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We've been having issues with my MIL for the last 4 years. We live in another country but we bought a house and had a handicapped apartment added to it for her. If you look back I think you can see all the problems we were having with her.



In Dec. she fell 5 times in 8 days. The ambulance service that came to pick her up ended up calling an agency and reporting her as an endangered senior. They came out to evaluate her and decided she was fine. She had someone come in mornings M-F for 3 hours to clean, run errands and get breakfast and lunch and someone that came in 6 nights a week to bathe her, get dinner and clean up the mess she made after the morning person left. Everyone agreed that it would be best for her to move but she was not declared mentally incompetent (shocker!) so she could make her own decisions. The state agency even agreed that she was competent.



When we were home for 2 weeks at Christmas we told her she had to move. We told her we had found an AL place where some of her friends were. We asked her if they could come out and talk to her and she said yes. Unfortunately they said she didn't qualify for AL. She will need to be in a nursing home. Luckily this place had AL and a NH. We took her to see the nursing home side and she reluctantly agreed to go "for a short time". It's a nice place, everyone has their own room. They allowed her to get rid of the bed and bring in a lift chair to sleep in. She has enough money that she can live here for 6-7 years as a private pay patient.



The problem is - she's ready to go home. She's only been there 1 1/2 weeks and she keeps saying it's time to go home. And the facility can't keep her if she gets it in her head to ask someone to come pick her up and take her home. Although, she won't be able to get in. We had so many people that came and went (aides, ambulance, police, visitors) and she kept handing out the code to unlock the door anytime someone came over so we've changed all the codes. Since we're so far away, we didn't like the idea of someone possibly breaking in since they knew we were gone.



And one of her children came and cleaned out all the food in the house. What was usable they kept for themselves, what was outdated they threw away. Also some of the furniture is gone. We had to burn her old lift chair (bought a new one for the NH) as it was disgusting. Poop and pee all over it.



I'm guessing since the state has said she is competent, there is nothing we can do if she just gets up to leave. Has anyone had this problem? If so, do you have advice on how to keep her there?



Thanks!

Dear Royneberg; it's so nice to se you posting again! And kudos on getting MIL into the NH.

She might just be blowing smoke, you know. When you speak with her, be non committal. We'll see. You need to talk to the doc. Have to wait until the next fiscal quarter. Whatever you need to say.

How realistic is it to think that she can get herself home? Is anyone at the NH doing anything to facilitate? Because while they technically can't keep her from leaving, I don't believe they are required to lift a finger to assist her going home.

THey are also required, at least in my state, to make sure it's a " safe discharge".
Call the SW at the NH and ask how much assistance they are going to provide if she insists on " going home"? Will they check out her home beforehand? Will they ascertain that she has care, food, a bed, in place?

Make sure your family understands the game plan, and not to play into MILs manipulation.
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I'm sure they won't lift a finger. We keep changing the subject or telling her we'll be home this summer to see how she is doing. If she's doing her exercises, going to PT as they've requested, getting stronger then anything is possible. Originally she refused to go to the dining room. Demanded they bring her meals to her room but we bullied her into going to lunch last Sunday. Told her that hubby was calling from the airport to get a report so she went. She's been pretty good since then going down for most meals. We're hoping that it's just getting adjusted but they did tell us that she's mentally competent so unless the medical POA forces the issue, there's not much they can do. And since the state was just out the first week of January and said she's competent he doubts he can get guardianship of her. In fact, he's just washing his hands of the whole thing. He pays bills but hasn't visited her for the last year - and he only lives 20 minutes away.
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She doesn't have to be incompetent to be in a home. She must have fit the criteria when she was evaluated. Fallng numerous times is a problem. Do u have POA? Talk to the facility and make sure your on the same page. Tell them Mom has no place to go and no one to coordinate care in the home.

Sounds like a nice place to me. Room of her own is a plus.
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Royneberg Jan 16, 2019
She fit the criteria to be in a nursing home but is adamant that she doesn't belong or want to be there. In her mind the ambulance crew are paid to come pick her up. She is physically unable to get up herself. She's never really hurt herself when she falls. All in all, last year they were called an average of once a week, we have no idea why it escalated. We do not have POA. My BIL does. And he refuses to visit her. We are in regular contact with the NH via email so they are aware of what she is telling us in our calls and aware of changes we made with the house once she left.

MIL's thoughts right now are that she'll just go back home and hire someone to come in to help her from 7 am - 8 pm 7 days a week. With her issues while this will help with the falls, this won't help with her other issues.
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Wow, she is fighting for her independence alright. My dad died in 2002. I then asked my mother to come live with me. She has Parkinson’s disease. At that time, the disease hadn’t progressed to the point of not being safe alone but she could no longer drive and so forth. I was driving back and forth to take care of her (50 miles), to grocery shop, banking and so forth. She was an independent woman like her mom, my grandmother (strong German lady) and wanted to stay where she was. I respected her wishes to remain in her home.

