What rights do the caregivers have?


My husband and I are new empty nesters and were ready to start enjoying the next phase of life together. My Father has been having small strokes and now has vascular dementia, so docs have said he must not live alone anymore. Being the eldest of five, we have taken him into our home, we know we've taken on a huge task. Along with his many health issues, he is a smoker (I have him down to 11 cigs a day) and alcoholic. The alcohol has caused some major issues, he's been with us three months now, and it's becoming too much with the drinking. What I wander is ...do we have the legal right to take away his alcohol. The doc has told us, in front of him no less, that to cut him off totally would be too taxing on his body. He's been an alcoholic for at least 40 of his 70 years, and a smoker since 11years of age. He refuses to go anywhere other than the legion, my sibs can't handle him, there is a huge line up for the nursing home. Sometimes family will take him for a few hours, but he plays the dr jeckle, mr hyde thing. Please help, we don't know what we can legally do, watching tv and see the commercial on elder abuse, and we don't want people thinking we are doing any of that!

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" Now that my mother is incompetent, my niece has taken over. She is only 35 years old and has no idea what life is really about. I give my mom 24/7 care, working and being in the home approximately 620 hours per month and my niece charges us $400 a month." Let me get this straight -- you are a fulltime live-in caregiver, and YOU have to pay?!?! Why weren't you put in charge instead of your niece? Is there more to this story?
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If you suspect or know of financial abuse of an elderly person you are right to report it - in fact you have a duty to.

Go to this site http://www.socoelderprotect.org/htm/report-abuse.htm and it will give you the information you need. Financial abuse should be simple to establish as she will need to have receipts for what she spent the money on. Why does your niece charge YOU for caring for your Mum?
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I am an abused caregiver and so is my husband. We have been taking care of my 92 year old mom for over 10 years. Now that my mother is incompetent, my niece has taken over. She is only 35 years old and has no idea what life is really about. I give my mom 24/7 care, working and being in the home approximately 620 hours per month and my niece charges us $400 a month. I was suppose to get one weekend off a month but now she tells me I have to pay for the time off myself. I am trying to find out what my rights are as a caregiver. But as some of you said there is no one out there to help in the agencies. I also know that my niece has been taking large amounts of money out for herself and not for my mother. Who do I get to check this out? I tried several times to call Adult Elderly Services but each time they did nothing. It looks like the only avenue that I have to go to a low-income attorney and file a elder financial abuse case. If anyone knows of anything I am forgetting about or don't know about please let me know. Any and all help is appreciated. But I am not giving up yet. I have decided to check out all the Elderly Adult Agencies I can find and email each and everyone of them with my problems and see what I come up with. Wish me luck because I know I will need it. Thanks for your time
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Just for the record and not in response to the OP it would be extremely risky to cold turkey someone who had been an alcoholic for 40 years. The strain on his vital organs would almost certainly lead to further strokes and possibly a heart attack so DO take the doctor's advice on this very very awkward situation should it come your way.

Just so as you know some of the side effects of going cold turkey include diarrhoea or constipation to the point of impaction (usually the latter) foul smelling odour from sweating which was profuse and from urine as the toxins are released, serious anger issues, potential violence, almost certain insomnia and nightmares when he did sleep, utter forgetfulness on a scale with dementia itself, inability to focus.

My ex was an alcoholic and I know he went through all of the above

Taken from an authority on addiction:
Other medical complications can occur during alcohol withdrawal. If doctors suspect that you may experience any of the following complications, hospitalization and intensive care may be required.

cardiomyopathy (dilation of the heart with ineffective pumping)
encephalopathy (generalized impaired brain functioning)
gastrointestinal bleeding
liver failure
pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
undetected trauma

Have a look at the alcohol addiction blog for further info on this subject

Not something you want to inflict on your relative - and far better done under medical supervision
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Have you checked his nutritional intake?
Alcoholics usually have B-vitamin deficiencies, as well as other deficiencies. Chronic use of ETOH, affects the liver, kidneys, brain--all badly. It messes up the person's digestive system in numerous ways which affect the whole body and mind.
Has he been checked for a UTI?
Frail elders can behave very badly related to a UTI. In those who already have bed behaviors, a UTI can make them worse that way, or make them very tired and lethargic.

