I am a POA of my Mom, my father passed away unexpectedly in August. He had been taking care of my Mom who had some back issues, he dies, then the month later she breaks a hip. Mom is in an assisted living facility and she is doing very well with her recovery and physical therapy. She has memory and repeating issues, but is very very sharp on so much, she will repeat and forget but it is not all the time, she hasn't been diagnosed by a neurologist for possible dementia. She knows she repeats, and laughs it off She is 80 and is a very independent, feisty woman. Well, since she has been in the assisted living place, we have been telling her that this is a step down place for her to get stronger. Well, she is stronger, she is having PT there 3 times a week and her therapist is great. She mentions many times a day that she can't wait to get home, she is ready. Time to go.

I live in another state but spend much time there, with all business deals. etc. I have a few family members who want to keep her there, and not tell her that it is HER money that is being used to stay there, which you know it is outrageous. It is a beautiful place, but my Mom isn't rich, she could easily live there for up to 5 years without any issue, but after that, where and what would we do with her. She has longevity in her family and she could easily live to be near 90. I have been talking to home health agencies, and me myself could go there frequently I am retired. Other family members could help and her neighbors and friends would be there to pitch in too. Mom has a one floor small home and I would love for her to be able to go home. It is heartbreaking not telling her that she is there and it is HER money that is being used to pay. Mom is very very frugal and keeps up with her money issues, asks me every day about her bills (are they being paid) how much is in her bank. I am lying to her, and I know if we don't tell her the truth she is going to hate me too.

She trusts me and the other family members think she should stay there but I think giving her a shot at home, see how she does, stipulate stipulate stipulate that she can't do silly things that could cause her to hurt herself again. I need to discuss this with my family who want her there, I need to step up for Mom, it is heartbreaking to hear her say she can't wait to go home. So much has happened in a short period of time, Dad, her back, her hip, and now being put into a place that she wants to leave. Her room is very nice, but it is a room, the place is nice but it is an assisted living, not a lot of activity (or enough for her) going on there. I need to tell my family that she NEEDS to know she is paying for this place, she thinks Medicare is picking up the cost. Nope.. thank you all.. I am going crazy..

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Your profile says that your mom has dementia, yet you state that she does not have a diagnosis.

There is much more to "living at home alone" than just being able to walk.

You need a professional assessment of mom's cognitive skills, her judgement and her ability to do her Activities of Daily Living. That will lead to knowing what level of care mom needs.

You talk about family and neighbors "pitching in". Does that mean someone ordering her groceries online for delivery once a week, or does that mean that mom insists on an all day trip to three grocery stores to get the best bargains, stopping to chat with everyone she meets?

Does she need a cab service arranged for her to take her, alone, to one doctor appointment a month, or does she need to be helped and transported to three appointments a week?

You see the difference?

Who is mom's POA? Ultimately, THAT is the person who is making the money decisions and who should be talking to the doctors about what level of care mom needs and how to best conserve her money.
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First mistake, not telling her the truth, it is her money. Don't make another one, sit down and devise a plan, starting out with finding out what her mental state really is, then how to manage her future.

She doesn't have to stay in that facility, do the leg work, research others, compare the pluses and minuses, and the costs. Research the cost of home health care, she will need help, a feisty mind does not mean she has a feisty body.

Slow down, think explore all options, this is not about what you want, it is about her needs, both today and tomorrow. Sit down with her, tell her the truth, no more hiding stuff from her, get everything out in the open.
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I think you need to go stay with mom in the AL for a week before you made any decisions as well as get a good cognitive assessment done. You aren’t there every day and overnight so you can’t possible know the true reality of your mother’s condition. If she has suspected dementia then she may be showtiming you. She may be wandering her room at night.

