Jun 01, 2015 - 08:36 AM
I think the most respectful thing to pursue first is to allow your mother in law to make her own decision with heavy guidance toward your preferred outcome. Allow the senior living counselor at your preferred assisted living community direct access to her and be a part of their plan of action forwarding her decision toward the community. The counselor should be willing to spend this kind of time to overcome her objections and sell her on assisted living. If he/she isn't, find another community. NOTE: If your mother in law commits to anything, even a step in the right direction (touring, maybe), GET IT IN WRITING and HAVE HER SIGN IT. When dealing with memory loss, you MUST have a way to audit any forward momentum in the process. Let's say she agrees to a tour. Write down the date and time and have all parties sign the document. Then make copies and place them in a common place like the refrigerator door. This way you will have a resource to point back to should she waffle in her decision.
Second, you may want to look into guardianship. Before you take this step, meet with a local elder attorney to research everything involved. If you are granted guardianship you are granted the authority to make decision for your ward.
Third, blame the _________________. Most of the time, this means blaming a doctor. I don't care much for this tactic because it feels like a tactic and it can cause bad blood. It is far better for your mother in law to be involved in her own decision.
Fourth, wait for a crisis. I want you to know that I don't like making this recommendation. Sometimes, however, it is the only way that a senior will move. Only resort to waiting in the event that you have exhausted all other options. Ultimately, I recommend waiting for a crisis because it does respect the dignity of the person to make their own decisions, even those decisions that we determine to be dangerous. You role in waiting is to prepare the net for a recovery. The danger in waiting is that the crisis can be so bad that it can lead to death or long term skilled care. The other side of the coin in relation to waiting for a crisis, though, is that EVERYTHING that goes wrong is a crisis. Jump on all issues that you see and be honest about how they can be very dangerous. Not eating, not cleaning, not showering, not taking meds correctly, driving poorly, etc. can all be opportunities to demand a change.
I greatly prefer option 1. In fact, 90% of my occupation as a Senior Living Director is attending to exactly your issue. I can tell you that there IS hope. Every day I deal with seniors who have memory loss and many of them are directly involved as a decision maker. It's difficult and it takes a great deal of time and effort to overcome objections, but residents who are involved in their decision making are happy residents.
Jul 27, 2016 - 09:01 AM
I totally disagree with cjones55. Guardianship should be close to the last resort but it is an important tool in elder care. Just like you would not let a three year-old make a bad decision with living arrangements or driving you must protect an elder with dementia. I have witnessed financial exploitation with guardianship once and I got all the money returned. I have witnessed much more exploitation without court involvment. Attorneys are not complicit with any government services. I have never had an occasion to beleive that. It is always a good idea to ask for recommendations from friends and family.
Best wishes and Godspeed to you.