Caregivers who bring the elder to live under their roof with them, take a huge risk, these days. For exactly response you described...no room at facilities, When a Doc refuses or fails to pronounced a deteriorating elder as "incompetent", yet they make statements like "he can't live alone"....that's just confusing.

Docs need to step-up and follow the "can't live alone", with: "This person cannot drive a vehicle" and, "This person is incompetent to handle their financial affairs."
Even if your elder was lucid and sober when the Doc said that, the person usually forgets, or discredits the Doc--it never quite fully sinks-in on them, the ramifications of their chronic substance abuse, because their brains cannot comprehend anything too far beyond their limited thinking capacities.
Our friends have been struggling with this for years--the spouse is a chronic drunk, is mentally affected, and disbelieves it...Doc pronounced him unable to live alone, pronounced his vascular dementia...but the Doc did NOTHING to take away his driver's license, and, nothing which moved responsibility for his financial issues to his POA. Soooo...he goes out on long-haul drives with a friend, moving vehicles, or drives the car to the bar [of course drunk], and gambles away as much money as he can get his fingers on. The wife is kinda stuck dealing with the fall-out from his behaviors.
Docs need to start being more comprehensive when they diagnose things like vascular demential, and "can't live alone"...those are hand-in-glove with "no more driving" and "no more handling legal documents or finances", even if those aren't all done at the same exact time, they must be done soon.

You agreed to bring him to live under your roof, and care for him; you therefore agreed to be the responsible adult. You cannot turn him out without cause.
But, IF he gets admitted to a E.R. or hospital for medical care, you can at that time, refuse to allow him to return to your home. The workers will not like that, because it puts a strain on them to find a bed somewhere. They will try every trick they can, to coerce family to take the elder home with them.

You must have good reasons for not allowing him to come back to your place, or an apartment of his own.
Gradually build a case that proves you cannot safely care for him at your place, that it would cause you and/or your family members to become sicker, or, that the elder is a danger to himself [Doc already said that], or a danger to others [here's where you collect data, document every day's verbal and physical events in a diary, on a calendar, etc. Keep information entries short and specific.
You can write a letter to be entered into Dad's medical file at the Docs office too, stating in simple, short terms, his long history of alcohol [ETOH] abuse, and physical or verbal abuse, and/or if he has suicidal thoughts, etc.
I finally wrote a letter like that, to one of Mom's Docs, and it succeeded in preventing his prescribing a narcotic pain pill for Mom "to have just in case", as she claimed.
Other calls you can make, to build a paper-trail:
===Call Social Services to arrange an in-home evaluation of your elder. This can last about 2 hours. Try hard to arrange for them to see his room, and, document how many and how long of breaks your elder takes away from the interview--because taking breaks shows the elder's inability to sustain their act when "show-timing". Make certain the workers doing that, document fully, any physical limitations, ills and such of you or other household members, which are incompatible with having the elder in the house.
===Call 911 to report any wandering-away.
===Call 911 every time the elder acts out badly
[I know, it's Mom, or it's Dad...in our family, no one had ever called 911 on Behaviors, much less verbal assaults, before, we'd just lived with them....so couldn't point to any documentation that could help move her up the waiting list for a facility. Outsiders had no idea about her Jekyl/Hyde "Showtimer's" capabilities, and, no Police reports = no evidence that she had bad behaviors.]
===SOME jurisdictions are very loose about handling subjects who have been drinking, and don't want to make a report. You sometimes must insist on a written report filed, at ALL episodes of your elder-person becoming verbally or physically abusive, or if they seem to be hallucinating or having delusions which could cause harm to themselves or others, or if they wander-off.
===Call the Police to request "wellness checks", which become a formal report, even if the wellness checks are at your own house.
Police just knock, ask to see the house and the elder, to document conditions. They rarely do anything else, unless there are really bad conditions--if that, then they call APS, the elder is collected and placed elsewhere "for their protection".