You cant expect friends and family to help her stay in her own home. Especially if she has dementia. They may be willing to help in the beginning but they will either burn out or be unwilling to deal with her dementia behaviors.
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NeedHelpWithMom Dec 6, 2019
So true, Cali. Visiting from out of town is not the same as seeing a person on a regular basis.
I think your first step is getting a more complete picture of your mom’s mental picture. You say there is no diagnosis, it seems in planning what to do next you really need to know what exactly you may be dealing with. If it is Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, finding out more will help you plan better. Sadly, these things don’t improve. After you know more it’ll help you better plan
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Expecting an 80 year old woman who 'repeats' herself a lot and has been through a ton of trauma lately not to do 'silly things that could cause her to hurt herself again' is wishful thinking, in my opinion. Repeating oneself is the first sign of dementia. Elderly people do not do things purposely to hurt themselves; they have poor balance and bad judgment & lack of focus that causes them to fall & injure themselves, let's face it. My soon to be 93 y/o mother has fallen approx. 40 times so far, and that's while she's been in Assisted Living!

I've had my mother in AL (not Skilled Nursing, there is a BIG difference) for 5+ years now, and there are a TON of activities to participate in. Not so much with Skilled Nursing. I agree with WorriedinCali that you have to go there YOURSELF to determine what's happening! Mother's money will run out in approx 18 months now and then I will apply for Medicaid to get her into Skilled Nursing. That's the private pay until the money runs out, then Medicaid kicks in if the person qualifies. If not, you spend down your mother's money until she DOES qualify, then she goes into Skilled Nursing/Long Term Care.

Nobody knows how long a parent will live. What we do know, however, is that they must be kept as safe and secure as humanly possible while they are alive. Living at home with dementia, or with the start of dementia, and being expected to cook, clean, grocery shop, pay bills, or rely on family members to do it all FOR them becomes unrealistic after a while. If she's relying on others to do everything FOR her, then she's no longer truly living 'independently', either. To wait for an accident or emergency to occur before placing the parent in Assisted Living is not a good idea either, because then you're under the gun and stressed out to the max.

As far as the money matters go, I don't give my mother ANY information about her finances. She cannot really comprehend any of it ANYWAY, because my dad took care of all the money matters before he passed in 2015. I took over as financial and medical POA in 2014, and have been handling the finances ever since. I find it easier that way, instead of having to explain every transaction to my mother 100 times. She obsesses over money even NOT knowing how much she has in the bank, so what's the point in exacerbating her anxiety? Again, it's my goal to keep her as safe as possible, both physically AND mentally, until God decides to take her Home.

If you feel you MUST let your mother know about her finances rather than 'lie', then go ahead & do so. But prepare yourself for the additional headaches & aggravation that goes along with having her fight you tooth & nail on every single financial decision you NEED to make moving forward.

Best of luck!
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anonymous978037 Dec 6, 2019
Hi Lealonnie, I appreciate your response. Mom has been through a lot so quickly, and I totally understand it. The unexpected death of my Dad hit us all very hard. Mom, when I say does silly things, she is a clean freak and was straightening a pleat of a curtain and fell. She is pretty good on her feet otherwise. She is 80, but other than the repeating and forgetting, you wouldn't think so. She is very sharp on current events, plans, family activity and other things. I agree, about the relying on neighbors and friends and I do worry about the cooking, and other household duties that she has always been used to.
Mom has always been frugal and has penny pinched all her life. Dad, was another story, she always says that if it wouldn't have been for her, they would have had nothing. She asks me daily about the incoming bills, the money in her checking account and they weren't rich by any means. The way it stands now, she could live in the AL facility for 5-6 years max, and longevity runs in her family on both sides. It hurts me badly when she asks daily about if this is costing her money, again, I tell therapeutic lies. She thinks that since she was in rehab before AL that the physical therapy people sent her to the AL (she doesn't know it is an AL) to get stronger, etc. She has gotten a lot stronger and gets around very well with her walker. She is bored to death there, the place, as beautiful as it is, doesn't seem to have sufficient activities for the residents. The women there, eat and usually go back to their rooms until the next meal. If it weren't for the television she has in her room she would go crazy she says.
I also have a brother and his wife who tell her she is staying at her "new" place and it is the best thing for her, and maybe it is, but the wife seems to have her opinion only to the point of telling my Mom that she can't have her beloved cat there (Mom could have the cat and it might make it better for her) Sister in law really has no business telling me what to do. I feel that I do owe to my Mom to tell her about Medicare not picking the cost of the AL. and the AL doesn't accept Medicare, it is a private facility. It is bothering me terribly and tonight when she asked again (for the 100th time) I almost told her, but I wanted to clear it with my brother. I am the POA and I don't and I am not trying to pat myself on the back, but my Mom chose me to do the business and I have been doing it all, even out of state. I also have medical. I just feel that Mom needs to know. I know I am maybe wanting something that isn't feasible, but sometimes quality of life is more important in my opinion I guess. I do appreciate your response and all responses on here. thanks!
If she needs a village to keep her "independently" at home, and the villagers say that's a bad idea ... then a solution needs to be found that does not rely on them to take on her care. They won't take it on. (Frankly, I wouldn't, either.)

