What rights do the caregivers have?

Asked by

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!

Answers 1 to 10 of 21
Top Answer
I am sure that one of the resident experts here will offer their sage advise soon. In the meantime, if I were you I would talk to an elder lawyer about this situation. Make sure you have MEDICAL Power of Attorney so you can be a part of his care.

If your father is a veteran, look into AID AND ATTENDANCE a benefit program that will help with in home care for your father.

Have a family meeting.... ALL family members should be included in this meeting, so they are aware of all that is going on.

Talk to ANOTHER doctor. Detoxing from alchohol is possible (in my humble opinion) under a doctor's care.

I, like you, will be waiting for our resident experts to help you with your plight.

The road is a hard one, but there is help out there if you look for it.

God bless.
My Dad is not a veteran, and yes my husband and I are his power of attorney that includes medical. We have called many family meetings and the only one that shows up is one of my brothers, who also happens to have drinking problem. He's the only one that will take Dad one weekend every six weeks, but it's a constant worry, we have to stay close to home. Dad usually rages on him and he ends up bringing Dad back and not coming around for quite a few weeks. But he does try!
But I definitely think we'll have a talk with the lawyer who may be able to put our minds at ease about what we can do for the sake of our Dad and our own sanity. Until then, my hubby and I have a strong 30 year marriage and strong faith in the Father that never hurts us. Thanks
Good you have strong faith. Caregivers need it.
There seems to be a "witch hunt" now on caregivers. The abuse we suffer seems to be of no consequence. Other than the attorney and a different doctor....I would say to start a log. Try to keep any emotions out of it, just dates, times, actions & facts only (just in case you need to defend yourself at some point). Document everything! It will help with any medical records also.....meds & history.
I pray GOD's divine protection of you & your's.
Thankyou, I have kept a medical journal on my dad for the past two years, this one I take with me to doc appt's. I have another daily journal, that I keep, exactly as you've described. I'm a organization freak, always trying to think ahead alway problem solving, it's been the way I am since I can remember...lol. It's nice to hear that we're doing the right things from someone on the outside looking in, yet understanding of what we are going through, thanks again God also be with you.
I wish I was as organized as you! Keeping a log would have helped me deal with my mother's alcoholism a bit better. There definitely seems to be a witch hunt on caregivers lately. That commercial is so one-sided, making all seniors out to be these sweet o'l things that would not hurt a fly or flow venim out their mouths.

I started to control my mothers alcohol intake by limiting her access to money. But they are so resourceful. She ended up selling stuff in order to get money to get booze. Something worth $300 was probably sold for $10. But that $10 would buy a tetra pack of wine.

I am in Canada so our programs are different. Many social workers and elder workers have told me that my mother will fall through the cracks. There is nothing out there for someone with no or little money and you can only help someone who wants the help themselves. Until they admit their addictions and want the help, there is nothing we can do. My doctor likes to tell me that all the time.

One thing I do know, with my mother gone in a home, there is a lot less stress in my household. Breaking free of making the decisions for her and all the negativity that came along with those decisions has helped.

Good luck to you and big hugs!
I had an emergency and I spent some of my grannys nuring home payment to pay it. I am trying to pay it back but it is slow because I am on a fixed income. What can I do?
Elders DO need protected. Those elders [[supposedly]] protected us as children, now they need help. Caregivers do so usually out of love, compassion and duty...few get paid, much less adequately.
[[Not discussing the minority that does it because they think they stand to gain something]]

What seems missing, is any rational discernment process to learn what is really going on in a given circumstance. It's easy for systems to feed off their own imbalance: presenting all elders as sweet innocent confused old things who simply need help with their ADL's....While failing to consider the elder's history.....allows them to keep doing the same old things.

