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My husband is the sole surviving family of his Mother. His dad died in 2018 at age 92 and his only brother died young in 2014. All the legal paperwork is in place...Durable POA, will, etc. Last month, my MIL (who is 92) elected to have a hysterectomy due to uterine tumor and cancer. She is on hormone therapy for the cancer. She went thru the whole ordeal alone because of Covid. And because she lives in a retirement apartment building, she has also been under lockdown. My husband stayed in close touch with her doctors and surgeon, the hospital and management at her community. She lied to her surgeon (told him she no longer drove, but she does) and when she was sufficiently "recovered" she broke the rules and drove herself to Walmart to have her hair done and do some shopping and she drove herself to a doctor appt. (The community insists that THEY arrange transportation to keep residents safe from the virus.) She was severely reprimanded by management and quarantined to her apt for 2 weeks. She was so mad at my husband for checking on her condition and treatment with her surgeon, and for tipping off management that she was going to go out and about as she pleased, that she told my husband to stay out of her business, that she was independent and could do what she wants to. So my husband has basically left her be.


She is a narcissist and a liar. She has alienated everyone (including 2 grandchildren) and no one will help her shop. We do order things she needs on Amazon and have it shipped directly to her but that is all. She broke the rules yet again 2 weeks ago and was quarantined again.


As she has told my husband to stay out of her life, how much responsibility does he have for her if she gets kicked out of her place? She forbids him to speak to her doctors or management any more. The surgeon had indicated she probably has a year to live as the cancer will return and spread and they did not get it all in surgery. My husband had previously asked all her doctors if she can still safely drive and they said yes. But this will probably change as the cancer spreads. If an elderly person insists their only child stay out of their life, is it okay for the child to accept that at just let things happen as they will? We will no longer celebrate holidays with her or visit her as she is shutting her son out of her life in every other way. (And with Covid we cannot anyway.) If management calls and says they are kicking her out, can my husband tell them he is not responsible anymore per her wishes?

When "old" people, especially women, quit caring about their appearance it is a bad sign. In fact, a good shampoo and style can be extremely therapeutic, instrumental in preventing psycho-social decline. These are unavailable in a facility that is locked down. I'm not a beautician, just a woman. Don't diminish the importance of this 92 y/o woman's escape (hopefully with a mask) to the beauty shop.
I know some may comment on this unauthorized trip as being somehow "inconsiderate" of others. Maybe so. But I see it as a desperate attempt at survival by a woman who is not willing to give up yet one more shred of normalcy.
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Llamalover47 Sep 18, 2020
I must say that you are spot on! My 94 year old mother curled her hair and she also wanted facial waxing at the salon and tweezing done by me at her house.
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When you ask about DH's responsibility if she gets evicted, do you mean does he have to provide her with a place to live? No.

If she is independent and gets evicted, she will need to find herself another place to live.

She sounds like a difficult person who makes life harder for herself. I'm not sure I would resign as POA; if she only has a year left to live, that POA is going to be needed to arrange Hospice and other services not to far down the road.

Is your husband familiar with the concept of setting boundaries?
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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"If an elderly person insists their only child stay out of their life, is it okay for the child to accept that at just let things happen as they will?"

She made the choice to put her living arrangement in jeopardy and to alienate the only family she has left. She will surely regret it when she's on her deathbed with no family around to hold her hand, but she made the choice.

Your husband cannot simply say he is no longer responsible for her. He CAN resign as your MIL's Durable POA but check the original power of attorney document for any specific resignation instructions you must follow to avoid problems later on. Write a letter, include the date the power of attorney was signed, the full names of the agent and principal, a statement that indicates you're resigning, and the last day you will act as an agent. Take the letter to a notary public. Sign and date the letter in front of the notary and ask her to notarize your signature.

Make copies of the resignation. You need a copy for your records, copies for any other agents named in the document, and copies for all places where you had the power of attorney on file, such as the principal's bank.
Send the original resignation letter to the principal by certified mail, return receipt requested. Send copies in the same way to all places that had the power of attorney on file and the other agents. Keep your copy and the mail receipts together in a safe place.

Speak to your MIL before sending the resignation letter if possible to give her time to find another agent.
Send notice of your resignation to the alternate agent if one was named in the original power of attorney. Consider acting until the alternate can take your place to prevent harming the principal.
https://pocketsense.com/how-to-resign-as-power-of-attorney-12717398.html
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Dosmo13 Sep 30, 2020
Of course he can resign as power of attorney. Sounds like he is a true son of his "my-way-or-the highway" Mom. When, in fact, she really does need help and is forced by circumstances to admit it, I hope he does not still reject her because she didn't do as he wanted her to.
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My mother is in AL. I have not seen her since March. I do drop off supplies that are left outside. If she has to have an outside doctor appointment she then must quarantine in her room for 2 weeks. She has already had her floor quarantined due to a resident or staff member testing positive.

