My Mom needs a guardian. What are the pros and cons of a state-appointed guardian?

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Finally, after many years of struggling with my mom's issues in terms of aging/mental illness, Adult Protective Services (APS) has decided she'll need a guardian. She'll get served next week and there'll be a court date in September or October. The guardian informed me they had a social worker out a couple weeks back and they decided that yes, she needs a guardian.

Some background: My mother is almost 78, lives alone. She had a stroke 13 years ago and recovered OK, but her dementia has gotten worse. She's not totally out of it, but she gets paranoid and thinks people are plotting against her, etc. She shows signs of being a classic narcissist, and she has some mental issues aside from that (not formally diagnosed) but she's demanding, will threaten suicide if she doesn't get her way.

If she's unhappy (which is a lot) she'll cut off contact with people. She's told me to not contact her anymore several times over the last decade. She cut off contact with all of her family over the last 30 years. (She really hates her family, says everyone has disappointed her, was jealous of her, plotted against her, etc.) She also ends friendships after a few months or a couple years.

Her doctor, who I've brought up concerns to several times, has always thought she was OK, just a bit dotty. I called police who did wellness checks, and they thought she was OK.
In the meantime I hear the rants and raves about how people break into her place to steal her canned food, or the neighbor wants to marry her because he parked by her window, or the young police officer who came by to check on her fell in love with her on the spot, and so on.

It's hard to deal with her persistent delusions, but on top of that she fights me left and right. She complains about medical bills yet won't let me see them to see if I can help her. All she wants is me to shop for her, and most important is picking up cigarettes and pills for her. I want to help her, but she is very hostile to me, in part because I'm married and she sees me as "dumping" her for my husband.

So now the social worker says she'll need a guardian and I need to decide if I want to be it or if it should be a state-appointed one. I'm the only family she has, and I'm not sure. I want to help her, but she's never really let me help her aside from taxiing her around. I work a crazy job with long hours and no time off. I'm already fried from arguing with her for the last dozen years, dealing with the drama. I'm not sure if I want to be guardian, to be honest. The social worker says to think on it and do research.

What are the pros and cons? Does anyone have stories to share on the good and bad points of getting a state guardian?

On one hand I think a neutral third party would be the way to go. There's a lot of bad blood with my mom and it's not going to get better unless she gets to the point where she forgets to resent her family.

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I got a call from my mom this morning, confirming I can take her to court this Wednesday. Then she proceeds to tell me it's her right to choose a guardian and she chooses me. (No questions about if I had doubts or concerns, as usual.) I don't think she's choosing me because she loves me; I think she feels I should be obligated to be under her thumb.
I tried to say, this would be easier if she'd cooperated a bit (as in, letting me help her with bill questions, or finding her supplemental insurance -- we've had social workers, home nurses, and everything in between come around and she's fought it all, and for many years.)
She even got all sweet about my husband. ("Say hi to him! He's a great guy! I have the best son-in-law!") A week ago he was a thief scheming to steal away her valuables. Now, great guy!
I know if I were appointed her guardian it would be the same drama. I'd just get the bills in the mail to sort through and have to, what, call the cops to have her dragged to a doctor's appointment? I don't think I can be strong enough to be neutral for her sake, or my own.
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Neraf2015, I keep telling my mom it's better for her to take some help (meals on wheels, a home nurse, utilizing the senior center, which is a great one in my community), because if she takes some help it'll help her to remain independent. I've tried to see her bills and bank statements because she gripes about this explanation of benefits or thinks AARP is stalking her because they sent something in the mail for membership or a cell phone or whatever. She won't take help. She just gets hostile. Then she demands what she wants, which is mainly cigarettes and xanax.
I can't afford to take time off to help her. My job doesn't give me days off; I have to plan ahead to take them. My husband got laid off 2.5 years ago and has only found part-time work and some freelance, but most of the bills are being paid by my paycheck. He's willing to help her to some degree, but she resents him, thinking he stole figurines from her and things like that, so he can't always help her. Plus she has odd thoughts, like she doesn't like pasta, and she thinks he's trying to kill me because she thinks pasta is bad for you. (He likes to cook pasta, and a guy who cooks is alright with me...) But that's a problem, too.
At this point I can't afford to play taxi and shrink to an old lady who's going downhill. I get she doesn't want her money to go into a nursing home or whatever, but she's honestly not doing a thing with it except smoking it up into her ashtray.
She doesn't trust anyone, so no one will make her happy or content.
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Simple and sweet, Babalou. Thank you.
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Heidi I feel your pain to a point, I have SO much drama and while my mother is not hostile "yet" she is demanding and if your mother can care for herself for the most part I would suggest a Medicaid Asset Transfer/Spend down which includes a 5 year look back. It sounds like she is "all there" some of the time but part of the sickness she appears to have (dementia, etc.) is rapidly progressing. She will need at some point a place to live and be cared for. There is so many variations in the process of the disease and also the care and concern of a parent. I would speak to a Elder care attorney in person, speak of your situation and see what your options are. If she is placed in a nursing facility the cost after all her assets are exhausted will still need to be paid and some of the facilities cost $6,000 -12,000 per month (NOBODY) has that kind of money so you are stuck with keeping her and all the abuse which is not fair, unhealthy and I think I saw that you worked and to pay someone to sit with her comes more income and also trust. God Bless You I cant imagine yet I can to some degree of your situation.
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You tell the judge that you are incapable of being her guardian because of the unpredictable behavior she exhibits. You tell them that you want someone else to have the responsibility of making sure she's safe. You've done your best. It's time for someone else to make the decisions.
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I finally heard from my mom today about the guardian court date next week.

