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Who is obviously having TIA's, memory loss, and lives alone?

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97yearoldmom offered solid advice, Whitfeld1. Everything is right on.
Some people are very independent and do not want "help." Unless they are cognitively incapable of making any decisions, this should be respected. Some memory loss probably doesn’t yet qualify. I hope that she is somewhat realistic about getting paperwork done and setting up plan for future care. Other than that, check on her often, make sure she has groceries and medications and keep evaluating. She's not that old, so I truly understand her reluctance. However, she needs to understand that planning is necessary so if she won't listen to you, write her doctor a note and have him or her start putting on the pressure to plan.

Update us when you can,
Carol
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Is your spouse her only child? Are their siblings to coordinate care with? If it hasn't already been done, Visit an elder attorney for DPOA and MPOA and to determine how best for her to prepare for her future given her circumstances. Visit her primary dr with her to understand her medical condition. Evaluate her home for safety. Set her finances up so that her utilities and reoccurring bills will be paid. These are just basics. Does she want help? Resistant? What's being done now?
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I knew two people like this, and I can tell you from experience at these kind of people are near impossible to try to help. The best way for me to help them is to leave them alone since they were determined to do everything themselves. The one person had in-home healthcare and the other did not, which was a much harder situation to deal with. Some people like that can be very stubborn and bullheaded, and I won't waste my time if they don't want my help. If things get too bad such as where safety is concerned, the best thing I found is to secretly report it to the adult protective services. I've learned that if you try to help someone who doesn't want it you're only wasting your time, fighting a losing battle, and trying to get through to a brick wall. I can tell you that it's painfully hard to have to be forced to standby and watch when you know deep down that things will slowly worsen later. There are times when these kinds of people may ask for your help, which is when you can welcome their request for help. As I've learned on this site, seniors do have the right to refuse help, which is understandable to a point. However, where the safety of them and others is concerned, that's when you may need someone bigger and more authoritative than yourself, especially if you don't have really any resources. Such was the case with my foster dad (not my bio dad) who live alone in a house that was falling down around him because he was renting from a slumlord who was taking advantage of him. This went on for quite some time until he got so bad that I knew it was time to get the right kind of help to get him out of there and into a safer place. He was declining physically and mentally. When you have access to the right amount of money to get the person a newer and safer place but you don't have the manpower or the car to get them there, this is where you're in a jam. I'm glad that the local APS finally got involved and hired a moving company and moved the senior out of the dump and into a better place. What really puzzled me though is how quick his new apartment was taken away from him after he was hospitalized for pneumonia. I don't know why they gave him an apartment if they were only going to take it right back away from him as soon as they got it for him. What puzzled me is he went straight to a nursing home from the hospital, and when I found out I was really stumped on this one since he was just given a new apartment through the APS. I couldn't believe they took it away from him within a matter of just a few days or less despite the rent already being paid. It was said later on that a local charity already paid the rent, which is what they didn't say before the rent was scheduled to come out of the bank account. This information should've been shared before the rent was set up and scheduled to come out of that account. The APS who told me about everything and found out the rent was already paid said they would take care of the mistake and correct it. Isn't it funny how normally independent people who are declining are eventually caught up with? Until there's a break in the situation, there's really not much you can do if they insist on doing everything themselves, especially when there's no blood relatives in the picture. In some cases but not all, I'm kind of glad to have learned about a certain law that requires adult children or other relatives to help support the seniors. It may not be heavily enforced, but maybe in some cases it should be to a point, because seniors sometimes cannot help themselves due to certain issues that seniors face. Sometimes seniors do end up doing without because there's just not enough money after expenses, and sometimes they may not be able to buy food or medicine among other necessities. This is where family should sometimes be required to do something to remedy the problem. Now in the case of my foster dad, I was only able to do so much due to my own financial woes due to SSI and lack of resources. I would have liked to have done more even though I'm not a blood relative. I may not have been cut out for dealing with the big stuff, but there were other things I could've done had I been able.
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In your profile you say you are caring for someone in independent living. If you mean an independent living facility and this is the same person, there are a lot of daily tasks being taken care already such as housekeeping and some meal preparation. It's unclear just what additional help may be needed at this point other than planning ahead and making sure appropriate documents are in place.
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Your MIL probably doesn't want help, but you could start by making her a cup of tea when you make your self one. Check her fridge, is she eating prooperly? If she has memory loss, she thinks she is eating properly. Then ask her, how does she manage with housework? She wont admit it, but i am sure it is difficult for her. Although she is independant, get her to trust you first, before you do too much. My MIL was just like this. I would ask her another time, have you eaten breakfast today? Just an innocent question but it will tell you a lot. Is MIL able to do the hoovering? I am sure it is difficult and heavy for her. Is MIL able to use the washing machine, change her bed and remake it? Make your MIL the odd meal, she will be really pleased, she is probably tired of cooking for herself. Yes, she is independant, but she is also a proud person, who won't have help. When she knows you care, she will open up and tell you things. I hope all of these things have helped. All the best. Arlene Hutcheon
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Arlene, your answer resonated with me. Because I am not very gifted at your thoughtful approach! I barge through life at "worker pace," often clashing with my elders' frame of reference. Thank you for the wise words.
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Hi Carol,
Brian here. Have you tried any tech tools? Many seniors are able to stay at home when provided with the right systems!
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Has you mil been seen by a neurologist to determine whether or not she may have a form of dementia? With memory loss and TIA's it is certainly a possibility and should be checked out. This might explain why she is resistant to being helped. These diseases can (and do) affect their personality and if she does have dementia they have lost their ability to learn and/or cope with change and it only gets worse from here...sorry to be such a downer but speaking from my own experience with my mom who had Alz. (before being diagnosed) we were all wondering why she had become so resistant to change or accepting help. I hope for the best for you and your family. Blessings, Lindaz
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I must say that not everyone who resist change necessarily has dementia, some don't. When things are going just right for you, you're not likely going to want to change that, and you'll fight tooth and nail to avoid change, especially when you know what you want. There are also people without dementia who insist on doing everything themselves and being as independent as possible, because there are some people who learned early on not to depend on anyone if they really want things done when they want it done. Let's say you have no car and you have to depend on others for a ride that may not happen and you happen to be in a hurry. Don't depend on anyone for that ride if you want things done when you want it done. Just because you're independent and resist change doesn't always mean you have dementia or Alzheimer's. Yes, this is a possibility but not necessarily so in all cases. Yes, get things checked out but also consider other possibilities besides memory problems.
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Whitfield1, when I just read your title in the list I thought "if she is independent why does she need a caregiver?" Ah, because of TIAs and memory loss. I get it.