They may see signs of trouble that you can't see as a remote caregiver. (Nothing against remote caregivers. I've been one.)

In any case, there's no way to get people to cooperate with plans they do not agree with.

I do like NeedHelpWithMom's idea - perhaps consider moving her closer to you. Or, you may want to consider moving closer to her.
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NeedHelpWithMom Dec 7, 2019
This is a sensible answer. No one is going to change their mind about being a caregiver to her in her home.

Why should they? It is not their responsibility to do it. Why would they give up their lives?
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I agree with Barb. This sentence struck me, too: "Other family members could help and her neighbors and friends would be there to pitch in too."

What kind and how much help? Realize that you can't direct others what to do. Are these the same family members who want her to stay in the AL place?
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You live in another state. How can you possibly assess your mom’s situation? You can’t. Visiting every so often doesn’t count.

Still, you say she chose you and you have the authority to choose what you feel is best.

Do you really think others will care for your mom and be able to maintain what a professional staff does? Do you really think that you can handle an emergency that may occur being out of town?

As a visiting child you can’t do everything that she needs. It is a lot different than visiting a person in a facility. I did care for my elderly mom at home and it became too much for me.

Why don’t you discuss your concerns with her doctor? Get a professional opinion on where she should be. Ask the doctor to explain that she cannot be left alone.

Then you are no longer lying to your mom. Your profile says she has dementia so what makes you think she could go home just because she wants to leave where she is?

Most people say it is cheaper to be in a facility than to hire 24 hour care at home. So no need to feel guilty about the money being spent where she is now. Yes, old people can be frugal. My mom is extremely frugal but nothing in life is free!

She has 24 hour care where she is. That is a plus. What are the advantages of being alone at home while you are in another state?

Is this about what mom wants or is it about how your mom views you? Do you feel guilty? Do you fear mom will be angry with you knowing that she has to live in a facility? Have the doctor explain it is for her own safety if you can’t tell her yourself.

No one wants to see a parent lose their independence but I think you have an unrealistic view of what it takes to care for an elderly person. I do know what it’s like and I can tell you that it isn’t a walk in the park or a day at the beach. It is extremely hard work. It’s the toughest job that I ever had.

Best wishes to you and your mom.
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anonymous978037 Dec 7, 2019
I appreciate your response. I have spent most of my time with her for the last four months, I have come home for a few days at a time. I take her to the Dr. all appointments, I do all the business end of things, I do have guilt of course, I have guilt not telling her that it is her money being used. I have guilt knowing that she is unhappy where she is. Of course she is in ALF, but as nice as the staff are, they are hard to find, they are understaffed and on the weekends there is only 1 nurse and maybe a few aides working, I again, appreciate your advice, but I have taken care of my mother in law for years, sis didn't live with us in the beginning, but I was responsible for her 16 hours a day. I know it is hard work. I also know that she is my Mom, she took care of me, and this is my turn to take care of her, as long as I can. I do know it is very hard work. I feel that it is something I should do.
So the other family members, who you expect to 'help' are saying Mum needs to stay in the AL? But you, who lives out of state feel Mum should be allowed to go home.