She wanted to know who called the cops and who was persecuting her. I told her I called the cops once because she wasn't turning on her AC during a heat wave and other stuff, so they checked on her to make sure she was OK.

She now tells me she wants me to be her guardian if it comes down to it. I didn't say anything. She went on about how she wants me to get her money and not the state or attorneys, etc. I really don't care. After burial and storage and whatever, after she dies, if we got $5,000 that would be massive from her. ($5,000 is nothing to sneeze at, and if I won it in the lottery I'd be thrilled, but with her, I don't know.)

She did a 180 turnaround from the last time I talked to her. All sweet and gentle and concerned, all while she was planning to fool the court that she was perfectly fine. I told her, if she wanted to be independent she'd best take some help like the Meals on Wheels.

I agreed to take her to court next week but I really don't want to be her guardian. It might sound like a betrayal to her, but she's been calling me a sneak, a liar, cruel, calculating, etc., for years. Plus the dramatic change in tone as she plots her great escape.

Then in the midst of that clarity, she told me she would have enough food if her neighbor's friend hadn't come in and stolen all these cans of soup she'd bought. Because this friend has a brother who likes chicken soup, so she had to steal it from my mom for him. I have no idea how these thoughts develop.

I know she's plotting to be the great actress she thinks she is and fool the court into finding her capable. How can I even begin to explain I want no part of it anymore? If she were someone to be helped, I would be willing to do it, but for literally decades I've helped in many ways and it's just grief. I want no part of it anymore.
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I was feeling more guilty in the past but was thinking yesterday:
I've tried to help her.
My husband has tried to help her.
Her neighbors help her when they can.
I've brought up these matters to her doctor, to the police (by asking for wellness checks), calling Adult Protective Services. They've all tried to help.
I've taken time off, used vacation days (when I had them) and more to help her.

I suspect she's a severely depressed person and now it's just worse in a lot of ways due to the dementia setting in. She isn't happy about food, thinks she's either neglected or harassed. She's spiteful and negative. ... paranoid ... delusional.

I once read a quote that we're not responsible for the happiness of others. Sure we can do our thing because we want to be kind, etc., but it's not my job to make her happy. She's committed herself to being miserable.

Oddly I think that's what makes her happy! She then tries to flip her mood on me, accusing me of being spiteful or hating her. I just want peace is all!
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Heidi, I think your husband offers good insight. There does come a point at which we can't solve someone's else's problems and we have to find a way to accept the next best solution.

It isn't easy reaching this point though. It seems as though you've exhausted your efforts, and it's time to work on accepting that guilt is only going to affect you.
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GardenArtist, you make an interesting point. I've gotten bogged down in guilt, etc., and mention it to my husband, and he'll say something like, "Well, she told you not to call her anymore..." He admits he'd stop dealing with he. He's pointed it out that she's been offered help, including from us, in many forms, and she can't be happy about it or accept it, and instead she just stays bitter and angry and difficult.
I just sort of feel obligated because she's older and more frail, but I really want nothing to do with her anymore. If I never spoke to her again, I probably wouldn't care. She's been "gone" for many years already.
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Heidi, WindyRidge made an observation on another post. Men would not get trapped into caregiving responsibilities for someone ungrateful, nor would they stay in them.

There are differences in these kinds of situations between how men and women respond, as in other situations in which problem solving is required.

Women try to find solutions, and keep trying, and trying, and trying, sometimes getting trapped in the "trying" effort. Men assess and announce their conclusion and GENERALLY don't get sucked into hopeless situations.

I'm not saying there's anything inherently wrong with each position....I guess it just arises from the fact, that according to someone, some of us are from Venus and some from Mars. Apparently these planets have different resolution mechanisms that we adapt despite ourselves.

I see this in my own situation. Sometimes I'm so anxious about a problem that I have difficulty sleeping at night. My brother takes a different approach and assesses the likelihood of a positive intervention occurring. If that likelihood is low, he doesn't attempt intervention.
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