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I have been told by an attorney that if I seek guardianship for my 91-year-old mother that it will be extremely costly. My mother so far is not willing to move to an independent living facility and she has totally rejected the offer I gave her to let me take care of her if she will come and live with me. I can’t just leave her alone at her age and there is nobody to take care of her so any suggestions as to a way to resolve this without seeking an attorney to implement guardianship would be appreciated.

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Get a Power of Attorney and arrange for caretakers. Set the rules with your mother that she must cooperate or she will be moved into a facility. Do not let her come into your home as I assure you, you will eventually be destroyed with problems and behaviors. Only when the above options are exhausted should you consider guardianship. And it is not that expensive - I know as I just researched it and there are ways of getting it done less expensively. But try the other routes first.
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Reply to Lockett2166
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What I have found with my dad, almost 91, is that after my mom died in 2013, the worst thing that people who find themselves alone is to feel USELESS. He knows he can't take care of himself 24/7 & that he needs help but does NOT want to be told what he needs to do. It doesn't happen overnight but I knew a very nice lady who was about to lose her home due to job loss during this awful time. We were able, through a church, to find a trusted and referenced lady and we introduced her, in your case, to your mom. As they are both alone now and became fast friends. Your mom needs to feel USEFUL!!!! If it is HER idea and hopefully has an extra room, (she is already paying the costs of maintaining a home, paying utilities, food and may have a vehicle she doesn't use much anymore, that to HELP her new friend, she may be more willing to be NEEDED & in our case, this amazing person moved in. In exchange for living arrangements she takes care of him. When he knew that he was needed again, he is very happy not just to be a burden or told what he needs to do but to open up his home and provide help to someone else. Hard to explain every detail but it is a win win for them both. He is happy to stay in his own home while his new "room mate" takes care of him. Give her as much control over her own life as possible while at the same time, she has someone "to take care of". They both feel useful and help each other. (Note: in our case, our "angel from Heaven" is a woman but she is in her 50's and there are no tensions in the physical arena), but PLEASE don't involve lawyers who will force her to do anything she is not ready for. Find a lonely widow (?) who needs your mom as much as your mom needs a friend. Everyone is where they want to be and your mom is safe, loved by an adoring daughter and NEEDED AGAIN. Win win. Pray, and God will make the perfect caregiver drop from the sky as He did for us. Almost 6 years ago and counting.
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Reply to Sle247365
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Peace2thee: I am confused as your profile conflicts your post. Your profile states that you and mother live in a 55+ community. Not so? Prayers sent.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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Guardianship is not only expensive, it's very difficult to get. The courts do not take away someone's rights simply because they aren't acting in a way that other people think is wise.

I don't doubt that your mom shouldn't live alone. People become very bad judges of that as they age. But, if she's of sound mind, you have very few tools at your disposal, but you should be using them. Stop trying to get her to see reason. Instead, explain what you will do (because that's what you can control). Tell her you will get her an emergency pendant (which she can decide to wear or not) and that you will research and tour local Independent Living communities to see which are suitable and within her budget. Explain that she will eventually fall or have some other mishap and that you don't want to make a hurried decision when she's in the hospital. That might help wake her up.
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Reply to IsntEasy
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As long as your mother is mentally capable of making her own decisions, and has not been diagnosed with dementia with an MD letter stating she should not live alone, you will never get guardianship for her. Courts are VERY hesitant to take our rights to make our own decisions away from us.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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Be sure to watch the Netflix episode of Dirty Money on Guardianship...
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Reply to Salisbury
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Why can't you? What would happen to her if you die, or are incapacitated in some other way?
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Reply to MaryKathleen
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Living by herself is extremely dangerous at that age. Seriously. All it takes is one fall, it will be a "game changer" and kiss her independence bye bye. She can also be on the floor for hours or days with a broken hip or brain bleed from the fall. She can die from one fall. Rather slowly. I have a neighbor down the street he told me his mother was independent until she fell going to the bathroom and fractured her PELVIS which is not repairable. She was bedridden afterward and ended up in hospice, and died from the complications of pneumonia from being bed ridden. My sister in law's mother died -- she fell and broke her hip, and was on the floor for 48 hours later. She was hospitalized, given fluids for dehydration,
and developed a superbug wound from the hospital, and died of that. I told her for years it was dangerous for someone in their 90's to live by herself, and she too refused assisted living and paid the price with her life.

You are talking about a legal mess if you do not get dPOA and estate planning done. Your legal costs will be even more astronomical. She also will need a Will (also to establish a Trustee) and a LIVING Will done (advanced directives), and preplanned funeral completed. I'm telling you if you don't do these things you have no idea how difficult and expensive death can be.

If she is not willing to be reasonable about these things I would question her competency.
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Reply to cetude
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There is nothing you can do about any of it unless your mom does not have her mental capacities.

