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Old 03-09-2015, 08:37 AM
 
Location: Baltimore, MD
3,745 posts, read 4,215,210 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by in_newengland View Post
<snip> Her man-friend and I are her legal guardians. <snip>
Should her man-friend and I allow her to stay in her home and die there as she wishes? He is the primary guardian because he lives nearby and he says he will NEVER sign the papers to put her away. I say the same thing. Is this okay? I could never forgive myself if I signed those papers against her will, only if she truly became demented and didn't know where she was. I want what is best for her and I know that she has always said she wants to die in her own home. That is her wish.
Are you her legally appointed guardian or her health care agent via a power of attorney? If the latter, I'm pretty sure it states that you are supposed to advocate for her wishes.

In either case, I'd be firm. The only way she would leave her home at this time is if there is a court order that says otherwise. If "they" really want her out of the home, "they" will have to go to court and "they" have to be super motivated to go that far. Highly unlikely.

It has been almost two years since the rehab center decided my father should be transferred to an ALF. My sibling and I objected, stood firm and Dad was discharged to his home. He may not be there forever but he has, nevertheless, gained some time in his beloved home that he would not have had otherwise.
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Old 03-09-2015, 09:10 AM
 
Location: Sarasota, FL
2,636 posts, read 1,544,093 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silibran View Post
We found that, united, the adult kids could insist that our mother move from her condo and into assisted care. We did insist. Of course, things were hastened along by a crisis she had which caused her doctor to tell her she could not live alone anymore.

But, we were making headway before the crisis. It is harder if there is only one child, and the elder is stubborn. If there are several kids, all unified, and if they insist, they can get mom or dad to move.

If the elder should no longer drive, then that might be the final straw, though.

You will never win an argument with a demented person. Because the demented person cannot reason, has little judgement about safety, and is afraid of change. You might win one or two over with a field trip to a nice ALF, maybe. But sometimes the adult kids have to insist strongly.

When your parent is aging, have him or her do a POA for the future. If you can legally handle the affairs of him or her, your problems will be much less. Then when the elder can't handle day to day finances, or the paying of taxes, you can smoothly take over. This is a hard, hard road. There are no easy answers.
You are very fortunate to have support from siblings. I'm the only available relative in my case, and my aunt is obsessive-compulsive, and a hoarder -- which makes it even harder for her to leave her home and possessions, since she knows that no matter where she goes she is not going to be able to take most of her "treasures." Ironically, when it comes to matters other than her living arrangements -- and her driving -- she is really a sweet old lady, which makes it hard to push the envelope with her.

I have the POA, but that document only comes into play if she is declared incompetent, or if she agrees with my interventions. Its been suggested to me that I speak to a social worker, but I am afraid that if I involve the government, it will lead to her being forcefully dragged out of her home, which I think could cause a nervous breakdown, if not a heart attack.

Enlisting her doctors' help in convincing her to move is an excellent approach. Since I live far away, it is hard for me at this point to even get a hold of her doctors for a brief phone conversation, but I do plan to pursue that as a possible solution to changing her mind.
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Old 03-09-2015, 09:23 AM
 
3,758 posts, read 10,633,208 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TuborgP View Post
Just a observation and question but isn't the caregiving forum self selecting? The Village movement is helping to facilitate support for those not near family.
Its very self selecting, and those of us on the forum who don't have a lot of issues caring for our loved ones (lucky enough to not suffer from dementia) are pretty quiet most days.

also - Alzheimer's / Dementia still affects a MINORITY of the aging population, even though its a growing segment (at this point). Which means the majority of seniors will be in their right mind, and as such have the right to dictate how/where they want to live -- even if it means accepting tradeoffs.
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Old 03-09-2015, 09:34 AM
 
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My mother had a walker and stayed in her condo which was an elevator building with underground parking almost until she died. It all depends on whether you get dementia or if you are able to care for yourself or hire household help. Where I live its easy to find people to come and clean and plow the driveway and cut the grass but expensive. If you can drive you can visit any number of restaurants or food stores where you can buy premade good food quite easily so you really don't even have to cook. If you are disabled or can't drive then living in a house does not make sense. My mom did quite well in her condo. More people are staying in their homes or apts or condos because the retirement homes are so terribly expensive. I myself am planning on moving into a ranch home this year with a seated shower and wider doorways just planning for the future. But if my health fails and I can no longer care for myself I will either move into a condo or apt. I would move into assisted living or a retirement home as a last resort.
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Old 03-09-2015, 11:26 AM
 
Location: Hampstead NC
5,578 posts, read 5,093,804 times
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Tons of meds, bi-polar, depression, and MS? That is most certainly a recipe for dementia.

