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MIL won't eat, bathe, or go to dr apt. She always had eating disorder and was a hermit. She wants to sit alone all the time and watch news. When she has seen dr in past, she does very well with normal questions they ask like who's the president, yet didn't remember it was her bday last week. She thinks dr and insurance companies are a scam so the few times we've gotten her to go to dr, she refuses follow up apts. lately she refuses to bathe or wash up even. We bought ensure to supplement her tiny diet(again, according to her sister, anorexia began in teen yrs) and now the only things we can get her to eat is ice cream and ensure! She blames us for not eating, coming up with any one thing she doesn't have on that day, such as a new loaf of bread, however for past 6wk we bought new bread and threw each loaf away untouched! I spend an average of $300 every 2 wk on her grocery lists(this does not include the ensure and things that we buy in bulk) but 99% ends up rotting and never takes a single bite! She lives alone in one of those neighborhoods that have changed dramatically over past 20yr, but REFUSES to move, especially if it's a place that she can't sit in front of TV and smoke!!!

We have absolutely ZERO help with her. She has an older child(only daughter) who is a hard core meth addict and only comes around if she's stealing something or trying to get money. We have power of atty for her and after struggling a few years finally got her checkbook away from her bc she was writing so many large checks to her daughter that her water would get disconnected bc she didn't have funds left to pay her own bills! But luckily, we've gotten that part of things under control. Now we are afraid if someone sees how skinny and dirty she is, that we could get in some sort of trouble for elder abuse. On the other hand we've been told since she's 'of sound mind' we can't FORCE an adult to do anything they don't want to do????

I'm at my wits end trying to do what's best for her with nothing but fighting from her. My mother has Alz and is so much easier to take care of than my MIL!! Any advice you may have would be greatly appreciated. Again, we can't even get her to go to the dr for years at a time and a few times when we've actually gotten her to an office if it's extremely busy, she's freaked out and left. I just don't know where to turn for help for her as well as protecting us from any abuse allegations! It should be clear to the outside world we aren't elder abusers, we help take care of both my mother and my grandmother as well. they are both clean, well fed, go to all their apts, live in clean houses....It's just his mother refuses all these things, even fights us when we try to clean at her house! Can't handle anyone in her home more than 30min at a time without getting very anxious and upset.

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Based on direct personal experience, at least do an audio recording of your conversations with her about her refusals to care for herself. Ideally, ask and get her permission to do the audio recordings. At a minimum, let her know you are recording your conversation with her. Talk to her attorney, if she has one, to see if s/he can be of assistance in convincing her to get some help. I would still call APS and let them know you are trying to help. Even if they can't do anything at the time. Have the doctor (hopefully she has one) write a note to APS reporting her as danger to herself if that's the case.
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The suggestions about documenting, witnesses, etc. are really good. You need to protect yourselves here. Sounds like MIL is mentally ill, has been most of her life. The fact that she worked does not change that. I don't think you can do much and frankly I would save my energy for family members that can use and appreciate your help. I guess I'd tell her outright about her disgusting, selfish attitude and then move on. If you can show you tried to help, she refused, you should be safe.
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You are not a Guardian until a Judge issues the court order appointing you.
What is in the DPOA is simply a nomination, a recommendation, it is not binding on the Judge.
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We have durable power of atty for healthcare in which DH and I are both listed as guardians should one be needed and we have the tradition POA to handle business type things for her. These were both done 7yr ago after DH father passed away by an attorney. I know the healthcare POA looks different, more involved than the one my father has for his mother which I believe is titled a living will.

DH spoke to his aunt about the situation and she spoke with a friend who is over a home health agency as well as her SIL who is an attorney. According to her, they both said there was nothing we could do because you can't force an adult to do anything against his/her own will, we just needed to keep encouraging her(helpful huh?) The metaphor we were told is like a drug addict puts poison in their body and doesn't eat and even tho it's not only a danger to them self it's also illegal, a family still can't force help! she is an extremely intelligent woman, and was a social worker herself for 30+ yr. DH once mentioned if she didn't start taking better care of herself we would call APS. She responded they can't make me do anything. Then proceeds to talk about requirements to remove someone from home, etc.