I know how hard it is to call 911 on your own parent, even if the parent has a long history of bad behaviors, but sometimes it's what you must do, to help build a file of evidence. If you don't, no officials have any reason to think anything bad is happening.
Please start Documenting daily--even if it's a few sentences.
Include what, when, how, where something happened; document tone of voice, whether the elder got just verbal or got physical, or any other kind of threat to himself or others.
IF you can video behaviors in progress, even better.
Make sure you have an active legal POA on hand.
Then: Contact that Doc who said he can't live alone anymore, and get the Doc to pronounce him "legally incompetent". At that point, the POA takes over all of the elder's estate management. At that point only, no further changes can be made in whatever estate arrangements he's already made, and no other person can lead him to change his estate plans.
Before a Doc pronounces incompetence, though, ANYone can lead a frail elder to a new lawyer and undo all previous arrangements.

Make sure to close all credit cards [to avoid his using them and leaving unpaid balances behind], check to make sure he doesn't have outstanding debts--because those instantly become "income" upon the person's death--which must either be repaid, or, pay income tax on the borrowed money.
Notify banks and investing agents, that control of the elder's finances are now by the POA, not the elder.

Dad could have a small allowance, just not the keys to the accounts.
IF he cannot live alone, he cannot drive a vehicle safely, either.
Make sure he no longer has access to drive a car by himself. Probably won't like that, but, if you tell him he has to pass an elder's driving test, and he flunks it [you talk with the licensing department to make sure dad fails the driver's test], he will get mad at the license department, but not as much at you.

Hope you are able to find him a more appropriate place to live. Keep us posted on how you are doing! Please don't wait until you have worn down to such a frazzle that it endangers your health and well-being!
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Another post being re-activated after 2010.
Just fyi.
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It's your house. Nobody has the legal "right" to drink or smoke. Dad might think he does, but not in your house.

I think the doc is full of bull and is using the addiction as a cop out to avoid providing geriatric care management. Dad needs to be seen by a geriatric specialist. It's a specialty just like pediatrics is one. Elder physiology is extremely different than everybody else. Just like pediatrics.

At some point with dementia - any kind - you are not going to be able to handle this man. And why would you want to? Dementia gets worse in spurts that can't be predicted. It affects behavior, motor skills, continence, cognitive and emotional skills. Everything.

You have to get out of the mode that "Dad won't" because Dad is the boss. Dad can't call the shots anymore. You guys have to take over now, even if he doesn't like it. There are far worse things in this life than mom or dad being mad at us for taking care of their needs. A little kid has wants and demands that are bad for them, and we look down on people for giving into that.

You have to understand with dementia, the person isn't making good decisions anymore. You have to see past the literal words coming out of their mouths and make good decisions for them, even when it isn't popular. Sounds a lot like parenthood, doesn't it?

Use this site to educate yourself on what's coming at you. You need to be able to detect the behavioral sign posts of change so you can work with the doctor on it. Depression is very common and treatable. UTIs can worsen or imitate advanced dementia symptoms, but is treatable. Certain meds can have side effects that you need to know about.

You're all going to turn into impostors and liars and thieves. Don't freak out - this is a classic dementia behavior. Their brains are mis-processing light, sound, textures, tastes, and coming up with the wrong answers and wrong emotions.

Be prepared for all of these things. They never happen at a convenient time.

I would also start looking around at placement for him in a facility that ideally can transition him into specific dementia care, probably sooner than later.
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I agree with Sandwich and Ruthieruth-good answers!
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I would say dad needs to be in a controlled environment where his health & safety come first.
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If it's a place that also has medical facilites available they can deal with his medical issues as he detoxes. nothing wrong with a second opinion on that
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