What do I do when I can't take care of my mom anymore?

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My mom, who's 83 and has been diagnosed with dementia, came to live with us 2+ years ago after my siblings took everything she had. They were all up in Washington state. I was kept in the dark but tried to do the right thing and bring her to live with us after her other 2 kids died of alcoholism. This is a crazy long story so I’ll try not to ramble...I brought mom home and got her with Kaiser/Medicare. She's had cataracts removed from both eyes and a total knee replacement as of December 2106. She's basically mobile but prefers to be left alone to watch her TV or read. She's "seems" to be coherent only when she wants to be and manages her bathroom and eating habits as long as we clean up after her. I have to remind her all the time and she doesn't like that at all. But, these are her personality traits as long I can remember so we have been patient. We are being forced by the IRS to close our small business after 30 years because we are not “solvent” on paper. Since we can’t pay over $80K in back taxes, now my 71-year-old husband and I must “get jobs”. So, we must file bankruptcy, and move in with my son, his wife and 3 little girls under 7. I am 63 and have health issues of my own. Right now, anxiety has me shaking so bad I can barely type this. Our lease on our rental home is up in August. We CANNOT take my mom with us and there is NOBODY else in her family alive that can take her in. PLEASE HELP!

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I feel SO much better than a week ago after read everyone's Q & As on this site! I've made more progress than I would have thought possible just reading your advice and stories. Thank God for all of you...You are in my prayers always and I am certain that with information and due diligence we will all succeed.
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Grateful, you are in a very difficult and uncomfortable position that is doing no one any good. Not you or your husband, but not your mother either.

Your mother needs support and practical help that for very sound and fair reasons you simply cannot provide. But as long as you are there on the record, with POA and attending appointments and actively involved, the agencies that otherwise would be responsible for ensuring her basic needs are met defer to you. Of course they do. How many families would appreciate being overruled or overtaken by external authorities? As long as you're there, nominally in charge of the decisions that your mother cannot make for herself, they expect you to do the work.

You do have the option of resigning your POA, formally writing to your mother's doctors and her case worker to inform all concerned that you are unable to act for her. They would then be forced to take over and make the necessary applications and decisions. The major problem would be the problem you originally faced when your brother sadly passed away: that you baulk painfully at the idea of "abandoning" your mother.

What I suggest is that you sit down with a big sheet of paper and list all of the things that need to be done. Such as...

researching and inspecting facilities
negotiating placement
organising finances
having your mother's loss of capacity formally established, so that your DPOA comes into force
physically moving your mother and her belongings
deciding what to do with her property, including real estate
liaising with medical and care teams...

... and meanwhile, which should have started some months ago by the sound of it, supervising her day-to-day welfare.

I suggest that you can't do this. Look at the time involved, look at the mental and physical demands. You and your husband are no spring chickens, and you have your own health to consider. It isn't a matter of callously abandoning your mother; the point is that her needs far outweigh your ability to meet them, no matter how much you would like to.

