My MIL is 69, has severe and untreated arthritis (total destruction of all joints, no longer treatable), COPD and various hbp/heart issues. She's been either inconsistent with or totally refused taking meds for years. At this point she can walk with a walker short distances but cannot get in and out of bed or a chair, dress herself, prepare meals, bathe, etc.
She won't consent to a nursing home so my husband set up home health services as best as he could, but she often sends those aids/nurses away without allowing them to do anything and then calls my husband over to do xyz. Or she'll call 911 to get immediate help and then refuse transfer to the hospital.
Here's my question. DH is fed up. She has lost bladder/bowel function. She demands that HE is the one to come and clean her up. He's not comfortable with that but does anything she asks because of some weird, twisted sense of obligation (there's history there). He is the only one to do these things because she is estranged from the rest of her children, family and friends (with good reason, she is a bad and abusive person). She will allow me to help with these things but only if he is absolutely not available. Also, we are busy. We are in our 30's and have two young kids at home and both work FT. Moving her into our home is not an option, even though we do have the space and resources. We don't allow our kids around her unsupervised and only for short periods even if supervised (for good reason... again, history). They hardly know her and I think it's unreasonable to make two young kids witness her decline and eventual death. Plus she refuses hygeine so she is quite smelly and unsanitary.
She has refused to give DH or anyone else any sort of POA and she is mentally "there," so providers keep telling us that it's her choice to refuse their care. Also she's so awful to them that many of them refuse to continue care - they send her on to someone new, which just makes her mad.
My suggestion to DH is to report her as an elder-in-need and allow the state to take over, but he's not ready to go there yet.
So I have a few questions.
1. He's willing to force her into a nursing home... I think. Is that possible without involving the state and/or getting a medical POA? She's totally lucid without dementia.
2. She has stopped moving on her own, except to walk, but can't get up on her own so often only gets up out of bed once per day. How long can a person live like this? If I knew it was only going to be another year or so, I think we could handle helping her to live independently, but we can't commit to this for several years.
3. We had her in a nursing home before for about a month and she demanded to leave so DH took her home. If he wouldn't have, she literally would have had no one else to call for a ride. Is that an option? Just refuse to take her home?
4. Because of her horrible health and deplorable living conditions and personal hygeine, could DH be charged with elder abuse? I worry about that since he is her sole caretaker. She's in bad shape. He can only do so much (once daily visits) and it doesn't meet her needs and again, she refuses home health most of the time. Is he legally obligated to fill in for what she's not getting from home health? In his defense, he calls her providers all the time to request additional care, doctors, etc. He plays an active role. Although his other family is estranged, they don't want to see her suffer, so I'm afraid they might step in, see how she is living, and pursue charges against him because they really don't understand the situation. Also, the other siblings want their inheritance. There is no will or anything, and DH is on all of her accounts as a user. If he dips into her funds to pay for her care (he has never forced her to pay for her care to this point), could they go after him for that money if he spends it without her authorizing those payments? I assume we'd need to document every expense made from her account. Is that enough or do we need her consent?
If you made it this far, thanks for "listening."