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My mother lives alone, but clearly shouldn't. She puts me down as emergency contact, but gives me no information. She changes doctors frequently when they mention dementia. I have been told that I face jail if they find my mother neglected. How do I protect myself and her if she is uncooperative? I feel like she is being taken advantage of and I feel helpless.

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Mellebelle, is your mother willing to appoint you POA? If she's found competent enough to do do, that's great. But that also means that you then are actually responsible for looking out for her. If she's uncooperative, like she won't allow outside caregivers in to help, that can be a sticky situation.
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Mellebelle, was there a specific reason you didn't ask the attorney to prepare a DPOA and Living Will for your mother?

Your profile states nothing, about dementia or any other medical condition. But your post mentions dementia as an apparent reason why your mother doesn't continue seeing a particular doctor.

If your mother doesn't have dementia, or is still lucid and cognitive, she can execute powers of attorney authorizing you to handle finances and some medical decisions. Explore this avenue - it's cheaper and easier than going for guardianship.

And just WHO told you that you'd be held responsible and possibly face jail time for neglect? Was it a law enforcement authority, APS, an attorney or just someone who thought he or she had correct information.
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Mellebelle - I have been in your shoes and understand what you are going through. My Mother was not able to take care of her self at home - I had someone going in for 2 hours a day to ensure she got a good home cooked meal, her home was tidy and she had some conversation. I also had LifeLine for her. The lady that was seeing her let me know she thought Mom was failing in her abilities. Then she started using LifeLine for everything and living in a small town, that gets around very quickly. Before long, the local sheriff got involved some how. Long story short, I heard the same thing. If I didn't do something about Mom and she ended up hurting herself, I would be held accountable. I didn't want Mom to harm herself and was very worried as things spiraled down quickly. I took her to the doctor and had her administered a competency exam. The doctor asked her a series of questions and coupled with her medical issues, she was declared incompetent to make decisions on her own from that point forward. Her Power of Attorney which was her lawyer, was notified and he agreed. I am her Medical Power of Attorney and together, we all made the decision that she needed to be moved into some sort of assisted living - which I did. She has now been there for 5 years and is doing very well. She has declined to the point of being in nursing home care, but I am so glad I went through that process. Because I am her daughter, my wishes were heard and complied with. It doesn't take long for the professionals to see what the "real" situation is. I hope this helps.
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In addition to calling APS, which you should be doing right this second, if your mother calls you, having fallen, is confused or anything at all that you might try to "fix", call 911. Let the EMTS evaluate her and let them call YOU to determine what the next steps should be. Get officialdom involved from two sides and get the ball into THEIR court.
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Call Adult Protective Services and explain the problem.

"What would you advise me to do? Can you visit her and make an evaluation?" Hopefully they will visit her, and help you get the ball rolling. That will also alleviate your secondary concern, that you may be charged with neglect. Get the person's name and memorialize the conversation on your calendar or in your journal.

Good luck to you. You aren't alone with this frustration. Not at all.
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Mellebelle, who has told you that you could be charged and jailed? Do you live with your mother or vice versa?

Have you called Adult Protective Services in your community and discussed this?
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