My mom fell in April of 2016 (at 92 years old) and broke a leg. She was living with me at the time and when she came home from physical therapy (ie,the nursing home) ..they had her wearing diapers. That shocked me as she'd never had to wear them before. I got her out of having to wear them by buying her a portable toilet and putting it by her bedside. She went to the bathroom by herself and cleaned herself. She was defiant totally about letting me help her with that and she seemed to do fine on her own, and I was not going to force her to let me clean her. She was 92 and I was not going to argue with her about such a thing. I cared for her by helping her get around the house each day and I'd help her get to her favorite chair and to the toilet and back and on and off her bed.

Before long she recooperated fully but still needed help to walk and get around the house. In December of 2017, her knee began to retract and she couldn't straighten her leg. At the same time it became obvious that a UTI had come about again, as she was becoming a bit confused and I began to recognize that usually was the symptom of a UTI which she was acquiring now and then since 2014. I decided it was best she goes to the hospital for a checkup. I had an ambulance pick her up and take her to the hospital.

The Dr at the hospital decided to put her in a nursing home, I thought for therapy, but I was told by the state that she was not coming home and that she needed 24/7 care by professionals and that she could not get that same kind of care at home. I had to admit that at that point in her life, they were right. I'm 63 and I cannot do all that the staff at the nursing home is doing for her. She was beginning to need more help in the last two months that I was caring for her and I realized it fully by the time I sent her to the hospital. Even still, I was expecting her back home through the entire month of January to continue to care for her and us live together as we had been, her as my mom and me, her son, us both having great times together every night. We were both up nights and slept days, we both loved it!

The first week she was in there, I asked her if she wanted me to continue to pay her bills via her account, she said yes, so I did. I was told on February 5th that she was not going to be able to come all!! a whole month had gone by that I thought she was going to come home and I'd been buying her stuff from with her money via her permisson-a special mattress that disperses air randomly to prevent bedsores, a new walker, quite a bit, as well as paying our bills (her name was on the bills and I paid rent). I was told by the financial manager at the nursing home, later closer to March, that I was not to supposed to be spending ANY of her money from her account at all!! But later, a woman from the state called, (the office of Guardianship) and she asked me if I wanted to become my mom's guardian and I admitted that I could not take care of my mom as well as the nursing home. I was horribally disappointed to have to admit that and my depression was immense. But this same woman also told me I could go ahead and pay my mothers bills with the money from her a account and I got the impression that as long as it wasn't spent on me that it was all good. So I began paying her bills again in March..the next thing I knew Adult Protective Services told me I was under investigation for exploitation of her funds. Also for neglect. I'm like what??

Yeah.. when she went in to the hospital she had bedsores, retracted knee and she was dehydrated and had bruises. Her brusies were due to my helping her around so often. She bruised easy. Also skin tears were something that I had to contend with now and then but I gauzed them bandaged them and they'd heal. Her bedsores I had no knowledge of because she didn't complain of pain and she was cleaning herself. The state said that's no excuse. I laughed..really?? But if I forced her into pulling off her pants to let me see, I'd be spending time in jail for something much worse. I wasn't going to argue with my 93 year old mom and force her into letting me scan her butt..period!! It wasn't worth the possible heart attack or stroke to upset her like that. Also the UTI and retracted knee are what I sent her to the hospital for and the dehydration is something I never suspected, as she was constanlty drinking juice, coffee, tea, water, soda...she was versatile.

Anyway, that case is still is the exploitation of funds. My sister and I were both misled about paying her bills and told 2 different things. Financial manager at the NH said he'd have the state direct my mom's check each month directly to the NH, so I thought that's what the nitwit was going to do. Instead I found that in the almost 6 months she's been there they still have not gotten control of her account. My Cousin's name is on her account, not mine. Instead of dealing with her, they've been harrassing me..the morons!!

Dennis -- I'm probably going to post this advice to more than one question.

Every caregiver, especially family members, needs to meet with an Elder Law attorney the minute you even suspect Mom, Dad, whomever is having problems. Even better -- meet with an Elder Law specialist before there's a whiff of trouble which avoids questions about the individual's competence.

