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My spouse has cared for a spouse and grandmother for the twenty years that we have been together. Two years ago, things took a turn and both grandmother and parent became bed bound. Spouse did all possible still then washing clothes, changing diapers, running errands, doctor appointment, washing heads, feeding, lawn and house upkeep, etc. Then a back injury took place because my spouse already suffers from serious pain issues and depression. Grandparent passed a year ago but that still left the parent who is much more difficult to work with on a daily basis. The parent is highly critical, will not take medicine, constantly removes oxygen, refuses to eat on most days, and refuses to wear diapers, which means we constantly wash truckloads of clothes. Not only that, this parent wears the lifeline machine out, which means we constantly get calls all times of day and night to come and open the door for ambulance because on most occasions it is that the parent has gotten out of bed and fallen. Because of this difficulty spouse wants to get a key made and leave it somewhere on the porch for the ambulance people. We are not sure that is a good idea. Hospice was coming out twice a day and that system was so abused that now they only comes out once a day for only an hour. This parent lives alone. So on weekends we are on duty to provide care and every time the button gets pushed, this is about once or twice a week. Parent has been suggested to by hospice, by hospital staff, and by family, that nursing home is best option. However, that idea is angrily refused every time. We are also caring for my aging parents (80) and it is tiresome because I have to travel 30 minutes each way to care for them. At least with them so far it is just helping with cooking and meds setup. We have small children who life also seems to be on hold because we are on call for the problem parent. Some days spouse gets so uptight and depressed when the weekend nears. Some days spouse goes on weekend and says the house looks like a hurricane has hit, diapers either off and on buck naked, telephones and meds in bed and on floor, clothes everywhere and the house smelling from the truckload of laundry. We’ve tried contacting aging council, mental professionals both at hospital and outside of hospital, social workers with all saying since parent is of sound mind they cannot make them go to nursing home. So care is pushed back to spouse and some days spouse can’t get himself to do anything. Because of my past with parent, I will not go over to do for parent unless spouse is present but I will do the cooking, shopping, and laundry although it gets tiresome. So I’m wondering do we need something in writing to protect ourselves from the parent who says she will get us in trouble for neglect? We have two small children that we have to make sure gets their homeschool work done. At times, it feels that all we do is work and no downtime. I’m sure that’s our life – all work and no play.

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None of this sounds like the mother is of sound mind. I would suggest you contact an eldercare attorney for assistance.

At minimum stop enabling the mom. If she wants to live at home, she needs to pay for her care to do that. Find a care company and hire 24x7 caregivers at her expense. Once you have the in-home caregivers cancel Lifeline. The caregivers help with bathing, dressing, laundry, light housekeeping, meals and remind her to take meds.
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Lifeline should provide a lockbox which you put key in and it hangs from doorknob. When emergency is needed they contact 911 and tell them the combination that you provided...

If husband does not have POA then his hands are tied.. You have to decide when enough is enough... I agree with Moxie tell them to hire 24/7 home care, let them know you will not be available. Or you can keep going along as usual and be miserable..
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She is definitely NOT competent and needs to be committed to a memory care facility. Call the MD and get it done. Most MD's will not mention dementia for fear of the reaction from patient and family. BUT if you are open and honest and ask the MD for an alzheimers/dementia test, you will get one done. If you continue to live in denial, you continue to run back and forth several times a day and ultimately you will be in hospital before she is.
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Answry, your hubby does not need to be racked with guilt like this!! You have gone more than the extra mile in managing everything, and you do NOT have to have your life and you emotions controlled by Mom/MIL's rages! Hospice SW is an IDIOT for sitting on her end of the phone saying you should be doing more, because Mom/MIL can't do for herself, yet she's not incompetent - please recognize that you are posting here in utter frustration because this MAKES. NO. SENSE. Does this person even realize she is coming across as judgemental? Does she even realize what MIL is doing to her son emotionally? A **decent** SW would be emotionally supportive to you both - though maybe firm about needing to change how you are dealing with this whole situation - and would be helping you find the legal resources to get a guardianship in place. I wonder if you can compalin to a Board about a SWer the way can about a physician?

