What to do when Mom can't make decisions?


I just returned from a vacation? Visiting my mom in California, I live in Texas. The WHOLE time was spent discussing, hashing and rehashing Mom's current declining condition of advanced Parkinson's, she has has two strokes that we know of, fallen numerous times, this last fall she struck her head on the tub and broke a rib. She is blind due to Macula degeneration and cataracts and hard of hearing. Mobility is totally reliant upon motorized wheelchair.

My brother 51 lives with her. Thankfully he was called back to work full-time after being unemployed for 1yr.

My sister comes in on Mon,Wed,Fri at 12noon until 2pm. The rest of the time Mom is alone.

There are NO services for help due to Calif. budget nightmare.

All of us, Mom, sister, brother and myself decided I would talk with my family(which I have and they are completely onboard) with Mom coming to live with us in Texas. There are services here available that are not in Calif. Financially we can provide here.

When I left I set a time limit until July 31st deadline for non-changeable decision of "yes" or "no" she is coming to live with us. See I have done this and got everything set up only to have her back out at last minute. I won't do this again.

Even now AGAIN she is wavering. We have beaten this poor dead horse all we can.

Short of her falling and becoming hospitalized forcing the issue of a nursing home...there is nothing I can fathom as an answer.

I came home so emotionally and mentally drained and exhausted.

My sister has the Durable Power of Attorney for medical decisions. But how does a child enforce that on their parent? The responsibility is cruel.

I feel so guilty because when you think of it, it would almost be better that she fall forcing the whole hospital/nursing home issue.


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Some states have what they call self-abuse laws, when a senior is living alone and doesn't properly care for him/herself. Call adult protective services in the state she lives in. This may be your only option to get this situation remedied.
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"I HATE this...I am seeing my Mom disappearing! And I am helpless to stop it. You know I have always said that Alzheimer's, Parkinson's & Dementia are all connected. I would like to know just how far apart they really are from each other."

You are right, cheshirekitti. Dementia takes our loved ones from us little by little, brain cell by brain cell, and we are helpless to stop it. (Tons of research is going on all over the world, and maybe some day there will be ways to stop it or even prevent it, but that is not how it is now.)

Alzheimer's Disease (AD) is the most common form of progressive dementia. It is the form most of us are familiar with. Parkinson's Disease (PD) does not necessarily include dementia, but a large percentage (I've seen 40%) of PD sufferers do develop dementia. Parkinson's with Dementia (PDD) usually is a different form of dementia than AD.

We can't stop the progression of dementia when our loved ones have it. (In many cases some of the symptoms can be helped, but there is no cure.) I think it most helpful to recognize and accept that there is a disease process present, and the loved one CANNOT help the demented behavior.

Your mother doesn't remember that she's been told over and over that she can only take 3 things. You and your sister are the ones with good memories, and it is up to you to act in Mom's best interests whether her memory is working correctly or not.

Facing that a loved one has dementia is very, very stressful and painful and difficult. Allow yourself to mourn that loss, even in the midst of all the responsibility piling up in caring for her.
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Governor "know nothing" Brown is doing what he has always done...make a huge mess of things. THAT'S why he lost the election after his FIRST time at being Governor of California...Californians got fed up with him (the apple doesn't fall far from the tree in this case). He ran stating he had no solutions, no answers, he didn't know what to do...and yet...he was voted for a 2nd time to office!!! Oi!

Anyway...now I hear from my sis that my mom was telling her that she wanted to make a list of things to bring with her to Texas!!! Arrggghhhhh! Over and over we have told her NOTHING will go with her with the exception of 3 things.

I can't get my sister either to acknowledge that Mom just does not understand. She has become of such a mind that she does not comprehend. At time there are bits of understanding...but it is soon overtaken by lack of comprehending and loss of memory.

I HATE this...I am seeing my Mom disappearing! And I am helpless to stop it. You know I have always said that Alzheimer's, Parkinson's & Dementia are all connected. I would like to know just how far apart they really are from each other. I wonder how long my mom will know me. After her stroke, recognition of people was badly affected. She didn't know my sister or my brother. It took a while for that to come back.

You all are right...my brother is NOT helping either...he IS NOT encouraging Mom to go. He can't handle the "unknown" of being "on his own". My mom is stuck to this "babying" of him and has since he was a little kid. THAT bond is held fast by a very STRONG glue.

You all have confirmed things even I didn't want to acknowledge yet I have understood and seen...denial in myself. Where is the line drawn? My sister now has informed me that my nephew will be with my Mom the hours my brother goes to work and she will fill in on his off times. My nephew will charge I think $8.50/hr. to do this (down from 4hrs per day @ $10.00/hr).

All under the table.

I cannot agree to this, simply because it is stiffing paying taxes, it is not right. I am a believer and it is not in line with God's Word either, it is ethically wrong.

When I brought this before my husband and daughter, the first words out of their mouths is "Why is he charging?" "This is his grandmother!" "It should be done because he loves her"

It is a HUGE responsibility...He won't even go to obtain CPR certification in case of an emergency!

I am getting angry about the whole situation...I am almost at that point of "ENOUGH". You know...when your mother has had "ENOUGH"?

I am here trying to settle the housing situation, I have to speak with our landlord to see if I can get us out of our lease without financial binding, I am enlisting the help of rental agents to find suitable housing, searching rental listings, filling out contact info for details of house, set up viewing appts., have contacted a couple real estate attorneys for advice on the lease situation, I am to receive a call from one tomorrow (that in its self will be a detailed process), THEN we will possibly have to PRE-LEASE because of the student situation here in Bryan/Collegestation, TX (A&M Students), taking on more financial responsibility, then packing our things, moving, cleaning to a MAKE READY state.

