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My mom has had memory issues for a few years now. She lives alone and will not have anyone ( including me and my brother) stay in her home to help her. She refuses to admit there is any problem. She claims she will die in her house. We have been trying to let her stay home by going over a couple times a week, doing her shopping, filling her pill box,, cleaning her house , washing her clothes etc. We tried to get someone in to clean, she threw them out. We tried a pill dispenser, she unplugged it and put it out on the porch. She says no one is going to tell her what to do. As time as gone by she is getting worse. she no longer takes any of her meds on her own. She will still take them on the days I am there and hand them to her, but I work full time. I feel she is no longer safe by herself and tried to talk to her about it. She would have none of it. I worried as her CHF is getting worse as are all her conditions because she won't medicate. How do I start the process of placing her somewhere against her will? I am newly divorced and can not afford a lawyer. She has become very secretive about her finances and I don't even know what she can afford etc. She will still let me write a check from her account when I find disconnect/cancellation notices at her house. She lie to everyone including her doctors, telling them she's fine and I'm full of it. So can anyone tell me a few first steps? Thanks You !! I appreciate any advice I can get.

Thanks Again,
Sue

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The route I took was to have Dad t at the ER when he was in a hallucination.... the doc there had him sent to the psych facility....turns out it was his out of control blood sugar causing the problems mostly at the time ....on the day of his medication hearing (essentially where the court sends a rep to the psych facility to determine meds given whether Dad wants them or not) I stepped in because they were treating him with psych meds and ignoring the blood sugars that were through the roof. Doc there said I had to take him into my home and take care of him in order to release him. I agreed and it was the best decision for us all. Ended up selling his home.... he allowed me to be in complete control of medical and finances... we bought a nice mobile home...and though I have had some interesting and frustrating times with him....best overall decision.
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Linda, you have my prayers. It is emotionally so hard to sell the stuff. Worse still is when you have to sell the home, especially if it is your childhood home too.

We gotta put on those big girl panties and do it though! And to the original poster - you sure heard several heart felt stories of people who chose different options depending on the details of the situation. It is very possible that Mom does not want to die but just wants to stay home and be well. Denial is a powerful force, and if what she really wants is not possible but she can't see that, she really does need someone to take over. If it is possible to do what needs done without guardianship proceedings, so much the better, but if it is not, you may have to consider it, versus waiting for the bad thing to finally happen that takes matters out of your and her hands. We did that with my in-laws many years ago, before we really knew better, and it did not go well; respecting their wishes and letting ourselves be bound by their threats and resistances was not what they really needed and in the end all we could do was bury my FIL, clean up the mess at the house, and let BIL take over with some help from my niece who happens to be an eldercare attorney and get her into skilled nursing from the geropsych where she was taken by APS.

We did NOT do as badly as that with my parents, but they had at least made some provisions for POA and an estate plan which turned out to be all that was needed. I pray and hope there are answers for you that will work in your situation. This stuff is hard, but facing up and making the best decisions you can will give you peace in the long run, as well as a better quality (and maybe even quantity) of remaining life for your Mom.
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Wow. Amazing. My story too is posted here. I have nothing more to add. I went through all the same nature of things. I felt the same things. I did the same things as so many of you. Dads been in an ALF for 3 months now and still talks about how the family has abandoned him. (I am "the family" cause no one else has been to see him in years). I hired a companion that checks in on him daily and he "plays" with her. Smiles and becomes a kid again. When I go (once a week, no more, per his doctor), he is always worse. Guilt? I have accepted guilt as a little girl in me that I have to care for, just like I do with my dad. Good luck to us all and to our loved ones..... Somebody please pray for me to find the strength (im his POA) to sell his 2013 car with 1,000 miles on it. He needs the money while his Aid and Attendance pension is being processed.
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Hi Sue. Call APS. Let them be the "bad" (good) guys, and they can petition the court to have her committed at least to a psych unit to be evaluated, and then into a memory care unit. Once she understands she can no longer live alone, manage to get a POA and MPOA from her. Work with the system, and let them do what is necessary to get her cared for in a professional environment. Unless she has a psychiatrist or neurologist evaluate her for dementia, her medical doctor will have to intervene, however, she can refuse treatment. With dementia which is terminal, having CHF might be a Godsend. Try what you can and that is all anyone can ask of you. Good luck!
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You only have one option other than what you are doing, and that is to have you or your brother made her Guardian, that will take a court action which is very unpleasant. This is an example of a case where the elderly should prepare for these events in their life when they can. It is Possibly too late for for her to give a POA now.
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In my family, it's a source of pride to die in one's own home. It shows you're independent. My mother was on that route. Fortunately, she didn't actually want to die, per se, and when she suddenly went down a path where she probably would have died without some help, it scared her enough to let us move her. Partly, even her doctor told her just that. My brother and I were telling her and she "kind of" understood, but hearing her doctor say it to her, it hit her that she was on a quicker path to death than she needed to be.

