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My mother and I have a dysfunctional relationship, she hates my husband.
I just dropped by her house this winter, and found her living in squalor. House is filthy. She takes in cats and doesn't really care for them. So, there is an issue created by the animals. I have no legal rights where her or her house is concerned. I tried going back and cleaning what I could, but it's just too much for me alone and she doesn't want help nor does she see the problem.


ideas? advice? who to contact?

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Report made to SPCA. Left a response request with APS, but have yet to hear anything back. I did not state that it was an emergency. She had been living that way for a while, so I am doing what I can to send in reinforcements. I will update when I can. Thank you all for the welcome ears. I may yet still need you all in the future...soon.
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This is the true practice of religion: To visit the widowed and the sick.

So, send someone.
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I am so sorry you are in this position, Aeellis2002.

Your religion says to take care of the elderly. Most religions and cultures do. Atheists believe that, too. But "take care" doesn't mean the same thing in all situations.

You take care of a child by sending her off to school. She doesn't want to go. She doesn't care if she never learns to read. She's too shy to interact with new children. Wahhh ... don't make me, mommy! But you send her off anyway. You do what you honestly believe is good for her.

Our parents aren't children. But when they get to the point of not being fully able to take care of themselves, then our religion/culture/instinct makes us want to do it. Often they really, really do not want what we think is good for them. And then we are in the situation you are in, Aeellis2002. In love (and with prayer, if that is meaningful to you) do what you can to see that they are cared for, even if you can't/they won't let you do it yourself.
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Well! That escalated quickly. Sent her an email, which she did not respond to. Called her, since she didn't respond for two days.
Asked her if she needed me to come by to set up her window unit since her central a/c doesn't work. We are in Texas, and temps are climbing into the 90's.
She said she wasn't stupid or senile and didn't need me to do anything...and hung up on me.
So...I guess calls to APS and the SPCA are now in order. yippee.
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I guess I'm dealing with a lot of guilt here. I realize SHE allowed things to get so far, but I feel like "I" should be on top of things.

I come from a Christian background, and we ARE supposed to help when the elderly get to a point where they can't do as much for themselves.

I need some opinions, here. Honest ones. I have one sibling, who cannot help due to health. Getting anywhere near mom's house would LITERALLY kill her.

I know mom is barely making ends meet, being on SS only. I am scared of her going into a facility where she will be neglected or abused (I know, I know, it can't be worse than her situation now, right?)

Those that are in a similar situation. How do you balance the responsibility to stay sane with the (possibly self appointed) responsibility to make sure your relative is taken care of properly?
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she doesn't want help
she does not see a problem
her relationship with you is dysfunctional

I'd say that any role you might play in this should be at least one step removed. Talk to APS; you are not sure Mother is safe as she is. They'll investigate. Call the local police for a wellness check. Call the area agency on aging in her county. You trying to butt into her life (as she would see it) will not be effective at all. Try to get officials to do it.

I would advise against taking authority for her, such as a POA or Guardian role. You just do not need more dysfunctionality in your life.

Keep in touch here. We'd like to know what you try and how it works out. We learn from each other.
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If you want to get personally involved, talk to her about hiring a professional crew to help. A neglected house will go downhill fast and the government will condemn it once it gets to a certain point. It will not be considered safe to live in. If that happens they will remove the cats and she will have to move. Not a good scenario. I can already imagine her knocking on your door to live with you -- poor husband! Talk to her about getting a crew in to do the needed cleanup and maintenance. Good luck! Cleaning hoarded situations, including animal collecting, can create a lot of anxiety and anger, so steel yourself for the battle.
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Cities or counties normally have some type of code enforcement agency which will check out the property for being habitable or not. I would look for them, or ask police to do a welfare check. If it's a mess they have to report it to Adult Protective Services.
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It's a tough place to be in. Sometimes, you have to figure out what your options are and then decide your course of action. To me, I might consult with an attorney to see what your options are. It varies by state. I'd check to see what evidence you might need if you wanted to intervene. Maybe, your mom is not yet at that level, but, I'd find out what is needed, so I would know when it does happen.

If someone is not competent, a court can make that finding and appoint a Guardian to make decisions about them. OR the family member can ask that the court appoint some other Guardian, like the county.

Did you notice if your mom is eating properly? Is her house a health risk? Are the cats in poor health? Improper conditions can cause the animals and humans to get nasty respiratory infections.

If you want to avoid getting involved, you might consider reporting the matter to Adult Protective Services or the local SPCA (for the cats). They can investigate and take action if it's deemed extreme enough. Animal hoarding is considered a mental health issue. County agencies may seek mental health care for her and rescue the animals. I hope you can get some helpful tips.
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