I would level with this MIL telling her she may be on the verge of getting kicked out of this facility due to frequently breaking rules. You will not take her in hopefully so she will then have to figure out on her own where she will live. Maybe this will hit a nerve. I think whichever of you communicates with her make this an absolute situation. I imagine she could possibly danger your healths with her going out and most likely not adhering to general Covid restrictions that most of us are facing,unpleasant and tiresome as they are and linger on with no clear end in sight. Yet we comply if we want to leave our homes for various needs.
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Imho, that may be a real sticking point with her son as her agent.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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Maybe I missed something but the facility that she lives in might kick her out, not for endangering her own life by going out, but for endangering the lives of the other residents. If she is competent, she needs to "man" up. She signed the contract with the facility. OBEY THE RULES. If she's competent she's not a saint. She's selfish. She's living in a community filled with the most vulnerable and, if she's competent, SHE DOESN'T CARE WHO SHE ENDANGERS. I understand it sucks to be stuck inside away from everyone and everything. If you want thast freedom back, MOVE OUT. I don't want her killing my loved ones.
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Reply to JustDaughter
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I am honestly disturbed that you guys are wiping her out of your lives because she doesn't want you to take complete control and treat her like a child. That is just awful.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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If she's in a retirement apartment situation AND mentally competent, there really isn't a lot you can do anyway. POAs allow you to stand in for someone when they no longer can, to make financial and/or medical decisions, sign documents, etc. It does NOT make you responsible - guardianship would, but POAs are just legal documents that allow you to stand in for someone who can't manage for themselves. Assumption is that she signed any paperwork needed for the rental - if not, he may need to work with management to make them understand that he can't control her life, activities or decisions.

It sounds like she is still independent, so he should probably back off. She will get herself into trouble, which would be her own problem to resolve. IF it comes to the worst, getting kicked out for not abiding by the rules, she may need help getting a new place and moving, but in the meantime, it sounds like she is in charge and should be left to her own devices and wishes.

It stinks when all we want to do is help, but it is rebuffed. He means well, but she sounds very head strong, so he should just lie low for now.

While she may have verbally told him he is forbidden to do whatever he was doing, unless she actually revokes the POAs, they are still in effect. She would have to revoke them in writing. I wouldn't tell her this, let her think she's got her way! Somewhere down the road he may need these documents in place and if she gets dementia, she won't be able to assign POAs again.
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Reply to disgustedtoo
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She's having a rough time and has lashed out. It sounds like your son is still able to get medical info, so he should continue to do so. If she gets kicked out of current facility for failing to follow the rules, she will end up in another facility. If management calls, I would simply ask for the social worker to determine what the plan is for her. While your son may not be allowed by mom to make decisions, he should at least be aware.

As for that sentence of 'will no longer celebrate holidays with her or visit', that seems a little extreme to me. Don't discuss her situation or act as though you are trying to make decisions - but do include her for the last holidays of her life.
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Reply to my2cents
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He has DPOA and should act on her behalf when she is no longer mentally competent or can no longer express her wishes (stroke, coma, etc.). Please keep communication lines open with management of her living situation and her doctors. At some point he will need to step in to help her, but it obviously is not now. In the meantime, allow her to make decisions and live with the consequences.
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Reply to Taarna
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If your MIL is a competent adult, he should stay out of her business. If he has not made any contracts, legally he is probably not responsible for her debts. If she is incompetent to make her own decisions, he should check with an elder law attorney. But short of incompetency, your husband has no right to substitute his decision making for hers, even if it is in her best interests.
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I'm with Mom, here. I'm only 80, but this Covid19 lockdown at my senior residence had got me climbing the walls. I'm on independent living, got that? Independent! I haven't been able to drive for some time, but I can take a taxi. Always wear a mask when I do. We have been told we can leave for medical reasons
only (is this legally enforceable?) and friends and family are NOT allowed to visit. All planned social activities have been cancelled. The dining room is closed (food is delivered to our apartment). We have had a solid six months of this!
To make matters worse, someone puts up posters, supposedly from "residents" stating how grateful "we" are that they (the management or employees, I guess) are "keeping us safe". There is even a little tree in the lobby to which we can attach thank you notes. I don't know who is doing this, but it just feels like outright manipulation to me. If I'm grateful (which, admittedly, I'm not right now) I can thank someone personally.
I was an R.N. for 30 yrs. Saved lives because it was my job, never considered it "heroic"!

So if your mom gets "kicked out", don't rush to her aid. She is independent. Allow her some dignity. I don't mean to leave her stranded, but it wouldn't hurt to let HER ask for help. That's what independent adults do.
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Isthisrealyreal Sep 16, 2020
Such good points.

