My mother in law (73) was recently diagnosed with Macular Degeneration. She has other health problems such as high blood pressure, depression, and I believe she is diabetic. She has a pinched nerve in her back for which she had a cortisone injection and that seems to be helping. Her leg was going numb on her when she would walk. She still has trouble walking and just shuffles. She walks so slow and it is hard for her to walk any distance.

She is not a good advocate for herself when she is at the doctor. She is afraid to ask questions so when the doctor told her to go off of her anti depressant med she just quit it cold turkey. She didn't ask and they didn't tell her that was not the way to do it. She ended up taking it again because she was so miserable. (She now has a new doctor for this issue).

She has also been hoarding for at least a couple of years. She has not been able to sleep in her bed or even enter her bedroom because of all the junk. I worry about her starting a fire because there is junk on every surface including her stove. My husband has tried to get her to start getting rid of things and she agreed to get rid of some clothes, but she told us she had to iron the clothes before she could bag them up. She spent 2 weeks getting 8 bags of clothes ready.

She is not apposed to moving but we would like to encourage her to move to the place she can stay in for a while. Because of the Macular Degeneration diagnosis, where should she go? After talking to others with this disease she is convinced she has two years of sight left. ( I don't know if this is true or not).

What is our first step here? She is very independent but I don't think she should be.

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I agree with all of the above.

This might not be an issue, but does someone have durable and medical POA for your mother in law? Being a medical POA for a loved one places you in a great position to be their medical advocate both when she sees her doctor or goes to the hospital. Being durable POA for someone in her condition would be beneficial for her in the long run.
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Can you or some family member accompany her to every doctor appointment, actually going into the exam room with her? Sounds like she needs an advocate.

What do you mean that you believe she has diabetes? Has it been diagnosed? Does she take something for it?

I agree with sharynmarie that a thorough understanding of her medical conditions and their prognosis would put you in a better position to help decide her living arrangements.
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My mother was diagnosed with Macular Degeneration about 15 years ago. It has not progressed. Of course she quit smoking around the same time frame and smoking does play into it. There are 2 types wet and dry. I suggest you talk with her eye dr. to find out more information as to what type she has, what is recommended to treat it, and how it progresses, what are her options for living independently. Don't go by what others say, get the facts from the dr. Don't rush in to take her independence away until you have more facts. As far as the hoarding.... that is another issue and one that is emotionally charged. Your mil does not sound like she qualifies for snh. Assisted living would be good, but she can come an go as she pleases and if she has emotional issues such as hoarding...that may complicate things. First, get more info on her diagnosis. Them go from there. Good luck and keep us posted.
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