My Mom lives far from me (9 hour drive). She is 75 and her husband is 60. For the past two years she has been saying that he is having an affair, abusing her, cheating on her. I took all of this seriously and tried to get her to leave, etc- She would not leave him, and should not leave any of her pets- 3 golden retrievers and 3 cats. I should have known something more was going on when she was choosing her pets over her own safety, but I did not. She came into the relationship with a substantial amount of money- instead properly, she could have easily lived off of the money for the rest of her life. The money is gone. He has filed for divorce, and wants to spilt the assets 50-50- there are hardly any assets- certainly not enough to cover long term care.

I finally decided that the risk of covid was less important than visiting her and trying to help in person. When I arrived, I was shocked. She is suffering from obvious dementia. She had all 6 animals in her bedroom with her, and it was filthy. She was not properly caring for the dogs- letting them pee and poo all over the bedroom instead of letting them out (there was some illogical story about their safety). She is not feeding herself properly, nor is she bathing enough. She became incredibly angry at me when I cleaned her room. She has a leg infection that she is getting home wound care for, but needed to go to her doctor's appointment. She was very combative when I took her to her appointment. She kept telling me to go the wrong way, so I would get lost. She was agitated waiting in the waiting room. She uses a golf club as a cane, as she says she isn't old and doesn't need a cane. When I wouldn't give her the car keys to leave (she didn't want to wait to see the doctor), she became verbally abusive. No matter how logically I explained that she had to wait, or tried to distract with stories and photos of her grandchildren, she became more and more agitated. I happened to see it out of the corner of my eye and blocked it when it happened, but she had the golf club raised over her head to hit me in the head with it. She could have seriously injured me with it!

Additionally, she seems to make up stories that sound like books she has read- like she is mashing up reality with the fiction she reads?

The level of decline in such a short period of time is EXTREME. I saw her in January of 2020, and she was normal, if maybe slightly more verbally aggressive. She has always had a temper.

I now realize that her husband is not beating her, although I think she believes he is. She believes he will kill her animals, and she will not leave the house without hiring a baby sitter. (Which is why she never. gaped to her doctor's appointments).

Her primary care physician of 20 years had my POA on file and had been communicating with me. She stopped listening to his medical advice and going to appointments this past summer- instead of letting me know, they just went through the official process of dropping her form their practice. She has such fear of doctors, that finding a new primary care provider has proven difficult.

I am a mother to 4 children ages 7-17. I am a long distance away. How do I go about getting her into some sort of care facility? I dot even know where to start! Should it be in Florida where she lives, near me in SC? Are there any facilities that allow a large dog? She will never forgive me for taking her away from her pets, but she is obviously unable to care for herself. Is better for her to stay married and not get divorced so that her husband is more responsible for the costs?

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I agree with both of the answers above. Talk to the husband, talk to APS. APS is helpful and was able to have a record on file when it came to getting guardianship for me. It took APS a few phone calls before they took me seriously and came out to see my gram for themselves. Be very proactive about your mom otherwise, it can and will be swept under the rug until something happens.

Also, one thing I was wondering is if she might have a UTI. When my gram gets aggressive is when she's had a UTI. Happened twice now. It can be pretty horrific and it's like night and day when that clears up... Maybe get some cranberry juice or pills if she isn't weird about pills. I'm not a doctor, but when my gram went in for her UTI rage broken hip, it was some great common knowledge.

Your mom sounds like my gram and she's lucky to have you in her life. Try not to get discouraged because setbacks will happen. With the doctor, with the care moving forward, etc. We tried so many times with my gram to get her to where she is now (In home care, assisted living - she was deemed combative and was kicked out, involuntary medical hold, etc).
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Now that you know how far your mom has declined, I think it would be in both her best interests and yours if you were to talk at length with her husband about moving forward with a care plan.

You say you were told he spent all her money - have you established that is actually the case? Or was mom believing that the same way she was believing he was being abusive? We see here on this forum over and over about dementia patients spending money; could that be the case here?

Is her husband the one who actually wants the divorce? Or again, is that just something that mom's broken brain is perceiving?

Since he's the one living with her, I think you need to make him a partner in this, and find out just how bad the situation is. He might very well want a divorce because he can't live with the constant abuse and accusations - especially (and I'm going to be a little blunt here) since you seemed to automatically believe your mom when she made the accusations, sight unseen. At the very least, if these are indeed lies your mom has told, you owe him an apology. It's a terrible, terrible thing to be accused falsely of abusing someone you're taking care of - I know, it happened to me. Even though it was absolutely no fault of my mom - in my case, it was an ER doctor who hurled the accusation - I was ready to completely remove myself from the entire caregiving situation for a time, which would have been totally unfair to my mother.

Bottom line - if her husband wants a divorce, you won't be able to stop him.

If she is as bad as you say she is, placement is really your only option. I'm sorry she will lose her dogs, but it's likely the best thing for the dogs, since what you describe is clearly an indication that she is unable to care for them properly.

I hope you can find a solution in this, I wish you well.
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Oh, my God, what a nightmare. There is no one there to check on her, is there? And she is not worked up or diagnosed.
This is a case for APS. Call them and ask that they open a case. Ask them for help in getting a Social Worker to help you apply for temporary emergency guardianship. At that point Mom needs to get diagnosed. And how you will do all of that I cannot imagine, as you have a young family.
How did all the money disappear? She may not have been beaten, but she may well have been robbed.
I don't have a clue what to tell you except that your Mom is sinking fast and badly needs placement and help. Her animals? What a nightmare? They will likely all have to go to shelter. Small animal may be allowed, but quite honestly only in more expensive ALFs, and Mom may no longer have any option.
When you speak with APS let them know all you told us, and that you need a way to act for your Mom that you currently do not have.
You may want to try to go through her MD first and ask for referral to Social Services if he can do that. He sounds an involved MD which is unusual.
My heart goes out to you. I cannot imagine being faced with this. The problems are so massive as to seem insurmountable.
I don't think you can prevent a divorce. In most states it is no fault, meaning anyone can file for a divorce and get the decree.
I sure wish you luck. I hope someone here on forum has some idea more useful than my own, which seem so lame in the awful circumstances you are faced with. This is likely the saddest story I have read here in a long, long time.
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