My mom wants to leave the board & care home and return home. Her children think it isn't safe. Are we obligated to let her?

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Our mother is 84-years-old, frail, a fall risk, struggling mentally, has Parkinson's Disease (for 14 years) and lives alone. Her husband and our father died 1-1/2 years ago. Three months ago, she entered a residential home care for the elderly due to fall, hitting her head twice in a 4 day period. Her health is much better now that she's being cared for, eating better and taking her medications correctly and consistently. If she returns home she'll fall back into her old routines. We are also very concerned for her safety. Her home isn't safe. The bedrooms and bath are upstairs, and she relies on a walker. Prior to her latest falls, she had a caregiver for 4 hours a day, seven days a week, but whittled it down to two days because she didn't want to spend the money. (She had fallen and needed assistance so that's why she had a caregiver at that time.) Our fear is if we allow her to return home with a live-in or caregiver, she'll reduce the days of care again. I believe it's time for conservatorship of my mother.

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There is no POA at this time.
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Reply to MargaretJ
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rovana A P.O.A. allows a principle to assign a person the power to act in the "sole benefit" , the words in the documents are the requests that the "principal" agrees to allow the actions legally allowed at their own reqest. If a P.O.A. acts as attorney in fact for the principal according to what is requested it is a fiduciary duty. If the request on thevpapers require an incompetent decision before the P.O.A. taking action then that's the limitation, if it is requested that the P.O.A. can take action prior to, or on the event of, incompitency, than that's what it is allowed.
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Reply to wuvsicecream
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Unless you can get her declared legally incompetent, I don't believe a power of attorney could force her to do what she refuses to do. For that you are talking guardianship. POA is to enable another person to act for the grantor of the POA, to accomplish the grantor's instructions. POA For, not POA over.
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Margeretj It seems that she needs to be in a memory care facility. Is there a power of attorney?
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Reply to wuvsicecream
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It's not easy, Pepsee! Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback. -Margaret
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Reply to MargaretJ
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Hi Margaret,
I would be worried too. My Mom falls and it freaks me out. She's also a stroke risk. Can't remember her meds.....and so on.

She could never live alone with only 4 hours of care a day. She'd kill herself. Especially with stairs.

I really would not put my Mom in that situation. Regardless of how mad she gets. Her physical and mental conditions will only get worse.

Love her up at the facility. Go by the Dr's recommendation of 7/24 care. Show her life can still be fun where she is.

Good luck, this is NOT easy! 😩
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Reply to Pepsee
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Thank you all for your thoughtful responses. They've helped me out.

I just ordered the book “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” by Atul Gawande and can't wait till it arrives.

The doctor who released my mother three months ago from a skilled senior living facility recommended 24/7 care. Days prior to her visit to the hospital and the skilled facility her nurse recommended 24/7 care as well. Her neighbors have witnessed her health's decline in addition to her children in the past year. She also no longer drives. The good news is that she is finally letting us clean her home. She is a hoarder. Started after her Parkinson diagnosis, which makes sense.

I will make an appointment with her family practitioner to get an updated diagnosis and his recommendation. He has seen her three times in the past three months.

To her, money and her independence are the issues. She'd rather give her money to her children than to a board & care home. She thinks it's a waste of money. She has also doesn't like others telling her what to do -- like when to go to bed, managing her medicines, etc.

I signed her in to her current residence, a residential care home for the elderly. Her last mini-mental cognitive assessment was about five years ago, in which she scored 29 out of 30. It's time to have her tested again. Today, she has difficulty with interpreting, comprehending and retaining new information. She makes up stories, but I hear that's usual. Something I have to come to terms with.
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Reply to MargaretJ
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When Mom says she wants to go “home”, are you certain she means THIS home? Sometimes people with mental concerns are wanting to go back decades to the home of their younger years. My mom was like that.

It’s ok for you and the rest of her family to use the “Therapeutic Fib”, telling her that the house is being painted, fixed up, etc. or, that when her doctor says she can come home, you’ll consider it. Seems like Mom might be concerned about money. She may want to leave you all “something”. My mom very carefully scrimped and saved, and when she went into the facility, it all went for her care until Medicaid kicked in. There was nothing left as an inheritance. Your mom may not want that.
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Reply to Ahmijoy
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Margaretl.... Did she sign herself into the facility? Usually there is a medical reason form signed by a doctor, for admission purposes. If she has not been found,, mentally incompetent, "legally".... no one can force her to stay, if she signed her admission forms herself. I would also, Check the rules of the facility, usually it depends on state laws to govern this. From your disciption it sounds like she definitely, Has a medical need for 24/7 care. If this is the case it would be illegal to discharge her unless another person agrees to 24/7 care. Do not sign discharge forms.
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Reply to wuvsicecream
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“Being Mortal, Medicine and What Matters in the End” by Atul Gawande immediately sprang to my mind, too, as I read your post MargaretJ. It is about considering the quality of life and not just its length. Gawande is a surgeon and the book has lots of examples of end-of-life situations.

I believe you that your mother has better health being on a consistent routine, eating well, taking her meds, etc. And yet she doesn't seem happier because of it. Living more safely but miserably isn't what you have in mind for her, I'm sure. Somehow the family needs to come up with compromises so it isn't either/or safe or content.

With help, you could probably arrange consistent care in your mother's home. And you might convert a down-stairs room into a bedroom. But the big obstacle in my mind is the upstairs bathroom.

I'm not advising helping your mother move home -- just that it shouldn't be dismissed automatically. And I'm not opposed to placing parents into care centers of some kind. My own mother spent the last 2 and half years in a nursing home. The transition was tough, but once she settled in she was truly content there.

Your mother has only been where she is now for 3 months. Maybe she needs more time to settle in. Maybe there are things you could do to improve her level of content. Does she have things from home there?

The only way you could prevent her from returning home is to have conservatorship. But that can't be granted unless a court determines she is no longer able to make her own decisions. Do you think her mental decline is that far along?

Of course, simply refusing to help her move back home might prevent it from happening, unless she is able to arrange it all herself.

By the way, what does Mother want to keep her money for, rather than pay for in-home help?
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