What do you do when a parent refuses to go to a nursing home?

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My mother and her sister both are terrified of Nursing homes. My mother is nearly 85 and when I can get her assets in order, I need to put her in a nursing home. Problem is, she still knows me, but doesn't recognize she is home, that my dad (her husband) has been dead nearly 16 years and her mama's been dead around ten years. She has difficulty speaking a complete sentence and identifying things, like her cigarette lighter. She can't drive, cook, or be trusted to take her meds correctly. BUT, legally, you can't put anyone in a nursing home who doesn't want to go. It's a good law, but not always the best thing for a person like my mother. I've been caring for her six years now and have finally come to terms with the fact she'd be better off and I would too if she were in a nursing home. How can I get her admitted when the time comes if she refuses? I've heard if she went into the hospital, I could refuse to take her back to her home since there's nobody to care for her. As for my aunt, she's a little more coherent than mama, but cannot drive to get groceries or her meds. She lives alone and her daughters have health issues of their own and can no longer take care of her, but she refuses to accept this and won't go to a nursing home. She's fallen several times and had to lay there till she could (painfully) get to a phone and call for help. But my aunt knows where she is and what day it is, etc. She is just too stuborn to go to a nursing home, believing it's her daughters' moral obligation to care for her, no matter how exhausted, overwhelmed or ill they are. But before their mother, I'm more concerned about how to get my own mother into a nursing home. She somehow can remember she can't be forced to go. We live in Texas. I know laws vary from state to state. I guess my main question is, if a person poses a threat to themselves, can't care for themselves, is there a legal way to have them commited to a nursing home? Hope I don't sound like I don't love her because I do.

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Hi Sunshine, (ah, yes - those typos: ),

Third party help is so vital with a lot of these decisions. Elders don't often (understandably) want to "take orders" from their adult kids, no matter how well it is said or how good our intentions. Much better to have a doctor, pastor or good friend to help with these things.

Carol
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Reply to Carol Bradley Bursack
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Ah, Brooke71701, my heart goes out to you. What a nightmare you seem trapped in.

You have tried everything. What if you tried nothing? What if you withdrew from this situation? There is no law that grandchildren have to financially support their grandparents or do their laundry. They think they can take care of themselves, so let them. When Grandma calls that Grandpa has fallen and needs help getting up, call 911 for her.

It is your kind and compassionate behavior that is enabling them to live the way they do. What would happen if you stopped that behavior?
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Reply to jeannegibbs
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Oh the laws! Yes, we know about not being able to place my grandparents in a home if they don't want to go. But, did you now if you force care on them in their homes, such as simply cleaning them, you could be charged with battery! Oh yes, whatever they do or don't want if perfectly fine by law. It is you, the care giver, that is in the wrong. When you struggle to make sure you are doing everything you can, and they refuse even the smallest of things, like a bath, you are committing a crime if you continue caring for them and they don't want it. I live in Arkansas (hello Texan neighbors).

I'm sure that sounds pretty ridiculous to you, but try this on for size. When we asked the physician for help on the coming visit, we got hacked off at the knees. The visit was regarding my grandfather's BROKEN BACK that resulted from his constant falling. The physician rebuked and shamed us for wanting such a thing in front of my grandparents AND said she would never assist in putting my grandfather in a nursing home (didn't believe in it) AND sent him back home with us that day.

Mind you, the plot thickens. My grandparents only have 1 child, my mother. Further, I am my mother's only child. I also have a little girl. Hands and ability for my grandparents' care and well being are extremely limited. None of us really have any money and the only retirement my grandparents get besides social security is $115 per month from the mill he worked for years ago.

You should probably also have some insight into the ages and health of my family. I am soon to be 32 years old. I have Lupus and enough secondary conditions to write you a volume. My little girl is 12 and my mother is will be 50 soon and is morbidly obese. My grandparents are both in their 70's. He is deaf and suffers from Parkinson's.

Now the falls...by both of them. Fractured backs, fractured ankles, torn rotator cuffs, stitches from busted heads, bruises that are so deep they take MONTHS to heal... Why don't they receive the wake up call? Why don't they see how this affects my mother and me?