Also, my mother was not telling her doctor everything and saying she was "fine." However, my mother wasn't really lying. I was with her at her doctor's appointment where her doctor told her she was going to probably die if she didn't get help. In that appointment, he'd ask her if she was falling and she'd say "no." I'd remind her that she had and she'd think about it and then say something like, 'Oh, yes, I forget. I'm sorry." In some cases, she just didn't remember, in others, didn't associate what the doctor was asking with her own symptoms, even though he was putting it in simple terms.

She was secretive partly out of embarrassment, I think, and partly because she wanted to avoid conflict. Yours might be doing the same thing.

But, for us to get her to move, it took all of us telling her that she was basically out of money to fix the house, her health wasn't good and she'd literally die without more help, her doctor telling her the same thing -- it took years and I'm worried that a few more weeks of it and she wouldn't have recovered (fortunately, she made the decision in-time and is getting proper medical treatment, but could have easily been a very different ending).

Whatever your Mom is doing, somehow you have to see if you can make the decisions for her. She's going to possibly be quite angry and resentful, possibly forever, but if she can no longer take care of herself and her living quarters with her own abilities and finances, it is time to find a way to step-in.

It's one thing to die in one's own house, peacefully, in one's sleep, proud to have lived an independent life and having relatively good health, otherwise. It's another for the situation to kill you, where you go into a decline because you can't take care of yourself, any longer.
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We had the same problem with my mother, she got so bad, she was physically banging on things with her cane and anything else she could get her hands on. We were worried about her safety and that of my father. We took her to a behavioral health hospital to be evaluated and she just happened to throw a fit during the interview. They admitted her for 48 hours which turned into a month, they medicated her and by the time she came home, she had the right combination of medications to help the anxiety and frustration. We now have her back at home and she's not angry or obnoxious anymore. She will let us feed, medicate and clean her now with no problems. It took quite a while to get the meds adjusted just right, but it was worth it. All the nurses tell us that she's so much better off at home than in a nursing home, I am just thankful that my dad is so loving and willing to take care of her with me!
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When my Dad got to this point, he and Mom had already signed over POA to me, because he was missing the bills, had dementia and knew it was getting worse....but they both insisted they wanted to stay in their home. One 'service' not mentioned, is the police dept being called to do 'welfare checks'. I lived out of town and closest family an hour away, and when we started to get calls late at night because the TV remote would not work, or because they were fighting and yelling at each other over nonsense stuff, I started to call police. After a couple 'visits' from police, I sat and said, 'You know....if the police keep coming, they will sooner or later call in APS, and then decisions will not be in the hands of family or of YOU, but IF we get a care giver coming in to help you guys even just part time, then 'WE' have a plan and an agency involved and the other agencies will leave us alone'. This was advised as the way to introduce caregivers, by our eldercare attorney. My Dad agreed to help coming in 'for a month'.....it was ok for me to pay for a month's worth to see how it might help. By the end of a month, my Dad loved the gal who came in to help a few hours several times a week. The reality is, when you call for a 'welfare check', the police do not tell them who called. They just say they received a call from the neighbors or a concerned citizen or something vague. My parents never suspected me, because I lived out of town....not even when one of them had been the one calling me to complain that the other one was causing them trouble! The one thing, hard to comprehend about dementia, is that your parents act perfectly normal, but their brain is no longer remembering things the same way, so they really do not have a recollection, or ability to keep all the dots connected. My mom currently does what she's always done....phones and orders me what she thinks I should be doing for her because she doesn't want to do it.....like, every Sat night she phones me, out of town, to tell me that I should phone Dad's residence and be sure they've turned on Lawrence Welk for him. In the past, she would call back three or 4 times to be sure I had actually done it. Now, she tells me, and I sweetly tell her I will call, since she doesn't want to...and she forgets to ever 'double check'. I don't really call as I know they have it written for all caregivers, in all 5 of their cottages to put this program on for all their residents etc.... The next day, she'll ask if I called....maybe....but maybe not...cause her nagging abilities have diminished due to her dementia now. It's much better on me. In the past, I would argue; try to get her to make her own phone calls, and it would turn into a fight because I hate to be ordered around by her over something she could easily do herself. She just likes to 'be served'! Now I just say YES I WILL...and do what I want about it. Try it if the problem is dementia and see if your own parent simply no longer can keep the thought in their mind. But...regarding the getting help in the home.....it worked for us. I tried to let the parents knew that if they wanted to stay home, they would not be able to do that until death without some kind of help in the home. Dad was able to stay home for 8 more months before we had to place him finally. He adjusted fine, and quickly forgot that he ever lived anywhere else most of the time. We just explained the doctor wanted him there for a while while they fixed up his meds so his mind would work better...and he buys that story every time he asks why he is there.
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Your description of your mother sounds EXACTLY like my dad, and I just want you to know that you're not the only one out there going through this, feeling scared, not knowing how to help. You can try to get her to sign POA documentation, but she may refuse, like my dad always has.