There =are= "witch hunts" on caregivers now.
Officials need to know, LOUDLY, that caregivers need protected, too!!!
Caregivers frequently get, quite intentionally:
demeaned, accused of terrible, untrue things, hit, kicked, scratched, bitten, verbally reemed, spit at, peed and shat on, tripped, pinched, food thrown at us, meds spit or poked back at us, etc., all while doing our best to keep a smile pasted on, stay pleasant, get thru the days, taking decent care of basic needs for our elders--some of us on the job at nursing homes, etc., and at home, too, and usually going above and beyond basic needs provision.
While doing heavy hands-on care, we can be injurred in the line of duty by equipment needed to perform elder care, and doing that care while an elder is acting out.
Home caregivers must also contend with poorly assessed elders, and some abysmal living conditions elders choose, too often, which elders refuse to allow remedied [like mega-hoarded junk/trash/filth, with the attendant vermin].
Sick people receiving home care have threatened, waved weapons at, verbally abused, physically abused, home caregivers.
Those trained well, understand that behaviors are related to the illnesses.
OTHER behaviors are sickness itself.
We need protected from those behaviors.
When someone is ill like that, there should be at least 2 persons attending, not one alone-ever. Yet, services NEVER provide for that. Home care cases are OFTEN under-assessed.

Elders in growing numbers, have learned all they need do is yell abuse, and it's all over for the caregiver they target. As with children, they fail to realize there are consequences---getting rid of one caregiver, will not let them return home, cannot help them regain their former lives, they still have to take meds, stay in the facility, etc.
WHEN do any supervisors, home-care assessment nurses, or Social Workers, take a look at the track records & histories of those troubled elders?
WHEN do they actually document the behaviors, and train caregivers to deal with them better? IS there a "better"?

What FACILITIES fail to notice, and also Social Workers responding to a home-care abuse complaint, is that the caregiver is often the one being abused
--if not by the elder, then by other family members--sometimes both!
EVEN putting that abuse into the perspective that the elder has mental issues, and cannot be blamed for their behaviors, SOMEthing needs put into better perspective, and handled better.

Public is NOT getting the whole picture, nor are lawmakers.
What public has broadly been kept from witnessing, is what alcoholic & other substance abuse behaviors, as well as various poor life-coping skills, mental ills, as well as dementias, cause elders to behave like!
Why isn't this taught to kids, so they can see it graphically demponstrated? [[maybe it might, at least, inhibit some substance abuse?]]

Facilities largely fail to document an elder was abused as a child, had a life-history of mental challenges, history of abusive relationships, history of alcohol and behaviors, rages, etc.--that is mostly missing in charts, and missing in the evaluations when officials investigate abuse.
IF there are any words in charts about that stuff, they are piffled away, as not being pertinent to the present---when all that back history absolutely feeds the present!!

Younger generations seem utterly shielded from that reality.
Not even nursing schools teach the realities of some of the epic behavioral issues that can come with age, or, ==dysfunctional behaviors that have been there all along==, and now need managed, now the elder needs care. Mental health has largely been ignored, hidden, and diseregarded. Mental health issues, and how to most effectivekly handle them, are simply glossed over.

The thing is, elders DO need care. Those who have led tough lives, need it most, yet fight it the hardest. For many, no amount of love and compassion will prevent them acting out badly.
It's become illegal to physically restrain, use medications to restrain, or otherwise dampen their behaviors; there are not enough staff in facilities and no mental health treatment much beyond throwing other pills at them. There is too much gray area, and not enough functional solutions. I even saw where one judge deemed anti-depressant meds were "illegal restraint" of a patient.

It can quickly be turned on the caregivers--the second and elder yells, fingers point at the caregiver, regardless. Some young, fresh grad nurses [with Masters degres, no less!], have expressed how aghast they were--didn't understand why families avoided visiting their elders, and even termed that a form of abuse, suggesting new laws be made mandating family involvement!
People need to get a clue:
===when family members avoid visiting, it's usually related to the same elders treating the kids badly during the elder's life as a "functional adult"; now, the kids simply cannot manage to be around that elder, when the elder is worse with dementia, etc.
It can literally be unsafe for them to be near their elder.
ANY who promote forcing kids to revisit elders who have abused them in the past, are themselves aiding & abetting further abuse of the kids---that adult child needs to have help getting the elder out of their home, to protect themselves from further damage, &/or needs to keep their distance.
Abuse by a parent is wrong when they do it to a small child; it's still wrong when the do it to their adult child or caregivers--it matters not if that adult is mentally ill, has "moods", or abuses substance--it's still wrong for an elder or a system to abuse caregivers.

