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Mom had a stroke. What do I do now?
Old 05-16-2017, 08:38 AM   #1
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Mom had a stroke. What do I do now?

We got a message on Saturday that my mom had a stroke. She laid on her floor for five days before she was able to call for help. She was taken to the hospital for a few days, then placed in a rehab center where she is now. A "friend" of hers finally contacted me Saturday to let me know.

Mom cut off all contact with her friends and family over 20 years ago. I haven't seen her in at last 20 years, and know nothing about her life. Turns out she has been hiding out in her home, only leaving once every month or two to get groceries. The house is filthy, cluttered, and looks abandoned from the outside. Paperwork is spread everywhere, no organization to have any clue where she is at financially.

We spent the last three days making the two hour drive over to see her, first just trying to see how she was doing, and to try reconnecting after 20 years apart. But we haven't talked to any doctors or staff to know what the situation is.

So, now I need to get past the social stage and try and figure out what real world steps I need to do from here. Since mom hasn't had any contact with me in 20+ years, I don't know if she even WANTS me in control of her situation. She's having difficulty speaking after the stroke, so we haven't been able to have any serious conversations so far.

I am totally lost and overwhelmed. I don't know what steps need to be taken to move forward. I can't sleep, I've got massive headaches, and I'm exhausted from 4-5 hours of driving everyday. I had to stay home today to try and get some clarity.

I'm her only child. She has no other friends or family.

What now?
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Old 05-16-2017, 08:58 AM   #2
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Oh wow. I am sorry you are in this situation, it is a tough one for sure. Can you involve the social services at the hospital/rehab facility? Also an elder care attorney may be a good place for advice/help. Both services can step in and help your mother if you are unable too or your mother continues to keep you out of her life. It sounds as if she may have some mental health issues.
It is important for you to take care of yourself, too. I wish you well.
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Old 05-16-2017, 09:02 AM   #3
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I am not an expert, but I would suggest you contact an Elder Care attorney to see what you options are. Since you are her only living relative, he may suggest conservatorship to give you the power to get her place straightened out and figure out her finances.
Please take care of yourself. I was caring for my wife who was brain injured and ended up in the ER myself.
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Old 05-16-2017, 09:02 AM   #4
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I am so sorry for your awful predicament. The rehab center she is in probably has social services that is where I would start . The will guide you through whatever needs to be done .
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Old 05-16-2017, 09:12 AM   #5
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20 years and no contact and now she can't communicate her wishes to you? I think you need to talk to a elder/estate lawyer, if you want (feel the need) to get involved.
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Old 05-16-2017, 09:26 AM   #6
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You have a lot to deal with here, but one thing to keep in mind about your mother's recovery from her stroke. It sounds like she lost some function. The doctors and physical therapists will have lots of suggestions for activities to try to regain function. Patients who do the work have a good chance of getting better, even if they never regain full function. Patients who are sorry for themselves and do not do the work, decline. If you can encourage your mother to focus on her recovery she has a much better chance of a much better outcome.

Sorry for your situation, and hers.
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Old 05-16-2017, 09:36 AM   #7
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I am so very sorry to hear of your predicament. But, I am somewhat confused...

Quote:
But we haven't talked to any doctors or staff to know what the situation is
Why have you not discussed with the doctors what is going on? A prognosis? A treatment plan? This sounds odd to me...why would you not have spoken with the doctors?

Who was the "friend" you talked to? Are they in the loop of what's going on and perhaps some background on recent history with her?

At any rate, I would certainly discuss things with the social services there and yes, an elder care attorney.
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Old 05-16-2017, 10:12 AM   #8
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It sounds like she lost some function.
She can't use her right arm, and only partial use of right leg. She can speak, but sometimes has difficulty finding the words to say. It can take her several minutes to complete a sentence and it obviously frustrates her.

Therapy just started yesterday, but we did see some minor improvements over the weekend before therapy started.
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Old 05-16-2017, 10:12 AM   #9
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I know that people are suggesting you talk to the docs, but they might not talk to you... the privacy laws are strict and I cannot even get info on my DW without her signing something....


I also agree that you need to utilize the services that the rehab has... they are usually up to date on the laws and rules that someone has to go through to get help from gvmt or insurance... I would go to them first before a lawyer...


From what it sounds like, she probably does not have anybody listed as her advocate, you know, in case of emergency who to call.... the 'system' might step in here and be that 'person' until you go to court and get it... (but I have NO idea either way, just guessing here)...


My question is do YOU want to reconnect with someone who abandoned you 20 years ago and has made zero effort to do so on her own? To me a stoke does not change this fact...
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Old 05-16-2017, 10:20 AM   #10
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I know that people are suggesting you talk to the docs, but they might not talk to you... the privacy laws are strict and I cannot even get info on my DW without her signing something.
I had difficulty even trying to get verification she was in the facility before we made the two hour drive over. Thankfully, either she or her "friend" had put me on the visitor list so they finally acknowledged she was there.

We asked if we could talk to a doctor or someone on Saturday, but they said no one was there on weekends. I didn't have enough time on Monday, and honestly am so flustered right now it didn't even cross my mind.

We were supposed to leave on vacation tomorrow, but have decided to cancel our trip to focus on my mom's situation. Naturally the place we were going to rent is refusing to refund our money with such short notice, so we're gonna lose that money. More stress, just what I needed.
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Old 05-16-2017, 10:28 AM   #11
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Who was the "friend" you talked to? Are they in the loop of what's going on and perhaps some background on recent history with her?
I honestly don't know who her friend is. Mom did say she only visits about once a year, and her husband stopped by once a month or so to check-in and mow the yard. That's really all I know about them. Some of the things mom said led me to believe her friend had talked her into some questionable situations in the past, so I have my doubts about them. When we first showed up on Saturday, mom said they were going to have her come live with them when she got released. There's been no mention of it since then, so I think she may have thought that was her only option until we arrived.

