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Not sure what we can do about my mom. She is living in a senior's place that provides meals and light housekeeping and has been there approximately 3 years. About 8 months ago she was sick and ended up in the hospital. I think she really liked the care she received and a couple of weeks after discharge she was back. This has been a back and forth thing ever since. She won't take her medication and inevitably has to go back almost immediately. Three weeks ago I received a message she wasn't feeling well and took her to the hospital again. They took her in immediately as her heart rate was 170. This was the 7th time in under a year. I told her I would not take her again but would call an ambulance and meet her at the hospital as I am not equipped nor do I have the knowledge to know what to do if she has a stroke along the way (I had asked my doctor what could happen with a heart rate that high and she said my mom is lucky she did not have a massive stroke). I'm really not sure what to do. She gets furious with us if we bring up her medication and says if she doesn't want to take it she doesn't have to and it is none of our business. I received a call earlier today (she was just released from the hospital a week and a half ago) that she is not feeling well again, can't sleep, eat, etc. It is really cold here and my car battery is dead so I can't go anyway and suggested she call an ambulance, or I could. This is really becoming overwhelming. This is literally a life and death thing that is dealt with almost bi-weekly. Today will be her 8th time going to the hospital. She is a hoarder and suffers from depression and dealing with this personality has always been a challenge. I don't think she fully understands the potential consequences of her actions. I want to set some boundaries so she knows if she does not take her medication that is her choice, and she will have to call an ambulance, that I won't go anymore (she phones me because she wants to go to a particular hospital the ambulance won't take her because it is out of our area) but then I feel I am being mean and if she does die I am afraid of the guilt. I feel terrible no matter what I do.

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I think the key thing here is that she wants to go to a particular hospital that she can only get to if you take her.

Don't take her. She's on Medicaid and is using public monies to do this. Let her call an ambulance and go to the "regular" hospital.

Just remember though, if this behavior is due to dementia, she wont "learn her lesson". In that case I agree with CW that she needs a higher level of care where meds are distrubuted.
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When I read about the frequent visits to hospitals by elders on these boards, I get annoyed. They are spending the public's money on these outings (Medicare, Medicaid). Just as there is a Medicare penalty for rehospitalization for the same ailment, perhaps there should be some sort of penalty for seniors who over-utilize medical resources!
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Maybe it's time to consider moving her to a place where there is a more intensive level of care?
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It’s very possible she loves the hospital! I had an aunt who stayed in the hospital for months and months. She was on Medicare and SSI so she didn’t care about running a huge bill up. She did have cancer of the lung, the same genetic problem I and her daughter now have (apparently as we age the problems blossom)...

My aunt became the staff on her floor’s ‘pet’. It must be nice because I have to pay to go to the hospital and besides, I hate hospitals and it’s not worth it just to get waited on.
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Dear Dino,

I can empathize with your struggle. I know you care a lot about your mom and don't want to see her suffer.

In my case, my dad's decision was fatal. He needed his meds to keep going. He ended up having multiple heart attacks and then passing. Keep talking to her doctor, nurse, social worker, Adult Protective Services, and see if there are any other options to help your mom. I know its hard but please don't give up on her.
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Dino, time to opt for the "Medtech" at the senior facility, or whatever it is called there. This is a Staff member who is licensed to hand out medication to the residents. She/he will come in to your Mom's apartment once or twice a day, and watches her as she takes her meds.

The Medtech is an extra cost, but in my book well worth. My Dad would forget to take his medicine, even if notes were left everywhere in his apartment. So I ordered the Medtech service. Once he was back on his meds on a regular basis he was feeling better.
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When my mother had The Fall - the one that was a game changer - she wound up in the hospital for several days.

As luck would have it, after the ambulance ride to the closest ER, mom was again driven by ambulance to a hospital within her insurance coverage. The nearest one didn’t have a room so she was taken a ways to the brand spanking new hospital that was very posh - all private rooms with flat screen TVs, and computerized screen in the wall that updated frequently with dining choices, nurses on duty names etc plus a computer with keyboard that was on an arm that would swing to the bed - and more. My mom would ring her nurses to bring her coffee, a fruit snack like she was ordering room service - and they’d bring it!

Mom had several tests done - MRI, two CAT scans, X-rays... and as my mom had always been a bit of a hypochondriac, she was in heaven.

Then she was taken to rehab and the party was over. All hell broke loose...

Any chance you could get your mom released to a rehab rather than returned home?
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What a difficult position to be in. I support your decision to not jump when she calls.

The thing is she will die one day, it may be sooner, if she does not take her medication, it may be later if she takes it, but you cannot control any of it, you can only control your response.

Just as she told you it is none of your business if she does or does not take her meds, you are not responsible for the consequences of her actions.

What does she say to the doctor when he tells her she will die if the does not take her medication?

My dad either cut back or stopped taking his blood thinner 3 years ago, because of the nosebleeds he was getting. He did not tell anyone and had a massive stroke a few months later. He was lucky to have a good recovery. Now he takes his blood thinners, even though he still gets nosebleeds, and has to go to the hospital with them. A nosebleed is easier to recover from than a stroke.
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