NO, parents have no right to eat their children alive like this. Ever. Children are not born for our sake, but for their own, and it is a gift to have the privilege to help a child acheive independence and reach adulthood. Children are meant to "pay it forward", not to have their life, their ability to be spouses and parents themselves, their career, their health and their sanity taken away from them in the process of giving respect and love to their parents. This is not do say that you don't do what you can for the ones who raised you, just that you don't try to do what can't be done and you put your own oxygen mask on first.
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Call Adult Protective Services and inquire about this situation. Many states have laws in place about self neglect of the elderly. The parent is definately neglecting her/himself. Better you make that call then the parent.
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The next time she goes to ER and tells them she lives with someone.. tell them she DOES NOT! This is a recorded pattern of admissions. Do not enable them any longer.. your children and life come first.She needs to be somewhere safe and clean. If you stop doing the laundry what happens?? You call APS on her Show them the records and filth. Yes you will feel bad..but if they place her she will be safer. It doesnt sound like anything will make her happy at this point. I assume she is not driving.. how did she get to check cashing places all over town? Sounds to me like she is manipulating you all.. put a stop to it before you are at your wits end!
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I doubt whether a paramedic will be allowed to use a key to open up the house if this elderly person needs a paramedic. I just don't think they do that. Can the mom leave the door unlocked? That way the paramedics can just come in.

This sounds like such a chaotic and unworkable situation. I'm sure your husband is doing everything he can but caring for someone who doesn't live with you is much harder than if she lived with you. And is that an option? Moving her in with you?

Another option would be to wait until she falls again, your husband gets called by the Lifeline people, he goes over there and insists that his mom be taken to the hospital for "evaluation". Once in the ER your husband can take the nurse aside and tell her that there are domestic issues and get the ball rolling to have his mom put into a NH. This is done frequently when a person refuses to leave their home and there are issues concerning the way they are living on their own. And of course the thought of a NH is angrily rejected by the mom but with the hospital staff and a social worker who will get involved you and your husband might be able to railroad his mom into a NH. I know that sounds awful and cruel but you've been caregiving for 20 years. From you what wrote this woman sounds impossible and has burned every bridge that leads to assistance. Your lives revolve around her and I don't think it't too much to expect a little peace. In addition to that it sounds as if she isn't actually caring for herself. She can't take medicine, she's urinating all over everything, she's falling.....No one should live like that. The alternative isn't great, granted, but it's better than how she's living now.
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I agree with Ismiami and assandache7. This is exactly the kind of situation that an eldercare attorney is useful for. Either your husband can have her declared incompetent and become her guardian, in which case, he determines where she lives - she has no say. If the court says she is competent, then you and your husband are off the hook as far as any threats she makes to you regarding negligence. If your husband Is POA, then it is HE who decides where mom lives, not mom. More evidence of incompetence: photos of the mess at the house and piles of soiled laundry each weekend. When someone needs care, they have to be the ones to bend and help the caregiver out by being reasonable. The caregiver is already giving up a lot of personal time to provide the care. The person being cared for cannot and should not expect their caregiver to destroy their own life and that of their spouse and children on the altar of caring for them.
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"I heard the SW in the background talking about the world of trouble we would be opening ourselves up too if we started to take pictures, taping conversations, or taking videos of anything. Therefore, hubby backed down on that idea."

Pictures? Videos? Please. If that was a punishable offense then everyone and their brother with a cell phone would be in loads of shit for taking pictures and videos 24/7, of everything and everyone. My son's buddy goes around taking pics of women's asses for kicks.

As for taping conversations, that's only illegal if only ONE person knows about it. If the hubs walks in there, says 'I'M RECORDING OUR CONVERSATIONS FROM NOW ON', there's nothing illegal about it.
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I'm a bit confused. How can your husband pay his mom's bills without a financial Power of Attorney?

If you hire an eldercare attorney, the cost can be recouped from his mom's estate as this benefits her - so you don't need to shop for a discount attorney - any eldercare or family attorney will do. Get a competent eldercare attorney and go for guardianship. Your husband already pays her bills, so there is already some proof she needs this help which means that guardianship would probably be pretty darn easy to get. Have the doctors and social workers she has seen write up their recommendations, list out all the Lifeline calls and falls out of bed, document the condition of the house.
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