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I am an only child, 51 years old, married, and run my own small business. My parents have lived down the street from me for 15 years. About 10 years ago (when they entered their mid to late 60s) they became very depressed about aging and began to drink heavily. Also, there has been prescription drug abuse (Benzodiaphines). This has resulted in a significant amount of drama, ugliness and damage that I won't go into here. Needless to say, it has had an extremely negative influence on my life and I will never see my parents as the people who raised me. My dad started showing signs of dementia about 4 years ago and I had to move him to an assisted living facility a year ago. With him gone, my mother was supposed to get herself stronger. They were no longer a loving couple, she had become abusive toward him, and I assumed she would somewhat rebound with him gone. She has seriously declined in the last 6 months and now is at the point where she hardly gets out of bed. She has decided she will no longer care for their home but also will not leave it, she will no longer shop for food or prepare food, and doesn't want to drive any further than the convenience store. She continues to drink heavily and abuse her prescription meds. She stays in a drugged-up, foggy state most of the time. I foresee that she will be hospitalized soon. I DO NOT want to take responsibility for this woman. I am afraid the hospital will try to push her off into my care. It is clear that she will drag down my life: my health, happiness, marriage, business. She is only 76 and her own mother lived to be 96. Therefore, if she lives as long as her mother, she will live throughout the rest of my 50s, 60s and possibly until I am 70 myself. My Question: If she is hospitalized, what are my legal obligations? I have decided I will tell the hospital that I will only do what is legally required of me, and no more. I am in Florida. I am so scared she will be discharged into my care, and ruin my life. She is financially sound, has assets, and an excellent long-term care insurance policy. I have checked the LTC policy and it does NOT have an alcohol or drug exclusion.

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Check with your local Obudsman. I was just informed by them that unless my dad was deemed by a judge to be incompetent , he can do as he pleases and I have no say so, what so ever! This also means no legal responsibility either.

Hospitals will try to pressure you, don't rise to the bait. Tell them as many times as it takes that you are not an option and your home is not safe for her, PERIOD! You do not have to explain yourself. NOT A SAFE PLACE FOR HER AND YOU ARE NOT AN OPTION!!!

The hospital tried everything to guilt me into taking my dad, no way was that ever gonna happen. I told one woman, if you feel so strongly about him, you take him home, I'm not an option and my home is not safe.

Stick to you guns, even if it means no contact. You know what will be your future if you don't. Love and hugs and strength to you!
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I believe that if your mother is hospitalized, the hospital cannot force you to accept her into your care. That’s whats been said here previously. All you need to do is contact the Social Services department of the hospital and tell them that because if your mother’s issues you cannot provide adequate care for her and remain sane and healthy yourself.

If she is not hospitalized, call your local Adult Protective Services. I don’t know if you need to identify yourself as her daughter or at all. Just fill out a report on her and let them handle it. However, you seem to know a lot about how she is living and what she is and is not doing. Depending on your current level of involvement, do you think you will be alright with handing her over to an agency? It may not be as easy as you’d think. However, you are your #1 responsibility. Take care of yourself first.
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