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For example: I saw my 90 year old mom putting a dish that was trimmed in gold into the microwave. I explained to her she could not do that. The very next day she was taking the bowl out of the microwave. She said it did not do anything to the plate. She had a reason why she did it and my brothers said these are just mistakes. I have come home and the gas was left on. Her response was that she was trying to clean the pan. Knowing the toilet had just overflowed she used it. Her response was she had to "really go bad" which caused it to flood to the lower level. She was cooking one day while I was home. There was something burning so I went to get her only to find her standing in front of it. Until I told her she was unaware but again blamed it on the pressure cooker not working. When I told her that she would not be able to ook while I was gone she responded " Then I just won't eat." I got meals on wheels and she stopped them after 8 days. My brothers offered to get her "life alert" but she said she would just hang it on the door. How and what am I suppose to do with this type of behavior? Are my brothers in denial with what is going on? I am also raising 5 and 9 year old granddaughters for the past 2 years.

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Sounds a lot like what my grandad was/is like. They don't see that anything is wrong with them so find every excuse. Has your mum been tested at all?
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Getting guardianship can only happen for someone who has been declared incompetent to act for herself. Getting that status is not a piece of cake for someone who still lives on her own more or less successfully. Needing help is not the same as being incompetent. If putting a gold-rimmed plate in the microwave is grounds for being found incompetent, I think many of us are in trouble!

Also, if one or more of siblings do not approve of the person being made guardian, the judge can appoint a professional guardian who will be paid out of mother's funds.

Sometimes guardianship is the best option. But in many cases it is not an option at all until/unless something drastic happens.
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Diamondgirl,
You have enough to do as grandma to those two children!
Turn this issue over to your brothers, completely. Tell them to get a housekeeper for Mom who visits often, and pay for it. Mom is likely to receive this better from the son, or sons. She will have a companion in the housekeeper and someone to report to the brothers, since your truth is ignored. She maybe loves to cook for you, her family, and get her own meals still. With a companion housekeeper, she will be less burdened, may perk up, feel better. If not, you will have your third party assessment with brothers on board.
This is not to say you are wrong, you are most likely right. If this continues, get an assessment by an outside source. The dept.of aging can help you, or call the nearest senior center. Oops, have the brothers make the call.
However, doing less will help you be the grandma you were meant to be.
God bless you for raising your grandchildren!
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Does she see a doctor regularly? Does anyone have a Healthcare POA for her?

I'd make a list of the things that you have observed and also do some more investigation. Have you looked at the expiration dates for food in the fridge, confirmed her bills are being paid, count out meds to see if she's taking them properly, talk to any friends or neighbors who may have witnessed something odd, but, are too shy to speak up? If the results are alarming, and even what you already know it sounds like it might be, I'd consult with an attorney to explore Guardianship. Some people prefer a wait and see approach, but, that's just not me. If my LO is at risk of harm, I'm going to take care of it. Period. You can just wait for a major crisis, but, that's not something that I feel comfortable with.

The attorney can advise you what evidence you need for court. Even if you don't proceed, you'll know where you stand and what is involved.

In the meantime, will mom allow you to attend a doctor's visit with her? If so, you might key him in on what's happening. That way he will know what to test for and he can rule out some other cause for her cognitive decline.
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I assume this is something new that your Mom is doing. Correct?

My sig other has always been the absence minded professor who has been doing these things most of his adult life. It's nothing new. I remember coming home to find the freezer door opened on the refrigerator, it had been that way for over 8 hours. I can always see a "trail" where he has been in the house.... opened kitchen cabinet doors, open kitchen drawers, lights left on. Yet at work he is outstanding. He grew up with a Mom who spoiled him.
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I'm going to commend you for being alert to what's going on. My FIL burned food, forgot to do laundry, let bills go, and left his wallet behind at the grocery store more often than not. We chalked it up to his getting old. He's in his 90s. He's not getting old. He is old, and when we finally did reach the conclusion it might be more than that, and got him tested, he was diagnosed with advanced dementia. Not starting dementia. He was deep into it.

Older folks can hide what's going on and make all kinds of excuses. We believe them because we want to believe. We don't want to admit our loved one is failing so badly. It's painful and it means more responsibility and work for us, sometimes lots more.

You've gotten great advice. Once you admit what's happening, you can take steps toward finding solutions. I wish we had faced the music earlier and visited facilities, learned our financial options, looked into home care, and drawn up the documents we needed. We eventually did all this, but it would have been so much better had we done it sooner. Your brothers will eventually get onboard. In the meantime, you're doing the right things.
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Goodness, I feel for you.

Keep a diary. You will probably see an increase in the number and the severity of these sorts of incident. Shove the facts under your brothers' noses; report them to her GP and seek input from there. By all means keep telling your mother that you are worried about the house getting too much for her, but whatever you do don't turn it into a confrontation - you'll only add stubborn resistance to the denial. Do what you can to make accepting help seem just practical and sensible, not an admission of frailty.

Meanwhile research options for her care - and your brothers can do their fair share of this, too. Visit facilities and have some ready approved in principle (and rule out the ones that are godawful). Then, when - not if, sadly, but when - the crisis comes, and fingers crossed it'll be a crisis and not a catastrophe, you'll be well prepared.

You might want to find a good hair colorist, too. For when yours turns white.
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Diamondgirl; I'm so sorry that you are facing this situation! It's very hard to watch someone you love falter and not accept help that is offered.

I'm come to the conclusion that elders seem to fall into one of two broad catergories: folks like my mom who are easily talked into what's best for them (assisted living or other supportive living situations) and elders (like my later MIL) who fight for their "independence" tooth and nail and refuse all offers of help. In the second situation, you really do have to wait for catastrophe. A fire, a fall, an accident that lands them in the hospital.

Then you've got the discharge office at the hospital doing the dirty work of saying "no, you CAN'T go home without full time help".
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I've done one or two of these kinds of things lately -- we probably all do, and that is what your brothers are basing their denial on. But this isn't happening just occasionally or while she is distracted. And these lapses are more severe that typical absent-mindedness. I have burnt food more than once (darn it!) but standing in front of a stove fire and not recognizing it is way beyond typical.

Your brothers may be in denial. Many of the things you tell them about could be, by themselves, mistakes. That they offered to get a med alert tells me they care about her welfare and probably can be brought to understand her mental state.

As Pam says, she is not safe to live alone. Assisted Living sounds like a good fit for her, but if she won't even accept Meals on Wheels, I think you'll have a fight on your hands to get her there.

Another option is around-the-clock supervision at home. This should NOT be done by you. You are raising young children, and you are in the "grandma" age bracket. Please do not even consider trying to be her primary caregiver. A visiting and observant daughter is the best role for you. Advocate for her.

The issue of getting someone to accept the help they need is a really tough issue, and one that comes up often here. You can find other threads about that. I've read those posts over the years and unfortunately I can't remember a single sure-fire solution. A common approach is "wait for a crisis." If the loved one has to go to the hospital, for example, that is the time to take action.
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You have only scratched the surface. She's probably making an even bigger mess of her bill paying and taking meds. She is not safe to drive a car either. She needs Assisted Living. Good luck getting her there.
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