buggeman Asked July 2011

Can I force my father into an Alzheimer’s care home without his consent?

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This MUST be a common situation and thus there MUST be a well worn procedure, but I can not find anything online about to do it! My dad has significant memory loss and refuses to admit it. We need to get him in a memory care home very soon and it will be done against his will. Would someone PLEASE point me in the right direction!

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EXPERT Carol Bradley Bursack Jul 2011
Unfortunately, it is a common problem. Also, unfortunately, you may not be able to do it without court action to have him declared incompetent, which is difficult and expensive. Have you tried Social Services? Maybe they can get a social worker involved. That would give your situation some "teeth" and perhaps get action. However, if there's no obvious welfare problem, they may not be able to help. You could be helpless until your dad does something so noticeable that the SS can step in. It's heartbreaking and you aren't alone. But you are right that there aren't a lot of solutions, since your dad has rights, too, even if that means he messes up his life. I'm so sorry you are going through this. Please keep in touch.
Carol
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kkuhn Jul 2011
Friend - we have just gone through this very thing. Dad has vascular dementia and was paranoid. He would lie about taking meds, would do NO hygiene and started hiding stuff, etc. More importantly, he refused to go anywhere - even to the doc so getting him out of the house for eval was nearly impossible and the police said unless he is an "Imminent threat" to himself or others, he has the right to do what he's doing. We were able - after weeks of frustration - to get him out. 1st - my mom has Power of Attorney - this was critical. 2nd - the primary care physician was able to prescribe low dose meds that made him less aggitated, 3rd - my husband and I took a stand and removed his 'drug' of choice - the television. 4th - we told him he had to go to the doc to get the tv back on, 5th - he finally agreed and we took him to the emergency room and had him involuntarily committed for psych eval. From there he was taken to a geri-psych hospital where they evaluated his dementia and set up a medicine regime and care plan. Dad, like yours, is not physically incapable, but he would not allow us to care for him - it had to be done but man it took forever to figure out how. There is no tired and true way -especially since the system is wary of elder abuse issues and you feel like you are all alone. Having the POA is critical because it allows you to submit him for evaluation and yes, do not involved Adult Fam Services unless it is critical.
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jeannegibbs Nov 2015
Heartborken, this is very, very sad. I don't blame you for feeling terrible seeing him there.

Here is what caused this placement: FT Dementia.

You did not cause it.
The son/guardian did not cause it.
The care facility did not cause it.
The dementia caused the need for this level of care.

In the US we have a very strong culture of "Can-Do." We strive for perfection, even while acknowledging we can't reach it. We still want to get as close as we can. We expect it of ourselves.

And then we feel guilty when we can't live up to our impossible expectations.

Please, forgive yourself for becoming older and finding it more difficult to provide the necessary care. You did your best, and for a long time. That is as close to perfect as it is going to get.

Not always, but in most cases of dementia the patient reaches a point where he or she cannot be cared for by a single person in a private home. Not Your Fault.

I hope you will continue to visit him, perhaps do some of the same activities that you did with him at home. Try to distract hime when the subject of "why am I here" comes up.

Dementia is a hideous, heart-breaking disease. But it is nobody's fault.
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picture Jul 2011
I visited many different Assisted Living homes. Then I took my mom to them, we had nice meals there. She got to do some activities there. It really helped taking her to several places so she could get over her fear of the "nursing home" back when their parents may of gone to. I mean, I wanted to move in!! Especially the independent living places.
These have 3 meals a day in dining rooms, they have nurses on staff (make sure of each place) med are given, there are things to do. You can come in anytime.
Mom really got to like it, but really I waited too long to get her into one so she could enjoy the people and activities. She was failing faster than I thought!
Assisted Living accepts those with memory loss. That is usually why they are assisted. From there they will transfer them to Memory Unit when it is needed, when the person becomes a danger to him/her self. MAKE SURE you have fully visited their Memory Unit and approve of it. My mom is in a wonderful place now, having to of taken her out of two Emeritus's for lousy care. She is now in Brookdale's Freedom Inn. Professional care. And they listen to me, and we have meetings all the time to address anything I have concerns or input about. Emeritus threw us out because I demanded they do what they promised, we lost our $5000 deposit. Brookdale's Freedom Inn has bent over backwards and has brought in Hospice care, not for end of life, but for her needs which are so great now. Now my only guilt is if I don't think I visit her enough, but have gotten freedom now!! And know she has a team attending to her, I am not a team, I am one person.
Medicaid Diversion is available to cover a good $1000 worth of care needed (have to get on the list and have funds reduced to receive it) I retained an Elder Lawyer for mom's larger funds, we are working on that now for nursing home care) , the rest is rent and food, which the resident pays. And VA pays $1000 (we don't have that).
Many different facilities and many different prices.
Good luck, get him into an Assisted Living facility. When he needs it, They will put him into Memory Care. See, Memory care is for those who are Forgetting how to eat, and to the bathroom, or wandering, outside, down the road and getting lost, over and over, etc. Assited living most have memory problems, but physical stuff they are still able to do, and it is so streamlined, they can follow it.
Hope this helps.
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igloo572 Jul 2011
Their shoes are highly unlikely to be our shoes IMO.

