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She does not have the money to go into an assisted living facility. I do not have any diagnosis from her doctors, but my sisters, aunt and even her apartment manager all know something is wrong with her - some kind of dementia. She repeats herself, has hardly any short-term memory and shows signs of OCD - she fixates on one thing for awhile, then moves on to another thing.


I have had control of her checkbook, paying all the bills, since she got out of the hospital for a UTI in August. She had been having a slow downward progression with some kind of memory problem since 2014. Last year is when I started taking her to a neurologist. He says she has mild cognitive impairment or something, but did an MRI and said nothing is really wrong with her, just normal age-related stuff. I guess it's time to find a new doctor, but really, what can they do? Also the only neurologists are 40 minutes away, so when I take her, I have to take a half day off work. And if they can't do anything, why go?


Here you don't qualify to be in a nursing home unless you cannot feed, bathe or toilet yourself. She is not that bad yet. But if she keeps causing problems at her apt complex, they will evict her. I don't know where she can go then, so I'm trying to figure it out in advance, because I think that is where she is headed.

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What a difficult situation!!! Some ALFs take medicaid clients. Would your mother qualify for that? She definitely needs more supervision and help than she has presently. It does look like she is on the dementia road. There is value in a diagnosis re planning and treatment, but you would likely do better with a geriatric psychiatrist. My mother was tested extensively by several people for the geri-psych to arrive at a diagnosis.
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worriedinCali Jan 30, 2019
if mother is in the same state as OP, then it’s not so much an issue of finding a AL to take Medicaid, it’s an issue of finding one she can afford. Standard Medicaid in MD does not pay for AL but there may be waivers to help some of the cost.
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Apply for Medicaid and try to find an assisted living that will accept the Medicaid as payment or perhaps a waiver for in home caregiver.
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Ask the manager if they can put a plastic cover over the thermostat that can be locked. They then give the key to your Aunt or you. Legally you can set it at 72 or under. Same with a/c you can set it for no lower than a certain temp.
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sandola Jan 30, 2019
I did mention the cover to the manager. I don't know if they can't do it or won't do it. I can't see any way for me to put one on there either, since it is the type of unit that you would find in a motel - like those Mitsubishi things that stick out from the wall - one half is inside the apt and the other is outside. It's not a thermostat stuck to the wall, like in my office, which is locked - I can't touch it - I have to email the HVAC guy to change me temp.

I probably need to call all 3 of the ALFs here and see if I can get her on the waitlist.
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Well, I took her to the Senior Center through our Area Agency on Aging and for about two days she had agreed to go back on a regular basis starting the following week. Then she changed her mind and said "I will just go to exercise here at my apartment complex's community center."

She lives in a senior citizen apt complex in case I didn't state that at the beginning. Anyway, she went Monday, but not today ( the exercise is held M,W & F).

It doesn't matter because the problem she is causing is that she keeps calling the emergency number and stating that she has no heat. When they get there, the heat works fine. This is after she reset the last unit so many times that they had to replace it. I've paid for two service calls that were unnecessary. I have a note taped to the heating unit that says to call my aunt (Auntie's request) for help with the heat, but Mom does not call her. She calls the emergency number. Anyway, she called the emergency number again last night and somehow was routed to the apt manager's boss, who, as relayed to me by the apt manager, said "If she calls again, she'll need to give her 30 days notice."

So I told Mom today she needs to find a new place to live. Maybe the new place will keep her until she qualifies for a nursing home. I am definitely not taking her in. She is already driving me crazy.

