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Old 03-20-2003, 03:48 AM   #1
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Post Power of Attorney

My Dad has AD and my sister and me think its time to get the Power of Attorney. My Dad is very very independant. He has been living on his own for the last 10 years, but we are gonna move in with him soon and try to organise all the legal matter, bank accounts, bills, etc because we dont think he can cope with this much longer.
Whats the best way to go about this??
We had a 2 hour talk to him on Sunday whether it was ok if we got in contact with Public Health Nurse and Architect and he kinda was ok with it, but there was a lot of discussion (Dad accusing us of trying to take over). We put it in writing too, just in case he forgot. (He forgot by wednesday :-)
He thinks he is a lot better than he actually is so we are not sure at all how to ask him if we can get the POA.
Any hints??

Thanks in advance
Galadriel

 
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Old 03-20-2003, 08:26 AM   #2
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It's good that you are thinking ahead. Legal matters are best put into place prior to the progression of this illness. I urge you to look on the Web for your nearest Elder Law attorney. These attorneys specialize in advising you as to how to legally protect the elderly, particularly those with cognitive deficits. There may be more legal documents than just the Power of Attorney necessary to keep your loved one safe and you or another responsible person in charge at some later time.
You may need a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare, Living Will, or a guardianship drawn up. These attorneys also know about Medicaid and Medicare laws, asset protection, and Miller Trusts.
After meeting with my Elder Law attorney, we decided upon what legal documents were necessary for me to have enough control to protect him and our assets, from not only the state, but other happy little "do-gooders" you will encounter along the way.
I thought I had my husband's legal affairs all sewn up 4 years ago--no, this past November, I had to rapidly take legal action to have him declared incompetent and me declared his legal guardian to protect him from the Utah state ombudsman. Yes, the state ombudsman, although nominated by the governor as an advocate for those who can't speak for themselves, tried to move him to an inappropriate facility (by the way, ombudsmen generally have no medical background). As a Registered Nurse and my husband's wife for over 20 years, I know what care he needs personally and medically and stopped this woman right in her tracks.
It can be expensive to complete all your legal documents; but you can't put a price on the peace of mind you will gain to know your loved one is safe...and only you can make decisions regarding their care...(not some do-goody who doesn't even know them or understand their medical condition).
Once again, I urge you to see an Elder Law attorney ASAP....once you have the documents ready to sign, you honestly tell him that you are assisting him to put his legal affairs in order and hope that he will sign without incident. If not, well, then the fun begins.... as you obtain a psychiatrist to evaluate his competency and if found incompetent, you go to court for a competency hearing. After which, if he is found to be incompetent, you are given those powers and guardianship by the court.
It is my hope that you will catch your father in one of his best, most cognitive moods and be able to accomplish this most important task.
Take it from me....I've been to Hell and back for my husband in the legal arena. Take care and let us know how it works out. Ren

 
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Old 03-20-2003, 11:30 PM   #3
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The laws are different in every state. It all depends upon where you live as to what papers you will need. This is why an Elder Law Attorney is the best resource that you can find for this.

However, for my own personal experiences in life? I have found that the first person who hires an attorney LOOSES. Sorry, just what I have found and this is no exception. No amount of paperwork will allow you to supperceed HIS will as long as he is alive. And no amount of legal mumbo jumbo will allow you to go against state law or doctor's orders.
Here's what happened to me.

My mother was in a phyco ward when she was diagnosed with AD. She was pretty bad. Thank heavens I already had a POA and it was a Durable POA with "directives to physicians". My family attorney had drawn it up according to our state laws years before, (it was actually my mothers idea, she didn't want to be kept alive by machines if there was not hope). She was strapped to a gurney and placed in the phyco ward when she became unreasonable, raving, and out of control. They kept her the three days that they are allowed to keep her, (against her will). But, in order to do a complete evaluation with the appropriate tests they needed a lot more time. So, the hospital as a matter of procedure went to court and got a 21 day extention. (This is very common). The papers that they got declaired my mother "incompetent" and that gave the hospital and me, because of my POA power to treat and care for my mother "against her free will". So, naturally I assumed that everything would be fine, right?