Talk to her case worker again, and be very clear and frank about the true condition of your own and your husband's health. Your family has already lost one brother through attempting to please your mother; and here's the key problem - where did that leave your mother? Neck deep in the soup, with nobody to care for her. Don't make yourself another futile and needless sacrifice. The job needs doing properly, by people with the right resources, authorities and expertise to do it.
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OCWoman
My friends sister lives in Orange County. Sister lost her husband back in October. Long story short sister was in bad shape (practically catatonic) my friend ( who lives in NM) called area on aging who contacted Kaiser. They came to sisters home and got her medical attention and gave her options. Because she has a condo with equity ( still facing foreclosure) and is much younger (68) she might have more options than your mom, but still the AOA social worker told my friend to call her back when sister had one month left before being removed from her home and she would help place her. The psychologist from Kaiser was amazing and encouraged sister to move closer to her childhood home. It turns out sister has been rescued by other means but the help was there. The choices weren't great in OC because Sisters SS was too low to pay for INdependent living or ALF but they were told there were more reasonably priced facilities outside of OC.
They did look in OC and found long wait lists on the better places and some of the places were really shocking to them. I wish your family well. I hope you and your husband will be out on your own soon and your mom finds a safe place.
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countrymouse....its so so crazy...I had to get my mother to her family dr for her arms burning...its what my mother says is happening to her...but intending to get his take on her mental status..i slipped him a paper stating on it to access her mental status and he said it out loud...my mother immediately became enraged and started yelling and carrying on...the dr saw that and read my lips...asking him to access her and he started asking her questions and she became irate and then I calmed her down and she started telling the dr her same old stories we have heard over 1000 times...after this he said tome he would leave a note ..I sent for the record on that meeting and have it...it says late onset alzheimers...well, I didn't know what to do after that...my mother kept going to emergency at all hours using her alert system she has at home costing her 1003.00 a trip. finally I got the ER to assess her and the dr there said she has dementia and psychosis and suggested to her family dr to reevaluate her. well, then he made an apt with a neurologist and when I got her there the neuro said..what do you need me for..???.....I said what....I told her why and that she couldn't say anything about dementia...she agreed and went into evaluate her and started again on her same stories...and then they finished up and I was in there and as the neuro was leaving I said okay what is her eval. on this and she acted frustrated as my mom can do to people and she said okay she has alzheimers and psychosis and I'm done now wit this okay , next you see adult services ..so an apt was made and I got her in the next day...we live 4hrs away from my mother..i saw the gal in adult protective services and she spoke to mom and said..since my mother is so obstinate and hard to deal with and doesn't want to go into any form of assisted living that I'm going to have to get guardianship .....just so she is safe...so my mother once again was assigned a case worker to see her...the gal came once that I know of...so far...they are only interested in me getting guardianship and even that takes time...my husband and I have to come there and have so many times in between our own health issues....we are home now because my husband had several apts as he is 70 and just came through cancer...and we are due back to her house again for her roof and ceiling being taken care of through her insurance company. I was able to get durable power of attorney and power of attney for her health and a will ...so....I have been ill and stressed out to the max....I don't want to do guardianship...I want things to just work themselves out but I was told if I have power of attorney then I can be held liable if anything happens to her because she is alone in her home. my husband is frustrated at that...my mother has a lot of power and as affected many lives to the negative..however, I need something and I'm going back to her family dr and let him know I didn't get much out of that so called neurologist...we will be moving there but have to be careful as we aren't rich to buy a house...I don't want to live in my mothers home...I would rather sell it and put the money from it in her account...it will help pay for her stay at an assisted living or alzheimers unit...
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the only way that VA WILL enter into it...will be when all monies are exhausted ...I have seen this for others seeking care for their parents ..they want to know all means of income and if there are any savings otherwise...my husband is retired military..
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Thank you everybody that gave me good advice and support. There were a few nay-sayers that appear to have their own issues but you can't win them all. Anyway...
GOOD NEWS! I called Kaiser and I was put in touch with an organization that is giving me step-by-step direction on how to proceed as far as tapping into my father's vet benefits while they check on placement availability. I am at work but my daughter is currently going through the boxes in the garage gathering any information that will assist us. I know somewhere in there is mom's marriage cert, dad's death cert., etc.
It is looking hopeful...I will give you all updates. I pray my circumstances will help others that wind up in my boat!
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One of the posters on this thread mentioned a father who had been in the Army? That might bring something in the VA system into play.
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OC Woman,
Let's keep this going until you can work your way out of the issues you have presented here on your question, because it is many faceted, including the tax issues and bankruptcy.
It's not over yet.
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Agreeing with others. You can contact your local county and apply for Medicaid for your mother. Many nursing homes will accept Medicaid payment for their beds. In general, I think filing for Medicaid may take 60 days. But contact as many people through your local county as possible. It's amazing how many people can help you. In my area, the Area Agency on Aging was also administered through our County.
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Grateful, when you say your mother has Alzheimers Disease - but she's living alone, and is shall we say not exactly winning friends and influencing people among the professional caregiving services in her area - has the AD been diagnosed formally, and has her mental capacity been assessed? Is she competent, in the technical legal sense?

It's just that when you say she screeched to a halt over the move to memory care, or AL with memory care, if she does have progressing dementia it will ultimately not be her decision to make. Meanwhile, though, while she is making or being allowed to make these decisions, then let her.

You will indeed go the way of your poor late brother if you allow yourself to get sucked in to a position of responsibility without authority. I appreciate how harsh this sounds, but if your mother makes the decisions then she also has to take the consequences. So that, although you say she's your mother and you can't "let her be like that", unless she permits you to do what's necessary for her welfare you must refuse to accept responsibility for it.

So, where are we? Is she competent or not?
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