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5 years ago (or so), my mom moved in with my husband, daughter and I. This was supposed to be temporary (a year, maybe two). During that time we started to notice cognitive decline. My mom has not gone to a doctor (she refuses) but something is clearly wrong with her. I think she has some form of Dementia. It was okay at first, but lately things are getting pretty bad. Her room smells (and God help me if I go in there to clean). She's hoarding trash (that she takes out of the garbage). I can't be here 100% of the time. My child is still young and needs to have a life. I need to have a life. My mom isn't always pleasant and we've had a rocky relationship. I don't have POA (because she wouldn't so much as discuss it in the past). So she's living with me... and constantly tells me she's leaving but doesn't have the cognitive ability to find/move into somewhere else. Even if she managed that (which she won't), she'd burn that place down by day 4. She just can't manage on her own. But I have no legal standing, no document that gives me any power. Just a lease. At the moment, I'm her landlord and she's my tenant. I can't just kick my mom out and live with myself. I tried to convince her into Assisted Living but she refused (which I realized after how expensive it is and she wouldn't be able to live there for more than a year before the money ran out). She can't stay here much longer. I can't stand the smell anymore. It's affecting my child's quality of life. It's affecting my marriage. She's probably not safe considering we sometimes have to leave (work etc...). I'm not paying for home care out of my pocket, but I don't have the legal authority to pay it out of hers. I feel so stuck in this situation that is only going to get worse. If I could go back in time, she'd have never moved in and I'd call a social worker over to her home. I do plan on talking to an Elder Attorney but I feel like they're going to tell me I'm stuck too.

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Call your local Area Agency on Aging. Start by getting a needs assessment.

You should probably also just make a doctors appointment and take her to lunch nearby, then stop in at the doctor. Arrange this with the office beforehand and have a typed list of your concerns.

See the eldercare attorney asap. She is a health hazard to your child. You may need to start eviction proceedings and THAT'S OKAY! Your child's welfare comes first!,
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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annemculver Apr 9, 2019
Good one Barb: I’d add to your list HER OWN welfare - that’s just as important! She & her husband deserve a life too! 🤗
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You are NOT stuck.
Each step you take, however small, is movement towards change. Remember that!
You can do this, step-at-a-step....

All the best!!
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Reply to Savitaa
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You did get yourself in a pickle and it may be hard to do what you need to to get out of it if she just wont cooperate but she's making that choice not you. What was the reason for her moving in temporarily I the first place?

My suspicion is you did protect/help yourself by having a lease and it may come into play. How long does the lease run and hat are the parameters for ending it? Most would likely give you an out based on the destruction of your property, while she doesn't have to be a great housekeeper she as a renter can't let it get the point of being unhealthy and smelling up the rest of the house. But that aside for now I would use a doctor or the aging services/official's in your area. Who would you call if your mom were not related to you, either renting a room in your house or your next door neighbor without anyone looking after her and behaving the way she is? You could of course give her the option, go to the doctor with me give me the ability to help care for you when you need it (POA) or I am forced to have someone else take over because I am worried something isn't right with you and I'm not convinced it can't be treated but even if there is nothing wrong that can be treated this isn't working for my family anymore and we have to figure out an alternative. Now I want you to be in charge of what happens, your life but if you wont do that and you wont give me the ability to do that then your making the choice to have a stranger make that assessment and plan.

I'm not saying that strong arm approach is the way to go, it's just an option, you know your Mom. But an elders social worker or a PCP that has known her or has recently seen her can both take steps I'm not sure you can right now with no legal standing. Your only legal standing at the moment that I can see is that of landlord meaning you would have to force the issue of her living situation be evicting her... Now if she should have a fall or some other possible medical emergency you could call an ambulance, have her transported to the hospital and then not accept responsibility for her going home (insist on a psych eval too), if they feel she shouldn't be on her own for safety or medical reasons they have a legal responsibility to find a suitable placement. Again they will look to you first, maybe even pressure you and she may become much more cooperative once she realizes her choices but stick to your guns about the ability to take responsibility for her and only do what you are prepared to. I would use that opportunity to insist on POA too whether or not she is going home with you. Stick to your guns, it will be hard but remember you are doing what's best for her as well as your family.