They cannot prepare large meals for sure, but complain about nearly everything you fix and won't eat right...unless it's grilled or peanut butter crackers. They are diabetics and have heart problems. They both take a bushel of pills and insurance doesn't cover all of it.

They refuse to go to a home or even an apartment because their little dog Emma can't go, my grandfather won't be able to smoke at his leisure, and they will only be allowed to keep $40 per month for personal spending (among several other reasons they have conceived). Assistance in the home is only limited to a couple of days per week and only about 2 hours at a time then, which they don't want.

They are hoarders to say the least. The house is so crowded you pretty well have to turn sideways to move around in their old trailer. I am already paying storage room fees for some of the stuff, which they will never use again. They won't get rid of anything and I can't take on anymore storage bills. The house is so crowded that the EMTs could not carry my grandmother out of the house when she broke her ankle...so they made her WALK on it all the way out.

My mother and I try to help financially by picking up the "month that is left at the end of the money". As I said, we have no reserves, so all of us teeter on our own financial cliff constantly. We don't know what else to do.

I mentioned that my mother is morbidly obese. She does come sometimes and stay with they, but is about as immobile as they are. She has undergone numerous surgeries on her legs and still needs her back done. She can do nothing, but sit there...and maybe call if there is a real need. My mother can't even tend herself efficiently, much less them.

I change the beds, do the laundry, do the dishes, administer the meds, tend the dog, take out the garbage, wash my grandmother, etc. I have to get them up and down because they can't do it on their own. This is killing me physically. My grandmother is about 3 times my size and my grandfather is probably twice as big. I am barely 5 feet myself, right at about 120 pounds and have osteoporosis (secondary to the Lupus). It's like lifting dead weight when they are down. My grandmother has spinal stenosis and just lays flat of her back sometimes for a week at a time.

Both of my grandparents are incontinent. The laundry piles high and the expense of all the adult diapers just adds to the financial burden. At least my grandmother lets me clean her. Not my grandfather though. He will only let my grandmother do it. I guess you can see how well that works out. Because of that he sometimes develops sores on his backside, scrotum, etc. He can't take care of them and won't let me or my mother. Only my grandmother...

Half the time, my grandfather doesn't know or care that his clothes are drenched with urine. If you mention it, he will NOT get out of the wet clothes just for spite. So, you just watch him wallow in them for about 3 hours without exchanging a word. At least he will come out of them that way. Otherwise, he might decide to wear them for a couple of days.

They won't even apply for help through ElderCare. We were told that if they got assistance, upon the death of one, the other, or both, the program had the right to recover their costs by seizing what little they own. It was the same with Medicare paying for that little 2 hours of babysitting per day for about 3 days per week. That was an automatic no-go for them.

Not to mention, we've had experience with Home Health and the like when my great-grandmother was living. These people were not qualified/certified in any way. They were the average applicants off the street. They would come late, leave early, sometimes not show at all, stay on the phone the entire time they were there, ask for food, rummage through drawers (and steal), and never lift a finger for my great-grandmother. That experience, coupled with the idea that my grandparents could lose what they own to pay for it, really leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

Oh, but my grandmother is convinced that she can still do for both of them. That's right, she still even DRIVES. You can barely even see the damage to the bumper of the truck where she ran into the porch a couple of weeks ago. No big deal, right?

My grandfather had enough since about a decade ago to quit driving, thankfully. But he is still convinced that he is going hunting and fishing all the time. So, he gets the bright idea to venture outside every now and then.

My grandmother, who has everything under control, can't prevent him from going outside of course. Then he falls out somewhere, with his arms and legs all twisted around and underneath him and just has to lay there until my grandmother can get ahold of me.

Where am I? Forty-five minutes away, trying to get the education that nobody in my family has. I am desperately trying to get into a working position that my own health can deal with. Lupus is no joke, friends. I need to make enough money to help run my grandparents home and provide for their needs. I need to make double that because I can see where this is going with my mother.

