Leaving Mom alone while shopping. Any suggestions?

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I moved in w/my mom 9 months ago. I have been shopping 1-2 times a week and she stays home w/her dog. I had spoken to someone at the Alzheimer's Assoc. and they apparently contacted social services due to our conversations. A social worker just showed up today for an hour asking lots of questions which I know she had to get the info from the Assoc. In addition to tons of handouts she presented one re: that if my mom goes out the door, gets lost, or hurt while I am gone (even though I race through the store) I can be prosecuted and given up to 7 years in prison! There is no family nor friends, etc. to stay here although she has managed fine on her own for 4 years. I am really scared of this. Does anyone have any experience or knowledge of this? We can't afford a person at $80, 4 hour min. to come in each time I need to shop. I also have personal things I'd like to do, but feel I cannot now. Any suggestions?

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I don't know who told you that but that just isn't true, are you here mpoa or poa? look for respite care, call aging care services where you live, I shop just once every 2 weeks and have a respite care worker here who does her bathe while I am gone, and this respite is funded by a grant for my county so it cost me nothing, they give me 8 hours a month. hope this helps. but just because you live with her does not make you responsible if something happens while you are gone, also get her a medical alert system so when you are not home, if she needs help. she hits that button and they will either call you on your cell or send an ambulance if she needs one, will keep you in my prayers
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I have to leave my Mom when I go to the grocery store. A couple times I have had to call a neighbor to get her up out of the floor when I returned. She prowls around the house as soon as I leave and sometimes slides out of her chair. In Mississippi I can call 911 for a none emergency and they will send an ambulance out for the men to pick her up. They have never acted as tho I was wrong in leaving her. Do you have a neighbor who would come sit with her while you are gone? I sometimes pay one $25 so I don't have to rush back. I take the money out of Moms SS. Call a local church and see if there is someone reliable who could use a little extra cash. I don't know about the legal side of this problem. It might be worthwhile to consult an attorney.
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Make sure that your mom cannot get out of the house just in case she begins to take walks out of the house. Some people w/ Alzheimer's go for walks and get lost and some don't. It doesn't sound like you mom is wandering at this point but best to make sure that she doesn't do that by both keeping her safely locked in so she can't get out. JMO. That sure sounds extreme that that the Social Services would automatically throw you in jail when they know that caregivers are usually not getting paid for what they do and usually can't afford to hire anyone to come in and usually have to get out of the house to shop and do chores. That is why I hate sharing information with people because they distort the situation and end up getting us in trouble.
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I've read all the very good suggestions. Groceries can be delivered, but you also need some respite too. A Medic Alert necklace is only good if your mother remembers how to use it. Don't forget folks, people with dementia do not remember the (what we call) simple tasks. I had to buy another phone system (like the old kind with the pick up handle) because my husband couldn't remember how to press the "talk" button on the other phone. I don't know where you live, but being a nurse and social worker, and having worked for child protective services in AZ, I guess your social services is considering the elderly with dementia like children and you would not leave a four-year old home alone, would you? I know you live around people, unless you live on an island by yourselves. Reach out and meet your neighbors. I am sure there are kind people who would not mind watching your mother for an hour or so. Let people around you know about your situation and also contact your area on aging. There are plenty of volunteers from churches, to hospices, to the local colleges (if you have a nursing or social work program students can help out and receive extra credit). Do not feel like you are alone! Just ask for help like you did here. Maybe if you told us what state in which you live, someone on this site may know some more resources. You could take her with you and while you are shopping, have her hair styled, with pedicure and manicure if she can handle this. I don't know what stage she is in, so tread lightly. Baby steps are in order. A person with dementia can only handle so much stimuli at once because their brains cannot make sense of what is happening. Best wishes!
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Lizann has a point; go after the Alzheimer's lady and her supervisor. Trying to instill fear into a person (you) who has essentially given up having a life to care for another person is just plain sadism and should not be tolerated. The Alzheimer's lady needs to be corrected because she will be upsetting a lot of good people unnecessarily.
Geez, if leaving your charge alone for any length of time and they fall and injure themselves gets you put in jail, then lots of us caregivers would be in prison. Just yesterday, I had to lay down because of severe muscle spasms in my back, and while I was resting, my Mother fell in the kitchen. I heard a big bang and went looking for the source. I found my mother splayed out on the kitchen floor. She had tried to sit on the bench and missed, hitting her head too and getting a huge gooseegg in the process. So, someone is going to sue me for that? that would make caregiving an extremely hazardous occupation and many caregivers would begin to say "Uh, uh, no way am I going into that bear trap!" With this hyperbole, you can see the ridiculous of the threat for having left her along.
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It is dangerous to leave them home alone. A relative of mine found out how dangerous when his wife got out while he was at the store and she got hit by a car. Another friend left her mother alone and she went out in icy weather with no coat and got sick from exposure and had to be hospitalized. Anything can happen. You can place a free ad for someone to sit with her while you are out and name your price. You can also browse caretakers. Another idea is to hire a teenaged baby sitter. All he or she would need to do is be there and it would be less work than a baby or child plus you can get such a sitter cheap. I have often taken those I care for to the store with me for an outing and they love it.
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From what I understand, if I left my bedridden father to go shopping, and something happened where he gets hurt or die while I'm gone, I would be prosecuted for elderly neglect. They are very pro-active here where I live.

