I regret your mother's life challenges. I have been in your position, both as an advocate and as a child of a parent who has lost their mental faculties.
The NY Article 81 conservatorship
proceedings for adults is, as you apparently have discovered, an unreasonably costly exercise for most people to seriously consider.
However, there is another way, and that is to simply contact NY state Adult Protective Services (APS) and have them commence an investigation. If APS determines that your mother can no longer care for herself, APS will petition the court to appoint a public guardian. As part of the process, you can appear in court and request that you are appointed conservator for your mother. If the case worker in charge of the case believes that you are an appropriate caregiver, then APS will recommend you to the position, and you will be appointed, without having to spend any money on legal fees.
The downside of this workaround, is that if the case worker does not think you are an appropriate caregiver, then your mother will be remanded into the care of the county and you will have no further control -- though you will certainly be permitted to visit with your mother.
That's the choice you make, when you ask for public assistance in dealing with this circumstance. However, I think you'll probably agree that even if you are not appointed conservator, that your mother needs help and it would be better for the government to provide it, than for your mother to simply continue on her current path.
Assuming you agree, and you would like a link to the NY APS website, please let me know and I will be happy to provide.
Note: If you were hoping that someone here could walk you through the conservatorship process step by step, I'm sorry for any confusing, but that is beyond the scope of any services that can be lawfully provided in this forum. I can direct you to some legal aid organizations that may be willing to provide low cost or free legal representation
. But, I cannot draft legal pleadings for you in this forum. That would be the unauthorized practice of law.
Please let me know what you would like and I will be happy to assist you further.
Hope this helps.