I don't get it. You say she will not be happy if she isn't in her home, but does she sound like a happy person to you?

Have you actually looked at housing options available to her? How about in-home help? Or a care home? Or independent living that will allow cats and home care? You need to explore ALL the options and see if you can come up with something that will work for her.
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Old 03-09-2015, 11:45 AM
 
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I agree with Stagemomma. Your cousin's choices are 1) assisted living/nursing home or 2) hired help. If you loves her home, garden, and pets so much, she must also compromise. Home help seems the likely choice. The question to her is not "do you want to do this (??)" but rather "you must choose between the two." With her problems something must give.
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Old 03-09-2015, 09:13 PM
 
Location: Southwest Washington State
21,845 posts, read 14,356,798 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by in_newengland View Post
A problem. I have a very stubborn cousin, my own age, 70. She seems to have everything wrong with her and much of it was brought on by her own stubbornness. But I'm going to try not to be judgemental. Her health has been going downhill for about 15 years now and maybe 10 years ago she was "diagnosed" with MS. I'm not sure that's what she really has but it probably doesn't matter.

She has lost most of her hearing but she does pretty well with hearing aids, she cannot walk very well due to arthritic hips (which have been replaced but for whatever reason, it hasn't worked.) She has been in extreme pain for years due to something about her back for which there is nothing they can do.

She's on loads of pills and I've often wondered if they are really good for her or if they make her worse. She has always lived alone because she is stubbornly independent and has never wanted anyone else around for very long. Fortunately, she has a man friend down the street. He is in his 80s but doesn't look or act it. He comes over to see her every day and does some chores for her and makes sure she is okay.

She has mental issues too and always has had. Bi-polar and depression. Her house, which she bought on her own about 20 years ago, is just right for her as it is a small ranch so everything is on one level. She orders her groceries online and they are delivered to the house.

Her man-friend and I are her legal guardians. A few months ago she was driving somewhere and forgot how to get home. Nothing like this had ever happened before and now her new, young doctor says she has early dementia.

I'm not so sure. Her mother did have Alzheimer's but it was caused by a bad car accident after which the doctors said she would develop dementia at some later date. But it isn't hereditary, it was caused by an accident. Maybe the doctor is thinking my cousin inherited the tendency for dementia from her mother.

I haven't noticed any memory loss in my cousin. What I notice is severe depression. She has even called me up, sobbing, and I've driven to her house with my dog and she will perk right up, remembers the dog's name, and is normal. Of course, I live over an hour away so I can't visit her very often. When I do, she is normal. When she calls me on the phone, she is sobbing.

So. She called the other day and said her doctor wants to put her into a nursing home. My cousin has always said she wants to die in her home. She loves this little house and it works well for her. She doesn't cook so she's not going to set the house on fire. She just heats up food in the microwave or eats fruit or yogurt.

She is devoted to her two cats and her garden and she said life would not be worth living if she couldn't have pets or her garden to work in. She gets around in her yard by hanging on to things or crawling.

When she called this last time, sobbing about what her doctor said, I called her man-friend. He says the doctor is getting reports from the people who come to help my cousin at home, the nurse, the social worker, etc.

If anyone is still reading, what can be done in this situation? She can well afford assisted living but she won't go because it would mean giving up her home, her cats, her garden--everything she loves. She says she would rather be dead. I guess I don't blame her. If a person's mind is nearly gone and they don't know where they are, assisted living wouldn't be so bad. Most relatives I've had who went into assisted living became depressed because it was like being institutionalized. The others only had a few more months to live anyway, they were so weak and sick.

My cousin should be able to stay in the home that she bought and loves with her pets. That's what I think. I cannot picture her anywhere else. Of course, she's not happy there but she's somewhat happy with her cats and her garden. That's all she has. She has spells of happiness in her home; she would not have that elsewhere.

Should her man-friend and I allow her to stay in her home and die there as she wishes? He is the primary guardian because he lives nearby and he says he will NEVER sign the papers to put her away. I say the same thing. Is this okay? I could never forgive myself if I signed those papers against her will, only if she truly became demented and didn't know where she was. I want what is best for her and I know that she has always said she wants to die in her own home. That is her wish.
Here is the thing: if your cousin should not be driving, because she gets lost, she needs to give up her car. If the in home caregivers feel that she is cognitively impaired, then they probably are right. However, I question whether the in home caregivers really are communicating with the doc. However, you could call the social worker directly and talk to her or him.