I would see if she would agree to having a few cameras installed in her home so you can check in and make sure she's ok anytime 24 7.

Also, if she can afford it, see if she would agree to having a Caregiver come in a couple hrs a day.
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Reply to bevthegreat
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Confusion:

Your profile says: "My mother and I live together in a gated 55+ community."

Your question states: "...she has totally rejected the offer I gave her to let me take care of her if she will come and live with me."

So which is it? Does this mean you both live in the same community, but in separate units?

You mother is about the same age as my mother was when I first saw signs of dementia (knew nothing about it at the time!) Although most can function "okay" during the initial stages, it won't last, no matter how much you pray.

One problem with dementia is there is no firm time line. Changes could happen gradually and take a long time, or it could progress more quickly. We just don't know - there's no crystal ball, so we have to be on top of it and be VERY observant!

Guardianship is expensive and time consuming. It will take time to be seen and get through the whole process. IF approved, you have to report to the court system per their instructions, I would imagine at least yearly.

As others noted, the courts do try to preserve as much independence for the person as possible. They will order doctor(s) to examine her. If she objects, they will order another atty to represent her ($$$.) They might reject the request, they might approve partial, they might approve full guardianship. The only really good part about getting guardianship is generally it does give you much more control over the person (esp where they will live.) But is that what we all really want?

We had all the other legal documents already done prior to dementia. We had to revisit a little when she was in the early stages, but no change to the DPOA or MPOA. Despite what others might say, neither of these gives you the right to dictate where they live. These are to help make financial and medical decisions, stepping in as if you WERE that person, doing what they would have done, when dementia wasn't in play (except for those who were blowing through all their assets! Make sensible decisions!!)

Anyway, mom's plans had included moving to AL when she felt she needed it. Once dementia took center stage, nope. No AL. No moving in with either of my brothers. You'd think AL was some kind of dungeon, the way she talked! We had tried bringing in aides, 1hr/day to increase if/when needed. Less than 2 months went by and she refused to let them in. Staying alone in her place was not an option.

So, the EC atty told me we had to go guardianship. The facility we had chosen would NOT accept a committal. We had to wing it - come up with a plausible reason why she would HAVE to move, that she would accept. YB didn't like my suggestion, so he drafted a phony letter from Elder Services at the local hospital. She had injured her leg and developed cellulitis. The letter said either the place we choose or they would pick one. She went with bros, but was MAD!

Moral of that story (real!) is make sure any places you are considering for mom would accept a committal - otherwise, that's an expensive way to do nothing! We did NOT do guardianship. Mom's been in MC 4 years this month. She's now 97. She has regressed in time. She forgot her condo 9 months after moving and focused on her mother and previous residence, both long gone.

IF you can bring in aides, slowly to let her get used to them, go that route for now. Do be looking for a place, in the event the aides don't work out. Come up with plausible reasons for a move, something she might accept (renovations, infestations, financial, whatever works), whether it's to your place or a facility. Consider guardianship, but as a last resort only. Hopefully you already have POAs in place (if not, find a way to get it done!) If she only has SS income, apply to be rep payee (POA doesn't work for federal entities.) Protect her assets. Spend enough time with her so that you can be aware of changes when they happen, not months after the fact! You will still likely need the atty, but it will cost less.
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Reply to disgustedtoo
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If you do not have powers of attorney for financial or medical, you can not make decisions for her care or manage her affairs. Going through the courts to establish guardianship is the only way you can get those powers now.

If you are concerned that mom can not make wise decisions for herself, a doctor can declare her "mentally incompetent". You can talk to her doctor about how to get the courts to appoint a guardian for her. He/she will be their advocate and make sure she gets her needs met - usually in a long term care facility.
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Reply to Taarna
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Unless your mother has been declared incompetent a court will not grant you or anyone Guardianship.
Getting a Caregiver might be an option if she does not want to move in with you or she does not want to go to "Independent Living" I have to question you on that. If you don't think she should live alone why would you want her in Independent Living. The requirements in most Independent Living is that staff can not do anything to help a resident of Independent Living. Now Assisted Living they can help a resident with various ADL's. (the more help the more the cost usually)
What care does she need?
If she needs no help then she should do fine at home.
At that point you wait for the catastrophic event that will require hospitalization THEN the discussion for Assisted Living after rehab. If the event is such that it causes her death that was her choice and she will have died independent, at home probably the way she wants it to happen. (boy that sounds cold and heartless as I reread this)
The Facilitator of the Support Group that I have gone to for over 9 years is a VERY spry 96+ and I can tell you she could run circles around half the people I know. My Grandmother was 96 when she died and I can only hope that I could be half as wonderful as she was! She also was independent and she lived with us because SHE kinda took care of us after my Mom died.
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Sarah3 Dec 4, 2020
I also knew someone who literally was running circles around folks half her age at 100, didn’t have any dementia whatsoever. Dementia is serious but nowadays there’s a trend it seems to be applied with a broad brush to anyone over the age of 75 whether the signs are there or not. It’s as if it’s a “given” that anyone over a certain age must certainly have dementia and not be able to make decisions. Frustrating how folks treat them like children. I spoke with someone who’s truly a gem in the field and she said one of the things that she quickly discovered is how many people treat seniors like children, and that psychologically the reason many do this is to distance themselves emotionally from the reality one day they will grow old. I also believe another reason is that by attributing dementia to any relative over 75 or 80 is a way to gain control over the decision making, so they can place them somewhere to try and appease guilt they may struggle with for not spending real quality time with them in a relational manner and respecting their free will and choices for the lifestyle they want to live. There are some seniors who well into their 79’s, and even into their later 90’s and a few even older than that who are competent mentally and capable of living the life they want.
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I agree with Beatty; my father  lived alone except for the last 2 months, when he was initially in rehab, then segued into hospice.   He had a support group of people watching out for him, ranging from neighbors to MOW deliverers to people in his church.

