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Can guardian in MA admit person to nursing home?

Hello. I'm the guardian for my elderly great-aunt who suffers from what I can only describe as intermittent dementia. Some days she is good and other days she is not. She forgets to turn the stove off, she leaves water running, etc. I'm worried that she's going to harm herself. I live thirty minutes away, so it's hard for me to keep track of everything she's doing. I've talked to her about going to a nursing home but she says she doesn't want to. She also refuses to let anyone live with her so her help only comes in during the day. So my question is whether I have the authority set her up in a nursing home and force her to go to one? I think she would stay once I get her settled and the nursing home I have in mind is a very nice place. What should I do?

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Under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 190B (the new Massachusetts Probate Code),  section 5 -309(g), a guardian must get court approval before committing an incapacitated person to a nursing home.  You will be required to show that admitting your aunt to the nursing home is in her "best interest."  If the probate court agrees with your arguments regarding your aunt's living arrangements, you can then move forward with your plan.

Obviously, it would be far better to talk your aunt into seeing the reality of her situation.  Nobody wants to go to court to try to force another person into a nursing home. Is there another person, someone she trusts, that might be able to help her understand her need for greater care?  (I'm sure she trusts you, but right now you are the bearer of bad news.)  You might also consider hiring a third party, such as a family mediator or a geriatric case manager to take a fresh look at your aunt's situation and, if she agrees with you, try to help your aunt see the need for greater care. Under the heading of non-legal advice, have you looked into assisted living facilities.  That may be an easier sell to your aunt and some of them are quite nice.



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