No, nothing could be farther from the truth. Those papers were good for 90 days. Some 60 days later she became uncontrolable again. Mostly because the doctor didn't want to give her enough drugs to make a difference. (Pretty unusual,,most thimes it's just the opposite, doctors tend to overmedicate). Anyway, I was again in a position where she was imposiable to care for. So she was placed in a nursing home.

***** THE NIGHTMARE BEGAN *****

It was the policy of this nursing home (where I live, in the State where I live), that all residents have certain rights. Among those rights is not to be chemically impaired, or restrained. So, most of my mothers drugs that (should have been raised instead of taken away), were now in fact, being threatened to be removed from her. I presented the POA, I presented the "Incompetency" papers, I presented the doctors own RX's for her meds. NOTHING. Because there was 30 days left on the encompetency papers they agreed to wait a month before they took her off her drugs.

I cried for days and days, thinking how unstable she would become with out her medications. Then the phone calls started. "Your mother has fallen". They came every 3-6 days. "Well, of course she had fallen, you know she has AD and you know that she can't walk but because of the AD she doesn't remember that fact. I have asked you repeatedly to put a seat belt on her or a lap belt, then she would ask for help when she wants to get up"

"Now, Now, you know we can't do that. It's against the state law to restrain someone, physically or chemically, you know that". "So you just let them fall and fall", I would say. Finally on the fourth call in less than three weeks I said, "LOOK, DISPITE A COURT PAPER, DISPITE A POA, AND DISPITE A DOCTORS RX YOU ARE GOING TO TAKE HER OFF HER MEDS, AND YOU WILL NOT MAKE HER SAFE IN HER CHAIR,,,,,,SO QUITE CALLING ME, JUST STOP IT. DON'T CALL ME WHEN SHE FALLS AGAIN, IF YOU WOULDN'T DO ANYTHING TO HELP HE, WHY CALL ME? STOP CALLING ME, IT'S JUST PLAIN CRUEL".

The aid said, "Now you know that it is state law for us to notify family if a patient falls, that's the law".

***** THE POINT *****

The point is, the first one to mention a price when buying/selling a house, looses. And the first person to get an attorney (at least in my experiences), looses too. You need to think of what you want to accomplish. And then you need to make sure that you can REALLY accomplish it with what you intend to do. It is a shame that a diagnosis of AD doesn't automatically stop someone from driving, makeing their own financial decisions, or makeing their own care and medical decisions. BUT IT DOESN'T. Your dad, realistically, at any time, can still over-ride your decissions about his care. And short of kidnapping and holding him against his will, there is not much you can do about that.

The fact is that the law recognises a person's rights. Reguardless of age or illness. I my personal opinion we have gone too far in this country to allow people their own personal rights of choice at the risk to themselves or others. I believe our laws, in this reguard, is what is really nuts. But then that's just my personal opinion. But coming form someone who has been there, and all the jumping in circles didn't really do me much good, I find your situation pretty discourageing also.

My suggestion? Try patience and kindness. You are not going to get anywhere argueing with him,,,it's the disease you see. So, play along. You have to be cunning, and you have to out think them. And dispite the fact that they are suffering from a debilitating brain disease,,,,that's not easy. Because after all, I used to say about my mom, "She's crazy but that doesn't mean that she's stupid". On the contrary, she was smart as a fox when she needed to be; and stobborn??? My word !!!

In order to care for your dad in the future you are going to have to gain his confidence. You are going to hav eto learn ways to get him to work with you and trust you and look to you to make decisions for him. If you can not develope those things with him,,,all the lawyers in the world are not going to help you. He says he's competent, you say he's not,,,and the fight is on. Why waste what precious years you have left in fighting and makeing him your advasary? Who will it serve? Go along with him. Take the position of help-mate and friend. Help him take care of his life, don't take it over for his own good. Because it is never for their own good if they loose self worth and their dignity along the way.