It was only when he was unable to stand that it was no longer safe to remain at home. 

Peace, can you recruit neighbors to just keep an eye open for problems and call you?   If she gets Meals on Wheels, can you do the same thing?   They don't have to provide on site care, just watch out for potential issues.

Personally, I give her a lot of credit for maintaining her independence.  

I think pursuing guardianship would as noted be costly, but it could also destroy your relationship with her.     I would develop alternate plans to put in action if the time comes that she is comfortable with another placement, but don't mention it and put her on the defensive.

Sometimes it takes a rude awakening before considering alternate options.
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Reply to GardenArtist
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Your lawyer is correct and doing his due diligence in warning you. A court WILL NOT take away a senior's rights to self determination unless that senior is VERY demented and with a certified diagnosis of that by several doctors. If a senior fights guardianship in court (and he or she will be afforded an attorney TO fight) then that senior will win. You would be responsible for the costs and it could be well over 10,000 only to lose. You are being warned away from this, and are lucky in having a VERY honest Lawyer.
Be certain you are not enabling your mother, now. Step away. Give her the emergency numbers and tell her she is on her own, since she will not accept care. This is a problem that will come to a head either sooner or later. If you enable your Mom in staying home then it will take some time, but eventually she will end in the ER severely injured with a Social Worker calling a judge and in the snap of a finger getting you temporary emergency guardianship. Just like that. By phone, in seconds.
I am so sorry; I know you will feel you are abandoning. If you wish to check on her, do so, but do not assist her. She is claiming she does not need help. Let her test out the truth of that.
The one thing I would caution you not to do is to take her into your home. That will never end until your Mom passes, and will be a misery to you both. Meanwhile set into place those things she WILL allow, certain DPOA and POA for health care. I wish you the best of luck. Yours isn't the only story of seniors in denial who will not be moved. Hope you'll update us.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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unloved62 Nov 30, 2020
This is such good advice. It is so hard to feel like you are abandoning someone but you are a person too and your whole life would be "abandoned" if you continue to enable your mother. I am in a similar type of situation. It totally sucks!
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Guardianship is done through the courts and is expensive. You will need to prove your mother's incapacity in front of her and a judge. If the county gets guardianship, then neither she nor you will have any say in where she lives, what kind of care she gets, and what happens to her assets (although they are required to be responsible and must give an accounting after she passes). If your mother has her cognition right now, I suggested you have a calm, diplomatic discussion with her about what the 2 pathways are. These are not "maybe's". If she doesn't die in her home alone, one of these outcomes IS what will happen. I've read on this forum that guardianship can cost $10K. Also, do not ever take her into your home unless she makes your durable PoA. Without this authority you are asking for more headache and heartache as she declines and you are again powerless to help her in a productive, dignified way. I wish you much wisdom in making decisions.
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Reply to Geaton777
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Yes, that is what a State social worker is for. You can contact Elderly services and report a vulnerable adult. They will do a welfare check. You can even do it anonymously if you think your mother would get upset if knew it was you who called.
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Reply to mstrbill
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Lots of 90 year olds live alone. In fact I met a 99 year old lady last week who lives alone - quite independantly. She has some home help for groceries & cleaning. Had recently taken up her Doctor's suggestion of accepting a home visit nurse service for would care & aides 2 x week for shower assist. Quite able to accept & arrange more help as she needs it. This is quite rare I guess! But that is why I considered her to still be truly independent.

Others, like my relative, are living an *illusion* of independance. 'Living alone, dependently' was how one Social Worker put it.

What are your reasons you feel your Mother should move from her current home?
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