What can I do when my mom, with early-stage dementia, now wants her boyfriend to handle her finances and be her caregiver?
I live far away from my 82-yr-old mom, who is living independently at home. Her boyfriend of 5-6 years, is bipolar, has been in treatment for alcoholism several times since they've been together, and is emotionally and verbally abusive to my mom. He is in effect living with her.
Mom's short-term memory has slipped significantly in the two years. The boyfriend has made an appointment for her to see a neurologist for Alzheimer's screening. I plan to fly out and attend the appointment, and I asked the boyfriend for the name of the doctor so I could call ahead and get a sense of what to expect for her in the visit, as well as get some advice on the crucial ways to be involved when I live across the country.
The boyfriend blew up at me over the phone and became abusive, refusing to give me the doctor's name, threatening to sue me for violating mom's right to privacy, telling me she didn't need to be taking all the medication she'd been prescribed (thyroid, cholesterol-lowering, etc), and said HE was caring for her.
I was able to identify the doctor, and I called to change the appointment, since I have a conflict with the original date. They advised me that if she's not able to accurately give a medical history, then I should attend the initial visit.
Yesterday when I spoke to my mom, she mentioned that her boyfriend is now essentially taking over her finances. She very proactively and emphatically testified to his honesty, and said that he should be greatly involved in her care. I think she's sincere, but it also seemed as if she had been coached on this very discussion, since my mom has always been indecisive and passive. I asked about her medications, and she told me she wasn't taking any, because all the refills had run out; she assumed she was finished with them.
I had planned to arrive a day before her upcoming doctor's visit and meet with her and her lawyer, since I don't have a copy of the will (but the lawyer tells me I have POA). If she is declared incompetent, as it stands I would have power of attorney -- but I will probably also have a very angry mom, and a possibly violent boyfriend to contend with. I believe the man loves her, but the relationship model is one of codependency, manipulation, and abuser/abused. If I insist on gaining legal and medical power of attorney, it will be against her wishes.
There is such a long history of the boyfriend's abusive behavior that I feel it would be ethically wrong to give him POA and be appointed her guardian. I also want to make sure that her finances are managed such that she has enough $ to live comfortably and with assistance at which time she can no longer take care of herself. The 2000 mile distance between is yet another complication.
Any advice at all? This situation is breaking my heart.