Laws and regulations governing Soc. Sec., Medicare and Medicaid for elderly / disabled are complex, vary by state and Fed / State laws are sometimes contradictory. Benefits and available services differ. Financial issues are incomprehensible by us mere mortals. Guardianship, POA, Revocable v. Irrevocable Trusts, Medicaid Trusts, planned gifting / transfer or spending down assets (including real estate) and even divorce where applicable are all perfectly legal "stuff" that need to be evaluated and set in motion sooner rather than later.

In fact, anyone over 50 should sit down with an Elder Law attorney for an hour and find out about options and responsibilities. If / when the time comes, you and the attorney can start drafting documents that take into account your situation and resources plus those of the person facing loss of independence. It's important that financial, physical and medical wishes of the maybe-soon-dependent individual have an opportunity to express how they want to be cared for and participate in making decisions that will affect remainder of their lives. The process is very eye-opening.

This may sound like its only within reach of rich people. And yes, you can spend $1,00 - $10,000+ on attorney's fees. Depends on how complicated you and the family want to get. But even a free consultation or paying $300-500 for an in-depth meeting/review of options and obligations is well worth it. If you have to eat beans, give up your cell phone or let a couple of bills slide for a few months, at minimum you'll pick up critical info on options and how to avoid getting into trouble no matter how noble your intentions and efforts are. Laws, administrative regulations, etc. don't discriminate between doing wrong thing for good reasons or doing wrong thing(s) for personal gain.

Sorry for long response, but.... I've been thru what you're experiencing once with my mother and it almost ruined my life. Starting to go thru it again with my better half and we're working with an Elder Care attorney to protect assets and house and ensure Medicaid can't claw back money spent / transferred during 5-year look back period. My partner is older than I am. I do not want to wind up destitute and homeless in 10 years when he passes. We really can't afford the attorney's fees ... but more so, we can't afford not to make the investment.

It's never too late to contact an Elder Law attorney and get in front of issues or liability various agencies might trying holding any caregiver accountable for. Best of luck to you.

How is your Moms NH being paid, privately or Medicaid. If privately. I don't see the problem. Medicaid is a different thing. Once in a NH permanently no money can be spent out of her funds unless for her care. Hopefully you have receipts to show what you purchased feeling she was returning home. These were for her care. Also, bills being paid assuming she was coming home. Once she was permanent it is now the NHs money if on Medicaid. I allowed Moms home to be payee for her SS and small pension. Out of that she will have a personal needs acct (PNA) where you can get reimbursed for things the home does not provide like clothing, shoes etc. In NJ its $50 a month. Moms home banked the money for her. Allow the APS to investigate. They may find nothing. You r a man taking care of a mother. I agree, she wouldn't be showing you anything. My Mom got very modest with her Dementia. To the point, I asked not to have male nurses undress her. You could tell it bothered her.

I think you can justify your spending and conversation with the state for guardianship. I hope you have her POAs. If not guardianship maybe good. Someone needs to make decisions for Mom.

Bed sores, hope they took pictures for proof. Documentation can be exaggerated. My daughter has seen patients come from hospitals with bedsores. Actually her facility was sued when bedsoreswere found after a patient passed, not a day after admission. My daughter was a witness and had to testify the family was suing the wrong facility. She was the admitting nurse who had given the woman a physical.

Good luck

Dennis, please don't take this as criticism, but I tried to read your post but found it very difficult to follow long messages w/o paragraph breaks. I kept losing my place trying to skim forward and backward to find and isolate the critical issues.

Can you synopsize and repost just the relevant facts, such as how and why the situation arose (just summarize the medical issues - detail isn't necessary), who took what action, what you've done and what the situation is now.

I'm not unsympathetic to your mother's challenges, but often times the medical issues don't provide that much helpful information on the question.

Also relevant is whether or not your mother executed a power of attorney and whether it's durable or not. Also, has she executed a living will or other document that allows you to make medical decisions on her behalf?

Again, I'm not trying to be critical, just trying to figure out what happened.

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter