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  • Marnie Matthews, MSW, LICSW posted an update in the group Group logo of Adult Child ChallengesAdult Child Challenges 4 months ago

    Does anyone have experience working with Adult Protective Services and your parent? If so, what was it like?

    • APS has been involved with my mother for about 5 years. My line on APs is that it is better than no APs but not by much. do you have any more specific questions? They have not achieved anything tangible but I was living abroad and it was marginally better knowing they had a cw assigned …

      • Agreed and it also depends on how knowledgeable the worker is on hoarding and what the agency resources are. Where I’m at, APS rarely screens cases in as there are little to no resources and the individual is always reluctant to agree to work with APS knowing their past approach has been full clean outs.

        • It is very frustrating because there is nowhere else to turn… the more I think about it, the more I feel their perspective on competency/mental illness is a big part of the problem… and this is shared by the medical/mental health community… i get the limitations of forced treatment…you can’t save anyone else, but you can do damage control, particularly where kids are involved … the number of ACOH I talk to about their experiences as minors and the failures of APS and CPS dealing with mentally ill parents is just astounding and horrifying… the bottom line is leave your elderly mother to rot in her car because she is competent… I just can’t accept that this is the best we can do as a society… they define vulnerable adults and then define their self-abuse as within their rights bc competent… it’s just nonsense after a point…

          • APS investigation laws are changing in many states so that even if the person refuses help, the investigation can continue. This is ideal in these situations, just taking time for the efforts to ‘trickle down’.

            • I wish my mother had more time… but it is encouraging to know of progress… still amazing how backwards it all seems…

            • Marnie, did you see fb post that APS closed case … #$%@#$# 🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️🙂
              Haven’t decided what to do, if anything… likely waiting re: bank deadline june 4… maybe follow up with lawyer … maybe just keep sending drinking water… I cannot stand the thought that when something happens to her they will say they did everything they could…

              • It’s difficult to understand the limitations set on APS and most state agencies in regards to that infamous and often contentious term “self-determination”. Limited ‘reach’ and resources often govern the ability to force change. I am sorry that you are having to go through this. Your inclination of just providing her with drinking water may indeed be the most helpful thing that you can do.

            • Thank you Marnie, it is very helpful to hear that from someone who has to make same decision in professional context… can you tell me what criteria you use to decide in your work when it is time to stop? Certainly i know that coh wanting to do the right thing is great cover for very complex desires, and yet I’m not happy with ‘my best,” and want to give *her* the best chance of surviving this with the least trauma… i know it isnt up to me and I also know we’ve made misguided attempts in the past… I don’t feel responsible, but if there is a ‘right’ or even better answer, for her sake, I want to try… most hoarding cases arent direct questions of life and death, but shelter and drinking water are pretty darn close… and that’s just not about me… I feel like this is above my paygrade, but that I ‘m the only one there is to help break her fall…

              • My decision to stopping work is based on the answer to the following question
                Based on the current level of engagement, who wants this effort more, me or the client? If I find myself pushing or on the verge of arguing with a client, this is a red flag. There is a difference between challenging the person to assess/change thoughts and behaviors and pushing them into change. If someone is not psychologically able to tolerate the work, it is typically manifested in help refusal, justification, arguing, etc…. In the event that I am wanting the change more than the client, we do our best to reduce risks to the extent the person will allow or can tolerate. At that point I let them know my concerns, how we could work together to alleviate those concerns, and that when they are ready to work towards resolving those concerns, I will be there.

            • I don’t know how to remove myself from this equation apart from doing nothing, but I have no confidence that is the “right” call for *her* bc I am involved and interested, and I am the only other party concerned with her welfare…
              I feel it is an impossible catch-22

              • It can definitely be a catch-22. That being said, being the ‘only party concerned with her welfare’ seems to apply to her lack of concern for her own welfare too. This puts us back to the previous question of who wants it more. This is likely a piece that APS has taken into consideration too. If the person doesn’t want the help they are offering, there are very limited alternatives.

            • Marnie, that is perfect, extremely helpful, thank you very much. exactly what i needed to feel confident that i am approaching this objectively, and not as “coh”

              This suffices to help me decide how to act (or not)

              On the reflective side… regarding what she “wants” surely we cannot dismiss her explicitly expressed wishes…. but I still struggle with the concept of what a self-destructive person wants, she’s clearly not in her right mind… and while I may be satisfied as to what I should do for now. Re; my mother… this whole question of competence seems to be defined from a legal perspective, not a medical/mental health angle… what in god’s name are we going to do with the aging population we face, when this is the status quo?

            • This sort of thing definitely satisfies my curiosity about how they understand themselves… ultimately, I think I have fierce substantive conflict regarding the meaning of self-determination, as a political philosopher there is no self-determination or autonomy without reason and rational self interest. Being a prisoner to irrational desire, self-destructive compulsions simply is not self-determination or autonomy and there is absolutely no room for confusion here. What someone wants has nothing to do with freedom, autonomy or self-determination and legal capacity is simply too thin a concept … I’m not looking for avenues to take away people’s rights because they cannot be self-determining in any meaningful way. i’m Interested in 2 things, a, better interventions to restore people to reason and meaningful autonomy b, better damage control, harm reduction when they cannot… BUT I consider all this misguided hogwash about self-determination the primary obstacle… so long as you hit a dead end in this bogus conception of self determination, you never get closer to a or b… that’s my rant… any more resources?

              • I hear what you are saying. The other issue that has an impact in regards to APS, especially in hoarding cases, is knowledge, understanding, and resources. We are working on that but it’s a long process.

            • I would be more comfortable with “forced intervention does not work” and leave aside the distracting red herring of “self-determination “

              The other issue is that “legal competency” standard turns a blind eye to a zillion shades of diminished capacity.

              I also don’t feel like APS tries to connect her to services or options. Their approach is “jump through all these bureaucratic hoops for this benefit which hardly seems worthwhile when you put it that way”. I’m not saying they could persuade her but I don’t think they are trying at all… they deal with her the way you would deal with a fully sane and rational person who can take initiative and follow through on reasonable advice in a matter of fact way that does not account for the motivational and other obstacles she faces… I see this as counterproductive, not just inadequate bc they do not stress the harms,dangers and self abuse… She might be legally competent, that doesn’t erase self-abuse. She is a danger to herself and the harm accumulates.