. Blood pressure was 193 on top, yesterday at doctor's office and 170 this morning. She refused her medicine yesterday morning and I found yet another blood pressure pill on her bedside table this morning. She is, and always has been one who really enjoys being sick, and will make herself worse if she finds out that a relative or close friend is sick.
I still don't know what to do. Phone is ringing. Gotta go.
You have no legal obligation to your mother-in-law. Your husband on the other hand may be legally responsible for her. You are living in her house. You want your freedom, you would have to find your own place to live and also make sure arrangements are in place for your MIL's care. Let her use her assets to pay for her care.

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