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MIL had to be moved out of her house out in the country to a house that we bought in town. We built on a handicapped accessible apartment for her so she has her space but is close to our son/dil/grandkids until we are able to move back. We are currently living in Norway with my husband working for NATO. She got diarrhea about a year ago and I took her to a GI doctor who told her she had to have a colonoscopy to figure out what's going on. She refused. He said he can't help her then. She said fine. She hates doctors and believes that they kill people. She is over weight, slow moving and falls quite a bit. When she needs to go, she just goes where she is. In the grocery store as she's walking around, in the car on the drive home. She's pooped all over our sidewalks. Doesn't care. We refuse to take her anywhere now and she's mad. Her keys were taken away from her last year. We told her if she wants to go to the grocery store instead of someone picking up her groceries, she needs to fix this. She said she's lost 75 lbs since it started so she has no desire to have it stopped. We have someone come in and clean for her twice a week (really needs to be everyday but can't find anyone to come for an hour everyday just to clean up poop) and on Tuesday last week they found her laying flat on the floor. She slipped in poop, her feet went flying up and she slammed her back into the floor and couldn't get up. She has a life alert but doesn't like wearing it so no one knew. She also doesn't like to take showers. She is being FORCED to shower twice a week because the smell is horrific and she's very upset about it. I'm at my wits end. She was in a hursing home for a week after a surgery for an impacted intestine and we really hoped it would fix the problem but it hasn't. After the surgery, her apartment wasn't quite ready so she was in a nursing home for about a week. The nursing home said she does not "need" to be there so she had to pay out of pocket. I'm at a loss. If someone goes to her house, sees poop everywhere, smells how bad she is, I'm afraid social services (or whoever does that) might show up and accuse the kids staying with her of elder abuse. She thinks they meddle too much (taking out the trash, trying to clean up the messes) so she locks her doors and will not let them in. They pick up the meals on wheels for her everyday and she won't even let them in to deliver it. Has anyone had something similar to this happen? If so, how did you take care of it? Oh ... she REFUSES to wear diapers because she's not a baby (even though she acts like one)

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If you are in Norway, you can't deal with this. You say your MIL had to be moved, that her keys were taken away last year and so on: so I gather that the family has assumed responsibility for her, would that be fair to say? In which case, whoever has been left i/c MIL needs to get on top of the job. It sounds like that would be your son. He had better get in touch with the local social services for older adults and seek their advice. Your MIL is at real risk of sickness and injury, and since it's proven beyond you - I don't blame you, this is not simple or easy to solve - it's time to call in professional support from elder care specialists.

Your MIL won't have it, of course. But this level of self-neglect is not wilfulness: it's nuts, and it's dangerous. If she carries on like this she'll be deemed incompetent so fast it'll make her head swim, and after that it won't be up to her who gets in to her apartment.
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So, here's the thing. She's clearly incompetent to care for her own health. Her home sounds like a biohazard. This is where getting the "authorities" involved comes in handy. You guys shrug and say "you won't let us help you, mom. So the state is going to step in and help".

You might present this to her as a choice ( not a threat), but I'd be on the phone to APS before a neighbor is.
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You need a second opinion. Did they do a stool culture? Do OTC remedies have any effect?

Has she been seen by a geriatric psychiatrist? Does she have a dementia diagnosis?

I think I would call social services myself and report her as a vulnerable adult who is refusing care.
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Call Adult Protective Services in your county NOW. Report her as a serious case of "Self Neglect" Anyone in her state can't stay by themselves. Even of there is someone right there. If she won't let anyone in and she won't wear lifeline button, and is living in filth is a danger to themselves. Call now. She will be admitted for an evaluation and don't take her back. She needs 24/7 supervision.
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Yikes! Poor MIL! Poor You! Poor Husband! This is a miserable situation.

My first thought upon reading your post was "Call APS." After also reading responses I've revised that slightly.

1) Give BIL the facts of life regarding POA. Give him 24 hours to formally resign the role, in writing, if that is what he wants to do. This is just a courtesy to minimize his accountability for neglect. He can take it or leave it. Not your worry.
2) Call APS from Norway. Don't wait until you are actually here. Yes, that involves time differences and call-backs and expense. But this has gone on far too long and needs to be addressed NOW.

One possibility is to invoke the Baker Act, and place MIL under 72 hour observation in a hospital, against her wishes, to determine how best to address her self-neglect.

I hope the month you are here is enough to get things started on the right track, but I wouldn't wait for that.

I doubt that you could obtain guardianship while you are abroad. Frankly, I don't think I'd sign on for that responsibility.
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Llama, the MIL has already refused a colonoscopy.
It has yet to be established that the MIL is incompetent.
Therefore there are important things that have to be done before anyone can charge ahead on the investigations, even assuming that it is decided that the investigations are worthwhile, and those things will prove extremely challenging to accomplish from 4,500 miles away with a six or seven hour time difference and without POA which is held by someone else.

Don't tell the poor lady it's simple and easy. It isn't.
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So very sad. I'd call APS from Norway. Or ask your son to do so.
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Your brother in law has Power of Attorney but "doesn't want to get involved"?

?!?!?!?

What did he think he was agreeing to???

He must resign it, then. What a [blank]!

I sympathise with how infuriating you must find your position. All that time, effort and - not that it's the point, but still - cost. But. Your MIL is old and by the sound of it pretty ill. Be pissed off, I don't blame you one bit, but not with her if you can possibly help it.

E.g. nobody loves having diarrhoea. I hear what you say about her relishing her weight loss, but you know better than I do that she's grasping at straws. She must be lost, scared, in despair, in crazy denial, God knows what; but you can forgive her for not wanting to acknowledge what's going on. It is scary stuff. Pity her if you can.
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She is a person who needs supervision, obviously. Start by calling the local Area Agency on Aging in her county and asking their advice. As i said above, you may need to call APS and get them involved. Does anyone have POA?

While she was in the hospital, was the issue of her diarrhea discussed? Was it present when she was in hospital/nh?

She could be ordering immodium from amazon, couldn't she?
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Wow. If everything is as you describe I'd say you have a very serious issue on your hands - and no pun intended but "on your hands" is a literal discription - and on your shoes, tracked back into your car, your home etc. Cleaning up poo - getting rid of the bacteria and the health risk is a serious matter. Anyone who is accepting of this type of situation- thinking it's okay to poo any and everywhere - to refuse to deal with it medically or even wear a diaper is seriously mentally ill - whether it be dementia or some sort of psychosis. I can promise you there is poo EVERYWHERE in her apartment and you're gonna need professionals in hazmat gear to make her place safe again. If I were you I'd be doing some on-line research now and when you arrive here be prepared to take some drastic action. Your MIL needs to be evaluated in a facility for both physical and mental
illness - even if it is against her will. Forget about whoever has POA responsibility now - obviously they're no help. Find out now what steps you need to take to get emergency guardianship and when you get here - do it.
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