I really don't know anything about my mom's life or situation. We've spent three days just trying to make some sense out of chaos.
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Old 05-16-2017, 10:30 AM   #12
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Please be careful not to sign anything that might obligate you to pay her bills.

There are laws in several states that might make you liable. Get legal advice for sure.

And request an evaluation on her while she is in the care facility.

We recently spent months digging my mother in law out of financial disarray and her home after FIL passed. We had tried to help prior but FIL was too stubborn and not my husband's father.

He was daytrading up until the day before he passed. he left her with almost nothing and a reverse mortgage. It's a long road. Do what you can to help and that's all you can do.

My motto: You can't care more about their situation than they care.
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Old 05-16-2017, 10:40 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by mountainsoft View Post
I had difficulty even trying to get verification she was in the facility before we made the two hour drive over. Thankfully, either she or her "friend" had put me on the visitor list so they finally acknowledged she was there.

We asked if we could talk to a doctor or someone on Saturday, but they said no one was there on weekends. I didn't have enough time on Monday, and honestly am so flustered right now it didn't even cross my mind.

We were supposed to leave on vacation tomorrow, but have decided to cancel our trip to focus on my mom's situation. Naturally the place we were going to rent is refusing to refund our money with such short notice, so we're gonna lose that money. More stress, just what I needed.
Gotcha...that all makes sense. Again, I am sorry for the predicament you are in. I wish I had something useful to offer, but I just don't know what I would do in your situation.
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Old 05-16-2017, 10:54 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mountainsoft View Post
I had difficulty even trying to get verification she was in the facility before we made the two hour drive over. Thankfully, either she or her "friend" had put me on the visitor list so they finally acknowledged she was there.

We asked if we could talk to a doctor or someone on Saturday, but they said no one was there on weekends. I didn't have enough time on Monday, and honestly am so flustered right now it didn't even cross my mind.

We were supposed to leave on vacation tomorrow, but have decided to cancel our trip to focus on my mom's situation. Naturally the place we were going to rent is refusing to refund our money with such short notice, so we're gonna lose that money. More stress, just what I needed.
IF you paid with CC for your vacation, depending upon the CC it may be refundable ?

Since your Mother cut out off 20 years ago, try not to feel guilt over anything, since if she didn't have a stroke, she still wouldn't be talking to you.

If you are going to visit her, think about staying at a hotel overnight, as the 4-5 hour drives are too hard to do every day and waste a lot of time. The gas ($25) plus wear and tear on your car ( ? ) means a cheap hotel would even be cheaper than driving so much.
Then you would be not rushed, fresher, and less stressed.
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Old 05-16-2017, 11:08 AM   #15
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I'm very sorry for your mother and you. What a difficult situation for you both.

Hopefully she recovers most of her abilities in time.

You've gotten a lot of good advice upthread.

I wish you the best in getting things handled with the least amount of stress to yourself. Look for ways to be caring without setting yourself up for further abuse.
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After things have settled down a bit, you might find this Slate article of interest. "The Debt. When terrible, abusive parents come crawling back, what do their grown children owe them?"
Abusive parents: What do grown children owe the mothers and fathers who made their childhood a living hell?


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Old 05-16-2017, 11:15 AM   #16
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Please be careful not to sign anything that might obligate you to pay her bills.
Yeah, that's one of my concerns. I don't want her to show up after 20 years and mess up our financial situation, retirement plans, etc.

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request an evaluation on her while she is in the care facility.
I'm going to call them this afternoon and see if I can schedule an appointment with their social services. I didn't know that kind of thing even existed. I'm totally naive about all of this.
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Old 05-16-2017, 11:22 AM   #17
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IF you paid with CC for your vacation, depending upon the CC it may be refundable? ... think about staying at a hotel overnight
I paid for the rental with PayPal. Honestly, at this point I don't care, it was only $230 total. If they're more about profit than caring I'll just write it off and never go back. I'm in no mood to deal with them.

I thought about renting a hotel over there, but the cheapest in the area is still $150/night. So, $25 gas is still more affordable, we'll just need to make better use of our trips and maybe space them out more.

My mom has apparently been sleeping on her old couch for years, there isn't even a bed in the house. Not that I would sleep in that filthy place as it is.
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Old 05-16-2017, 11:46 AM   #18
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Maybe look for an Airbnb nearby instead of a hotel. Usually much cheaper and more comfortable.
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Old 05-16-2017, 11:53 AM   #19
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I thought about renting a hotel over there, but the cheapest in the area is still $150/night. So, $25 gas is still more affordable, we'll just need to make better use of our trips and maybe space them out more.
I feel for you. The stress of the situation is enough by itself without the stress of the travel also. Just a couple other possible options - check if there is someplace you would be comfortable with through AirBnB in the area. Another alternative might be to rent an RV in a local RV park if there are any in the vacinity that do that. Another might be to check Facebook for friends that may live in the area that might put you up for the occasional night. All things the younger generation (ie...my kids) do all the time, I'm trying to learn a bit from them.

Edit: oops, KB got in before this post with the same suggestion.
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Old 05-16-2017, 12:23 PM   #20
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My mother had 2 strokes a year apart. First one, she complied with rehab and recovered almost 100 per cent. Second one she felt sorry for hetself and declined til she passed after a year and half in step down rehab and nursing home. Growing-older is accurate in assessment.
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