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Mental Illness v. Dementia (Elderly)

Hello to all...!  New here.  Approximately 5 months ago my mother (80 yo) moved in with me.  She had abandoned her apartment and ended up nearly homeless.  The situation is, I am struggling greatly with her here.  There was some history between she and I from childhood which she has clearly dismissed but did impact me in the initial two weeks (shock and flashbacks of hostility).  Today?  I think I reached my breaking point of having her here with me -- and my siblings have clearly stated they wouldnt have lasted a week.  As a result, we agreed to now pursue attempting to find her assisted living / facility.  Has anyone experienced going from home care giving to assisted living / facility?  With her troubles, we will need to force the move -- as she has refused a dozen option thus far and has clearly abandoned her original apartment.  So, additionally, has anyone experienced an involuntary move of their parent?  

 

On a personal note, I'm really struggling.  I have been cycling between depression and anger in the last six weeks.  So, I'm also looking for support groups where I might attend meetings.

 

Any help would be very much appreciated.

Contributor

All previous replies are good. A forced move is very hard on BOTH of you, but you have to remember that you are doing this for your mother AND yourself - it's a 50-50 deal. YOU have a life/family that must be recognized, as well as taking care of your mother. You will be in a better frame of mind after you do this for your mother, no matter what your relationship was before. Do let her get settled in the new place - staying away for a few weeks (I heard cries of "abandonment" and "why" before and after). To choose a place, even after a "rejection", go to the place yourself, talk with staff and patients/residents, eat a meal there and check for cleanliness. Ask yourself if you could stay there. The staff at the hospital helped me find a great place for my Aunt after she was there 3 times in one week for her diabetes and I told the hospital staff that she could NOT come back to live with me - she lived with me for 6 years and then 3 years in the nursing home to just short of her 90th birthday. I usually visited her around lunch time and got to know the staff and other residents, too. We were all on a first-name basis! Remember, you MUST take care of the caregiver!

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Hi, @MagMell,

 

I'm a staffer at AARP but am not speaking for the organization. I have been in a similar position in my own life.

 

After my dad died, I moved my mom in with my husband and me. At the time, I did not know she had multi-infarct dementia. It's not Alzheimer's and her mental slide was pretty well stopped — sadly, not restored — by getting her proper treatment for her high blood pressure, which was causing the many little strokes. Getting her on the right medicine helped her passive-aggressive behavior, too, but didn't totally stop it.

 

Still, we clashed, and my mom always thought that my brother would come "rescue" her. She previously had threatened to harm to herself if we moved her to assisted living, so that was out of the question, but my cousin had an idea after about a year of my mom living with us that saved my sanity: We moved her into her older sister's house, got some home health care for both and gradually increased that as their needs increased.

 

The drawback is that, yes, sometimes they had spats like teenagers. But the positives were that they helped each other, provided mental stimulation for each other, and had relatives visit them with some frequency because they could see both women at once. You could say that it was a small private version of a personal care home, aka a group home. That lasted until my mom's death a little more than 4 years later.

 

A personal care home is essentially assisted living on a smaller scale, which your mom might find more to her liking. But because she walked away from her own apartment, it might not work for her unless she wants it.

 

Be aware: Unless a person is in the dementia care area of an assisted living center, he or she is free to come and go, so your mom could leave assisted living without your knowing.

 

Toward the end of my mom's life, I did get guardianship — with her consent. I still had to use a lawyer. States consider guardianship a huge step and want to make sure that it's in the best interest of the person under guardianship. That's why getting a durable power of attorney is recommended while a person has enough of their faculties to sign the paperwork.

 

Reach out to your area agency on aging. They're local, so I don't know what's in your area, but the Eldercare Locator in this story about resources has a web address for finding local info and also an 800 number if you'd rather talk to someone on the phone.

 

Good luck to you. You are not alone.

Honored Social Butterfly

"....As a result, we agreed to now pursue attempting to find her assisted living / facility. Has anyone experienced going from home care giving to assisted living / facility? With her troubles, we will need to force the move -- as she has refused a dozen option thus far and has clearly abandoned her original apartment....".

 

Yes. One of my sisters, and myself, dropped my mother off at a facility leaving her screaming and crying. Of course, this was all set up in advance and we lied to her as to where we were taking her in the car. Yeah, it was an awful experience but she was fine within weeks there. But, we had all the legal details taken care of before we did this --- POA, health POA, finances, etc.

 

In our case, mom had dementia rather than mental illness.


"...Why is everyone a victim? Take personal responsibility for your life..."
Honored Social Butterfly

@MagMell 

 

Here is another good site with more general info -

FindLaw - Elderly Guardianship Basics 

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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Out of curiosity, have any folk here filed for guardianship of their parent? Otherwise, without guardianship, how can you assure your parent cannot abandoned assisted living / facility? Thus far I've heard I need to call an attorney, find a support group for myself, make a doctors appt for her (if she refuses to go, an in home exam with psychological assessment. WOndering if anyone has needed to take this route?
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I have personal knowledge of some friends of mine whose relatives sought guardianship. It is just as you described. You will need to have that psychological assessment. Check with her doctor as s/he will give the referral. She will go there and then that doctor will write his/her evaluation. There will also be a visit from someone from the court (I don't remember all the details as it's been several years). It was interesting b/c the person from the court saw a couple who were very clean and organized (the wife was always good with that), while the psychologist saw a couple who had trouble with the very simplest of details. Your mother could/could not opt to have her own lawyer at the court hearing. The judge agreed with the psychologist as her own questions to the couple were met usually with stares or stumbling, so they were adjudicated incompetent and a guardian (who had been selected by the niece) appointed to them.

