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My neighbor lives in PA and her children live in NJ. I have been actively trying to help her with situations that arise but she is unable to function normally alone and is exceedingly vulnerable. Her behaviors are concerning other parties as well. The local tax collector has called her son to report her behavior but yet she is still alone. I have spoken to her insurance company on her behalf and they have reported their frustrations to me about being called repeatedly over the same matter. I am very concerned for her well being yet she gets very very angry if anyone calls her children to try to get her help. Some of the things that lead me to believe that she needs some form of immediate assistance are: Her appearance is very unkempt, she sometimes cannot complete a sentence, sometimes doesn't know what year it is, cannot read instructions and follow them, misplaces everyday items, accuses others of taking her belongings, and she is still driving and gets lost. My neighbor has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and I fear she is late stage. She is the only person in charge of her medicine at home which also poses a danger to her. Please can someone provide assistance?

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I am one of those children. My mother disowned me when dad died. She suffers from dementia and a family member who lives in her area that was checking on her but no longer can due to health problems. I have heard from neighbors, utility companies, hired workmen, etc, that she needs help. She is paranoid that everyone including me is trying to steal her money. I think some of this stems from her destroying a life insurance policy I had on my dad when he passed away. I did nothing about it but I think it has been eating at her over the years. I have called her many times to try to reason with her about getting help, but she won't talk to me very long and she refuses to let me in the house. Several have told me that she is hoarding very badly and very thin and calls people sometimes 10 or more times a day about the same issue, but the corporate offices of some of these places have assured me there are no issues w her account. She drives and gets lost, she wanders and the neighbors bring her home, she is very thin, and on and on. I have contacted numerous agencies and the answer is always the same. Call APS. Since everyone wants me to handle this, that is about my only choice. I recently decided to try to have one last conversation w her to try to convince her to let me help and she told me if I have someone sent to the house, she will kill herself. Which is the lesser of the two evils: call APS or do nothing? I do care, but I am running out of options.
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Here is "the other side" from my point of view: my mother has been showing signs of dementia for several years now (she's 83). She has never been a warm, loving person, and now that she's more reliant on others, it's worse. I live a 3 hour drive away, work full time, etc., and in the past 2 years, I've used my vacation hours and weekends to take her to doctors and visit more. She is narcissistic, mean-spirited, considers herself too intelligent and educated for most people, and lately, she seems to be deliberately alienating everyone. She has always disliked me, and hates my increased involvement; yet, tries to guilt me because she thinks I don't spend enough time w/her. I have been handling her finances for a while now, and she either hasn't noticed, or refuses to admit it. My husband and I had a discussion w/her several months ago about AL and living closer to us, and she decided then and there that we are "the enemy" now, and refuses to consider it (as well as in home assistance). We dropped the subject in order to maintain some degree of contact/oversight. I visited her yesterday, and her temperament is even more self pitying and irritable. When I wasn't able to stay longer (I'm working a 50 hour week now), she told me that "since this visit is obviously cutting into your leisure time," I should not bother to visit.
She is very lucky to have a caring neighbor check on her, and I am regular touch with her. With a clear conscience, I WILL reduce my visits, and will maintain weekly, very brief phone calls.
When/if something catastrophic occurs, we'll deal with it then.
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Assistance,
Call APS and let us know what happens. I would be very interested in how this turns out for your neighbor (and if you can, let us know the state). I hope all goes well and she gets placed where she can be healthy and safe. Unfortunately, I predict this could be slow and drawn out with their being a lot of legal hurdles, hearings, evaluation, along the way. Perhaps, only putting her in a behavioral center for a short time for evaluation, short term therapy, etc. and then quickly discharging her once they can't justify her medicare charges anymore.
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My Aunt had Alzheimer's as did many of her sisters. She was a tough ole gal who took care of herself after her husbands death and well, before his death as well. She just did as she pleased and she had a temper her entire life.

When her Alzheimers became an issue, her kids did not want to deal with it or her because she was too difficult and demanding. She lived on her own for a very long time and then one day we got a call from her son who wanted to move her to our house! He wanted to put a motor home in our driveway and have her live with US! Now mind you, this was moving her out of her home state to our state and honestly I may have met her 3-4 times in my entire life! This is how badly he wanted to get rid of her.

We asked him why he didn't move her to his house and he said he couldn't because he had children (so did we) and no available bedrooms (we didn't either) so he wanted to park a motor home in our driveway and he told us we could just lock her in there at night so she would not wander away!!!!!