My experience is that trying to let them make the choices just doesn't work. I think it could when you are dealing with active, health and financially very well-off elderly in their 80's it can work. But there are very few of those out there. When you are dealing with those with dementia and other chronic illnesses who are aging, they have no reality of their cognitive state and what 2011 expenses and their fiances are, then there aren't alot of options out there.

Their safety,health and security should be what it is all about. If you have to forcibly make them move and legall can, then do it.
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newtonjoyce Jul 2011
I think we have to remember that they have feelings also. Being moved out of all you know and love is difficult for anyone no matter the age.

Are there things that would make it better? Picking out a new bedspread or sheets, taking favorite photos, assuring them their belongings will be safe and not thrown away.....just reassuring and also letting them help with decisions. I know that isn't always possible but to feel absolutely like they are loosing control is scary!

Put yourself 30 yrs down the road and what do you want....how do you want to be treated. I don't like it when my spouse tells me what to do! My kids?! I hope they are learning from my example with my dad.
Just some thoughts to put yourself in their shoes.
Just some thoughts.
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newtonjoyce Jul 2011
What I am suggesting is that you let them feel like they have a say, even dementia folks have in's and out's of memory. I think many are more aware than you think and maybe not in the way you say, but they know love/ appreciation/ and so on.

A gentle reminder here and there. I think there is room for kind persuasion. Just like a child, 'which shirt would you like to wear, this red one or this blue one'. If they feel like they have some control, life is better all around. I know it is not the answer for everyone but let's remember they have feelings too.

My grandmother was told by her daughters that she was moving out of her home and into a facility and she had a nervous break-down. All she really needed was somebody to check on her daily. They had already picked it out without her knowing. They were loving daughters, but after that I learned my lesson.

And....just because it is a facility doesn't mean you can take them there and never check up on them. I know of a woman living in an assisted living facility. She didn't show up for breakfast. The staff never checked on her to find out why. Her 2 children came by to visit that afternoon. She had fallen in her room several hours earlier. Terrible.

Another friend's mother is in another facility. The room is never really clean. My friend had to discuss this with the staff. Just be aware and if something is out of place, take it seriously.

Sorry this is so long.
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jeannegibbs Jul 2011
newtonjoyce what you say is very valid, but it doesn't seem to me to address the basic issue here. How do you arrange for a person with dementia to receive the care necessary for their well-being, even against their will? Sure, be nice to them. No one questions that. But tellings someone who has dementia and does not admit it that he can buy all new sheets! isn't likely to help him face the reality of his situation. I can't tell from your profile and I'm sorry I'm not familiar with your situation, but have you ever done caregiving for someone with dementia? Have you ever lived with someone with paranoia?

And, um, what is this about taking them there and never checking up on them? Is there any earthly clue that buggerman or igloo are talking about that? We really can't assume that everyone who needs to place their loved one in a long term care facility is just trying to get rid of them and won't continue to care for them. Yes, what you say about it is valid, but putting it in this thread seems a little out of place to me.
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picture Jul 2011
Newtonjoyce is right on target. Very insightful information from experience.
Small simple choices go along way in the "moment" as that is what these people only have. I see the caregivers at my mom's Memory unit do exactly that. They are very experienced there.
Forcing a move is traumatic. When they put my mom into Memory it was horrible. It should of been transitioned slowly. Mom pulled the fire alarms 5 times, causing the fire department to come out 3 of those. I can't tell you the pain I still endure from this. But she has been failing so fast it is the best place. Just done harshly.
I am glad, Newtonjoyce, that you brought up the serious need for family to visit often. I have caught problems of every nature as many never have enough caretakers. It is easy to put off visiting for a week or two, but not a good idea. Caretakers at Mom's facility tell me many children live far away. Who watches over these people, I always wonder? As I said, I now have Hospice on board, I work closely with home health care nurses, and I keep a strong communication with the management and the caretakers, in house physical therapy and especially the Nurses! Even those who clean and cook. Every time my mom falls they call me with a report. If she is off to the ER I am immediately contacted and I meet her there.
Good places want you involved, want your feedback, questions, and ideas.
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I believe you would need to go to court to pursue guardianship. I would start though, by calling adult protective services and reporting dad's unsafe living conditions. You might want to let the judge appoint a guardian, rather than taking this on yourself.
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