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How can I move my husband into senior care and away from his mother's house?

My husband has dementia, we're still married, but he lives with his mother. I had to file an order of protection agianst him because he keeps coming around the house trying to get back in. He needs to be in a nursing home or assisted living place, but he refuses to go and his mother will not assist in him going but she's constantly complaining about him being with her and she wants him out of her house. He can't come back and live with me since he needs care that I'm unable to give to him and besides, he becomes very agitated, irrational and threatening (whick prompted the order of protection). Since we are still married I want to make sure he's somewhere safe. At his mom's house, he constantly roams away from there and then she's looking for him. He finally shows up on my door step very irrational which I have to call police and paramedics. They take him to hospital and releases him to his mother's care and the cycle repeats itself over again. What can I do for him to be put in a nursing home or an assisted living so that he can be safe and I can have peace of mind. I don't want to be financially responsible for him however, he does receive social security and a partial retirement.
Status: Open    Mar 21, 2016 - 09:05 AM


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Expert Answers

Mar 23, 2016 - 09:15 AM

The laws vary by state, but generally if he is alert and lucid, he has the final say on the type of care that he wishes to receive. If he poses a threat to himself or others or he is not in a lucid state then it may be necessary to go through the court system to get a legal guardian (preferably you) appointed as his guardian and then you will have the full power to make decisions on his behalf. This method is only recommended as a last resort in most cases.

Mar 30, 2016 - 05:20 PM

It sounds like all of you are under significant stress and in a repeating cycle of crisis, with safety and health concerns to address.

There are two resources you may wish to use, depending on your husband’s capacity to participate. If he is able to converse, even for short periods of lucidity, a mediator specializing in elder/adult family mediation could facilitate conversations with him, you, and his mother. Mediation provides a safe, calm place and an impartial professional to help you talk through the issues each of you is facing, explore options for your husband’s health care and living situation, and reach agreement on a plan and next steps. Separately, consider meeting with an elder attorney who can help you understand the legal and financial issues ahead, as well as options for changing decision-making authority in the future.

Best to you all through this difficult transition.


Apr 02, 2016 - 01:22 PM

People with dementia, even in early stages, lose the ability to make good judgements and lack insight into their behaviour and thinking processes. If he cannot be persuaded to move into safe assisted living (AL is not going to work in most cases with someone who is agitated and roaming), you will need an attorney to "conserve" him, which means that a family member or independent person is responsible for his medical decisions and care. It is a court procedure and varies from state to state. It involves some costs which ultimately can come from his income and assets. Not fun, but the only way left with someone who does not understand and not able to modify his behavior.
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