I have family that will manipulate people into offering help and you can be sure they will say that they never asked you for anything, you offered. I don't offer anymore, need something? Ask!!
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Stay out of it and let her lead her own life. No you are not responsible if she gets kicked out of her retirement building. Sounds like she is competent. Hysterectomy at 92?? That is amazing!! That woman wants to live!! Let her live and face her own consequences.

I am in the same predicament. My 96 year old mother lives alone in her house. She doesn’t want any help. She doesn’t drive but takes call a bus wherever she wants to go.

Last week she went to the laundromat. She does things HER way. I leave her alone. I visit once a week as her daughter not her caregiver. My son goes over twice a week to bring in the mail and take out the garbage.

Leave MIL be!!
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Reply to elaine1962
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If your MIL doesn't have dementia and hasn't been declared incompetent then your husband has no choice but to step back and let things happen as the gods will them to. He is not responsible for her if she's still in charge of her own affairs. If the time comes when she can't manage for herself then either your husband or someone else will have to be appointed to be her conservator to make decisions for her. It will probably be your husband, but if he doesn't want to do it the court will appoint someone. If she's still getting around and is mentally competent, then your husband should not try to intervene on her behalf with her housing. She violated their rules so she can take the heat for it.
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Thank you to everyone for the encouraging responses. I truly appreciate them all!!
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Reply to Monica19815
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I agree that her son should just step back at this time since she does seem competent. Even though she seems quite independent she is not facing reality (whether she is just a rule breaker, doesn't care, or doesn't believe in the pandemic) because she is endangering herself & others by continuing to go out, exposing herself & others unnecessarily to COVID-19. The management should take her keys away if they can since she has been caught by them while in lockdown. Is she aware that she could be kicked out & need to find another place on her own? She will have to deal with this soon if she doesn't obey the rules.
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Dosmo13 Sep 16, 2020
The management has NO authority to take her keys. Neither do you (you can try if you ever think she's truly incompetent, but good luck with that!) Why is she not allowed to go out with a mask? ( The management could provide one and urge her to use it). Everyone else has that privilege. If she does not have the virus, she is not endangering anyone. At her age, COVID-19 is a greater risk to HER health, but do you think she doesn't know that?
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A spunky gal isn't she? She obviously envisions years of longer life if she had a hysterectomy at 92! She seems to be of sound mind so if the facility evicts her (have they suggested they might?) I don't believe he has any responsibilty as long as she's competent. At this point I would just let her have her way.
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Reply to sjplegacy
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If she has not been declared incompetent then she can rightly ask him to stay out of her business.
(I would take the car in for "service" and not return it for a good long time..until she can follow the guidelines of the facility and not put others at risk) And actually the facility should do a better job of monitoring the residents.
Your husband can respect her wishes to be left to her own devices. It is difficult as I am sure he wants to "protect" her and keep her safe. She is dying and it is difficult to accept that.
She is thumbing her nose at the cancer by not letting it control her and what she does. Here your husband is trying to do that very thing. So she can tell him to leave her alone...but she can't tell cancer the same thing.
I have to give her props for not giving in but she should realize that she is in a double category for catching any little "bug" that comes her way. She is older, and imuno compromised.
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jacobsonbob Sep 16, 2020
Perhaps at this point, if she realizes her immunological vulnerabilty, she is, as you've said, probably thumbing her nose at it. She probably figures she'll go soon either way, so she'd rather do it on her own terms even if it risks shortening her remaining life. She's not "playing by the rules", but to some degree I can sympathize with her.
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Honestly, she is quite amazing, isn't she? I don't say she is doing it "right" but she sure is doing it "her way" and she is not making herself a burden on you. My partner was raised by just such a narcissist, and at the end they were down to 1/2 hour call every Sunday. That said she took care of herself, hired her own help, stayed in her own home, fed the feral pigs and even in last days had her room with a view on the dribbling hose the coyotes and pigs came out of the desert to use. She had her vodka bottle at her side, and seemed to have known when she could not drive, depended upon the kindness of "friends", neighbors. She died as she wished to.
I think you are doing a good job. Your husband has the needed work in papers at the ready. He is doing as he feels he must (I think I would actually step away; I would think residents will report her going out and exposing them to problems quickly enough). She has seen herself through her own treatment. She will either pass in the allotted time or go on forever. Who can tell.
I think you will know for certain when you have to step up/step in, but I think she will never accept help and any move would be a terrific struggle. I would leave it be. I think you all, in your own ways, are doing great (or as great as it can be given the present circumstances).
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Dosmo13 Sep 16, 2020
This independent 92 yr. old is NOT a narcissist. She may be considered a problem by the facility she calls home, but she definitely is not expecting anyone to cater to her. Her son may be annoyed, but he should be grateful.
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