Here is my experience. During my dad's recent hospital stay after a fall, I let the docs & social worker know right away I would absolutely not be picking him up and taking him home. They agreed with me that home was not safe and managed to help me admit him to a nursing facility that I chose. I felt really great at having managed this after trying to convince him for a year that he wasn't safe at home. He did make some improvements at the facility, but every other day, he threatened to leave. He'd call the cleaning lady and everyone he could think of, offering money to come pick him up. No one would. Everyone knew he shouldn't go back home. And so he began threatening to call a cab. This went on for over a month, but he always forgot or didn't follow through. The staff told me all along that if he managed to make it out the door, they couldn't physically restrain him. Well, he had learned the exit code to the door, and had been making attempts at using it. One day he was successful, managed to get a cab, and made it home, so now we're right back in that mess again.

My dad is delusional, paranoid, suffers from hallucinations and is unable to participate in his own care... I could go on and on. Unfortunately he has never been declared incompetent and I have consulted with a couple of professionals (social workers, an attorney) and I understand that my chances of gaining guardianship are not great. That seems really screwed up to me, but it is what it is.

My personal decision was to back away and stop helping. At all. Like not even to pick up groceries or pay over-due bills. That's what he wants and according to the current system he legally has the right to make that choice. It may lead to his death if he ends up deteriorating like he was before he went to the facility. I have to accept that, because like your mom, he has stated to me that he wants to die at home. I hope for everyone's sake that he can go soon and not suffer long.

If my dad ever admits that he needs help and WANTS my help, then I will help, but only if he gives me the legal ability to do so and agrees to move to a facility where he will be safe so that I'm not constantly sick with worry. I can't live like that anymore.

Make your own decision as to whether you want to keep trying to help as you are, pursue guardianship, or just let her go until she wants help (or dies first!), but no matter what you do, DO NOT feel guilty, you clearly want whats best, but sometimes the system works against the family and you can only do so much.
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My mother, too, is so much better in the NH - than she was at home. It took the death of my sister to get Mother there, though. Quit doing so much for your mother and wait it out. Unless you want to follow MG's ^ advice, you can't put her anywhere. In our case, Mother went to the hospital with broken ribs. The hospital and doctor made the determination that she was no longer able to live alone.

We (her children) did not get involved. We are all 1500 miles away. Her 50 yo grandson handled the move. It was easier that way.
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If I didn't know any better, I'd say you read my story and you are re-posting it. This seems to be a common scenario. My mother was in good health, it's just that her mind was going. She lied to the doctor, cursed, she was physically violent, didn't pay her bills and swore she took her meds. All this means is that there is a problem.Us four siblings pooled our $$s and went to court to file for guardianship. The ONLY way our mother is alive today is because we intervened. Luckily, we were able to put her into assisted living where there is someone to keep an eye on her for 24 hours a day. (Albeit, she went kicking and screaming.) She gets her meds - she is given regular meals. If a person cannot afford AL, there needs to be someone around to constantly remind of meds, bills etc. It's the meds.
Also, for what it's worth, you CAN call adult protective services on her. This service works both ways. These people know when they are given a line of BS from the "elder" adult and this will give you documentation that you are trying to do right by her.
Good luck and best wishes, I've been in your shoes.
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You have two divergent paths here; it is clear from what your mother says that she wants to DIE IN HER HOME. As in, she wants to DIE. She doesn't want medication, people looking after her, etc, etc. You can go the POA, guardianship, etc route and force care on her. We faced this choice with my MIL a year ago. My brothers in law, who were the ones who had authority, allowed her to starve herself to death. No, she wasn't in her right mind, but they had been brought up to do what there mother told them to. My husband, who tried to intervene with her, was told by his mother that he was being abusive and that she would call APS if he continued to "abuse" her (by telling her that if she would do the cardiac rehab exercises, she would get better). Wisely, I think, he backed off. Just my observations of our situation.
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I would begin by making sure someone has her Medical and Financial POA. If not, she needs them yesterday! Then go with her to the doctor but either send him a letter or talk to him to explain what is occurring with mom. Many geriatrician offices have medical POA forms available, if she hasn't done some advance planning you are entering into a nightmare. Nobody can make her move unless they have POA or are her guardian appointed by the court system. You may jot be able to reason with her at this point, it may be too late. Your only choice may be to ask Social Services, Adult Protective Services, to keep her on their radar. You can also call the Area Agency on Aging they are usually in offices with your regional Council of Governments. Good Luck.
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