Facilities and Social Workers know these conditions exist, and passively prevent elders with known bad behaviors, from entering facilities, as long as they can get away with keeping them in the home--the elder's, or a family member's.
We were told, on numerous occasions, if a facility allowed Mom under their roof, and Mom acted out as I described she did under our roof and during her lifetime [established behaviors], she'd be discharged like a hot-potato.
When she was acute hospitalized, I told them how rough things were at home, that we really needed to get her into adult care, they did everything they could to both discredit my reporting, as well as make her only path the one back to our home.
When I called to report that she was progressing beyond verbal abuse to physical abuse towards me, that I needed to find her someplace else to live, that my spouse & I are both disabled and cannot manage her abusive behaviors, I was frankly told, "you will likely get investigated for elder abused and it will go badly for you."
One sheriff got nasty, and asked why it took so long for me to call in a report, and didn't want to make a report. I got frequently referred from one agency to another--no agency wanted to handle it. I felt shocked....I was being abused: the people who should be able to help, were also threatening, & avoiding stepping in to help. It was utter betrayal by all support systems, family included.
THAT is unconscionable,
THAT needs changed.
Caregivers need protected from their elders too, whether caregiving in home or in facility. There is only a thin veneer of protections for NH staff; there is NONE for family and friends who do caregiving.



Sure hope things can come around right, sooner than later!
We all need to do what we can, to spread the word, educate all the generations, about how things can so easily go so badly, and that it needs to change.
It's not just elders being abused--caregivers often get terribly abused, not just by elders, but by officials.



Thinking of moving Mom to a nursing home. She lies about her treatment in my home. She tells folks we are holding her meds back, she tells folks we are not sweet to her. One of my cousins is causing us a lot of frustration by repeating these things to mom's doctor that the cousin works for. the cousin has accused me of withholding meds and neglecting Mom. The Doctor came to the house to give me a lecture. I feel uncomfortable in my own home now.
As an abused caregiver, I'm realizing more and more that what Chimonger said above is sadly true--abused caregivers receive even MORE abuse when they try to reach out for help--by officials and directors of agencies designed to help, such as law enforcement, elder agencies, and even support groups. The more I speak about the abusive situation I'm in with the family of the patient I care for, the more I get abused--with ridicule, disbelief, further accusations that it's MY FAULT, and just an overall HOSTILITY that stuns me each time I encounter it. Even on forums like tho one that I thought were meant to help caregivers with support and possible advice/suggestions, the reactions are sometimes quite hostile which feels like MORE ABUSE to someone who's being abused. It becomes impossible to receive a kind, compassionate word because people seem to think that if you're being abused that badly, it must somehow be your fault.and maybe that's true in certain circumstances, to a point, such as the situation I'm in. I COULD HAVE left. This family is not mine; I have no real ties to them other than the fact that I have been caring for their mother for 2.5 years. But the caregivers who care for their own family members dont have that option. They cannot just leave. Where can they get a kind word and a smile-- sometimes that REALLY HELPS. I ache for them and know how they feel. The only helping hand they receive is one with fingers pointing back at them to blame them and accuse them of wrongdoing on their part. It's unconscionable and unfair. They need all the support they can get and too many people--officials and regular people, possibly out of frustration because they can't provide any real, tangible assistance--put them down, accuse them, and berate them further at their inability to change their abusive situation. It's was for these downtrodden caregivers to become despondent, depressed, and hopeless. They need love too, even if it's just a kind, compassionate ear and heart.

Share your answer

Please enter your Answer

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support