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My mother in law lives alone, denies being an alcoholic and has increased her falls and drinking over last 6 months. Now with 2 broken bones in her arm .We are leaving Florida to care for her in Buffalo but we need a long term plan and have no idea on resources. Anyone have advice? She is of sound mind so we can’t force her out but she just can’t be alone any more. Makes too many bad choices

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I would not move to care for an alcoholic. There is no good answer. I would go to Al-Anon long before I considered this move. Your being there will change nothing at all. You are right you can't force her. If she won't move into care then this will end where it ends, and it usually doesn't end well for alcoholics, but then, it is one option. Their choice. You won't stop her bad choices at all, you will only suffer for them and have given up your life on some sacrificial altar; you will get no thanks for it, only frustration and possibly illness of your own. I am sorry, but for the alcoholic who doesn't want care and help there is no answer. Not everything can be fixed. This of course is your choice, but please make it with your eyes wide open. And go to Al-Anon before you make this move.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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To expand on what AlvaDeer wrote, I would not move to care for an alcoholic. I certainly wouldn’t move FROM Florida to Buffalo NY! I wouldn’t move from Buffalo TO Florida for an alcoholic!
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Reply to SnoopyLove
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Being of sound mind means you can’t force any changes. She’s free to drink to excess, fall (which is a very normal part of aging with or without alcohol) and refuse help. Try to find out if her documents for POA for healthcare and finances, a will, and advance directive are all in order and adequately state her wishes. See if she’s receptive to moving to a place where help is on site or having help come into her home. If all help is refused you’ll have to accept her decision. If you find the situation is truly desperate consider calling Adult Protective Services to get her on their radar. Most all forum participants here would strongly urge you not to move in with her or have her move in with you.
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Reply to Daughterof1930
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YOU don't need a long term plan, SHE does.
You can help her make the plans. And you can encourage her to do so but if she refuses there is not much you can do. Or if she does not follow up with the plans you can't do much.
Often a family has to wait for a more serious crisis.
What would happen if for one reason or another you could not leave the warm balmy, sunny Florida in the dead of winter to go to cold, dreary NY?
The answer is she would either have to hire caregivers that would come help her out or she would have to go to rehab until she is able to manage caring for herself. Maybe this is what she needs to make her realize that she needs to make plans and follow through with the plans.
Is she a candidate for Independent or Assisted Living? Is that an option?
If she is increasing her drinking and that is increasing her falls this could be a Merry-go-round that you will be on for the rest of her life. At some point she will fall and that fall will be fatal. Either directly or indirectly. (one being the fall would kill her or she will lie on the floor for days before she is found and eventually die because of that. Neither a good outcome)
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Reply to Grandma1954
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I don't see where you say you are 'moving' to Buffalo. You do say you need a long term plan & have no idea on 'resources' which I'm not sure what you mean. So, your MIL may be of 'sound mind' right now and she may not. Excessive drinking for a long time can lead to alcoholic dementia and/or Wernicke Korsakoff Syndrome which is a form of dementia. Many elders are in Memory Care Assisted Living who have WKS from excessive drinking. Just a head's up.

It's good that you're going to Buffalo (hopefully for just a visit) to scope out the situation. If MIL has a home there, it can be sold to finance her new life in Assisted Living. Surely you are not going to uproot your entire LIFE in FL to be her live-in caregivers, right? If you are, that's probably a HUGE mistake b/c you can't save a person from herself. You say she 'denies' being an alcoholic to begin with, meaning she has no intention to STOP drinking. Which means she is going to continue to fall and deteriorate mentally/physically, etc. How to you plan to pick her up when she falls? Don't do it yourselves or YOU will wind up in the hospital! Call 911 when she falls. Have the EMTs come pick her up off the floor. After you deal with this mess for a while and see/feel what your default future looks like, THEN you can plan your next move. Or HER next move, better yet.

If she refuses to sell her home and go into AL, then you may have to leave her to her own devices and wait for a crisis to happen. Then she goes to the hospital/rehab who refuses to release her back to living alone. THIS is when you get to move her into AL or into a Skilled Nursing Facility with Medicaid if she has no money to private pay. Unfortunately, this is the predicament many of us find ourselves in when we're dealing with stubborn elders who refuse to move but NEED to.

It's not your job to prop up an alcoholic and give her the illusion she's 'independent' at YOUR expense while she continues drinking herself to death. Keep that fact in mind as you plan your next step in this mess she's created.

Best of luck.
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Reply to lealonnie1
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If she's of sound mind, you literally can't do anything. She has every right to kick you out or refuse help, so sadly, you'll probably have to wait for a bigger crisis than this before you can realistically do anything.

The best thing I'd advise is to help her get her affairs in order for that eventuality -- will, trust (if she has property and investments), POA, and Advance Medical Directive. If she gives you grief, reassure her that the POA won't take effect until she's deemed incompetent by two doctors. (I'm assuming she'd never grant immediate powers of attorney.)
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Reply to MJ1929
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Kindly advise MIL you have concerns. Let her know you can listen if she wants to tell you want's going on for her. Alternatively, if you don't want that role, point her to her primary Doctor for referral for counselling for support.

The process of aging, health changes & downsizing is a huge adjustment. Many need a good listener to work their way through it. Then, with support, to come up with their own plan.

Note, SHE must do this. You cannot make this adjustment for her.

So advise where to go for support & help.

Without too much doom & gloom, mention the choices are hers but also any consequences are also hers.

Be a friendly contact who telephones & maybe visits (distance permitting) from time to time.

It is not within your power to fix old age for her.
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Reply to Beatty
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Why do you think she is an alcoholic? Elderly people fall often without a cause. How much does she drink? If she is alcoholic you will not be able to make her stop drinking. Have you ever attended an ALANON meeting?
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Reply to gladimhere
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To find resources, go to the Care Topics at top right of screen, then click on the alphabet – A for Assisted Living, N for Nursing Home, etc. That will tell you what is probably available, and help you to understand when you start checking things out in Buffalo. Also check A for Alcohol.

However, whether available or not, it doesn’t mean that Mother will accept them. They won’t support a full bottle alcoholic, and so an alcoholic won’t agree to go. If M is legally capable, you can’t force her. Taking her as a live-in with you is bad bad news in most cases, and even worse with an alcoholic.

Do your checks before you burn bridges by moving. We have had many posters who have simply had to accept that there is nothing they can do. There is no magic wand to stop substance abuse.
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Reply to MargaretMcKen
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Much good advice has been given to you (and I'm working from the premise that MIL is definitely an alcoholic and there is either history or proof).

My only addition is that your husband should be the one to come to the understanding that "help" may not look like what he thinks, as I am guessing she may have been an alcoholic for a while. He may be co-dependent with her and a well-meaning enabler (or not) but like AlvaDeer suggested he should attend some Al-Anon meetings so he (and you) can create clear and healthy boundaries in this situation. If you don't you'll be on an exhausting merry-go-round with her until she has a profound and fatal incident. Consulting with a therapist experienced in dealing with alcoholics may be time, money and effort well-spent before you journey down the path before you.
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Reply to Geaton777
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