What would you do to prevent or deal with TIAs that she is not letting you do?

How severe is the memory loss? That can be so pervasive that a person cannot live safely alone. Or it can be minimal and amount to nothing more than an annoyance. Where is MIL on this scale?

How do you propose to help her with her loss of memory? Maybe you can subtly help with the most risky behaviors. Does she forget to take her pills, or forget she has taken them and takes double? That would be worth addressing. ("My friend Katie got me a new pill holder and I like it so well I asked her to get another one I could give to you. Let me show you what I like about mine.") Is she on insulin or any time-critical medications?

Spoiled food in the fridge could be risky. I wouldn't say, "Hey, you are not remembering to clean out your fridge. I'll do it for you." But maybe an approach more subtle. "I cleaned out my fridge this weekend and this time I did a very thorough job. I actually found an open jar with an expiration date in 2014! I'm on a roll. Let's do your fridge and see if your oldest item can beat that!"

Be selective. Forgetting where she puts her purse is not usually dangerous. Forgetting to put the trash out on the right day is mostly annoying. Limit your attentions to the things that really matter, and try to be subtle about it.

If you are worried about her eating habits, invite her for lunch once in a while. Surprise her with a little "tea party" you bring in as a surprise once in a while, with cute and healthy sandwiches and also some goodies. She might not admit she needs help with eating right, but who could get mad at a little catered tea party? I guess I'm endorsing Arlene's approach.

I will be 71 in a few weeks. So 77 doesn't sound old enough to me to need unsolicited help. But factoring in your MIL's possible health concerns I understand why you want to help. Bless you for your good intentions! I say let her continue to be as independent as she safely can be. Help in subtle ways and only in the high-risk areas. (I've never read an obituary that said "cause of death was attack by ferocious dust bunnies.) But keep an eye out for changes. She may truly need more help in the future. If you've established a friendly basis for doing a few things now and then you'll be in a better position to help more when it becomes critical. Avoid an adversarial approach!
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