Crawling in the backyard sounds horrid to me. What if she goes outside and locks herself out? Or what if she continues to drive and she gets so thoroughly lost she is gone for days, and you have to put out a pic over the news for people to help find her? Thank goodness she isn't cooking. But is she wearing clean clothes? Is she paying her local taxes? Her federal taxes? And what sort of diet could she possibly be eating simply using the microwave? And is she eating regularly? What happens when she forgets how to operate the microwave?How would you like to be the police officer who finds the woman dead for three days in her bed? And what if she is robbed? What if she falls and can't get up?

This isn't simply a matter of what one person stubbornly wants to do. Very few of us get to choose how or where we die. Many of us will grow too old and too forgetful to get on with out daily assistance. And your cousin has multiple physical problems.

I get it about the cats. It might be possible to find a place that would accommodate one or two cats. I know dogs can often be accommodated. Whatever, I think she needs to be placed in a trustworthy ALF. She might well flourish, for awhile, anyway. And she would be safe.

In terms of dementia, there are several types of dementia. Not all of them are Alzheimers. It might be that her mother had a different dementia, since hers was brought on by an accident. Your cousin might have Alzheimer's or another dementia.

Oh, on her meds. You might go with her to the doc and have him go over all her meds. If your cousin has gotten prescriptions from other docs, he might not know everything she takes. And you could ask him/her if the meds could possibly be making things worse for her. It is a valid question.

By the way, losing your way in the car is a sign of dementia.
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Old 03-10-2015, 09:33 PM
 
Location: too far from the sea
19,830 posts, read 18,839,234 times
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Thank you for all the replies about my cousin who wants to die in her own home. Forgive me if I rambled but she had just called, sobbing. She called again and said her man friend drove her to her doctor's and they told her the doctor had cancelled and refused to be her doctor anymore. She was very distraught thinking that even her doctor didn't want her. I reminded her that she didn't want that doctor anyway, she was going to change doctors.

I had a good phone conversation with the senior center in her town. When I told her about it she was enthusiastic because she could get there by taxi and spend the day with other people instead of being all alone. She is actually a very social person. Her senior center serves a lunch, has movies, all kinds of things that she loves.

But this last time she called she said her doctor didn't want her anymore and she felt like not taking any of her pills and just giving up. I'm holding off calling because I've seen this with her so many times. She can be really down and then I call her and she's in a great mood. Maybe I'll give her a call tomorrow and see what's up. Maybe she'll be interested in the senior center again.

She's never going to leave that house. She keeps it very clean and does her laundry, has her hair styled, and you would never know anything was wrong. She pays people to mow the lawn and she does the gardening and landscaping herself, using a walker or crawling in her garden. It's bad and it's good at the same time. As someone said above about their relative, if someone dragged her out of her house, she would really go crazy.
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Old 03-10-2015, 09:56 PM
 
Location: Whereever we have our RV parked
8,763 posts, read 7,695,901 times
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I just came upon another reason not to "age in place." After retirement, because of age it typically does not happen very often that people move, if they don't move right after retirement. It becomes more difficult unless they have children that do it for them, or they can afford the selling themselves, and can orchestrate the move on their own. And as people get older that tends to happen less and less.

Here's where that can turn bad. Lets say you're in a neighborhood that changes 10 years in the future. A bad element moves in, crime goes up, and all of a sudden you feel like prey in your own neighborhood, but you can't move out. This is a common story all across the country, elderly people who are stuck in high crime neighborhoods. Retirement is a good time to find someplace where you can look forward to being safe for a long time.
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Old 03-10-2015, 10:27 PM
 
Location: too far from the sea
19,830 posts, read 18,839,234 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by augiedogie View Post
I just came upon another reason not to "age in place." After retirement, because of age it typically does not happen very often that people move, if they don't move right after retirement. It becomes more difficult unless they have children that do it for them, or they can afford the selling themselves, and can orchestrate the move on their own. And as people get older that tends to happen less and less.

Here's where that can turn bad. Lets say you're in a neighborhood that changes 10 years in the future. A bad element moves in, crime goes up, and all of a sudden you feel like prey in your own neighborhood, but you can't move out. This is a common story all across the country, elderly people who are stuck in high crime neighborhoods. Retirement is a good time to find someplace where you can look forward to being safe for a long time.
That's very true. I do remember a great aunt who stayed in her little house while the neighborhood depreciated around her. She did get out in her old age and went into senior housing. She was a music teacher and her grand piano still stands in their lobby. She did have grown kids to help her move but she did have a lot of stuff to get rid of.

But then there are people like my cousin who lives in a Boston suburb where prices are rocketing and her town is becoming one of "the" towns to live in. So it can work either way.
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