Can we legally leave her home alone? (Long, but we need answers)
I usually hang out in the kitchens forum, but am hoping someone here can help.
My DH and I have been caring for my mom, who is 92, for 6 years now. She has progressively needed more care. Her mind, while forgetful and confused at times, is pretty much intact, although she sometimes doesn't make good decisions. Her pride also is a stumbling block. She has balance problems and strength or endurance issues. She cannot do anything on her feet without help. She used to be able to use her bedside commode by herself, but now someone (usually me) has to be there to make sure she doesn't fall. She could use it or walk with her walker by herself, but there is no guarantee she won't tip backwards or to the side, or have her knees give out under her. The risk of injury is too great to allow her to do it alone.
We have been told that if we were to leave her home alone and something happened to her, we would be held legally responsible. This would be true especially if a fire broke out and she would not be able to get out of the house safely. She has a Lifeline alert button to call, but in case of a fire, it could be too late.
I don't want to take chances with her life, but some people have told us that as long as she has a Lifeline and can call for help we are covered. Others have said that we would be held accountable. I have called Home Health Care people, the fire department, police, and Area Agency on Aging, as well as Adult Protective Services. No one would give a a definitive answer. We have opposing advice from legal contacts. Her doctor said she shouldn't be left home alone because I would feel terrible if something happened while we were gone.
So does anyone who is familiar with the law in Ohio have any answers? We would love to be able to go out to dinner or run some errands sometimes. My brother and his wife take care of her so we can go to church, but when they are unavailable, one of us must stay home because she refuses to go to our church. We take her with us when we have places to go, and do fun things with her when she wants to go, but as a couple we need time to reconnect alone sometimes.
Thanks for reading and we hope someone can help with this question.