Hi Everyone,
I am tasked with being the caregiver of my 84 year old grandmother who lives 3.5 hours from me. My grandmother has 3 children, two daughters and a son who died 7 years ago. So it is my mom and my aunt that are still living and they both live within 15 minutes of my grandmother. My Granny never trusted that her children would do what was right in reference to taking care of her and her finances, so I have been on all of my grandmother's accounts since I was in middle school, I am now 43.

My granny has Alzheimer/dementia and is an alcoholic. She literally goes through a case of beer every two days and a pack of cigarettes everyday. She lives at home and refuses to leave her house and move into an assisted living facility and based on my feedback from social workers, she can't be forced to leave her home. I do not think it is safe for her to be at home by herself given the Alzheimer and drinking. She almost set the house on fire last year because she forgot that we no longer are using her oil stove to heat the house and tried to turn it on and the fire department had to come out. We are using electric radiator heaters to heat her house during the winter for safety concerns. The house is also falling apart, the ceiling in the bathroom and den are literally sloping down but she refuses to leave this house.

My mom doesn't have the tolerance to deal with my granny so I have been paying ( yes PAYING) my aunt to go check on Granny everyday. This doesn't seem to be the best situation because my aunt's idea of caregiving is taking my granny to the bank every other at to get cash to take her to buy beer and cigarettes. My aunt is a money hungry and is only motivated by money. She takes my Granny to the bank and the grocery store every other day because my granny gives her $20 in gas. Mind you the bank and grocery store are 2 miles from my Granny's house. Who accepts gas money from their mother???

I would like to not have to deal with my aunt but at this point, I have to deal with her because she is the only one that will go check on my Granny. I am looking into hiring a professional aide to come in and check on my Granny, the problem with that is I KNOW my Granny is not going to be receptive to having a stranger coming into her house which is why I asked my aunt to check on her.

My question is for you all is there ANY way that I can leverage my granny's Alzheimer's, drinking and the condition of her house to force her to leave her home? I honestly think she would be better in an assisted living facility because she won't be allowed to drink and smoke all day long there and there will be someone there that can check on her. My aunt essentially is an enabler and doesn't try to encourage my granny to do better, she just stock piles her house with beer and cigarettes. My aunt also wants my Granny to come live with her but it motivated by money because she wants to take over my Granny's social security and retirement income. I have my granny's financial and medical POA. Any advice will be helpful, I am so exhausted constantly worrying about what to do. I feel like my hands are tied because my Granny refuses to leave her house, so I am stuck dealing with my aunt.

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I don't know a lot about alcoholism (thank goodness I haven't had to), but if Gram is drinking 12 bottles of beer a day, I understand that abruptly stopping might be harmful. I'm sure you'll consult her doctor even if you have the authority to take drastic measures.

I think in your place I would contact Adult Projection Services in Gram's area. Explain that you are worried that she is at risk for self-harm, and that her environment is not safe. APS will investigate.

Realize that we value independence very highly. Adults are allowed to make their own decisions about how they will live -- even very bad decisions, even self-destructive decisions UNLESS it is "proven" that they are not competent to make such decisions. What is Gram's attitude toward going to doctors? Do you think doctors would find her competent or not?

I guess I'd start with contacts APS.

Everything depends on whether Granny is still considered cognitively competent. Competency is determined by nueropsychological testing...and you need this in order to determine whether you have a legal right to go against her wishes. If she is competent based on neuropsycholotgical testing, then, you aren't able to force her out. Essentially she has a right to live "badly" and in a high risk situation. If she is not competent, then that is another matter. You can actually have her forceably removed from the property and into care. I think the first step, before all else, is to have her assessed. You can do this by speaking with her doctor who can arrange a referral for testing. Then you can go from there. But she aint going to like that!  And may not even cooperate.  The other route is to try and get her to listen to reason - to you asking (begging) her to move into care so that she doesn't burn the house down - so that she does this on her own accord. Good luck. Not an easy situation!

Oh, Liz--trying to manage this from 3.5 hours away.....
I would think the first step would be to go to Granny's--assess the situation yourself and start from there. Call APS if necessary. Sounds like Granny is a position to really hurt herself.. and is oblivious to it. Also, she's killing herself slowly with the drinking and smoking--perhaps she's aware that moving to ANY kind of NH is going to curtail both those habits almost entirely.

AS medical POA, you can do some things that will "force" her to a better situation. I'm sorry you are in this alone.

Granny will refuse to leave b/c in her mind, she's doing exactly what she wants, on her terms.

If you can get to her--set up some dr appts in advance and do as much pre-planning as necessary. People do get taken against their "will" and placed in NH all the time. She's gonna be mad, but you're essentially responsible for her well being. What a burden for anyone--esp when you are not close by.

You know in the back of your mind that she is going to burn the house down or something catastrophic---better to deal with the anger she has now and keep her safe.

Probably time for a thorough physical checkup and the "hope" that her mental state has deteriorated to the point where she does not have the power to make her own decisions. Good Luck.....

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