Give them their propers
Give them respect and kindness
Give them what you would want if your brain was beeing eaten away by Alzheimer's.

Hug your dad, and tell him that you will help, and let him know you love and care for him and that he is safe and that everything will be OK.

And with that attitude,... IT WILL BE.
Hugs,
Gizmo
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Old 03-21-2003, 08:57 AM   #4
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Although I can certainly agree with you about the nightmares encountered with the legal system, I do disagree with one point.
Your loved one was deemed incompetent for a period of time (with a beginning and end) in order to treat a medical condition. This is completely different than a competency hearing and guardianship, which has only a beginning and no end (as long as the guardian holds up to their legal responsibilities).
I would have been lost without my attorney. My husband was jailed, for allegedly breaking a window at the nursing home and threatening staff. Without my legal documents, I could not have spoke for him at the hearing, could not have obtained the police report of the incident,would not have been able to gain a court order for a psychiatric evaluation, could not have obtained a court order for his release from jail only to me(as most inmates are released to the street to find their own way) and would not have been a party to the decision-making process (as I had to divorce him in order to gain the state as his caregiver and monetary source)as I am his ex-wife.
This latest legal glitch--the incompetency and guardianship-- was caused by another resident, a female. She took a shine to him and felt that I, as his mean , old, ex-wife, was keeping him prisoner in the nursing home and this resident felt that he should be free to live in an apartment, to get on the city bus, and do whatever, whenever, he wanted. She called the Utah state ombudsman, who paid my ex-husband a visit. He appeared fairly lucid at that moment and this ombudsman agreed that he should be freed from the nursing home with no supervision. I thought my POA would be enough to stop her...no..my husband was a competent adult in the eyes of the law and there was nothing I could do to stop her from releasing him..the nursing home was also powerless. I knew different...he has his lucid moments. I could just see myself, spending the winter up in Utah, searching for him on the streets...""Have you seen this man?", trudging through the snow, looking for him under bridges and in homeles shelters. I immediately called my Elder Law attorney and she rapidly drew up the paperwork for a hearing for competency and GUARDIANSHIP (which is something quite different that a medical incompetency that offers either a 90 or 120 day hold on the patient for treatment). I received my guardianship, he was declared incompetent, and that ended the proposed release of my husband, as now she must request his release through me...as I am his guardian. Needless to say, my husband is right where I placed him, in a wonderful nursing home in SLC, Utah. He is plenty alive, but has absolutely NO say in matters regarding his monies, his medical care, his residence, his medications...nothing. I DO.
It is not totally true to say that as long as the person is alive, you cannot gain control. After a proper psychiatric evaluation, the court can deem a person incompetent, name a guardian, and that incompetent individual no longer has control over specified portions of their life.
I also note from the original query, that the writer is from Ireland and only some or none may apply in that country. Once again, I'm sorry you have had a poor experience with an attorney, but without the legal documentation to back an individual up, they are powerless to assist and protect their loved one.

 
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Old 03-21-2003, 09:54 AM   #5
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Hey guys,

Thanks for your replies, you have all been through a lot and some of the legalities sound just far to impossible to be actually true.

I will try to find out what the situation is here in Ireland, i looked at the AD organisation of Ireland, and they just mention the POA as part of the planning. But I'm still gonna have a talk and see what that details exactly.

I dont think there are Elder Law attorneys in this country, but not sure.

So much to do, so much to learn...

Coming back to my original point though, whats the best way to ask our Dad to sign the POA forms without him thinking that we are going to take over or do stuff that he doesnt approve of??