NO I AM NOT KIDDING!

We of course declined for many reasons but my father was ill and in his last year of life and we needed to care for him.

Many children of difficult parents want nothing to do with them during good as well as bad days. When you are dealing with Dementia or Alzheimer's the behavior becomes horrendous many times and the child just says, "Fine do it yourself, live or die I do not care!" I have seen it more than once!!!

I would personally do everything that Ferris said, all Dept of Aging, call Adult Protective Services, DMV, call the Police Dept and ask that they drive by and stop to check on their welfare. Then if I had their children's phone number I would call and tell them their mother was a danger to herself and others and by the way I have called Adult Protective Services and.....and.....to try and obtain help for her, she cannot be left in this state.

If you do not see any change, call again! The child she kills in her car could be yours!
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Gosh sunflo thats really tough! My mum is only 74 but I can see we may have same problems here soon luckily she dosnt drive. I need to leave here I hate this town and have asked her to move with me but she refuses I think it will take something to happen like she falls and really hurts herself before she realises she cant live alone. I cant beleive nothing has happened your mum at her age? Its very hard to deal with but for my own sanity I have had to stop worrying as it was making me ill. I just hope we get a solution soon as I just cant leave her here alone im hoping that the doctors may be able to persuade her?? But after reading your story now not so sure. I mean what can you do except force them into care if they are a danger to themselves? Its all ahead of me and im hoping for a diagnosis next week. I think here that if she is doing dangerous things then she could be made a ward of court but I will have to see now whats going to happen. I see how you have just got to let it go as it will drive you crazy worrying ive eased up a bit as like you say if something happens it happens. Im shocked that you are not getting more help for one she should not be driving??
I hope you get some peace soon!xx
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I have another take here. I could be one of those children...Another perspective; the children may know their mother's condition but are powerless to do anything. My mom lives alone with dementia. We've been to doctors, counselors, hired in-home care, etc. With in-home care she called the cops continuously; she ended up firing them because I had hired them but did not have legal POA do make them stay. Drs and psychiatrist know her condition and circumstances but will not "declare incompetence" so the POA cannot be invoked. I have written and called DMV to revoke her license; but this has not been done and she still drives (she's 90) although she drives less than a mile wherever she goes and only goes early in the day when there is no traffic -- but still she shouldn't be driving. She will not let me do anything without her watching me like a hawk; if I disabled her car she would just call and have it fixed or go out and buy another. I have consulted attorneys, drs, aging care office, etc. and short of taking her to court for guardianship there is little I can do.

I live long distance, work full time in a travel job and have a family. I have talked with her, visited AL homes with her, offered to have her move nearer to me, etc. and she has vehemently refused all help and said if I continue to interfere she will call the police. I have alerted police, drs, bank, neighbors, of her dementia and instructed all to call 911 or police if they suspect any suspicious activity or she seems "off". Unless she is hospitalized; there is nothing more I can do. In fact she was hospitalized and the only thing they wanted to do was discharge her without a care plan.

So before you blame the children; there are two sides to a story. Neighbors may not be aware of all the background things that have been done and sometimes even the legal process won't help. That is my experience and story.

My brother and I have accepted it finally and reconciled that if she hurts herself in her home, starves, etc. then, though unfortunate and sad, this is the only thing left. Better than an expensive court battle to declare her incompetent and traumatizing her even further and the family.

Sorry, this sounds defeatest; but I've been there...I AM THERE and its awful. I pray everyday that someone will call APS and help us. Lord knows the local police, magistrate, drs, community health, have not helped us one iota!
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It is my understanding that this is a site for caregivers not for those advertising their businesses. Bug off
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very sad for this poor woman to end up like this and no family around to help her? they must know surely they visit this is elder abuse and I would call protection services and let them get her family on board. No matter whats happened between them this is not right.
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I just saw your question and think the advice given to contact your local section of the Alzheimer's Association or Adult Protective Services is good advice indeed. I just wanted to give my perception of what may be going on with her children. While they may be estranged from their mother (or each other), they may also be in denial themselves. I realized that things were "not quite right" with my mother a few years back and had a discussion with her. To her credit, she followed up with her doctor and has been on medication (which helps to an extent) since that time. However, "convincing" my brother (who lives in another state) that something was going on (even after the medical evaluation) was slow going. For one, during his brief phone conversations with her she seemed "fine." Any lapse in memory he chalked up to advancing years. It was not until he came here (more than once) and observed Mom over time that he realized things had changed. This may be the case with her children, who may be giving more weight to her "normal" responses/memories and less to her times of "forgetfulness."

