Wedding Woes

You Can't Force Someone Who is Capable of Making Their Own Decisions

I think I found today's Prudie's, so lemme try this out:

Dear Prudence,


My mom will be 91 next month, and until recently she has been in remarkably good mental and physical health. She lives alone by choice. About a month ago, she collapsed in the street, was taken to the hospital, and spent three weeks in ICU. Her doctors diagnosed her with dehydration. She is home now and has fallen twice, once spending the whole night on the floor. She has a Life Alert and will not wear it. She has a cellphone and will not carry it. (“Who would I call?”) She has a walker and cane and will use neither. She is signed up to get groceries delivered and will not use the service. We asked her to look at an assisted-living apartment, and she refused. We found a home health aide who could drop in a few times a week and she said no. We are at our wits’ end. She is also welcome to move in with me or one of my brothers because we all have room, and she refused. My aunt says, “Force her,” but what do we do with someone who refuses every attempt at help? I can’t tie her up and throw her in the trunk of my car, although the idea is very tempting. My brothers and I all think that living alone is no longer viable for her. So what do we do now?

—Aging Parent


Re: You Can't Force Someone Who is Capable of Making Their Own Decisions

  • LW needs to find an eldercare attorney.  It sounds like if they don't already have measures in place then 
    1) Someone (either LW or her siblings) should get a power of attorney .
    2) Mom needs a WILL and long term care arrangements.
    3) Mom needs to be assessed by a physician and maybe even an occupational therapist. If she's putting herself in danger and is not feeding herself when she should, it's probably time to look into an alternate living arrangement that's either with her children or in an assisted living community with a nursing home transfer as an option.  If she's going to live with her child, I don't recommend doing that without trained people coming in.   That means a night nurse and possibly someone during the day.   As relatives age, they may sound cognizant of their behavior but the LW's mom has already presented as someone who is at least intermittently impaired. 
    Ro041charlotte989875LadyCatherineDB
  • GBCKGBCK
    Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its Name Dropper
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    trying to prove incompetence is incredibly emotionally difficult and feels like a betrayal and sucks to do.  And it's hard (legally) and expensive (lawyerly) and not always effective
    I've been involved in it twice and threatened a 3rd time.
    I hope I never have to again.

    But when it's between allowing someone to hrt themselves or going through it, I'd go through it again.
    But it's hard.
    If nothing else though, it often connects the people who offer help to the person who needs it.

    Meals on wheels is helpful even for people who don't need the food, just because it means someone checks in at noon every day.  FWIW.
    charlotte989875ahoyweddingLadyCatherineDB
  • GBCK said:
    trying to prove incompetence is incredibly emotionally difficult and feels like a betrayal and sucks to do.  And it's hard (legally) and expensive (lawyerly) and not always effective
    I've been involved in it twice and threatened a 3rd time.
    I hope I never have to again.

    But when it's between allowing someone to hrt themselves or going through it, I'd go through it again.
    But it's hard.
    If nothing else though, it often connects the people who offer help to the person who needs it.

    Meals on wheels is helpful even for people who don't need the food, just because it means someone checks in at noon every day.  FWIW.
    I'm sure it's hard.   I watched MIL and FIL go through this with MIL's mother and she literally kicked and screamed (and sometimes bit) her way through the process.   But the alternate wasn't working.   In MIL's case, her mom was so bad that she flooded the basement when she left the water running in the bathroom, panicked, called FIL, continued to leave the water running, walked over the wet carpet numerous times (you could see the footprints) and didn't remember what she did.

    But the overall point is that the LW should start to do her homework and get educate so she knows what kind of battle she's up against. 
  • Come to [insert whatever god/Jesus/spiritual being you believe in here] moment. "Mom, this is not working. You are unsafe in your home, and are not using any of the resources that would help you stay here. If you cannot or will not accept help, we will have to seek other options, because we cannot allow you to live in unsafe conditions". Maybe Mom will see the light and realize she needs to let in some help, or LW will know they'll have to go a lawyer/social worker route. 
  • Come to [insert whatever god/Jesus/spiritual being you believe in here] moment. "Mom, this is not working. You are unsafe in your home, and are not using any of the resources that would help you stay here. If you cannot or will not accept help, we will have to seek other options, because we cannot allow you to live in unsafe conditions". Maybe Mom will see the light and realize she needs to let in some help, or LW will know they'll have to go a lawyer/social worker route. 
    Maybe it's the skeptic in me but I'd see an attorney just to consult or at least do a quality amount of researching into the financial and legal requirements that should be put into place.   I've seen my parents' generation go into this without being prepared for the next steps. 
    charlotte989875
  • banana468 said:
    Come to [insert whatever god/Jesus/spiritual being you believe in here] moment. "Mom, this is not working. You are unsafe in your home, and are not using any of the resources that would help you stay here. If you cannot or will not accept help, we will have to seek other options, because we cannot allow you to live in unsafe conditions". Maybe Mom will see the light and realize she needs to let in some help, or LW will know they'll have to go a lawyer/social worker route. 
    Maybe it's the skeptic in me but I'd see an attorney just to consult or at least do a quality amount of researching into the financial and legal requirements that should be put into place.   I've seen my parents' generation go into this without being prepared for the next steps. 
    I totally agree, my parents weren't prepared when it came to their parents at all. And it's definitely smart to reach out to an attorney now regardless of what Mom decides to do. I just think having a clear, firm conversation with Mom, especially if she's been independent and in good physical and mental health up until this point about the seriousness of the situation is warranted. It just doesn't sound like the Mom is incapacitated or to the point where the family can/should make decisions without her. 
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