Can elder abuse be reported if all 3 children named as Healthcare POAs do not pursue medical treatment for their elderly father?

Follow
Share
Find Care & Housing
13

Answers

Show:
FarmGirl, your father's having to rely on his adult children might be part of the issue. Since your mother cared for him, he was reliant on her, and she was I assume close in age. Some parents don't seem to have as much confidence in their adult children; we're still "children" in their eyes, so they sometimes challenge us.

Try backing off and not mentioning the issues of concern to you and see if there's any change.

Since he goes to church, perhaps you can ask your pastor to "observe" that your father is getting thin, and "decide" to discuss it with him, out of concern. Perhaps he'll open to someone older, and in a position of respect.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to GardenArtist
Report

Thanks for all of the suggestions. I will take them into consideration and discuss these issues with my siblings. Dad is currently only eating hot oatmeal and toast with coffee in the mornings. He has refused everything else that my sister and I were cooking and/or fixing for him and has even stopped eating the Little Debbie's snack cakes he was eating in the afternoons. This has been a gradual thing for a year or so, especially since Mom passed, but has accelerated to this point just in the last 2-3 weeks. He does still go out of the house and walk around some when he feels up to it and always goes to church on Sunday morning with me. Since he is losing weight and getting weaker, him falling is a big concern for us, too. If anything major happens, though, I believe we will be able to get him to go to the hospital, but pretty sure it will have to be that before he will agree to see a doctor. He is almost 95, by the way, and his memory is failing and he is close to being deaf. This is a challenge for us. Mom just always took care of him. We had no idea until she died just what she had been dealing with.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to farmgirl56
Report

If your father is of sound mind, there is nothing you can do to make him eat, drink, take meds, go to the doctor or anything else he doesn't want to do.

If he has dementia, that's a different story. You would need to go over his decisions for his best interest.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to SueC1957
Report

Thanks for replying Farm Girl. I’m sorry for the loss of your mom. I’m sure you dad is really missing her. 8 months is not very long in the grieving process but it’s certainly long enough for his health to begin to fail.
Have you been able to get him to leave his house at all? Will he share a meal if you bring him to your house or bring a hot meal to sit at the table and eat with him? You might try bringing him Ensure Plus as that would give him some calories.
As others have said don’t pressure him. Gardens idea of a call to his primary and requesting HH is a good one. Do you know if your dad has Original Medicare? That will pay for it if that’s a concern. Perhaps your mom had it in the past and you know a HH you can call. Sometimes they will contact the doctor for him and help get the ball rolling. Watch out for dehydration.
Sometimes a visit from an old friend or relative will spark a little interest. Come back and let us know how he is doing.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to 97yroldmom
Report

FarmGirl--

If you and your sibs sit down and make a plan, for as many contingencies as you can think of--that would help. All being on the same page will make any care process go faster and be easier to implement, should something suddenly change and you have to move fast ( a fall, a stroke, etc)

Get all paperwork dad will let you have, but don't harass him for it. Just find out what HE would want and then figure out what can be afforded and where his care should take place.

No doubt he is still grieving, and you need to let him process his loss. And it's VERY likely he has never had to make a meal for himself and won't know how to shop for, nor fix healthy meals.

Most of all, just be there for him. Ask him what HE wants. If you suspect dementia or a slow slide into incompetence, better to start acting on that now, before he cannot make a decision.

You're one of the sibs? I don't think you need to function under the umbrella of guilt or worry. APS will look at the whole scenario, it's not like you are abusing him, or stealing from him---you are in fact, involved in his life and care for him.

We all act like APS is a bunch of NInjas, sneaking in during the night and attacking--they're not. Just a fail safe for the elderly. IMHO, haven't been terribly effective at doing much of anything.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Midkid58
Report

FarmGirl, your father could be resisting medical treatment for a lot of reasons, beyond the basic fact that he just doesn't want to go. He's probably still grieving for your mother, possibly blaming the medical profession, fearing for his own health, and/or just wants to be left alone.

What you can do beyond trying to get him medical care is to bring it to him, to the extent that you can.

If he had a PCP or some other regular physician, you could contact the physician and ask about home care. Typically, doctosr won't script for home care w/o seeing a patient, but it's worth a try. Explain your concerns about his decline.

You can order Meals on Wheels for him so he gets more balanced meals, and more often. Order the daily meals as well as double meals so he has food over the weekend. Or, your siblings and you can make up meals, freeze them, and bring them to him.

I take it that someone does visit him every 2 - 3 hours for a checkup?

You can't force him to see a doctor, but if he continues to eat nominally and lose weight, at some point he may end up in the hospital, whether he wants that or not.

I think it's a good time to ensure that he's executed a Living Will or Advanced Directive as well as a DPOA so that you and/or your siblings can act when the probably inevitable decline occurs and you need to make decisions on his behalf.

I think that kind of alternate planning focus might be a better way of approaching the situation than being worried about someone reporting you and your sibs for improper care as he declines. But I do understand that concern, and I do know that there are people who would never help but would jump at the chance to report someone else.

Another thing you could do is get him a medic alert with fall monitoring so that if something does happen, he can press the button and the monitoring service can either call you or your sibs first, and EMS secondly, or in the reverse order if you prefer.

But, you can always as I wrote earlier, contact his former doctors and ask for recommendations, documenting your actions for future use. Hopefully it won't come to that.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to GardenArtist
Report

You can't force a competent adult to accept medical attention if he refuses it.

If it were me, to err on the safe side I would call my parent's doctor, describe any symptoms and take advice. You would then also truthfully be able to tell your father what the official, medical view was, so that it would be "Dad, the doctor says it's really important for you to get seen" rather than his being able to dismiss it because it's 'only' his children telling him this.

And if he still says no, you've tried and it's on record.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Countrymouse
Report

He can make his own choices but eventually you all will have to deal with the consequences, is there a plan in place for when he inevitably falls of becomes too ill to remain on his own?
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to cwillie
Report

My mother died 8 months ago and my father is competent enough to live alone with someone just checking on him every 2-3 hours. He is beginning to get weaker because he only wants to eat breakfast and any mention of going to the doctor gets a resounding "No". I am only concerned because my siblings and I don't want to be reported for not "making" him get medical treatment as he gets weaker.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to farmgirl56
Report

What is your role and position on this situation? Are you a family member, a concerned relative or neighbor?

As others wrote, it really depends on the nature of the "abuse" and what his medical condition is. Have you spoken with the 3 adult children about your concerns?
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to GardenArtist
Report

Related
Questions