 

The family already had POAs for finance and health, and the couples' lawyer had previously drawn up a revocable trust as their assets were substantial. These stayed in place. However, the niece, who had the POA for health, was not talked to for some time (this was her favorite niece, and talked often), b/c of this action. The couple could remember that the niece had taken this action against them, and were convinced that the nephew (who had the POA for finance), had taken all their money, even though I would show them time after time that their accounts were still here in the city in which they lived, and that their bills were being paid, etc. It was very ugly for awhile.

 

There was a time that we had the couple visit various assisted living facilities before things got bad, but the wife nixed it. Then the husband got sick and died. The wife was left at home with in-home health care giver for several years. There was a definite decline in her memory and it was evident to the guardian that she had to be taken to a memory-care facility. It is a place that is on "lock-down" and no one can leave w/o somebody else.

 

I hope this has answered your questions.

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@MagMell wrote:

. . . . As a result, we agreed to now pursue attempting to find her assisted living / facility. Has anyone experienced going from home care giving to assisted living / facility? With her troubles, we will need to force the move -- as she has refused a dozen option thus far and has clearly abandoned her original apartment. So, additionally, has anyone experienced an involuntary move of their parent? 

========================

Out of curiosity, have any folk here filed for guardianship of their parent? Otherwise, without guardianship, how can you assure your parent cannot abandoned assisted living / facility? Thus far I've heard I need to call an attorney, find a support group for myself, make a doctors appt for her (if she refuses to go, an in home exam with psychological assessment. WOndering if anyone has needed to take this route?

I am combining part of your 1st post here also -

 

I had Guardianship over my mother but I could have also performed moving her to suitable residences by only having her Durable POA and also her Healthcare POA.  My mother could not act on her own because of mental illness and being deaf.  I had had her financial POA for many years (1981).  I handled ALL of her affairs - she had long been a "protected person".

 

I got Guardianship in later years by only petitioning the Court - In this case, it was a formality requested by the administrators at the places where she was going to reside.  Initially, an Independent Senior Living facility where she lived for 12 years, then to an Assisted Living Facility and then to a Personal Care Home for the last stages of her life.  Going to the Independent Living Facility was a (planned) forced move; she could no long live alone and she seemed to adjust to this after a few months..  Then 12 years later, going from the Independent Living Facility to the Assisted Living Facility was a forced move but it had to be done for safety reasons.  She resisted and had a difficult time adjusting - When she could no longer only be "assisted", it was also forced on me, not her because at that time there was little left "of her", when I had to move her from the Assisted Living Facility to the Personal Care Home - Hospice helped me find a wonderful place.

 

The only reason my mother was able to live those 12 years in the Independent Senior Facility was because her doctor prescribed a anti-psychotic med for her - A Miracle Drug (Haldol or haldoperidol), in my opinion, for her.  The affects worked for those years but then severe side effects forced her off of it.  We tried other meds but other things were going on at that time (TIA's) so nothing really ever worked as well.

 

You do know that many times, their 1st thought is that they are going to go live with (one of their adult kids).  I could never do this and it was just me; my brother had died years earlier.  I kept telling her this but I think it finally sunk in when she moved to the Independent Senior Living Facility.  I sold her home and property and thus she had her new place to live.  She did like the Senior Independent Living Facility and made friends there - Thank Goodness for Haldol.

 

This site can give you some very good info

NOLO - Conservatorships and Adult Guardianships 

 

Depending upon your mom's condition - mental, physical, financial - you may have to complete steps which I had previously already completed and had all the related evidence and documentation.  Your Mom's physical and mental condition have to be documented by her physician - the Doc might also be able to figure out if there is any treatment for which seems to be going on with her. 

 

Her finances and her ability to handle her affairs -

Her health and personal care.

 

Once someone gets this type of Guardianship or conservatorship - you are actually going to have to make all the decisions for the "protected person".  If she is on Social Security and Medicare, there are other papers that you also need to file once you have this legal classifiecation.

 

Good Luck -

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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Honored Social Butterfly

I'm really sorry you are going though all this. It's tremendously difficult. There are some online support groups for caregivers, like this one

 

https://www.dementiacarecentral.com/caregiverinfo/careforcaregivers/support/

 

Check with your local office on aging and see if they can provide local resources for you.

 

 


@MagMell wrote:

Hello to all...!  New here.  Approximately 5 months ago my mother (80 yo) moved in with me.  She had abandoned her apartment and ended up nearly homeless.  The situation is, I am struggling greatly with her here.  There was some history between she and I from childhood which she has clearly dismissed but did impact me in the initial two weeks (shock and flashbacks of hostility).  Today?  I think I reached my breaking point of having her here with me -- and my siblings have clearly stated they wouldnt have lasted a week.  As a result, we agreed to now pursue attempting to find her assisted living / facility.  Has anyone experienced going from home care giving to assisted living / facility?  With her troubles, we will need to force the move -- as she has refused a dozen option thus far and has clearly abandoned her original apartment.  So, additionally, has anyone experienced an involuntary move of their parent?  

 

On a personal note, I'm really struggling.  I have been cycling between depression and anger in the last six weeks.  So, I'm also looking for support groups where I might attend meetings.

 

Any help would be very much appreciated.


 

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thank you ...! i'm hanging on by a thread here.
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