My 77 year old mother in law lives alone in Tennessee, my husband and I live in Florida. He is an only child and a she has no close family or friends that live near her.
She was diagnosed with Poems (Polyneuropathy, Organomegaly, Endocrinopathy, Monoclonal protein, Skin changes) back in March of this year and was in a nursing home for a few months but insisted on leaving the home and going home and there was nothing we could do to stop her (we tried). She is now stuck at home alone 24 hours a day 7 days a week (that cannot be good for anyone) she is wheelchair bound, and cannot drive. She is now showing signs of memory loss such as forgetting things that she would normally know off the top of her head, she is also taken to hoarding as well. She is starting to say hurtful things to my husband, things that would have never come out of her mouth before, and making irrational decisions that make no sense, she also bothers the neighbors all the time, and we have caught her in quite a few lies as well. We don't have any help with her and cannot constantly fly back and forth from Florida to Nashville every time she starts acting up. My husband is in complete denial about all of these things and keeps making excuses for her or saying that everything will be okay. We have taken her car keys away from her so she won't attempt to drive.
I am not sure if there is anything that we can do to keep her safe. And I don't know how to get my husband to see that everything is NOT okay, so that we can do something before she hurts herself or someone else.
Any advice that I can get would be greatly appreciated.

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You say that your MIL is ‘starting to bother the neighbors’. Next time you go, could you talk to one of them, explain your problem, and let them know that it might help for them to call APS? That might avoid problems if you did it yourself, and might involve a third party with some power putting the deal to your husband.
Helpful Answer (1)

I had to Google POEMS and boy howdy, it's not a good disease to be burdened with, huh? Plus it's fatal. Has your hubby ever Googled his mother's disease to understand what obstacles she's facing now and what likely lies ahead? I mean, being wheelchair bound ALONE is reason enough to be in Assisted Living! How on earth does she function ie: toileting, showering, cooking, grocery shopping......the list is endless, really. It's incomprehensible to me that DH is burying his head in the sand about ALL this, especially as an only child. If he's relying on YOU to do HIS job, it's time for a Come To Jesus Meeting with him, pronto.

Contacting APS without your husband's knowledge isn't a good idea in my opinion. I think you both have to present a United front together in order to tackle this problem. I also doubt MIL is giving ANYONE POA because she doesn't want to go back to a SNF. So again, the THREE of you have to come together to talk turkey about Mils future and how to proceed orchestrating it to everyone's liking. Assisted Living is a lot different than a nursing home, and a place she may truly enjoy.

Part of the equation will probably involve moving her closer to you, which is what I had to do with my folks, as an only child, in 2011 when dad had to stop driving. When dad fell and broke his hip in 2014, I had no other choice but to place both of them in Assisted Living (from independent living) where mother still resides today (but in the Memory Care annex; dad passed in 2015). Once she is closer, you can look at the .local ALFs and get her to agree to live in one, especially with LTC insurance.

In the worst case scenario, DH keeps his head up his butt, MIL falls and breaks something requiring rehab after the hospital, they refuse to release her back to living alone, and then she has no other choice but be placed. So, she plays nice now, or the rules change in the not so distant future and then she has NO say in her own future. And hopefully by then, you haven't moved out to a lovely apartment of your own leaving DH to clean up the entire mess HE'S created.

Good luck!
Helpful Answer (6)

Thank you everyone for all of your advice. I forgot to mention that my mother in law has the best long term care insurance that she paid her whole life for and that her and my husband are refusing to use. This is taking a huge toll on our marriage.
I am not sure how much longer I can handle this. I have tried everything including paying $16,000 out of my own pocket to take care of her (if she would have waited 17 days longer in the nursing home we would have been reimbursed for). Instead she snuck out of the nursing home and went home while my husband and I were on vacation. I could never imagine doing this to my own children.
My husband refuses to listen to anyone other than what his mother says and I don't know how much longer I can take this. I can no longer feed into this delusion that he believes his mom is going to live forever.
Helpful Answer (2)

I'd call the local Adult Protective Services to let them know that you think she is in need of services and that you and your husband are willing to help, but that his mother is in denial. Leave them your phone numbers! My mthr's APS found us through the internet. Until APS steps in or something major happens, I don't think there is anything you can do to change her.
Helpful Answer (3)

If she has no family or tight network of friends what is keeping her in TN? Would she consider a move to FL to be closer to her son and DIL, i mean if presented in a way that makes her still feel independent “mom I sure wish you lived closer so i could see you more often, have you more a part of our lives. I would move to TN if I could but my work, here in FL would you ever consider moving closer to us?” Then the discussions could move on from there, senior living, AL, in-law apt, whatever but the move wouldn’t be about her incapabilities it would be about her sons longing to have his mom closer...she might even then come up with what might be easier for her if she were closer rather than you using it to convince her because often all they hear is “you can’t do this anymore” and like any of us they reel against that, rather if they think it would be so much easier not having to do this or that on my own anymore it’s just easier to accept the help. Talking about how your afraid she will hurt herself or someone else is just reminding her that everyone else sees what she already knows and that may make her want to prove everyone wrong.

Also while as you know many of the cognitive issues you are seeing probably signal some Dementia, these are also all things that get worse with isolation, the brain is a muscle after all and not having people to talk to daily, getting out and exercising her brain will often cause decline as well as things like not hydrating well enough (another symptom of inactivity too) getting her either set up with activities that create human contact (going to the senior center or adult day care, terrible name, church events, even PT appointments) using a transport van service, check with her local public bus transportation and or Agency for Aging to explore the options, might help a lot. You may very well find that getting her engaged and at least communicating with people more regularly will greatly improve some of the cognitive issues you are noticing, I’m not saying it will eliminate dementia but it very well may reverse some of the current symptoms and slow down the progression. Of course moving her closer to you will help create these things not to mention make it easier for you to set up stuff, i just know that might take some time... She is lucky to have a DIL that cares as much as you do and your husband is lucky to have you picking up the slack, it’s hard to face the decline of your parent and overwhelming to think about what it means to you as the only child, putting it off especially when it isn’t in your face every day is a very natural thing to do.
Helpful Answer (4)

Have you contacted Adult Protective Services in Nashville and asked for help?

As far as your husband goes, there really is nothing you can do. If he feels comfortable wearing blinders, he will continue to do so. He may not be emotionally equipped to do anything. He may be overwhelmed at the prospect of losing his Mum and pretending everything is OK allows him to not think about it.

My brother and I and each of our parents are very different. Mum wants to have conversations about what she wants when she gets frail, my brother thinks she is focusing on death. He does not realize she at 85 has seen some very ill equipped families struggle. Dad lives most the year in a suite at my brother's house, they both do not think long term. My brother did not notice that Dad's teeth were breaking off, yet, they were Dad's front teeth and obvious. Willful blindness.

I understand your frustration.
Helpful Answer (6)

Does your husband have her Durable Power Of Attorney? If not that is the first step. Then have her mentally and physically assessed, then proceed from there, possibly placing her in AL.

As for your husband, if he hasn't gotten it so far, he won't in the future. Many men are very weak when it comes to their parents, especially their mothers.
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