If my Dad doesn't want to live in a nursing home, can my sister force him to go?

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My Dad is 76 years old and currently lives at home. We lost my Mom in October so he's dealing with a huge loss right now.

My sister and I share POA duties. She has traditionally handled the financial end and lives out of town. I live in town and have dealt with the caregiving end of things. My sister has always thought the best alternative for care would be for my parents to live in a facility. My Dad has repeatedly told me that he wants to continue living at home. My sister contends that he is agreeable to moving to a skilled nursing facility.

She has taken upon herself to make arrangements with his Dr to have him hospitalized on Monday. During their discussion, she said, the Dr agreed that Dad is not capable of making the best decisions for himself at this point.

I feel torn about all of this because I really don't think he wants to leave home --- on the other hand, he's been in a state of depression for a long time and it's much worse now that Mom's passed away. He doesn't seem to be doing well despite having caregivers around the clock making sure every need is taken care of. I guess my sister thinks Dad will do better if he's around people his own age. Also, finances must be an issue and I really hadn't given that much thought.

I just don't want my Dad to be forced into something he doesn't want to do. It's really been bothering me thinking about this and I just had to get it off my chest. Thanks for listening!

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wuvesicecream had it right in the last paragraph...my 82 year old grandmother with Alzheimers was crossing a four lane busy road @ 6am to buy cigarettes outside of her apartment complex before she passed. She was a couple weeks away from being placed in a home by. Elderlies 'wander' and do what they want to do but the hard part is understanding that you need to decide FOR them before something horrible happens. YOU are the parent now and you need to protect your father. I've even heard stories of people having their elderly wake up with grass all over their feet because they had been outside in the middle of the night wandering around. The greatest blessing that came out of my mother caring for my grandmother when she was ill is the fact that she understands what the caregiving actually entails and she and I have discussed that it does come to a point where they need to be placed somewhere for their own safety...and that's whether they 'want to' or 'like to' or not.
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Thanks, everyone, for your responses. To answer your questions, Jeanne, my Dad has multiple impairments including congestive heart failure, a history of blood clots, arthritis and sleep apnea. He is being treated for his depression and we have an appointment scheduled for a geriatric psychiatrist in 2 weeks.

Although the congestive heart failure is chronic, I know his Dad had problems and made it to 94 years old. No, Dad doesn't have dementia so I don't know what the Dr based his opinion on.

I think, Jeanne, you got right to the heart of the matter. My sister and I should have a better line of communication. That's something we've been working on today so I feel much better about the whole situation. The thing with my Dad is that he tells each of us what we want to hear. He goes along with whomever he's talking to.

Dad has a counselor that comes to the house. He has an appointment tomorrow morning so I will ask permission to join the session. I now understand that the counselor asked Dad last week if he would be willing to try living in a skilled nursing facility on a trial basis --- like 3 months. According to her, he was willing to see how it goes. Of course, he may just be telling the counselor what he thinks she wants to hear!

I have heard Dad call care facilities "warehouses" more than once and several times he has said he wants to continue living at home. I want him to be able to live at home if it's the best situation for him. However, I am now open to the idea that structure could be a positive thing for Dad and he would be around people his own age --- that'd be a plus, right?

Thanks, again, for the information and food for thought --- it's just a sad situation for anyone to have to deal with.
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Carol72156 It seems that you have come here for a good reason. I wish my sister that I share (as I am laughing at that word "share") P.O.A. duties with could be more open minded and taking all the facts into consideration. You are showing a concern and trying to understand.
Based on your info. in the post.... I am getting the feeling that your Dad is definitely a concern to you, and his happiness is an issue. If Doctors are saying he is not capable of knowing what is best for him and home care is not working out, why question a situation that's clearly not doable. Your sister is aware of what it costs to keep the current situation as is. I am curious about, why he's being hospitalized.? A hospital can't admit someone if they are not ill. There must be a good reason for this decision.
Think about this.... a child may want to run into a road with traffic.... but children don't see the danger involved, just because a child wants to do something do you let the child make that decision, or do you act upon your concern for the safety of the child.
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What are your dad's impairments, besides depression? Is he being treated for depression? What is his prognosis? Might be go on for another 20 years or does he have some life-limiting chronic conditions?

Does he have dementia? In what way is he incapable of making the best decisions for himself? Is the doctor saying he is incompetent? Even if the doctor says that, I don't think your sister can force him into a nursing home unless she gets guardianship.

If your sister lives out of town and you have frequent contact with your dad, how is it she knows what he is agreeable to and you don't?

As a recent widow myself, I can tell you that it doesn't surprise me that Dad is at a low point now. Has he had any grief support?

Around-the-clock care in one's home is expensive. If your sister has financial concerns about what Dad can afford, shouldn't the two of you be talking about this?

In fact, it really sounds like the two of you should be working together to determine what is in your father's best interest. If you both have POA then decisions have to be made jointly. But neither of you can really force Dad to move against his will unless he is judged incompetent (by a judge) and one of you is his guardian. Ideally you come to some agreement about what is best for Dad, and then work together to make it happen, without getting the court system involved.

What is Dad going into the hospital for next week? Is this related to his depression or some other condition? Once he is there perhaps you and your sister can both have a discussion with the social worker regarding good next steps. And you need to be aware of the financial situation.

I sure hope you can work together with your sister!
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If he is not doing well despite having caregivers around the clock, it might be time for a nursing home. My mother did not do well at home despite having a helper during the day and her husband at night. She stayed home despite her neurologist encouraging her to go to assisted living which her long term care insurance would have paid for. Even a home health nurse tried to convince her to go to an assisted living because being home was not safe. (At that time, I had just gone on disability and was dealing with major depression. If I had been healthier and recalled that even then I already had medical and durable POA for her, I would have pushed real hard to get her into a safer place.) Later, she had a major stroke which she made some progress in recovering from but she was in worse shape about taking her meds even when reminded by the helper or her husband and they almost let her die within 8 days of coming home from rehab. I got her to her doctor and he put her in the hospital from which she went to an assisted living place, but she fell and broke her hip. The doctor sent her to a nursing home for rehab, but she refused to work with them and has been there for almost 4 years now. Her dementia has worsened and she mentions going home from time to time, but she is not a safe discharge and the home environment is not safe either with her husband in a wheelchair, etc. I share all of this to say this, your dad like my mom may not want to go, but if that is the level of care he needs now, that might be the only choice.
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