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Grandmother with dementia refuses help
Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2019 1:56 AM
Joined: 8/13/2019
Posts: 4


Im posting here because i have no idea what to do. Back story: my grandmother has late stage dementia (unsure what kind) and stage 4 kidney failure. She has 3 living daughters. 1 who is in a terrible medical condition and cant care for herself, 1 that has been spoiled her whole life (never had to work a job, pay her own rent, buy her own car), and the third is my mother who i am financially taking care of, as she cannot. My mother and i live over 600 miles away from my grandmother, i cannot take on another family member, and my mother cant financially take care of her. 

When it was found out my grandmother had dementia, she was still coherent enough to generally care for herself minus grocery shopping and picking up meds, but refused to sign a POA. She was in denial she even had dementia. Now the situation has gotten much worse, shes still in denial she has dementia, and refuses to sign over POA, and refuses nurse assistance. Furthermore, daughter 1 and 3 cant take care of her, daughter 2 now refuses to. 

My grandmothers house was in bankruptcy last year. My cousin bought the house to try to keep my grandmother there. Due to finding out my grandmother has bonds and collects interest from these bonds monthly (my grandmother didn't understand where this money would come from, then would forget about having it) my cousin is threatening to sell the house, kick my grandmother out, and put all her things in  a dump bin. Even if it makes my grandmother homeless. 

Essentially, all family who is either financially or physically able (or both) refuses to help her (even with getting medication) and my grandmother refuses to admit or accept help, and refuses to sign POA. 

What happens to the elderly with dementia that are not cohearent enough to care for themselves, unwilling to get help, who have no family willing to help? She is living in California if that helps. 


Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2019 4:04 AM
Joined: 9/21/2017
Posts: 705


It must be hard to be physically distant and not getting much support from other family members with your grandmother's care. You are kind to step in to try to get care arranged.

Her "denial" sounds like anosognosia.


Has she been formally diagnosed?


Financially, you need to see a certified California elder law specialist with a medicaid specialty.


Houses get foreclosed on , they don't go bankrupt- unless your grandmother filed bankruptcy  - but then why weren't the cash assets discovered then?


Did she have legal representation for the house sale , was the sales price fair? You can tell the sales price, if you don't know it, from the property tax bill (on line for that county)- if the cousin recorded the deed.


 Grandchildren don't quality to continue Prop 13 levels since actual children living, as I read it, so the property taxes should reflect a step up to what the cousin paid.


Do a Zillow , MLS search to see how that price measured up.


As you can see way too much to unpack here in this Forum and you need legal advise.


The lawyer can advise you on whether the house sale seems on the up and up, and on filing for guardianship- and suggestions for who can perform that function since no family member can -- Public Guardian or a private conservator since your grandmother has assets (the house proceeds, the cash assets).


 And the lawyer can advise if the threats the cousin is making about eviction should be reported as Elder Abuse. Dicey situation with your grandmother living in cousin's property. A delicate legal touch needed.


Here is a directory of Elder Lawyers, from one group.


While this is a snarly situation, if you wait and she ends up in the hospital, cousin makes good on their promise to evict  etc. Plus who can make medical decisions for her right now without a healthcare directive?


You are right to move on this now. Good luck.






Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2019 5:13 AM
Joined: 8/13/2019
Posts: 4

The house was going toward foreclosure. I'm not sure of all the details. My grandmother lived there for 45 years. Her husband passed away from brain cancer, and shortly before that spent all the money, borrowed a 2nd mortgage (her house was paid off previously) and emptied all the bonds (or so we thought) and spent all the money. My cousin bought it out of forclosure or just before. I just remember my grandmother had x many days to leave, and then my cousin bought it and she can stay. Because it was in forclosure, my aunt was in scramble mode trying to sell as much stuff to keep her in the house and my cousin decided to just buy it. So it wasnt a situation that my grandmother had to sign over the mortgage or anything. 

The aunt that can take care of her refuses to do so because she feels that my grandma is being spoiled, the dementia is causing her to be more verbally aggressive. They've gotten in fights to the point that my aunt said she didnt care anymore. My aunt seems to think my mom moved up here to sight see or something, just because she wanted to (hence the spoiled, never paid a thing, doesnt understand the concept of money). Its like every family drama we have ever had is coming up. 

My grandmother has been formally diagnosed, but Im getting third hand knowledge. My grandmother wont share any info as she thinks nothing is wrong, refuses to let my aunt in the dr.s office (when my aunt was helping). My aunt only found out from the discharge paperwork from a doctors visit.

My cousin let her daughter move in and takeover the upstairs floor. My cousins daughter was taking her to appointments and getting meds, but my cousin sent a text out to my aunts and my mom that basically said "shes your responsibility, not my daughters. She wont be taking care of her anymore. On january 31st im throwing grandmas stuff out and selling the house." 

