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I live far from my mother. She has been experiencing a rapid mental decline and is now calling me in what I can only describe as a delusional state -- for example, that everyone in her building is leaving for California and she is going to be left alone. She is crying and scared at times but doesn't appear to be at risk of harming anyone or herself.


In the last few months, my sibling, who lives closer, has taken her to the ER in the middle of a less severe episode. They ran every test and found nothing aside from some verbal confusion.


Last week during an episode, I had a police officer do a wellness check. She did not appear to be in danger, so they couldn't do anything.


I was just able to use social services to set up an in-home counseling service, but this doesn't feel like the exact need right now. My sibling may take her back to the ER again Saturday, in hopes of them finding something (last time, she seemed to rally when she talked with them; things are more severe now).


Is this the route or am I missing something?


She has no healthcare or money. The last time I called Adult Protective Services, they put me in touch with Catholic Charities, which provides aging services in the area, and I was unable to complete an intake without her personal info (SS#, etc).

Her doctor should be helping with this, there are medications that can help anxiety and delusions. I recommend that she gets a full work up from a gerontologist and perhaps a referral to a geriatric psychiatrist, the people at the ER are only working to treat acute episodes and are not likely to look at the big picture.
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Reply to cwillie
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I would check the Office of Aging for your state, there are a lot of services for the elderly. Is she eligible for Medicaid? Does she meet the income requirements for PAAD? My dad was put on and antipsychotic for his delusions. They stopped pretty quickly. It is sad that she has to be fearful, there are medications that can help.
Hope you can find some answers soon.
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Reply to RuthW29
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All good answers here. One more I've not seen - make sure she's not 1) dehydrated, and 2) suffering from a UTI. Both will make them kooky.
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Reply to TracyHD
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You probably realize by now that you can't do this long distance.  You and your sister need to work together to make sure that your mother has a safe place to live.  Delusional is not "safe."  No healthcare and no money isn't safe.  Living alone in this condition isn't safe.  Situations like this don't simply resolve themselves and they typically don't end well.

Everyone dreads this time in their lives when they are confronted with this situation because it's unlike anything they've ever faced before and it is like walking into the jaws of hell.  People can tell you what they've done - contacting an elder care attorney, selling the house, applying for Medicare and Medicaid, taking her to the doctor, finding a place for her to live if not with one of you, and the list goes on.  But everyone's experience is very different.  Yours will be too.  And it all depends on your mother and you and your sister.

This is your time.  You're going to have to go and figure out first hand what to do.  This means traveling, taking time off from work, if you work, and making arrangements for your family responsibilities while you're gone.  It may require more than one trip.

There is no easy way to do this.  She desperately needs help, and you need to go help her.  I'm so sorry.
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Reply to princesssf
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default24 Feb 18, 2019
100% agree. This certainly is the time to put things into place, especially as it sounds nothing has been done. Action is necessary.
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FatCat, has your Mother had any traumatic event happen lately? I ask because my Mom lost her only other living sibling suddenly and it threw her into early onset dementia with psychosis. The delusions were unreal and downright frightening, as I live 300 miles away and was not there to witness any of this. Someone called DHR on her and they came out and took her to the ER where she was promptly admitted to the geriatric psych ward for 3.5 weeks. Once there she received her diagnosis and was placed on medications until they knew they had the right type/amount of each. Only then was she allowed to return home but with strict instructions not to drive. That didn't fly well and she ran me off. Long story short, 4 months later she was back in again (I was called in once again) and this time couldn't return home. She was then placed in Assisted living. This was almost 4 years ago. UTI really mess up the mind of patients who have dementia related problems; have they tested your Mother for that?? I am so very sorry you are going through this and I wish you and your family the best in finding a solution/resolution to your Mom's fears.
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Reply to Litlebit67
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FATCAT Feb 18, 2019
This sounds so familiar. My mom did not have a large traumatic event, but she is suffering the slow stress of living with my father, her ex (long story), which I think triggered a lot of emotional trauma.

We took her to the ER when she first began with these delusions in November expecting something similar. They "only" found a minor UTI and did not mention this!
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Fatcat how old is your mother? How long has this been going on? When your sibling goes to her apartment what is the condition of the apartment? Are you feeling that this is a mental issue or a dementia type issue?
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Reply to PaniniSandwich
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FATCAT Feb 18, 2019
She's 60. The apartment is trending downward. One of her rooms is Level 1-2 hoarding, with her bed full of clutter and items in the shower that prevent its use, while the other is just this side of okay. I'm suspecting it's a mental issue caused by the stress of living with her ex-husband, although she had been experiencing some verbal confusion and unusual forgetfulness prior to them cohabitating.
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Dear FatCat:
It sounds as though it could still be a health problem. Is she on any medications? Has there be a significant loss in her life? Spouse? Close friend? Siblings? The stress can cause this. Has she recently moved? Examine all the possibilities.
I've not experience this kind of behavior without a cause.
Is she old enough for Medicare? The Department of Human Services can help with the supplemental part. Often times then everything is completely covered.
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Reply to DarleneLeslie
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I understand your delima, my mom went through same thing. What I found out is she was having "non bizarre delusions" meaning she wasnt seeing pink elephants but scenarios that were "possible " if not probable. I too tried APS and all types of medical tests but they were no help as mom would start with another delusion.
Sadly I had no choice but to empathize with her and play into her delusion this kept her calm and reduced the stress on me.
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Reply to Quizario
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Someone should step up and become your mom's POA. Decisions are going to have to be made in care of your mom. You need to contact social services for state and see if Mom qualifies for Medicaid. My mom always had some kind of underlying psychosis but was able to live by herself for years. When her brother died 2 Septembers ago, she started going downhill. He was her best friend and they would talk on the phone all the time. She had breast cancer, broke her shoulder, had multiple UTIs, was in and out of ER, hospital and rehab. Found out she had too much ammonia in blood due to non-alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver, hyperthyroidism, and UTI....any one of which can make her delusional. My mom is 80 and she is now on 8 meds and 4 different eyedrops for glaucoma. Just got her a hearing aid last week. We also sold her house and she moved in with me. Working on spending down her assets to re-qualify for Medicaid. Your mom may have a lot of issues going in and you or your sister or both need to address this now while she can make decisions. Good luck. Taking care of my mother has been the most stressful thing I've ever done
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Reply to J9Delaware
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People who experience these kinds of delusions, scary, but so far not dangerous, do so much better in community living. Given your mom’s finances, that means getting her on Medicaid. Start as soon as possible. Go online. If her assets as uncomplicated as it sounds, you won’t need the help of an attorney. Call your mom’s county’s office of services for the aging. They can help, too.
Good luck.
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