My Mom is 84 living by herself in Fla. She received diagnosis of Bladder Cancer in March. She told no one and is still refusing to seek further medical care. My sister and I found out about her illness in August when I traveled to Florida and forced her to see her general practitioner (took 2 hours of coaxing to get her off the couch for 5 min drive to the office). I learned she had missed 4 Urology appointments they had set up for her so that Urology office banned her from the practice. She repeatedly says she has no pain and will only seek medical care when she has pain. We have explained countless times how now is the time to act before pain sets in. She says she'll think about it but then never agrees to go. My sister just spent 10 days with her and heard her crying in the bathroom as she stood outside her door. When she questioned why she was crying, she acted as if nothing was wrong and denied having any difficulty urinating.
We are also seeing symptoms related to Stage 3-4 of Dementia. Hard to tell how much is related to depression vs the dementia. Her short term memory is very bad at this point. She misplaces things, asks same question several times within a few minutes, does not know what day or month it is but remembers things from 6 months ago. We believe she is lying about her personal hygiene and gets very angry and frustrated quickly. Has difficulty keeping up with routines (forgets to take garbage out) and most concerning, cannot manage her medications responsibly. We had a nurse come in 6-7 times to monitor her vitals and watch the medication intake and she confirmed she was incapable of taking her pills properly. A report was sent back to her doctor's office as the nurse was concerned about double dosing and that she could be a danger to herself. The medical office manager told us if Mom doesn't agree to come with me (in NY) or my sister (in Boston) , or seek medical attention, she will have to call the Dept of Child & Family Svcs and they will look to place her in a Florida state nursing home.
My sister and I did not have this with our Dad who passed in 2001 in a Florida hospital. He did seek medical attention and did not have dementia. We are struggling to get answers and feel paralyzed not knowing whom to turn to for assistance. We do not want guardianship as she is still very aware of what is going on. We have called 3 different law offices in Florida and have not been receiving call backs (perhaps due to Hurricane Irma)? Frankly, I prefer to deal with a lawyer in NY but am not sure that is wise since Mom lives in Florida. We do have Durable POA from 2005 which includes a medical clause. We also have her Living Will and Health Care Surrogate. I have been told we may have issues with those documents as Florida changed the POA guidelines in 2012. Mom does not have many material assets at this point and has a Reverse Mortgage on her condo so the funds are very limited. I believe if she applied for Medicaid, she would likely qualify. Even if Mom had the money, there's no way she would agree to assisted living or a nursing home. It's all very complicated. Dad was a war veteran so I just applied for the Military Papers from the National Archives in case we do have to place her in a nursing home. It can take up to 90 days to receive those papers.
I did reach out to a Geriatric Care Manager specializing in Dementia patients, but her quote was $550 for an assessment of Mom and then subsequent fees for care management are $115 per hr during the week and $140 per hr on weekends. This sounds steep to me but if that sounds right to anyone, please let me know. They are Registered Nurses.
The urgent issue here is getting her to see a Urologist to assess the cancer and see what options (if any) she has to treat the disease. She does have a rash on her leg, arms and back which we have been told is related to the cancer. We considered calling an ambulance to get her to the hospital but were advised the insurance co would not consider that an emergency and Mom can still refuse to go. If we call the police, they will take her to a psych ward...which is out of the question. The physical distance between us just adds to the stress and anxiety of it all. She no longer has the support of friends and family down there as most have moved or passed away. She refuses to leave her condo and digs her heels in at the very mention of coming to NY or Boston. Our last hope is that her sister (who lives in France )says she will come next month to see if she can change her mind, but that is still 3-4 weeks from now.
If anyone has any advice or suggestions, they would be extremely appreciated.