Oh...but Julia can do this..yada, yada, yada...

That's the way it's always been...because Julia is strong...she can handle it...

Right...handle it until...I have had ENOUGH. You remember Julia Sugarbaker on Designing Women???? That is when I have had ENOUGH.

Sorry...but this tea kettle had to let off some steam...

THANK YOU ALL...THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH...I just wish my sister had the wherewithall to get onto this site and read. I've told her, I've given her the link, I've sent her copies of your advice and input, I've given her the web address...but does she??? OHHHHH NOOOOOO. That would be to responsible.

Anyway...I'll stop now...again...

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Cheshirekitti: I don't know if you or your sister have checked with the Area on Aging in your mom's area, but if you haven't, please do so personally. I know that California is in a mess financially and that some of the services that used to be available to help seniors stay in their homes have been cut back and/or eliminated.

Nevertheless, based on your mom's income, I do believe she would qualify for MediCal (California's equivalent to Medicaid). If she does qualify, it could be that she would also qualify for in-home care, possibly help with her utilities and medications. In Washington, a senior on Medicaid qualifies for a minimum of 5 hours a day in-home care. I'm not sure if that includes weekends. A portion of her SS is taken by MediCal to provide some services, but a senior who needs in home care comes out way ahead. MediCal would also cover her nursing home costs if she eventually is in need of full time care.

As a resident of California who moved to Washington state 8 years ago, I am not up on Ca.'s current rules and services. My suggestion is that you or your sis have a serious sit down meeting with the local Area on Aging and gather as much info as you can. You can call the local Social Services for your mom too for additional information. You may have done all of this, but I just wanted to make a few points in the hope that it helps.

I think you will have difficulties getting your mom to move. Your little brother is probably looking out for himself and not encouraging her to do what is best for her.

Good luck and keep us posted. At least we can give you moral support.

Hugs, Cattails
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In the best of circumstances LO's will consult with one another and work together despite the poa order. That is the ideal. I became poa be default because my sister wouldn't talk to me as she thought i snuck into mom's town and stole moms money.
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cheshirekitti: You might want to double check the POA. It usually lists a first person (your sister in this case) and then lists an alternate to act if the first person is not able or willing. It's not usually designated as a joint decision, the first person listed has the power to act regardless of the opinion of the second designee.

Please have your sis read it over the phone to you. Cattails
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Just speaking with my sis, and found that my brother...the one that lives with her is also the second name on the POA. That throws a monkey wrench into the whole thing. So my sis would NOT be able to make the "decision" for mom that needs to be done, since HE is co-dependent on her and visa versa
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wow. I am in CA and i think there are services. I first paid for a private hire caregiver to look after mom while I was at work. I understand that medicare will pay someone to come in (and that could be a daughter/son) and care for your LO 5 days a week for 1150 an hour. You should check with aging and adult services and social workers at hospitals. My dad was a veteran and my mom just got approved for veteran benefits in addition to her medicare.

I don't know how to do it and I would never suggest to you what you should do but I think mom should not be left alone. Can you and siblings start the long job of calling every aging agency to find out what they provide. Also, you might want to see if your mom is eligible for medi - cal (for CA). Ask them if they have any services for your mom. From what i understand there are numerous things that medicare offers but you have to ask - they are not forthcoming. If you listen to their recordings via phone you might learn about some of their services. Best of luck to you. Just keep mom safe. How is mom going to fend for herself when your brother is at work. This concerns me. In the meantime be patient with him if he has been the one caring for her one on one for the last year. It's a hard lonely job and if he stepped up to do it he should get some points. I could be all wrong here.
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My sister and I also have an older half brother. Since mom divorced his father and they had a hard time of it when he was very young, my mom spoils him and makes excuses for him. Our brother can do no wrong. Even though he does not lift one finger to help her and our dad. He's an alcoholic but mother does not see this. She says it's because he's had such a hard life. He grew up with the same father that I did. Granted my dad was not my brothers real dad, but he treated him the same. He fed him, clothed him and took care of him the same as he did for my sister and I. This is always mom's excuse. Well my brother has a rude awakening coming. He thinks that when mom and dad pass on that he will get a huge reward??? He better think again. He will get his very equal share...100%...of nothing. It's the same thing my sister and I will get. My mom and dad will be lucky to have enough money saved up for us to take care of them til the end of their days. We are scrimping and saving right now to make sure the little savings they have will last as long as possible. Our brother does not do one thing to help us take care of mom and dad. He never visits or calls unless he is drunk. When they have been in the hospital in the past he has not visited or anything even though you would think he would visit his own mother. He is compleely useless.

Having explained my relationship with my own brother, I have to say that I think you are completely correct in saying that when your mom leaves that your brother will have to learn to be on his own. I think that the sooner you cut that apron string between them, the better things will be for you and your sister. Just beware if he still tries to manipulate your mom from a distance. My brother does this stuff all the time. It drive's us crazy!
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It's time for some tough love, Sweetie.. Have a talk with Mom and your sister with the adult baby boy not present. Tell Mom that she needs to come to Texas or else you will be going to both the social security administration and the department of human services to get a social worker onboard. Actually all SSI recipients get the same amount of money and it is currently $698. You can bring all of this out to the social worker and you can also file in court to become her conservator and carefully explain her situation and the situation with your brother. This is tough but I know you are going to do what is best for your mom and believe it or not, this would be best for your brother. It is way past time for him to grow up.
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