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Who Gets to Decide Where My Elderly But Healthy Mother Lives?
My mother is 93, healthy, takes care of herself, does her own laundry, cleans her condo, fixes her own food and does her own grocery shopping. My sister, who lives an hour away, behind her back moved all of her furniture and belongings out of her condo and over to an assisted living facility where she does not want to be. They took her cell phone so she could not call me, and are now lying to everyone about her "memory" problems. She is heartsickened and devastated by the betrayal. She feels trapped and in prison. Can I move her back home, and if necessary pay for in-home care (or someone to check on her daily)? I went to my mother's doctor appointment with her and her doctor recommended assisted living because of her age. My sister has threatened to call protective services if I move her. Can I move her back into the area that she wants to live in -- either in her own home with "home care" or an "assisted living" -- without my sister turning me in to protective services? Does my mother have any rights?
The bottom is line is that if your mother is legally competent she can choose where she wants to live. She is presumed to be legally competent until a court determines that she is not. If she moves home and protective services becomes involved, they will determine whether she is safe. If they feel she is not safe, they may institute guardianship proceedings to determine her competency and to have someone appointed to make decisions for your mother. I would recommend that you and your mother follow one of two courses: First, your mother can consult with an elder law attorney who can advise her of her rights and make sure they are protected. Alternatively, the whole family can meet with a mediator to get all issues on the table and to seek a resolution that satisfies everyone. Good luck.