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What to do about a disabled brother who lives in a filthy unsafe house. He has bed bugs, doesn't drive, and refuses to be helped.

Deedee i I would get a 25 pound bag of diatomaceous earth, food grade, and go sprinkle that throughout the house, on the furniture, just everywhere. This should help with the bed bugs.

Wear a face mask and eye protection when applying, it is powder fine, yet completely safe for humans. It is what they put in grains that are stored to stop bugs.

Sorry filth is one thing but bed bugs get shared everytime he goes out and that is not fair to his community.

Best of luck, he probably won't even notice the white powder all over everything.
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Beatty Mar 16, 2021
I used to pick up the dirty depends on the floor, collect the dirty dishes to wash & spray the roaches, but the next day it was all back 😣.

The mess is a symptom. Cleaning it up doesn't cure the underlying problem unfortunately.

It is a big task to take on someone's else's mess full-time, even if they do want your help.
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Yes, if he is considered competent he can live like he wants. But, there has to something wrong mentally with someone who chooses to live like this when someone offers help.

I got involved in a situation a couple of years ago where a woman I know was removed from her house by APS leaving her 400lb 40 yr old challenged son behind. His challenges were minimal. He talks intelligently but his has had problems since he was a child. He kept in touch with me thru messenger. His neighbor were calling APS because of the smell. APS kept saying he could live that way. He kept saying he couldn't wait for his Mom to come back, they never told him she wasn't. I ended up calling a friend who had worked in the County system. She had worked with him and mentioned he cannot live alone. She called the health department, they removed him from the apt. He is now in the same Nursing Home as his Mom.

Maybe you should try the health dept. I would think bedbugs would be a health hazard.
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You are in the club now - the *awaiting a crises* club.

If/when Brother has a crises, hopefully you get notified (as NOK). Then you can ask for Social Worker input, Mini-Mental - Neuro Psych eval if appropriate, see what's going on for him. Sometimes it's depression or other mental health issues, sometimes poor mobility, maybe poor reasoning & problem solving skills. Sometimes people admit to health workers that it's getting too hard to look after themselves but they won't tell family: pride, shame, stubbornness. But also independence & not wanting to be a burden (he is of that stoic generation).

Be his advocate once his crises hits.
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Deedee, let it go. APS said your brother is competent and can live In squalor. Then let him. You can’t force him to move or clean up his mess.

My 96 year old mother lived alone and was competent and a hoarder. APS told me the same thing. Nothing you can do about it, so let it go. Let your brother live the way he wants to.
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Needhelpwithmom, I know it will s so sad. An elder lawyer told me we can’t just go around taking rights away from people just because they are a hoarder and make bad decisions. Heck , Charlie Sheen makes the WORST decisions and he still has his rights, lol.
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Deedee,

I'm so sorry that you feel like you have to be your brother's keeper.
I understand how that feels

My older brother was a wreck! I tried to do everything I could to help him, but to no avail!!
In the end, he took his own life. And although I'm still devastated, I know I did what I could! Some people will never except help!
It sounds as though your brother is like that.

Maybe have a conversation with him about what his final wishes are? Perhaps that may open his eyes to the fact that you've done all you can for him.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink!!

God bless you for caring about him!!
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I believe Protection Services use a sort of squalor & hoarder scale (where I live anyway).

They look out for rancid food, uncared for pets, animal or vermin waste.

I'm guessing here the brother refuses to let any cleaning service in? As can't see the need.

Things may have looked better with his helpers around, but as they have left (or are leaving) - I'd call APS to check on him.

I have a relative that could not cope alone without daily Aides. If left without Aides, the Doctor told me to inform their office & they would contact the authorities.

It's a hard one. You have my best wishes. Let us know how you get on.
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He Deedee, you say your brother is disabled but in the other post you answered he is competent. Is he only disabled physically? My son is disabled but I have legal guardianship and he is turning 29.

Unfortunately, APS is right in telling you he can make bad decisions if he is competent. My 96 year old mother was a hoarder and gambling addict. They all said there was nothing anything anyone could do. She was competent and could live alone in her hoarded making bad decisions.

There is no easy answer. If you can’t get your brother to the doctor to ge tested again for competency, you have no choice but to let go and leave him be. It’s the law.

There is nothing you can do for him if he refuses without guardianship. It is a horrible situation to be in. I was watching my mother deteriorate and begging doctors and elder lawyers and social workers to help me. They all said the same thing. She can live any way she wants since she is competent.

Unless someone is a danger to themselves or someone else nobody can intervene. I’m sorry you are going through this.

Unfortunately, someone making bad decisions does not = incompetent.
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NeedHelpWithMom Mar 1, 2021
Isn’t it sad? People reach out for help and don’t receive help.

Lord knows that you reached out for help numerous times for your mom throughout your caregiver days!
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Sorry - you GAVE him a house?

That was incredibly nice of you. Why?
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I have called and they say he is mentally competent and he can live how he wants . The two people who have been helping have given up. They said he is too filthy to take anywhere the house has bed bugs and they do not want to help any more
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I agree, send a report to APS for his location. I also agree that there isn't much else you can do. You live in a different state, presumably you're not in close touch with anyone who sees him regularly? - or with friends or others who might be concerned for him? What sort of help do you think would make the most difference to his quality of life?

Your profile explains that your brother is 72 years old and has difficulties with mobility and with his vision. I'm not challenging what you say, but just asking - how do you know that his house is filthy and unsafe? Is this a long-standing issue with him or has there been some recent event or deterioration that has brought the problems to light?
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Deedee47 Feb 28, 2021
It is long standing . I gave him the house he lives in . He has let it decay. As he has aged he has gotten worse . He cannot take care of himself but he refuses help
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Report him to Adult Protective Services in your area. Call your local Counsel on Aging for resources. There is very likely very little you can do for someone making these choices. I am so very sorry. This has to be so difficult to see.
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Deedee47 Feb 28, 2021
I have reported him. They went to visit he said I lied and they said the house is filthy but he is allowed to live with as many bad decisions as he wants
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He may have undiagnosed, untreated depression. You can call APS and report him as a vulnerable adult. Without you having PoA or guardianship, there is not much else you can legally do without his willing participation in his own betterment.
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Deedee47 Mar 15, 2021
I have called them
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Maybe he isn’t capable of helping himself.

Have you considered contacting organizations that could help him during his time of need?

They could teach him skills that could be used to help himself.
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Deedee47 Mar 15, 2021
The ADP people were there last week. He knew I called. They say it is squalor but he is mentally competent. There are few help organizations in his small town. With COVID they are stressed also.
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