We have spoken to 3 different elder care lawyers and no one can give me a straight answer. Who has the right answers?

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If you tell us what the problem is, maybe we can help you. But let me say three things before I go: (1) Perhaps your siblings "hate" you because they believe you're taking advantage of your parents' source of income now that you've given up your jobs, or maybe they're just trying to flip the script on you and make you feel guilty for doing what they didn't want to do in the first place: share the responsibility. I think it's a combination of both; (2) Lawyers, unless they can profit substantially from the situation, will give you all kinds of verbal pyrotechnics to keep confused and hanging around in the hopes you can come up with the money to make it worth their while; and (3) As a Brazilian-Puerto Rican, I too don't like the idea of putting our elderly in nursing homes or stashing them away somewhere when we can't or don't want to are for them. Unfortunately, in this country caring for our elderly requires that family members make sacrifices and spend years riding a roller-coaster of physical/emotional pain and strain. In addition, the elderly's needs often exceed our abilities no matter how much we love them and try to keep them warm, happy and comfortable.

Other than that, I don't know what else to tell you my friend. I wish you the best, and let us know what happens.

-- ED
Sorry I guess the more detail didn't work. My wife and I care for both my mom and dad for the past year and a half . My father has ALZ and my mom has vascular dementia and is paralized on the left side . All of my siblings abandoned them and don't want any contact with them. My wife and I have given up our jobs and our life to care for them 24/7 . My parents don't want to be seperated or go to a nursing home. We have3 kids of our own and we have depleted all of our money to take care of my parents. We can not get goverment assistance because of my parents money. I am POA for both thier finances and health. Can I use thier money to help with the bills and needs of my own family?

If you live in FL, go to the Florida Department of Elder Affairs website (elderaffairs.state.fl.us). Although there's a hotline and e-mail address, make an appointment to speak with someone in person. They'll tell you how to manage your parents' finances and still get paid for caregiving. In other words, how to cover your a___ (CYA). Also, don't forget that every state has some form of Department of Aging. So get it from the horse's mouth instead of getting your answers piecemeal from vulturish lawyers and those know-it-all neighborhood "experts."

Your Dad has Alzheimer's and your Mom vascular dementia. As such, they're not able to make "rational" decisions about their finances most of the time. POA, therefore, isn't a license to go ahead and spend money that you might feel entitled to as the primary caregiver. Until you can get financial assistance from the State and other sources, be frugal with the household expenses and keep receipts for everything just to be on the safe side.

The last thing you want is for the State to step in, split your parents, and put them in nursing homes that can't wait to eat up whatever money they bring with them. Plus your siblings "van a formar un bochinche que te vas a tener que mudar del vecindario," and your guilt will never end -- even after your parents pass away. ... So be careful!

Ate logo.

-- ED

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