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Mom, 87, lives on her own with very limited funds. My father passed some six years ago. I live over 60 miles from her. During the last six years she has taken advantage of friends, church, sisters and her children and grandchildren by asking for cash or services. She is in a bind with credit card companies and is upside down on her mortgage. The bank doesn't want the house back so has re-mortgaged her home and equity loans. She recently called her brother-in-law, my uncle, and he sent her $500.00. Her physical health is fair, she still drives, but her mental health has always been in question -- untreated bipolar since she was a teenager (according to her sisters). Now, she wants to move in with me and my husband. I've told her no, that I couldn't care for her, but would help her find a place she could afford. She said I wasn't compassionate and hung up on me -- our usual conversation ending. At this point, I don't know what to do.

I just wanted to add that a gerontological social worker is an expert at meeting the biopsychosocial needs of old people like your mother. Part of their job is to connect old people with community resources. They coordinate care for old people who need a number of services. They work to coordinate care over a period of months, years, and sometimes decades. They work to coordinate different levels of care.

A geriatric social worker can help your mother - and you or anyone else in your family who wants to be involved - examine your mother's needs and determine how to pay for services. They will assist your mother in applying for needed services and deal with problems as they arise. They also can help your mother fill out various other kinds of paperwork including advance directives.

Gerontological social workers will assess your mother's functional capacity. They have some expertise in recognizing the difference between normal and abnormal aging processes and will refer your mother to medical professionals as necessary.

Basically, a geriatric social worker can get the things done for your mother that you can't because your mother won't let you. Your mother needs professional help because there are many things wrong in her life, and emotions (both yours and hers) get in the way and cloud judgment.
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Reply to NYDaughterInLaw
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I applaud you for not agreeing to move her in with you and your husband. She's manipulating everyone around her and they are the ones who are enabling her. Perhaps the best help you can offer her right now is to get her a consult with a geriatric social worker. If she refuses to go, say something like "that's too bad that you won't accept the help I am offering" and go about living your life. She will either reach out to you again at which time you offer that consult with a geriatric social worker, or she won't. People like your mother require professional help.
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Reply to NYDaughterInLaw
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She sounds smart enough to manipulate! Not saying that she doesn’t have real mental health issues. She very well may. I agree with everyone who posted and said you do not have to invite her to live with you. She will make you miserable!

You care or you wouldn’t be asking about how to deal with this. Consider this affirmation of what you already decided was best. You are correct in not wanting to open the door to a nightmarish situation.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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When I think of "enabling," I think of it in terms of helping a person continue their bad, self-destructive behavior, as for example, giving a person money they say they need for gas or food when they have a history of spending it on drugs or alcohol.

Your mom is 87 years old, possibly bipolar (mental illness), probably untreated, and financially insolvent and historically incompetent in that regard. She does need help because leaving her to her own devices is not a recipe for her suddenly becoming either competent or solvent. Not helping her means there is a good chance she will end up homeless and then victimized and then tragically dead, another sad statistic.

That's probably not what you want for your mom. But it doesn't mean you have to take her into your home. Help her to find the resources she needs. Be a guide and support to her, as others here have suggested. There are other options for her than begging and using people, she just doesn't know what they are.

Blessings to you and to her going forward.
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Reply to DesertGrl53
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NeedHelpWithMom Apr 8, 2019
Wonderful answer! Compassionate and honest!
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Sounds like she just expects people to help her, and likes to guilt those who don’t or can’t as uncompassionate.
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Reply to LoopyLoo
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NeedHelpWithMom Apr 8, 2019
Yep, she sounds like she has developed a pattern of behavior.
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You did the right thing. Hang in there! You might consider finding her an apartment closer to you if you want to be able to look in on her more often, but you have no responsibility to take her into your home.
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Reply to TNtechie
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Is she competent? Do you or anyone have POA? If she can safely live independently, in our area, there are lots of senior housing that charge rent on a sliding scale basis (pay what you can afford).
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Reply to againx100
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pitter Apr 8, 2019
We both went to see a counselor who said she should consider someone to have her POA. She screamed at the counselor and said no one would have a POA. She wouldn't talk to me for a month after that visit. As far as being competent, I think is a matter of interpretation as she is able to get what she needs through manipulation, refinancing, lying and just plain trickery. She recently told a cellular phone company that she has dementia and signed the contract when she wasn't sound of mind. In actuality, she had buyer's remorse when she received her first bill of $115.00. Anyway, the cellular phone company bought her response and cancelled her one year contract. By the way, she's never been diagnosed with dementia. She's exhausted many of her relationships with friends and is becoming more isolated from her friends. She lived with her younger, single sister for a period of three weeks and they had a horrible fight and separated. There are limited senior services or housing in her area so I suggested she move closer to me and she said she didn't want to live in a big city. So, I took her to two assisted living places in her area with long waiting lists that were barely affordable -- she liked them, but wouldn't fill out an application. My husband and I are newly retired from our fulltime jobs, but I still work a parttime job. It's hard to handle her drama.
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