I offer to help her shower, at least get in and out of tub with a robe on & sit in the shower chair we bought her but she flat out will not get out of her tv chair and refuses. I've offered just to help wash hair in kitchen sink(she's done that since teen yrs) but still refuses. I believe the bathing is a few things. First the fear of falling that she won't admit, but also, when her husband passed away, he was about to take bath that morning & fell over face down into tub(died of heart attack, not drowning) She only has one bathroom so it's only option in that same tub. She's never said this, only my thinking.

Surprise---- she's never been a hoarder although her DH was before passing, but the personality characteristics are similar. Hers is more anxiety because she wants to be alone I think. If we're there more than 30min at a time, she will usually tell us it's time to go!!! It's just me and DH, no children she just wants to be alone, watching her news and smoking cigs all the time!!!

Another question, if anyone has any insight, would APS look at the drug addict daughter as a danger to her and require her removal from the home for that? She doesn't consider her daughter a danger, but we do. She doesn't have a car so when she comes by it's some scuzzy person that brings her. She's never actually done anything to her mom or threatened her that we're aware of. And MIL would never say she's scared of daughter. She's seriously a bigger enabler than anyone I've ever seen on Dr Phil!!!! Just wonder if we could use this fact to help us protect his mother?

Sorry for so many questions, I'm just trying to find a way to protect her and ourselves. I'm only 35, my mother has early onset Alz and is in much worse condition than my MIL, it's getting to point I'm going to have to stay with my mom everyday bc my father is too young to retire and although my G'Ma is in pretty good health, at 84 she's beginning to have problems so I'm taking her to dr apt as well. MIL not cooperating is making it very hard for me to juggle all 3!!!! I just don't know what to do!

Oh and last thing, the personality of MIL, controlling, anorexia, debating about everything, being a hermit is basically how she's been for DH entire life, so it's not old age changing her...

Thanks for any help you can provide.
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Whoa- I just re-read your post and you mention she gets upset when you try to clean. That sounds like hoarding, and it's classified as a mental illness now. I'm even more convinced she needs a placement. Hoarders can be rough on the family. You have my sympathies.
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Another issue is her social anxiety, with visitors, "crowds" in the doc office, and failure to make follow up visits. When we put mthr on anti depressants she rejoined the living world. :)

Refusing to bathe can also be a phobia on a bigger scale or simply being afraid of falling from aging, dizziness, or reduced sight.

I like the idea of you getting POA with you listed as potential guardian, then pursuing guardianship if she won't agree to additional services.
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I would be seeing an attorney about Guardianship, because she sounds like she is no longer making competent decisions. Far better that you start the ball rolling with the authorities than waiting for them to call you.
You petition the court and specify that she is at risk and needs to move to a facility. Let the judge decide.
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I am hoping you are meticulously documenting, everything, saving receipts, keep cell phone records, I would even make videotapes of your encounters where she is refusing to eat. Keep recording all these attempts by you to get her help. Also bring along a friend of yours and do this on several separate occasions (explain to friend that they are being used to be a possible future witness, that you are sincerely trying to do everything you can to help mom).
If you develop enough witnesses and documentation you should be able to "defend" your innocence.
But the bigger picture is, maybe you should set aside what you are doing and call in your county APS to do an eval. If she truly has anorexia, and possibly dementia symptoms, she is a danger to herself and should at very least be admitted for both psych and med inpatient eval. The doctors & social workers there might be able to keep her there. If you are POA, are you Durable POA? Better check on what type you have. Some POA's are no longer valid when someone's incapacitated, some only become valid IF incapacitated, and also is yours for financial or medical as well? IF mom is incapacitated then you MUST arrange for her medical welfare, even if she doesn't want it you must get her to doctor and have treatment made available.
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