Can I be held liable by the police if I don't help my mom's situation?

Mom's situation has really gone downhill lately. Sibs say that it hasn't and that she is just fine and for me to stay out of it they are handling it. I am afraid the police will come knocking at my door saying I am neglecting an elderly person. I want to have a welfare check done on her. Who would do the welfare check? Mother lives alone and has dementia. If someone came to the door to do a welfare check, she would tell them to go to H**ll. My hands seem tied, Mother won't listen to me and yells and screams at me. Sibs say things are just fine and they are not. I surely don't want to get in trouble with the cops. Can't give you anymore specific info because sibs may be on this site as well. And they are always right. What should I do?

Answers 1 to 3 of 3
It is strange that you have asked this question. I discussed the same thing with my husband yesterday. My mother's house is filthy and is a nightmare due to hoarding. She could be on a television show. I am frightened for her due to fire but cannot live there due to the filth. I check on her several times a day. She is fairly independent, but she has forgotten where she intended to drive in her own little town. Mother had a severe traumatic brain injury five years ago and did not recovered totally. She resents the TBI instead of being thankful that she has recovered as much as she has. She claims she will still recover all the way and does not need help. I am the only child near her. My other siblings live in areas ranging from the Middle East, 800 miles away and 2 hundred miles away. I want to help but she does not want it and is so ugly to me on a daily basis no matter how much I pretend to ignore it. A welfare check would explode the entire "secret" that my siblings keep. They say Mom, at 83 with a moderate TBI, is okay. The house is very old, mice are around, dust is inches thick (literally). The house could be a wonderful place, but mother refuses to have help. A 20 year old could not clean this up without help. I have tried to be positive, but have given up. I am ready for help from the Dept of Family Resources, but I know I will be hated forever by all family members if I called them. My father made me promise to look after her, but she won't let me. I am like you, brandywine1949. What should we do? I am tired of the pretending. Rebecca
Hi, I have been in the same situation as both of you. It was my grandfather though. He has dementia, he is a disgusting slob, and he was really mean to me most of the time. The authorities can try to hold you responsible. They really can't though, there isn't a law that says you have to do anything. If you were living with them, and you were being paid to take care of them, or if you were doing their finances for them, they probably could. Just because you are their child, and you are around doesn't mean that you can get in any trouble. These adults that you are talking about are just that. They are adults. They can vote, they are over 21 and they can do as they please. As far as the hoarding goes the health department could condem the house if it is really that bad. What I would try to do is to go into the house and clean, even if they scream and throw a temper tantrum. They can't live like that, this is a moral thing. If you call your social services on them, they will try, and maybe succeed at putting your loved ones in a nursing home. They will take all of their assetts, and in many cases they DO try to blame the family, and they are nasty if you disagree with them. Good luck. I did let my granpa go to the nursing home, because of social services, I did not agree, and am still mad, I refuse to see him in there, even though I have POA, and health care proxy. Social services bend the laws to work in their favor, even when they are wrong. Although, I tell you, life is a lot easier now. I don't have to worry about him on a constant basis. So, good luck.
One of the most challenging things is recognizing when your parent’s health or physical capabilities are starting to decline. This can be hard for children to acknowledge so it’s best to first talk with your siblings to get on the same page. Try to have a conversation about what each of you has noticed with your mother- what behaviors have changed? Remain open minded as each of you may view the situation from different perspectives. What does your Mom’s dementia look like? What signs have you noticed? If you can all discuss the changes you have seen with your mother it is easier to then work together to address your concerns. Try involving her doctor, addressing your concerns to him/her ahead of time. The doctor can help evaluate how far along your mother’s dementia has progressed and bring up your concerns. Hearing concerns from an outside party can sometimes be easier for the senior than hearing it from direct family. Remember if you have concerns about your mother you don’t have to remain silent and agree with them.

Share your answer

Please enter your Answer

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support