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My mother-in-law is mean and hard to deal with and she is a fall risk. She screams and argues with us about everything.
She is on dialysis treatment 3 days a week for 4 hour treatments and when she is home she tries to walk and falls.
She has bumped into the knobs on the gas stove 2 separate times now since last July and turned the gas on accidentally. Once we smelled the gas, we immediately turned off the stove and opened all the doors and windows. She has lost her sense of smell and can not smell anything anymore. She refuses to acknowledge that she has bumped it by accident and both times we called the fire department to come out and check the house for safety.
I have moved out of the house for fear for my own safety because she still tried to turn on the gas stove after we turned off everything, wanting to cook something, with her oxygen on, arguing with us that it was not dangerous because she couldn't smell anything and we were exaggerating. I am afraid that she is going to accidentally turn on the gas on the stove again while everyone is asleep and end up killing everyone in the house. My husband has had to stay to take care of her and I am worried about his safety.
She also can only see out of one eye and in her unsteady state, she has sneaked out of the house and gotten into her car three times and drove somewhere risking the safety of others.
She also fights taking her medication. She has a lot of medication to take and she is tired of the dialysis and medication so it is a constant battle to get her to do what she is supposed to do.
She has gone to a nursing home 2 times from the hospital after a fall and both times she would not stay in the nursing home and left without the doctor's consent. So there are now 2 nursing homes that she cannot return to.
I am racking my brain trying to figure out what to do here. Can someone please help us?

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That is a great book! It gave me the idea to go to the court instead of using cops and 911. I knew if mom didn't want to go in an ambulance no cop or ambulance driver would take her against her wishes without her consent. With the home evaluation(Ohio), they check the safety of the home and the mental status of the person in doubt (sneaky, yes). Yes it felt like I was the bad guy getting check out physically, mentally, and financially but a one day visit from them gave me temporary guardianship which allowed me to send her for evaluation by ambulance. It only takes 30 days for a medically legal assessment. I was told by the court evaluator to change her Social Security to a payee rep bank account and to transfer all assets into that account while she was being assessed and to put my name on all her property. In her case she had nothing but a Social Security check after living with two brothers. It is up to her to get an attorney and fight to change what the courtroom has decided. If you want your mil you better realize you have to provide a safe environment, or the court will assign someone else to her care and safety. Take video of visits with her, pictures of her doing the "strange, and stranger things." Read all you can on getting further help from other agency. Find her an insurance company that provides home health help, aid assists to cook and bathe her. That is my current search. You can't do it alone or your husband, and children suffer in the long run...not to mention your own finances. I wish you endurance and luck.
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I highly recommend the book Ben Behind His Voices, by Randye Kaye. In this book you will find helpful hints on helping your loved one get the help he/she so desperately needs. Randye's son Ben was diagnosed with schizophrenia as a teenager and at one point had to make Ben officially homeless to help him get housing and supports for mental illness. Ben's caseworker asked Randye if Ben used drugs. Ben smoked pot as a teen and became a dual diagnosis case; there are far more beds for those with dual diagnosis-mental illness plus substance abuse. You'll love it!
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Next time she falls, call 911. Then refuse to take her home; look, your husband can't care for her by himself, he's going to die in the attempt! Discharge planning will try to have her come home; stand firm that you CAN"T care for her that she's a danger both to herself and others, as you've stated. Let them place her.
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Call 911, explain how she is a danger to herself and others, and see if they will pick her up to take her to the hospital for her own safety, the safety of others and for a psychological evaluation. From there work toward having her committed to a memory care unit in a nursing home. Do either your or your husband have medical and durable POA for her?
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Guardianship can be done without an attorney. I walked in the courthouse, requested a packet for legal guardianship and the clerk helped me fill in the parts I didn't understand when I came back to file. It cost me $65 to file. The court made visits to my home, doctors were consulted, and I had to pass a physical and background check. So I would say the cost was another $65. Do anything to protect her now, take pictures, and video cam her actions, get statements from family members. Good luck
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Ask your loved one if he/she would have his/her favourite grandchild in the car. If he/she says "f--k yeah", it's time to grab the car keys and trade the drivers license for and I.d. card at the DMV.
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Stop reading right now and go and get those car keys. Then hide them. Hide them good. We'll wait......

Done? Good. One less thing to worry about.

Guardianship is expensive. Thousands of dollars in lawyer's fees and court costs. As you said, with your husband not working because he's taking care of his mom such an expensive solution would probably be a hardship.

When your mom was in the NH and she decided to leave how did she get home? Did someone pick her up and bring her home?

If you are able to prevent her from leaving a NH (by prohibiting anyone from picking her up and bringing her home) I would suggest you wait until she falls again and call 911. Get her to the hospital as you did before and get the ball rolling again to have her placed in a NH. But see if you can get her placed in a memory care unit. The doors are locked and she won't be able to get out to come home. With her yelling and fighting you and fiddling around with the stove it sounds like she has dementia and would be eligible for a memory care unit.
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Thanks pstegman. The problem is that we can't afford to pay for Guardian status. I work full time and go to school in the evenings and have a 17 year old daughter and my husband is not working because he has to take care of his mother.
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As hard as this may sound, you need to seek Guardian status. This means petitioning the court for protection of a mentally disabled or incompetent person. Start the conversation with her doctor, give him a written account of the events. Borrow the car, and never bring it back. Store it elsewhere. She will have to be sent to a Memory Care unit, a nursing home with locked doors. Guardianship is expensive and time consuming, but once a Guardian signs her into the unit, she cannot leave. They will medicate her to calm her down, she is very anguished now, she is suffering badly and can't find relief. Get her to a safe place soon.
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