Confused, Angry, and Sad About Grandfather's Living Arrangement Choice

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Hello. A recent surgery rendered my grandfather wheelchair bound (leg amputated). He's in good spirits after some very difficult months in the hospital (it was dicey), but now it's time to move him to a full-time care facility.

Here's the hard part: As his granddaughter, I am his POA and executor of his will. I live 4 hours from him and wanted him to move closer to me and my mom. I can't move right now. Before the amputation, he lived with a lady friend who integrated him into her family's life, oftentimes at our sacrifice. She has her own issues, but he was her primary caretaker, driving her to appointments and taking her to dinner every night. Her family all lives within 15 miles of them. My mom and I are his only living relatives who speak to him (he has an estranged son who has not been in the picture for 30 yrs), but this companion has made it difficult to see him over the last 18 years. She used to hide his cell phone (I pay for it) so we couldn't talk to him. She wouldn't let us see him during holidays. He used to sneak out of his house to meet me somewhere for lunch--a whole hour of his time every 6 months or so for my 8-hour RT drive. Wow. We're not welcome in her home. He's made it clear that he didn't want to marry her (she definitely wanted that) and they have kept everything separate. Now it's a problem. During a prior hospitalization in 2008, she convinced the hospital that she was his wife and tried to block us from visiting him. When he awoke, he clarified with the hospital that we were family and were to make all medical decisions for him; me as POA followed. He agreed that if nursing care was needed, he would come live by me or with me. That was 2007.

I'm again managing his finances until he's a bit better. His companion has access to his vehicle and consistently uses his debit card, which made it difficult to manage his balances to pay his bills. When I asked her to let me know when she used the card, she flipped out on me. When I need to speak to him privately about financial matters, she refuses to leave his hospital room and he won't stand up to her even though she has no legal right to be there.

By all accounts, he wants me to handle the grunt work, but he's not willing to call her out on her behavior. I'm angry that he's put me in this position. I love him more than any person in this world and have gone consistenly every single weekend for months that he's been in the hospital to see him. It's cost me thousands in gas and lodging and I can't keep up this pace when he moves to a full-care facility. I won't. I'm exhausted from battling her, worrying about him, and trying to keep up with my career and family. I haven't seen my boyfriend in weeks.

I want to have a conversation with my grandfather this weekend to clear the air. He's making the decision to stay closer to the lady friend and his other friends, which is fine. I want him to have a robust network of people to help him heal. But I don't want to be the gopher, setting up lawyers and asset sales and never getting to see him. I'll call often (hopefully she won't be able to hide the phone at the facility), and visit when I have time and money. But I feel awfully sad, confused, and angry about this decision. It sounds childish, but I feel abandoned by him. Like I'm good enough to be his accountant and secretary, but I'm not good enough for him to stand up to his companion for. My mom is devastated and is refusing to go see him, and they were VERY close, talking every day on the phone when the companion didn't hide it. She says he made his choice and has now written him off.

I'm not sure if I have the right to be angry, but I sure know that I don't want to be doing all this for naught. He's always asked me to play nicely with his companion, and I always have. It's us who have missed birthday parties and Christmases because she won't let us see him. I'm just so frustrated and don't know what to do or how to feel about this. Should I just wash my hands of this and tell him that someone else can be POA? I don't want to hurt his feelings, but I can't keep fighting with her every time I need to see or speak with him.


Well, this is a hard one. It looks like Grandpa enjoys his companion's family and company but does not trust her! He does trust you. I have to think maybe he just wants to have the best of both worlds, as he could have revoked your POA and given it to her, but he didn't.

You can report his debit card stolen, though then Grandpa will get a new one sent to whatever address is on the account currently. Maybe you can change that in advance via an online banking account though, if you have enough information to set it up for him. I set up my mom's for her and used a e-mail address in her name that I could also access because I had to manage her finances long distance for a couple of years. Be careful to use it only for Grandpa's benefit and be able to document that.

She can continue to hide his phone or otherwise try to make it hard for you to contact him privately, but if she won;t be at the facility 24-7 maybe you can make other pre-arrangements with them and apprise them of this situation so you can sneak into town and see him or have phone conversations when she is not around.

