First I want to thank everyone for any and all answers! This forum has been my salvation for the past two years and I’m truly grateful!
96 year old Mom still lives alone in a senior apartment. She gets a senior meal delivered daily and has Peapod deliver her groceries. She is struggling with bathing and washing her hair. She also fell trying to get into bed one night and rather than call us for help, she slept on the floor. She does have the “button” to push for the rescue squad, but didn’t want them to help her. We’ve tried to convince her to move to AL but that only pushes her to talk about buying her own house (no way will we help her do that). My sis and I are visiting her nearly every day, but we don’t think that’s enough. How do you help someone stay independent? She has to go outside for a haircut, doctor appts, dental appts, etc. She doesn’t want to leave her apartment so everything is a struggle. She is deathly afraid of breaking her hip. I see now we should have moved her into AL from the beginning, but that’s not happening. I think she’s too frail to move again. I know others have said you just have to wait until something happens, then move them to AL, but what about until then. How does an independent senior who is unable to leave their apartment get those things done?

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Either YOU do it FOR her or it doesn't get done. Barb is spot on with what she's saying to you.

You can continue running yourself ragged in an effort to keep a super stubborn mother home and "independent", or you can stop enabling her independence by not doing everything FOR her. That's not independence at all.....its just plain stubborn willfulness at YOUR expense.

Best of luck
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Sometimes, you have to throw in the towel. Stop helping her.

You have to say "Mom, I can't do this any more" and mean it. As long as you're shuttling her around, why should she move?

Don't talk about Assisted Living. Talk about what YOU are going to do and NOT do. "Mom, Winter is coming; I've been told to limit my driving to the bare essentials because I'm deathly afraid of (falling/crashes/my arthritis). You'll need to make other arrangements to get your errands done".
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In a perfect world, Mom would wake up one morning and say she’d like to move to AL. That will never happen. She’ll deteriorate some more, maybe have a fall and end up at best in the hospital, then maybe she’ll go to a nursing home. Meanwhile, I’d like to keep visiting her, taking her to the doctor, dentist, beauty parlor, etc. But it’s going to be winter in Wisconsin and I don’t want to take her outside. Have you ever found people who are willing to make house calls? I’m sure the dentist can’t. Why do all these commercials convince people it’s okay to age in place? That part is driving me crazy! I took her to get her hair done and thought we were going to break her trying to get her on a booster seat in the chair. Very scary for everyone involved. She made it through that but I need to figure something else out 😑 At least in AL the workers involved would know what they’re doing.
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dogparkmomma Oct 2019
She is 95. She can skip the dentist maybe. How often is she going to the doctor and for what reason. See if you can spread out time in between visits. In your area, you are just going to have to make calls looking for a mobile hairdresser.
she is frantic to try to turn back the clock and be who she was. That can never happen. She really does need to move.
my in-laws were similar. I had been working on them for quite a while with no move agreed to and a lot of sleepless nights on my part. Finally instead of telling him, I started asking FIL what he wanted, and what did the future look like for him and his wife whose dementia was worse than his. He knew he needed to make a change but he could not figure out how. So somehow he finally agreed. Your mother is like a frantic cat, hanging on with her claws out in terror that needing more care means The End. if she moved to AL they had facility doctors who come there and on site beauty shop.

the only other thing to try could be a winter residence program so she can go temporarily for the winter. I am in Illinois so our Midwest winters are harsh.
I know it is so hard on you and your sister worrying about what will happen to her. We do understand and we are sorry. I’ll
It sounds like her days living independently are numbered. She either needs a lot of help for many hours a day, which I think might only be a temporary band-aid, or she needs to be moved to an AL or to a NH.

Sometimes you have to do what is right and safe and at some point the person without the capabilities to care for themselves is not really up to them. They never WANT to move but sometimes they NEED to be moved. Not easy, no doubt.
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She really isn't very "independent," is she?

My mother was like this. She was showering once a week, because it became so difficult to climb into and out of the tub. She refused to hire anyone. (She did agree to have a housecleaner come in twice a month, which became once a month when the housekeeping agency said she didn't need it every other week.)

She eventually was hospitalized (gallbladder) for 17 days, then rehab, then permanent placement in a NH. She said she didn't want to go to AL, and she never had to (she jumped over that whole step).

How are you and your sister going to deal with your mother's increasing capacity? Are you going to help her bathe? Is someone going to be sleeping at her apartment to make sure she's safe? Do you want to do that? Does she want you to do that?

My mother's mind was going, but not enough to meet the (very low) bar for mental competence. Very frustrating!

Who is the successor trustee for the trust? What happens when she dies or becomes incapacitated? She really does need a POA and HCPOA.
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My Mom doesn’t think rationally in my opinion. She is depressed and grieving over her loss (first my Dad, then her dog, and finally giving up her home when she moved to IL). Her doctor has tried treating her with anti depressants, but she won’t take them. She is angry and argues that “she doesn’t want to be happy, what does she have to be happy about”. All of her assets are in a trust fund. She will never give us POA. As long as she is able, she will be making the decisions. She looks daily for another house to purchase so she can do the things she used to enjoy. That’s irrational. We are hoping she’ll agree to have helpers come in, but she fired the last ones. That still doesn’t help with haircuts, doctor, and dental appointments. How does that get done?
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Can she still think well enough to give her choices? It is possible that another fall would put her in hospital and rehab., possibly even nursing home. Would she be willing to chance that, or go to AL now?

The good side of where she is now and the visits daily from you or your sister is that when she falls again and won't push button, someone will find her within a day.

As for hair and bath, someone from a care-giver agency could visit her once or twice a week and include bathing in their visit.
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There are programs available, like Seniors Helping Seniors. I paid $20 an hour for a senior to come in and help my mother, ran me about $100 a week, the senior would do whatever my mother needed help with.

I hope that you or your sister has your mothers Durable POA as it appears that someone will have to be making her decisions for her.

My step father is in a wheelchair, we recently moved him from AL in AZ to here in Fl, He made the move just fine, why not have your mother evaluated to determine if she is too frail or not. I wouldn't just assume.

Sending support your way.
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