Then came Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Her home had 9 feet of water and she looked at me and said, “I guess I will move in with you now.” She felt she was too old to rebuild. The city was like a war zone after Katrina. It took a major storm to get her out of that house!

Did she have a hard time adjusting to moving 50 miles away from the city into the burbs? You bet she did. She slowly came around. It’s a grieving process of losing the life they had before. Understandable, I had an adjustment period and I was in my 30’s when I moved here. Harder for a senior citizen, set in their ways, they have a routine.

It may be as you suggested, a period of adjustment. That is natural. Everything is different for her.

You know that you made the right decision. My mom falls too. Falls are dangerous and they get hurt. She can’t go home without round the clock care and it’s exhausting.

I’m 63 now. My mom is 93! There are days I feel like I am 93 too. Vent anytime. We’re here to listen and hopefully you will find help in some capacity. Best of luck to you and your family.
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Yes. I placed my mother in a nursing home on a respite. On the day of my grandmother's funeral 1000 miles away she tried to discharge herself twice. But the nursing home called the police. Then she called her brother who lives an hour and a half away but has only seen her once in two years. He drove three hours down and turned right around when they asked him to sign a caregiver agreement that he was going tobe responsible for her. So then she called her nurse! Who actually came!! I left her an angry voicemail. Calling her an enabler not a friend. And she never sealed the deal. Then the day of respite ended..not only did the nursing home discharge my mom but told her she was a hazard to other residents and she would never be allowed back. They set up a wheelchair transport system that brought her home at 10 pm at night! Nuts. So anyway i set up a caregiver tobe there to meet her. Not only did the electric wheelchair lift get stuck and the fire dept had to be called to tescue her but she also dismissed the caregiver. So around 12 she called me and said i can't get into bed, I'm hungry and I'm all wet. I said where is the caregiver?!? Then she told me she dismissed her. Ugh!! I explained she would have to wait til the morning because I was still 1000 miles away. I had a neighbor some over. This neighbor took pity on her and ended up helping everyday til I came back. That was 6 months ago and I have ended up as primary caregiver again. She refuses to leave or go into a assisted living. I have no idea what to do. Still looking for a solution. A lil depressed 😞
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Royneberg Jan 16, 2019
Wow! I would be more than a lil depressed. So sorry.
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Did she get a diagnosis from a Neurologist or a Geriatric physician? I would presume this would take president over the state's opinion. It does not sound (by how you prescribed her behaviour), that she should live alone.
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Royneberg Jan 17, 2019
She's been diagnosed with mild dementia. The thing is, she's a very smart woman. She was in the Mensa society. Her reasoning skills are still there for the most part. But she falls and can't get up. She poops all over the house and just leaves it. I'd find poop all over the house in strange places - for example .... I found a whole bunch of poop wadded up in toilet paper on her bookcase shelf. She would poop on the carpet and then cover it with something and tell us to leave it . If she didn't feel like getting up to go to the bathroom she'd poop in her chair. We had pads on the chair but she'd just sit in it all day. It got so bad we told her she had to shower everyday but she would say she did but she didn't. So we started paying people to come in 6 days a week to give her a shower. She had sores on her bottom from sitting in poop all day. Her handicapped apartment shared some vents with our house. You could smell her as you entered our front door at times and that is with her apartment on the total opposite side of the house. I really don't understand how someone so smart can hoard poop. I spent a whole day trying to get the poop smell out of the house once we moved her. We'll have to rip up the carpet and replace it.
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Applying for involuntary guardianship may be appropriate. A judicial hearing could assess her judgment ability and a social worker coukd assess her safety risk in living alone. If she is not able to live or condict her affairs without significant assistance/oversight, then she is a risk to herself, has clear diminished capacity and requires oversight. Poof! You can be appointed her guardian, and tgen you make all decisions for HER.
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Royneberg Jan 17, 2019
We live in Norway and she's in a nursing home in Illinois so I'm not sure how feasible it is to apply for involuntary guardianship. BIL has medical and financial POA but has basically washed his hands as he's pretty disgusted with her. He pays the bills but that is it.

The state sent out a social worker when the ambulance reported her as an endangered senior but with the help we had coming daily they said there really wasn't anything they could do. :(
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If there is no HOME to return to, the issue is a done deal. Remove the escape hatch! And refuse to get conned into in home care in YOUR HOME!

But, if you had to go that route, THAT is YOUR ESCAPE HATCH. YOU control access to your home, and if caregiving becomes unsafe, YOU can force a move to a NH facility. You can evict folks. It sounds harsh when I say it this way...but from my perspective of 5 years caring for my MIL and another member of my husband’s family, I am over living in someone else’s home, caregiving on THEIR TERMS. I did it because my husband loved his mom and I love him...it was hard, but we did it. But it has had a negative impact on my health over time. I now resent the choice we made and the hoops she and others made us jump through. I wish I had not stayed in the relationship and allowed it to end
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