Luckily, my husband is wonderful. He is a large man and that has its advantages. He comes to the rescue and scoops up my grandfather like a baby and carries him back into the house from falls in the yard and does other lifting that I can't muster the strength to do. So, where is my husband the rest of the time? Working long hours, seven days per week. Why? Because we need the money to sustain us AND my grandparents expenses.

At this point, I am good with any suggestions for things we have not tried. We don't have any kind of POA over my grandparents. About a month ago, my grandmother realized she needed my grandfather's signature even for her to "take care of things." (The only wake up she's had.) She drove herself to town and had the papers drawn up finally and my mother and I paid the fees. Now the problem is, neither of them ever "feel good" so there has been no return trip for the final signatures.

I need somebody to tell me what can be done and how to go about it.
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Reply to Brooke71701
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I must admit something. I have been planning just that very thing. It's just that I have felt so wrong do actually do it. I mean, it makes me feel like such a jerk to even think of just not caring for them. I feel guilty and selfish for the plans alone. I'm not even sure if I could forgive myself if something happened to them after I distanced myself.
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Reply to Brooke71701
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(Un)FriendlyKarl, you wrote:

"They killed her there because she was still breathing and talking and eating when we last saw her."

Proof?? One doesn't make accusations like these even if you have "videoed" it. Have you ordered the full medical chart and had it reviewed by an independent medical professional? If not, your charges are just that - charges. And it's highly inappropriate to name a facility on a public forum. If you've made other such public accusations, you've made your activity actionable through legal recourse.

"I think you are just a selfish and ungrateful daughter..."

"You are supposed to do the best of everything for your life when your sick relative is still alive God dammit !!!!! not when they are dead"

Whew, that's quite an attack, with a lot of vitriole.

I am sorry for the loss of your grandmother, but displaced anger toward another poster is not an appropriate way of reflecting your sadness.

Develop some basic courtesy toward others; it's an integral part of any forum.
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Reply to GardenArtist
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Brooke..you are sacrificing your health and the wellbeing of your family for your grandparents. Get over the guilt and get on with your life! They are not able or even willing to help themselves. You will physically and emotionally be pulled down into their pit and with time there will be no way to escape. This is not the life you want for your daughter.

You sound like a wonderful granddaughter and I sound very harsh; but your responsibility is to yourself, husband and daughter. You have done more than enough. Getting your education is the best thing you can do.

I wish you well. God bless!
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Reply to littletonway
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Well said GA! My mother, 88, has been in a nursing home since October 2012. Due to parkinsons, numerous strokes and dementia she's coming near to the end of her time but the staff have cared for her magnificently and continue to do so.
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Reply to anonymous179890
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Hi to all,
I have been in contact with an ElderCare attorney about my mother and he says that unless a person has been declared incompetent they have a right to refuse anything. Get your doctor to evaluate her mental abilities and then contact an attorney to help you with this. It is so important to get all your i's dotted and t's crossed.
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Reply to heavyload
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Absolutely -you are not selfish Brooke - You are carrying far more than you should be. They are making choices that affect their welfare. It is not just the choices you are making. It does not have to be your job. You first responsibility is to yourself, your husband and your child. If you still want to be involved you could call the local agency on aging, or social services or APS and tell them your grandparents need help. Something could happen to them even if you keeo doing what you are doing -you can't prevent that,, and worse, something could happen to you.
Repeat to yourself you are not selfish! Nor are you guilty of anything.Remember - they are making choices too that are not n their own best interests.

I do agree with Jeanne "It is your kind and compassionate behavior that is enabling them to live the way they do."

Please look after you, keep in touch and let us know how it goes. ((((((hugs))))) Joan
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Reply to golden23
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I have no info on the nursing home issue for either of you, but is it feasible to have home health care for either situation? There are many good agencies and individuals who do this work. It can be paid for out of pocket or medicare helps sometimes. I wish the best for all concerned. And don't worry Rosie, no one is thinking you don't care about your mom. These choices have to be made and this is a good sight for info and support. So keep posting or go to another comment and post again , someone with answers will get back to you. Same for you eaton. Ya'll just hang in there and you will get some info. Thanks for joining us, we look forward to hearing from you again. God Bless
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