MIL has severe memory loss, has moved out of state, refuses any help! What can we do?

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My mother in law has been showing more and more rapid signs of memory loss to the point where she's forgotten that her son married me (and my name), she doesn't recognize her grandchildren, and she has lost a lot of weight (she has type 2 diabetes and I think she hasn't been eating/remembering to eat/taking her medication). We tried to get her a doctor appointment because she kept putting it off, but she freaked out after going because she is afraid we'll "commit" her. So in response, she moved away to Oregon, and is renting a house from her brother (who lives in CA). We want to know what we can do, but have been advised by the senior counsel that unless she has a major health event and lands in the hospital, we can't do anything. We are young (27/28) and she's only in her mid 60's, and we have very little money and two very young children (under 5 years of age). Our ability to caregive is very limited and we don't even have a large enough living space (we're in a 1 bedroom apartment). I would love any suggestions for getting help. We love her and want her to be safe, but we have so many life stressors and obligations that we need to take care of that it's practically impossible to know what to do next.

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You can always call Adult Protective Services and see if they will check on her. Contact any legal agency you can. If she is unwilling to talk, hopefully they will be able to have her taken to the hospital on a 5150 to see if she is mentally fit to care for herself. I wish you luck. The stress on you & your husband is taking a toll, I'm sure.
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my wife and her Son &dauthers took off and took all my money and other things !
Why ?
my wife was a payee for me as I has a heart attach and now I live with only a half of a heart.
I pray to the lord at night that the police will do something to him
when you have a heart attach it is not the same !
I has my heart attach January 11,2009 and Vicki took me to the hospital on January 15,2009 (4 days went by before she took me to the hospital)

Thank you for your time,
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It sounds as if she is in denial and letting her fear run with her.
She is probably fearful, that she would be put away, that would scare most of us,
but there are two things (and probably more) also going on.

One is that without the proper diagnosis, she cannot start the treatment she needs, it is called self-neglect. She needs to see a 1. Neurologist (people give the medicine, Namenda, exelon, etc, all the time, without this step,but I do not advise it) at the first meeting the neurologist can recommend a neurological test for diagnosis (she is aware that she is forgetful) 2. a Neurological test is a diagnostic tool person that diagnoses dementia and/or incompetency. 3. if dementia then you can get proper medicine, 4. If declared incompetent (the inability to do the tasks of daily living, bathing eating, going grocery shopping, taking medicine, etc.) If she takes medicine, a nurse can be appointed to take her blood pressure, give her meds, etc. If she has a disability like dementia, she can get SSI. If she has a disability she has rights as a disabled adult. The first of these rights and to me the most important is: living in the least restrictive environment, for her it might mean a caretaker for a couple of hours a week to a couple of hours a day. The caregiver does grocery shopping, laundry, cooking of meals.

For this ball to start rolling, because she is so far away, and out of reach of family to help her, I would call the senior abuse hotline, which is also the phone line for senior services.

It is all a process, for you the first step will be to consult with your husband, because it is his mother you are referring to, as this process will remind you time and again, is his family business.

Diabetes can kill and will not allow you to wait until something happens.
Good Luck!
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Just pray for her and you and your husband take care of your young children. There is nothing to be done as attorney advises. Do not feel guilty either as you are not to blame for her illness, nor can you help. Best wishes.
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I think that the senior counsel is right, unfortunately. If you were millionaires, you could get lawyers and have her declared incompetent, but that would cause more hard feelings.

Try to keep communication open between you. Ask her brother if he can get someone in Oregon to check in on her. This could be a neighbor, or even someone in a local store where she would go to buy groceries, if the town is small enough. DON'T mention her memory to her again.

It is so scary to know that someone you love may be in danger and you can't protect them. If you can, "turn her over to God." The situation will change, probably before she suffers serious effects from her condition. Until then, you can only pray and wait.
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Oh dear. What a stressful situation for you!

It may be true that it will take an "event" to force the issue of mother's health.

If she was able to arrange the move and is paying her own way, it may be that she would be considered technically competent to make her own decisions. Competent people are allowed to make their own decisions, even if they are bad or self-destructive decisions. So she can decide not to take her medicines or not to eat regularly, etc.

I know that your concern is what mine would be ... is she really making "decisions," or is she unable to understand the consequences of her actions, because of dementia.

What I think I would do is call the Adult Protection Services where she is. Explain that you are worried that she is a vulnerable adult who can't really take care of her own diabetes and other health needs. They may or may not be able to do anything, but they will look into it. I think that may be the best you can do until some "event" happens.

Meanwhile, try to keep in touch with her, or at least with her brother. Take care of your children and your marriage. That comes first.

Think a bit about what you would like to see happen, if/when she is in the hospital or in some other crisis. I think you have already ruled out her living with you (quite understandably). Would you like her to be somewhere near you? Does she have other relatives? Of course it will make a difference how she is at that time. Maybe her needs could be met by a daily visit in her own apartment. Maybe she'd need assisted living, or even a nursing home's memory care unit. You can't make specific plans ahead of time, but you can start looking into what is available and what kind of financial help she might need/be qualified for.

My heart goes out to you, and to your poor mother facing this at such a young age.

Please keep us informed of how this plays out.
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