Also, the Area Agency on Aging (MAC, as it's called here) is not very helpful at all, about anything. They are either overworked or just terrible employees. I see no point in calling them for help. It seems there is no where for non-rich people to go between living on their own and a nursing home. No gap place. If she had money, I would put her in assisted living and I think she'd like it, but she can't afford it.
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Contact your county Office on Aging and ask them to help you solve the problem. It seems she cannot stay at home and if you take her in, her behavior will ultimately ruin your life - don't do it. She can get help via Medicaid to get into an assisted living facility. Good luck.
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If you are in California google Assisted Living Waiver List and if your mom qualifies financially get on the list immediately. The State will take most of her Social Security and pay the rest for a Board and Care or a assisted living facility . They might have this program in other States as well. My mother is 95 and will qualify in the next couple months. Good luck to you and your mom.
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OkieGranny Jan 18, 2019
Except the state doesn't pay for anything; taxpayers do. All of these programs are the reason the state of CA is going to be insolvent in the future.
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Once you find a list of options for your mom (ie. senior center activities, adult day care, in-home help) pick the simplest, easiest and give it a try. I remember mom resisting using the Council on Aging Van. Her response to using it was, "Why would I want to do that?" If you have to, just join her for the ride so she can see the ease of it. When she qualified for someone to come in once a week to do light housekeeping for two hours, her response was "I don't need help." She did, so I made sure I was there for the first couple visits by the helper. I observed that mom didn't really understand how to conjure up a list of chores for the helper, so I helped her figure that out and post it on the refrigerator. It was a relief to me that she received help as I was helping her at home, and dad in a nursing home; my hands were quite full. As time went on and mom could do less, mom was able to maintain a greater feeling of independence (even if it meant I did a lot behind the scenes!) like taking the COA van to a hair appointment. I made the appointments for the salon and the van, and made reminder calls to her the morning of so that she was ready:) It would probably have been easier to take her myself, but I could see that she enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment and independence. In regard to your idea of a companion, just keep trying to find someone. It is a chemistry. If you can find someone who knew a friend of hers? If they share some sort of commonality it helps! Some states provide community-based help with bathing, dressing, cooking. In Massachusetts it is called Frail Elder Waiver. There are income limits but they are not as restrictive as Medicaid. See if your state has something like that. Good luck.
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I have problems with mom saying she does not want to do things until she actually begins to do them or gets involved. It's probably depression that makes her like that and she is on a depression medication. Also, I got her the cheap ball (small plastic) that fits in your hand and we throw the ball. She gets a real kick out of that. I also spent about $100 in children puzzles and games and some days she will play some of those. Things like puzzles with big pieces, etch a schetch but the cheaper one. Childrens books of simple prayers, she likes and cds of the old carol burnett shows and she likes gospel music and preaching cds. The ball is very good excercise. Then they have the velcro circular catching mits that the ball attaches to which makes it very each to catch. She enjoys that and giggles like a small child while throwing it but it's very good upper body exercise. I can't get my brother her youngest son to do it with her and some of the caregivers will not do it until they see me do it. I guess they think it makes them look stupid. I am way beyond caring about looking stupid because it is what ever it takes to make mom's life fulfilling and sitting all day staring at daytime tv gets very old. I find when she is bored, she is more unruly. Also training tapes by Teepa Snow are excellent resources from Amazon on taking care of those with dementia. She is an expert in her field and i have the caregivers watch those. Although there are some who think they have learned it all through life and will not watch them. Maybe they are scared they will see they are doing some things wrong and it's their insecurity that makes them unteachable. So sad, we can always learn something new in life everyday is my motto. Hope these ideas help.
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This is a program in Tennessee that provides caregivers in the home and pays them or you can hire them yourself. You can even hire a family member and pay them if you want to handle all the hiring details. Otherwise an agency is hired.
This is the link for Tennessee. https://www.ethra.org/programs/10/choices
You can check to see if your state has a choices program. They try to keep the elderly in their homes and out of nursing homes. Your income has to be under a certain amount to qualify. Mom has been on this program now for 2 years and it has helped me alot. I am her only caregiver. You could just look up choices program for your state.
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Contact your State Dept of Aging. There are Senior Compapions, House Cleaners, Trips, and other activities. Based on her income some these services will be free. However, sooner or later you will need to move in with her or she will need to move to live you.
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Reply to Ricky6
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What kind of problems is she causing at the apartment complex?

Some folks with MCI can manage better with notes posted in various places. One woman I know put a note next to her front door: "What time is it? Stay INSIDE until 9 am." She would go to the door several times a night, see the note, and wait for morning.

Mostly when she left the apartment she would knock on neighboring doors asking if her daughter was there. After much discussion, it turned out that when her daughter was a teenager, she would duck chores by visiting neighboring children. The woman was repeating a pattern from 50 years before!
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jacobsonbob Jan 18, 2019
This woman needed another note telling her "My daughter is an adult and doesn't live here anymore--therefore she IS NOT at the neighbor's house avoiding chores. There is no need to disturb the neighbors to find her."
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sandola, I’m in about the same place. I’ve noticed how her brain got slower once she was doing less and sitting at home more... or was she doing that because her brain got slower. I’m moving Mom now to an independent apt. at one of those progressive communities. She can afford this one, thank goodness. I’d turn over every stone on that type of place around you, and call your area agency on aging for recommendations. Did you say whether she has any friends where she lives now? Finding her some peers to enjoy is probably the main target.

Yes on the ‘fake friend’! I have had to search and ask a lot of people for that too till I found a couple good people... she gets angry at one then I have to find another. The rates for agencies who send a CNA can be good if you meet their desired minimum hours per week. There may be churches or civic groups who have volunteers. The aging agency may have some leads.

Yes definitely try just bringing her to the senior center, once she’s there she’ll hopefully get a feel for it. I like FF’s point about them getting rigged into a volunteer duty there.

Best of luck, try some calls and visits! 💐
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sandola, it is very common for an elder to say they aren't interested in going to a "senior center". Check out the place yourself, and ask the Staff what suggestions they would give to make Mom want to at least scope out the place.

One time a writer said that the Staff made up a "volunteer needed" slot and that the writer's husband liked the sound of being a volunteer, so that got him to go to the senior center. His job was handling out flyers. He looked forward to see that the next day flyers were all about :)

My Mom wouldn't go because she was too shy over the fact she was now almost blind and could barely hear. My Dad wanted to go, but he wouldn't with out Mom.
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Reply to freqflyer
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Thank you for your answer. Others in our lives have suggested the senior center as well and I have suggested it to Mom several times. She never wants to go of course.

Now I think I just need to make an appt. to try it out and pick her up one morning and tell her "we are going." Then she can see if she likes it or not. She definitely needs to get out of the house and she definitely needs something to do.

She is only on one medication and that is for her thyroid, and her doctor checks her blood work either every three or every six months, so I don't think she is chemically out of whack insofar as medicines or supplements.

Another idea I have had is to hire a fake "friend" to keep her company and take her with them whenever they run errands, maybe a couple days a week, just to get her out of the house. But my two candidates didn't work out. They were affordable and people that I know and trust. If the senior center doesn't work out, I will think of something eventually.
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sandola, maybe your Mom is just plain bored, and that in itself can make one feel confused. I know it did for me when I had to take leave from work for almost a year, I felt my brain turn to oatmeal. Once back at work, I felt soooo much better.

Is there a senior day care center nearby that your Mom can attend? That would give her reason to have a regular routine, and get her mind active again.

Another thing to check is what meds is your Mom taking? Something as simple as blood pressure medicine can make one feel very tired and make it hard to think straight. I had to have my dosage adjusted as it was zoning me out.
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