And I guess the really hard questions are - what would happen if she gets his POA? - and - harder still - is Grandpa mentally competent (from what you've written I suspect he is) or does he need guardianship / conservatorship as well as POA to make sure that does not happen? You may have already thought of all that and just needed to vent - the situation really is awfully hard on you...God bless...
You know, if you had been writing about a 20 something woman who had a jealous, controlling boyfriend that was keeping her from her friends and family, you'd be saying that this was a form of abuse. In a way I think it is. I wonder if grandpa is afraid to be away from her for fear of what she might do to him.... How about asking him to come for a visit? Forget his age, what would you say to that 20 something woman in the same situation? Whatever you'd say to her, then I'd be saying it to grandpa.
Welcome to the wonderful world of caregiving. Many of us are turned into unpaid "gophers" and when the parent (or grandparent) is feeling better you become "out of sight out of mind."
Have that conversation with your grandfather now. Tell him that it is difficult to manage everything for him when the "lady friend" is running interference. (btw, he is never going to stand up to her.) If he wants to discuss finances with you he should carve out some quality, one-on-one time with you so you can make these decisions. If he refuses, hand over the books to him and let the chips fall where they may. Also, if you continue, tell him that it is expensive to make these trips and take time out from your own life and that compensation is in order...even if it is gas money. Sounds like he is playing you two against each other and the end result is that he is getting all his needs met. I think your Mom and uncle may be on to something and got fed up...I would to.
Decide how much you want to do and stick to it. Limit those weekly drives to a few times a month and special occasions. You want him to have a good life but, in the interim, you are giving up yours. I doubt your grandfather is losing sleep over it.
I'm afraid if you keep up this pace, you will begin to resent your grandfather. These old guys who find "sweeties" in the latter part of their lives know exactly what these women are there for and they couldn't care less how this effects their families. Unless he is of diminished capacity, let him do his thing and you do yours. He is a classic narcissist.
Jackiero - What a shock readinig your story because it is my story as well, only it involves my dad.

Dad is 81, but 3 years ago he made a choice to get romantically involved with a gal he knew from childhood. Initially, we were all very excited for him because prior to that, he had lived with another gal who had advanced alzheimers so we thought this would be wonderful for him.

However, in less than a month of dad telling me about them being "romantically" involved (via email and phone calls), she packed up and moved from Ohio to AZ to live with him in AL. He pays the majority of the cost for them both to live there.

She and I butted heads almost from the day she first arrived. I was completely blindsided by her controlling and manipulative ways - constantly accusing me of making life difficult for my dad by being "overly involved" with this care. She began using his email account, so I no longer had any private communications with him, and puts me on speaker phone when I call.

In September, after a hospital stay, my dad's doctors advised he should be placed under the care of Hospice due to his advanced COPD and he has Dementia, but she is constantly going against his wishes and I have to step in and remind her of NO MORE DOCTORS, but then won't call Hospice if he falls, or if he's gasping for air from bronchitus. To complicate matters, she makes up stories about how ungrateful I am, how controlling "I" am, how I've always hated her, and says the meanest things. Even my dad's social worker has told me that she "emasculates" my dad when they are sitting right there!!

My dad and I have gone from a very healthy, loving relationship to him (or rather HER) calling in his social worker to have me removed as his POA. I have become the enemy.

You know, when dad's health declined and his Dementia set in, I had to say goodby to the dad I once knew, and try to embrace the man he was today. Now I fear havinig to say goodbye to him again because of the path of destruction this woman has created. And the saddest part of all, is I've talked to her daughters - and they admitted they knew their mom wasn't the easiest person to be around, and weren't even surprised at the term "emasculate." But recently after their mom went "home" for a few days, we all agreed for everyone's sanity, it was time to convince her it was time to go home.. Instead, they dumped her right back in my lap.

So I completely understand how you feel.. I'm ready to just walk away too..

It is difficult to be in this situation but remember this is the time when your grandfather needs you the most. I wouldn't give up POA or executer because there is a reason he gave it to you. He knew someday he would be in a position where he needed someone he trusted to take over and he chose you.

That being said, you need to take care of yourself. You can't take care of anyone else if you don't take care of you. Your boyfriend won't/can't come with you on these visits? It might be nice to have support.

Your grandfather obviously wants this companion taken care of. He doesn't want to cut her off but he doesn't want her in his will, either. So it sounds like he wants her taken care of as long as she is his companion. As long as she isn't abusing the privilege... ie buying herself houses, boats, expensive clothing, etc... then it is probably ok with grampa. Why does this woman not want you in his life? That is the weird part. Did you ever ask him why he has to sneak around to see his family? It is a good idea to ask him privately how much she should be allowed to spend of his money and what she is allowed to spend it on. She has to leave his side sometime to eat or go to the bathroom, right? Good luck.

I'm sorry you have to deal with this. It is obvious you love and care about your grampa very much and it is so sad that he makes it so he doesn't see you as often as he could.

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