My brother put my mother in a locked senior care against her will. What rights does she have?

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She hardly has any dementia.

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Hi dgAging,
Seniors with dementia can "fake it" in the early to moderate stages of the disease, meaning they avoid difficult questions, give generalized answers and use diversion when they feel they can't answer. It's difficult to notice this in the beginning. (Check the "show timers" posts on this board.) She may seem normal when you visit for short periods but, if you were there for days on end, you may notice the confusion, possibly like your brother has. My mother held a great conversation on the phone for 5 minutes a day and I had NO clue. It was only when I went to visit for Christmas that I realized that she had dementia!!! I left after 3 days to find her a senior residence near me. She stayed there for a year and a half until she got more confused. I had to start taking her checks and credit cards, then pay the bills, then take her medications away because she was mistaking a vitamin for a Tylenol! The lack of bathing was the last straw.

This is a not a decision made easily or quickly. It is as if you are judge and jury and have sentenced your parent to a locked memory facility when they can still carry on a conversation (of sorts).

Do you and your brother talk frequently? I'm surprised that you wouldn't have prior knowledge of her confusion and that he was about to place her.

I can't imagine that a locked senior (memory?) facility would accept a patient without a doctor's history and physical, not to mention the facility's admitting doctor. You could ask the director of the facility to show you the paperwork for admitting her. You can then contact her family doctor. The locked part is due to wandering, as explained by other posters. It also restricts who enters without the staff's knowledge.

Your brother must have power of attorney for your mom. I do too. It's a hard call as to WHEN to put the confused parent into memory care. In my case, my mother would get up and go down to breakfast at 3 am, hid the phone in the closet, stopped bathing, got paranoid that I wanted to steal from her, molest her and physically abuse her. It was time to place her in a secure memory facility for her own protection. I couldn't wait for further confusion to set in and find her wandering in the street in the middle of the night.... or worse.

Do you see your mother frequently or do you live far away? Have you and your brother been in communication about your mom? Have you asked your brother as to WHY he placed her there? Has she done strange things lately? Could she hurt herself or others? Did she live alone? There are many more questions that you would need to have answered before you could even suspect "foul play" or a wrong decision.

Go spend many hours alone with your mom in the facility. You will see the unveiling of her confusion as the visit goes on. Maybe you'll understand why he needed to place her there. Ask your brother to explain his decision to you and reserve your judgement until he finishes his story. Maybe he wanted to "protect" you from the awful truth that the mother you share is declining with dementia.
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dgAging, a locked senior care sounds like your Mom is in Memory Care. Such facilities will not place a person in such care without doing an evaluation to see if this care if right for that patient, apparently it was for your Mom. Wonder if your Mom has "sundowners" where in the late afternoon and into the evening she becomes very forgetful?

My Dad was in Memory Care due to sundowners which I didn't realize how serious it was until the Staff had a meeting with me. As for the facility, anyone visiting would never know it was a locked facility. The doors are locked in the evening. The resident has free range to the floor they are on, they can go to the TV room, the library, or visit with other residents. They just can't leave the building, which is for their own safety.

Where my Dad lived, the residents were able to go outside to enjoy the gardens and sit to enjoy the sun or read outside. The Staff knew which patient can go outside and which patient can use just the sunrooms.

I am also curious as who told you that your Mom is being held against her will? If it was Mom, please note that patients with dementia have a stage where they tell "stories", and can say the most outrageous things with such confidence that you believe what they say.
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A patient's rights advocate can interview your Mom.
Find out who that is in your area.

Tell us more, don't feel threatened if people ask questions to help you prove your allegations.
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"hardly has any dementia"--just wondering about how involved you have been in mom's care to this point? Not judging, just curious.

IF you asked my 3 MIA siblings how advanced our mother's dementia is, they'd say "She has dementia?"---yet as a PT caregiver I see it and live with it constantly. She can hold it "together" at the occasional family event for just long enough to seem OK. Spend more than 1 hr with her, one on one and you are pulling your hair out.

Before you huff and puff your way to brother's--take a deep breath and be calm about it. He will immediately go on the defensive if he feels at all threatened. This cannot have been an easy decision.

Also--we have a "locked" sr care facility in our neighborhood. All it means is that the doors lock at night and some of the patients who are known to "wander" must wear some kind of tracking device that sets off the alarm. They can certainly go on outings, in fact, it's encouraged!

Try to be calm and figure this out.

And, would YOU like to take mom into your home if brother won't/can't?
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Your Mom needed evaluation to be put into a facility. Even Medicaid has their own nurses who evaluate. If private pay, then Mom is paying for it. If Medicaid then brother had to prove her income. He had to have POA to do this.  You sound like she is in jail.  Most NHs and spoke AL are lock down.  It protects the residents.
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Your mother has the same rights as any other citizen.

If she has been detained in a secure memory unit, and she has not consented to this, it seems very likely that her dementia has advanced to the point where she is no longer able to make rational decisions about her own care, and she poses a risk to herself and/or others.

May we ask where you're getting your information? Only from your mother, or from other sources too?
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"Hardly any dementia"? Whose assessment is that?

Please take the view of neutral fact-finding in speaking with your brother and find out what led to her admission to memory care.
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Are you living near your mother? I wondered because it is illegal to falsely imprison someone in the US. Facilities take people based on medical recommendations of the needs of the people. If she is not incompetent and is able to care for herself or live with you, then talk to someone about how things happened and what you need to do to change the living arrangements.
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