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Brandon, you only have two choices.... call the police for a wellness check on your brother... or you hop on the next plane and check out for yourself if you don't want the police involved.

What is more important, that your brother is alive and doing ok, or that the city might condemn his house?
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I have an elderly brother who lives out of state, in squalor, with many, many cats and dogs everywhere. I've called or texted over the last 19 days and he has not answered. He has had falls in the past and I am afraid he may be hurt. I'm afraid to call the police because they may condemn his place. He also may have marijuana in there and don't want him arrested. He's on SSI which maybe a source but I'm not sure they would check on him. What should I do?
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My dad was also bad about not answering the phone until I called the police to check on him. It embarrassed him that they came out and that they told him he needed to answer his phone or they would be back. He gets so many telemarketer calls (even on the do not call list) that he hated answering the phone. I programmed caller ID for him and now he only answers when he knows who is calling. You are right about the dementia making them a recluse. Dad's porch used to be the neighborhood hangout and now he doesn't even want to answer the door.
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Thanks vstefans! That sounds like great advice. I guess we are just beginning the journey. I realized no one was at the helm earlier this year and stepped in by being assertive with her medical team. My stepfather is super passive. He seems to appreciate my help but as she recovered from her anemia which I think was causing a lot of dementia they started denying my help again. I guess I just want to get some things in place before it gets to an emergency situation but since she's unwilling to go to her doctor I'll probably have to wait for some emergency to happen :(
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OK, I'll bite - she's with your father, but you still think she is in danger? If you are right, Dad is in need or going to be as well!

The devil is in the details - short answer is that for now the POA is there as a "just -in-case" thing, or maybe you are using it to conduct financial or business type things for her with her consent. For that to go any further, you typically need letters of incapacity and her regular doctor and any specialist could possibly provide them if appropriate.

So, evaluate the degree of danger - realize that a geriatric eval could be billed as more medical than psych and maybe entice Mom to go. But if that is a no go, and Dad is not stepping up to keep things safe or would not call 911 or you for help and the dangers are real and "imminent," then you contact an elder law office, consider guardianship, and/or call in Adult Protective Services.
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When do you take over? If they refuse help and you eventually think they are in danger, how do you do it? I'm power of attorney but she still has her patient rights. Does she need to be deemed incompetent? She refuses to go to a psych evaluation and my father won't take her without her consent.
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Elderly, disabled folks with no one able to check in are in some danger. If there is anything you can do to set up a check-in system, even if you bill it as totally for you to ease your needless worrying, it would be good. When dementia is involved, and housekeeping deteriorates but help is refused, something bad will eventually happen. If we had understood more of what was going on with my husband's parents, we would have made friends with APS in advance instead of meeting them for a funeral and a clean out of a dangerous, vermin-infested, and filthy home...though the person we did meet then was kind and told us they had seen worse.

I still let my mom keep me at arm's length for a while, and a good neighbor of hers plus my own ignorance of dementia at the time kind of enabled that. But said neighbor saved her life by noticing that she didn't pick up her newspaper and had taken a fall, then called me. Until I got there, I had never even had a key to that home I grew up in before. And mom never did make it back...might have been different if we'd seen the need to get some help in place before Mom was messing up with her medications and such.
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I called the local police since I live in a different state, they are very helpful. She doesn't answer the phone or forgets to hang it up. Both lines... I just call the police they send someone out banging and identify themselves for her to open up. She/he will come to the door and the police are very understanding....
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There could be a number of reasons.. 1) can't get to the phone due to injury or worse, 2) difficulty hearing the phone ring, 3) difficulty getting to the phone before it goes into vmail, 4) depression/isolation, 5) forgetting how the phone works! (dementia)

At this point, it is fair to say that your Mom is in no position to be living alone. She needs a caregiver, assisted living or other.
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My mom does this all the time. Sometimes she is in a deep sleep and just doesn't hear phone, doesn't want to be bothered, etc. I keep calling but no longer panic.

Once her phone was not in its cradle, so it was ringing. I called phone co to make sure the line was ok.

I have called police to check and they have done so a couple times but can't keep bothering them when she won't answer.

Neighbors no longer will stop by because she either won't answer door to them or she has chased them away and been nasty.

I tried calling every day at a certain agreed to time with her, but after a couple months she stopped and said she didn't like me checking up on her....

I have given up and call but if she doesn't answer I no longer worry as I just can't anymore. I know one day she may fall and lay there helpless or die without anyone knowing, but she wants it this way. She has refused an alert system, camera monitoring, portable doorbell and in home care.

You can't force anything on them. You can try for the personal alert system with the necklace or bracelet, but my mom said she wouldn't wear one and refused.
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LOL, my Dad rarely answers the phone, and NEVER returns messages, but complains that I am not involved enough. I live 1500 miles away! He refuses to wear hearing aids either so even when he is in the house you have to time calls during meal times when you know he is in the kitchen! While there is no win situation here it makes me feel ever so much better to hear that I am not alone in all these troubles. You guys a just priceless! Thanks for being here!
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Sheesh - it's good to see all these answers. I have been dealing with this issue and it's driving me nuts. My father, 80, is alcoholic and has dementia and parkinsons. His wife, thankfully is there to take care of him - she is younger - but she decided recently that she hates my guts. If I call, no one answers. If I email, he doesn't respond. I got back from vacation a few weeks ago, and they wouldn't answer the phone for 4 days. I finally drove over there at 11:30pm - I live an hour away - and they were fine, they just "forget" or don't hear the phone. And of course it pissed his wife off even more that I came over. I work nearly 100 hrs a week and cannot drive over there every time they don't answer the phone. My sister suggested sending the police for a welfare check if this keeps up. I do think he is in the next stage of dementia, and I know his wife is struggling to take care of him, but they refuse help. Particularly from me or anyone else. I like the idea of asking their neighbors to check in on them, as I don't know what else to do. I lost my job last year, and am trying to get my own life back together, I can't do everything. At least I have a place to live now and room and board covered. Thanks for your responses.
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This is very insightful. My Mom is taking Namenda and Exelon, w/o them we all have a very hard time so for now, I’m thankful for the way things are now. Before my mom moved into NH care, I got her the medical alert system, we had more problems than before, she slept with the necklace and or bracelet and would unknowingly set if off and blame the faulty” system and when the company called to check on her, she didn’t hear it. Then we bought her a cell phone which was not plugged up most times (wasting electricity) and finally ended up in a sink full of water.