Thanks,
Galadriel

 
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Old 03-23-2003, 07:54 AM   #6
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****************

Although I am aware that the incompetency papers were only good for a short period of time, they WERE good however, for the period of time that my mother was in the nursing home. (And, they were general care documents, fully transferable, empowering "The "facility", (not for me), and just as sufficient for the nursing home as they were for the hospital, (who had procured them in the first place); but the NH chose to ignore that fact. Or didn't understand it legally). I submitted those papers, along with my durable POA, with the "Directives to Physicians" attached, and a RX from her doctor for restraint in her bed and wheelchair, and along with the proper RX's for her medications; along with the dosage requirements for those meds. (I even submitted an extra piece of paperwork, (as directed by the facility; at the time of admittance), directing the facility to "restrain" my mother as she had AD and didn't remember that she couldn't walk any more".)

However, the Nursing Home proceeded to disregard those legalese and directives and follow state law where I and my mother live, (lived); and they were prepared to discontinue her medications, and they would not restrain her in her bed or her chair for her own safety. They had a right to do this to her, (and to me -- they said), because the state law requires that no person, regardless of age or condition, shall be restrained against their will ~~ chemically or physically, (except in a hospital mental ward, or in a state run facility for the mentally impaired). No amount of paperwork, legal paperwork, or other papers or documents, would make them give my mother medications that would "restrict her free will" nor restrict her movements, nor MAKE HER, take medications, even if they are prescribed by a doctor. PERIOD. I could have contacted the "state's Quality Assurance Nurse" (I was told by a friend), and gone that route to try to make them comply with my and my doctors instructions. But, I found it a lot easier to just remove my mother from their facility instead.

They even fought me on that. They said that I could not remove my mother from their facility without doctors approval. So, I called the doctor. He told me that he did NOT give "HIS" approval for my mom to be removed. (Like he had any importance or say in the matter, (in the first place) ,,,,, yea, right !!)

Then I asked him if he was aware that, "Mom has fallen at least once a week sense she has been in the facility"? He said no, he wasn't. I told him the days and the times that the aids had called me to report her "falls". He asked why she was not being restrained? I told him to call them and get back to me. He did 10 min. later and he said he had just faxed papers for my mom's release to the facility and that she was "free to go" at my convince. (He also informed me that two of the falls that they had reported TO ME,,,,had never even been charted).

Now, I didn't have a problem with my attorney, nor the legal system, per say..... And, after I explained the extent of my mothers care, I didn't even have problems with the doctor. All this took place with the facility having "power of restraint" (both chemical and physical), by law, which THEY choose to ignore, and with complete and legal paperwork on my part submitted to the facility. So, my problem isn't with the legal system, it's with "The System" in general. (as you will find out).

True, all the legal hoops that I did jump through did allow me to "take some control" over superfluous matters that really didn't matter for me or my mom, in the end. Things like selling all of her property to pay for her care. Closing all her bank accounts when they were emptied to pay her bills. Consult a lawyer on her behalf to find out that it would be a waste of time to pay $350 for papers for Bankruptcy because she didn't have anything. (Although the car had been put in my name sum 5 years before, (it was joint), so creditors could make me sell it and take half for their bill !! But, even that, in a way, made me lucky, because the car is only worth $500.

The POA also gave me the right to place her in a hospital, Nursing Home, sign her name on checks, sell her 3 rental properties, and her home, etc... All of this without her blessing, knowledge or permission. But, it did not make her take her pills, stop her nightmares or get her doctor to understand that she and her care was just too much for anyone to handle.

And, long before I ever had the POA and directives to Physicians signed, my mother had a lumpectomy on her right breast. The reason she had a lumpectomy and not a radical mastectomy was not the POA, which came years later,,,,, It was the fact that even the morning of the surgery I was still arguing with her doctor about it. My mom was measured one time for a proper fitting bra. She was officially a 34 FF. (Naturally). Now, that doctor wanted, and insisted on a radical mastectomy on one side.... I've seen them,,, My Aunt had one, then 20 years later she had the other one done. I remember the tears when she came home (my mom), and saw "what they had done", to someone she loved like a sister.