One additional possibility that comes to mind, since you note she is in charge of her medicines, is that her medicine is causing a problem (there have been instances of someone, thought to have developed Alzheimers, was instead being affected by a medicine they had been prescribed). In either event, she needs help and bless you for noticing things and having the heart to step in and help.

Having said all of that, several responders noted she should not be driving and that is true. I am sure you realize she could hurt herself or others, but she could also lose all that she has if she is found at fault in an accident with injuries.
It also concerns me that the tax collector has somehow gotten involved. My Mom is not able to keep up with her financial obligations, so I organize and pay her bills. Was she late paying her property tax? Is it possible that she could lose her home by being chronically delinquent? Is it possible she could lose her insurance (home, health, auto) because she is a late payer? Again, these are the types of things her children may not have thought about, but they may play a role in any assets she is depleting that could eventually help her instead.
So my bottom line advice is to get her the help she needs, with or without her children's help. I will close with the story of an elderly widow (89 years old) from our area who apparently had been similarly struggling for a bit. One winter in particular we had some storms and power outages were reported (unusual for our area). During another spat of weather, her power went out. She spoke with a neighbor by phone and mentioned that the weather must have knocked out the power. The neighbor thought that was a little odd, but then did not think much more of it. As it turns out, her heat had been turned off for non-payment and she froze to death. The neighbor of course was distraught (and the power company has new rules). While this was certainly not his fault, I just repeat the story so you will know how important it is to help people like your neighbor who really cannot help themselves to the extent necessary for daily functioning life anymore.
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Contact the Dept. on Aging tell them your concerns. They will evaluate her and contact her children. You can also call your local police non emergency line. If you feel she is in danger do not hesitate to call 911.
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Contact your local MVD to pull her license, call Adult Protective Services, call her children and let them deal with it. So what if she gets angry? That is the nature of dementia and if her own children cannot/won't help, then APS will. Have someone who knows cars, disconnect the battery so she can't drive and kill someone or herself. Someone who has lost their ability to read is a danger on the roads. This does not sound like end stage dementia to me having cared for dozens of patients and my mother with dementia. At best she is in Stage 2 since she is still able to feed herself and she is still "driving". Her mental abilities come and go so she thinks she is all right. You can also call the police for a "welfare" check, and once they see how her mental functioning is, can take her to a hospital to hold her for evaluation for 72 hrs. If you are really concerned as a neighbor, I would start making those police and APS calls. Let us hear what happened.
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Do what you can to get her children involved. If they don't respond, then contact adult protective services or, as the previous poster said, the area office on aging. You might also give the Alzheimer's Association chapter nearest you a call. They may be able to give you some advice or tell you who to contact so someone in an official capacity can check up on her. If the condition of your neighbor is as bad as you describe, she should not be self-medicating. She could also have an accident in her house without anyone knowing. She also should not be driving! She could cause an accident and injure herself or others. I'm sorry that her children don't seem interested in their Mom's well-being. Unfortunately that is the lot of many older folks today...their families don't care anymore. Ignore her anger; her being angry at you, or anyone else, is better than someone ending up dead because she causes an auto accident; or her ending up in the hospital because she over or under medicates herself. Also, if she's been diagnosed with Alzheimer's she must be seeing a doctor for check-ups and for prescriptions?? If you know who her doctor is, maybe you can let him/her know what's going on. The doctor may be able to have her committed to a nursing home or some other facility for testing and to make sure she's not mismanaging her meds; or he/she might be able to authorize some type of home care.
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Try contacting her son/children and let them know you are concerned and why. Alzheimer patients can be good at hiding the extent of their disease from their families fearing they will be removed from their home. They may appreciate your observations (My husband and I were in a similar situation with his Mom in PA and us in Va. We welcomed the calls from her neighbor who was watching out for her while we went through the long process of guardianship.). They may be in the process of trying to remove her or unaware the situation is so bad. If they do not appear to want to take action contact the area office on aging. They can take over when the family refuses to do anything. Yes she'll be angry with you if she finds out you made the calls but better that than live with the guilt should something bad happen to her. Good luck
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