Has Mum had a consult with a neurologist? You say she has not been diagnosed with dementia by one, but you do not indicate if any testing has been done. If she has not been tested, that is where I would start.

Also as you are not there full time, Mum could very easily be show timing for you. What things are the rest of the family seeing that cause them concern and want her to stay in the AL?

You say there is not enough activity in the AL for Mum, what is missing and how can it be provided? What things would she be doing at home that she cannot do in the AL?
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anonymous978037 Dec 7, 2019
thanks for your advice. My family members who do live in the city she is in, tell me that my Mom's mind is shot, which couldn't be farther from the truth. Of course, the memory has gotten a little worse, but the shock she has been put through in the last 4 months could attribute to it. Dad dying unexpectedly, her hip, the anesthesia she had during her surgery, made her act crazy for about 2 weeks, but it did eventually get through her system. Her going to the rehab eventually she became okay with it, She did all her physical therapy very well, and even the therapist said she was doing great, and had met all her goals with PT. She then moved to the AL without any knowledge of it, and we used the excuse that she needed to get stronger and this was a step down, she has now been there for 10 weeks and has picked up on it. She was having PT there at the AL and did well with that too, her PT therapist kept me up to date on her progress, now I am not saying that she could not fall again, because she could and I do worry about that. I am not there full time as you mentioned but I do go very frequently, and call her 3-4 times a day. As far as the activity, it is pretty sad, a few bingo games during the week, a movie and some singing group comes in that is about all. Mom has always been active and lots of social things in her life, she goes to the dining room 3 times a day, eats with the same ladies she knew before, then goes back to her room, since all the residents seem t do just that, the great room there is very nice, but usually they all go back to their room, as I mentioned in another response above, Mom has always been young looking and acting, as was my Dad, they were always busy and I always thought of them as younger than they were. Seeing her in a place that is almost dead, is heartbreaking. She does have visitors a lot and lots of phone calls, but her telling me she is going home soon is breaking my heart. I do appreciate your advice.
Thank you for responding. Obviously you love your mom dearly. I appreciate that. Truly, I do.

You have not done this full time. I have. It is extremely hard. As far as relatives or anyone else. If they have not come forward to volunteer they will not now. Just telling you the hard truth.

Also, even if anyone would agree to a limited amount of time, how long do you really think that would last? Do you really want to take that risk? Trust me, it’s a gamble. Don’t gamble on something this important.

I also understand the situation with staff being short handed. How about this? I am reluctant to tell you this but I just want you to consider it please. I know you feel guilty about money but could you spend money on a sitter for the weekends? See how that works.

Look, the money she has now is well spent on her care. You are not wasting her money! That is what it should be spent on, right? What could possibly be more important?

Please let go of this guilt. I applaud you for contacting this group to get advice. That is admirable. I can see in your words how much you care. That doesn’t mean that you have to do all of the hands on work yourself and turn your life upside while doing it.

I also don’t think that you should recruit others to do what you aren’t able to do. It isn’t their responsibility and do you really want people whose heart isn’t in it to be caring for your mom?

Rethink your ideas. In this case, use logic and not your heart. Your mom will adjust and accept in time and she will come to know that a facility is the best choice for her.

Would you want to be a burden to others if you were in her shoes? I have two lovely daughters who love me, just like you love your mom. While I appreciate their love tremendously, I don’t ever want either of them being burdened with my care.

Do you know why I don’t want my daughters to be my caregivers? Because I want them to live their own lives and visit me as my daughters. I don’t want them to ever see themselves as my caregivers instead of my lovely daughters.
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