Getting my 90 year old mother into assisted living

She’s stubborn, still living alone, and still driving–it’s the scariest thing you’ll meet on the highway, my mother.

I’ve been working on her for a couple of years to give up her car and move into assisted living. This week she had a blood pressure spike and ended up in the ER. She won’t listen to me, I’m just ‘the daughter’. I’ve finally stopped being straightforward and I’m going behind her back.

I’ve outed her to the Medical Board of the DMV to call her in for an in person driver’s license test, and I called her doctor to get a social worker through Medicare to go make an evaluation of her home. I’ve got her friends, and relatives talking about what a good idea it is to move into assisted care.

She’s still lucid, takes care of her bills and so on, but suffers from home break in paranoia and won’t let me take care of her bills.

I’m at my wits end. She won’t move where I live, and my family want her to stay in place. Right now as a friend put it, something like a car accident or a preventable fall in the home will happen and then she won’t have any choice.

Just venting, but ideas welcome.

Do I understand that you don’t live in her town? How about the other members of the family, the ones who want her to stay in place? Because if and when something happens, the ones living closest to her will be the ones who end up with the responsibility.

FWIW, there are a whole lot of seniors who hear the phrase “assisted living” and interpret it as “trapped in a nursing home, covered in bed sores and left to die.”

In the meantime, for someone who’s “still lucid” and still able to get around (even if she’s no longer able to drive) there are all sorts of levels of home care options, from meals on wheels a couple of times a week to live-in care. You might have better luck getting her to have someone come in than asking her to uproot herself.

Having recently gone thru this myself with my own mother, let me share some things.

First, you are absolutely on point in trying to get her to give up driving. Approaching her doctor to get an OT consult might be the way to go. My DH’s mother was persuaded to give up driving when she couldnt pass the OT exam. Its a danger to herself and others.

Second, giving up her home is a major admission of dependence to her and it would really help her most to somehow allow her to stay at home if at all possible.

•Automatic bill paying is something my mother set up on her own while she was lucid, knowing the day would come when she would become forgetful. It really was a wise move on her part.

•Getting some type of meal plan to be delivered to her might be something helpful too.

•Having someone keep an eye on her house and offer to shovel snow, rake leaves, do minor house maintenance chores would be a blessing to her. My mother arranged for Habitat for Humanity to help her out. She was a great finagler that way! She got Dial-a-Ride to take her to appointments if I couldnt drive the 250 miles to take her myself.

•Getting her legal affairs in order and arranging Durable Power of Attorney and Living Will and appointing an executor of her will gave us all peace of mind.

•One thing I wish she had allowed us to do for her is to have a MediAlert button she could push for emergencies and a keyless lock put on her door. She used to lock herself out of her house toward the end and she fell in her own driveway and had to lay there until some kids came by and called 911 for her. Stubborn til the end.

Hope this might be of some help to you too and good luck!

You made several good points.
She has relatives in town, and they are extremely helpful, but they’re only a few years younger and not in as good a shape as she is. As for location, I’m trying to get her into the section of her elder apartment complex with a dining room and light housekeepting. She doesn’t want to move because that’s ‘for the cripples’.

I would love to do that. I’m concerned her theft-paranoia would kick in and she’d accuse some innocent person of theft. The things she hides and forgets! And it’s valueless things like cancelled checks she’s sure she left next to the Macbook. To her the cancelled checks are valuable, and the macbook isn’t, so it doesn’t register with her that someone would prefer to steal the Macbook.

I so feel your pain.

But this is what resonated with me:

I wish you luck. My sibs and I are in a battle about mother who is in mid-stage ALZ and NEEDS assisted living. However, my strong willed sister who BTW lives 2000 mi. away, is in a total state of denial ( I live in the same town as my mother) and refuses. And brother with the family purse strings won’t do anything unless all sibs are in agreement because he despises confrontation. Mother hides the fullness of her dementia from my sister, who visits maybe 4 times a year and mother claims to be involved in many activities, but she’s not; she’s at home alone, can’t or won’t watch TV, no longer can track well enough to read a book or magazine, so she just lays in bed. She no longer showers, gets frequent UTIs from poor personal hygiene, and the list goes on and on. Her refrigerator is a frightening hellhole of expired food and she attacks anyone who tries to remove it, so I sneak it out. Laundry-forget it. I washed 14 pairs of pants, all with multiple kleenex in the pocket, and all her shirts and jackets-12 loads of laundry one day when she was out with my brother. Some clothes stank beyond help and I tossed them

She did quit driving of her own accord, thank gud. And she wears Medic Alert. The finances are out of her reach now, after a nasty purse losing error. But like you, I fear the only thing that will move her where she needs to be, is a horrible accident.

You have my sympathies, and hope you have more success than we did.

How did the brother get control of her money? Does he have a duty to ensure your mother is taken care of, family confrontation be damned?