No, my mom did not have a radical... Because the last thing I said to her stubborn surgeon before he went into mutilate my mom was, "OK, OK.. You have the form I signed and witnessed, the same surgical consent that she signed,,, and you can read with it says, (what I wrote below my signature). And, if you decide to do a radical without my permission, the next person you will be talking to, (in recovery), is my attorney" My mom came out of surgery, with a small scare. And, she under-went radiation therapy, and her "cancer" (which I felt was questionable at best), never returned. It was a value decision. She lived another 6 years without having one breast chopped off and half of her right arm... AND, THAT'S A GOOD THING,,,, AND, I didn't need, or have a POA. All I had to protect my mom was my mouth. And, I have NEVER, regretted that decision. It was the right one to make. She was diagnosed with AD 5 years later. (Last stage). Can you imagine the emotional and mental trauma that a surgery like that would have caused her,,,???? (He may as well of killed her then, It would have been kinder.....then the trama a radical would have done to her in that condition).

Galadriel,

The point here is that a POA, will only do, what it can do,,,and that depends upon where you are,,,,and what circumstance you find yourself in. Sorry, I know that this is pretty vague. But, it's the only honest and realistic answer anyone can give you. It may work to do some things that you really need to accomplish with your dad's care. I do not know how it works where you are... No one other than an attorney there can give you adequate advise about that... A POA will do different things for different people, depending upon the circumstances at the time. If you need to re-arrange your dad's finances to help in his care as he gets worse, a POA may help you do that. Again, here in WA State where I live,,, at anytime that I was selling mom's home for instance, If she would have objected, If she was not that "far gone" yet,,,and if she would have wanted to stop me??,,,, The POA only allowed me OR or her to do something legally. Or, for me to do it, in "HER" name, (In her place,,,as if I were her)... I always signed documents with "My Name",,,signing for "Her Name" (signature),,, then the words "POA". But, at any time, because she was not deemed incompetent,,,she could over-ride me, verbally or legally. The only thing the POA allowed me to do was to sign "FOR HER".... It never, ever gave me the right to sign "in spite of HER". (wishes).

And, no matter where you are, or what rights a POA may or may not give you where you are,,, It will never make him take his meds,,,,go to a doctor,,,,take a shower or eat his meals..... (If he doesn't want to)... a POA is not a "cure-all"

My advise to you is to go to a lawyer and really find out what a POA will do for you,,,,and most importantly what a POA will NOT do for you. Then, if you make the decision that you really do need it,,,Tell your dad that you want to know his wishes. Does he want to be kept alive on machines? Does he want unnecessary surgery, even though there would be no hope of recovery for a long term, painful, illness? If he had a stroke or was in a car accident, would he want to be kept alive at any cost, at any price, financially or emotionally, to him or to you? If the answer to any of these questions is, "No". Then it should be easy for him to sign the POA papers at the attorney's office for his; and, for your well-being.

But, remember,,,, That still doesn't mean that you can just assume that this will take care of everything for you. In the end you will have to do as I suggested. You will have to be supportive, and gain his confidence. You have a rough road ahead. With AD, it never gets better, it only gets worse. And, as he goes down hill even farther, he will become more stubborn, more paranoid, less cooperative, and a real handful. So, you are going to have to learn care techniques that will gain his confidence, his loyalty, and his cooperation.

You can "smooze" a lot more fly's with honey than with vinegar, and you can keep the stress and anxiety for him and for you down to a minimum if you will just learn to keep reassuring him that he is safe, he is secure, he is well taken care of, and that everything is alright.

And, most importantly that you love him,,,,very, very, very much.

My Best,
Giz


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Old 03-26-2003, 04:02 AM   #7
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Hey,

Thanks for your replies, all the advice is deeply apprepciated, I know its not gonna be easy, but we'll get there anyway!!

Galadriel

 
Old 03-26-2003, 12:54 PM   #8
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