Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Saturday, March 06, 2010 Becky, Community Member, asks

Q: Taking care of parent in denial of alzheimer's

We need help are mom is in denial. We are very worried for her needs. She refuses to have sibblings help with doctor vists, taking medications, eating right, locking doors, letting sales people in, forgeting the stove is on, we have had family members stay with her but she always boots them out. when we try to help,  she gets mad that we are treating her like a baby. she thinks everyone steals from her except acouple of friends who we are not sure we trust not to take advantage. she refuses to let us help look for her medication, help set up auto pay for the bills, How can we get her help when she refuses to us help. Her so called friends moved her into a new rental home we didn't know where for afew weeks. then she can't remember the landlords name is, or what the rent is.  I managed her friends number and told her I was taking mom to the doctor and the bank. Mom was furious, when I told the doctor what was going on she said I was over excagerating she was furious again and then the bank when I insisted she get a cashier check for the rent not cash. That when I found out she didn't know the landlord name or what she paid for rent, we need help how can we get she help....... we can't afford a lawyer...

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Answers (5)
Christine Kennard, Health Pro
3/ 6/10 6:35am

Hi Becky

 

Denial is mental defence mechanism many of use avoid facing up to issues that we do not want to deal with and is common in people in the early stages of Alzheimer's.

 

Your mother seems to be actively taking steps to avoid your interventions, for example, by moving address. She has that right and having Alzheimer's disease does not mean that she can no longer legally competent to make them.

 

It is a great worry for you and your family that she seems unable to remember the landlords name and contact details, but if she does not want you to know then playing dumb is a good way to stop you knowing! It is difficult for me to make any judgement not knowing all the circumstances.

 

If you believe she is a risk to herself or others, and you have evidence of that, for example of, noticeable weight loss, no food in her accommodation, sores, bruises, then you can intervene through Social services or through the police.

If you feel her friends are financially abusing her contact the police as this is obviously a legal issue.

 

If that is not the case then go back to her doctor. It can be helpful is other members of the family attend (a brother, another sister) You can express your concerns and ask you be contacted if he/she has any welfare or health  issues that require family help.  

 

If she does not want your help you may be caught between a rock and a hard place until your mother deteriorates further and maybe the only thing you can do at the moment is monitor the situation or until she accepts more help from you.

 

I have written this sharepost on 10 Ways Alzheimer's Affects Legal Issues

http://www.healthcentral.com/alzheimers/c/57548/101352/2010-alzheimer that I think you will find very helpful at this time and may give you some ideas how you can progress.

 

Please keep in touch

 

Christine

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Louise, Community Member
3/18/10 5:07am

If this was Australia you'd apply to the Guardianship Tribunal for a guardian to be appointed and you'd offer to be that guardian but it would be up to the Tribunal to agree. At the Guardianship Tribunal the person in need of protection has to appear and speak on their own behalf in the company of a solicitor (lawyer). 

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Carol Bradley Bursack, Health Guide
3/ 6/10 7:06am

Hi Becky,

You've gotten some very good responses here. I hope the doctor will listen to you, but with HIPAA laws, unless your mother has signed a paper that allows you to talk to the doctor on her behalf, you may even run into a road block there. You could try writing the doctor a letter.

 

But, as Christine said, she has rights and sometimes we have to watch those we love make poor decisions. Denial is a human reaction to fear. If she truly is in danger, a social services welfare check can be done, but they need to be able to see evidence that she can't care for herself. If you suspect abuse by others, the police may be able to help.

 

Christine gave you a valuable link for legal issues. Please do check back for more support.

Carol

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NC, Community Member
3/ 7/10 12:40pm

Hi Becky,


This sounds complicated and I cannot really tell you what you should do for your Mom. However, you may  want to consider to apply for guardianship at the court. Some member here said she didn't need to  go to the lawyer and she did it herself. I wonder maybe there are free-service that help you out legally. There are some fees to apply at court but it is worthwhiel.

Once you have guardianship, you have the power to tell the concerned party such as the owner/landlord or banks that you have the power to handle things for her even if she protexts. She would be the ward of the state.  You just need to report to the judge once a month or a year - this is just formality making sure you do it right. You also may have to put in a bond regarding guarding her money. I have not gone through this as we don't live in the same country with my FIL but my FIL is the POA and Trustee as well for his Dad and this is powerful enough.

 

In any case, get some kind of legal power so you can handle her stuff. I am sorry she goes out of your hand to do these things.

 

Take care,

Nina

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NC, Community Member
3/ 7/10 12:42pm

Sorry I typed too fast: My Husband is the POA and Trustee for his Dad, my FIL.

 

Nina

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angel, Community Member
9/21/10 11:38pm

Becky, I have the same problem with my mother after my dad's death two months ago.  I stepped in immediately to prevent anyone from taking advantage of my mom.  She is in denial and does not feel she needs the help.  I do it anyway because I have been a police officer for many years and have seen what evil people can do to the elderly, let alone if they have Alzheimer's.  If you can, get power of attorney as soon as you can and protect your mother, in spite of her protests.  You know your mom better than anyone.  Alzheimer's patients will say one thing and mean another because it is the nature of the disease.  I am not popular with the rest of the family that feels she has lots of money (from social security), but I had to get a thick skin and protect my mom just like she did for me when I was small and could not make very good decisions.  I am using her money to hire a nursing assistant to help make my mom comfortable and safe within my home.  I refuse to place her in a nursing home because she was a stay-at-home mom for me.  She will be red-hot mad at first but by the second week, she will adjust (again, it is the nature of the disease).  I can tell you that prayer changes things and you will see the sun again some day.  You are not alone.

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Carol Bradley Bursack, Health Guide
9/22/10 10:54am

Hi Becky,

Christine made some excellent points. Your situation is not unusual. As long as your mother is competent, she can keep doing what she is doing. It's very hard to watch.

 

Medical privacy laws can even make it hard to talk to her doctor without her permission, but you could try writing the doctor a letter to give him or her information. It may help, though I can't guarantee it.

 

If her situation is too bad, Social Services can do a welfare check on her.

 

Sometimes we have to wait until things get worse before they can get better. This isn't what we want, and I hope that you can find some help. But calling social services may be necessary. You may want to try calling the Alzheimer's organization in your community phone book. They could have some locally available resources in mind.

Take care,

Carol

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By Becky, Community Member— Last Modified: 10/26/11, First Published: 03/06/10