We live in a small island. You can drive around the island 40 mph within 2 hours. Despite our small island, we also have respite services. There are at least 2 programs here that is locally/federally funded (they split the funding). One program allows us to have 4 hrs a week. The govt caregiver comes and spends the whole morning or whole afternoon, and the cg can go shopping or do bills or go to the movies. What we did was instead of using up the 4 hours at one time, we asked if we could spread it out to 1 hour per day - 4 days a week - for them to come and sponge bath my bedridden parent. The Other Respite program, also gives me one hour respite + $60.00 for Me like a credit card to be used at the mall or massage, or movies + $60 of supplies (Depends, gloves, baby wipes, etc...).

So please call around. Try first the senior citizen department. They should be aware of most programs pertaining to the elderly/disability.
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Sounds like someone is being a bully. If your mom is deemed incompetent and you have POA DPOAs, just take care of your business and hers. Make sure she is with someone if you go out and you can also get online groceries delivered, that is what I do. I think that is nonsense about being prosecuted and I would take this to this social workers supervisor, or better yet have your attorney contact her supervisor in writing, this is harassment, unless there is more than you can put in here and there are extenuating circumstances.
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Only those of us who have been or still are caretakers can understand the real need to just "get out" even if only to the world of grocery shopping. Most towns have a VNA or a senior center where you can find volunteers who will come "sit" for a couple of hours. The fact that your mother has a dog might bring great comfort to you knowing she would probably not go out without her dog. That said, you do need to get her a "LIFELINE" button or similar gizmo so if she falls help can be contacted quickly. Is there a Hospice group nearby? Usually trained volunteers are available to keep MOM company while you are gone.
Try leaving her for really short times at first - 20 minutes - Have her "promise" to stay with her dog until you return. If that works go for 40 minutes....

I was caretaker for my husband for two years after his stroke until I could no longer do all the home care ( he was a large man and virtually helpless) and a nursing home was found. He did fall out of bed once but the ambulance was there before I could get back - he had pressed the emergency button!
Don't be "afraid" to ask for help.You deserve it and Mom might even enjoy a new face!
Good luck!
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Thank-you for those of you who have spoken up for the caregivers. Fortunately my mom does not wander because she can't walk anymore so YES my brother does leave her home when he does errands but he never stays out very long, usually only for a half hour at a time. The stores are all close by. If he has to do something that will take longer he waits until I come over to the house and then he leaves. I come over to help every 7 days and I stay for 2 days. If my mom were to stay with me I would either take her with me if I had to go marketing since the stores are further away OR I might wait until night time where I can put her to sleep first before leaving the house to run to the store. Screw APS and the Alzheimer's people. We had our mother in a NH for 2 months and the damn doctor kept changing her HBP pills and nearly killed her doing that. She ended up in hospital after that and they kept her sick sick sick all the time she was there. She is a lot better off with us than with them. We are not abusive to our mother. She is fed, hydrated, pottied, bathed, kept clean and recreated every day. In fact, we do a damn better job of caring for her than any NH or hospital could ever do. I dare any of these supposed "professionals" to challenge us.
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