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Old 06-27-2012, 09:38 AM   #3
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Location: charlotte, nc, usa
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Re: Family is falling apart

Maria, your story is typical.... sorry to day. That doesn't make it any easier but at least you know you are not the only one going through this. It is obvious that Dad can not take care of Mom. He can't take care of himself. So who is taking care of Mom? Who is she with when Dad is in the hospital? Who takes care of Dad when he is home? You say Dad is still calling the shots in Mom's care so what does he say about Mom care? What does sister expect to happen?

Nobody want to spend the money necessary for long term care. But that should not be the determining factor in the care they receive. The health and well being of a loved one does trump saving money.

As Health Care Power of Attorney, when you Mom is unable to make her own health care decisions, you are the responsible party.... not your Dad. The ultimate decision on what to do with her is legally yours to make. I can only imagine the kind of disruption in family relations this could cause.... but if necessary you can make the decision on Mom by yourself. That is what the lawyer is going to tell you. That is pulling the trump card on your sister... because you do have control. That still doesn't answer "what to do with Dad". That is up to your sister to decide because she is his Medical Power of Attorney.

What probably needs to happen is for everybody to get a good night's sleep. I would tell sister that this is not the time for name calling. You are both care about both of your parents and want to do what is best for them. To do that you need to talk over the options rationally and come to a decision based on their health and well being... not money. I would tell her that it will be easier on Mom to go to a care facility with Dad for the time he has left. That way she can adjust with him there as a familiar face. It will make the transition easier for her. Then when he is no longer there she will be where she needs to be. I would tell her that as stressful as this situation is to both of you, it is even more stressful on your Dad because he has the title of main care giver for you Mom. That kind of stress is not good for his medical conditions. It would be beneficial to him to not have that responsibility. I would tell her that Mom can't be home alone for her own well being and safety. I would tell her that instead of a care facility you can bring outside care givers into the house but that would be more expensive than a facility. I would ask her for her thoughts and listen to what she has to say. If she didn't have a legitimate alternative to taking care of Mom and Dad adequately I would tell her as Mom's health care power of attorney you are going to start investigating placement for Mom. I do think you need to give honest conversation, face to face, a chance. When she deteriorates into a shouting match just remind her that you understand how difficult this is but hostility is not going to solve the problem. Somebody has to keep a cool head.

Alzheimer's has an incredible way of tearing a family apart. I am not sure why but in cancer or other diseases families tend to drift together. With dementia there is so much unknown that it sends people in many different directions. Just the fact that it is an untreatable, incurable disease that takes a decade to end is enough to scare anybody. But that fear can not dictate the actions you take or how you respond. So first try to have conversation with your sister. If possible try having conversation with your Dad to get his input. Then do what you have to do because you do have the authority.

Love, deb