My sister in VA has mild to mod cog impairment. Her children cajoled her into agreeing to go into an assisted living facility. Can they force her to stay?

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She was told it was only for a month trial. She does not like it there and wants to move back to MA to live with me. Her children have POA and health care proxy. Can they force her to stay where she is now?

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If you don't live near your sister, I'd be careful of concluding what level of care that she needs, in contrast to what her adult children believe. They are near by and may be in a better position to know if she is able to safely live alone or with another family member. If you want to take that responsibility of becoming her caregiver, I'd do a lot of research and reading about what is involved. It's much more than most people realize. It would likely change your life and you become a person who is on duty 24/7, unless you bring in outside help. If you decide to proceed, you could address the adult children and offer your help. I'd keep in mind that people with dementia may not like anywhere they live. They often yearn to return to a place in mind and not to an actual address. I'm sure you'll get lots of responses from people who have taken this on. Oh, I'd also confirm what you might have been told my your sister.  Sometimes, the person may provide information that is not true.  They get things mixed up or are just confused.  I'd confirm whatever it is that she told you. 
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Before you move your sister (if you could even get permission from her children), I think you need to go spend some real time with her to see what her needs are. And spend some time with others in the assisted living facility. What are her impairments? My mom had some kind of cognitive impairment and could have lived with someone until she passed away at 98. But she had no short-term memory, and that could drive you nuts. She stayed the same for the last 10 years of her life. She was in independent living with a LOT of help from me.

But folks with different kinds of dementia go downhill and eventually become incontinent, lose the ability to swallow, become unable to walk, and need 24/7 hands-on care. Are you up for that? You need to get a lot more information before you approach her children with the idea of moving her to stay with you.

And please educate yourself about a person with dementia's ability to "show time" or to appear normal for short periods of time, like when at a doctor's visit or short visits with family, or during phone calls. That's why you need to spend some longer time periods to understand what is really going on with her and whether you might be able to live with her.
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Can they force her to stay?

Not unless they've had her legal competence formally assessed and found wanting, no, they can't.

But that doesn't mean it would be a good idea to encourage her to give up on the ALF. Has there been a formal dementia diagnosis? If so, then while your sister may be technically competent now, it's only a matter of time before she won't be. And if you've helped her move to near you you're going to have a devil of a job on your hands taking care of her, and her very disgruntled family is likely to tell you you're on your own with it.

Have you been able to visit your sister in the ALF? What you hear from her on the phone may be very different from the reality: I do urge you, if you're able to travel, to go and see for yourself how she's getting on.
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I think I'd book a weeklong trio to visit. Have your sister sign HIPAA forms so that you can have frank discussions with her doctor and staff. Find out what she needs assistance with and what she can do independently (don't take her word for it..."show me how you take a shower sis").

Is it this particular AL she diskikes? The people, that staff, the schedule? Is there a facility near you she'd ike better? Would she be able to pay for care at your home? Would you be able to handle emergencies and hospitalizations as they arise?

For most of us, as our parents age, it's est to have them close enough to get to at the ER when ( not if) that happens. Please take into consideration what her children have been dealing with up until now. Get the story from their side 
(late night emergencies, needing to run there during work hours because of panic attacks).
From my perspective, as the "kid" we were able to breathe a sigh of relief once mom was in AL/IL simply because she was someplace safe during hurrican/nor'easter/blizzard weather. I'm sure her kids feel the same.

Check this out carefully and go for yourself to see what is really going on.
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A month trial? That is not long enough for someone to get used to AL. Is she participating in activities there and is she socializing with others? They are sometimes stubborn and refuse to do these things at first. Like a petulant child! How do I know? My dad was just like that and hated it. But finally when he started to accept it and began to know the staff and others he really liked it. It’s a bit like sending your child off to college. They’ve never lived in a dorm with others and that takes getting used to. Now imagine if you were an elder with dementia. I agree with all the others. You need to see her in this place. Do not move her until you know what her needs are and have your eyes wide open. Your life will never be the same if you move her to your home. It is a job and a half. Read the book "36 Hours" to see what you are in store for. Also what if you need to hire help...will the children pay for that with their mother's finances? People with dementia are often not rational and do not make the best decisions. So although your sister would like to move...is it the best decision? This needs more investigation and thought. And please do not pit her against her children in your conversations with her. You truly have no idea what they are dealing with.
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Talk to your sister's Dr before you make any plans. Assuming the AL place is nice she may just be feeling depressed and an anti depressent may make her feel a lot more settled.
Another thing to consider is the distance she will be from her children if she moves to live with you.
Are you sure you want to take on the role of 24/7 caregiving at this stage in your life. it is far more than moving her into the spare bedroom and fixing her meals and doing the laundry. Check everything out very carefully before you commit to anything. If you have one talk it over carefully with your hubby.
Lots of things to consider so don't rush to a decision. Sis may say she does not like the place but it does take quite a while for some one to make such a major change.
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Go VERY slowly on this. All the above comments are right on. My ex went to live with our daughter. She is 53 and has a farm. She thought she could care for him. In about 2 months she realized she couldn't. She put him in AL. She felt guilty, so I just told her to tell people she found him a great studio Apartment in town. He hated it for about 6 months. Now after a year and a half he is happy, taking part in the social programs, and my daughter almost has her life back. She still has to take him to doctor's visits, shopping and things like that.

I agree that you need to take two weeks and go there, see her all day every day and see what level of care she really needs. Remember, it doesn't get better, only worse. I love the "let me see how you shower" gambit. Don't take her word for it.

Personally, I would not bring her to live with you. If she is your sister, she is probably near you in age. Are you young enough and strong enough to turn to do the job you see 3 shifts of caregivers do every day, 24/7?
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You need to think about what the move to a new place will do to her mental state. Many times that causes them to spiral further downward into dementia.
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Do you know what your sister's medical diagnosis is? Is her cognitive impairment due to a fall or other injury? To dementia? To some other disease? People with MCI may remain at that level of functioning for the rest of their lives. People with dementia do not remain in the early stage forever. No one can predict exactly what the future holds, but having as much information as possible about your sister's medical prognosis will help you decide how you can best help her.

She cannot be held against her will. But one month is not enough time to really get acclimated to a new environment. What is it that she dislikes, in particular? Is there anything you can do to help her overcome those issues?

I would like to think my sisters would look out for my best interests some day, as I would for theirs. I congratulate you on that! And I would also hope they recognize that what is in my best interest and what I want might not be exactly the same thing!
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I have mild cognitive impairment (MCI) which I myself guessed I had and was subsequently tested and found to have. I'm nowhere ready for assisted living. I do live in independent living in a community that has sections for MCI, memory care, and a nursing home, so I could eventually live in one of these levels of care if needed. Perhaps your mother should be reassessed to see if she now has dementia. If not, perhaps she could still live in a community with independent living and pay for a little extra help for part of the day if she can afford it. It's usually better to be in the most independent setting you can handle.
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