My grandma has been feeding neighbor cats. She let one in, it gave birth, abandoned the babies, and now thats cat poop all over the house (downstairs where she lives). 

Im sorry, there are so many layers to this and so much family drama intertwined. I was thinking of calling elderly/adult protective services, but if shes refusing to accept help, and refuses theres a problem, can they actually do anything? There is no POA to force care, or to otherwise charge neglect, as no one is by law responsible for her. 

Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2019 5:18 AM
Joined: 8/13/2019
Posts: 4

Also, i realize now this is way more legal than i thought. Everything I have found online about POA was how to prepare for it before its an issue, or how to get POA when its too late, but all of these instances included family that actually wanted to obtain POA and help. As of right now, it doesnt look like she has anyone able that wants to.
Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2019 6:14 AM
Joined: 6/12/2019
Posts: 40

Not sure about where you are, but when I went to the elder lawyer to ask about selling mom's house on the up-and-up (when the time comes), he said they have court people (can't remember what they are called) that will investigate the situation (if they suspect something hinky) to make sure the elder person is NOT being taken advantage of. Also, if you call Adult Protective Services, they will come in and see if they are in a safe environment.
It definitely sounds like Anosognosia, which is a symptom (she can't help it).  It's so hard when they have Anosognosia, because we think they are just being difficult, but they really aren't doing it on purpose. I wonder if this is why she's having a hard time getting help from friends/family. Most people just don't understand. I didn't either (until I started coming here).

Take care of yourself. Everyone here is amazing. Come often. It really helps.

Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2019 7:21 AM
Joined: 9/21/2017
Posts: 705

Ceb42 wrote:

 Im sorry, there are so many layers to this and so much family drama intertwined. I was thinking of calling elderly/adult protective services, but if shes refusing to accept help, and refuses theres a problem, can they actually do anything? There is no POA to force care, or to otherwise charge neglect, as no one is by law responsible for he

Ceb42- This type of situation is what Adult Protective and the Public Guardians office can and does do all the time.

Sometimes they have to step in when TOO many relatives want to be in charge. They've heard it all.

  Give them a call with the facts( ages, dates, nurse refusal, how /if she gets meds , groceriesDoctor's name if known)  as best you know and stress the dangers your Grandmother is in- no one overseeing her care, the threats of eviction from her long term home. Give them a copy of that text. They will open a file and investigate.

Grandmother may be past the point she can/wants to select who will care for her but Adult protective can get her a guardianship and someone - a non-relative to take care of her if they feel warranted. They will see how independent and safe they feel your grandmother is or if she needs to be overseen.

Are they perfect, no. But the choice seems to be - grandmother with no oversight and maybe homeless or that agency investigating to see about establishing a guardianship. Maybe they do nothing now, but if things are worse in 2 months- they will have a benchmark to start from.

And, wishful thinking, maybe their visit will cause some relatives to behave a tad better.

Your aunt could benefit from reading up on how to deal with someone with a dementia, arguing is totally pointless.  They get past discussing and rationally deciding. Maybe you can give her a few print out from threads here.

And a lawyer is still a good idea. APS may have the name of one who can give a free first visit.



Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2019 12:14 PM
Joined: 8/6/2019
Posts: 9

I don't have anything like the wealth of experience of others on this forum, but I have a suggestion that you might want to consider. You mentioned that your grandmother had taken in a stray cat with unfortunate results. Are the kittens still in the house? Are they being cared for adequately? Is the house dirty due to their being there?  If so, there might be a roundabout way of getting help for your grandmother. If you call the local Animal Control Officer or Humane Society and report that there are animals being poorly cared for, generally they will send out someone to assess the situation and either give it a pass or remove the animals. If that proves difficult, they are connected to other services that they might alert as to your grandmother's situation - which could result in intervention. If nothing else, the animals would likely be removed, which would solve one of your many problems. The grandmother is living in unsanitary conditions that could lead to disease or even to the house being condemned eventually, unless there is some intervention relatively early on.  This might help bring about that intervention, with other local agencies becoming involved. I wish I had something better to offer, but it's just a thought.
Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2019 2:51 PM
Joined: 9/21/2017
Posts: 705

I'd be worried about how the PWD would take it if Animal Control tried to come into the house  and remove the animals. Would she wander afterward looking for the cats? Get upset-lash out at the officers- then the police get called?

Probably better to have human specialists check out the home first - they can call Animal control if needed but focus on evaluating the grandmother first. Just a thought.

Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2019 3:01 PM
Joined: 8/13/2019
Posts: 1

I am looking for an evening support group for caregivers in the Westchester, NY area.  Any leads?  The ones posted on this site are during the day.
Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2019 3:26 PM
Joined: 8/13/2019
Posts: 4

Thank you everyone. My mom is worried about calling and having the family drama blow up more, and have it all be put on her, so i think i I'm going to call. Sister 1 and her daughter knows whats going on, so if they can keep me anonymous to a point, they at least wont know where it came from.
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