Obviously the current situation isn't what's best for her given the state of her room and inability to care for herself (go to a doctor) so you aren't being hurtful or selfish by forcing this issue you are being responsible. Which is another angle, use it the way you want but you have a legal responsibility to your mom who's living with you and you would any elder living with you as well as to your child. If you are concerned about their safety when she is left alone and she wont hire help you could be charged (unlikely but still) with elder abuse if she injures herself or someone sees her room and child endangerment if it starts affecting your child negatively. Maybe an insurance adjuster needs to come by and asses the house because your renting or some other excuse and they put you on notice about the room or based on what they see need a written release from a doctor saying she is capable of being left alone...I'm pulling out of the air here but hopefully you get the idea. Anything that makes her go get help but enables her to save face and not argue about it. You could even agree it's silly but it's "required"...

Good luck and keep coming back for support and to update us, we all learn from each other.
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Reply to Lymie61
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What do you do to support her? Are you providing meals, laundry, transport? Clearly not cleaning! If what you are doing is what is keeping her coping with you, you need to stop doing it. If your mother is not getting her meals, she will soon want things to be different. That is when you can put some options to her. First you need to work out what the options are, considering that it seems that she has limited finances. You need to start investigating Medicaid, and getting things in place for when you are your mother are going to need it.
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Reply to MargaretMcKen
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Called the Alzheimers hotline today. They were very nice and I got a lot of information. Currently, the plan is to go see an Elder Attorney asap and try to to get her to sign dpoa, living will etc... I think she's still technically legally competent. She can understand what all that is, just maybe not remember she did it. If she does that, making other decisions gets easier. With that I can look into getting outside help since she never seems to want mine. If I can get her to go to the doctor, and actually speak to a doctor, I can get an official diagnosis which is important if she's to be placed somewhere. In the mean time, I'm trying to keep it together, cleaning up behind her back and trying to keep her from wandering without completely neglecting everything else.

For whoever asked, she moved in to save up some money and pay down debts.

I don't make separate meals for her but there's typically enough for her to have some dinner. She buys her own when we eat out. I convinced her to get some stuff on Amazon pantry and she eats snacks and what not when we don't have food here. (she prefers junk food to real food and we seldom buy any).

I'm working hard on this, but it's difficult. There's a lot going on besides her (my child has some medical issues) and I'm already overwhelmed with taking care of her. I'm an only child and her siblings have enough problems so, everything falls on me. I'm trying to do the best possible for everyone.
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Reply to LooLoo5
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Kittybee Apr 9, 2019
You've got a plan, that's great! I hope it helps you feel less trapped. This really is an unsustainable situation that is turning your whole household upside down. Nobody should have to live like that. Hang in there, keep moving forward with the plan, and let us know what happens!
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It sounds like you are. Until she allows it or until she's rendered incompetent, there's not much you can do. The elder law attorney will help you figure out your options. Please keep us posted.
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Reply to mmcmahon12000
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Mom needs to be evaluated by a neurologist. There could be all reasons for her decline. She will need lab work and maybe a CT tovrule out any causes there maybe. If the tests come back ok then they can go from there.

When we cleaned out my MILs house we found plastic grocery bags with junk mail in them stored in an empty dresser. My MIL had a closet full of magazines. Enough that my husband bundled them in piles of 20 and they took up a car space in the garage.
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herdingcats Apr 9, 2019
I second the neurologist idea. Dementia comes on slowly, if that's all it is. And they have good days and bad. On a good day, they seem fairly competent. But on a bad day, it's clear that they need help.

The hoarding thing is something that has gotten worse with my own MIL over the past few years. It was always a bit of a thing with her, but took a big downward turn after her first stroke, a couple of years ago. I'm so glad she's currently in a care facility!
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Somehow you must get a POA - by trickery or whatever means - you must do this. Contact the Office on Aging and the proper doctors. Get them to help you get her into assisted living. Also call the Medicaid office and find out all you can. There is help but you have to find it. And mother or not, she cannot stay there and be so abusive and difficult - you do not deserve it and under no circumstances should you tolerate this. Possibly check into eviction but first have some kind of alternative living options in place. There is help but once you figure it all out you must get tough and get her out of there - quickly.
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Reply to Riley2166
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As for affording it, the eldercare attorney can talk to you about spending down and eligibility for medicaid. They may also know medicaid consultants who can talk to you about how to do it. Depending on your state, there may be a PACE program to help pay with alzheimer's care. But you'll be able to stop paying out of pocket. Good thoughts to you. Remember - you're not stuck. You're just uninformed. You can change that!!
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Reply to Anitanita17
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Get Power of Attorney in place as quickly as possible.
It is imperative that this situation change asap because this dynamic is NOT WORKING. Mother cannot stay in your home with being this abusive. Her hoarding is unhealthy also.
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