Sometimes I don’t feel like talking either but I know that it’s very important to stay connected, especially if you live alone. Is it possible that your mom will make a call once or twice a day, maybe she’ll feel better thinking that she’s checking on you and your siblings. Many times our Elders feel useless and the smallest acts can make them feel needed or useful.

I hope to hear what works for you all, we become more creative with the challenges we are presented.
Best wishes.
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Wow! It's good to find this site. My mother is a alcohol and lives in another state. Her 89 yo husband has dementia and I suspect she does too. She's been visited by a Protective Services Agent and told to clean up the house. It's a mess! She's been talking to me for the last several weeks about her husband and now she won't even answer the phone. If I let it ring a long time sometimes "someone" picks it up but doesn't say anything and then hangs up right away. I'm afraid even if I go down to California she won't cooperate. I don't know what to do at this point. She never signed Power of Attorney to me or anyone. I'm her only living relative.
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Bob is right - any dramatic change in behavior sends up a red flag. In some instances it just may be that a parent is exerting their independence. My Mom loved the attention when someone called and said, "I've been worried about you...why didn't you answer the phone?"
For others, it may be the onset of more serious Alz. symptoms. There is a detachment from the "real world." If you are not a caregiver, you would think that it happens all at once. But, in fact, the deterioration happens in increments over time. That is why it is so hard to catch.
I thought about buying one of those medic alert systems...but I know mom would not wear the pendant on a regular basis. So we compromised by buying her a cell phone as a back up. Sometimes she wouldn't put the reg. phone back properly in the holder. So we call on the cell and have her hang up the other phone.
It is funny how, when things change for our parents, we adapt as caregivers.
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Hey there,
My mom did the same thing and I was across the country from her. I called the neighbor and he went over and knocked on the door. My mother still didn't return my call and I called again. (this had been going on for a few days and my mom had already let me know that she didn't need anyone's help and blah blah blah).
This time my mom answered the phone and called me every name in the book for 'disturbing' her and how dare I 'intrude', etc etc.
Well, she didn't speak to me for 3 months and since my mom had always been a, shall we say, difficult personality, I went with it and still called about every other day and she would answer but always be busy so we were on the phone for less than 30 seconds.
In retrospect I realized that she was dealing with Dementia but I didn't know it at the time and this was over 11 years ago when there wasn't much info out there like there is today.
About a year after the neighbor went over to check on her and she was speaking to me again on the phone and something just didn't sound right.
I booked a flight without telling her (she NEVER wanted me to come 'home') and went out to see her and the moment I walked into her house my life changed.
I realized what she had been trying to hide.
I gave up my job and life and cared for her until her death.
When they start the not answering the phone and reclusive behavior routine in many many cases you are in the END of early stage Dementia.
They are masters of masking the early stages and it can be almost impossible to see unless you are with them on a daily basis.
I'm sorry and I wish you the best of luck.
Please keep in mind that I am not a doctor, but this site is full of stories where the doctors miss the symptoms and have a hard time diagnosing this stuff because they see the person for 10 minutes and the patient is really good at playing the game of hiding what they are about.
This early time is important because this is when you can intervene with Namenda or Aricept and SLOW down the progression. Dementia is a progressive disease and it is not a part of normal aging. Don't let anyone tell you different.
I gave my mom Namenda and in spite of a recent study slamming it, it was amazing for her and really helped her have extra time and feel better about herself.

This is a difficult issue and the usual response is for folks to say, oh no, that's not what's going on and be in denial big time.
What you're witnessing is a personality and habit change and now I know better and hopefully you do too.
One of the biggest issues for the parent is to be able to stay in their home. If you intervene soon enough you can get all that set up so they can stay home and be safe and sound.
All of that info is here on this site.
Once again, good luck and keep us posted.
lovbob
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Your mother is becoming a recluse and doesn't want to be bothered by anyone. If you mother has a trusted neighbor or close friend, give that person a house key and pay that person to check your mother everyday and call you when anything serious occurs.
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i am going by my moms house today and ring the bell myself.i already left a message and told her to call her cousin i will call him first too see if she called.
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Let me tell you a story........ one year ago my brother called me. (I am the only child that lives close by - 10 miles away - to my mom). He had been trying to call her all day long and now it was about 7 p.m. He was very nice and asked me to please go check on her. I left my teenage daughter (I was helping her with her homework) to go. My heart was racing. I was sure, as was my brother, that something was wrong! I pound on her door. No answer. I get out my key and go in. She is in her bedroom, at the back of the house. I asked "didn't you check your messages?" Her response was "No, I didn't feel like talking on the phone today." I was furious! I went from scared to so very mad in just under a minute. I left before I said something. At home I called my brother and told him that if it every happens again he is to call the police and ask for a welfare check. I simply could not rush over there again. About 6 months after that another brother did just that. THEN, and only then, did she get better about answering her phone. No amount of pleding from her kids worked.
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